Two Way Radios ?

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Artacoma
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Two Way Radios ?

Postby Artacoma » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:48 pm

Any suggestions ?

I'm thinking a couple of compact handhelds for keeping in contact with a buddy when you are 4Xing out of cell range , also is it feasible for emergency contact or is a separate system better for that?
Suggested range?
I'm thinking something economical that would probably only get used a few times a year.
Is VHF suitable?
Something small enough for hiking use too maybe.
Rik
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RichD
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby RichD » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:40 pm

I've been on the same track lately and have come to the conclusion that VHF is the way to go. This article is a good start:

http://www.bc4x4.com/features/2010/vhf/

There are VHF radio models that can be modded to talk to FRS, or even act as base stations that boost FRS.

I wouldn't worry about licensing right out of the gates if you are restricting your use to fire road frequencies. Find a ham buddy, get an idea of what kind of kit you need, learn about the etiquette then move on to doing your exam as your application expands.
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:58 pm

VHF is very good as was proved on the first Whipsaw weekend in communications between the Miss Lil' Bitchi and the TardisDeli. FRS operate on a UHF bandwidth. If you get caught modding your rig to communicate with FRS you can lose your license, your rig and possibly your vehicle. Having said that, in the case of an emergency or avoiding an emergency you can communicate on any wavelength. By emergency I don't mean "OMG! OMG! WE'RE OUT OF BEER!" or out of fuel... definitely means saving a life.

Best thing to do is get a HAM license. The way to do that is join a club and take a course. This way you learn about radios, and more importantly ~ about aerials.

There are 100 multiple questions on the Industry Canada HAM test. 20% of those questions will be about rules and regulations. You can just take the test, usually for free and get a license. If you know little or nothing about radio electronics, aerial propagation, or government regulations ~ then I would recommend the course, which cost me $300., if memory serves.

The radio waves are highly guarded territory. Just recently the government of Quebec commandeered an HAM band wave for the purpose of a sporting event. This has everyone up in arms ~ it's like the government telling you that you are prohibited from using your ensuite bathroom on the weekend of the eighteenth because it will be used as a public convenience for a government function. This is, of course, highly illegal (at least federally) so we are watching to see what happens.

CB and FSR are unregulated but not as good. There are a number of benefits to VHF: Although it is a line of sight frequency ~ it does bend around things; also if you're in range of a strategically placed repeater then you can talk for miles.

But even using a repeater requires radio savvy. How to set up a duplex connexion, for instance ~ so again, I recommend the class.

Falco.

P.S.: Here is a link to the Industry Canada Exam Generator free software download. By the way, when I said that there were 100 questions on the exam... they are all randomly picked from a pool of 1,000 questions. With the Exam Generator you can do a test but the next time you take the test you may recognise a dozen questions... the others will be completely new ones.
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby Super Exceeded » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:25 pm

After speaing with a good friend of mine who is a Ham Operator I have gone with a tried and tested CB. He explained to me that although Ham is great in the Valley and up the Straight, the lack of repeaters once you get into the mountains will render them useless. As for a real emergency I have gone with a spot. A few friends of mine crashed on a glacier last year and were rescued in less than three hours by SAR.

I am interested in the VHF though.

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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby RichD » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:39 pm

Spot is excellent and I recommend it as well.

But this is about two-way radio. He doesn't want to call home, we wants to radio his buddies while offroading. The decision isn't between satellite communications and land radio, its between a maximum 1 amp unlicensed radio like FRS and a higher power kit. Not to mention, you should be on the same frequency as the trucks on forestry roads.
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby RichD » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:48 pm

FalcoColumbarius wrote:it is a line of site frequency

You might want to amend your post for spelling, accuracy, and to avoid implying alternate laws of physics. There is no "line of site (sic) frequency". Power, gain and wavelength contribute to the efficiency of transmissions in situations where reflection and interference come into play.

All radiation waves travel directionally - an accurate analogy is visible light. As you well know from experience, a light source will travel in the direction it is focused but also reflect and make its way around corners.

VHF is a good choice because it has longer waves and much higher power than FRS, GMRS, or XRS. Practically, we saw in the bush how GMRS would crap out after only a few hundred meters of obstacles while we were able to communicate over kilometers with VHF band despite the same kinds of obstacles.
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:21 pm

Super Exceeded wrote:After speaing with a good friend of mine who is a Ham Operator I have gone with a tried and tested CB. He explained to me that although Ham is great in the Valley and up the Straight, the lack of repeaters once you get into the mountains will render them useless. As for a real emergency I have gone with a spot. A few friends of mine crashed on a glacier last year and were rescued in less than three hours by SAR.

I am interested in the VHF though.

There are 70 listed repeaters in Northern BC; 122 repeaters on the BC South list; 92 on the Greater Vancouver list; 32 on the Fraser Valley list; 93 on the Island.

One of those repeaters is mounted on Mount Seymour and is called VE7 NSR (147.260). It covers the Lower Mainland out to Abbotsford and some of the Sea To Sky.

But even if you weren't on a repeater and were operating simplex between vehicles, as we were on the first Whipsaw weekend, your transmissions would would be superior in range & clarity than to a CB or FSR.


RichD wrote:You might want to amend your post for spelling, accuracy, and to avoid implying alternate laws of physics. There is no "line of site (sic) frequency" Damn, you got me. Power, gain and wavelength contribute to the efficiency of transmissions in situations where reflection and interference come into play.

All radiation waves travel directionally - an accurate analogy is visible light. As you well know from experience, a light source will travel in the direction it is focused but also reflect and make its way around corners.

VHF is a good choice because it has longer waves and much higher power than FRS, GMRS, or XRS. Practically, we saw in the bush how GMRS would crap out after only a few hundred meters of obstacles while we were able to communicate over kilometers with VHF band despite the same kinds of obstacles.


HF can spill out like a fountain. Aerial propagation is definitely thinking "outside the box". Radio Frequency (RF) is affected by things like solar activity. The sun can affect the density of the ionosphere which in turn influences RF. By the way "kilometers" is an American spelling. Canadian spelling is "kilometres".

Falco.

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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby Artacoma » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:11 am

OOkaaaayy......... off to my acronym dictionary !
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby mararmeisto » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:47 am

RichD wrote:
FalcoColumbarius wrote:it is a line of site frequency

...There is no "line of site (sic) frequency"...

Um, RichD, there is when you're standing on the surface of a planet with an atmosphere...

As to the purpose of the original post, would a couple of unregulated CB radios suffice for communication between vehicles less than 5km apart? I don't want to be able to contact the PLA Search and Rescue Squads based out of Shanghai - I want to be able to contact the vehicle that has gone up-and-around-the-bend on the FSR we're travelling along.
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:38 am

CB is just below the ten metre band in the 27 MHz range, which is the top end of HF.
I hear mixed reviews regarding CB. I would think with decent amplification a CB would be superior to FSR.
VHF is very clean.

Falco.

Basic radio acronyms:
    VLF: Very Low Frequency
    LF: Low Frequency
    MF: Medium Frequency
    HF: High Frequency
    VHF: Very High Frequency
    UHF: Ultra High Frequency
    SHF: Super High Frequency
    EHF: Not sure, the E could refer to Ether; Extra; Extraordinary ~ either way I can't possibly afford it, that's how extraordinary it is.
    Actually, I think it stands for "Extremely High Frequency". I will eventually achieve that frequency ~ but not by radio.

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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby Artacoma » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:07 pm

Just back from wikipedia ....... FRS = family radio service
Does anyone use GMRS? or is the signal strength too limiting
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Re: Two Way Radios ?

Postby jessef » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:37 pm

Most offroaders use a good CB with a quality antenna to communicate between each other when on the trails.

Select few run VHF but most still use CB's because they are cheap and do not require a license.

FSR's are very limited and are not as good as a good CB with a quality antenna.

For the pork license, pay $30 for the study guide and $20 for the test. Cheap. No need for the course, however I'm certain you will get more info through the course in a short order than most can online.

I have been using this model and it's great. You can pickup a good new handheld VHF radio between 100-150 online.

http://www.twowayradioonline.com/FT270.asp


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