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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 0.030–199.999*2 400.000–470.000*2
Transmit
1.800–1.999 3.500–3.999 5.255–5.405*2
7.000–7.300 10.100–10.150 14.000–14.350
18.068–18.168 21.000–21.450 24.890–24.990
28.000–29.700 50.000–54.000 144.000–148.00
430.000–450.000
*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-239Χ2 (one each for HF/50MHz and VHF/UHF bands, 50Ω)
Operating Temp. range –10°C to +60°C; +14°F to +140°F
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 January 21, 2018, 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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Old January 24, 2018, 13:10   #173
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Was working on a marine radar purchased recently that is super clean and has best resolution plus color of any unit currently own. Doing a Google search about it and marine radar modifications found this document.

Quote:
FPGA-BASED COHERENT DOPPLER PROCESSOR FOR MARINE RADAR APPLICATIONS
Dissertation Submitted to The School of Engineering of the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

May 2016 University of Dayton

The goal of this research is to develop a method for affordable and reliable sampling and
coherent processing of measurement data collected via a modified magnetron oscillator
based marine radar system. Non-coherent low-priced marine radar systems offer limited
surveillance in clutter rich environments as compared to more expensive and complex
coherent solid state radar systems. The approach used herein leverages modern analog to
digital converters (ADC) and field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology to
affordably and effectively sample the radiated and received signals for further analysis
using FFT-based Doppler processing or cross correlation analysis. Track processing of
moving targets is fundamental to any advanced radar and is a further focus of this
research. The marine radar hardware is modified to capture the transmit signal at the
source, and the receive signal at the aperture, for processing via FPGAs. The receive
pulse train is cross-correlated with the transmit pulse train reference to remove the
uncertainties in the phase history of the collected data. This operation ultimately makes
the radar fully coherent on receive. Once the receive signal is made coherent, classical Doppler processing is used to differentiate moving targets from clutter and
electromagnetic interference. A real time system has been built on a board with ADCs,
FPGAs, and a microprocessor. Mixing of the Trbbbbansmit (TX) and the Receive (RX)
signals, Fourier transform analysis, and Pulse Compression are all executed digitally in
the FPGA whereas Doppler Processing is performed on the microprocessor. This paper
presents the underlying principles of cohering signals on receive, and it will show a real-
time implementation of such algorithms using FPGAs.
So now more than just hackers and experimenters have discovered the potential of modifying low priced marine radar and filtering through software for ground tracking systems. What this guy's paper (70 odd pages) describes is what hobbiests have been doing for over a decade. Hacked my first marine radar (purchased on fleabay for $199 and just needed internal fuses and one power trace fixed) in 2009 and was able to get software from a guy on alt.2600 newsgroup which was originally written as open source project on Linux but he compiled it and debugged for use on windows. Basically it takes the source data from radar unit, defines fixed objects over period of time (few minutes) and longer it runs fixed the better it identifies the terrain and objects the radone sweeps.

Once the software learns where every tree, bush, rock, structure, and other fixed objects it learns to either filter and ignore them or can choose to leave some on you display as reference points and give each a name like "big oak tree", "neighbors camper", "thistle patch" and then when objects not defined as part of surrounding landscape move it pings them and tracks movements. It will pick up small deer and people relatively well. Radar currently running with software version thats stable plus radones accuracy allows ability to pick up the movement of a man size object moving as slowly as one meter per minute. If someone is very careful and moves less than a foot every twenty seconds and stay low it can miss them. Like ground hogs and coyote, too small and generally moving to carefully to make it through software filters as a target.

Can bypass computer and it will pick up larger metal boats and cars on the road direct on radars display. It does not pick up fiberglass bass boats or small cars with mostly plastic panels well in straight marine configuration but through software where it has mapped the water of cove behind house and road it is not shadowed from will pick up all cars but all the pings from traffic are annoying.

The new radar am working on is my first true color (non weather which use color) marine unit and lucked out on fleabay buying all the components separately including a very large high definition radone. Now to discuss it with my guys that help on software side and get my former Navy radar/sonar guy to help get it talking to computer, software to recognize it and see if it will increase my sensitivity to catch slower moving objects, especially a person low crawling. I am lucky as have multiple friends now that are way above my pay grade and skill set to help. If left to my own skills would have low odds of pulling anything more than basic repairs off for resale of radar units which does pay well on occasion but does not help me with my perimeter system. If abe to get the new radar "hacked" then will finally have 360° coverage around house.
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Old January 28, 2018, 10:00   #174
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Found a pair of these at under $100 each shipped. Been seeing a lot of the European low band VHF models but first time have seen 136 to 174 Mhz high band models.

Quote:
Icom IC-F31GT VHF Advanced Commercial Handheld with keypad
MIL -810, durable construction.

The IC-F31/F41 series is a range of advanced handportable transceivers, launched by Icom, aimed purely at systems. Incorporating good design and featuring a large capacity for expansion, the new IC-F31/F41 series contains a wide range of built-in features including 256 channel capacity, a 2-line-LCD display, backlit keypad, wide/narrow 25kHz/12.5kHz channels, multiple tone signalling standards, Flash-ROM and high speed PLL. This makes it the ideal transceiver for small systems as well as large, wide area networks.

The strength of the IC-F31/F41 series is its versatility. The IC-F31/F41 is designed on a Flash ROM platform, which enables future system upgrades and future compatibility with other protocols. Featuring state-of-the-art RF technology including a newly designed Fractional-N™ PLL system, the ultra high-speed circuitry provides stable data communications. A new speech compressor (Audio Compander function) provides crystal clear audio under noisy conditions.

The IC-F31/F41 series has a variety of signalling standards built in, including CTCSS, DTCS, 2 Tone, 5 Tone and DTMF. Both encode and decode functions are also built in. ANI (Automatic Number Identification) identifies the unit in use with the appropriate dispatch equipment. Two levels of voice scrambling are available to safeguard your transmissions. You can choose either the UT-109 Simple Inversion module or the more secure UT-110 Rolling Code module.

Included with each radio are a rapid charger, belt clip, comprehensive handbook and a NI-MH rechargeable battery (which is designed for 10 hours operation). To give added confidence each model has a 2-year warranty (excluding battery). A comprehensive list of accessories is also available.

4 versions available
IC-F31GT VHF transceiver, 5W, with keypad
Found a pair of these today at $69 each with free shipping. Stinking $500 each radios. Lucked out and got the high band VHF models in 136 to 174 Mhz range, fully programmable.

Quote:
Whether you are a large-scale construction site, warehouse, hospital or shopping centre, the new IC-F34G/F44G series provides the built-in flexibility to handle your communication needs. Offering advanced features including a wide frequency range, multiple signalling and loud audio, the IC-F34G/F44G series is a rugged and reliable 2-way communications tool.

IC-F34GT VHF transceiver, 5W, with keypad
Lithium-Ion battery pack and rapid charger as standard*
The IC-F34G/F44G series is supplied with the BP-231 Li-Ion battery pack and BC-160 desktop rapid charger as standard. An optional BP-232 larger capacity battery pack and BP-230 economical battery packs are also available. Lithium-Ion batteries provide larger capacity and a longer operating time than a Ni-Cd or Ni-MH battery pack and allow flexible charging without memory effect.*

Small and lightweight body*
The IC-F34G/F44G series weighs just 300g and measures only 53x120x32.5mm. The aluminium die-cast chassis and polycarbonate casing combination meets MIL Specifications and has been designed for durability. A rugged dual-rail guide securely locks the battery to the back of the radio.*

Alphanumeric LCD*
The series incorporates an 8-character 14 segment alphanumeric LCD. An automatic LCD backlight is employed for night-time operation.*

Multi 2-tone/5-tone function built-in*
The IC-F34G/F44G series has built-in 2-Tone, 5-Tone, CTCSS and DTCS signalling for group communication or selective calling. The IC-F34G/F44G series can decode ten 2-tone codes or eight 5-tone codes on a channel. When a matched tone is received, various actions are programmable for each code (E.g. answer back calls, beep sounds, bell icon, stun/kill, auto transmission, external out etc.)*

256 memory channels and rotary channel knob*
The IC-F34G/F44G series has maximum 256 programmable channels with 16 banks. With a simple rotation of the rotary channel knob, memory channel can be selected.*

Programmable functions*
Up to 8 programmable buttons, [P0]‘V[P3], [„°], [„²], [Monitor] and [Red button] can be assigned with additional functions to meet a variety of requirements.*

Built in Voice scrambler*
The IC-F34G/F44G series has a built-in inversion type voice scrambler as standard. By installing an optional voice scrambler unit, UT-109 or UT-110, more secure communication can be possible.*

BIIS 1200 compatible
The following selective calling and data features are available with the built-in BIIS system.*

32 abbreviated call memories7 group IDs24-status MessagesSend 8-character SDM (Short Data Message)Receive up to 95 characters of free text
Both models are mostly compatabile with each other. Both are Milspec 810 plus Milspec shock rated A, B, C, D and E. They go into ham and business bands and easy to program tones. Best part are the 34's have built in basic scramble boards and both models accept either of the new Icom advanced voice scrambling boards. Bought a pair of the 4 meter low band models recently that are European legal for hams only but they cover a huge slice of military and dot gov frequencies. Excuse for them is possible need for MARS interoperability. These high band VHF models are all very advanced, new in box and able to find them cheap if patient. Right now they swing from $200 to $349 on fleabay but at under $100 each new in box buying all I can. Program into standard ham bands mostly but add some frequencies near band edges and if SHTF can turn them all to advanced voice scrambling mode and even can piperform through repeaters if need with utter privacy.

Yes, I know Part 97 says no disguised transmissions but it also says during a declared emergency all rules are off and why I know so many guys with above legal limit amps. Helped a friend get a 10,000 watt modular amp up. Has a rack that accepts 2,000 watt modules and can run on however many put in rack or just a few. With any single module by time power is lost in wire, matching systems and connectors he is right on 1,500 PEP with any single module.

Have a friend that has a setup where uses two matching phased antennas and when keys down his over legal limit amp it sends about 1,350 watts to each antenna. An OO and FCC regulatory person was asked if this was legal or illegal and neither had an answer. Rules say no more than 1,500 watts PEP at antenna. Neither antenna is transmitting over 1,500 but carrying same input signal whether digital or phone. Right now the guy with 10,000 total watts just uses a single module at time (except for testing into dummy load which had a QSO dumping power into dummy load when a station came back with signal report)

Suggested to him to do like a broadcast television stick I removed some ham repeater gear from. Set up a dedicated tower then put four HF vertical antennas using a matched phasing harness then pour 1,500 watts into each antenna and see if we can make it work without them creating some odd harmonic or feeding into each other. Phasing antennas is relatively straight forward and till get a definate ruling that 1,500 watts PEP into multiple antennas if wanted to bust a pile up for a contact needed four verticals blasting 1,500 watts simultaneously might just get the job done, be omnidirectional and no rotator needed. Guy has a lot more in his Earth-Moon-Earth antenna than this would cost and four 2 meter beams phased together in VHF for bouncing signals off the moon. What he has in 1,500 watt VHF amp plus the antenna array and four axis rotator makes cost of such an experiment look like an evenings bar tab.

Was going to try EME but only place an EME antenna array would work on the Ponderosa is the front yard and at work in middle of parking lot. Wife does not want an EME array in front yard but finally have permission to put a tower in front of house. From handie talkies at a half watt to monster ssytems find it all interesting.
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Old February 11, 2018, 16:51   #175
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Been playing with a "new to me" wide band receiver today and different antennas. Just for grins tuned down around 90 Khz and was swapping from long wire to discone, moxon, loop and other odd antennas. Imagine my suprise when I started getting some sort of slow speed data definately transmitted with a purpose. Was not some random noise or such but appeared to be long path ground wave transmission.

I know the Navy uses this frequency range for ships to send messages to subs at shallow depths to about 200 meters, arctic stations (comms with submarines under ice caps), etc. For worldwide underwater they usually go to much lower frequencies that penetrate ground and water, not ground path to my knowledge. Looking at on screen looked like the signal on an occilisope when looking at a square wave DC to AC power inverter but the length of each rise and fall varied and was not repetitive in length like the traditional comb look of a square wave inverter.

My guess is some form of slow speed data but just got this receiver last week and today was first time sat down and played with it seriously as raining too much to do anything else. At one point contemplated it being part of something generated by the weather but longer watched it could tell was being keyed pretty specifically then suddenly just quit. Was not SkyKing transmission as too low frequeny. Whoever owned this receiver before me unlocked it totally. It did not drop out anywhere between its 40 Khz to 3,150 Mhz range including cellular or was an export/dot gov model that got loose in the wild. Has an add on module that allows it to decode P25, D-Star, C4FM and more. For sure this receiver does more than I will be figuring out quickly but is going to be a lot of fun.
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Old February 16, 2018, 17:49   #176
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For those of you that tried D-Star and programming repeaters, call sign, reflectors, making it all work and gave up the new radios make it super easy. Have a guy that soon as new radio comes out buys it and sells whatever it replaced. Icom just released the IC-51A Plus he bought a pair and now I own his Icom IC-51A's. Talk about easy, was able to program my call sign, find all the local repeaters and save them to a memory bank and choose reflectors without opening the manual or tethering to a computer.

Recently purchased an IC-7100 all mode all band HF/VHF/UHF with D-Star and with a Nifty Guide was able to get it running but programming with computer was better. Sure the IC-51A's will be easier to leverage all the features with software but first time I set up a D-Star H.T. without a computer or manual. Can't wait for the next evolution so I can get my hands on his IC-51A Plus models. So if the effort of programming the radio was death knell of D-Star for you the newer radios are taking all the work out of it.
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Old February 21, 2018, 18:35   #177
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So I purchased the Icom ID--51A's totally ignorant as to specs as guy came from always sells me great radios cheaper than can buy anywhere else. Basically soon as a new model comes out he buys it and passes off the previous. He always buys handietalkies in pairs and all his radios are usually Icom or Kenwood. So he said he had misplaced the programming disks but was available for download for free on Icom website. Used to always having to buy RT Systems software on top of price for radio. Well he didn't mislead me and the programming software was available for free and he did at least have the cables.

While on Icom's website downloading software was also downloading the manuals into my computers, phones and tablets. Also was reading specs for radios knowing he had already done the MARS/CAP freehand mods saving me the risk of killing them and darn if didn't discover Icom supplies nationwide repeater lost with software but most important discovered they are IPX7 rated for 30 minutes submersion up to a meter. If drop my H.T. in deeper than three feet of water or leave it for more than a half hour it should die unless built for dot mil special operations units. These were the easiest to program D-STAR radios ever tried, programmed basics into one without software or owners manual. They have such wide band TX with freehand mod and so water and dust proof decided to see if able to find another.

Started looking on fleabay and have purchased two thus far. Already owned a few ID-80's and ID-91's with D-STAR but the 51A's rock. Can't wait for the 51A Plus to be replaced but in watching fleabay have discovered can by 51A's cheaper than IC-80's and IC-91's. Can't figure out why but their $75 to $100 each less expensive than the old models and lots of folks are already upgrading to the Plus models. Now have four IC-51A's and happy as can be with all. Soon as find more get them programmed and put in vests or bug out bags. My goal now is a half dozen so my two primary packs, three primary vests and wife's primary vest will all have freebanded D-STAR radios. Wondering how long the Plus will remain the new kid and if should keep picking up non Plus models till all kits have them. If SHTF having same radio for all who show up to the party plus having a dedicated data port along with microphone, ear phone and power ports make it super slick. If looking for a good H.T. these lightly used 51A's are best H.T. for the money have ever used unless they start dying early on me. Darn pleased and they transmit great. Take D-STAR outside of the ham spectrum on low power and have a relatively secure radio. Not as secure as my rolling algorithm digitally scrambled units but still a good compromise.
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Old March 18, 2018, 11:36   #178
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Most applicable thread to post decided to put here rather than start new thread. For all my high ear MICH ballistic helmets like to use Sordin or 3M headsets that attach to minimum of two radios, radio and cell phone, radio and scanner, etc. Set up so both feed in, mic feeds to whichever push PTT button and slick as can be otherwise special ops wouldn't use them. Have four helmets with this setup (two older generation and two current issue) but at $500 plus used on fleabay based on condition and military connectors have to adapt as do not want to cut them doubt will have anymore than what already own. By time purchase headset, throat mic, splitter for multiple devices and your a thousand dollar bill in headset.

Been experimenting with some of the newer "Game Ear" Walker headsets with Bluetooth and have a pair in truck always right behind console so can grab fast. Turn on, press link button and links with any devices it's paired to. Yesterday was working and started hearing weird echo from a D Star handitalkie was using to monitor extra D Star repeaters as rode around working. Gave me ability to listen to four digital repeaters at same time without having main rig in scan mode. Could not figure out the echo till saw phone light up, hit answer button and could not hear anything though new call was connected then barely heard wife real low from behind console. Had somehow failed to totally turn off my Walker headset when stopped for a shooting break.

The Walker headset had linked to my D Star H.T. and phone and the quad mics were inputting my voice to phone so wife could hear me fine. The "Game Ear" series am using are slim profile, have four microphones and will amplify sound around you seven times so can hear a turtle fart while gunshots are reduced 27db which is comfy. Thus can be shooting, hear all going on around you even if half deaf like me, phone can ring and can listen and talk like it's on speaker even if sitting in the range bag. Fact it pairs with multiple devices is super cool and totally wireless. Now that they have proved themselves through two generations next generation going to buy several sets and mount to N Rails on my other high ear helmets, pair to my phone and other devices so whatever radio(s) or scanners have on me along with phone will link to headset, give me full hearing around me and all without connecting or getting tangled in wires.

Don't believe their as durable or secure as a Sordin with wires and throat mic and still have to press a PTT for radio but at under $200 for top line model compared to a grand for used milspec headset. Have to speak a bit louder for mics to pick up voice over a throat mic but eventually will build in a port for throat mic, have adjustible gain for front mics or something and bet we see military going to a very similar wireless headset. If like to be able to answer phone or listen to local repeater when shooting try a pair, can get into the Bluetooth enabled as low as $99 on sale occasionally.
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Old March 18, 2018, 16:20   #179
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Just found myself in area where phone said no networks available. Didn't even give me the option of turning on roaming and pinging a Verizon or Sprint tower. For grins fired up my Verizon phone and got same message. Dear ached down, plugged up my Wilson cell phone booster and A,T&T phone went immediately to bouncing between two and three bars in my hand, Verizon phone was steady two bars. Dropped Ma Bell phone into the Wilson cell booster cradle and it went to four full bars steady as a rock. Not bottom of line unit but only one or two models from bottom of Wilson's cell booster line.

We have discussed the Wilson boosters in the past but it's been a while so since I needed it today thought would mention so folks that may have missed the previous mentions might try to Google "Wilson cell booster" if ever have weak signal issues on the road or at a particular location. I did fire up my mini repeater as a demonstration for an emergency service agency do volunteer work for in an area of their building known for zero phone service. We're five people in meeting and everyone's phones went from no signal to three bars with all being able to pull up and use the internet at same time. While I used the mini repeater/booster for a GEMA drill they participated in about five years ago it's a new crew of employees and have to reacclimate each new rotation to what ham radio operators and high tech red necks can do for them.

Sure is nice to know that when drop the phone in the cradle which bumps it from 1/3 watt to three watts and pushes the signal through an external antenna with much more gain than internal antenna shielded by cab of truck that phone goes from no bars to almost full bars. Of course the VHF still had full quieting into local repeaters, had D Star connection also and the HF rig had fair amount of 20 and 75 meter chatter going. Would hate to lose comms totally.
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Old October 13, 2018, 10:57   #180
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Just received a pair of ICOM UT-114 DIGITAL UNIT With voice scrambler for IC-2200H mobile radios. These are the 65 watt 2 meter mobiles of which I own four due to extreme durability and actual 73 to 75 watt power output straight from the box. Can turn up power and set modulation if want but they work so well I don't fool with but adding D-Star boards to two of them. Cool thing is these are for the Euro models and have two Euro 2200's.

They are also compatible with my Euro model 2 meter H.T.'s have been collecting for some time that have slots for upgrade boards already loaded with scramble boards. So now have four 5 watt 2 meter H.T.'s and two 75 watt mobiles all with rolling algorithm government level scramble boards in my Faraday boxes. If EMP or other total SHTF event happens can run a full power radio in the shack, another in other part of house or other structure and have all four H.T.'s for field use. Still looking as find the $500 retail Euro model H.T.'s for under $100 NIB often enough.

Goal now is a minimum of six H.T.'s with the two full power mobiles could make into a set of repeaters if wanted but if able to have shack with all other situational awareness tools talking to upstairs observation post and six operators all running military grade encryption will not have to worry about opposing force listening to traffic. Finding two bargain sources on NIB Euro Icom radios has really beefed up the comms around the Ponderosa.
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