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Thread: Radios for SHTF

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Radios for SHTF

    If things go south, cell service may be shut down to "keep us safe".

    I would like to have a back up system to contact neighbors up to 3 miles away. We have forest and some hills to deal with.

    Any thoughts on what to use? Would prefer something handheld using rechargeable AA batteries.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Baofeng uv5r. It isn't as but is rechargable.... battery lasts forever and in an emergency you can use it without a ham license

    A few dollars more and you can get the uv82 which has FM radio bands too and more wattage for more range.

    3 miles even with trees isn't far on 2m band radios. The 5r runs about 25 shipped and the 82 is roughly 30 shipped.

    Neither are what I would call hard use but for your purpose prob just fine. I have both and love them.....tons of groups out there that can help you use and program if you need. Dollar for dollar a great entry to ham band radios

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy BUFFALOW RED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCorkle View Post
    Baofeng uv5r. It isn't as but is rechargable.... battery lasts forever and in an emergency you can use it without a ham license

    A few dollars more and you can get the uv82 which has FM radio bands too and more wattage for more range.

    3 miles even with trees isn't far on 2m band radios. The 5r runs about 25 shipped and the 82 is roughly 30 shipped.

    Neither are what I would call hard use but for your purpose prob just fine. I have both and love them.....tons of groups out there that can help you use and program if you need. Dollar for dollar a great entry to ham band radios

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    Excellent advice. we use 5r handhelds with 4' collapsible ant. and on our base ham a yaesu ft-2900 with 30' tower
    NRA Life Member
    learn to make your own black powder collect bp arms as there presently not recorded
    smokless is a fad its fading fast, helped along by obama

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



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    uv-5r has fm broadcast radio reception as well.

    you could probably 'get away with' programming the murs freqs and running that way.
    the 'legal' fault is that murs has specs that the uv-5r doesn't meet.

    or you could buy type accepted murs radios and be done.
    as stated above, 3 miles is pretty easy for vhf-hi.


    yes, i'm all for using whatever in an emergency but i also hold an extra class amateur license as well as commercial and gmrs licenses.

    so personally, i stay 'legal' and try to help/encourage others to do as well.
    good luck!

    WebMonkey
    Retired 19D
    Psalm 91:9
    Honda 919

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Three miles with hills/trees could be a tough putt for a hand held.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy BUFFALOW RED's Avatar
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    Ur5 will do murs 151.
    NRA Life Member
    learn to make your own black powder collect bp arms as there presently not recorded
    smokless is a fad its fading fast, helped along by obama

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    the uv5r is what we have and we get about 4 miles around and over hills but we have the larger antenna that you have to buy separate
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Thanks guys!

    I expected it to be more expensive and more $$$
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Thanks guys!

    I expected it to be more expensive and more $$$
    You can spend more and you can get some great hand held radios....the yaesu ft60 is prob my favorite 2 meter radio....they are about 170 ish.

    Depends on what you are looking for, how many bells and whistles... durability ext.

    For the price of baofeng, get 3 and a few nagoya antennas to go with them and enjoy....it'll take you a long time to exhaust the limits of what you can do with them and they are inexpensive enough that you can give them to friends anytime



    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy derek45's Avatar
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    study a bit and get your technician ham license.

    It's very easy these days.

    practice with it, meet some local hams, figure out it's capability in your neck of the woods.

    buying a beofeng radio, tossing in a drawer, is comparable to buying a gun and not learning how to use it.

    .
    .
    we learn by doing.

    get your license you can can gain experience

    ....if that's too much, buy a CB radio.

    .
    .


    NRA LIFE Member

    USPSA/IPSC

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by derek45 View Post
    study a bit and get your technician ham license.

    It's very easy these days.

    practice with it, meet some local hams, figure out it's capability in your neck of the woods.

    buying a beofeng radio, tossing in a drawer, is comparable to buying a gun and not learning how to use it.

    .
    .
    we learn by doing.

    get your license you can can gain experience

    ....if that's too much, buy a CB radio.

    .
    We would be using it a lot. Cell service here is horrible. I have a friend 2.5 miles away who I cannot contact unless I drive there. He is at the choke point to our road access. No problem getting licensed if that is what it takes. Most people here don’t care about stuff like that, but not an issue for me.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    if you want better service look into directional antennas, place one at his house and one at yours then unless somebody is in that line they cant hear you.

    we have a local tower guy who is setting up a mutual aid network that uses repeaters and encrypted radios, thinking seriously about joining that.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    We would be using it a lot. Cell service here is horrible. I have a friend 2.5 miles away who I cannot contact unless I drive there. He is at the choke point to our road access. No problem getting licensed if that is what it takes. Most people here don’t care about stuff like that, but not an issue for me.
    In a true emergency, you can use any radio but the statement, "We would be using it a lot....." doesn't really conform to the definition of emergency.
    If you intend to use frequencies that require a license, I would recommend you and your friend both obtain a license and do it right. It isn't difficult to get a technician class license and that opens up a lot of legal HAM radio possibilities.

    3 miles across flat ground isn't too difficult to achieve, particularly with good antennas.
    A lot of radio clubs maintain repeaters that operate in the 2 meter band, which can give you access to much more coverage.

    If you don't want to go the license route, don't forget CB is still an option. Even capped at the limit of 4 watts, 3 miles across flat ground with good antennas is easy to achieve. You are stuck with AM, 27MHz and maybe some local idiots but no license is needed.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    The Baofengs work on FMRS and GMRS but not "legal for FMRS due to a removable antenna and you do need a license for GMRS.
    Lots of chatter going on currently about procuring radios due to the political issues. Big run on them with many out of stock. And prices have increased as well.
    I intended to take classes and test this year. Nothing in my area right now. But I understand online testing is available.
    Last edited by Dancing Bear; 01-13-2021 at 09:20 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'll second the Baofeng radios. Cheap and very functional. I own a couple of them. But if you're going to use them before whatever you claim is SHTF, do everyone a favor and get the ham Technician license. It's super easy. My wife had no idea what a volt was, downloaded a freebie phone app for the exam, memorized the answers to the test question in a day or so, and aced the test first time she took it. With no real understanding or experience she had her Technician license. All the questions and answers used on the license exam are in the apps and online. It's literally just some memorizing. I think the cost of taking the test was $10. Go to the ARRL website and look for your local ham club to see when they offer license exams.

    With the license you can legally use the frequency range allocated to HAM use if you follow a couple basic rules. Yes, if you're chatting up a storm on a popular frequency you might aggravate another ham or two. But there are a ton of channels that will be available that nobody ever uses if you're looking to have a conversation. The big caveat is to know what frequencies are legal to use. The radios have a frequency range that's probably 50 times greater than what's legal. If you're blasting out a conversation on a frequency that's not legal and someone gets aggravated, it would be easy to locate you and make your day miserable. Spend the $10 for the license and keep it legit.

    One last comment. If the Baofeng radios work for you and you want a little more horsepower there are units made for mobile use that work well at home. I've seen them on CraigsList for $50-$75 a couple times. You can get a power supply and a small antenna to mount to your patio rail, run a cable and hook it up at the house. Lots more power and far better clarity than a 1/2" speaker in a handheld radio. And of course you can put it in your car with a magnetic mounted antenna on the roof if you want.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Thank you BamaNapper
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dancing Bear View Post
    The Baofengs work on FMRS and GMRS but not "legal for FMRS due to a removable antenna and you do need a license for GMRS.
    Lots of chatter going on currently about procuring radios due to the political issues. Big run on them with many out of stock. And prices have increased as well.
    I intended to take classes and test this year. Nothing in my area right now. But I understand online testing is available I understand.
    You mean I should have purchased primers, toilet paper AND HAM radios last year?

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I bought these, they have been fairly handy.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    30$, rechargable batterys with charging bases. They work great when wife and I go to walmart. We can each go our own way and still be in touch. I have not tried pushing the range envelope to see how well they do.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.

    Anyone that wants to use this, feel free. Spread it wide and far.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


    MrWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNapper View Post
    I'll second the Baofeng radios. Cheap and very functional. I own a couple of them. But if you're going to use them before whatever you claim is SHTF, do everyone a favor and get the ham Technician license. It's super easy. My wife had no idea what a volt was, downloaded a freebie phone app for the exam, memorized the answers to the test question in a day or so, and aced the test first time she took it. With no real understanding or experience she had her Technician license. All the questions and answers used on the license exam are in the apps and online. It's literally just some memorizing. I think the cost of taking the test was $10. Go to the ARRL website and look for your local ham club to see when they offer license exams.

    With the license you can legally use the frequency range allocated to HAM use if you follow a couple basic rules. Yes, if you're chatting up a storm on a popular frequency you might aggravate another ham or two. But there are a ton of channels that will be available that nobody ever uses if you're looking to have a conversation. The big caveat is to know what frequencies are legal to use. The radios have a frequency range that's probably 50 times greater than what's legal. If you're blasting out a conversation on a frequency that's not legal and someone gets aggravated, it would be easy to locate you and make your day miserable. Spend the $10 for the license and keep it legit.

    One last comment. If the Baofeng radios work for you and you want a little more horsepower there are units made for mobile use that work well at home. I've seen them on CraigsList for $50-$75 a couple times. You can get a power supply and a small antenna to mount to your patio rail, run a cable and hook it up at the house. Lots more power and far better clarity than a 1/2" speaker in a handheld radio. And of course you can put it in your car with a magnetic mounted antenna on the roof if you want.
    I had thought about taking the test a couple of years ago. I bought the course book and just could not get through it. I might try the apps you mentioned. Thanks.

    Edit: which app did you like? Thanks

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWolf View Post
    I had thought about taking the test a couple of years ago. I bought the course book and just could not get through it. I might try the apps you mentioned. Thanks.

    Edit: which app did you like? Thanks
    On the Apple app store search for 'ARRL'. There's a HAM Test Prep for Technician. It has the questions for the current test. I did a quick check on my Kindle and it only has out of date test questions unless you pay the couple bucks to update. I'm sure Google apps has the latest questions. Current questions are from July 2018.

    A hint for studying... Read the questions and the correct answers, ignore the other answers and only the correct ones will be familiar. The app lets you take the test with randomly selected questions over and over. You can also just go through the whole list of questions until you have them memorized.

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