Prepping Article on eHam

Started by cockpitbob, November 23, 2015, 10:06:33 am

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The article is short and touches on short term preparedness (4weeks ish) but also discusses that he's "1 standard deviation away" from a big earth quake making Seattle worse than the Katrina hit zones down south.  Lots and lots of good comments after the article too.


Thanks Bob,

It's encouraging to see that (even) hams are increasingly becoming active in self reliance. Even five years ago, this would have been mostly the 'Oh, this is STUPID!' responses.  This time, other than the usually (two) suspects, and one person who seems well meaning, but perhaps a bit soft-in-the-dead, it's a very 'take care of yourself and neighbours' kinds of response.  This is great.

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


QuoteThis time, other than the usually (two) suspects, and one person who seems well meaning, but perhaps a bit soft-in-the-dead

I need to go read those comments, LOL.



November 23, 2015, 11:50:37 pm #3 Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 01:05:30 am by gil
Here is what I just posted on eHam:

QuoteMost of what I hear here is about preparing for a relatively short period. We've been very lucky in this country, as no real national disaster has happened since the Civil War. I mean, large scale and long lasting. The Great Depression maybe could count as such, but not really, as our infrastructure did not rely so much on electrical power back then and the population wasn't as large. Now imagine a national disaster lasting months, even years... It's far from impossible. How good would a generator be then? Generators run out of gas, and gas goes bad.

A better solution, as far as radio is concerned, and I won't even touch on other aspects of prepping, would be solar panels and low current draw radios. Most transceivers draw from 1.5 to 2A on receive, that's way too much to operate for any length of time on battery. Charging a battery without grid power or a running generator is not trivial.

My radios draw from 15mAH to 60mAH on receive. Yes, I mean multi-band portable transceivers, Weber MTR, MTR-5b and Elecraft K1. Those of course are CW only. I can fit the MTRs in my shirt pocket and power them with eight AA rechargeable batteries for a couple weeks, operating an hour a day with a few few QSOs a day. Try that with a big 100W rig.. For those who don't want to learn Morse code, shame on you, there is the MFJ-94XX series, at about 250mAH, still pretty good. The FT-817nd I think is listed at 450mAH but reportedly draws somewhat less. That would be the upper acceptable limit.

With a long lasting disaster, you might have to move out, whether you like it or not... Would you rather carry a car battery on foot or eight AA cells? Right... I use a 7W (GoalZero Nomad 7) solar panel, which can charge those eight batteries in eight hours. Much easier to carry or recharge than a heavy gel cell. I don't have an SSB radio right now (well, except a marine Icom IC-M700), but I plan on getting an MFJ-9420. Maybe I'll own a 100W base tranceiver in the future, but I would never count on being able to use it for any disaster lasting more than three days.

So my best advise is, when thinking about getting a prepper radio, look at current draw first, and if it is more than half an amp on receive, look for something else. Learn Morse code, buy a cheap CW rig and use the left over money to get a good solar panel and controller, not to mention the other stuff you'll need.