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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ramblings on SHTF Ham Radio...

Howdy Folks,

I finally got a little free time today, so I figured I would take on things to do with ham radio wtshtf.

So first lets flesh out the conditions. TSHTF and whatever caused it has pretty much taken out most of the infrastructure (power,communications,utilities) has been destroyed. Governments of the world are either gone or cannot help their people and you and yours are on your own...

1. The Ability to Communicate with Others Over Long Distances

With the internet, phone lines, and cable TV gone you will be in the dark for information. With your ham radio rig, you can reach out to those on the other side of town to communicate with those of your group who are hunkering down there. You can also reach out across your state, country or world to find out what the heck just happened!!! The ability to find out you are not the last family on earth is priceless!

2. The Ability to Setup a Cross Band Repeater to Establish Local Communications

A cross band repeater is a very handy radio. Dual band radios (usually 144/440mhz) sometime have a feature called cross band repeat. This feature helps you extend the range of your HT. I have used this feature to place the cross band radio on a mountaintop so I could talk with my buddies on the other side of the mountain. Since VHF/UHF radios are line of sight, we used the cross band radio to give us coverage to the blind sides of the mountain. Event a 5W cross band capable HT on a mountaintop would greatly increase the range of the HT's/mobiles in the valleys below.

3. The Ability to Talk to a Professional to Talk you Through a Problem

Imagine the scenario that someone in your group has taken ill, you have limited nursing skills. After TSHTF your ham radio guys have setup a national net to provide expertise in skills that groups are lacking. You contact net control and they put you in contact with a doctor that helps your team member survive.

4. The Ability to Send Pictures.

To expound on #3 a picture is worth 1000 words, so instead of the electrician on the national net trying to explain how to wire up a solar panel set, he simply sends you a picture of a wiring diagram. Hams routinely send pics over the air from across the country!

5. The Ability to Send Live Video

ATV or Amateur Television has the ability to send live video across short distances. So TV locally is doable.

6. The Ability to Operate Your Own UAV

With a Radio Controlled Airplane (or ground vehicle) with ATV (Amateur Television) you could have your own UAV that could provide you with intel without sacrificing your groups safety. A UAV could be a definite force multiplier.

7. Have Longer Range Communications Than Those With FRS/GRMS

FRS/GMRS radios do have their uses and will probably be prolific during a SHTF event (barring EMP), but they never operate anywhere close to the range stated on the blister pack. Even a Ham radio HT does not have a range of 27 miles... but a 2m HT will perform much better than those with FRS/GMRS radios! The ability to have communications superiority over those that may wish to do you harm will be an advantage!

8. The Ability to Operate with Odd Splits

Ham Radios have this really cool ability to operate with odd splits. What this means is that instead of transmitting and receiving on let's say 146.150 mhz we transmit on 440.500mhz and the station we are talking to is listening on 440.500mhz. When the station that is listening on 440.500mhz transmits, they transmit on 146.150mhz. This gives anyone listening a hard time following BOTH sides of the conversation unless you know the split. With ANY dual band radio this is possible. Pretty cool.

9. Setup a Packet Radio Network

With packet radio you can establish bulletin boards even send email. The only limits are to how far you can transmit. Even APRS (not using the GPS part) can transmit short messages on a very robust network. The newer D-Star technology has some very cool features with file transfers and video!

10. Having a useful skill

Since you are a ham radio operator, you have a very useful skill as you have already demonstrated that you have a basic knowledge of communications. You may not be able to build a radio from scratch, but you do have a knowledge of communication systems work! This can be a real asset to ANY group.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas of how ham radio can be a benefit to YOU WTSHTF. Get your license so when you need those skills you will have had plenty of time to practice them in a low pressure environment!

Thanks for reading!


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The information presented in this blog are things I know how to do and have training for. To duplicate any information or techniques within is solely at the readers risk and ZombieAxe, ZombieAxe's Ramblings or Google shall not be liable for any advice and information posted within that results in damage/loss of property, injury, loss of limb, or death. By reading this blog you, your family, your heirs and even folks that have not been born yet, have entered into an electronic binding contract to not hold any entity liable (especially ME!) but YOURSELF for any damage/loss of property, injury, loss of limb, or death from reading this blog.

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Zombie Axe