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Messages - RadioRay

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This discussion has the possibility of creating more LIGHT than heat.... This is good.

Perhaps not now, but discussing the prepper scenarios would be good. They can vary depending upon whether it's a camping trip or a total grid down, continental emergency. That being the case, I prefer Morse, for the reasons you've pointed-out: basically - Morse code is the last to die.

1. Power efficiency = TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION for the entire system.

"I just talked to Gil using one Watt digital!"

Output         = 1 Watt
Radio weight = 2.5 pound (FT-817)

With power
supply           = 5 pounds (mine is heavier - it's a ToughBook)
Power           = 25 Watts

Spare batteries, chargeing system ...

This means that your system Size/Weight & Power is at least   26 Watts ( not one ) and at least 7 1/2 pounds.

When driving to a park and setting-up your CHARGED laptop and rig batteries, this is not a problem and a lot of fun. On the move, with little spare time for charging - it's tough.  I've done it. Having the transceiver, and computer ON and monitoring for calls eats a lot of precious battery power.

2. What is the purpose for communicating?  If it's as an 'emergency radio' i/e I am inured and need help, but not a grid down situation - use the cellphone.  If you are going to be out of cell range, do as Gil did; use a SPOT or other Personal Distress Beacon. However, there is no chit-chat with those.  You push the button and the orange helo appears overhead. [ Don't use this for ordering pizza. ;-)  Ont he other hand, if it's to send short messages, whether camping or GRID DOWN, then what is needed? plan and practice, based on needs and abilities.

2.1  Skeds/Roundtable Nets - I tell people: "If you're not talking to them now, you will probably not be talking with them THEN".  Friendships develop this way.

3. Expense - I know more than a few survivalist/preppers who have prepared so well for their families, that it caused a divorce and so they lost their families.  If you spend more time and money on preparing than on family life - you might sacrifice the main reason to be prepared.  Have a life worth surviving, and you'll get the family -vs- emergency preparedness ratio right.
3.1 QRP CW radios can be very inexpensive, compared to their tremendous capabilities. The 10 Watt uBITx CW/SSB transceiver is $109!

4. If it's a GRID DOWN emergency, most computer controlled, pan-adaptor wearing, HIGH POWERED hams will probably be off the air. ( No contests - Woo-Hoo!)  I regularly talk with CW stations on battery power, but the last SSB on battery power I talked with was using a uBITx at ten Watts ;-) Copy was 'weak readable', and would have been easy in Morse. (>13 dB system gain for CW compared to voice.)

5. General information gathering. A separate 'plastic' radio for listening to broadcasts and other monitoring.  A 'plastic radio' serves another purpose: it is great fo non-hams to tune around, listening and keeping their 'claws' off of the ham radio - haha  I have a reasonably effective, HF/MW/FM BC - (AM/FM modes only) radio that is smaller than a deck of cards and has a built-in clock/alarm clock (for skeds). Needless to say, it runs a very long time on 2x AA cells.  Few years ago, it cost about $29 and it's eas easy to operate as any radio can be.
5.1 The next 'plastic radio' up in capability is the CountyComm GP-5 SSB.  A true U/LSB receiver, with FM and AM . It's quite good for monitoring all broadcasts and even SSB/digital ham radio (computer not included ;-)  .  I have used the earphone, placed over the mic input on my laptop and/or cellphone to read PSK & etc.  Mine has MiMH rechargeables in it and is easily recharged (it runs a long time) via the USB port and USB voltage source of my choice.

So - I prefer small, highly portable, and very low power drain for my preparedness radios. I have the next level up - My KX2, but that adds more capability, with the cost of a bit more complexity, and the third level is the mini-camper van with solar panes on top, two deep cycle batteries and true sinewave inverter, incase I NEED to play video games - ha ha. There are plenty of steps in between, including the Pelican , solar rechargeable power station I have, but that's TRANSPORTABLE, not something I'd manpack.  A preppers' portable radio station should not be the size of an airport carry-on luggage, though I've seen worse - - -

73 de RadioRay  ..._  ._

Batteries & Solar / Re: Salvaging old Notebook battery
« on: April 12, 2018, 10:19:31 PM »
This is a very good topic. D'oh!  I just remembered an old, beater laptop that may be in my junk box.  Maybe a weekend project??? (Like I ?NEED another 80% completed project... ha ha)


I did this for decades, in real wilderness while rucksacking in Mountains, deserts and even the Frank Church Wilderness Area and aboard various sailboats: relayed everything from Lat/Long to love notes - worked fine.  [ Forget the rumors, I never actually sent love notes to Gil. . . haha ] Actually it was a bush plane we had arrive at a specific (different) meadow a day early.  No reason to wait for our prearranged pick-up, we were finished shooting the video and tequila & steaks were sounding very good. .  I was in northern Idaho, the ham was in Arizona and the bush pilot was at his airfield in central Idaho.  The ham took the pilot's phone number, name of our party, my lat/long, common name of the meadow and landmark info , called the pilot on the phone and we (I was on crew,  shooting a survival video) received our answer via Morse from Arizona: "maybe tomorrow". (We're kinda laid-back up here in the mountains of Idaho and the bush pilot also had mail to deliver. ) ...  Worked fine.  That was a kit built, 'one band' SW-40+ ( about two Watts) in a lite clamshell case about the size of a paperback book, with a push button on top for a key; antenna was a dipole with RG-174. Passed traffic for two weeks ( 3 =< 20 words messages per night for crew members and my messages abd sked chatter and hobby hamming ) Before that, I did it for the government/military - enciphered - worked fine and lives depended on it.

Gil did this with the SAME shirt pocket and home made transceiver he often used on our 2 year sked from southern Florida to northern Virginia - two years . the camping trip was very reliable for a week straight, including accurately relaying message traffic: it's daily comms.  Oh and, the entire 'comms shack' fit into his cargo pants side pocket and he hiked into place.  Like Gil said - it's no challenge, it's daily comms, but if it can illustrate some useful points, let's be useful.

Let's do the challenge prefaced on a scenario where  Size, Weight and Power consumption matter. Here's a point to begin with. Is your comms gear a minor addition to normal trekking gear? Can you carry it ALL up and over obstacles, across rivers, up mountains? It is small and robust enough to be PART of your gear, not all of it? If not - why not?

1. Entire comms kit to fit inside of a small coffee can, so that it can easily accompany you trekking. (You can cook in the can when it's not in there ;-)

2. 5 Km walk , including a 500m lift and descent (that's only about 1500 feet - simple days hike - really)

"One Band"   So what? 

Just because something is larger, more expensive and heavier does not make it better.

Skills -vs- 'stuff': you choose.

General Discussion / Re: Just got my long promised Yaesu 450AT
« on: April 01, 2018, 03:27:37 PM »
Andy -

That's superb news ! Congratulations on the purchase and it also helps the SK's family as well. 
Who knows, but you and Gil might link-up on the air sometime.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

I heard my first uBITx on the air yesterday.  It was a military radio collectors group that runs USB on forty meters (because mil sets are commonly USB only) . They opened their requiredment to use 'unusual radios' and there was the person calling, weak readable in SSB and entering the net at 7 Watts output.  pretty cool - eh ? In CFw, they would have been VERY loud, in SSB 'weak readable', so no problem.  That's great for an inexpensive, all HF band transceiver at a very reasonable price.

73 de RadioEay  ..._  ._

Military Radios / Re: AN/PRC-64A conversion to 80m band
« on: March 14, 2018, 10:14:15 PM »
I do.  80 meters was a simple matter of adding crystals for TX/RX and peaking the stages per-the manual.  At the time I also crystalled in for the BBC ( long dead on that and most frequencies, these days, I am afraid. ) and use it in AM with great results.  I think I remember I had to mod it for forty meters, but a published spec on one site says it goes to 8 MHz another to only 6 MHz: I believe the '6' is correct. Power is going to require a home brew solution; 24'ish VDC for the transmitter power amplifier and 4.5 (?) for the receiver.   This is from memory and it's bee a long time. Mine came from Oz - surplused out from the very physically fit fellows in Perth ;-)

>RadioRay ..._  ._

Ps. Manuals on-line at this link:

Military Radios / Re: Czech Military RF-10 Radio.
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:42:37 PM »
It's likely wide FM, being a low VHF band, mil set.

General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas!
« on: December 26, 2017, 09:00:32 AM »
And a Merry Christmas to you also, Gil.  This website and your videos have REALLY taken-off :-)  The quality and USEFUL content is very good.  As so me, I finally have a Begali ! (Expedition).  For speeds above 30 wpm, it was tough on  for me using a bug. With the Begali - smoooooth.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: November 03, 2017, 10:00:12 PM »
"What an awful name though" :o

Mooooo- ha ha ha ha!  True

of course, a REAL CONTESTERS mode would just be hardwired to send "5NN" and maybe their call - 20 KHz high - of course.

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:37:36 PM »
For communication, I've found that CONTESTIA 4/250 has a very good resilience -vs- speed and bandwidth. For communication, you rarely if even need the full ASCII set.  Using only uppercase, nimbers and most punctuation, CONTESTIA has a shorter data set (bits per letter) and so sends fewer bits for the same letters. It uses a STRONG FEC like OLIVIA and works well into the noise.  Unlike the 2-way beacon modes, which at first seem great for prepping, there is no timebase needed.  Most of the 'low power' beacon modes use internet clocks or GPS slaving - both of which are questionable in a SHTF situation. I did a full evaluation and the time synch is a major problem - after all, if we HAVE the internet, we'd use the internet.

My 0.02 Euros worth - please adjust for currency devaluation, Brexit & etc.

 de RadioRay ..._  ._

Ps. Remember, for digital QRP,  include the COMPUTER power drain in the power budget calculations. Morse uses no computer, other than the brain.

General Discussion / Extreme EmComm Guide
« on: October 30, 2017, 10:17:22 PM »
This fellow has a lot of useful information and just returned from a successfl, though 'politically frustrating' deployment to Puerto Rice.  Though a relatively new ham, this is noe very switched-ON person.

It just goes to show you that when voice is 'fringe', CW Morse gets through - though this is once of the odder ways to do it.  ha ha

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 29, 2017, 07:39:10 PM »
I did see video footage of the boat and what I saw looked like marine growth along a line near the boot stripe.  That's a common thing to do for people who like to swim (whi I never did, because a human mid-ocean is a "snack", in my eyes...) TO USE A LINE FOR BOTH THAT AND (IF A LARGE LINE) AS A 'FENDER' OF SORTS.The boat did ont appear to be low in the water, which indicates (but does not prove) excess water inside of the hull... 

The mast was basically intact and the 'damage' they reported was on one spreader.  You can sail on several points of sail with one limp spreader OR repair the spreader (the blonDe - amazingly NOT sunburned) said that she built the boat, yet could neither repair nor shorten the standing riggin on that side, NOR sail on a tack to no have that side over stressed.  A sailor could and likely WOULD do that, rather than bobbing for 5 months.

COMMUNICATIONS is still very, very weak in this entire thing.  An HF radio would have done very well.  The Pacific Seafarers net with shore and ocean operators, SOMEONE would have heard from a boat mid-ocean and that close to Hawaii.

"We hit a Force 11 Storm (right out of Hawaii)  and it lasted for days."  Really?  Yet your weather planning missed that giant about one hundred miles or less from THE Major population center in the mid-Pacific.

Their story As filtered through the media IS not adding up, the YouTube videos are not matching with their story of being 'mariners'. We'll know more in time, but likely; the controlled media will do their best to paint then into a mini-series as love bound heroines who fought the sea and won.  Yawn!


General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 29, 2017, 10:32:32 AM »
On the communications front, we've seen the debate of the satellite phone -vs- HF.  There are advantages to each but people MISS the disadvantage on sat-phones, the main one for me is:

1. Satellite phones are designed to require infrastructure. 
2. Sat-phones are a point-to-point method to communicate from one phone number to another phone number : if the call fails for any reason, the sender is heard by nobody. HF radio (radio in general) is a BROADcasting method, heard by many.  So, if in trouble at sea, I want a BROADcast method, receivable by many, not only the front desk at some office.  Many blue water cruiser/sailors carry an EPIRB as a last-ditch rescue beacon and these work very well, but lack the ability to send e-mail or short txt messages with friends WINLINK or Gil's SPOT allows. Of course, once that EPIRB is activated, a huge wave of help is on the way and you usually are leaving your boat and most possessions behind. The EPIRB is designed to save human lives.

>RadioRay ..._  ._

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 28, 2017, 09:56:11 PM »
Mast damagethat's critical.  The articles I read ONLY discussed engine. That's critical and changes my mind on this - for the better. The desalinator was in the other articles and that is a life saver.  As for food -, I always carried plenty, and in a way that I can go everywhere with it -

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