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SethC

@comcast.net

Looking into ham (a few questions)

Hello my name is Seth,
I am a photographer, my wife and I are about to buy an RV and lots of off the grid "camping". My father lives in MO, mother in AZ, and brother is about to buy a boat and be sailing the seven seas . I'm trying to figure out to best way for us all to keep communication.

I have been interested is ham since I was a kid but never got the opportunity to get involved.

My questions are.

Can my family find a choose a "dedicated" channel for say a weekly call in (Like a club)? I know others might be on it sometimes. I do have some knowledge of ham and how it works.

Would we be able to connect 100% of the time?

Could my mother and father have base stations at their homes and my bother and I have mobile or hand held with us (in case of emergency?

Any comments and help would be greatly appreciated. I will check back often to see if I get any replies

Thank you,
Seth


tobicat
Premium
join:2005-04-18
Tombstone, AZ

1 recommendation

Amateur radio does not use channels except for some very special cases. You can pick a frequency but may have to move up or down to find a clear spot.

Connecting 100% is probably not possible. There is a little thing called propagation. Whole books have been written on this. Where you can talk depends on frequency, time of day, sun spots, season.

All family members will require at least a general class license. They can't use yours.

Az to Mo is certainly doable most of the time if you use the correct frequency. Most likely 20 meters. Talking to a boat/RV at the same time depends on where it is.

You would need base stations with fairly good antennas. Hand helds won't do it. Mobiles might depending on the antenna and how much power you have. A good mobile in an RV or boat with good antenna should be able to cover most of the USA again depending on frequency and time of day (propagation).

You would need high frequency radios for this purpose VHF, UHF won't do it.

So you are going to need 4 people to get licensed, and buy approximately $1000 to $3000 worth of radios each.



SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL
reply to SethC

Pretty much what Tobicat said. Still for communicating in the off the grid world HAM radio does work well. It will also provide a very good backup to marine radio for your brother.



SethC

@comcast.net
reply to tobicat

Thank you for answering my questions! I'm thinking my brother and I might want to look into satellite phones. My concern with those is if they will work if the power grid goes down. (extreme emergency situations).

Thanks again for taking the time to answer.

-SethC


tobicat
Premium
join:2005-04-18
Tombstone, AZ

You been watching too much Revolution. All satellite sites have back up generators.



SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

said by tobicat:

All satellite sites have back up generators.

Well, they have back up solar panels. Kinda hard to plug them in way up there. Yes, Sat phones are supposed to work in extreme grid failure situations. For the most part a sat phone to sat phone call is handled by the bird and need no ground intervention. This of course depends on the particular carrier and configuration. If the call requires more than one bird or is for the regular switched network then it will have to depend on the ground station. The ground stations are hardened to work in emergencies, then again a properly placed wasps nest or frog can take them out. If we have an EMP all bets are off.

Edit add: OOps.. I misread, I thought Tobicat said "all Satellite's have backup generators" some how I just didn't see the "sites" part


aSic
application specific
Premium
join:2001-05-17
Wakulla, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to tobicat

said by tobicat:

You been watching too much Revolution. All satellite sites have back up generators.

Thumbs up for the first half. That is a freaking sweet show. /siderail
--
Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.

Jazzemt

join:2009-02-12
USA
reply to SethC

Ham is a good option. Remember with a wide spread outage sat phones will be nearly useless. There is a priority system so that emergency responders and goverment has first priority on the system and you may get a constant busy.

Another option is if you cannot make direct connection there are nets on various frequencies that can relay or pass on your message to whomever you are trying to contact.



DrStrange
Technically feasible
Premium
join:2001-07-23
West Hartford, CT
kudos:1
reply to SethC

RE: Sat phones and doomsday:

Since we're talking doomsday scenarios here, also remember that a freak solar flare [i.e. Carrington Event] would likely produce high enough charged particle concentrations at geosynchronous orbit to take out the satellites. That's in addition to the induced ground currents from the magnetic disruption playing holy havoc with the global power grid and burning out the windings on every big transformer. If this ever happens, I hope you know somebody who has some solar panels and/or windmills and some Collins or Hallicrafters or similar boat anchors.


tobicat
Premium
join:2005-04-18
Tombstone, AZ

Ah I still have an old yaesu 101 and some non switching power supplies and the solar panels. But in all honesty in the situation you describe radio would probably be the least of my concerns.