Off grid comms: joi...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Off grid comms: join me? **Update bottom page 2 **

Page 1 / 2

Sam
Posts: 189
 Sam
Admin
Topic starter
(@sam)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago

So recently I've been really looking into off grid communication.  I have a couple of UV5r radios, but that's about it currently.  What I'm looking to do is actually build out a system that allows me to communicate with 1) my family within 10 miles and 2) some trusted individuals with 20 miles an 3) contacts further out to keep in touch with.  Basically build a network of people we can all reach out to in an emergency(car accident, dead battery, to natural disaster, to total grid down scenario.)  I don't like the fact that 100% of our current communication can be shut off by someone else and we're left with nothing.  

At this point, it seems the best way to do that is Ham.  Although GMRS could be a simpler option, but there's not near the repeaters in the state.  Only Le mars, Omaha, Des Moines, Davenport and Dubuque.  Comparted to hundreds of hams.  So it would work in my little area, but not as well extended.

I think what I'll do is have a base station with antenna on my house and that should allow me to reach out to my family easily as well as everyone else through repeaters. I know GMRS licenses cover your immediate family, but does a ham license?

I ran across a Trex arms video while I was doing my youtube research that I found exceedingly interesting.  You can send location and text over HAM?  Pretty awesome.  Ton of other great info in it as well.  I'll link it below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXuQERL_e8M&t=42s

So, has anyone got their HAM license?  I know there are some places you can do it online now, anyone want to do it? Might be fun to kinda work through building out a system and everything together.

56 Replies
Box
Posts: 105
 Box
Admin
(@box)
Everyone's Favorite
Joined: 1 year ago

Why get a license? Fuck the government.

Reply
2 Replies
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@box i thought about that.  But its only $35 bucks.  And there are ways to find you if you're not licensed.  Which I'm not concerned about.  But mainly I think all the studying I'd do for the test would ultimately be a good thing.  I donno, I'm kina torn on it.

Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam HAMs use callsigns, so if you were to use HAM bands and try to talk to other HAMs you will be found out REALLY fast. If you only plan on using it for people who are not licensed and off local repeaters or any other HAM infrastructure then you can get away without a license. There is goodness in getting the license.

Reply
NukesMurphy
Posts: 158
(@nukesmurphy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

@sam I have my HAM license, technician and general. Use the HamStudy app on your phone, it's like $5 bucks.   I am only doing UHF/VHF at the moment. I have a couple of UV5rs as well. I run an ICOM 7300 out of my SUV with a roof mounted antenna for mobile operations, plus the 7300 is a lot more powerful. Let me know if you have any questions!

Reply
4 Replies
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy did you have to go to a location to take a test, or did you do it online?  Does the license cover your family as well?  Do you have a base station in your home, or just mobile?

Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam I took my test online. I had to schedule it and have it proctored; a lot like online college or online certification exams. You'll have to share your screen so they can watch you, take your camera and show the area around your desk, no one can interrupt etc. It's a bit of a pain, but I was able to test really easily and the whole process took just 30 min. The license is per individual, so everyone who runs a radio has to have a license (there are a couple of exceptions but they are very rare). Right now I am just mobile. The HF stuff that reaches out really far can get expensive really fast. UHF/VHF stuff is a fair amount cheaper and the local repeaters are fun to talk to. As a technician you'll also have access to echolink which is a digital protocol where you can log in to repeaters on your computer or phone and talk anywhere in the world where they are supported.

Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy would your gear you have now to be able to talk to me up here through repeaters?  In a grid down situation?

Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam negative. We’d need an HF setup to get reliable comms. UHF/VHF has a reliable range of about 50 miles depending on terrain and atmospheric conditions. You can 100 miles in some cases and less than one in others.

Reply
Toetagger
Posts: 9
(@toetagger)
Active Member
Joined: 7 months ago

I'm interested in this as well.  I picked up a few UV5Rs before I moved out of Siouxland.....yes, now the cat's outta the bag.  I got offered a job in my hometown where I started in this crazy profession. 

 

Anyway the Baofengs have sat in boxes and I haven't messed with them much after they arrived, but I like Sam, am interested in exploring their potential. 

Reply
2 Replies
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@toetagger Mike, where's your hometown??

I definitely think we should work on setting up a grid, where we can all communicate.

Reply
Toetagger
(@toetagger)
Joined: 7 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 9

@sam Hastings Nebraska.... South Central NE...

Reply
NukesMurphy
Posts: 158
(@nukesmurphy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

This is what I've been looking at for long distance comms. Additionally, I'd need a power supply and antenna, but those can be obtained relatively cheap. This radio is low power, but is portable, and can be used to make contacts all over the world. It also can be setup with an interface to plug into laptops to digital messages similar to email.

You'd need a General HAM radio license to operate it.

https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-016772

Reply
5 Replies
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy yeah that was kinda the ballpark of what I was looking at.  

Why do you need another license?  Because.its more power or different frequency or what?

Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam yeah, power, frequencies, etc. General opens up the bands that get you international so there's more to know there.

Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy hmmm...   Can I use a similar unit with just a technician license?

Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam negative. They make all in one units like the yaesu ft-891 which is an all mode receiver that does HF/VHF/UHF, so you can use it with a technician and when you get the general you can use the HF bands. My advice is to get both licenses at the same time and you don't have to worry. It's not that much more to study for. HAM is quite the rabbit hole, so if you have more questions we can try to setup a time to chat.

https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=71-002216

Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy I'm still headed down that rabbit hole.  So I'm sure i'll have more questions.

Currently my brain has been on off grid text messages.  I know there are some options for texting over ham radio, such as aprs droid and such, but those are pretty much just out there for everyone.

What do you think of something like a Gotenna Mesh system?  Obviously extremely limited range, but I've been impressed with what I've been seeing on it.  All encrypted as well.  You can basically set up a main relay, say up in a tree or something to get better range, and obviously text through that, but it also links to ATAKS, a badass phone app, so you can see real time locations of where everyone in your group is.  Pretty slick.  They're expensive, but I'm debating getting some to play with.  

Reply
Sam
Posts: 189
 Sam
Admin
Topic starter
(@sam)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Ok, I take that back.  There is a civilian version of ATAK available on the app store, but it looks like gotenna restricts the plugin you need to hook your gotenna to atak, for government and first responder users.  Although, that's not to say it'd be impossible to procure.... 

*edit.  Think I found the plugins.  Posting here for those interested of course, but also so I can find them later.  lol

https://wiki.civtak.org/index.php?title=Civilian_Plugins

Reply
1 Reply
NukesMurphy
(@nukesmurphy)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 158

@sam that's quite the rabbit hole! I'll be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the mesh networking stuff. I mean I know what a mesh network is, but little on this particular topic. I'll have to do some digging. I know TRex Arms did something recently on mesh but I'm not sure. Isaac Botkin is a very smart dude and he's done some videos on this topic. For me setting up the infrastructure is the hardest part, that and maintaining it. It's almost something a group of well organized individuals with a common cause would need to pool together to accomplish. huh.

Reply
Sam
Posts: 189
 Sam
Admin
Topic starter
(@sam)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Ok, so I think I've figure out what I wanna do.  I think I'll get my GMRS license, as this covers my immediate family and it's simple to use.   So I can buy the license, $35 bucks and no test, and my whole family can communicate with me.  Additionally, any friends and people that want to stay in contact are more likely to buy this license as well.   Secondly, I'm going to get my Ham license and start building a system to reach out further to contacts around the state.  And lastly, I'm going to invest in a Gotenna mesh system.  Will allow us to communicate via text message in a completely grid down scenario.  Done correctly, it can be paired with phones running ATAK to give real time GPS location of your family, friends, or team.  In an emergency situation, such as a tornado which are common around here, this would be an amazing tool.

Anyone interesting in getting set up to communicate once this is all in place, let me know!

Reply
Box
Posts: 105
 Box
Admin
(@box)
Everyone's Favorite
Joined: 1 year ago

What kind of range will you get with GMRS?

EDIT: And why do you need a license?

Reply
3 Replies
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@box it depends on the unit you're using.  Handhelds, a couple miles.  Base stations or truck mounted units, 20-50 miles in perfect conditions.  So I'd be able to reach pierson fairly easily.

As far as the license the main thing is it'll force me to study and learn all the ins and outs.  Secondly, I prefer not to attract attention to myself.  Operating on bands that I'm not licensed to operate on, especially when I'm operating with higher power, and in frequencies reserved for licensed operators, is just asking for attention and trouble.  If I was simply going to use it to talk to you and Pierson, I wouldn't worry about it, but I plan on being able to reach much further out, using repeaters.  Repeaters are monitored, and there's a lot of douche canoes in ham that would seek you out if they figure out your breaking the law.

Reply
Box
 Box
Admin
(@box)
Joined: 1 year ago

Everyone's Favorite
Posts: 105

@sam I'm talking about GMRS. Looks to me to be required for no other reason than revenue.

Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@box oh.  Yep.  Pretty much.

Reply
Box
Posts: 105
 Box
Admin
(@box)
Everyone's Favorite
Joined: 1 year ago

So how would that work talking to Pierson? Would they need a base station also?

Reply
1 Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@box Kinda depends how we do it.  If I have a base station with a decent antenna, they may be able to just use a handheld.  I donno for sure.  But they would have to be outside.  If we added a repeater in pierson, they could just handheld and probably be inside fine.  If we both have base stations, it'd be fine.  We'll have to do some testing.

Reply
NukesMurphy
Posts: 158
(@nukesmurphy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

Good plan. I looked at that GoTenna stuff. Wow. That’s super expensive!

let me know when you get your HAM, we’ll link up on a repeater. 

Reply
1 Reply
Sam
 Sam
Admin
(@sam)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 189

@nukesmurphy yeah, they ain't cheap.   and unfortunately, I can't even find any anywhere except ebay.  Gotenna has pretty much just started catering to the govt with the gotenna pro and x(damn I wish i could get my hands on that shit) so they're totally dropping the ball on the civilian shit.  fuckers.  But anyways, I'm just really intrigued by them for some reason.

Reply
Page 1 / 2
Share:

%d bloggers like this: