Any regulars on here have suggestions on SW

Obreid

Power Poster
There might have been a older post in the forum with suggestions for short wave if so point me their and thanks.
I am looking at learning /adding shortwave radios to my tools.
At least at the beginning mostly for local two way and emergency response.
Might get a larger transceiver and build an house antenna later.

An recommendations for good website or books to learn it and prep for the licensing test?
I have a local HAM club and am going to start going to their meetings if they will have me.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help.
 

RiffRaff

DEFCON Staff
Staff member
Some thoughts for you:

First, your basic technician class license will limit the frequencies on which you can transmit, which is fine for local communications. But if you want to talk globally, you'll need the general license, which is harder to get.

Second, even a high-quality handheld transceiver (HT) is limited to 5 watts, which isn't much better than your average CB walkie-talkie. What lets you communicate county-wide with those are repeaters. For basic local emergencies, that should be fine, depending on where you live and the number/location of repeaters in your area. When storm-spotting in Indianapolis, I don't need anything more powerful than that. However, for a major catastrophe where services are down over large areas and those repeaters might not be working, you'd want a more powerful transceiver, which can go up to 200 watts for the technician class license. Unfortunately, those usually aren't very portable.

Third, anyone can legally transmit a "mayday" on any frequency regardless of licensing in a true life-or-death emergency. So you can theoretically possess the equipment for the general license as long as you don't transmit on it (listening is perfectly legal). If the type of disaster we tend to prepare for happens, the least of the country's worries is going to be tracking down someone broadcasting on a frequency they are not licensed for.

Finally, as with everything else, there are radios and there are radios. A lot of the hams I know use higher quality radios for their everyday use, and keep some cheap Chinese knockoff radios in reserve for emergencies. I would look at Kenwood, Alinco, Baofeng, and Yaesu for your first radio. The cheaper you go, the harder it will be to operate due to poorly written instruction manuals. Best thing for you to do before purchasing would be to go to a ham radio convention where all the name-brand dealers are and get hands-on with all of them. Easy to do comparisons that way.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
Thanks appriciate the input, that kind of the path I’m on right now.
My area does have quite a few repeaters.
I’ve picked up two Baogeng F8-HO With selectable 8watt which should serve me for several area repeater between my home and work.
Going to contact the local HAM club here in a week or two.
Appriciate the heads up on the difference in the licensing.
 

RiffRaff

DEFCON Staff
Staff member
Obreid said:
Thanks appriciate the input, that kind of the path I’m on right now.
My area does have quite a few repeaters.
I’ve picked up two Baogeng F8-HO With selectable 8watt which should serve me for several area repeater between my home and work.
Going to contact the local HAM club here in a week or two.
Appriciate the heads up on the difference in the licensing.
8 watt? Did they change that restriction on HTs??
 

Obreid

Power Poster
RiffRaff said:
Obreid said:
Thanks appriciate the input, that kind of the path I’m on right now.
My area does have quite a few repeaters.
I’ve picked up two Baogeng F8-HO With selectable 8watt which should serve me for several area repeater between my home and work.
Going to contact the local HAM club here in a week or two.
Appriciate the heads up on the difference in the licensing.
8 watt? Did they change that restriction on HTs??
Not sure it’s labeled variable to 8 watts.
I’ll find out I suppose
I have been listening to police and county on an old Yesua for a couple of years can pick them up about 8-10 miles on it with 24” antenna.
Haven’t programmed my new ones yet, need to down load the prog app and set one up. I bought a clone cable when I got them. Nothing left to do but just do it:).
 

TheChrome

Well-known member
I have 3 repeaters within six miles of where I live and have not been able to pick them up with my Baofang Tri-Band with a whip antenna. I live in a wooded area, so range is problematic with a HT. I am going to experiment with a handheld yagi antenna connected to the HT via a coaxial adapter to see if I can pick up the repeaters. Otherwise it looks like you have to stick with a standard base station for 3+ miles in a obstructed area.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
I too Am in a wooded area and do t have lic yet. I can listen in on the areas police and sheriffs dispatch. One is about nine miles away and other four.

I’ve yet to make it it the local Elmer’s club meeting but like you I’ve not been able to access any of the repeaters around me.

My impression is it’s easy once you get it all programmed correctly.

Do you know how well the portable di-pole antennas work. It is certainly not just a matter of clipping a insulated wire on your whip and hanging it. Better luck just wearing tennis shoes and holding the antenna with your hand, which is no help.
Thanks for input.
 

TheChrome

Well-known member
Obreid said:
I too Am in a wooded area and do t have lic yet. I can listen in on the areas police and sheriffs dispatch. One is about nine miles away and other four.

I’ve yet to make it it the local Elmer’s club meeting but like you I’ve not been able to access any of the repeaters around me.

My impression is it’s easy once you get it all programmed correctly.

Do you know how well the portable di-pole antennas work. It is certainly not just a matter of clipping a insulated wire on your whip and hanging it. Better luck just wearing tennis shoes and holding the antenna with your hand, which is no help.
Thanks for input.
I actually can pick up EMS and Police Dispatch just like you with my HT. I am still learning SW so I am still figuring what works in my area. I have an old TV antenna which I am reformatting into a 2 meter yagi. Also I have been looking on Ebay, where there are some Dual Band and J-Pole antennas for low prices. I am working with 3 friends of mine to develop a SW network within my 10 mile radius. I will share info as I learn.
 

TheChrome

Well-known member
I too Am in a wooded area and do t have lic yet. I can listen in on the areas police and sheriffs dispatch. One is about nine miles away and other four.

I’ve yet to make it it the local Elmer’s club meeting but like you I’ve not been able to access any of the repeaters around me.

My impression is it’s easy once you get it all programmed correctly.

Do you know how well the portable di-pole antennas work. It is certainly not just a matter of clipping a insulated wire on your whip and hanging it. Better luck just wearing tennis shoes and holding the antenna with your hand, which is no help.
Thanks for input.
A very delayed report, I bought a super antenna which can be mounted on a backpack, or on a tripod. First report was 1297 miles away on the 20 meter band. I do not know if they were using a repeater or what, but I was blown away that I got a signal from that far away on my first use.

https://www.newsuperantenna.com/

My transceiver is a Kenwood TS-130S which is old, but it works pretty good.
 
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TheChrome

Well-known member
I actually can pick up EMS and Police Dispatch just like you with my HT. I am still learning SW so I am still figuring what works in my area. I have an old TV antenna which I am reformatting into a 2 meter yagi. Also I have been looking on Ebay, where there are some Dual Band and J-Pole antennas for low prices. I am working with 3 friends of mine to develop a SW network within my 10 mile radius. I will share info as I learn.
I wanted to give an update now that I am licensed and fully operational. For those who do not know too much about this, I would recommend getting a BTECH UV-5X3 which is a tri-band. At first, I did not think I could hit a repeater in my wooded area, but this has proved not to be the case. I could not reach my friend who lives more than ten miles away, but I have been able to connect with a repeater that is somewhere between five and ten miles from my obstructed area. That is transmitting on High (4-5 watts)

The BTECH UV-5X3 in it's basic form is around $35, but I recommend buying an upgraded Nagoya Tri-band whip antenna which is about an additional $17. Also, I recommend buying the larger battery pack that does not come stock, and also a programming cable and a AA Battery pack for when there is no power. All in all you can get the whole package for less than $100. Be aware that there are Chinese Baofeng knockoffs that are basically the same radio, but are not compatible with CHIRP. You do not want these.

The CHIRP software that is available is easy to use once you get the hang of it. (There is a learning curve, but Youtube helps) Basically you can import the FRS/GMRS channels, and any repeaters from your area from Repeater Book and not have to deal with the cumbersome menu screen.

For a little more versatile and longer range use, I found the Radioddity QB25 Pro, which can be used as a base station at your house or used mobile in your vehicle. It transmits at up to 25 watts, so it doesn't have the power that a 50 watt unit would, but it only runs about $115 and does not break the bank. It hooks up to a standard RG8X coaxial, or it comes stock with a quad band antenna.

I have my QB25 hooked up to a J-Pole Antenna I got off Ebay for about $35 and it works like a charm.

For those residing in the US/Canada who want to get their license, I recommend hamstudy.org as a study tool.

P.S. One other thing. Anyone looking into HAM Radio must understand the cost. Radio + Power Supply + Coaxial/Fittings + Antenna
Most HAM radios use DC power. If you plan on running your radio in your house rather than your vehicle, you will need an AC/DC power supply such as this one: https://tekpower.us/power-supply/analog-powersupply/tp30swii.html

To operate when the grid is down, you will need a backup power source. Something like this: http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=dctogo

As I write these tips I realize the prices on these items have spiked most likely to demand.
 
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