Radio Communication When Off Grid

Discussion in 'Going Off The Grid' started by theboyscout, Mar 31, 2020.

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  1. theboyscout

    theboyscout New Member
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    I figure if off grid or in most situation you may want a way to hear what's going on around you. What is the most versatile radio you keep or multiple radios you keep with you? Ham, am, fm, cb. One for it all or one of each kind.
     
  2. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Boy Scout,

    First, a welcome to the Forum.

    Presuming "off grid" means the area or nation is off grid and not an individual Prepper way out in the sticks,...coupled to "most situations";

    My view, as a non-commo knowledge Prepper, is the portable shortwave radio receiver. Short wave gets through when other methods are closed down. Always on me is a Grundig AM-FM-SW smallest model radio. Uses 2 each AAA batteries.

    Transmitting here on this new-fangled telegraph key from the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.
     
  3. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    Agree with Pragmatist...in the shortwave radio...preferably portable with a AC power adapter and a good stock of batteries.

    I explained this to some people interested in prepping about a month ago.

    What a shortwave receiver does is give you both short range and also long range reception.

    The regular AM/FM bands will give you short range reception news and informations.

    However be aware that in the evenings...AM radio can go long range as well. It is not unusual to hear farm belt stations out in the corn belt of Iowa reaching all the way here to the Chesapeake Bay at night. They often crank up the power after a certain time of the night.

    The short wave bands can give you long range reception...anything from within the USA to foreign broadcast stations throughout the world. Mind you now...foreign stations often broadcast in their native language and on occasion transmit in English then return back to their native language.

    I have the Grundig FR 200 radio...

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000083CUA?tag=duckduckgo-d-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1

    I also have the Tecsun PL660 radio with SSB capabilities...Single Side Band reception. I have several of these including in a locker at work...and a roll up external antenna for better reception.

    https://www.amazon.com/Tecsun-PL-660-Portable-Shortwave-Single/dp/B004H9C4JK

    This radio has the ability to tune in Single Side Band or what is sometimes called SSB transmissions. This is not found on most short wave radios and I specifically sought this out.
    The Grundig FR 200 is not a Single Sideband receiver...hence later ..I switched to the Tecsun model PL 660.

    Often Ham radio people are a wealth of information about what is going on around the country ...and sometimes events not on the regular news and information sources. Most Hams on the long range bands use mostly Single Sideband mode.

    But Pragmatist is correct in his choice of a short wave receiver....well said.

    Hope this helps....and welcome to the Forum.

    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
  4. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    I'm a scanner enthusiast and with it I can monitor the P25 digital public safety system along with anything that transmits on 25-1300 MHz being CB, ham radio, GMRS, MURS, etc.

    A shortwave radio is also great and I'd have that in addition to a good scanner.

    For me personally, I also have a crystal radio in case the proverbial shit really does hit the fan with no power. So I can connect its antenna wire to a longer wire outside and tune in stations that do have power. Whether that be locally or internationally. I bought the crystal radio on eBay.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
  5. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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  6. varuna

    varuna Tree killer & a cat person
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    Its depend solely in WHERE you live. Every place / region have their own condition that is NOT applicable elsewhere. There is no such thing as one-size-fit-all solution. Your best option is to ask another (preferably someone whose in the business related to teleco industry) who also live in the same region as you do.
     
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  7. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    Agree...with Varuna….one size will not fit all in comms.

    I am also not sure a SDR rig is a good idea being dependent on a computer network in SHTF or such.

    If the computer networks go down or are compromised...you will have little or nothing.

    I have sufficient gear to cover much of the frequency band..short range and long range both.

    The issue is portability..if you have to bug out. You will have do decide for yourself what and or how much of this gear will make do. How much you know about how to use it.

    Thanks,
    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
  8. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    An SDR doesn't use a network. Unless you want to pipe audio over the Internet. You can also use a SDR with a Smartphone with the right cable adapter and driver/App. But it really consumes the battery. I have two backup portable battery charging devices for my phone in case there's no power. After that, well, I guess cellphones are not needed.

    Keep in mind all radios use power as well. You want to prepare for that with a dual fuel usage Honda home generator. Preferably one that can use natural gas and diesel but I don't think those exist. Probably natural gas and propane.
     
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  9. varuna

    varuna Tree killer & a cat person
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    I even wish there is portable generator that powered by micro turbine thus fueled by either kerosene or Jet-A1, that way I could simplified my expedition logistic by using single fuel for all (power, cooking, and fueling drone)
     
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  10. poltiregist

    poltiregist Master Survivalist
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    I am new to the short wave radio club . However I am already bugged in at an isolated mountain retreat with no plan of bugging out so size and portability doesn't factor into my plans . So full size short wave system with an homemade external antenna strung between trees allows me to pick up around the globe . I had thought about a ham radio but frankly I don't want to hear someone begging me for help when S.H.T.F. My system is set up to operate on solar panels . As of this time my retreat is a quadruple hybrid system using the power grid , wood , propane and solar power . So as long as there is anywhere on the planet with a transmission capability to be picked up by shortwave I have the potential to monitor their broadcasts . My son living on the same retreat is also quadruple powered with a short wave radio and is actually selling power into the power grid . Depending on the weather on how much power he generates and whether the power company owes him money or if he owes the power company money .
     
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  11. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    Be very careful with the antenna. Lightning could fry it all plus more. They sell lightning arrestors for mains power and something similar for antenna setups. If you could construct a multiple length horizontal dipole cut for certain bands and throw it in the attic you'd be better off on the lightning front. No pun intended. :D

    I'm very paranoid about lightning. My only antenna on the outside is affixed to the side of a gutter about 12' high. When ever lightning rolls in I disconnect the antenna cable, power off all my stuff and unplug it all. Even though most of mains power here is buried, lightning has a very uncanny way of traveling in the most peculiar paths. Even if it hits and splatters on your roof. It can find its way through your electrical lines. And if you use a cell phone or cordless phone it can hit you in the house. Particularly near windows and doors. Check this little gadget out. https://www.amazon.com/AcuRite-02020-Portable-Lightning-Detector/dp/B00EO1H3X8

    I own this very unit and it's pretty neat seeing the strikes come closer and closer and at a more rapid rate when the thunderhead is overhead. It's great in that if there are positive charged lighting strikes you can possibly pick those up and since positive charged lightning packs more of a punch than negative charged lightning and can reach out and touch someone for at least 15 miles or more, it's great to know how far the lightning is and when to take shelter or unplug.

    Positive charged lightning hangs out in the tops of clouds, where negative charged lightning hangs out at the bottom of clouds. Most lighting you see is negatively charged. The lightning you see go from one cloud to the next is most likely positive charged.

    It's simple physics. Positive charged ions hang out on top while negative charged ions hang out below.

    Something else. If you start to see the hair rise from your arms or head, watch out. That's a possible step leader ready to make contact up towards the cloud and and instant lightning strike. Lightning that hits the ground goes up, not down. It's just so fast you don't see it. Also, lightning is only about an inch in diameter and I believe three times hotter than the sun. Well, maybe the sun's surface or whatever it is.

    If you're caught in the middle of a thunderstorm, lie flat on the ground.

    Speaking of shortwave radios. Check out a basic analog scanner and program the National weather service and/or storm chaser frequencies. Although, the NWS may be P25 in your area so you'd need a P25 digital capable scanner. By doing this you can stay abreast of weather conditions and in my neck of the woods, tornadoes. Also, a couple powered/battery operated weather radios with SAME (specific Area Messaging) code ability is great to have.

    Tis the season...

    Extra credit: https://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-tutorial-receiving-noaa-weather-satellite-images/

    LNA: Low Noise Amplifier. Can be bought on eBay or Amazon.
     
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  12. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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  13. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Like Watcherchris, I have the Tecsun PL660 radio with SSB capabilities. Even though I am tucked deep in a large valley surrounded by big mountains, I can still easily pick up broadcasts from around the world.
     
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  14. Max rigger

    Max rigger Expert Member
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    All I got is a radio (and old but good one) and a satellite phone and smartphone.
     
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  15. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    dosent seem to be much to listen to or watch these days, its all corona,corona,corona.
    its soooo boring.
     
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  16. watcherchris

    watcherchris Legendary Survivalist
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    yeah...I get tired of all the corona taking up all the space on the bands...too...but eventually I am hoping it will pass...until the next release..


    When I am done with my shortwave antenna at work I roll it back up and store the radio.



    At home...my ham antenna cables are removed from my rigs and attached to several connection points hooked up to a line going to an outside ground rod.

    Bear something in mind here about lightning.....

    Lighting is incredibly powerful...and does not necessarily need a direct hit. Some of it can be absorbed by energy fields if the strike is sufficiently close.....particularly if you have a lot of cable to help absorb the strike....through the the airways...not necessarily direct contact.

    Even my system is not 100 % lightening proof in a very powerful close in strike..

    Mother Nature can be a very tough rough you know what...………. errrrrr...I mean...Mistress.!!


    Watcherchris
    Not an Ishmaelite.
     
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  17. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    off grid is one thing, but post SHTF will anyone be transmitting and will anyone be able to receive it? all the official stuff even if it works will either be just emergency services stuff or garbage for the masses, I certainly wont be communicating with anyone once it all goes down/up.
     
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  18. Overwatch

    Overwatch Expert Member
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    Very accurate. If you channel the water from a rain gutter as far away from a house as possible is best. Being a good american means having a well grounded flag pole 50 ft from the house. A proteted house is well insulated. Ground wires become hot in a storm. You are very correct to disconnect the radio. even unplug it. A strike can fry a house 100 yard away if the ground is a good conductor. Having lightning pols in sand is good. The energy turns the sand to glass. thus the energy is expended in heat.
     
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