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#1 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 05 2017 - 09:39 PM

I have a birthday coming and my wife told me I have a $150 limit. Can't think of anything I need in the way of AR stuff so, been thinking of a good survival radio for camping, back yard and of course, CHTF scenarios. What would you experienced folk recommend in the way of a good survival radio with 5-6 ways to power, for $100 - $150?




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#2 ONLINE   Gmountain

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Posted Jul. 05 2017 - 10:17 PM

I would say take the $150 and get your ham license. It won't cost near that much. Then you will get chance to play with a bunch of handheld radios.  You can even take some advanced courses and get licensed on more frequencies and then talk around the world.  You can run radios on electric, or battery, or even solar. when all else fails, the hams are up and running.

 

Plus, it's a lot of fun. And the radios are cool.


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#3 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 05 2017 - 10:27 PM

Is this a difficult test to understand or take? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to electronics! :tongue: 




#4 ONLINE   Gmountain

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Posted Jul. 05 2017 - 10:32 PM

Is this a difficult test to understand or take? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to electronics! :tongue:

No. It's easy. Very easy. No Morse code required either. Seriously, if I could do it, anyone could.




#5 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 05 2017 - 10:34 PM

Ok, you've peaked my interest. What's a good starter ham radio. I'm researching ham operator liscencing in my area right now. Seems we have a testing place right here in Albany, OR.




#6 OFFLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 02:11 AM

Once you get your license, you'll have a better idea of what you want in a starter handheld. I would concentrate on the big three of manufacturers though, Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu. Yeah, there are others, and yeah, sometimes they work all right, and sometimes for a while. But they're like a bargain basement $350 AR with cast parts and factory second barrel. Yeah it works, but it has no resale, and if you really want to get involved in the hobby, it will seem like a waste of money. 

 

If you do decide to jump, I'm an hour and a half away, and I could walk you through buying a used handheld, and maybe a 2m mobile rig. 


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#7 OFFLINE   alpo

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 06:06 AM

Each class has question pools that you can study.  Just study the  questions and answers for the class you are wanting then go take the test.  If you fail it, just take it again after the waiting period.  You can find out more about testing and licensing and whatever else from the ARRL  at  http://www.arrl.org




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#8 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 07:20 AM

On receivers, man ,has that market changed in a big way.  You no longer need nowhere near that much money. 

 

Solar, hand crank, USB charger, NOAA weather, AM, FM,  even SW, can be had for about $20- $50.  Amazon has a nice collection.  Where ten years ago, this type thing was big bucks and then lucky to get one that you could carry, its not anymore.  My favorite I bought on a whim, on sale, for like $12.  Its a hand crank, AM/FM/NOAA that has a surprising sound and last a good long while on a crank. 

 

Years back all the rave in the survival world was Shortwave like listening to half way around the world is going to help you during some crisis that has you hunkered down with a crank radio.  Maybe nuclear holocaust hunkered down in some bunker, but 99% of the crisis need you will face knowing what's happening right where you are is more important and most of those weather related. 

 

Now this said some weather crisis and the powers out, I don't grab for my crank radio first.  I actually have a small battery operated TV.  You would be surprised how fast cell phones crap out in a crisis like a tornado as everyone gets on their to try to contact their love ones or worse in this "Its all about me world" to let the world know they are having an emotional crisis despite not even being threatened by the event.  The battery operated TV gives you a much bigger screen than a cell phone and real time link to the local news.  Not so hard to believe these days, in a crisis more often than not the news is going to feed you BS to calm the masses or they are just stupid and a picture is worth a thousand words.  In fact, around here, they tend to over dramatize the situation.  They'll say "Giant golf ball hail" then show you a picture of pea size.  Radio is one dimensional so you don't get that picture to evaluate for yourself. 

 

Now for some other related comments.  Using NOAA weather channels takes a very good understanding of geography in your area.  It helps to know where they are located (it was dang nice here when they were one mile from my house but they aren't anymore) and the basic towns and landmarks in your area.  They'll say stuff like storm moving a a track from here to there.  A map then helps if you don't know the area as well as you thought.  Otherwise, they do an outstanding job, way better than FM.  FM mainly is your news source.  I boat and use this stuff all the time.  Its nice to know before hand, you may need to get up and reset the anchor.  On my cell phone, I keep a weather app that gives me weather radar.  I also motorcycle ride.  Reading weather radar actually other than mere minutes takes quite a bit of practice.  You need to not just know things like what the colors mean but usual trends in your area for the time of season and conditions.  For example, here where I live its a big valledy surrounded on three sides by mountains.  Its very common this time of year a weather front will come off the west mountains then dissipate then hit the east mountains stall and pick up again.  That type thing.  I hate it when the local TV stations get a new weatherman, they don't know their butt from a hole in the ground.  That really isn't a plug and play job.  If you follow where I am heading, as important as what device, you need to know who gives you the best information, what stations.  

 

Two way communications are very nice but they don't replace broadcast services.  That said, the right radio, you can pick up all sorts of frequencies, NOAA, EM services,  for example. 

 

Last but not least, police scanners can be useful, not as much as NOAA, but useful at times.  My county, I can scan about all the emergency services even utility repair.  It beats listening to some guy brag about what new antenna he got on his truck when the powers out.  These things can be pretty sophisticated too.  With all the new digital systems out there, its not as simple as what's my local analog channels anymore and what works best what has a periodic that's updated and you download the frequencies.  Years ago everyone used a book and programmed it in manually but these days its more a CD and computer interface type thing.  Use to be able walk into Radio Shack and they'd program our scanner for you.  Still its no more complicated than uploading maps to a handheld GPS. 

 

Personally a gift, I like the AM/FM/NOAA solar and crank radios.  SW was real fun back during the cold war, not so much now.

 

Tj




#9 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 11:17 AM

"SW was real fun back during the cold war, not so much now."

 

What is SW?

 

Really appreciate all the comments and help! I looked at radios last night and did some research and think I'm going to go this route. I know, take the test and then look at radios but, my wife wants to get me to have a gift for my birthday so my son can give it to me. I'm gathering info, and have been in contact with the VP of the Salem Ham Radio club. Looks like I can study and take my test right here in Albany.

 

I'm thinking of a mobile unit to start with instead of hand held. I can use it for home and then grab and go if needed. Here's what I've come up with if anyone would like to share their thoughts:

 

 

 

 

What is a better choice, single band or dual band? I guess I'm asking should I get VHF/UHF so I won't have to upgrade later?


Edited by HardenedArm556, Jul. 06 2017 - 11:22 AM.



#10 ONLINE   Gmountain

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 12:18 PM

Dual is better. I would get the Yaesu because I think the have the best sensitivty and reception.
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#11 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 01:13 PM

Also wanted to make note, I'm looking at contact within my state and possibly across our country. I do not, and do not forsee, any need to talk to anyone around the world. Been to enough countries and not interested in talking to them.  :segrin:  So, dual band would be the way to go?




#12 ONLINE   Flesh Wound

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 01:46 PM

"SW was real fun back during the cold war, not so much now."

 

What is SW?

 

 

SW = Short Wave


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#13 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 01:50 PM

 

SW = Short Wave

 

Thanks, appreciate that. Gotta learn the lingo!

 

Looks like dual band in the top three names are all out of my price range. Has anyone got experience with the Alinco brand?




#14 OFFLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 02:15 PM

Dual is better. I would get the Yaesu because I think the have the best sensitivty and reception.

I concur. I've always liked Yaesu gear. 


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#15 OFFLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 02:16 PM

 

Thanks, appreciate that. Gotta learn the lingo!

 

Looks like dual band in the top three names are all out of my price range. Has anyone got experience with the Alinco brand?

Alinco has been hit and miss. Sometimes it's ok and works fine, sometimes you get a brick. Also understand, you don't have to buy new. Used is just fine as long as you watch what you're getting. 




#16 OFFLINE   Rampy

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 02:36 PM

Always liked the short wave radio I carted around the world with me, yep it was big, yep it was a pain in the ass, but always got BBC and VOA & was able to figure out what was happening in the real world.

 

Need to get a hand cranked radio one of these days....

 

When we got the tornadoes (30 state wide, a record for number of em in one day)  and the hail storm the sirens never went off....a local weather spotter was on facebook saying how he was watching over us, had his radio and was in contact with everybody & there was no need to sound the sirens, that they did not want to panic the people and thus it was better if they did not go off...

 

I went off, and then his posts diapered...all of them...no idea what happened, but I asked the news people to investigate him and why as a local government employee he came on facebook and said he did not trust the locals to not panic when they went off, we were "safe" and to listen to TV/radio to be told what to do...

 

Woaz. did he piss me off....not trusting the people to not panic, acted like he was a superior being and we must bow down to him....

On receivers, man ,has that market changed in a big way.  You no longer need nowhere near that much money. 

 

Solar, hand crank, USB charger, NOAA weather, AM, FM,  even SW, can be had for about $20- $50.  Amazon has a nice collection.  Where ten years ago, this type thing was big bucks and then lucky to get one that you could carry, its not anymore.  My favorite I bought on a whim, on sale, for like $12.  Its a hand crank, AM/FM/NOAA that has a surprising sound and last a good long while on a crank. 

 

Years back all the rave in the survival world was Shortwave like listening to half way around the world is going to help you during some crisis that has you hunkered down with a crank radio.  Maybe nuclear holocaust hunkered down in some bunker, but 99% of the crisis need you will face knowing what's happening right where you are is more important and most of those weather related. 

 

Now this said some weather crisis and the powers out, I don't grab for my crank radio first.  I actually have a small battery operated TV.  You would be surprised how fast cell phones crap out in a crisis like a tornado as everyone gets on their to try to contact their love ones or worse in this "Its all about me world" to let the world know they are having an emotional crisis despite not even being threatened by the event.  The battery operated TV gives you a much bigger screen than a cell phone and real time link to the local news.  Not so hard to believe these days, in a crisis more often than not the news is going to feed you BS to calm the masses or they are just stupid and a picture is worth a thousand words.  In fact, around here, they tend to over dramatize the situation.  They'll say "Giant golf ball hail" then show you a picture of pea size.  Radio is one dimensional so you don't get that picture to evaluate for yourself. 

 

Now for some other related comments.  Using NOAA weather channels takes a very good understanding of geography in your area.  It helps to know where they are located (it was dang nice here when they were one mile from my house but they aren't anymore) and the basic towns and landmarks in your area.  They'll say stuff like storm moving a a track from here to there.  A map then helps if you don't know the area as well as you thought.  Otherwise, they do an outstanding job, way better than FM.  FM mainly is your news source.  I boat and use this stuff all the time.  Its nice to know before hand, you may need to get up and reset the anchor.  On my cell phone, I keep a weather app that gives me weather radar.  I also motorcycle ride.  Reading weather radar actually other than mere minutes takes quite a bit of practice.  You need to not just know things like what the colors mean but usual trends in your area for the time of season and conditions.  For example, here where I live its a big valledy surrounded on three sides by mountains.  Its very common this time of year a weather front will come off the west mountains then dissipate then hit the east mountains stall and pick up again.  That type thing.  I hate it when the local TV stations get a new weatherman, they don't know their butt from a hole in the ground.  That really isn't a plug and play job.  If you follow where I am heading, as important as what device, you need to know who gives you the best information, what stations.  

 

Two way communications are very nice but they don't replace broadcast services.  That said, the right radio, you can pick up all sorts of frequencies, NOAA, EM services,  for example. 

 

Last but not least, police scanners can be useful, not as much as NOAA, but useful at times.  My county, I can scan about all the emergency services even utility repair.  It beats listening to some guy brag about what new antenna he got on his truck when the powers out.  These things can be pretty sophisticated too.  With all the new digital systems out there, its not as simple as what's my local analog channels anymore and what works best what has a periodic that's updated and you download the frequencies.  Years ago everyone used a book and programmed it in manually but these days its more a CD and computer interface type thing.  Use to be able walk into Radio Shack and they'd program our scanner for you.  Still its no more complicated than uploading maps to a handheld GPS. 

 

Personally a gift, I like the AM/FM/NOAA solar and crank radios.  SW was real fun back during the cold war, not so much now.

 

Tj




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#17 ONLINE   Gmountain

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 05:10 PM

Sw is listening, not communicating. To communicate, ham is the way to go. Get a 2m Yaesu and you will be set.


#18 ONLINE   smb5769

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Posted Jul. 06 2017 - 05:13 PM

Also wanted to make note, I'm looking at contact within my state and possibly across our country. I do not, and do not forsee, any need to talk to anyone around the world. Been to enough countries and not interested in talking to them.  :segrin:  So, dual band would be the way to go?

If you want to reliably talk cross country you'll still need to go HF.


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#19 OFFLINE   HardenedArm556

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Posted Jul. 07 2017 - 12:05 AM

Ok, with some help from my in-laws kicking in for my B-day, I am now looking at getting this radio. I think, from my reading up, it should do the trick for a good while.

 

http://www.hamradio....m?pid=H0-010079




#20 OFFLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 07 2017 - 12:21 AM

Ok, with some help from my in-laws kicking in for my B-day, I am now looking at getting this radio. I think, from my reading up, it should do the trick for a good while.

 

http://www.hamradio....m?pid=H0-010079

That's a very good radio. But like I said, don't overlook the used market, especially with a mobile rig of any kind. There are hams that have to have the newest, coolest gadget, and will sell the old one to finance the new one. I have radios that I bought used, 20 years ago. Check all the sites for a good used rig, bet you can find a good deal on that specific radio, probably at some substantial savings. 







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