Hf Radio Communication With My Friend

Discussion in 'Other Advanced Survival Skills' started by watcherchris, Dec 9, 2017.

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  1. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    Somewhere between 8 and 9 pm tonight (EST) I hope to be on the 75 meter band at 3947khz....Lower Side Band on the Virginia Phone Net.

    My friend out in Tennessee checks in there and I hope to hear him. Once the net is over...I hope to move down the band to somewhere around the Extra portion of the band because it is much more quiet down there..not as crowded. We can talk there without a many people coming in and out. Around 3610 kHz...again on Lower Side Band..or so...

    We have this system in place...for our use and communication....and to try to get away from cellphone and land line both.

    Conditions allowing....the distance is about 400 miles between my place and his. We have been running between 100 and down as low as 30 watts...according to conditions. Usually what is in our radios...

    But if conditions get rough I can run up to 800 watts an he about 1200 watts. Usually I run no more than about 200 watts if it is needed. Particularly in the summer when sunspot activity causes a lot of static or static crashes...higher natural noise levels. In the winter the noise levels tend to drop and the bands become more quiet.

    Nonetheless..I hope to be there later tonight.


    Thanks,
    Watcherchris.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  2. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    As of yesterday ...my friend out in Tennessee and I have found a daytime frequency which seems to work well for us.

    Until yesterday we had difficulty in the day time and chose mostly to operate at night on the 75 meter band to cover the 400 mile or so between his place an mine. Around Johnson City, Tennessee to here in the Tidewater, Virginia area.

    We have found a spot in the Extra portion of the 40 meter band to work during the daytime and it was between 1pm and 2 pm yesterday when we worked this out.

    Glad to have discovered this aspect of the band during the day time should we need to so establish non hard line and non cell phone communications at some point in the future.
    75 meters works excellent at night but not well in the daytime.

    We are also going to try some work on 60 meters in the 5 MHZ band but not sure it will work as well as 40 meters. We shall see.


    Thanks,
    Watcherchris.
     
  3. Mr Boots

    Mr Boots Expert Member
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    @watcherchris
    Hi I am just wondering what set up you use
    I know very little about ham radios apart from needing a licence and no where in ireland is 400 miles apart
    I am interested in getting a good communication set up here but there is a lot to choose from all claiming to what i need what you you recommend
    Still prefer face to face but a faster way for emergency use will be handy
    Hope all is well
     
  4. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    Mr Boots,

    My set up is a Icom 706 Mk II G radio and a length of 12 gauge 500 feet of black insulated wire from a hardware store.
    This 500 foot length of wire is tossed over the tops of my trees in this yard into what would be considered a Loop antenna configuration ...a triangle loop. It works well in the manner we use our communications. It is up in the air between some 65 to 80 feet in places and trees around this property.

    With this antenna I can work from 160 meters through 6 meters using a tuner.

    I also have another radio..an older Yaesu FT 890 hooked up to an Ameritron 811H amplifier capable of some 800 watts PEP..but seldom run it and only about 200 to 300 watts maximum. Mostly we run 100 watts from our radios or less. Only as much as we need to make the connection.

    We both have Extra class frequency privileges which allows us to use frequencies in the less crowded and thus quieter portion of the band. By this..it also makes our communications better in the more quiet unused portion of the frequency band.

    It has taken me a number of years to get this equipment piece by piece..plan by plan...

    This is my working condition here in Virginia. Hope this helps you in some way.

    Thanks ,

    Watcherchris.
     
  5. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Waterchris i feel if you upgraded to a better anntena your troubles would improve ihave my setup on two old tv towers put together id say 50ft high with a single mast and a set of beams my beams are hooked to a rotor from a old tv system once contactis made i turn beam to lock in better i have a old kirkwood and a lineneare amp i use to talk all over the world
     
  6. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    You are correct about a better antenna Tom Williams. However ...at our ages we decided against the bravado of climbing a tower and decided it is for the younger people. Oh we are not afraid of heights..., having worked high up on these aircraft carriers...but time is telling on us and we have decided to make things more simple.

    Now I hoist up my antenna wire through the trees using a stiff boat type fishing pole..and a 3 oz lead sinker to pull back some 1/8 inch nylon rope from Lowes or Home Depot up into the tops of these trees. Then I use this rope to pull the wire through the tops of the trees. It took some time and numerous attempts and modifications with pulleys to get it worked out but I think I about have it now.

    Now my friend out in Tennessee works his system out with some kind of air cannon made from PVC pipe. But he too has decided to forego the use of a tower and for similar reasons. High trees are even more plentiful where he is at back in the sticks....in the mountains and he has chosen to make good use of them.

    But overall you are correct about a more efficient antenna.

    My back up HF antenna is a G5RV and it is the antenna I take with me to the Mountains here in Virginia and wherein we rent a cabin...I take the same Icom 706 MK II G radio and a tuner. The G5RV antenna seems to be about a simple as one can get in quick antennas and I was able to catch him every night on HF...75 meters...though the cabin was closer than this QTH here on the coast.

    Hope to be able to catch up with my friend later tonight and again on 75 meters.

    Thanks,
    Watcherchris.
     
  7. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    We put mine up on the farm with a tractor and help from the local high school football team i was in my 40s at the time the boys were a big help
     
  8. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    I took my ham test as a young teenager in the early 60s i was part of the civil air patrol and a boy scout. My old radio with tubes still works my kirkwood was a state of the art new transitor set made in 68 was5dollar yard sale find by my mrs in the 70s we used mars stations and it to talk while i was stationed in nam and japan. My old units get frequencys that it shouldnt now so i listen to things alot i work for sherifs dept so i monitor state police local olice and game comission bands so i know when my dog and iare needed to hunt for lost people my moble units are top of the line allso so im very well infromed as too local happenings
     
  9. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    Its good to have help with strong arms and backs. Using the tractor is a great way to do the heavy work.



    Wow!! Earl y 1960s. You've been around the block more than a few times and seen a lot of technology come and go.


    I took the test for novice and tech the first time around...Then later ...general and advanced also in the same session.

    But the Extra class got a bit more complex in the material to be learned.

    It was my friend in Tennessee who decided the Extra portion of the band was the way to go and not get tied up in a lot of interference from other stations. So he too got his Extra class as did his bride.

    The code at 20 WPM was the sticking point for me. I just realized that I needed to buckle up and study extra hard on the code.

    I failed the 13 WPM the first time around..I was determined not to repeat that again.

    I keep a shortwave set in my daily BOB with a BFO tuner in it and when I have time I still copy CW to keep up my skills. I've been around when a lot of high tech goes south and know you need be able to do it the olde fashioned way when this happens. Hence I never gave up on CW...no matter how much tech with which they like to bring out.

    Code never came naturally to me as it does to some..so I found myself working on it and trying to keep it up. I swear Tom Williams...some of the guys out there are just greased lightening with a key.

    But over the long run getting my ticket was a good thing. I still monitor the shortwave bands..either on my portable battery receiver or my HF rig. That is how I started out all those years ago...a yard sale shortwave set.

    Oh..and my VHF/UHF antenna is a J pole fed by LMR 400 coaxial cable up about 60 feet also in a tree and hoisted up there again with a fishing pole and that nylon line.

    The old timers who taught me...gave me these plans by which to fabricate my own J pole

    http://rberger.com/radio/Dual_band_J-Pole/J-Pole_construction_plans_for_the_model.htm

    It is still amazing to me what some of these olde timers know to do with a rig and antenna.


    Thanks and 73 to you and your house,

    Watcherchris
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  10. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Those speed demons have a keying system that when you touch the letter it sends that code get use to it its just like texting on a phone thereis allso a box that turns keying into words just as fast
     
  11. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    LOL LOL LOL...goes to show you how far behind I am on the technology.

    So what you are saying is that they have a computer keyboard hooked up to their radio with some kind of interface...and they just type out their message and the computer also works in reverse to receive and bring the message out on the screen/display??

    Nonetheless...I prefer to learn myself on a straight key. I have an Iambic key ..a chrome bencher but never learned to get used to it. I still use a simple manual or straight key. I just know not to get too spoiled by technology to where I cannot function without it.

    Thanks for that information.

    Watcherchris
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  12. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    My keys are on a hand held mike small compact my boxfor recieve came from radio shack both many years old now
     
  13. Mr Boots

    Mr Boots Expert Member
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    Is there any books or YouTube channels anyone would recommend for a beginner to learn
     
  14. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Old scout manuel from 50s has it in local libary may have a chart to copy. Look for a local group to learn with you must learn to key and pass test freehand no coders for test
     
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  15. Mr Boots

    Mr Boots Expert Member
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    @Tom Williams
    Thanks for help do you know the iban for the scout book as scouting only really started here in ireland in 2004
    The groups of people running around and camping in the wood in the 50s were a more ........... tactical in their group activities not the cookies type
     
  16. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Mr boots got a coastal port near you search old sea shops the wireless was used by ships somewhere in a shop they will have a chart if online somewhere in the mass of info you will find a chart you will need someone to help you learn a small basic room to room system they send you read and respond do not send over air signal till after you has mastered at least 20wpm and then only weak low band. Short distant signal cb band works well for this just use low use chanels do not use 9 as this is a emergency only band only after test is passed and you have number can you broadcast on the bands it will take awhile to make contacts and they respond
     
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  17. Mr Boots

    Mr Boots Expert Member
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    Thanks tom I would never have thought of that
    A good mate of mine is from coast (galway) his family comes from a long line of sea fishermen he dad still fishes and builds currachs i get him to hav a look when he goes home for Christmas
    I was think of getting a pair of baofeng gt-5tp or something similar to start off and practice have you used that brand before
     
  18. watcherchris

    watcherchris Expert Member
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    Mr. Boots,

    I started out with buying the Baofeng UV 5r series of walkie talkies. They have made improvements to them over the years.
    One area of improvement is a better factory antenna on them.

    https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5...TF8&qid=1514054422&sr=1-3&keywords=uv5r+radio

    I moved up to the BF F 8 HP radio...the 8 watt version

    https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-BF-F...8&qid=1514054301&sr=1-1&keywords=bff8hp+radio

    One reason I chose these radios is that the battery is common to both models. In particular the extended high capacity battery...

    https://www.amazon.com/EBL-3800mAh-...rd_wg=mlgtE&psc=1&refRID=D7QJN3BCHEKKMKJAYJH3

    This meaning I can use this larger capacity extended battery with my older 5 watt Baofeng UV 5 R radios as well as the newer Baofeng BF F 8HP radio.

    If you go with a certain kind of radio you should take into consideration that the batteries are compatable with a closere model.

    I do not believe the UV 5 r radio batteries or the BF F 8HP batteries are compatible with the newer model Baofeng gt-5tp radios.

    I offer this piece of information for your long range consideration.

    I do this with my portable shortwave set....so that it uses the same AA type batteries as my mag lite flashlight. IT is a hassle having to keep properly sorted...different types of batteries which are not interchangeable in applications. That is the idea...battery interchangeability.

    Thanks and good luck working out your radio types, The Baofeng radios are a good working radio for the price for which they are sold.

    I've had them for years now and have been satisfied with them for the monies spent. I keep about seven of them around here ....in my various BOBs and at home.


    Watcherchris
     
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