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Picture of GroundedCLK
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To all the experts out there please school me in the area of two-way communication devices. I have been studying to take the HAM radio test, but when planning it and talking to the local shop they say I have picked the wrong setup but cant tell me what is right. They just suggested running a 80 meter radio with a vertical antenna. So the easiest thing to do is lay out what my requirements are and help me plan appropriately.

- Communication between two to four parties
- Maximum distance between the all parties is 75 miles.
- None of the distance is line of sight.
- All radios will be mobile, either car mounted mobile or handheld portables
- Antenna has to be within reason due to vehicle height.
 
Posts: 1767 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: January 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Based on what you state, here are thoughts:

GMRS - unless there is a repeater in the area, you are too far for reliable communications - line of sight. GMRS is in the 462-467 MHz FM band.
CB - you MIGHT get a bit more distance due to the lower frequency, but would not be reliable - again, line of sight. CB is in the 27 MHz AM band.
HAM - if you move down to somewhere between the 6M and 20M bands, you have a decent chance of communications, especially on SSB. Higher frequencies would again require repeaters in the area.

Check the area you're going to be visiting and see if there are repeaters there.
 
Posts: 2349 | Location: Northern California | Registered: December 01, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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what is the nature of the communications? business? personal stuff? Life / Safety / Emergency? Just keeping in touch?

Will you be listening all the time, or just during scheduled times? Listening on an unsquelched SSB channel for more than a few hours will drive you nuts. But if squelch an SSB, you might miss someone who is really weak. Tough choice, and different from common FM 2-way radios with squelch.

night/day/both? (this matters for HF comm. 80 meters might be a good choice for certain times of the day, but would suck during others)

Budget?

Can't you just get Zello Radios and use those? Trucking companies in EU love Zello. But you have to be in 3G / 4G / LTE etc coverage for Zello radios to work plus you need a data plan for each radio.

No matter if it's HF/VHF/UHF or whatever, or if it's SSB/FM/AM, you will find that reliable Mobile coverage up to 75 miles without some kind of repeater or similar is tough. Ask the Cal Highway patrol what they had to do to get coverage in NorCal in the 50's.

no matter what you do, unless you use some type of repeater, cellular base, or similar, once you get to 75 miles for mobile to mobile, things will get spotty in some areas during certain times of the day/night/year, etc. So if it's really important, well, the message just might not make it.

That said, there is a very large family of ham repeaters on top of hills and on tall towers almost everywhere that will easily cover large areas. Many will cover 100 miles easily from a mobile. But if it's business communications, then forget that.


.
 
Posts: 8687 | Location: The Beaver State | Registered: February 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by radioman:
what is the nature of the communications? business? personal stuff? Life / Safety / Emergency? Just keeping in touch?

Will you be listening all the time, or just during scheduled times? Listening on an unsquelched SSB channel for more than a few hours will drive you nuts. But if squelch an SSB, you might miss someone who is really weak. Tough choice, and different from common FM 2-way radios with squelch.

night/day/both? (this matters for HF comm. 80 meters might be a good choice for certain times of the day, but would suck during others)

Budget?

Can't you just get Zello Radios and use those? Trucking companies in EU love Zello. But you have to be in 3G / 4G / LTE etc coverage for Zello radios to work plus you need a data plan for each radio.

No matter if it's HF/VHF/UHF or whatever, or if it's SSB/FM/AM, you will find that reliable Mobile coverage up to 75 miles without some kind of repeater or similar is tough. Ask the Cal Highway patrol what they had to do to get coverage in NorCal in the 50's.

no matter what you do, unless you use some type of repeater, cellular base, or similar, once you get to 75 miles for mobile to mobile, things will get spotty in some areas during certain times of the day/night/year, etc. So if it's really important, well, the message just might not make it.

That said, there is a very large family of ham repeaters on top of hills and on tall towers almost everywhere that will easily cover large areas. Many will cover 100 miles easily from a mobile. But if it's business communications, then forget that.




Personal Communication for off-roading

Up to five separate groups

Would be great if it would work in a grid down type situation for emergency communication.

Communication will be sporadic, both day and night on the trips.

Zello radios, I have never heard of them before but I just looked at them and they look great for everything but grid down. The data plan is like $120 a year so not bad.

Originally I was looking at 10 meter radios, according to the local expert it will reach Japan but not 50 miles away. So when he suggested a 80 meter radio with a special antenna it seems a bit excessive.

https://www.repeaterbook.com/r...3&loc=%&call=%&use=%
 
Posts: 1767 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: January 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Objectively Reasonable
Picture of DennisM
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Your local expert is either missing something in the translation, or he's not much of an "expert."

10m is the high end of HF and has some really neat HF advantages (crazy propagation under certain conditions" and some VHF advantages (like generally lower "noise.") But it brings nothing to your scenario that can't be done more cheaply and easily with 2m or 70cm mobile rigs under the right circumstances, and there are far fewer 10m repeaters out there. They exist, but they're rare.

I'd second the aptly-named radioman and suggest looking at repeater coverage in your area. Here, many clubs or groups continue to maintain them but they essentially sit unused. I can drive through a roughly 4-state area and never be outside easy coverage for more than a few minutes.
 
Posts: 1819 | Registered: January 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In my experience, 2 meter (144) and .70cm (440) usually have the most radio traffic, and thus the most repeaters for additional distance.

Google "amateur repeaters" for a listing in your area. You will be amazed at the number of them.

Forget 80 meters or any of the HF frequencies due to equipment expense and additional licensing.

Tech license is enough for VHF/UHF FCC license and 5 watt handy talkie ham radios are inexpensive. (Try to avoid the Chinese crap)

KJ7FTH.


*********
"If we can find a more complicated way of doing something, we get a prize". - German Automobile assembly plant.
 
Posts: 7341 | Location: Arizona | Registered: August 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Edit..here is a listing of 2 meter repeaters in New Hampshire... You can also click onto .70cm listing..

https://www.repeaterbook.com/r...4&loc=%&call=%&use=%


*********
"If we can find a more complicated way of doing something, we get a prize". - German Automobile assembly plant.
 
Posts: 7341 | Location: Arizona | Registered: August 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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for that type of serviceable /reliable communications your best bet would be the VHF/UHF spectrum of the Ham radio frquencies because of the repeaters that extend the distances of communucations. Not knowing your areas of operation and what OPEN Repeaters (anybody that has a ham ticket) are available or Closed Repeaters (only open to club members) also comes into play. Some of theses repeaters might be stand alone and some might be linked together to extend coverage. The vhf/uhf bands are not as dependant on the time day like most of the HF frquencies where what works during daylight operation might be totally worthless during nighttime. also guarenteed reliable distances can be a crap shoot. I am a firm believer that 95% of a stations capabilities is in the complete ANTEANNA SYSTEM. With thee proper set up a small less than top end set up can OUT PERFORM a station costing many times more. Also a RF amplifier might be helpful but not a guarantee . Some years ago while operating barefoot (less than 75watts output) mobile HF (17mtrs) made contact with JT1CO (mongolia) and had two locals less than 20 air miles from me that I could not hear but they heard him come back to my call sign. Both of them operating home base stations 50ft towers with 3 element yagi anteannas . One had 100watts and other had 500watts output. Sometimes it can be a crap shoot as to what will work. As far as CB that would be my last choice because of the limited range reliable of communication because of the characteristics of the 27mhz band and the low rf power output. now there amplifiers that will work with CB but it is highly ilegall and can get into serious legal troubles with the Federal Communication Commission if caught in violation. I would look for others in the ham comunity to see what they suggest for what you are wanting to do. ...................................de KL7JIU / drill sgt.
 
Posts: 238 | Location: denham springs , la | Registered: October 19, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Does it matter at all about his location / altitude ?

Weather his antenna is 230 feet below three hills ,
Or
He is at the highest
Point in a 75 mile radius ?

Just curious





Safety, Situational Awareness and proficiency.



Neck Ties, Hats and ammo brass, Never ,ever touch'em w/o asking first
 
Posts: 50367 | Location: Henry County , Il | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For off road stuff, I've heard of groups using CB radio. Some also Amateur Radio the 2M (144-146 MHz) band. AR gives on 2M gives you the ability to use a local repeater(s). Need a AR license for 2M but it's 35 questions, you need 26 correct to pass. Not very hard, but you should study for it. Seen people take it an fail because they thought is was no big deal.

Use 2M radios mobile, skip the hand held - although the Chinese Boafangs are dirt cheap - just make sure you operate in the 2M AR band when using these with your AR license.

CB 27MHz, will travel on you even at 12 watts Single Side Band when the solar flux high (or e skip is in season late spring/early summer and late fall/early winter.

I have a friend whose off road club used CB, but switched to AR 2M band due to better reliability in communications. The repeater use is a big plus.

Most repeaters are little used today, so most repeater owners will welcome the use. Just ask if you have a scheduled outing, and it can get you priority in the repeater use.


-.-. --.- -.-. --.- -.-. --.- -.-. --.-
It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

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Posts: 1501 | Registered: July 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of maladat
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quote:
Originally posted by bendable:
Does it matter at all about his location / altitude ?

Weather his antenna is 230 feet below three hills ,
Or
He is at the highest
Point in a 75 mile radius ?

Just curious


For VHF/UHF radios (like almost all handheld/walkie-talkie radios and most car-mounted radios), it's very important. They are very much line-of-sight (with occasional exceptions).

This is why, for example, the US Coast Guard maintains a chain of VERY tall (as I recall, most are 300, 400, or 500 feet tall) antenna towers all around the US coast.

The common marine handheld and boat-mounted radios are VHF radios using frequencies close to the 2 meter ham bands. The very tall towers the USCG has all around the coast give them coverage for picking up distress calls from 1 watt handheld marine VHF radios held 6 feet above the water for at least 20 nautical miles offshore almost everywhere (and 40-50 nautical miles some places). In this case, the "obstacle" that interferes with line-of-sight is the water and possibly the earth beneath it thanks to the curvature of the earth (i.e., below the horizon is out of line-of-sight).

If the antennas at both ends are 6' above the water (e.g., handhelds in two boats) you can bet on around 5 miles of reliable range, if that.

This is also why antennas mounted on boats are virtually always mounted as high on the boat as possible - it maximizes range.

On land, reliable range of VHF/UHF radios is MUCH more variable because there is so much variability in obstacles (are you in the middle of nowhere in flat-as-a-pancake, no-buildings Oklahoma, or in the middle of Manhattan surrounded by metal buildings, or in the mountains?). Also, even if you actually HAVE a direct line-of-sight, sometimes signal reflections off of stuff that isn't actually between you and the person you're talking to can cause problems (this is one of the things that can cause wifi or cellular dead spots where it seems like you should have good signal).
 
Posts: 5400 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 1767 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: January 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GroundedCLK:
Thoughts https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/amateur/tm-281a/


Only 2 meter and at a full 65 watts.

Do click onto eham link, scroll down to VHF/UHF transcevers - not handheld and read reviews.

Link here...

https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=9994

I think there are better choices.


*********
"If we can find a more complicated way of doing something, we get a prize". - German Automobile assembly plant.
 
Posts: 7341 | Location: Arizona | Registered: August 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
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IME, off-roading frequently takes place in hilly, if not downright mountainous terrain. Your "none of the distance is line-of-sight" suggests that's the case, here.

IMO there is little that has been suggested here that will serve you. I expect not even if you had the good fortune to have a top-notch Ham Radio 2M repeater situated at the highest point (nearly) centered on the desired area could you expect reliable coverage. (I've worked 2M with a handheld a good deal farther than that, but over more-or-less flat terraine.) And I suspect any Amateur Radio club operating such a repeater would take a dim view of a group of people using it in the manner you would.

I'll go further than radioman and suggest that unless there's a solid GMRS repeater system covering the area, or cellular and you use Zello, you're out of luck.

Either the guy at the store didn't have the whole story or he was thoroughly incompetent. 80M for your application isn't even remotely feasible.

BTW: Hate to sound like a Karen, but, technically speaking, the purpose of Amateur Radio is to advance the science of radio communications and to provide a ready pool of trained radio operators in times of emergency, not to substitute for GMRS, which is what you planned. In fact: I'm not certain, because I let my license lapse years ago, so I've forgotten much of FCC Rules Part 97, the rules governing the Amateur Radio Service, but I believe your intended usage may have been in violation. Or would have been back when I was active.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 18306 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by maladat:
quote:
Originally posted by bendable:
Does it matter at all about his location / altitude ?

Weather his antenna is 230 feet below three hills ,
Or
He is at the highest
Point in a 75 mile radius ?

Just curious


For VHF/UHF radios (like almost all handheld/walkie-talkie radios and most car-mounted radios), it's very important. They are very much line-of-sight (with occasional exceptions).

This is why, for example, the US Coast Guard maintains a chain of VERY tall (as I recall, most are 300, 400, or 500 feet tall) antenna towers all around the US coast.

The common marine handheld and boat-mounted radios are VHF radios using frequencies close to the 2 meter ham bands. The very tall towers the USCG has all around the coast give them coverage for picking up distress calls from 1 watt handheld marine VHF radios held 6 feet above the water for at least 20 nautical miles offshore almost everywhere (and 40-50 nautical miles some places). In this case, the "obstacle" that interferes with line-of-sight is the water and possibly the earth beneath it thanks to the curvature of the earth (i.e., below the horizon is out of line-of-sight).

If the antennas at both ends are 6' above the water (e.g., handhelds in two boats) you can bet on around 5 miles of reliable range, if that.

This is also why antennas mounted on boats are virtually always mounted as high on the boat as possible - it maximizes range.

On land, reliable range of VHF/UHF radios is MUCH more variable because there is so much variability in obstacles (are you in the middle of nowhere in flat-as-a-pancake, no-buildings Oklahoma, or in the middle of Manhattan surrounded by metal buildings, or in the mountains?). Also, even if you actually HAVE a direct line-of-sight, sometimes signal reflections off of stuff that isn't actually between you and the person you're talking to can cause problems (this is one of the things that can cause wifi or cellular dead spots where it seems like you should have good signal).


I don't miss the 'high site' system we use to use, the new system is called Rescue 21 and i can log on to a R21 computer in AK and talk to a boater in VA, pretty neat system, also records everything 24/7 as well as gives exact location if we can triangulate you with 2 towers.
 
Posts: 564 | Registered: August 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Unless I am mistaken we are really not moving towards an agreeable solution. Which leaves us with GMRS or using Rugged Radios commercial setup that they claimed can be used for personal use.
 
Posts: 1767 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: January 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Rugged Radios


Kind of thinking the so called Rugged Radios would be a disappointment once you are a few miles apart in the hills / backwoods.


.
 
Posts: 8687 | Location: The Beaver State | Registered: February 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of henryaz
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2 meter HAM would be your best long range bet, if there are reachable repeaters. Mobile in a vehicle is great with just a unidirectional antenna and greater wattage. Mobile hand-held would require closer distance to the repeater with its rubber duckie antenna, or a directional antenna, such as a yagi. If you're out walking around, a yagi is a bit cumbersome, but from a base camp you could set one up easily. I've connected to some distant repeaters (30-40 miles) with a hand-held connected to my yagi antenna in the attic at home (mainly used for TV reception).



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Posts: 9411 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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