SHTF situation, when would communications take place?

Started by gil, September 18, 2012, 06:49:01 PM

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Assuming a SHTF/WROL situation, when would people use their radios to get information on HF bands? At night? During the day? What about a party relocating on foot? There would be so much to do then and so much confusion, there might not be much time to even use a radio...

You guys who go hiking, packing a radio, when did you find yourself using it?
If you had to care more about safety, would that change your timing?

When on the move, I am assuming radio operations would have to be during periods of rest...
Would that be during the day, or at night?




These guys have a schedule, who knows if anyone is paying attention though:   This guy has a slightly different one: 

Personally, I'm thinking the top and bottom of the hour would be best, especially if battery power was a concern or you didn't have time to sit in the shack and DX for hours. For a pre-arranged QSO (QRX?), anytime but then probably.



My son and I put together a 10 foot mast made out of 2 5' sections of 1 1/4" schedule 40 PVC, and a couple of T's. We used 550 chord for the guys. The idea is a lightweight, modular and mobile platform that can be carried in a vehicle or on a ruck for my HV7A when it gets here. I was thining of using a lightweight camera tripod, or one made out of PVC, but it didn't seem like it would hold up well.

I might cut it down to 3 3' sections of PVC to aid in stowability, because right now it won't even fit in my trunk, and barely in the back seat. Now I just need a battery and a way to charge it.

Jonas Parker

Quote from: Frosty on September 18, 2012, 08:41:23 PM
These guys have a schedule, who knows if anyone is paying attention though:   This guy has a slightly different one: 

Personally, I'm thinking the top and bottom of the hour would be best, especially if battery power was a concern or you didn't have time to sit in the shack and DX for hours. For a pre-arranged QSO (QRX?), anytime but then probably.

It would be a good idea to print out those links...


September 21, 2012, 10:11:15 PM #5 Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 03:48:25 PM by RadioRay
When I was operating out of a rucksack in the United States, I'd make my skeds for the first few hours of sun light.  There are many factors in choosing your time and the first is that for the same frequency, different times of day deliver different distances... but this was for longer range comms from Idaho back to a Buddy in Colorado (1,000 miles):

40 meter - early mornings = longer range:
1.  I am fresh after a night's sleep.
2.  Interference from T-storms is minimal in the morning hours. (more important in the summer and in the south).
3.  The bands were less far crowded in the early morning hours.
4.  Long range night time propagation was still largely happening in the first hour or so after sunrise.

For close in - 0 - 300 miles skeds, I usually made the sked after the lunch break, but before we donned rucks again.  This is because the "NVIS"  (Near Vertical Incident Skywave)  propagation was now better on 40m  because the ionosphere had been charging for several hours - SO I could use 40m and shorter antennas in the noon/early after noon period, to get the same range I'd have on 80m late night/early morning, but the dipole is only HALF the size to use on 40m at thist time of day, so easier to erect in trees and tangling ground cover.  A low dipole, from head high or so, was all that I needed to call friends within the same state.

Antennas were generally a dipole, or if the path had generally good, I could run a a slant wire right out of the top of the antenna coupler with 'ground' (counterpoise) wire along the ground.  However, it takes very little time to put a dipole into the trees at head height and higher.  A rock in a sock tied to a line is about as high tech as that method requires.  For long range comms, I'd make the time put up a HIGH dipole when we made camp in the late afternoon and use it in the morning, then tear down for the hike out.

My dipole wires were wound on chaulk-line reels as found in t hardware stores.  MUCH easier to deploy and recover wire antenas in the tangle of branches and ground cover.  These days I'd use ladder line instead of coax, but at lower frequencies RG-8 mini and even RG-174 on the lower bands works fine.
Another antenna that I hear GOOD thing about is a half wave end fed antenna.  This means only getting one wire into the three.  I have not measured signal strength in an A/B manner between these and a dipole.  However, many, many back country QRP (low power) people are using half wave wires now to reduce weight, time and clutter.  YMMV and I do not know this personally, but the math works as far as I can see it.

Power output was generally 2 Watts on forty meters.  These days I have a fancy KX-1 with four bands and a built-in auto-coupler for using almost anything as an antenna, but the dipole is still first choice due to it's HIGH efficiency.

>de RadioRay ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry



Sounds like 40m is a winner...Well, We'll see after I install my PAR end-fed soon. I haven't been able to successfully get a QSO going.. I tried a lot. The reverse beacon network does pick me up with 6W out, but with low signal. I use a 66ft end-fed strung around the house...



For backwoods use, 80, 60 & 40m are great for 'work' related communications: keeping track of who is where in the multi-State region and etc.  At night, it can go continental and intercontinental on 40m, ( as you know. )

Early mornings are a good time to be tapping code, the radio and wire antenna being the last things to go into the rucksack before hitting the trail.

>RadioRay ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Sounds like a good plan to me.
Amateur Radio Wilderness Protocol & ?LiTZ?
Two simple radio procedures offer a chance to be heard when it is needed the most!
(1) The Wilderness Protocol is a suggestion that stations who are in wilderness areas or in areas not near repeater stations should monitor standard simplex calling channels at specific times in case others have emergency or priority calls. Suggested frequencies include:
● ● ● ● ●
146.520 MHz - Primary Frequency 52.525 MHz - Secondary A 223.500 MHz - Secondary B 446.000 MHz - Secondary C 1294.500 MHz - Secondary D
The idea is to allow hams that are hiking or backpacking in uninhabited areas, or outside of repeater range an alternative opportunity to be heard.
NOTE ? This is NOT just for hikers, backpackers, or similar situations--it is for ANYONE to use at ANYTIME that you need assistance. As a veteran backpacker and traveler, I strongly suggest to all, by monitoring and using these frequencies when repeater coverage is sparse or nonexistent, you could very well save a life (and one that quite possibly could be your own).
(2) LONG TONE ZERO (LiTZ1) The LiTZ signal consists of transmitting DTMF (touch tone) Zero for at least 3 seconds. After sending the LiTZ signal the operator announces by voice the kind of assistance that is needed. Use LiTZ only when your voice calls go unanswered or the people who respond can't help you. Many operators will recognize and respond to the LiTZ signal. You may use LiTZ in conjunction with the Wilderness Protocol.
Recommended Use of the Wilderness Protocol (monitored every 3 hours, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time), and at the top of each hour for 5 minutes, minimum)
? Monitor the Primary frequency (146.520MHz) and any or all of the Secondary Frequencies (52.525, 223.500, 446.00, and 1294.500)
? Monitor Timing - Every 3 hours from 7:00a.m through 10:00p.m. (local time), from the top of the hour until 5 minutes past the hour. (Examples: 7:00-7:05 a.m.; 10:00- 1 0:05 a.m.; 10:00- 10:05 p.m.)
? Alternative Monitor Timing - Five minutes before the hour until 5 minutes past the hour. (Examples: 4:55-5:05p.m.; 10:55-11 :05a.m., etc.)
? Enhanced Monitoring - Fixed stations or portable stations with enough battery power levels are suggested to LISTEN EVERY HOUR. (Obviously continuous monitoring is also an option if applicable.)
? Monitor Scanning - Consider entering- 146.52 MHz, 52.525, 223.5, 446.0 and 1294.5 MHz in to your HT/portable/mobile radio, or extended scanner radio.
NOTE - 146.52 IS A NATIONAL CALLING FREQUENCY--Make your calls, and then move off the calling frequency so others can use the frequency. Suggested frequencies to move to are: 146.55, 146.43, etc.
Compiled by Joseph Wozniak, KD0EFW for use by the St. Louis and Suburban Radio Club and St. Louis County ARES

White Tiger

What a tremendous thread! Thanks for the posts (and I will be PRINTING those links)!
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.