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RoyPete

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I need info on where to start on communication outside of the grid. I have kids 700 miles away & I want to get equipment NOW to be able to reach them. I’ve consulted “Preppers” 10 yrs ago about preparing medically & have used their advise with antibiotics, IV fluids & an emergency surgical pack. With this crisis seeming to come close to civil war, I need to learn ham radio & contacts to keep communication going when we have to defend ourselves. I also have never owned a gun but am making plans to get one & training.
Where to start?
 

Morgan101

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In order of importance; Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, Security.

Prepare for the situations you are most likely to encounter both natural, and man made. Prioritize what YOU believe to be most important to you, your family, and your circumstances. Everybody's reasons and circumstances are different. There are no hard and fast rules about what you have to do. Do what is best for you.
 

jayjay

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G'day from Down Under.
Prepping is a marathon, not a sprint. One step at a time.
Ask yourself, what is it that I am preparing for, what will I need, and how can I get it.
Are you prepping just for you? or a family?
Learn as much as you can, and put into practise what you need.
Keep at it.
 

M0del_31

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I need info on where to start on communication outside of the grid.....Where to start?
To answer the question, if you want to communicate with kids 700 miles away (outside of commercial communications grid), you will need an amateur radio license (FCC), a high frequency (HF) transceiver, long antenna (long piece of wire) and a firm understanding of how radio waves propagate through the air, over the horizon and reflect off the layers in the atmosphere. The people you want to communicate with will have to do the same thing.
Here is how to start.
Find a amateur radio club and go to some meetings. It is worth a 90 minute drive to be involved with an active club with members that are dedicated and enthusiastic about the hobby. Your kids will need to do this where they live as well. Kid's willingness to attend an amateur radio club meeting is a good measure of how well your communication efforts with them will work. The cost for this is $0
You and the kids will need to pass two licensing tests so that you can legally have access to the frequencies you will need to talk 700 miles. The first exams is for a Technician license ($15-$25). The frequencies a Technician license can access lets you consistently talk about 50-75 miles with a good antenna. These transceivers are cheap ($25-$500) After you pass the Technician license, the next exam is for the General license($15-$25). The General license opens up loads of frequencies that let you talk around the planet with the right conditions. There is a third license level call the Amateur Extra which opens more frequencies but is not necessary for what you want to do. The wavelength of the frequencies the General license opens up can be longer than a football field. It is the nature of these frequencies that lets them bend around the horizon and bounce of layers in the atmosphere.
Next comes the hard part...picking a HF transceiver...lots more expensive ($1200 and up)....I've had a general license for a couple years and still have not picked the one radio out...I picked up a used HF rig at a garage sell and it will do what you want to do. That was a fluke though because active amateur radio operators can smell garage sale radio equipment even when up wind.
Once you and the kids have licenses, transceivers, antennas and a little knowledge, them comes the practice, then practice, then practice. You and the kids will need a plan to communicate during grid down and be capable of operating your radio rigs without the internet, youtube, online manuals, forums...or anything like a telephone. Oh and y'all will need to practice some more.
Now is the best time to get your knowledge and gear. I'm in a couple of amateur radio clubs and they do things like send email across the country without an internet service provider, receive NOAA weather satellite images, send and receive faxes over the air without the help of Ma Bell, send pictures, forms and documents over the air. We do field days and mock disaster drills with the area hospitals and emergency response activities. Anyone can do all of the for less than $2000 brand new equipment, some patience and a couple of licenses. Anyway the time to learn is now before the grid goes down.
 

Jim_K7JLJ

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700 mile HF comms requires at least a 100w SSB radio and the solar power or genset to run it.

the reality of the matter is you likely will not be able to do it in under a year even without a license.

best bet is join AmRRON Corps now ($40) and locate a member in each area to pass traffic for you.

Check out their Channel 3 project on their website. We train for this, have solar powered rigs and scheduled net coordination. It’s your best bet.

The comms is the least of your worries though.
 

LindaSue

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To answer the question, if you want to communicate with kids 700 miles away (outside of commercial communications grid), you will need an amateur radio license (FCC), a high frequency (HF) transceiver, long antenna (long piece of wire) and a firm understanding of how radio waves propagate through the air, over the horizon and reflect off the layers in the atmosphere. The people you want to communicate with will have to do the same thing.
Here is how to start.
Find a amateur radio club and go to some meetings. It is worth a 90 minute drive to be involved with an active club with members that are dedicated and enthusiastic about the hobby. Your kids will need to do this where they live as well. Kid's willingness to attend an amateur radio club meeting is a good measure of how well your communication efforts with them will work. The cost for this is $0
You and the kids will need to pass two licensing tests so that you can legally have access to the frequencies you will need to talk 700 miles. The first exams is for a Technician license ($15-$25). The frequencies a Technician license can access lets you consistently talk about 50-75 miles with a good antenna. These transceivers are cheap ($25-$500) After you pass the Technician license, the next exam is for the General license($15-$25). The General license opens up loads of frequencies that let you talk around the planet with the right conditions. There is a third license level call the Amateur Extra which opens more frequencies but is not necessary for what you want to do. The wavelength of the frequencies the General license opens up can be longer than a football field. It is the nature of these frequencies that lets them bend around the horizon and bounce of layers in the atmosphere.
Next comes the hard part...picking a HF transceiver...lots more expensive ($1200 and up)....I've had a general license for a couple years and still have not picked the one radio out...I picked up a used HF rig at a garage sell and it will do what you want to do. That was a fluke though because active amateur radio operators can smell garage sale radio equipment even when up wind.
Once you and the kids have licenses, transceivers, antennas and a little knowledge, them comes the practice, then practice, then practice. You and the kids will need a plan to communicate during grid down and be capable of operating your radio rigs without the internet, youtube, online manuals, forums...or anything like a telephone. Oh and y'all will need to practice some more.
Now is the best time to get your knowledge and gear. I'm in a couple of amateur radio clubs and they do things like send email across the country without an internet service provider, receive NOAA weather satellite images, send and receive faxes over the air without the help of Ma Bell, send pictures, forms and documents over the air. We do field days and mock disaster drills with the area hospitals and emergency response activities. Anyone can do all of the for less than $2000 brand new equipment, some patience and a couple of licenses. Anyway the time to learn is now before the grid goes down.

Thank you for this information. I find this to be extremely helpful!
 

Jim_K7JLJ

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>Where to start?

For each person that can defend your property Get ASAP...

  1. (1) 9mm handgun, 3 mags and 200rnds
  2. (1) carbine (AR15), 5 mags and 1000rnds
  3. (1) means of purifying water. Drip filters are best as they work while you are.
  4. (1) VHF radio (FRS blister pack is better than nothing) the point is not to use it unless under attack anyway.
  5. (100lbs) of dried Pinto (or favorite) beans.
  6. (200lbs) white rice made in USA
  7. (2lbs) dried spices to give above some flavor
Have an off-grid method (that you have fuel for a year) to stay warm with, cooking food, recharge batteries for radios.

That's just a a start. Report back when you have that and there is much more we can give you.

I can recommend watching this guy also. It's $1.00 a month and well worth the information.
 
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firewallsrus

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as m0del31 stated, all parties need general class licenses and HF radio sets. The reason there are no easy answers is that with over the horizon communications, you will be relying on various layers of the ionospere to "bounce" your signal. This has been described as a 3 dimensional billiards game and is not something that anyone can give you a definitive ("this will work") setup. Getting the license is important for two reasons:
1) you're going to need to practice during normal times and licensed hams will easily spot you and harass you if you try it without a license. (Radio direction finding is a popular sport for hams.)
2) There is no consumer products safety commission protecting the ham from his/her equipment (or vice versa). There are dangerous voltages present and simply keying the microphone on an HF transmitter while it is connected to the wrong antenna for the band can burn it up in seconds.

Buying used gear is a viable alternative, but I suggest buying from a reputable dealer rather than off somebody's tailgate at a swap meet. I have bought plenty of used gear from Main Trading Company and they always stand behind what they sell. Used HF radios can often be found in the $500-$600 range. 100 Watts is pretty standard for most HF transmitters, although there are some special purpose (QRP) transceivers that use 20 Watts or less. 20 Watts can talk around the world, but it requires more skill to make that happen and is not going to be as consistent as 100 Watts. Morse code or any of the other digital modes will require less power than voice, but they add complication of more equipment.

Perhaps the best advice above is join a local ham radio club. There you will meet someone willing to be a mentor (we call 'em Elmers for some reason) who will help you learn what you need to know and may even help you find bargain equipment. Most clubs offer testing sessions and in the ARRL, the session fee is $15. If you study both the tech and general materials, you can pass both tests during the same session and only pay the one fee.
 

Riden_Da_Goldwing

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To answer the question, if you want to communicate with kids 700 miles away (outside of commercial communications grid), you will need an amateur radio license (FCC), a high frequency (HF) transceiver, long antenna (long piece of wire) and a firm understanding of how radio waves propagate through the air, over the horizon and reflect off the layers in the atmosphere. The people you want to communicate with will have to do the same thing.
Here is how to start.
Find a amateur radio club and go to some meetings. It is worth a 90 minute drive to be involved with an active club with members that are dedicated and enthusiastic about the hobby. Your kids will need to do this where they live as well. Kid's willingness to attend an amateur radio club meeting is a good measure of how well your communication efforts with them will work. The cost for this is $0
You and the kids will need to pass two licensing tests so that you can legally have access to the frequencies you will need to talk 700 miles. The first exams is for a Technician license ($15-$25). The frequencies a Technician license can access lets you consistently talk about 50-75 miles with a good antenna. These transceivers are cheap ($25-$500) After you pass the Technician license, the next exam is for the General license($15-$25). The General license opens up loads of frequencies that let you talk around the planet with the right conditions. There is a third license level call the Amateur Extra which opens more frequencies but is not necessary for what you want to do. The wavelength of the frequencies the General license opens up can be longer than a football field. It is the nature of these frequencies that lets them bend around the horizon and bounce of layers in the atmosphere.
Next comes the hard part...picking a HF transceiver...lots more expensive ($1200 and up)....I've had a general license for a couple years and still have not picked the one radio out...I picked up a used HF rig at a garage sell and it will do what you want to do. That was a fluke though because active amateur radio operators can smell garage sale radio equipment even when up wind.
Once you and the kids have licenses, transceivers, antennas and a little knowledge, them comes the practice, then practice, then practice. You and the kids will need a plan to communicate during grid down and be capable of operating your radio rigs without the internet, youtube, online manuals, forums...or anything like a telephone. Oh and y'all will need to practice some more.
Now is the best time to get your knowledge and gear. I'm in a couple of amateur radio clubs and they do things like send email across the country without an internet service provider, receive NOAA weather satellite images, send and receive faxes over the air without the help of Ma Bell, send pictures, forms and documents over the air. We do field days and mock disaster drills with the area hospitals and emergency response activities. Anyone can do all of the for less than $2000 brand new equipment, some patience and a couple of licenses. Anyway the time to learn is now before the grid goes down.
While all of this is true the side you need to look at is everyone that you want to communicate with will need the Ham license of General or higher and everyone will need an HF radio just my 2 cents worth.
 

Captjim_NM

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There is some good advice here. I have been prepping for 10 years and would have been blindsided by what just happened in Texas. Hf antennas can take up a lot of yard space. Your family in Indiana, do they own land, or do they live in the city? Even worst if they rent or live in apartments. Without a large yard or acreage, you will have to use a HF vertical antenna. What progress have you made on getting your license?
 

firewallsrus

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Hf antennas can take up a lot of yard space. Your family in Indiana, do they own land, or do they live in the city? Even worst if they rent or live in apartments. Without a large yard or acreage, you will have to use a HF vertical antenna. What progress have you made on getting your license?
Just my opinion, but I disagree. My dipoles for 20 and 40 meters were at clothesline height (strung between the top of my privacy fence this morning. I didn't really notice other than my noise floor was very high. (they both normally slope down to 5 feet on each end from a 12 foot peak, but my painter's pole mast collapsed in the ice storm, so it was pretty much horizontal 5 feet in the middle and perhaps 4 feet on each end. on 20 meters running barefoot this morning, I made a 850 mile contact, then looked outside and fixed the antenna. Not much room and very little money involved in hf antennas if you stick with what you need. When I get a taller mast, I'll stick with dipoles at good heights for 20 and run lower, folded dipole NVIS for 40 and 80.
 
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Dave2001

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I need info on where to start on communication outside of the grid. I have kids 700 miles away & I want to get equipment NOW to be able to reach them. I’ve consulted “Preppers” 10 yrs ago about preparing medically & have used their advise with antibiotics, IV fluids & an emergency surgical pack. With this crisis seeming to come close to civil war, I need to learn ham radio & contacts to keep communication going when we have to defend ourselves. I also have never owned a gun but am making plans to get one & training.
Where to start?
Contact ARRL and find your local ham radio club, they can advise you on how to get lisc to operate, The club members can be really helpful!!!
 

Dave2001

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Ham radio opens up a LOT of possibilities, power is not always needed, in our club we have a group that loves long distance contacts on extreme low power, this is know as QRP contacts, we also have members running max power and talking all over the world, Its an adventure to get involved with ham radio, we have groups that go out in wilderness areas and with fully self contained rigs talk all over the world, there is no limit to what you can do or spend in ham radio, I highly advise getting your lisc and getting involved with ARRL, I am currtently a extra lisc, (took a lot of studying to get it) and am also a VE and give lots of tests, I fund it very gratifing to help others become ham radio operators of the highest caliber!!!
 

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