Comms Post 30MAR2020 – Communications Commentary Only, Please

Step 1: Review all of the suggestions in this post.

Step 2: Discuss merits of suggestions plus new ideas.

Step 3: Come up, if possible, with plans and owners of each for:

A) Ongoing voice attempts on HF

B) Commencing and sustaining digital ops

C) Educating new folks on what to do, whether they only know how to turn on a switch or are building on a limited base of knowledge.

End state by the time that comments close here: Owner(s) for each of A, B, and C, with go-forward plans for future WRSA posts.


61 responses to “Comms Post 30MAR2020 – Communications Commentary Only, Please

  1. A) Individuals may choose to integrate with AmRRON, other established nets, or establish their own groups.
    B) Utilize online tutorials for digital ops, including those from AmRRON:
    C) Utilize innumerable online tutorials for equipment, procedures, etc.
    D) Utilize Open Threads at WRSA for newbies’ questions.

    • mistermisfit01

      Winlink 2000/winmor. Allows for sending email from a radio to a node that sends the email on the internet. It also allows for radio to radio (connected to a computer) sending of emails as well without touching the internet.

  2. Raketenpanzerbüchse 43

    Thinking ahead is good which is what comms prep is. The www will be controlled as too much Freethink is going on.
    Commies fear ideas more than anything because they can spread like wildfire.
    Now to get to work on repairing pappy’s old CB without spending a small fortune. Carry on.


  3. I am an extra class ham that has been Licensed for 33 years. I am the trustee of the local Ham club that has a well equipped HF/VHF DXing station. I get asked about this kind of stuff all the time. I am well versed in all of the topics that are being discussed. #1 is that you are going to have to SPEND SOME MONEY to get a decent Station on the air. I have people say “well I got this $40.00 cheap Junk Chinese radio and it it should be good”. Would you buy a $40 to $100 gun to got to the Boogaloo? So if you want to have chance of getting on HF then you just got to get it thru your head I have to buy a REAL radio, not some Chinese junk knock off.

    This what I tell people how to get on the air

    1 Go buy an ICOM IC-7100 radio from a ham dealer. About $800-$900. It will do HF, VHF and UHF band in all modes. It will connect directly to a computer and do digital modes, on all bands, right out of the box with no other hardware. Get good dual band VHF/UHF Vertical antenna like a Diamond X200a, X300a, or X510. Get by building or buying a good 40 meter dipole. An 80 meter Off center feed dipole is good too but there are lot of junk out there. An OCF dipole requires the right really good choker and transformer balun to work right. If anyone tells you you don’t need a Balun they are full of Shit. The OCF Dipole will give Multi band coverage. Get some LMR400 coax with connectors. maybe 50 feet but no more that 100 for the V/U antenna. HF can have and you will need a longer run. Don’t Cheap out!!

    2. If you are not licensed look up clubs in your area that conduct VE test sessions on the ARRL web site You need a General class to operate HF.

    3. Get on the air and listen and check into nets like the Noontime net or others on 40 meters and get a feel for propagation and how well you can get out and be heard.

    4. Find someone like me that knows what in F__K he is doing to teach you how to radio like you would find someone to teach you how to shoot. If you are lucky you might find someone like me that knows how to radio and shoot.

    5. Go from there and increase you antenna count maybe add a tuner. DON’T CHEAP OUT if you want to do this right. If you are cheap you will probable not be successful.

    I now blow people off that want to cheap out and don’t even give them the time day anymore. But if you want to learn to radio I will go all out to help. I am an expert at portable and field operating have done it and still do it with great success. I will freely give information to those wish to do it right.

    73 de KC6FLG

    • Not possible right now. Not even close.

    • I think I’ll get a CB and talk to people within 5 miles of me and put saved money into other things.

    • Bonaventure

      ^—— This.

    • Ersatz Naugahyde

      Kevin, agree with 2-5, but even with Uncle Sugar’s checks coming out in a few weeks $8-900 is a big hit for a lot of people. Grab the guy in #4 and drag him out to check prospective radios you found on craigslist etc. My 1st rig, not so long ago, was a Kenwood 520SE for $200. Now I run an FT 450D with a hamstick dipole config on a 24′ paint pole extension. Hit Russia on 20m regularly. Total invested there < $600 I think. Point is, no one has to go without their toilet paper ration to get on the air. Start with a decent used rig and grow from there. Soon as the snow melts I'll get that OCF dipole strung up too.


    • Plain speech is refreshing.

      The ICOM IC-7100 is also a great mobile rig.

    • Real good points by Kevin above.

      As he said, don’t buy cheap. But you don’t have to buy new, either. Deals abound: dedicated enthusiasts’ websites, widows’ sales, Craigslist, etc.

      It’s real helpful to have an Elmer to help you sort out the new lingo as you buy equipment, especially used stuff. You need a real-life translator at the beginning. Sort of like learning slow prone fire at distance: you can watch a youtube vid, or you can have someone standing over you, using boot toes. One is better than the other.

      Or, if you’re flush, the people at retail outlets will generally do you well. If they have worked there long enough, they will ask you the right questions.

    • ncislander

      Well said Kevin. If possible contact me PM on UnchainedChainedPrepper Blog.
      Much agreed in all.
      Another suggestion for those without $$$. To monitor/listen, purchase a quality SSB Shortwave Receiver. Setup a Longwire antenna. You can now monitor most HF bands SSB.
      Example Tecsun PL880 Receiver – @ $150.00

  4. At this moment I an running a call repeating every 15 minutes on 10130
    with fldigi using Contestia 4/250 offset 1200
    Please post if you copy and your location – no call signs at this time unless you respond on frequency.
    I will continue to run this during the day.

    Let folks know who DO NOT have license or HF/VHF to try to get a receiver with SSB capabilities so they can tune in. You might be able to hear digital warble even with a regular radio on frequency.

    A) Ongoing voice attempts on HF

    I suggest that different individuals try ONE frequency on either 80, 40, 60 (yes 60) and 20 meter bands. One each operator at each time zone on same freq. Please post your sending frequency here so folks can dial in.
    send call top and bottom of hour. Post any contacts here as well as.

    One idea is to Google a frequency to use. If you get a hit, Google another frequency until no hits. Make a note of those frequencies and then try from lower to higher on the band. Yes, this is work intensive.

    We will NOT have ONE frequency on voice that will go live and nationwide at this time due to propagation. Best case is we have one or several freqs in each time zone, just like AmRRON.

    Speaking of AmRRON – they are now running a persistent net (i.e 24/7)
    Perhaps we could piggy-back or offset on their frequencies by 10khz and +/- 1 hour – I would call this a force multiplier.

    B) Commencing and sustaining digital ops

    fldigi – Contestia 4/250 – anyone, please try on different bands and post here

    js8call – We can set up a @WRSA group. I could not set up an automatic repeating call every 15 minutes.
    You need to set up @WRSA as a group and everyone within that group will receive call or message.
    Not too smart yet on setting up a mailbox.

    Use any software you are comfortable with. Digipan DominoEX, MultiPSK, etc. or just JS8call

    Apply same protocols as mentioned for HF ops.

    C) Educating new folks on what to do, whether they only know how to turn on a switch or are building on a limited base of knowledge.

    ‘ahm hea to hep ! My take on order of complexity

    No matter what – set up an antenna ! too much here to get into. Look online.
    Simplest, easiest – use a dipole

    1) receiver with SW capabilities
    2) receiver with single sideband capabilities as well.
    3) PC with digital amateur radio software + mic/audio cable to radio
    4) VHF scanner with local EMS repeater frequencies
    5) VHF+(UHF) transceiver – at the same time get a technician license !
    6) HF transceiver
    7) Did I mention antenna ?

    This is not an end-all-be-all suggestion. I’m not an expert and I still have much to learn concerning this “art” and skill.

    Now is the time to muster up. We have work to do.

    • mistermisfit01

      Heard into maljamar NM @1700 MST. I am mobile. Sounded like contestia. My ic 7100 will decide RTTY but nothing else digital

  5. Serious questions here….is a license necessary?

    Why do we need the government’s permission to operate a radio and communicate?

    What can / would ‘the government’ do if an unlicensed person operated w/o a license?

    If SHTF and overlord Trump orders the internet ‘closed,’ will having a license matter?

    • CA Warrior

      Great Point

    • Grey Ghost

      Is a license necessary?
      I get it. I really do. I’d say yes, IF you want to get experience at transmitting an HF radio station NOW and not some mythical time in the future. IF you just want to receive HF there is NO license required and there are several reasonably priced good HF receivers out there. When you start messing around with a 100w transmitter or 500w-1500w amps there are some electrical/electronics basics you really need to know or you might actually hurt yourself or your property. If I am not mistaken the knowledge required for a General License gives you enough of those basics to hopefully not kill yourself or burn your house down with an HF transmitter. IF you’ve ever been shocked by 240v main power then you probably get it.

      Now if it’s TEOTWAWKI then all bets are off when it comes to a license. BUT will you even know how to use the equipment that you spent those hundreds of dollars on all those years ago.


      Grey Ghost

      • Ding! ding! ding!……Spot on !……..give the man a cigar!
        (yes, and I do know what RF burn feels like! – great lesson right there !)

    • You cannot learn how to be a radio operator without practicing operating a radio on the air. If you do not use your (bestowed) call sign, then not only will nobody talk to you and likely be of aid to you in your on-air learning- it will get worse. Bored oldsters will go fox hunting (in between bathroom trips and medical appts) and you’ll be the fox.

      License now (General, not Tech, I’ll not flog that dead horse again), buy equipment and learn now in these good times. If things go North bad enough that licenses and call signs no longer matter- well then you’ll have actually learned something by then. If you don’t play by the rules RFN and start your post-test learning now, then after the big stampede you may have equipment but you’ll have not enough knowledge to be useful.

      Question #2: Why do they require licenses? Easy answer, in order to prevent airwaves from degenerating to a level of discourse so often seen in comments on this site. Licensing basically encourages people to play politely with others.

      Question #3: What can they do? If you and your transmitter are the tall nail, they find your transmitter location and maybe find you. Then they seize your equipment and they fine the shit out of you ($15-$20 K), plus they require prompt payment, and they may give club fed time. No big deal to some, in these free and easy times.

      As things devolve more, federal enforcement will change with the times. Life in general will be more of a fox hunt. Your Question #4 will then get a different answer.

      • What Quietus said. And as someone here awhile back said, “Even the Maquis played by the rules.” If you’re posturing & not learning the reality part is gonna bite.

    • My personal opinion……just another bureaucratic hoop jump.

      It’s another form of control……besides if someone starts transmitting “in the clear” with no call sign, etc….pretty soon you end up with gagglefuck.
      The reason for the licensing is so that all players can keep amateur radio accessible and to maintain some order – in the manner of a gentleman’s agreement.

      In a real-world emergency anyone can use HF/VHF radio. That being said, when you are licensed, everyone is on the same sheet of “music”. Communication can take place and there is an orderly flow of information in a timely manner so everyone can perform their duties accordingly.

      This is one of the very few areas that I agree and comply with rules despite sometimes the FCC and some idiots on air as well.

      Seriously……I’d rather have some order rather than chaos. Even if someone is NOT licensed at least maintain the structure and protocol that has been established for years and we can all benefit.

    • Grey Ghost said it. It is all about practicing and hiding in plain sight. Just think if most of us treated firearms and training with them like they do radio

      • Thanks for all these responses. I figured weeding out the tfats of the world was a major factor. As you can tell by my questions, I am not SOL in the ‘comms’ department, but don’t regret any of my efforts and dollars focused on food and defense.

        • Sorry. This should have said “I am SOL in the comms department.”

          I’ve always been fascinated by it, but never got beyond boat comms.

          • Most everybody is SOL in one area or another, so welcome to the party. Quality night vision equipment is an even bigger $$$ stumbling block than is radio.

            There are other little holes in peoples’ preps. For me, I have no smoke grenades to signal with, when Helicopter Ben appears over my AO to kick out bundles of funny money and anti-malarials.

            Much good info has been put out here for your perusal. Maybe you could sell off some weaponry in order to raise cash for comms equipment. At the least, you can use this time to learn to make cheap antennas for various purposes. Many people do have the time these days, all that is lacking is the will.

            Testing will come back in one form or the other, sooner or later. Time spent waiting for that to happen is time wasted, be ready to test.

    • Augusto Pintobean

      I empathize with the points of your question, but I’m going to answer you with the realities of using ham frequencies.

      If you use ham much at all without being licensed, without knowing the ‘rules of the road’, it will be obvious to any licenced ham. I’m licensed with General operating privileges.

      Licenced hams are overwhelmingly jealous of you getting it right. There are plenty of petty tyrants among them, and squads of them who have fun triangulating where you are. And you’re reported to the FCC. I think you can figure out what comes next.

  6. Kevin, that is an excellent post, thank you!

    I too am an AE and also a VE and get pretty much the same thing, plus all of the shooting forums are getting their own threads on how to EmCom.

    One problem with getting amateur radio licensing right now is that we are cancelling exam sessions left and right. We have already cancelled our exams scheduled for April 28th and there is really no daylight in sight. The FCC had discussed ways to do remote exams in the past and we are looking at how we can do this now. I, and all of our other VEs, are eager to get new individuals licensed, but our hands are tied at the moment. As with any other preps, they are best done ahead of SHTF…


    • Grey Ghost

      Yup. VE testing is kaput in my AO for at least April and May maybe longer. No word when it will start up again but my guess would be mid or late summer.

      Grey Ghost

    • Grenadier1

      I saw an article today somewhere that said they just did the first remote test via the internet on Saturday. Cant recall where I saw it.

  7. Ersatz Naugahyde

    RE: Radio Shack PRO106 (Whistler WS1040 is essentially the same scanner).
    “Ersatz: More detail, pls. Asking for a doofus who is less than an appliance driver.”
    Software is ARC500 available from scannermaster dot com. You’ll need the cable and a subscrip to radioreference dot com.

    From the software menu select ‘Internet’ > RadioReference Import.
    Select State, County and click Conventional Frequencies.
    Select Import.
    you can clean it up with the edit button. Then download to the scanner.

    * save as a .csv file and you can add or delete freqs and other data manually. Re import and download to scanner as needed.
    ** user manual available on radio reference dot com.

    • Home Red State encrypted all radio traffic after 09-11-01.
      It could probably be broken with persistence but they might notice.
      Forgot about listening online where you can hear breaking police scanner traffic for false flags and other smoke and mirrors.

  8. mistermisfit01

    Extra class operator. Was with amrron. Have multiple set ups.
    A. You have to out in the work to get HF priveledges and skills full stop. If you think you are going to pick up a radio whatever it costs and just hook it up and be proficient, you are a fool. Get the license and check into the nets you hear. They all accept check ins. Try to be a relay during the net, they like the help, and it builds skill. If you’re not interested in learning, fuck the hell right off.
    B. Digital ops is not difficult, but also requires practice. Fldigi is the way to go. FT8 is like weak signal reporting to me, just pads the logbook. As previously stated contestia, Olivia in all their flavors is very good. MT 63 is also good. Their and throb as well. RTTY also but it’s older tech like cw.
    C. If someone wants to learn their is a wealth of info out there. If someone wants to learn meat space is much better. Hands on shit. Not just the radio but antennas as well or even more. 100 watts and a wire is no joke. Seek and ye shall find ask and it shall be given.

    As has been said before. This shit is on the final exam, we are just going through a quiz right now. Get a good radio, several hundred feet of thhn 14/16/18 gauge wire and wire cutters crimpers. Associated ring terminals for said wire. Do the work, get the fucking license. Put in the work, practice, fail, try again and again. Ask for the help.

    Your tribe deserves better than half assed half assing.

    • Grey Ghost

      Extra Class too. ^^^Word^^^

      I agree there is nothing like hands on experience, BUT, something for CA to consider as an ongoing interest/training effort might be to run a weekly “comms info” thread to help along guys who either don’t know what to do (where or how to look up testing in their area) or antenna discussion, etc. Keep it simple and don’t just say “go look it up on the internet”. For whatever reason, bad information on the internet has a way of sticking around longer than it should.

      I’m sure there are plenty of experienced Extra class operators who would gladly help the new guys with radios/antennas/testing etc. and keep it to the experience level of whatever is asked.

      Grey Ghost

  9. One thing I want to say is that everyone in your AO doesn’t need a heavy duty HF station. But those who do have the responsibility to keep the local AO informed to the bigger picture. So 2 or 3 good HF ops in the local AO can keep many informed. Good VHF/UHF is still really important don’t expect $40.00 junk chicom handhelds to be the answer for that. Get A good mobile like a Kenwood V71a or and Icom IC-4100 with a good Diamond or Comet Dual bander antenna as high as possible. And SDR reciever is also a good choice for RX only like this one I have one and it is usable for RX only
    73 de KC6FLG

  10. saved. Most useful, TY to all.

  11. first, as long as amrron will let us ride along, then we should. good training wheels and a published sched with dozens of participants, both digital and voice for those that like to hear themselves talk. and we have things that we can discuss outside the amrron net, either before or after, once we clear that hurdle. when ever we feel like it.

    secondly, your cell and internet will eventually fail suddenly and unexpectedly and it will be darned inconvenient. so then, if you have been practicing on your radio for plan b, you’ll just put on your big boy britches and go to it.

    also, getting a license is something even little kids do. don’t waste so much time worrying about the big government knowing where you are and what you’re doing. you’re expecting that first $1200 check in three weeks, right? you won’t find it in that dead drop over by the park bench. big government has a big list and i worked hard to make #3 on that list right behind the webmaster on this site. i have a special spot in the utah data center with my name on it and so do you. at least i have something to show for my tax dollars. no longer an issue once you move beyond that point.

    but simply put, you can’t ask a $64,000 question and expect a $100 answer. you’ll end up getting “43”. there are hams that have poured more than a years salary into their hobby and like with all things money opens up opportunities. but for the price of that first $1200 placation payment you’ll be getting you can be up and running with beer money left over.

    i can’t really offer anymore advise than i wrote already:

    but i will risk blowing out my inbox if anyone wants some more specific details on an individual basis on going digital, where you get the most performance for your watts. really, this is not that hard. you can start with a basket of parts and be going in an hour. all you have to do is imagine a tornado or hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake, whatever, has just made kindling out of everything for 30 miles in every direction and you want to tell someone you’re ok and find out when the help wagon will arrive. should you talk to some guy in catalonia about your predicament? or some people in the other end of your state, or the next state, that hopefully got spared the calamity? you need to picture yourself as the guy that can do that. and then the road is wide open ahead.

  12. Most non-amateur radio people do not understand any of this.
    It may just as well be Greek (!) to them.

    Amateur radio requires some gray-matter sweat equity than most people do not want to exercise these days because it huwts thewe widdew bwain.

    The problem I have run into with MANY “users” is they treat amateur radio like an “appliance” (oh, a cell phone is easier). NOT! this is an art as well as a skill. I have a General license, and someday I will get my Extra license. The more I learned about radio the more I realized I needed to learn. This is a lifetime hobby – we’re not just using a toaster here.

    Sigh – I’m preaching to the choir.

    Yes the equipment is expensive, but like marksmanship it’s not up to the rig but the person behind the trigger or key (same thing?)

    I will happily help anyone getting started. The time invested learning and becoming proficient is more valuable than the money spent on equipment. I still have my first HF radio – an ICOM 718 which I still use, 15 years ago cost me just about what they sell for today around $600-$700.

    OK, most folks think that’s a big chunk of change……but at the same time you’d spend much more than that on a rifle and glass ?

  13. PresidentePinochet

    Re: OvermountainMan….. screw that little hypocrite and the horse he rode in on. He can go pound sand.

    This thread got that little hypocrite’s panties all in a bundle, and for that I was kicked out of the “Sooper Seekrit FlammenWurfer Klub”:

    So much for “free speech” on Gab.

    And so much for OvermountainMan being, well, a man.

    • OvermountainMan

      ^Fedpoaster. And, I’ll bet the farm on it.

      Pretty much the only surefire way to get kicked out of the SSFK.

      Apologies to all for my troll infecting an otherwise excellent WRSA thread.

  14. The following info applies to those who are late to the comms game but want to be able to listen in on HF comms around the country and gather information in the form of digital comms or voice, SSB or shortwave broadcast.

    Firstly you can most likely forget about taking a ham radio test or joining a club, these (tests) I’m sure are being canceled everywhere for the foreseeable future. In case the internet goes down you may wanna RX news and info, so you have to have a good antenna and radio.

    Radios; you can spend anywhere from 400 to 900 dollars for a good transceiver, that means it RX and TX. Even if you can’t TX now maybe sometime down the road you can get license and then you’ll have radio to do it. Or if you just want to RX, you need a SSB shortwave radio. Spend 100 to 150, any of these three radios is recommended, Tecsun PL-660, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Grundig Executive Satalit. All three are SSB and all three have a socket for connecting an outdoor antenna.

    The antenna for good reception and to even be worth the effort of doing this needs to be outside. Most people don’t know how to build an antenna. For around 100 dollars purchase Chameleon Emcomm II or Emcomm 3. Outdoor wire antenna, super simple to put up and works great either for just RX and also works great for TX with a tuner. You will also need RG8X coaxial cable, 50 to 100 feet, whatever your situation is. If connecting to a shortwave radio you will need a special connector at end of coax run going into radio. Here is video showing the antenna:

    Radios, antennas, coaxial cable can be ordered from HRO or Universal Radio.

    If you have a laptop you can download fldigi for free and decode digital communications. AMRRON is sending out SITREPS and Intell briefs among other things and you can’t RX without this program. If you purchase a ham radio transceiver you’ll need an interface between radio and computer. Purchase Tigertronics Signalink for the model radio you are purchasing. If you’re getting shortwave receiver just purchase a cable with 3.5mm mono cable on each end. One end plugs into headphone or audio out jack of radio, the other end goes into microphone input of laptop. This is how you RX the digital signals and software decodes it. Here is a link to AMRRON on how to setup digital comms, lots of different articles:

    If you have any questions, just ask me.

  15. Can anyone copy my call on 10130 Contestia 4/250 ? If not I am open to suggestions to QSY to another frequency.

  16. Didn’t realize folks may not know who I am, so here goes-

    I’ve been interested in and active in various kinds of radio (SWL, CB, amateur) since the mid 1960s, and was first licensed in 1974. I’m an amateur Extra, like many others, a former OO, and I volunteer to teach at one of the local amateur clubs. I design and build my own antennas, and have built simple radio transmitters and receivers from scratch. Not trying to bang my own drum but want y’all to understand the basis for my opinion.

    I’ll repeat what I said on the other post, because I think it is crucially important. Others have touched on this too, and they are right to do so.

    1) Who are you trying to reach/communicate with?
    2) Where are they?
    3) What information are you trying to communicate?
    4) can you accomplish this without transmitting?

    For me, and to echo what others have said, most of my radio time is spent listening. I listen to 3 scanners, which cover: three states worth of local and state level government comms, local ham repeaters, output *and* input, local vhf and uhf simplex frequencies, and CB. Using a VHF/UHF receiver, when I have time, I tune around, log and DF local signals even if I cannot decode them, and try to figure out which agency and location is transmitting. I listen on HF to various commercial and national shortwave broadcasts. I listen and sometimes check in to various HF nets, AMRRON, local and statewide phone nets.

    When I have the need or want to scratch that itch, which is rarely, or when I’ve agreed to do so, I will check in to amateur nets or contact somebody on a schedule. For local comm, I usually use CB, MURS, GMRS, or amateur repeaters, depending on what the other folks are up on; less often it’s amateur simplex FM. About the only time I spend any significant amount of time transmitting is when I am DXing, or participating in one of a few contests, and there I generally prefer to use low power, or even QRP (<5 watts)

    From my viewpoint, there are three levels of communication needed:
    1) LOCAL monitoring and comms to collect and pass along local information important to your area. (This can be various LOS modes, both licensed and/or not, or HF NVIS, depending on user capabilities) *THIS is most pertinent to most people.*
    2) Regional comms to receive and provide more strategic information important to you or others in your region. (This is exclusively NVIS, unless you are the .gov with satellite comm capability. Amateur operators do have satcomm capability, but setting that up is more complex, and less useful, than setting up digital NVIS)
    3) National/international comms using HF, either sideband, CW or digital to pass message traffic internationally. The likelihood that the Patriot movement is going to need long-haul HF communication to support any kind of operation in the near to mid term (1 to 3 years out) is slim.

    My point is that a successful organization for Patriot communications is based on the LOCAL LEVEL. Start with a local net. Have one of the local net transfer that information to a Regional net, using NVIS. Folks on the fringe of the Regional net can transfer that information to another regional net. Start small, and grow things from small beginnings. If in 3 months, you have established a robust local net (on CB, or MURS, or GMRS, or amateur) then you've gained something. Now is a good time to start because so many folks are home looking for something to do. If you listen to the MURS and GMRS frequencies now you may be surprised what you hear and how much of it. Maybe start weekly, then more frequently as needed or requested by the members of the net.

    Once you have that, *then* expand it to a regional NVIS net, probably following your various local net times. This is not an original thought; this is how AMRRON has done it, and it works. Why re-invent the wheel?

  17. For the past year I had been working on digital voice communications for my local group with the added capability of JS8 digital regional communications. I have my equipment. I made the digital voice equipment recommendations complete with links and offer of free installation and training, but exactly zero people took the Technician test that would enable them to practice communicating before the SHTF, so they could avoid not knowing what to do and being unable to ask anyone, because the entire purpose of this exercise is to have emergency communications when there is no internet or cell towers.

    I was still gently urging people toward the EmComms they know they need but aren’t willing to secure before it’s needed. Then COVID-19 happened. We still have the internet and cell phones, but it’s a good motivator and an incentive to test emergency preparedness. My local group absolutely wore me out with the following emails:

    1) It’s just the flu.

    2) It’s a government conspiracy to seize power, so it can’t be a real pandemic… as if the two are mutually exclusive so it can’t be both.

    3) People aren’t really dying. It’s just fake news. It’s all made up propaganda.

    4) OK. People really are dying, but they’re dying because of 5G cell towers.

    I patiently tried to debunk some of the bunk, but anything I said that differed from their political opinion was ignored. I eventually stopped sending the same science, math and facts because nobody was listening, or they were listening just enough to get mad at me for not agreeing with them. I was pilloried for not validating other people’s beliefs and being an arrogant know-it-all.

    Why am I busting my hump to create an emergency communications system when THIS is the vital life saving information we’ll be exchanging in a crisis?

    It almost makes the governments’ flat-footed brain-dead tyrannical response look good by comparison.

    • Grenadier1

      Welcome to the “movement”.

      Any minute now those Russian /UN / Ukrainian soldiers that have been hiding in various parts of the country since the early 90’s will spring forth to load us all in the Box cars with chains and the mobile guillotines. All watched over from the hovering black Helicopters.
      After they have sprayed us all down with Chemtrails and Morgellans.

      Its a sinister plot I tell you!

  18. @Kevin Hi-ho-fuck you. I would like to get into this but I don’t have the money to do what you want me to do. Yes I have a Baofeng. It was a starter. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I would like to learn. Instead of being an asshole, teach me. Don’t just “blow me off”. I can get to the good stuff with a little saving.

    • Go to There you will find several frequencies for your area as well as repeaters that amateur radio clubs in your area will use.
      Refer to your owners manual. I have 3 UV82 Baofengs. Many people use them. For local use they work quite well IMO.
      Contact any amateur radio club in your area. There are always folks happy to help. We all started somewhere.

  19. For some reason the repeating call stops after a few runs. I don’t know why.
    So, I will stop the TX and try something else. Suggestions are welcome.

  20. Anyone wanting to get into the ham hobby can find a wealth of websites offering free sample practice tests to get your license. I used them and worked my way up to extra class (which took a little more effort). Even though VE testing has been canceled, take this free time to practice the test a and learn. The technician class is simple and gets your foot in the door. Look at the used gear under swapmeet for sale on QRZ. Go read reviews about them on and figure out what equipment is a good value. Sticking with the name brands like yaesu, kenwood, icon is usually a safe bet. Don’t have a license yet but working towards it, build a couple simple antennas and listen, nothing illegal about that. Learn the ham bands and listen to what is going on elsewhere. Shortwave unfortunately is not what it used to be with less and less stations around. Even though most ham clubs , like ours here in NW Ohio have stopped meetings, email the club contact. More than likely they will reach out to you and hook you up with an Elmer (someone who knows the hobby and willing to teach) like me to help get you started. Ham clubs are always looking to help new folks wanting to learn the hobby and expand number of amateur radio operators. Again, the internet holds ton of free information to learn, you just have to go find it.

  21. Rob M
    My first comments in this group, interesting reading. I’m an extra class ham and here is my input:

    If the grid is up and also the internet:
    Get set up on a DMR (Digital Mobile Radio), they are very inexpensive and can allow for direct person to person communication like a walkie talkie but without any ease dropping…. AND you can talk to every country on the planet that has a DMR repeater (with digital clarity). This is just another communication tool to have. Lots of info on the net.

    Grid down:
    You need a RELIABLE HF rig and I would recommend a separate VHF/UHF rig for the simple reason if it’s all in one and it goes to shit your not without any form of communicating. And it doesn’t have to break the bank. Unless you know how to fix a radio buying used you will always take your chances and believe me, there are lots of hams that will sell you a POS if you don’t know what your buying. That being said, the vast majority are good guys.

    Powering up your radio:
    LifePO4 batteries and solar changer. Weights a fraction of a car battery (but will cost you some $’s) but you’ll be good no matter what goes down. In the long run it will be about the same as the number of car batteries needed to last as long as a LfePO4 battery. (from Bioenno Batteries)

    Where you need to spend your money:
    Antenna, Antenna, Antenna… You can have the best rig but with a POS antenna your going to get crappy results. Again, you don’t have to break the bank on this also. Any ham that’s been at it for a while can save you guys a lot of time and money with some solid recommendations on gear.

    If ANYONE would like to Skype or Face-time I would be more than happy to go into more details. I’m no expert but I have gone through about 10-15 different radio, have a lot of antennas and I know what works for me, both at home and in the woods and I’m willing to share what I know.

    Simply reply to this post and I’ll get the notification…

    FYI, every ham is going to have an opinion and there are others that know a lot more than I, but I can save you time and $’s if your interested. It will at least get you started in the right direction!!

  22. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.

  23. I haven’t thought about Ham Radio for close to 40 years, when a local group tried to start a Ham radio club. Naturally it flopped.
    My 2 cent is we need a to learn as much as possible about different types of communications.

    About 2 years ago I was listening to a Ham Radio chat room on my little grundig SSB. But now i can not even listen to WWCR. or WBCQ

    So what I am interested in first is a CB set-up that will work on the homestead and for local communications.
    ANY recommendations ?

    What about a CB with SSB ability.. ?
    Do those need a license to transmit on SSB. ?
    How much further will a CB with SSB option transmit compared to a standard 40 channel CB?

    Please suggestions and recommendations would be helpful

    • Bonaventure

      …when a local group tried to start a Ham radio club. Naturally it flopped.

      Around here, “radio club” is jargon for BoomerCentral.

      Meets at 10am… on a Monday.

      That’s all that needs be said.

      They are of Boomers, for Boomers, by Boomers.

      But hey… if you want to take one of your vacation days to head on down to the “club” once a month to talk about Bill’s latest cataract surgery, door’s open.

      And they wonder why their club and/or the hobby is dying.

    • You do not need a license to operate a CB radio with SSB capabilities.
      For that matter you, your family and neighbors can get FRS/GMRS or MURS radios for around your neighborhood. IMO these are good at best 1 maybe 2 miles and even then line-of-sight. #1 comms is LOCAL.
      There are supposedly repeaters for these frequencies but I never got into these modes…so YMMV
      How far can you transmit with CB and/or SSB? Hit or miss.
      Way back when I was a wee lad….I was on a mountain-top outside of SLC. It was a beautiful night, and so was she, the stars twinkled in her eyes, I thought she was in love….. when I heard a call on the CB from somebody in Reno……it spoiled the ambiance.
      There are times you have to turn the radio off.

  24. OK…….we’re beating this horse to death. We’ve posted plenty of opinions but no hard answers.

    Right now the paradigm to emulate is AmRRON. They’ve been at this for a while, but IMO they have become too wrapped around different modes, transcriptions, and many bells and whistles. Their Channel 3 project for GMRS/FRS as far as I can tell is dead. IMO AmRRON has become a “club”
    more impressed with their capabilities…..however they can make comms and get the message out….but if you are not up to speed and use the same protocols, secret decoder ring, etc, etc……you’re not going to run with the big dogs which they think they are.

    I try not to QSO on their nets and rather listen. Voice is practically dead and anything digital is rarely plain text. If you don’t play their game their way…well you don’t play. All I ever asked for is to put the information out there PLAIN TEXT for everyone.

    I don’t care how many ways you can skin this cat. Just keep it simple and please use plain text so that “normal” people and those without their ticket can be INFORMED.

    WRSA will not be another AmRRON. We cant even agree on a band, frequency or mode, time, day or what to have for breakfast.

    We had a good start on 80 and 40. Did anyone else try to make contact?

    I pound the KISS drum again. Not to beat my own drum but I have tried a couple of times to get a response from ANYONE on digital since I believe it has the best chance to reach a broad range of people. I received ONE response from and individual in NM who thinks they heard my repeat call on 10130.

    I have had better luck with email……but that’s not the point… it.

    What has been posted here has been discussed hundreds of times before elsewhere. Nothing of what has been mentioned here is new and only a few of us understand how to work this.

    The key is to inform folks with limited knowledge, gear and equipment.
    It is incumbent upon us to nail down the means and get the information they need right now. Not everyone wants to get into amateur radio as deep as many of us have.

    But first WE need to make some kind of QSO with each other.

    1) Who are you trying to reach/communicate with?
    Each other regionally, nationally locally
    2) Where are they?
    See # 1
    3) What information are you trying to communicate?
    Who, what, where, when, how – any information that is pertinent. NO rag-chewing. Formats are available with ARES/RACES. (think 9-line)
    (BTW has anyone heard any ARES/RACES nets providing pertinent info locally ? regionally ?)
    4) can you accomplish this without transmitting?
    I can……no radio, no antenna, no power. Hint – CW, any hard object and something that goes long distances. Yes, this is a riddle.

    Caveat: My knowledge in amateur radio can fit in a thimble. I am no expert. There are folks here who are more knowledgeable than myself. I will be learning the rest of my life.

    I have made a couple of attempts to make comms. I think it’s someone else’s turn to bat.

    Just post frequency, time and whatever mode and I’ll be there

    N7IXN _ _ _ . . _ _ . . . _ . _

  25. For the few years I have glossed WRSA, hams have been encouraging the non-hams here to get started. Glad to see interest is waxing. Too bad that it took martial law to get the interest going.