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Old October 05, 2017, 21:08   #151
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Interesting to read that it is OK to attempt long distance communication with a CB (on the CBRS). Not that I have ever talked to CA, GA, LA, AL, TX, or the like from MI.

Do you have any of those radio programming discs left? Or could you zip and email me a copy of something to program my VX-150? I had the RT Systems program but I lost the disc which I didn't know until the PC I had it on died. They couldn't find a record of me buying it since it had been several years earlier. I think I read or heard something about newer versions of CHIRP are capable of it, but I'll have to look into that.
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Old October 06, 2017, 07:48   #152
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FCC finally showed a little sense. When skips are rolling not uncommon for me the hear as far as Cali on 11 meters but was technically illegal to try and make contact over 100 miles from your location. Likely put my big Galaxy base radio back on bench along with a big antenna. Last I remember it was set for 12 or 13 watts on high power for 4 watts PEP at antenna feed point. The four watt limit is measured at antenna, not radio. With good radio and antenna do not need a huge amp to skip talk 11 meters, just some solar activity. In an emergency is legal for a ham to move a few wires and use amp on 11 meters.

Non licensed and mere poses sion of an amplifier that is 11 meter capable is up to a $10,000 fine. Doesn't even have to be hooked up. C.B. in truck, amp in sock drawer of house and FCC finds it and your in trouble. Had a group abut 20 years ago from KKK using C.B. radios with linear amps to spew hate and they got the Feds doing full anal probe. Was funny as they would squat on 27.185 and just talk hate everyone not white for hours. Worst offender was banned from C.B. for life and signed agreement if caught again would go to prison as could not afford his fine. They didn't want to feed and house the old coot so locked him down with signed court document holding him to paying fine before release from jail is caught again. In reality a small amp and common sense won't raise any notice.

My big tube amp will swing 900 watts into a dummy load on 11 meters. If ran into the big beam that would be a long distance talker. In SHTF having ability for all band/all mode/all services transmit and receive at high power levels could be handy. Dropping to under a half watt is useful as well.
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Old October 06, 2017, 11:19   #153
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Nobody cares (least of all the FCC), but my understanding of the law is that you can only output 4 watts AM from the CB radio into your antenna of choice for CB. If you're putting 15 watts AM into your coax at the radio, you're not using a "type-accepted" radio. SSB max output at the radio would be 12 watts, IIRC.
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Old October 07, 2017, 11:58   #154
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From FCC:

Quote:
You may not raise the power output of a CB transmitter.You may not attach a "linear," "linear amplifier" or any other type of power amplifier to your CB transmitter.There are no height restrictions for antennas mounted on vehicles or for hand-held devices.For structures, the highest point of your antenna must not be more than 20 feet above the highest point of the building or tree on which it is mounted, or 60 feet above the ground. There are lower height limits if your antenna structure is located within two miles of an airport.You may use an on-the-air pseudonym ("handle") of your choosing.You must at all times and on all channels, give priority to emergency communications.
Quote:
Rule 9:** Equipment
{A} You must use an FCC type accepted CB transmitter at your CB station. You can identify an FCC type accepted transmitter by the 'type acceptance' label placed on it by the manufacturer. You may examine a list of type-accepted equipment at any FCC Field Office or at FCC Headquarters. Use of a transmitter which is not FCC type-accepted voids your authority to operate the station.*
{B} You must not make, or have made, any internal modifications to a type-accepted CB transmitter. (*read Rule 25) Any internal modification to a type-accepted CB transmitter cancels the type-acceptance, and use of such a transmitter voids your authority to operate the station.

Rule 10:******** Power Output
{A} Your CB station transmitter power output must not exceed the following values under any conditions:*
AM [Amplitude Modulation] - 4 watts carrier power [CP]*
SSB [Single Side-Band] - 12 watts peak envelope power [PEP]*
{B} If you need more information about the power rule, see Part 95/ Subpart E.*
{C} Use of a transmitter which has carrier [CP] or peak envelope power [PEP]in excess of that authorized voids your authority to operate the station.

Rule 11:** Linear Amplifiers
{A} You may not attach the following items (power amplifiers) to your type-accepted CB transmitter in any way:*
[1] External radio frequency [RF] power amplifiers, also called linear amplifiers, or linears;*
or*
[2] Any other devices which, when used with a radio transmitter as a signal source, are capable of amplifying the signal.*
{B} There are no exceptions to this rule and use of a power amplifier voids your authority to operate the station.*
{C} The FCC will presume you have used a linear or other external [RF] power amplifier if-*
[1] It is in your possession or on your premises; and*
[2] There is OTHER EVIDENCE that you have operated your CB station with more power than allowed by CB Rule 10.*
{D} Paragraph C above in this section does not apply if you hold a license in another radio service (HAM, etc.) which allows you to operate an external RF power amplifier
Quote:

Power levels shown in*Table 1*are in peak-envelope power (PEP) input*to the antenna. FCC rules specify amateur power in PEP and most transmitters are rated in PEP. However, you must consider feed line losses to determine power to the antenna.

Of course we have rules concerning MPE, ERP, PEP and more. Luckily I do radiation surveys and have the calibrated equipment to analyze an individual transmitter, power at any point along system have a pair of connectors to tap or at antenna feedpoint. Also have charfs that show loss per foot of almost all feed lines but in reality till you put a calibrated meter at the antenna its almost impossible to calculate loss in every connector, switch, feed line and jumper. This is why we try to limit number of connectors and jumper length and use lowwesr loss feedline can afford. I have put my meters on people's rigs to show them say for example radio actually has 35 of 40 watts rated output at rear (Yaesu, hehe) or 73 watts of 65 rated (Icom and why I like Icom and Kenwood) then can show them at antenna have lost half their power or more from using high loss coax purchased used at a hamfest. I even use Heliax/Hardline on HF up to 160 meters and C.B.

Have a scanner client that had issues with dropping signal, replaced their small diameter Rat Shack coax with 1/2" Andrews Heliax, raised antenna twenty feet and split their two dozen or so digital trunking scanners from one antenna to four to reduce number of jumpers, number of feedpoint coming out of splitters as the contractor who installed this system was using Y-cable out of splitter to pair of Y-cables to attach four scanners to each connector. Added three more splitters, fed each radio with short jumper made using LMR 200 and suddenly they stopped having to replay each call a dozen times to get information needed and a couple playback allowed monitoring folks to dispatch sales people. Also suddenly they were getting more departments from more municipalities ranging about 50% bigger footpath so had to add more recorders to keep up with calls and finally six more scanners and another antenna.

All of my 11 meter rigs have power knob on front panel and are type accepted by FCC. Most will swing from half a watt low side then 9 to 20 watts with power adjustment knobs or switches on front of radio without opening and modifying. Add fact that have Amateur Extra Class license, MROP and GROL with Radar Endorsement way 11d reads says running an amplifier even on 11 meters is fine though I don't as do not need it. Know output of all my transmitters and have marks for power knobs and notes on switches. One radio run on medium setting of three position switch for standard AM and seven watts comes out back and it's 4 watts at feedpoint of antenna. Flip to high and it's 17 watts at back of radio and ~12 at antenna. The big Galaxy base when set up have to measure based on wire used and length when it's been in service. Put sticky arrows to mark where it should be if feel need to be 100% legal by CBRS rules and not Ham.

Another item seldom discussed is a modulator. It does not raise power but allows adjustment of modulation for crispest signal possible without overmodulation and distortion. Used to have wife complain about how much "louder" commercials are on t.v. than programming so has to mute or turn down. FCC does not allow stations to broadcast commercials at higher volume than regular programming but they do jack up the modulation so appears louder. After 15 years working sound boards for a big sound and light crew that toured with lots of well known musicians she understood immediately. Our former church was having huge issue with new soumdboard. Had same guys operating it that had run old system in old building a decade. When pastor asked wife and I to help them one Sunday they took it personally and walked out of booth. All we did was switch mics as program asked and adjusted the modulation down. Told pastor to,get his guys back, we would not be part of a problem. Funny thing is most members mentioned how much better sound system worked and the regular guys just left everything alone for subsequent services. Just changed mics as needed and ran recorder.

Reason for that example is I do have modulators between my C.B. radios and antennas. Set at legal PEP, get a couple people trust for signal reports and adjust modulation for crisp clean transmission. Have about five 10, 11 and 12 meter only amplifiers. Use them on 10 meters occassionally but most are in boxes for day might need to leverage C.B. post SHTF. Remember in an emergency can do whatever is necessary to complete a contact. Truck broken down in the Badlands of South Dakota on New Years day with no cell service, no UHF or VHF contacts found and wife doesn't want an H.F. rig in her truck. Pulled out a 250 watt linear from emergency box and wired it into her C.B. but still no luck. Had to wait several hours for someone to drive by and help. I am not sweating output at back of radio if has not been modified and is type accepted by FCC. Just spin the dial till know am legal PEP and no worries. Discussions like this are worth engaging so lurkers can learn the nuances of rules and operating procedures.
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Old October 10, 2017, 10:30   #155
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Now if I am wrong about the 4 watts PEP being measured at the antenna vs. the feedpoint of the radio, I take back what I said. But I always thought it was the other way around.

Anyway, that's a lot of reading, Huey. Like you, I also have a HAM license, but only a general. I am not a lawyer and I don't pretend to be one. Your FCC Legalese seems to say you can run a linear on a type accepted CB if you hold a HAM license, but I am not sure that is the case. No reason you can't own a linear up to 1500 watts for your HAM uses, but if you hook it up to a CB that's a no-no as far as I understand it.

I have a HAM friend who played around with FRS and GMRS radios, hacking them so he could attach a 7 element UHF YAGI and talk/listen quite a bit further than what the rules allow. He bragged about it on 2 meter simplex and ended up getting an FCC visit. FCC just told him to stop or they would fine him or some such. I am sure one of the friendly hams on the 2 meter net called the FCC on him.

In any event, the FCC doesn't care unless somebody calls them - and maybe not even then. What about these guys on 14.313 who don't follow HAM protocol and play music and fart into the mic or whatever? Nobody is stopping them - they are still active here and there though a couple of them did get fined, I guess:

http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-fines-p...l-interference

Last edited by biyf; October 10, 2017 at 10:36.
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Old October 10, 2017, 11:59   #156
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You can own a linear and a C.B. but only use the amp in an emergency situation way I understand. Still have to use an unmodified type accepted C.B. unless have a multi-band H.F. rig that is unlocked from factory into the ham bands which is an uncommon animal. Most H.F. amps require much more than 4 watts drive and the linear amps common in C.B. are not type accepted usually if work with 4 watts drive. These will be made in Malaysia or the Philippines with no FCC sticker or their model wont be found in a type accepted database.

Many 10/12 meter rigs are purposely built to be easily modified into 11 meters or unlocked in 11 meter but output levels turned down in CB frequencies. Open up a bunch of Unidens, Galaxys and Rangers will find separate adjustments for the 10, 11 and 12 meter bands along with single side band mode. An oscilloscope, meter, small screwdriver and other basic tools and somehow its simple to make these radios double down or more on 11 meters.

I am not a lawyer nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night but if read the rules in plain Engrish (mispelled on porpoise) but have had legal folks tell me it can be interpreted either way and left to the FCC to determine by case or judge/jury if want to go that far. I choose to operate using legal power measured "average peak at antenna input". If that gets me in trouble then someone really had little to do that day. With the 60 foot height rule on a CBRS radio if using a high loss feed line can take a good deal of power to get four watts to the antenna.

Here is another idea that I saw pass an on site FCC inspection. Ham radio is limited to 1,500 watts PEP at antenna. know a guy who co-phased a pair of H.F. antennas and was using an amp that paired with a properly matched phasing harness (each branch has to be almost perfectly same electrical length or will have terrible signal) so had 1,400 watts into each antenna. While amp was swinging almost 3,000 watts, he was under the 1,500 watts in each antenna though lighting them both up together. I think that is outside of sound operating principles but he was inspected and not written up.

Mount three or four well matched CB verticals 1/4 wave apart in each and every direction from each other then build a meticulously crafted phasing harness (takes some good measuring equipment) and put four watts into each at feed point. All that work and have not even doubled your range. Takes a 10x increase in power for a 2x increase in range.

Like CB guys running 1,500 watts an hams that use old AM radio station broadcast amps there will always be those that cheat. Can buy Ameritron amps that swing double the legal limit if pushed in C.W. mode but supposed to turn them down to 1,500 watts and call the extra headroom necessary for durability or emergencies. Same as guys operating at edge bands or close enough bleed out of the band plan for amateur stations. Plenty of rule breakers and little oversight unless create complaints.

Then we have the unregulated slices of the spectrum where MARS and experimenters play. Listen to some of the 75 meter rag chew nets where guys talk like sailors and discuss things not allowed on radio. have been in digital bands doing SSTV and happen to monitor guys swapping porn over ham radio. I obey the rules as best I can and on occasion in the course of doing emcomm have some techniques that we use that like asking the BATFE a question don't want a letter saying it can't be done, we don't ask the FCC for clarification on things we use for medical records when trying to send HIPPA protected documents for FEMA operations.

I believe motive is important. If trying to help people some latitude is justified. If just want to bust a pileup for a hard to get log entry, winding up an amp to double the legal limit is uncool. The guys that really pis me off are the guys that don't have an automatic tuner and suddenly they press down on their CW key incessantly on and on for several minutes tuning right on top of a QSO. My tuners drop to just a few watts and tune in seconds. If use an older manual tuner make sure not on somebodies QSO before sitting on the key.
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Old December 15, 2017, 15:07   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hueyville View Post
(Trim)





Edit:
And if your an absolute nut can drop this folder on your disk also.

Finally burning these DVD's today. people keep asking and I have had an upside down world past year and not gotten to some tasks unless paid orders or nagged about it. So for you folks that are patient and still want have one addressed and can send more out, burned five copies today. Finding the dang right computer was a task in itself but now have them in four computers at work and taking a copy home.

Remember a lot of old brick radios will not program if dump data in too fast. If use a computer faster than a Pentium 1 some radios lose their minds or just don't take the data. Any guru's that can tell me how to slow down port speed on a modern machine running a late model version of Windows it would be a help to put instructions on the disks. I keep a P1 in ham shack just for programming radios and some of theis software is going to run in DOS. No WYSIWYG on some of this, sorry but even I had to take a forced self refresher in DOS a few months ago. Took half a day to remember how to do a five minute task in DOS. Smart devices are eating our brains, who needs zombies when we have smart phones, just look at any kid or ask them a question and see if they can answer without using their phone.

Not putting files in second screen shot on disks except by request. Your teen kids find those files and may find a smoking hole where your house used to be...
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Old January 04, 2018, 11:33   #158
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In my quest to buy almost every radio that has zero use such as 800, 900 Mhz and 1.2 Ghz public service radios that technology is already abandoned have obtained three Icom IC-F31GT low band VHF radios. They were built to operate in the 4 meter band from 66 to 88 Mhz which there is no amateur allocation in U.S. but have been unlocked for wider operation.

Understand are real popular in areas of U.K. and some other European countries. These radios are pretty much in the channel 4 television spectrum and there was an open application for a small slice of the 4 meter band for amateurs in U.S. as there are only three broadcast stations using channel 4 VHF frequency range and low power amateur operations would not interfere with them. Military and public service use some of the 4 meter band and there are quite a few people using these radios as Private Mobile Radios.

Cool thing about the ones I scored are all are new in box, have the optional Icom voice scrambler board installed so have rolling code voice scrambling along with ability to identify which radio is transmitting and has man down button so when depressed know which radios operator is in distress. They are very stable for moving digital data and have a 3 to 30 mile range without a repeater based on range.

Guy I purchased them from bought new when he believed FCC would grant a small 4 meter amateur slice. He let them go cheap and couldn't pass them up as came with software and programming software. Can build custom icons to use on display with two lines of up to 24 characters. As researching have found information saying using a combination of Select Call and DTMF codes can pretty much make these invisible to scanners and other users of similar equipment. Can always run them up in 6 meters if want to be compliant but then can't run in voice scrambling mode. Either way, SHTF the rule is there are no rules and these things have some cool features well worth having in a Faraday box. Going to work on programming and testing on low power before packing away.
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Old January 13, 2018, 14:56   #159
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Scored a very nice lightly used two year old ICOM IC-7100HF / VHF / UHF Mobile Multimode Transceiver with DStar for a deal today. Should be the near perfect all band all mode radio to add to the collection once I do a MARS/CAP free band mod.

Quote:
Intuitive Touch Screen Interface
An amateur radio first! The touch screen interface provides innovative quick and smooth operation for setting various functions and editing memories. The slant top controller display faces the operator and is designed to increase visibility of the display. The built-in high efficiency oval speaker provides easy to hear audio. An external speaker and electronic keyer can be connected to the controller.

D-STAR DV Mode Operation
The IC-7100 provides D-STAR DV mode digital voice and low speed data communication. Linking of D-STAR repeaters over the Internet allows you to communicate long distance with digital modulated clear intelligible audio. D-STAR: Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio

IF DSP Features
The latest 32-bit floating point DSP supports many digital processing features such as digital IF filter, twin PBT, manual notch filters. Of course, those high grade digital processing features work on all ham bands, from HF to the 70cm band.

Other Features
Built-in SD Card Slot for voice storage and data cloning
Dual DSP chips deliver versatile digital processing performance
Built-in RTTY demodulator and decoder
Multi-function meter
SWR graphic display
DSP controller RF speech compressor
Total of 505 memory channels
Voice recording and playback functions
0.5ppm high frequency stability
Optional RS-BA1 IP control remote control software

Frequency coverage*1 (Unit: MHz)
Receiver 0.030199.999*2 400.000470.000*2
Transmit
1.8001.999 3.5003.999 5.2555.405*2
7.0007.300 10.10010.150 14.00014.350
18.06818.168 21.00021.450 24.89024.990
28.00029.700 50.00054.000 144.000148.00
430.000450.000
*1 Showing USA version. Varies according to version.
*2 Some frequency bands are not guaranteed.
Mode USB, LSB, CW, RTTY, AM, FM,
WFM (Rx only)

Number of memory channels
505 (495 regular, 4 call, 6 scan edges)
700 (D-STAR repeater channels)

Antenna connector SO-2392 (one each for HF/50MHz and VHF/UHF bands, 50Ω)
Operating Temp. range 10C to +60C; +14F to +140F
Already have two spare Icom AH4 antenna tuners so that is nailed down and if use in one of my shacks just have to patch into a switch if want to run through big amp and tuner. Have three friends with these who love them for jack-of-all-trades radios. Not a $10,000 contest rig but can do all bands, all modes, record voice and data transmissions to SD card if don't want to tether to computer. Came with the remote software so if want can power up and run it from my laptop remotely through internet. Be nice to check into local VHF nets when travelling as only have remote operation on HF currently.

Just need to finally break down and buy a solid state amplifier and use my tube amp as a secondary or backup. This is Icom HF rig number four so an IC-PW1 kilowatt brick amp would be perfect for the two modern radios with remote operation. Used a PW1 quit a bit and just flipping to band and knowing it will auto tune instant key the microphone is easy. Have a 600 watt auto tuner for my small amp at home and a kilowatt auto tuner in work shack but have to find a clear area in the CW area of each band and key down for about two seconds each time swap bands using the big amp at work. A PW1 is more simple than the LDG auto tuner have at home. Tuner is integrated into amp, why are the fun hobbies all so expensive?
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Old January 14, 2018, 09:13   #160
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In my military days, I did a lot of work with HF. Worked with technology that was way older than I was, but it all worked and worked well. How many people would know how to operate a radio like a Collins KWM-2A with a crystal pack or cut a long wire antenna to a given frequency?

Who are you going to talk to? SHTF, I would rather have a good RCVR and sit back and take notes. Start talking and any jackass that can form a loop out of coat hanger can find you. And they will already know your are prepared.

I'm not saying that "the knowledge" isn't a good thing to have, just use it wisely.
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Old January 14, 2018, 13:44   #161
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I have a pile of old tube radios put back and still in use on bench albiet by the dust they have collected can't tell they have been used much. About to clean the all the tube radios/amps in work shack and make a few contacts just to charge the capacitors.



And yes, I can cut a wire to resonance on whatever frequency you want whether want 1/4 wave, 1/2 wave or full wave. Have a full wave 30 meter dipole, a half wave 75 meter NVIS plus a myriad of other wire antennas here at work. Home shack and antenna farm is under complete upgrade but there will be plenty of wire antennas.

Have made HF antennas out of metal gutters in antenna restricted subdivisions, tapped and tuned a set of mini-blinds into a 2 meter antenna and used a set of old bed springs found dumped in woods for an HF antenna. Can tune up a section of chain link fence, turn a few pieces of angle iron into a Moxon antenna if need (friend won a national 6 meter contest on a moxon made in under half hour right before his contest began at midnight) and of course the coat hanger 2 meter, 1.25 meter or UHF antenna.

My most built antenna of late are low band VHF for use with public service and military radios programed in the MURS or business band portion of spectrum. Weave a piece of modified coax through a 12"x14" molle patch or the molle on back of a military type armor carrier. Antenna theory is the best part of radio. I love making antennas as much as reloading. Give me a special set of parameters and will make an antenna to fit your needs. In attics, gutters, on body, on vehicle, boats, etc.

Most difficult is working up a good antenna for HF to use on boat in fresh water. Salt water is wonderful ground plane but fresh water sucks and have a lot of stuff to consider in building antennas for working HF on lakes. Had three friends give up trying to work HF fro their boats on Lake Lanier then convinced the to try one more time and they were stunned. They were using Icom 706MkIIG's on fiberglass bass boats on fresh water with off the shelf mobile antennas designed for steel cars over earth. Once I built them the right antenna, created an artificial ground and tuned it all up they didn't have to miss their 75 meter rag chew nets if out fishing.

Right now am trying to decide if I am going to mount a big yagi on top of conventional tower at house or build the tower in a manner its an insulated stub driven vertical like AM radio stations use. Wont have the ability to rotate the yagi and use forward lobe for best throw but wont ever have to worry about crawling up tower to fix a rotator or burned trap in the antenna. Use a 160 meter stub driven antenna for 'top band" that belongs to an old timer I know.

There are some local AM stations that do not broadcast at night or switch to a smaller antenna at lower power after 9 pm. Used to be a group of guys locally that would go to the antenna farms or individual sticks and tap into some of these stub driven commercial AM towers for 80 meter or 160 meter CW. Could warm up a surplus radio station amp and make contacts all over the world. Even worked well on 75 meter phone but had to have more than just a few watts to light up a big commercial stub driven tower. There are three big sticks across the cove from my house and two of them shut down during late night. bet it would suck to get caught by FCC running an amp the size of a refrigerator into a commercial tower in the ham bands these days.

While the good old days are waning the lessons learned are worth knowing. Learning how to turn over 4,000 square feet of metal roof at work into a ground plane combined with an acre that has over 80 ground rods and 2,000 feet of copper woven in a grid system ground turned my work station into a monster at 600 to 900 watts. Seldom have to even use an amp even to break a big pileup. Put a metal roof on house which has a halo ground system and part of why am re-configuring my tower situation. Have more radios and all that metal roof to use as a reflector/ground plane.
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Old January 14, 2018, 19:02   #162
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I have a pile of old tube radios put back and still in use on bench albiet by the dust they have collected can't tell they have been used much. About to clean the all the tube radios/amps in work shack and make a few contacts just to charge the capacitors.

When I started in HF, it was with an AN/PRC-47 running comms from Ft. Allen Puerto Rico to Camp Moscrip while stationed there with NMCB62. I can still remember removing my fingerprints while wetting the batteries.

Later with special navigation unit, I learned all about the Collins radios and linears. About half way through my tour, we made the jump to solid state Motorola Micoms with tuners. Finally towards the end we were using Kenwoods that we unlocked to get full use of the freq. We used to wash the KWMs with non ionic soap, rinse them with water and dry them on the hoods of the units trucks before doing a full alignment on the.

One of the best pieces of HF gear we had were Premax telescoping antennas. Locked out to length and tied to a ground rod and radials, they made life much easier. Also used a lot of gear from MFG in Mississippi. Used their antenna tuners, SWR meters and dummy loads.

Here is a site on Flores island Indonesia, the nav system antenna is to the left, the comms antenna is on the right. The big thing in the background is an active volcano. The comm antenna is made of a Premax on top of 40 feet of extra tower sections buried in the ground. You can see the tuner at the base of the whip, also in view are the inverted cone of the ground plane.


Better view of the comms antenna.


Something else you should know how to do.


Somalia nav site, Cape Guardafui (actual Horn of Africa)


The Italian lighthouse on the Horn (Ras Asir)


Air crew member Andy Cady winching out after spending the weekend on the site. The sites HF whip is in front of him, you can almost make out the base insulator and you can see the auto-tuner.


These HF comms were our lifeline to the USNS survey platforms. Radio checks at 8am and 8pm were the norm. Also, they provided a vital moral function by providing a link home via the MARS network.

Don't worry about having a ticket if SHTF. Learn the basics, buy decent gear and know how to use it and when not to use it. Know who operates on what frequencies in your AO.
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Old January 14, 2018, 19:47   #163
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Its very common to build your own antennas. I build most of mine.I'll still buy the baluns.
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Old January 15, 2018, 10:31   #164
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Andy2205,
I really like Kenwood radios when unlocked into all band TX. Have two 30 foot crank up Army Signal Corp antennas and my big diesel amp all are still on U.S. military books or were when given to me to support Army MARS work. If there is a national catastrophic event that affects military comms I, like all MARS operators are supposed to come up and help pass traffic. MARS is a lot more organized and professional than ARES. Why all my radios have MARS/CAP mods. Kenwood and Icom are usually easier to free band into military and public service bands. I keep all my old equipment as often some of the older equipment has capabilites upgraded radios do not.

Why I still have all my old Oki cell phones. All hackers bought up Okis fast as could as they made their phones super easy to mod into cellular scanners and even easier to clone another number if wanted to do some phreaking with cellular equipment. Knowing how to get in a radio or amp and mod into other bands or just repair will be a huge SHTF skill set.

Patching military personnel via HF and phone patches to family used to be a huge and rewarding job and helped keep skills sharp working with miltary radio operators. Except for outlying oddball posts Skype has kind of killed our practice linking troops to family. We still get a little and why I keep a phone patch linked into my main MARS HF rig. I find it odd how we have these odd slices of unassigned radio spectrum for MARS that are really not discussed by anyone but MARS operators. Been a few times recently when satellite feeds were down or being used for more critical work that we have passed personal messages but mostly we just check into nets and wait for the world to fall apart.

Most people don't know the reason Patton was able to smoke Rommell in North Africa was a group of hams in the Northeast started hearing skip traffic over their radios at regular intervals. Recognized it as German so found a professor of German who interpreted the traffic to figure out it was coded. Half the guys in the club were professors at Ivy League colleges so got their math geeks involved and cracked Rommell code. Every day they would phone Washington DC and tell them what Rommell had planned. Washington would pass the traffic to Patton and he would be waiting to ambush Rommell's armor divisions. It's said it cut the time to win North African campaign in half. Like hams figuring out the Russian Woodpecker long before U.S. Government because it was interfering with ham radio traffic. Uncle Sugar could sell large portions of our spectrum for huge money but the work hams do during disasters, wars, etc is such a help they leave our frequencies alone.

Yes, SHTF no license is needed. But if a person wants to gain the skills to integrate fast it would be much better to get a license and build skills now rather than after balloon goes up. Eight hours study time and $15 for a testing session will get a person a Tech license. Another 20 hours of study will get a General which allows 90% of priveleges and frequencies. Took me a week to get from nothing to General then another two weeks to Extra. Another month and had my Marine Radio Operators Permit, General Radiotelephone Operators License and Radar Endorsement. Learned more when studying ship and aircraft systems than all ham material. Air traffic control systems and radar was where my world changed and realized a person can do so much with radio it's amazing.

Bought two more marine radar sytems and one aircraft weather radar system in past month. If Weather Channel and the satellites that feed the world wide weather fax system go down I can at least watch for storms and have a 40 mile warning of really bad weather or more based on conditions. My next big purchase is going to be a commercial AM radio stations equipment for access to real power if need. Know several guys who have purchased equipment from AM station going off air or upgrading and they can light up the sky if need when propegation is low.
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Old January 15, 2018, 15:49   #165
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snippage

.
Pics rock!
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Old January 15, 2018, 19:31   #166
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Hueyville, I haven't dabbled in HF in a while, but like I said, it was once my lifeline. When we were in Indonesia, we had a regular schedule with a MARS operator named Warren from Caneyville, KY. We would come up with him every Sunday night for phone patches. The rest of the week we would sit on the calling freq and pass beam headings to stateside stations to help put people together for traffic. We ran a bootleg call sign of NNN0CXO3, or the third shore station assigned under the USNS ships call sign. Had a lot of questions about that one. If you ever heard us and thought we might be drunk, we probably were, see also the "Still Shot".

In Somali we had a medical emergency on site with our cook. He had a heart condition and didn't medicate. He was found down in the galley tent with a pulse of 170. The ship was to far away to put the bird in the air, but the comms over HF were vital. On short approach we would use a AN/PRC-77 to talk with the helo crew. We got to be the air crews favorite site due to the fine wine we exported. Nothing like having an SH2A buzz the site and winch in a couple of cases of apples.

Really not much of a skill set required to operate most of the new high tech gear. I never tested for anything until after I retired. Then, due to being involved in government sponsored fun, I tested for a GROL and a GMDSS installer/maintainers card. Now have an FRN for those. Never pursued a Radar ticket.

Still remember the old Raytheon radar on my first survey launch. Snap, crackle and pop until you got a green image on the tube. Now all we use is HD or BroadBand gear run into an MFD.

Used to be separate system for everything so you wouldn't lose it all if something went down. Now everything is networked and you need to watch network length, number of drops and line end terminations. Sit and spin and wonder why things won't talk to each other. NEMA was a bitch, but some of the new stuff is a nightmare.

Troops deploy now and bitch about internet access, Skpe not working or lack of time on the Satphone. They haven't a clue.

PS, Never ask for corn, sugar or yeast in the same vertrep.
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Old January 15, 2018, 20:38   #167
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+1 to Stimpson's comment the pics rock. Glad you did your GROL and GMDSS Radio Maintainers. Can only test for three sections in one session. Think they dropped the MROP requirement now but I had to pass MROP, GROL and knocked off the radar ticket as told it was most difficult. Keep meaning to go back and get my GMDSS Radio Operators and Maintainers Licenses. They discontinued Third Class, Second Class and First Class License along with Aircraft Radiotelegraph Endorsement. I wanted to get them all till realized would have to sit on a commercial ship getting attacked by Somoli pirates to get Radioman Second class or First class. I have a real job but wanted the avionics though understand reason it was discontinued is most of its questions were rolled into the GROL pool and get same priveleges with GROL.

Have to get time to go to Outer Banks of NC to take my GMDSS tests when I can. I like getting certifications. Knowing how things work and the rules will keep a person out of trouble and is good exercise for the mind. I know three EE's that failed their GROL even though carried Advanced Amateur Licenses which told was harder test than Extra. Have my ASE Automobile Service Consultant Certification, Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification, Automobile & Light Truck Certification and Truck Equipment Certification. Do so much of my own mechanic work would hate to have a brake line bust on a company truck and kill 12 school kids then get asked in court what my qualifications were to work on company trucks and say I own a bunch of tools.

Same with my OSHA, EPA, tower certs like COMTRAIN, battery certs from SAFT on all their telecom batteries, plus enough of the FEMA classes got an Associates in Emergency Management just taking free online FEMA courses along with my core college credits from when did that. When stuck recovering from back surgery, or going through chemo infusion and sleepless nights from my Short Sleeper Syndrome combined with complex sleep apnea I study for whatever test seems interesting to me. I decided to go apply for a real job back after first real back injury and my resume read like a book. Every job applied for said I was over qualified which was a nice way of saying no way we are hiring a guy with a broken back and cancer. I have a bunch of EPA and OSHA courses that come up for continuing ed requirements this year so will keep me busy.

I really did like phone patching service guys to family and ran up a heck of a long distance bill some months but was worth it to put service men in touch with wives and kids. Was cool to hear how excited a kid was when would tell them to please hold for Sgt Smith or Corporal Collins and they knew dad was fixing to be on the line. My guess is if we have a real conflict a lot of the Skype bandwidth will be lost and MARS will be the ones linking service men to families during such time. I keep the old phone patch and copper wire pair just for that need. Haven't passed any traffic other than training messages for some time for MARS. Did a little FEMA traffic for Harvey but SouthbBears and other volunteers got satellite up links even that traffic is down. Haiti Earthquake was last real working event though Sandy suprised some east coast communities and we worked hard on Georgia and SC coast doing FEMA and GEMA traffic.
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Old January 15, 2018, 22:30   #168
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Damn Hueyville, you have been busy haven't you?

I kinda did the same way with certs for marine based stuff:
Radar Observer Unlimited, ARPA, STCW Basic Safety and QMED, Firefighting, Advanced Firefighting, Helo Firefighting, Helo Landing Signals Officer, Lifeboatman, Bridge Resource Management, Medical First Provider, Maritime Security and some OSHA stuff.

Used to split classes between New Orleans and Ft. Lauderdale what a world of difference between the between the "Oil Patch Guys" and the "Yatchies".
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Old January 16, 2018, 10:56   #169
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Hard to do marine testing in Atlanta area. Have to find a port city. Realized had EPIRB endorsement too though it's another one they discontinued. Know it's part of GMDSS I believe but GROL covers basics of EPIRB's. Radar was the most difficult test I have ever taken. Had to know every single part of the system from all the components on the transmitters board and their function/repair, duplexers, wave guides and antenna. Had to have ability to operate, align and repair ship board, land based, aircraft and air traffic control systems with doppler weather thrown in.

It was hard but learned a lot. How I got into repairing used marine radar units then hacking them into ground to air and ground radar. Have a personal ground system that will detect a man moving as slow as one meter per minute out to about a mile. It's a hoot to use for deer killing. Can sit in reloading room and when ground radar pings on movement know just where to look for the vermin. At work am very close to local airport and watching the traffic when playing in radio room and working DX is entertaining. I got really stuck and still have problems but met a retired Navy radar/sonar tech who always finds any gremlins I can't and it's intuitive as wiping his @$$. Doesn't even have to think much, just watches, runs a few tests then patiently explains my issue as helps me get it working.

If SHTF I believe having weather fax, weather radar, ground radar and marine for the huge lake surrounding me will be big help. My ground to air system is only good for low flying local aircraft. Great for helicopters and local VFR Cessna guys. Won't know when the drone strike is coming but that's a good thing.
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Old January 18, 2018, 16:41   #170
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Clearing space for this right now to get on bench, programmed and test to see if want to do the soft key power mod.



Definitely the smallest all band/all mode radio with D Star and all the other digital bling a fellow could want. Stuck in an EMP proof box would be a great end of the world radio to pull out. Decided to pull two runs of LMR 400 up through floor from shack and put in bedroom so do not have to go downstairs to work HF or reach distant repeaters that handietalkies cannot reach.

As to handietalkies, bought a pair of Kenwood tri-band D-Star hand held radios. No Icom D Star H.T.'s have 1.25 meter band. Programed them into edge of proper spectrum of 1.25 meters and running on low power the only people that might could break in on wife & I talking would be another Kenwood D Star owner within half mile of the house. All the Icom users, which are 99% of D Star crowd, are effectively out of the game as well as all Yaesu users. While most people look for the most cross platform ability I look for ways of disappearing from the rest when want and then step out onto a repeater or reflector as needed.

Like our low band VHF Motorola's programmed into MURS band with Motorola digital scrambling boards installed we can talk pretty much totally privately. With the Kenwoods just turn up power and jump into VHF ham bands and have all the contacts you want either standard FM or Digital. Can't do that with our hacked public service Motorola's but can't add scrambler in ham band. 1.25 meter D Star is as close to legal scramble as I have found.
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Old January 19, 2018, 08:56   #171
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Have been upgrading equipment and had a bunch was going to box up and put away as "End of World, better than nothing". One of them is an Icom IC-80 Marine Band radio. Once we're lots of guys inland using marine radios like a private Citizens Band but a little FCC action lessoned that. Living on a 38,000 acre lake with lots of boats having a marine radio is handy but with so many scanners and ham radios that are MARS/CAP/Freeband modified was going to pull it from the home stack and found this article in a last ditch Google search to find a viable use for it.

Easy addition of a discriminator output to Icom ID-80

http://www.discriminator.nl/ic-m80/index-en.html

Realizing it was just a half hour mod to add a "computer" with a isolation circuit between radio and computer to keep stray RF out of computer recommended such as Signalink, RaspberryPi, or homebrew isolation board I have gone through parts boxes and tomorrow the big burly marine radio is going with me to work for a discriminator output which adds all kinds of capability to it.

As looking at older scanners that didn't have digital trunking features or computer ports along with older ham and public service gear to pull thought I might look a bit and see if any could be modified easily with a port for tethering to computer. Here is an article that gives the basics.

http://www.eham.net/articles/13073

Based on particular radio or scanner you might have do some Google searching for "discriminator mods", "computer port mods" or just "mods" with your scanner or older radios model in the search. As I spent the evening doing just this discovered two of my scanners that reach up to 900Mhz and 1.2Ghz can easily add a port to tether to my shack computers along with several dual and mobile radios. Some that are still going into Faraday box storage are going to get ports added for tethering to computer and tested before put away.

Even finding new uses for old radios still need some bench space for new ones but half the ones planned to be put away will now stay out for packet, weather fax, satellite, public service digital trunking and more. So don't give away or retire those old radios with no easy digital uses as a couple bucks in parts and half hours work may bring them to semi modern standards. Below are some frequencies folks might want to print and keep handy if not already programmed into scanners, etc.

National search and rescue frequencies

40.500 US Military joint operations
47.460 National Jeep Search and Rescue
121.500 Civilian ELT/EPIRB / National Air Distress Calling
121.600 US/Canada On-Scene S&R
138.450 Air Rescue Service On-Scene
138.780 Air Rescue Service On-Scene (discrete)
156.300 Merchant ship/USGC Channel 6 On-Scene
156.800 Maritime Channel 16 (Distress/Safety/Calling)
156.750 Maritime Class C EPIRB 15-second homing signal
243.000 Military Aeronautical Emergency
259.000 Air Rescue Operations
381.000 Air Rescue Operations
381.800 USCG Aircraft Working Frequency
406.500 ELT

Civil Air Patrol (CAP)
26.620 AM
121.500 Civilian Aeronautical Emergency/ELT/EPIRB
121.600 ELT Testing
122.900 SAR
123.100 SAR
143.900 SAR (AM/FM)
148.125 Secondary
148.150 Primary
149.925 Packet Data
173.580
282.800 SAR DF/On-Scene Primary

American Red Cross
47.420 47.520
47.460 47.540
47.500
47.42*Primary channel used across the United States by the*Red Cross*for relief operations.

US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
138.225
138.575 142.350
139.450 142.425
139.950 142.450
138.225*This is the prime*disaster relief operations*channel used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; it is active during earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other catastrophic events.

US DOE Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST)
149.220 164.400
150.450 164.475
164.025 164.525
164.100 164.675
164.175 164.700
164.225 164.775
164.375

National Transportation Safety Board
165.750 Channel 1
165.7625 Channel 2
166.175 Channel 3

Nationwide interagency frequencies
155.160 Used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state agencies
154.28: Used for inter-department emergency communications by local fire departments.
155.475 Used for inter-department emergency communications by local and state police forces.
155.175 Emergency Medical Services
155.205 Emergency Medical Services
155.235 Emergency Medical Services

Other National Emergency Frequencies:
34.90 This frequency is used nationwide by the National Guard during emergencies
163.4875 National Guard during emergencies
163.5125: This is the national*disaster preparedness*frequency used jointly by the armed forces.
164.50:*This*is the national communications channel for the*Department of Housing and Urban Development.
168.55:*This is the national channel used by civilian agencies of the federal government for communications during emergencies*and disasters.
243.00:*This channel is used during*military aviation emergencies.
259.70:*This channel is used by the*Space Shuttle*during re-entry and landing.
296.80:*This channel is used by the*Space Shuttle*during re-entry and landing.
311.00:*This is an active in-flight channel used by the US*Air Force.
409.625:*This is the national communications channel for the*Department of State.
165.375: This is the national communications channel for the Secret Service.
167.5625: This is the national communications channel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
415.70: This channel is used nationwide by various federal agencies.
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Old Today, 12:03   #172
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Always has been and currently a lot of discussion on post EMP/SHTF vehicles. While my 1991 and 1993 Dakotas both had first generation OBD/computer engine management my 1997 Ram 4x4 was first with true computer control. I put ham radio, C.B., scanners and more in every truck. It's always a challenge to space and mount UHF/VHF transceiver antennas, C.B., HF ham, scanners and more so one doesn't overload front end of another radio when key down.

It was just a matter of 30 days and main computer totally fried in the 97. Dodge warrantied and a month or so later it died again, replaced and all was fine for several months then smoked third and fourth just a week apart. While didn't tell my stealer/dealer what I figured out it is worth knowing for folks. Had installed my 10/11/12 meter antenna on drivers door rear view mirror just a matter of 16 inches from where computer was mounted to firewall. Bought truck mid summer and both computer failures coincided with 10 meter band openings and was having to turn on HF amp and bump power to 500 watt maximum to get through some pile-ups.

Running 500 watt output right at the computer did not help it at all. Winter came and 10 meters quieted down while driving but following summer opened back up and soon as the 500 watt HF amp started busting 10 meter pile-ups started smoking computers again. Moved the 10 thru 12 meter antenna and put a scanner antenna in its place and never smoked that computer again. So yes, strong RF will smoke modern vehicles and know several truckers that have learned similar lessons about running power. I would guess if output is more than 50 watts at antenna do not want it near a vehicles computer or computers unless computer is shielded and antenna properly grounded and any other precautions can take.

Know guys who have put modified public service mobiles in VHF ham bands into their daily drivers with issues if use full power. Know one guy who if turns his to max power his windshield wipers turn on when key down. Know others who have burned out critical systems based on frequencies, location of transmitter and antennas. If put an HF rig in your late model vehicle just be aware 100 watts of HF can do strange things so test before key down full power at 75 mph on interstate in the rain.
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