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Thread: Comms Inquiry

  1. #1

    Default Comms Inquiry

    Recently Acquired a Comm Radio; tried performing a Radio Check multiple times on multiple channels, No Copy nor any response at all. Does anyone use radios anymore or are cell phones/smart phones what people rely on for everything these days?!

    Frustrated a bit. I know cell phones will not work in the Country.....it comes down to wits, skillsets, experience and Needs/Priorities and a smartphone is not amongst the 4 Needs. Tried testing the radio way ahead of time; for Contingency reasons; even tried Channel 19, which is or was the channel truckers use or used; no response on that channel either.

    Just wanting to be prepared and take all needed security and safety precautions; so when WROL occurs or even SHTF; I am not alone against overwhelming enemy forces or situations.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolf View Post
    Recently Acquired a Comm Radio; tried performing a Radio Check multiple times on multiple channels, No Copy nor any response at all. Does anyone use radios anymore or are cell phones/smart phones what people rely on for everything these days?!

    Frustrated a bit. I know cell phones will not work in the Country.....it comes down to wits, skillsets, experience and Needs/Priorities and a smartphone is not amongst the 4 Needs. Tried testing the radio way ahead of time; for Contingency reasons; even tried Channel 19, which is or was the channel truckers use or used; no response on that channel either.

    Just wanting to be prepared and take all needed security and safety precautions; so when WROL occurs or even SHTF; I am not alone against overwhelming enemy forces or situations.
    If you are trying to DX the HF bands have been pretty poor lately due to solar minimum. I've been using my DVAP and C4FM linked repeaters more lately because of the poor HF conditions.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  3. #3

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    Its a Cobra CxT 195; So not sure if DX/HF applies or not. Its basic; not an advanced or Military grade comm radio.

  4. #4
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    Those are FRS/GMRS blister pack radios and operate on the UHF band so they are not really affected by the solar minimum like HF, However FRS blister pack radios are not all that great, you'll be lucky to get 1 or 2 miles from that type of radio. Also they are limited to 0.5 watts on FRS. You can't believe the 16 mile rating they say on the package, That's operating under the most ideal conditions possible (mountain top to mountain top with no obstructions)

    Also the reason you won't hear truckers on the Cobra radio is the band. the radio you have is UHF (460 Mhz give or take) while CB is around 27 Mhz

    You can buy a Baofeng UV5R for $27 https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R...&keywords=uv5r , it will open up more options like repeater usage (if you have your HAM licence), even without a HAM license it will give you access to NOAA weather radio, MURS, FRS, GMRS, and FM radio but simplex on any VHF/UHF handheld is realistically going to be limited to Line Of Sight as VHF/UHF are pretty much LOS propigation frequencies.......so figure 3 to 6 miles in most conditions but can be much better/worse depending on local conditions.
    Last edited by Tdale; 08-10-2016 at 11:16 AM.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  5. #5

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    Actually, it says 8 miles for the type of area I prefer. Also, would you say that the 32-40 dollars on my comm radio was wasted?

  6. #6
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    LW that "8 miles" means line of sight, hilltop to hilltop on a clear day without power lines or other "noisy" going's-on nearby/between.

    That means about 1 block in the typical suburban neighborhood with trees and houses in the way and folks running blenders & microwaves.

    Yes, I know it's unfair they don't list that "gotcha" on the package but technically their 8 mile claim is true even if it is probably the rarest of conditions, it is true for THOSE conditions.

    I've been looking for coms that my wife and I can use mobile to mobile without a lot of expensive gear or huge antennas on the vehicles, to communicate across an urban area, when the cell towers and repeater stations are off-line. I haven't found anything yet suitable that doesn't require a license. I have a license but DW does not and likely never will. Beartooth (a cell-phone case that turns your cell-phone into an off-grid walkie-talkie) looked promising but the range is way too short (2 miles).

    As far as "wasted" I would not think so, if you consider that every tool has a use. For multi-vehicle caravaning, it should work great to talk with the companion vehicle 100 yards ahead of you. For a fishing trip, it would work fine for mom back at camp and dad out in the boat to be able to talk. Maybe to keep better track of the kids if you let them go do some exploring. These are limited uses... so only you can decide if those uses justify what you spent on the radios.
    Last edited by bruss01; 08-10-2016 at 04:23 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  7. #7
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    8 miles is optimistic at best. Hilltop to Hilltop clear line of sight, 8 miles might work. Was it a waste? Depends on what you're wanting it for. FRS/GMRS radios are typically used to talk among small groups in close proximity. If you're wanting to use it to talk to other people in the area who may just be listening in, they it may not be of use for that. CB or HAM radio is more likely to be useful for that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolf View Post
    Actually, it says 8 miles for the type of area I prefer. Also, would you say that the 32-40 dollars on my comm radio was wasted?
    I wouldn't say wasted, it's just that your radio isn't as capable as the $27 UV5R
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  9. #9

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    Bought it for Contingency/Security Precautions. as previously stated, There is no cell phone service/signal up there. I would rather have a small group with me for security, than risk a conflict or have the fight of my life (being attacked by dangerous game)

  10. #10
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    Lonewolf,

    I'll echo what Austinrob said, you'd probably be better off with a CB radio or IMHO even better would be a HAM radio like the UV5R

    A lesson I learned a long time ago is that all things of value have a cost associated with them and I'v found it to be generally true that the greater the value the greater the cost. Communications are no exception to this rule. A UV5R isn't a big financial cost at $27, but if you want to use it to the fullest of it's capabilities you will need a HAM license, the HAM license itself is free but it will cost you some of your time to learn about HAM radio and pass a test. IF you go this route your time investment in HAM radio will pay off with having access to much better comms than are available to blister pack FRS radios.

    There are 3 levels of HAM licenses, Tech, General, and Extra. I'd recommend the Tech license for a beginner, it's the easiest test, and mainly covers VHF/UHF. With a dual band HAM radio like the UV5R You will have access to thousands of 2M and 70Cm repeaters located all over (Over 1650 just in Texas alone). You can look up repeater info here https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...?state_id=none to see if there are repeaters located near your area.

    You can download the actual test questions for the Tech HAM license test here http://ncvec.org/downloads/2014-2018%20Tech%20Pool.pdf

    If you want to go the HF route, the General test isn't hard, and HF will let you talk across continents without the need for repeaters. But HF is more difficult to use than VHF/UHF and the radios are expensive. From the sounds of your camp things don't seem secure enough to leave a $1000 radio setup laying out just to be stolen.

    Hopefully this info helps
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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