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Thread: Newbee Survivalist question

  1. #1

    Default Newbee Survivalist question

    I'm a 65 year old grandfather who would like to be prepared in the event some parts of the communications grid fails due to natural disaster or other causes. I live near Houston, TX and have kids in Dallas, TX. I want to put something in both of our houses in preparation for a disaster so we can communicate. Money is not a big issue here, just want something that will work. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Meneou, Cyprus


    Maybe C.B. radio is the way to go?

    It's a pretty long way (maybe 250 miles) VHF & UHF amateur gear would be a pretty penny for a reliable repeater link, plus you'd have to be licensed at both ends.
    H.F. is not guaranteed either, like C.B.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by 5B4AJB View Post
    Maybe C.B. radio is the way to go?

    It's a pretty long way (maybe 250 miles) VHF & UHF amateur gear would be a pretty penny for a reliable repeater link, plus you'd have to be licensed at both ends.
    H.F. is not guaranteed either, like C.B.
    Will C.B. go that far?

  4. #4


    No, CB will rarely ever work that distance. In fact, 11m CB is the least likely to work for 250 miles. That is well outside the ground wave coverage and anything ionospheric will not work as CB cant make short hops (aside from the occasional auroral or sporadic E) because the wavelength is too short to be refracted at high elevation angles and signals are lost to space. This creates a "skip zone" of no signal before the low angle signals hitting the F layer reappear about 1000 miles out. CB is absolutely great for reliable coverage between 30 and 75 miles (depending on terrain), and when solar activity is high, long distance hops are easy (still, not for 250 miles). The only hope of making CB work that distance is to run beams aimed at a common back-scattering point in the ocean and I highly doubt anything reliable will come of it.

    That distance is going to require a ham license to run HF or high powered VHF.

    Edit: You could always acquire a few friends with CBs between the two locations and start a CB relay network, have a Sunday net, make a hobby of it...
    Last edited by brandon lind; Fri 27th Mar 2020 at 08:50.

  5. #5


    Assuming the disaster would wipe out 2m/70cm repeaters + cell phone towers, you have only one option to communicate with someone over that distance.
    You did say money wasn't an issue. Therefore your answer is to buy a couple of satellite phones.
    Not a cheap conversation, charged by the second or Min. But unless someone shoots down the satellite communication will be possible from/to anywhere on the planet.
    Hope that helps.
    73 Jim (from UK).

  6. #6


    Have a look at "Garmin inreach". The lowest monthly charge is about £14.99 ($18.50 USD).
    Then compare the contracts from other providers. May get a better deal for am annual contract. The above mentioned price is for a monthly contract.
    A satellite SIM card is much the same as a cell phone SIM card. Only it costs more.
    So have a look at the various sat phones on the market & the best contracts to suit your needs.

  7. #7


    I done a little research. Google "iridium prepaid SIM cards".
    You can get one with around 300-500 Min which is valid for 365 days (12 month) for around $500+ USD.
    Then you need to buy/or rent an iridium handset.
    There are several different providers. So you need to find the best deal.
    I reckon it would cost you in the region of 2 grand + to buy 2 handsets & 12 month SIM cards for them.
    But that price would be reduced after a year if you had bought rather than rented the handsets.

    So you need to ask yourself. How much it would be worth to talk to your family in the event of such a disaster?. If it was myself, l would say no price would be too much if l could afford it.
    Fortunately my family lives close enough to me.

    There are other satillites up there. The iridium ones are in a low orbit. You may get a better deal from the other networks.

  8. #8

    Default Strictly Ham

    Hello everyone I am a new member to the forum. I got my technician a while back and havenít done too much with it, however I am looking to change that. Iím a bit rusty with the lingo. I have a similar question as ivoimg.
    I am looking to be able to reach at least a 500 square miles at minimum Without using the Internet. What kind of equipment do I need to be able to accomplish this and would I have to upgrade my license?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2020


    The hard truth is, reach is not guaranted. Never and by anything and/or anybody.
    Before getting into ham radio, I used to play with PMR (446 MHz, NFM, 0.5 W). It literally is not able to get around the corner in build-up areas but it is pretty easy to make 100 km contact from summit to summit (e.g. Schneeberg 2076 m ASL (AUT), locator JN77VS to DevŪnska Kobyla 515 m ASL (SVK), locator JN88LE) with 59 report.
    Emergency communication by radio is not about contacting given person, but about contacting anybody able to forward the messages.
    There are limitations for any band, any power output, any antenna, any location. Basically, with the exception of direct visibility any radio contact is a lottery. For longer distances, HF is surely better like VHF/UHF and even CB is not that hopeless (we can use up to 12 W SSB here) especially when using directional antennas. But again: nothing is guaranted.
    Many years ago, before internet age, I had CB setup with directional antennas for contacting my 80 kms distant gf. It kinda of worked but heavily depended on momentary conditions. Especially the TV tower almost directly between us was the source of QRM.

  10. #10
    gnuuser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    NW Pa,USA


    cw will travel the farthest But its all dependent upon having a proper sized and tuned antenna for the frequency you are using.
    power output is another factor to consider.
    in most cases where you live and where they live may have stupid Home Owner ASSociation limitations on antennas!
    there are tuneable antennas that can perform well but the performance is usually a far cry from a properly tuned for frequency antenna.
    as far as distance? with the proper antenna and enough power you can bounce a signal off the moon!

    the downside is ham radio requires a license to transmit and that includes you and whoever you are talking to.

    you can transmit in the event of an emergency without a license (If it is a life or death situation) but you should know that the emergency will be investigated for validity!

    the test is not difficult and does not require a lot of intense study ( quite frankly with all the covid scare going on its more difficult to schedule a test with the VE.( and the restrictions for the online testing are even more difficult))
    Im so old dirt was my apprentice

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