Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications

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The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:10 am

Mikerowaved wrote:Glad to see a nudge for people so inclined to get their license. We have a Technician class starting in 2 weeks for just such folks.

What kind of radio does your wife have? (It doesn't sound like a hand-held.) Most amateur radios operate on 12V, so in a pinch you can hook them to a car battery and operate that way. Another way is to watch the sales on computer UPS's. I've seen 500VA rated ones under $50. Granted, because of the modified sine wave, some work better than others, but by lowering your transmit power, they will last quite a long time.

Mike, KD7MG


Many of the smaller SOHO UPSs run a 12V battery inside anyway. It would seem silly to use a UPS to store 12vdc, then convert it to 120vac, and back to 12vdc.

You might try a car battery and a trickle charger, which you could leave plugged in all the time, but would allow operation in the event of a power outage. A cheap setup would cost you a bit more than the $50 UPS, but would last a lot longer.

You should also practice with your radio simplex. You probably don't need the full output of your radio unless you are in a rural area. Your battery will last a lot longer with a good antenna and moderate power.

The Earl
AD7PE

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:22 am

The Earl wrote:You might try a car battery and a trickle charger


Well, if you've got one lying around. But, a car battery is a poor choice. They're not designed for deep discharge. Run it down a couple of times and it's dead. A deep discharge battery is what you want. I think the marine (boat) version has some features that are useful (spill proof caps and maybe a handle for carrying.)

A good antenna allows you to run less power. It also improves reception. So a good antenna is an essential investment for emergency comms.
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KGBurton
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ECS - Emergency Communications Specialist

Postby KGBurton » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:47 pm

The Wasatch Front has a well organized communications network of Amateur Radio Operators. The Salt Lake Valley is divided into three regions, coincident with the Bishop's warehouse regions (Downtown, Magna, and Sandy).

Each region has regular meetings (Sandy every Wed night except for the 3rd Wed, 2m (146.56 simplex, backup at 145.77 simplex) at 7:30pm) to ensure that all radio operators are able to communicate and that their equipment is functioning properly.

The local ARES group meets Wednesdays at 8pm on 146.88Mhz

There is a communications plan that includes a roll up of reports from the ward ECS to the stake ECS to the regional ECS to Bishop Burton. Each stake is responsible for putting together an emergency communications plan that will enable the stake president to coordinate activities in his stake and provide information upstream (condition of homes & buildings, injuries, fatalities and urgent needs).

The Sandy region also maintains a Yahoo group to keep things organized outside of the radio communications. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sandyerc/

While those that are supposed to participate in the meetings are called, all are welcome to participate.

Ken

PS - This can be VERY high tech (TCP/IP over radio, slow-scan TV over radio, building repeaters and antennas, etc)

RussellHltn wrote:OK, this isn't exactly **** "high tech" but it's still technology. Yet this seem to be the first post to even contain the words "Amateur Radio".

So what's the scoop? Is there any official plan? I've heard of it being used in some individual Stake plans. I've heard word of it in time past for broader plans, but have lost contact. If the Church is still doing something with this, this site seems like an ideal way to distribute information and recruit volunteers.

ghender1-p40
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Which radios would you recommend for a ward level emergency net?

Postby ghender1-p40 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:38 am

I am in Roseville 9th ward in California. I have a technician lic. and my bishop has asked me to recommend one or more radio types to be used in an emergency communications net for the ward. I am looking at 2m/440 hand held radios. I would like to hear from anyone who has experience in a ward/stake radio net.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:36 pm

The answer to your question would depend on a lot of things, like how many licensed hams are in your ward, how spread out the ward is, what kind of repeaters are available, what kind of radios are used at the stake level, etc. In general terms, dual-band radios are nice to have, but a basic 2M radio is probably adequate.

Mike, KD7MG
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:19 pm

Hand held radios are great - as long as you have working repeaters and a working understanding with the repeater owner to use them. It's a great first radio for most hams and does have a place in Emergency Communications, but generally I'd not recommend one as a "first radio" for Emergency Communications.

HTs (Handy Talkies) can only produce 5W of power. A mobile radio generally is 50W. That 10x can make the difference between passing the message and having a nice paperweight. But it really depends on the range and terrain you need to cover.

I'd check the reviews on eHam and such to find a specific model. Stick with a upper tier brand (Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, Yasu), but even then some models were better then others. While brands can interoperate just fine, it's usually better to stick with a given brand as they tend to use similar user interfaces, accessories, etc.

In my area, a few stakes have gone with the Kenwood TH-F6A. It's a nice HT (I've had one for several years now) and I think Kenwood tends to be regarded has having a bit friendlier User Interface (but still need the book for some functions). If I was to pick a mobile from the Kenwood line, it would be the TM-V71A. One nice advantage of a dual band radio is you can put the mobile into cross-band repeat and have your own little repeater. That can allow you to run around the chapel with a HT but still talk with the power of a mobile. Or park a car at a local high point and use HTs in the area (as long as the HTs are also dual-band.)

But again, that's just a local preference. There are other brands that work just as well.
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ghender1-p40
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Postby ghender1-p40 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:53 pm

Thank you for the replies. There is obviously a lot more for me to learn. Do any of you have a ward communications plan that could be sent to me?

michaelbuhrley
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Postby michaelbuhrley » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:53 pm

ghender1 wrote:bishop has asked me to recommend one or more radio types to be used in an emergency communications net for the ward...


Nearly all of the hams in our ward have a Yeasu FT-60. There are other FT-60 users in the stake, but outside our ward the type of radio is more varied than in our ward.

One nice thing about us all having the same radio is that we can share one programming cable, all maintain the same settings and it is easy to answer questions about how to do something because someone will have done it before on that radio.

The HT is enough to get signal through most of the ward (with some hilly areas) but I cannot hit some of the other wards. I also have access to a Kenwood mobile rig that puts out 50 watts and I can hit the whole stake, the bishops storehouse and many other stakes in the area.

The ideal situation would be to have both available within a unit, so you can not only communicate amongst members of the ward but also someone in the ward would be able to relay traffic to other parts of the stake or a storehouse.

skiptaylor
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Postby skiptaylor » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:01 pm

ghender1 wrote:Thank you for the replies. There is obviously a lot more for me to learn. Do any of you have a ward communications plan that could be sent to me?

You need to check with your Stake Emergency Response Coordinator or the Stake Communications Specialist if these are in place. If not, have your Bishop check with your Stake President. He may have info on this. Our area seems to have had all this coordinated by the Bishops Storehouse for our area. At least that's who the paperwork is from.

In my stake/area (Southern California), frequencies have been assigned for inter-ward and ward to stake communications. For us they are all in the 2 meter band.

In our Stake, it's large enough that we will have to use yagi antennas for some communications as the 2 meter 50watt radios barely make the journey with j-pole antennas.

Hope this helps.
Skip Taylor :eek:
Lancaster CA.

ghender1-p40
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Postby ghender1-p40 » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:32 pm

Thank you, I will check to see if the positions you mentioned are filled in my stake.


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