What do you recommend in a mobile unit?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anon 411 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #21230

    Ron Lastname
    Participant

    anon 411 asked “What do you recommend in a mobile unit?”

    That is sorta like asking what car should I buy.  The short answer is…. there is no short answer.

    First you need to answer a lot of questions about how you intend to use the radio.  Is it for HF, VHF, uhf, all of the above? Do you have room in the vehicle to safely mount the radio or will you need one with a detachable control head because of limited space.

    What features are “must have” items. Like APRS?  DStar? DMR?

    Do you want a new “state of the art” radio or a used beater for your work pick-up truck?

    and on and on……..

    So the easiest way to proceed with your selection would  be for you to answer the above and we can work with your answers.

    Good topic.

     

  • #21250

    Mouse Wizard
    Participant

    Like Ron said, most mobile units are purpose-built to satisfy a specific class of mission. The simplest is talking to other hams on local repeaters in your area, in which case just about anything will work. If you plan on operating outside of a local repeater net, or over longer distances, then things get complicated. Best to work with your local ham club to get support and advice. Of course, for that, you need a license.

    Basically, if you intend to treat radio comms as many do long-term storage food (buy it, leave it, figure out how to use it when SHTF) then you’ll be dead in the water comms-wise post SHTF. Bottom line: Get at least a technician class ham license, then connect with the closest ham club.

  • #21258

    anon 411
    Participant

    Ok, this is not going to be the simple question you asked for. To know where I’m coming from, you should read my articles from last year. https://www.theorganicprepper.com/category/preppers/the-information-specialist-series/

    I want to be the local information guy. I’m not healthy enough to garden, hunt or pull long stints of guard duty outside so I’m hoping I can trade information, of all types, for food, protection (yes, I have guns and lots of ammo and lots of prepper stuff), etc. Yes, I have a great deal of the info discussed in my articles.

    I’m waiting on a turnkey price for a solar system for my house. This is primarily to power my computers, radios, a small digital TV, battery chargers, router, plus some other stuff. Yes, I’m ready for an EMP.

    I once had a Yeasu FT-897, but it took a lightening strike several years ago. I have a Yeasu FT-50R and a couple of other handhelds. I have a couple portable 2 meter / 70 cm radios. I’m looking to replace the FT-897. I have a current Technician license.

    I want to be able to communicate with hams well enough to know what is going on and to be able to pass along useful info, especially in a grid down situation. So, that means HF, VHF and UHF and solar power. I can’t afford nor want a $10K stationary rig for the house nor a 1500w amplifier, which is why I specified a 100w portable. Won’t use it portable unless I have to evacuate. Would need to gear up (hardware and software) for the various digital modes

    I would also like to have a sw receiver/scanner. There used to be one that would receive DC to 1GHz or 2GHz, but I have forgotten the manufacturer and model number. Would like something along that line.

    Would like a police scanner for my local area. I also have a CB radio, still in the box from my Y2K preps and a couple of FRS radios.

    I did the weekend bicycle race support type stuff for a few years. Done a little of the emergency comms. Frankly, I found talking on the radio in normal situations boring.

    I just want to know what’s going on.I can do that today on the Internet. in a TEOTWAWKI situation, that means radio and I want finish getting geared up for that. Oh, hate all those menus, so complicated. I will need to be able to teach non-hams to operate my radios. Can’t do it 24/7 by myself.

    I hope this is not too much info.

    • #21268

      anon 411
      Participant

      This idea just occurred to me. Be geared up to transmit digital files (text and others) via ham radio. I know that capability exists, I’m just not yet geared up for it. So, have prepper survival info (all aspects of food, water, etc, etc) in text files (much preferred!) or PDF (not really practical, too big) files and be prepared to transmit those to hams who need that info in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Could come up with a schedule of dates and times you will send specific documents so many hams could copy in one transmission. Heck, I’ve been out of ham radio for 10 years, this may be a well known concept now.

      Could start by buying these books https://www.theorganicprepper.com/the-essential-preppers-library/ in digital format and convert to PDF or text.

  • #21262

    Ron Lastname
    Participant

    Its late, I’ve been reading your stuff for the last several hours. Finding stuff that I just had to download. You know the feeling.

    Lots to talk about. I think I can help you a lot and I really relate to your project. Unfortunately, being a nomad, I gotta do what nomads do, which in this case is to hit the road for awhile. Wont be back in reliable internet coverage till Tues or Wed at earliest.

    When doing the Red Cross thing, I really saw the effect of information loss.  Tell you about all that later.

    73, de Ron N1AHH

    • #21269

      anon 411
      Participant

      @ron

      No problem. Yeah, I got horror stories about the local Red Cross during Katrina. Just about all the paid managers and staffers in my local organization were fired after Katrina. They weren’t ready for a disaster of that scale.

  • #21270

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    Ok, so after reading the responses, the reality is access to reliable power is the weak link of comms.

  • #21275

    Mouse Wizard
    Participant

    “access to reliable power is the weak link of comms”

    Absolutely. Gasoline or propane goes away. Solar will last 10 years or so with a fresh off-grid system and batteries. The panels themselves will run for 20+ years but you’ll need to have prepared in advance with DC-DC converters to run electrics during the day only. Systems that are tied to the grid now will be useless. Even the panels have the wrong voltage for use unless the recipient has really expensive and programmable charge controller.

  • #21315

    anon 411
    Participant

    @CB

    Yeah, it’s almost enough to make an old man think about really supporting renewable energy, Fossil fuel has a somewhat complicated and fragile fuel supply chain for both refineries and electric power. That includes people and equipment all along the way. Not to mention the people required to run the rather complex refineries and power plants. After a 90% die off in a year grid down type situation, you would have to have a few experienced plant operations people left to train from scratch everybody else to get either type of plant running again. Probably impossible.

     

  • #21316

    anon 411
    Participant

    @MW

    I was wondering what to do when the battery bank fails. I didn’t think about directly using the electricity as it is produced. I can see that you would have to have a converter to convert the produced electricity to whatever voltage DC your system (inverter) is built to use. Can you suggest a web site for further info or company or companies that make such a converter?

  • #21322

    namelus
    Participant

    Look at surrette rolls battery bank with nano fluid can extend battery life to 8000 plus cycles at 80 percent
    <h3> 2 YS 62P or 2 YS 30P are good longer batteries in a 48v set up. For longer lasting inverters.</h3>
     

     

    Look for sma inverter bank they are plug and play up to 4 inverters multi feed ( wind, solar, generator) just hook up and it runs no programming. You just have to set one as master.

     

    We have surrette rolls running that are 12 years old 2 percent loss.

     

    We have cheaper turkish made solar panels as back ip but our main array is 10kw of day4 panels now out of business  we have had zero loss over 12 years. Yeah that’s right zero loss  they where built crazy tough with zero tolerance.  Solar farm in Germany 17 years old one 5.5mw has lost 2 percent so far.  Chinese made lose 2-5 percent a year and 10 percent starting stated watts. So a 250 could start as low as 225watt and lose 1.5 watts per year output. Day 4 250watt is 250 min start wattage each pannel balanced to stop micro cascade issues.

     

    Inverters and collection hubs  for pannel arrays fail you need spares.

     

    We are testing new nano sealant  that supposed helps solar gain… we currently expirience a 10 percent gain in energy output from same arrays just treated with something like rainx.

     

     

     

  • #21416

    Ron Lastname
    Participant

    I don’t know how all the html stuff got stuck in the previous post. I wrote it in LibreOffice and cut/pasted it.

    Any suggestions as how to get rid of that stuff is appreciated.  Probably need to save it as a text file, but would then loose the italics.

    Sorry about that….

    ron

    PS. Looks like a very limited HTML tag selection allowed. I will try to comply in future posts. Sorry  but I do not have time to re-do the post now.

  • #21420

    Ron Lastname
    Participant

    I apologize for the original post where I included all the html stuff. Hopefully this version is better. I reported the original in hopes that it can be deleted.  Here is a corrected version.

     

    Anon411, I put === between your comment and my reply and put ****** between topics. .

    ********************

    Ok, this is not going to be the simple question you asked for. To know where I’m coming from, you should read my articles from last year. https://www.theorganicprepper.com/category/preppers/the-information-specialist-series/

    I want to be the local information guy. I’m not healthy enough to garden, hunt or pull long stints of guard duty outside so I’m hoping I can trade information, of all types, for food, protection (yes, I have guns and lots of ammo and lots of prepper stuff), etc. Yes, I have a great deal of the info discussed in my articles.

    =============

    First let me say that I am a retired information technology guy in a very complex healthcare environment. One of my tasks was to help folks create and operate projects similar to yours, albeit with a different intent, but there are many similarities. So although my response may seem a bit formal and stilted, I think I can illuminate some of the issues and perhaps suggest directions for us to explore.

    ******************

    I’m waiting on a turnkey price for a solar system for my house. This is primarily to power my computers, radios, a small digital TV, battery chargers, router, plus some other stuff. Yes, I’m ready for an EMP.
    ===========

    I have lived off the grid for over 20 years now. The specification for a household solar system is complex. Sooooo many variables. Be sure you are getting a system that fits your needs. Most are required to have an grid inter-tie and no battery backup. A whole house system is over-kill for the applications you list. We can discuss that in detail later.
    ****************
    I once had a Yeasu FT-897, but it took a lightening strike several years ago. I have a Yeasu FT-50R and a couple of other handhelds. I have a couple portable 2 meter / 70 cm radios. I’m looking to replace the FT-897. I have a current Technician license.
    ==========

    I have a FT-857 and FT-817 as well as some other rigs. Glad you have a license and some experience. Makes it much easier. Tech license has some limitations for HF work. It would be of value for you to upgrade. Most emergency HF work takes place on the lower (160-40 meters) bands where regional propagation easier. We can discuss potential HF equipment later.
    ****************
    I want to be able to communicate with hams well enough to know what is going on and to be able to pass along useful info, especially in a grid down situation. So, that means HF, VHF and UHF and solar power. I can’t afford nor want a $10K stationary rig for the house nor a 1500w amplifier, which is why I specified a 100w portable. Won’t use it portable unless I have to evacuate. Would need to gear up (hardware and software) for the various digital modes

    ==========

    No need for high power or expensive antenna/rigs. I would suggest an older rig with some specific attributes which we can discuss later.

    ************************

    I would also like to have a sw receiver/scanner. There used to be one that would receive DC to 1GHz or 2GHz, but I have forgotten the manufacturer and model number. Would like something along that line.

    ==============

    We need to get you current with the software defined radios (SDR) receivers that are available now. $20 will get you one that will surpass most high end scanners. These were originally designed for TV tuner application, but as purchased now, they cover DC to 3g and can waterfall display a whole amateur band in one display. Here is an Amazon link to one of the more common ones. https://www.amazon.com/RTL-SDR-Blog-RTL2832U-Software-Defined/dp/B0129EBDS2/ref*sr_1_4?crid*25EETIOUIEELW&keywords*sdr+rtl+dongle&qid*1565280905&s*gateway&sprefix*SDR%2Caps%2C474&sr*8-4</span&gt;

    Not sure if that is gonna work. If not, search Amazon for RTL SDR. Then go to youtube and search the same thing there and watch a couple of the videos. It will change the way you “see” radio.

    ****************

    Would like a police scanner for my local area. I also have a CB radio, still in the box from my Y2K preps and a couple of FRS radios.

    ===========

    Police and most other governmental agencies are using digital comm’s now. Most are in a mode called P25 mode 2. You need special scanners to hear the audio. I understand that two RTL-SDR dongles hooked to a raspberry pie will do the job. In addition to P25m2, they are encrypting most traffic. Makes it more complex/impossible to hear the audio. However hearing the raw P25 even with a non-P25 receiver will provide OPTEMPO (operational tempo * how busy the system is). A sudden increase at an unusual time may mean something is happening.

    ********************

    I did the weekend bicycle race support type stuff for a few years. Done a little of the emergency comms. Frankly, I found talking on the radio in normal situations boring.

    I agree on the boring part. I almost never chit-chat anymore. But it is a good way to load test your gear and get hands on experience so the operation of your gear becomes muscle memory. I need all the help I can get.

    ********************

    I just want to know what’s going on.I can do that today on the Internet. in a TEOTWAWKI situation, that means radio and I want finish getting geared up for that. Oh, hate all those menus, so complicated. I will need to be able to teach non-hams to operate my radios. Can’t do it 24/7 by myself.

    ==============

    That is why it is so important to create a station specific SOP for your situation. It should take anyone that can read and that has a limited familiarity with the station from unlocking the station door to checking in to the local nets. Each time you power up, use that protocol and refine it continually. More on that later.

    *************************
    August 1, 2019 at 8:15 am #21268 Reply | Report

    This idea just occurred to me. Be geared up to transmit digital files (text and others) via ham radio. I know that capability exists, I’m just not yet geared up for it. So, have prepper survival info (all aspects of food, water, etc, etc) in text files (much preferred!) or PDF (not really practical, too big) files and be prepared to transmit those to hams who need that info in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Could come up with a schedule of dates and times you will send specific documents so many hams could copy in one transmission. Heck, I’ve been out of ham radio for 10 years, this may be a well known concept now.

    ================

    We need to look at the entire “library” function. I doubt that distribution of any but very short files will be useful via ham radio. The bandwidth is just too limited. You will need to get up into the mesh network level (2.4gig and higher) for that to be viable. We can talk about that later.

    **************************

    ===============

    I see 3 general categories in your project which I define as follows.

    LIBRARY: Includes the collection, storage, indexing and preparing for distribution of textual/image/voice/video files.

    COMINTEL: Includes the identification, understanding and evaluation of communications available to you before/during/after an event.

    RF: (Radio Frequency) All the aspects of those components that require reception or transmission of information. This is a big and complex category.

    We can go through each in detail later.

    And one last comment.

    During Katrina I operated a $350,000 mobile comm. truck. I started just north of New Orleans at the north end of the big bridge into NO. Then I traveled throughout southern Louisiana setting up satellite comms and local wifi/voip systems. As I worked, I monitored ham, frs, gmrs and all the other non-governmental frequencies. There was almost NO comms dedicated to local information or other personal use. There was a bit of garbage on FRS, but that was probably the most used band, but it was completely disorganized.

    This and the comments of other hams that experienced the same, was the starting point of a web page dedicated to the personal use of radio during an emergency. Unfortunately, I can not dedicate the time, energy or $$ needed to continue. But take a look at it. Only some of the table of content links work and there are several bad links. But it will give you some background in my approach to the subject. I really should continue but at age 80, I have other things to do. As the saying goes, “I would rather do, than write about doing.” check out http://www.griddowncomms.com or http://www.n1ahh.com which should link there as well.

    Well now to see if this can be pasted into the forum without getting it scrambled.

    Comments??

    73 de ron N1AHH

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Ron Lastname.
  • #21426

    Mouse Wizard
    Participant

    Ron and anon — both of you should join AMRRON. Look it up. ARRL field day is nice but these guys pass real traffic instead of just making contacts. They do a lot of digital work.

    I have that solar setup you guys are considering for just the same purpose anon is planning on, and it’s correct to go small in terms of transmit power and computing resources. Otherwise you wind up spending all your money on solar. Also, plan on specific operational periods each day, with the rest of the time powered down.

    Finally, you’ll need two types of antennas: A beam like a lightweight spiderbeam if you plan on going mobile, or a heavier spiderbeam or cobweb antenna on a rotor if you’re staying put. The second antenna will be an 80m/40m NVIS antenna for regional comms. Third is a VHF beam and VHF omni.

    VHF covers out to 50 miles depending on terrain, more with repeater. NVIS covers 50-400 miles, and the beam goes for 400-whatever conditions support.

    After AMRRON’s recent readiness exercise I’m undertaking this exact project. Before I had 80-40-20-10 in inverted V and a single omni VHF/UHF. Was not successful in passing any real traffic. One voice contact and several JS8Call contacts was it. Time to get real.

  • #21451

    anon 411
    Participant

    @ron

    On your website

    I have read your website and downloaded a copy by the cut and paste method. You could flesh out some of you links by linking to relevant documents on the ARRL site, Wikipedia, or other. This saves a lot of creative effort on subjects covered elsewhere.

    You mention meshing the ComPlan and ComCon plans with to address different disasters. I suggest this page https://www.theorganicprepper.com/history-disasters/ is a good list of possible disasters to work with.

    Interesting story on the Cross-band network you built. More info needed. Can you point to a book or web page providing detailed information?

    You referenced several times to Storage. I would like more info on that.

    You mentioned primary and secondary systems. Would like a little more on your thinking there.

     

  • #21473

    anon 411
    Participant

    @ Ron

    Response to your last comment above.

    I find the idea of SDR interesting. Is that now ready for prime time or is it still just a curiosity? I’m not an electronics hobbyist, so I want something that works reliability when I buy it. The link works and that looks cool. Which of the software programs listed in the description do the “cover DC to 3g and can waterfall display a whole amateur band in one display” thing. A few of these, each with its own computer (or Windows 10 tablet?) would cover a huge amount of bandwidth. That would work for me.

    LIBRARY: I have spent most of my efforts to date on collection and storage. I designed a MS SQL Server database to do the index thing. I can make that available on my website, if anybody is interested. It was suggested to me that this should be done in MySql and one of those languages that work with it (can’t remember which one right now). But I just don’t have the energy to learn a new DB and language anymore. I will say that having a DB and associated screens would be very helpful in finding what you are looking for when you need it out of 500,00 plus files! Wish somebody else would take my DB design and build screens for it, possibly web based or as a Windows program. As long as they send me a copy!

    COMINTEL and RF. If you could recommend some books or links on these subjects I would buy them. I don’t know nearly enough about either.

     

  • #21474

    anon 411
    Participant

    @Mouse

    The AMRRON website looks very interesting. I’ll explore that in detail. Don’t know much about NVIS. Can you recommend books or links on the subject?

  • #21561

    Ron Lastname
    Participant

    From a previous post by Anon411

    ********************************************************************

    I have read your website and downloaded a copy by the cut and paste method. You could flesh out some of you links by linking to relevant documents on the ARRL site, Wikipedia, or other. This saves a lot of creative effort on subjects covered elsewhere.

    You mention meshing the ComPlan and ComCon plans with to address different disasters. I suggest this page https://www.theorganicprepper.com/history-disasters/ is a good list of possible disasters to work with.
    —-reply—-
    Yep,, I could. However I really don’t seem to want to continue with that project. Too bad to cause there is a lot that could be of benifit to the newbie. However I just do not want to dedicate the time effort and $$ that it needs.

    =================================

    Interesting story on the Cross-band network you built. More info needed. Can you point to a book or web page providing detailed information?
    —reply—-
    There is nothing published about that technique. I made it up to fit the needs of the project. Basically it uses sub-audible tones to create a “select call” system that allows the individual selection of specific cross-band (XB) repeaters. The way it was set-up is a bit complex for me to write up in an understandable way. However the technique is an adaptation to another select call (SELCAL) system. Here is a link to my public dropbox file. It will download a protocol I developed for teaching SELCAL technique several years ago.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/iqxytz03jddg75n/Tone%20100%20SelCal.pdf?dl=0

    Take a look at that and if you want more detailed information on the topic let me know. Oh, at one point I have a wrong frequency specified. 156.52 instead of 146.52.
    ==================================

    You referenced several times to Storage. I would like more info on that.
    —reply—

    I found my notes on storage and am working on editing it a bit. I will then make it a PDF and put it on dropbox.  That method, creating a PDF and using dropbox is much easier than dealing with a web page or blog. Let me know if there is any problem as I may continue to use that technique if it works ok.

  • #21563

    anon 411
    Participant

    @ron

    Downloaded the pdf from dropbox just fine. Didn’t have to setup an account or anything.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on storage.

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