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Newbie Needs Advice

Guest RedHorse

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Guest RedHorse

Hi, I'm glad you guys exist.  With the mounting cyber attacks on the national grids, I feel the need to get into GMRS or HaM or satellite.  I'm only just starting the research, but it seems for my needs the GMRS would be the optimal solution. However, it seems there needs to be a robust "repeater" network in place to amplify communication distances which you would need in a SHTF scenario. Is that repeater system in place and is it reliable?  Otherwise what do you think of HaM or Satellite?

                P F H,  Bee Caves 
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When the grid goes down, repeaters may not be available either. Batteries and generators only last for so long.

As far as satellites go, you can only communicate on them for a few minutes at best while they are in range. Then you have to wait for a while before you get another chance on another satellite. And not only that, the other person you are trying to reach has to be on the same satellite at the same time. If you want to use satellites at any given time you need to use something like the Garmin Rino. Otherwise it is really hit and miss.

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In actual SHTF you're not going to worry about hitting repeaters, you're going to worry about your immediate family. The thing that's nice about GMRS is that your lisence covers most of your immediate family, which means you can supply them with radios. Perhaps you don't want to have someone use your callsign? That's 100% fine, pick up a cheap FRS HT from Walmart, you'll be able to use your own GMRS radio to communicate with it. 

After securing your family, if you want more communications with the outside world, use Ham, specifically HF bands, without using a repeater because as @WRXB215 said 

13 minutes ago, WRXB215 said:

When the grid goes down, repeaters may not be available either. Batteries and generators only last for so long.


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Hi Red Horse,

If your radio entry point is some level of "prepping", you might start with a few questions to help flesh out what works for you:

  1. Who are you looking to listen to? You can listen to anyone with the right scanner or shortwave radio.
  2. Who will you talk to? How far away are they?
  3. How do you do this now? Text messaging can work when circuits are busy or in weak signal areas.
  4. What are the most likely disaster scenarios in your area? In my area, wind and rain events (severe thunderstorms, tornados, and hurricanes) are most likely to affect us. Are you more concerned with natural disasters that take "the grid down" or are you envisioning "man-made" issues or TEOTWAWKI?
  5. How much effort will you put into getting trained, licensed and proficient?

For me, my primary radio use is to run around outside (hike, kayak, fish, etc.) as well as I'm interested with technology. I use GMRS with my family (they have no interest in getting licensed for ham). Prepping is a secondary use for me. I have a Technicians license and am considering purchasing a HF rig and at some point upgrading to a General license. 

For disasters, I will get information from AM/FM radio, text messages from our county services, local ARES nets, and conversations with GMRS users. My family is anywhere from 90 to 800 miles from me. For disaster planning, we don't have a full PACE plan but we will use: phone, email, and text messaging.

Radios for us will have only local tactical use. Honestly, I'm more concerned with access to drinking water and heat.

I think GMRS will likely give you the best local coms for the cost and effort, but it all depends!

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