Best band for comunications without repeater capability

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DoctorCandelario
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Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:11 pm

I've been asking myself a long time what is the best band to set up communications in a small group when you dont have access to repeaters or CB bands.

Picture yourself in a place in the middle of nowhere and you need to have comunications to at least a couple of miles away. Hilly, uneven terrain.

I have a VHF Motorolla base radio and a VHF transmiter and I couldnt get more than 350m point to point communications without cut-off.

UHF? CB portables? What sort of equipment do you recommend? I dont have access to military surpluss. I thought about old motorolla field combat radios but I couldnt find them anywhere.

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TacAir
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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by TacAir » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:46 pm

Portable, movile or fixed station?

Power in the AO or battery only?

Do you or other consider getting a ham license., tech would be plenty.

If you are trying to talk handi to handi, the band won't matter all that much....
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KYZHunters
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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by KYZHunters » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:51 pm

DoctorCandelario wrote: I have a VHF Motorolla base radio and a VHF transmiter and I couldnt get more than 350m point to point communications without cut-off.
That's weird; my blister pack FSR handhelds talk all over my 75 acre farm, easily reaching the house from the bottom through a dense stand of trees. I'm thinking you might have an antenna or coax problem on that base radio. Buy/borrow an swr meter and make sure you're not talking into a dead short or open cable.
The cheap and easy answer for VHF/UHF radios is always get a better antenna. Assuming one of the radios is your base, get a gain antenna and put it up as high as you can. On the portable end, a roll-up j-pole is way better than whatever antenna is on the handhelds and you can always put a piece of fishing line on the jpole and hoist it up a tree if you've got a little coax for it.
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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DoctorCandelario
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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:00 pm

TacAir wrote:Portable, movile or fixed station?

Power in the AO or battery only?

Do you or other consider getting a ham license., tech would be plenty.

If you are trying to talk handi to handi, the band won't matter all that much....
Portable mostly, although a fixed element (base) could be usefull.

Battery only, power for recharging is available but not dependable. It has gone out for hours at a time. HAM license in this case is out of the question.

I ask about band because I heard some frequencies have further reach and building penetrability than others. And I dont have access to repeater antennas
KYZHunters wrote:That's weird; my blister pack FSR handhelds talk all over my 75 acre farm, easily reaching the house from the bottom through a dense stand of trees. I'm thinking you might have an antenna or coax problem on that base radio. Buy/borrow an swr meter and make sure you're not talking into a dead short or open cable.
The cheap and easy answer for VHF/UHF radios is always get a better antenna. Assuming one of the radios is your base, get a gain antenna and put it up as high as you can. On the portable end, a roll-up j-pole is way better than whatever antenna is on the handhelds and you can always put a piece of fishing line on the jpole and hoist it up a tree if you've got a little coax for it.
Well the antenna is a little bit flimsy. It's quite small. But I originally tought that I could be facing problems because uneven terrain. The Radio is a Motorolla Radius GP300 VHF and the antenna that I currently have is a Antenex 162-174MHz VHF Unity Gain Stainless Steel Quarterwave Antenna

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by Radio guy » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:11 pm

I think the best bang for the buck would be VHF MURS, which is a 2w license free service. There are very few actual legal MURS radios around but you can get new Wouxun or Bofeng radios in the $30-$40 range that will work just fine.

Handheld to handheld with stock antennas can go from under a mile in really bad terrain to 50+ mi from a mountain top to another radio. Add a mobile or base antenna and you will have plenty of range. Unlike FRS, you can attach external antennas to a MURS radio and extend the range. I should also ask where you are located since you may have different laws outside the US.
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KYZHunters
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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by KYZHunters » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:17 pm

Looked up that antenna and it appears to be a mag mount designed to work against a ground plane of some kind like a vehicle roof. Throw it on a vehicle or a steel roof and see what happens. Again, check the coax; assuming there isn't something way wrong with the radio you should be getting something. I use a a cheapo discone on my GMRS radio and scanner and have great coverage even here in the Kentucky 'knobs'.
As far as bands, either VHF or UHF should do it for you in the distances you're talking about. If you are moving to HF you'd have to put up a NVIS antenna on both ends and I think you wouldn't have any advantage, but TacAir is the man to ask about that.
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:28 pm

KYZHunters wrote:Looked up that antenna and it appears to be a mag mount designed to work against a ground plane of some kind like a vehicle roof. Throw it on a vehicle or a steel roof and see what happens. Again, check the coax; assuming there isn't something way wrong with the radio you should be getting something. I use a a cheapo discone on my GMRS radio and scanner and have great coverage even here in the Kentucky 'knobs'.
As far as bands, either VHF or UHF should do it for you in the distances you're talking about. If you are moving to HF you'd have to put up a NVIS antenna on both ends and I think you wouldn't have any advantage, but TacAir is the man to ask about that.
It is a mag mount, and indeed I get something; I can pick-up a city-wide signal from firemen and one police department very, very clearly. However with point to point that's what happens, I can get no more than 350m range. The portable VHF unit can also pick up the same police and firemen frequencies, also clearly. Could be that one of the radios is busted?

VHF or UHF is the way to go then. If I can get good point to point comm with good equipment, then great.

I'll check the coax but that is so far the most detailed description of what happens that I can give you now.
Radio Guy wrote:I think the best bang for the buck would be VHF MURS, which is a 2w license free service. There are very few actual legal MURS radios around but you can get new Wouxun or Bofeng radios in the $30-$40 range that will work just fine.
Handheld to handheld with stock antennas can go from under a mile in really bad terrain to 50+ mi from a mountain top to another radio. Add a mobile or base antenna and you will have plenty of range. Unlike FRS, you can attach external antennas to a MURS radio and extend the range. I should also ask where you are located since you may have different laws outside the US.
Radio Guy
I'll have my VHF base checked. If its in good working order I will aquire some VHF systems.

I live in South America, Venezuela. I know you can get access to repeaters for VHF so extended range is possible, taxi companies do this. However im not interested in this, since its an off the grid operation. Im not speaking about anything illegal, but im rigging up communications inside an urbanization for local defense and information on crime or possible unrest.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by Radio guy » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:44 pm

Aah, I have some friends/colleagues in Venezuela and they are really great people. Shipping equipment into your country can be difficult but there is some proven good and cheap Chinese radios that would be great for your proposed use. Are you near Caracas?
Radio Guy
DoctorCandelario wrote:
Radio Guy wrote:I think the best bang for the buck would be VHF MURS, which is a 2w license free service. There are very few actual legal MURS radios around but you can get new Wouxun or Bofeng radios in the $30-$40 range that will work just fine.
Handheld to handheld with stock antennas can go from under a mile in really bad terrain to 50+ mi from a mountain top to another radio. Add a mobile or base antenna and you will have plenty of range. Unlike FRS, you can attach external antennas to a MURS radio and extend the range. I should also ask where you are located since you may have different laws outside the US.
Radio Guy
I'll have my VHF base checked. If its in good working order I will aquire some VHF systems.

I live in South America, Venezuela. I know you can get access to repeaters for VHF so extended range is possible, taxi companies do this. However im not interested in this, since its an off the grid operation. Im not speaking about anything illegal, but im rigging up communications inside an urbanization for local defense and information on crime or possible unrest.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:10 pm

Radio guy wrote:Aah, I have some friends/colleagues in Venezuela and they are really great people. Shipping equipment into your country can be difficult but there is some proven good and cheap Chinese radios that would be great for your proposed use. Are you near Caracas?
Radio Guy
In fact I live in Caracas! best way to ship things in is through a couple of private couriers or services like DHL and FedEX. It can be difficult sometimes but it can be done. What type of equipment? Im looking for some portables and a base radio. I already have that Motorolla base but it has to be programmed, so I take suggestions too on radios that you can dial in frequencies without needing a programming interphase, to have some degree of flexibility.

Im already hunting for materials to build a good VHF antenna.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:27 pm

By speaking about cheap chinese radios being good i think RadioGuy was speaking about this:

http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136 ... +VHF+UV-5R" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am curious about the whole lot of possitive reviews this radio has. Im not trustworthy of chinese technology all the time but this one seems to be good. Any opinions out there?

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by ProstheticWeasel » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:33 am

I have a uv5r. For the price it is kind of hard to beat. I have a post here about making a radio holder for it from a pvc pipe coupler it fits perfectly into.

It picks up a lot of interference but it works ok for repeaters that are close by. I picked up the 12v cig lighter battery adapter and the external mic as well as the usb cable and a different antenna for less than $100 easily. Compared to my yaesu vx7 its a pretty crappy radio but its also less than a quarter the cost. Its a dual band so comparing it to the vx7 is not really apples to apples but I wanted a radio I could leave in my car without worrying about it being stolen. The uv5r fits the bill perfectly as replacing the window would be more annoying than replacing the radio.

You can program it with the usb cable and chirp for free from the internet. The usb cable is hard to plug in so you have to push it into the radio until it clicks into place. I tried programming it from the keypad but gave up pretty quick. The instruction pamphlet that comes with it is useless except for comedic value.

For $30 its good. I think I paid $40 for it a year ago and I have been happy enough with it that I may get a spare.

edit for another note: The scanning speed of the uv5r SUCKS. So if you want to be able to use it as a scanner its not very good. If you just want two frequencies then you are ok as it can listen on two.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by zommoz10 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:08 pm

Low band.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by RadioShooter » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:00 pm

Just got my 6 meter mobile installed. Worked some repeaters, but haven't got to try simplex. It is an interesting band and does not have near the scratch patch areas as 2m/440. Since he in in VZ, he might not have access to low band or 6 meters.
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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by Radio guy » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:57 am

If hand held radios are a consideration then Low Band is out due to the large antennas required. The OP is in a country where you may not be able to get licensed for the radios and he probably has to operate covertly. Imagine trying to hide a low band radio with 5ft long antenna under your coat when the men in uniforms drive by.

I have a variety of VHF low band hand helds on 6m and the range is dismal with a short 1ft helical antenna. With a 5ft long antenna it works fairly well but not as good as VHF hi band. VHF hi band is the best choice for his needs based on range, size of antennas, etc.
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zommoz10 wrote:Low band.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by zommoz10 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:20 pm

Radio guy wrote:If hand held radios are a consideration then Low Band is out due to the large antennas required. The OP is in a country where you may not be able to get licensed for the radios and he probably has to operate covertly. Imagine trying to hide a low band radio with 5ft long antenna under your coat when the men in uniforms drive by.

I have a variety of VHF low band hand helds on 6m and the range is dismal with a short 1ft helical antenna. With a 5ft long antenna it works fairly well but not as good as VHF hi band. VHF hi band is the best choice for his needs based on range, size of antennas, etc.
Radio Guy
zommoz10 wrote:Low band.
Who said anything about portables?
He specifically mentioned a base station.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:25 pm

Uh, yes he did
DoctorCandelario wrote:
TacAir wrote:Portable, movile or fixed station?
Portable mostly, although a fixed element (base) could be usefull.
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by zommoz10 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:38 pm

KYZHunters wrote:Uh, yes he did
DoctorCandelario wrote:
TacAir wrote:Portable, movile or fixed station?
Portable mostly, although a fixed element (base) could be usefull.
OK so I gave my two cents for the latter two. :clownshoes:

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by DoctorCandelario » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:03 pm

Thank you all for your input! I'll be sticking to motorolla for a base station. Im building a better dipole antenna im just waiting for the coax cable to arrive. Already ordered the programming cable and we already have a frequency.

Thats right, there is a way to get a frequency but this is a "covert" operation. Not of much trafic will be put through it though and the specific VHF frequencies we are using are"dead". Of course, they will be all monitored .

For portables I considered chinese Baofeng, at least a couple. For the rest, Motorolla VHF surplus or Icom equipment.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by encrypt1 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:50 pm

Consider buying or building a tactical repeater. Take it with you and place on high ground. I've seen 4 watt UHF portables not talk 500 yards through dense brush and rough ground in southern Texas. Placed a 2 watt solar powered tactical repeater on the ridge and same portables covered 900 acers no problem.

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Re: Best band for comunications without repeater capability

Post by Shok » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:47 pm

Ham license and an NVIS antenna gets you over any hill without a repeater.
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