Inexpensive communications suggestions ??

Micah3412

Active Member
Any suggestions on good but inexpensive communications equipment? (Something beyond your typical walkie-talkie)
 

PCShogun

Well-Known Member
2-way radios will give you a 15 to 30 mile range. Some often have multiple frequencies so you can have more than two radios that can talk to each other. Typically, these are less than $75 a pair.
 

Pigpen

Well-Known Member
Without a license, you'd have to go with a CB. Don't know much about civilian radios though or ham for that matter.

With a good CB, amp and the proper ant. you can transmit pretty far. However, amping it up above FCC regs for CB freqs is a no-no so you'd have to take your chances if you went that route.
 

rotarymike

Well-Known Member
FRS radios are pretty cheap and allow 1-5 miles. GMRS, while technically requiring an FCC license (not a ham license, either) to operate, go further. FRS/GMRS combo radios are pretty easy to find for less than $50.
 

armaborealis

Well-Known Member
This is what I've been able to figure out...

FRS:
Pros - Cheap, simple to use.
Cons - Limited power and range. Think 1 KM or so, and substantially degraded without line of sight.

GMRS:
Pros - Fairly simple. Most have some sort of digital channels for a minor degree of privacy. More power than FRS which means slightly more range, perhaps out to 5KM, again with line of sight. Allowed to use repeaters to extend range.
Cons - Technically requires FCC license.

CB:
Pros - No license. Longer wavelength/lower frequency means that the signal propagates around barriers more effectively. Inexpensive and commonly used.
Cons - Commonly used = more traffic/junk on the airwaves. Longer wavelength means that efficient antennas are longer.

VHF Marine:
Pros - Can talk to boats and many airplanes. Propagates pretty well.
Cons - Not legal except for approved maritime use. Handy if you live on the coast though.

SPOT GPS SATCOM Beacon:
Pros - Alerts emergency services to your location via satellite anywhere in the world.
Cons - Doesn't allow communication, requires official infrastructure to be operational. Good for hunters and outdoorsmen though.

MURS:
Don't know as much about this but some people choose it.

HAM is going to give you the best range and options but requires more gear and a license.
 

Micah3412

Active Member
I appreciate the responses. Are people here employing radios to communicate with others if there is a SHTF scenario?
 

rotarymike

Well-Known Member
I've got several FRS/GMRS sets that I used to use with our car club when racing or caravanning. They do work past line-of-human-sight but as mentioned they're a higher freq which by nature are line of sight anyway. I have an FCC license (thanks USAF) so I can use the higher power settings. They are small and if you're not in a vehicle they work very well(with headsets or throat mics) as tac radios.

I have a ham license as well, but most of the ham rigs I've used have been limited by skip distance or power, especially handy-talkies.
 

kg4kpg

Well-Known Member
rotarymike said:
....

I have a ham license as well, but most of the ham rigs I've used have been limited by skip distance or power, especially handy-talkies.

I think Yaesu and Icom both make some nice mobile 2 meter and HF radios that can go from a vehicle to a pack using an external battery. Of couorse, if you're camped out somewhere and can "procure" a car battery and power inverter, you can run a 2 meter mobile radio a long time, even at 50 watts. Just need to power down when not in use.

I got rid of my radios a while back because I wasnt using them but I think I'm going to start back up again. I still need to upgrade to General so I can go HF.

I think regular family radios or GRMS are great for a camp site or walking through the woods but worthless on the road.
 

rotarymike

Well-Known Member
We had no problems with GMRS radios in several cars strung out over about a mile of blueridge parkway, and the curves and mountains should shorten the LOS distance quite a bit.
 

Tigerstripe

Well-Known Member
if the s*** has hit the fan i dont think i will need a liceness for a radio.

my plan is to get 2 handheld that need a liceness, with range, and dont use them unless shtf.
 

Tigerstripe

Well-Known Member
ok i read about it. still dont know much.

what is the range in talking to another one? or is it one that can go farther using repeaters?

what is MURS channel?
 
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