Frequency hopping radio for civilians

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Unknownsld
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Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Unknownsld » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:56 pm

Hey guys, I am looking for a list of communications radios that can frequency hop for secure or semi secure transmissions. I was looking for something similar to the an/prc model radios or sincgars. Need something for a secure command and control base and individual personnel radios such as those in the pics I linked. As far as I understand, sincgar and the newest an/prc radios are not legal for civilians to own. So something similar and fairly new or recently being transitioned away from with frequency hopping capabilities is ideal. These would only be used during a shtf scenario as well as training for individuals getting ready to join the military in a few courses I will be offering through a business I am starting next year. Thanks in advance for the feedback guys.

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TacAir
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by TacAir » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:40 pm

TriSquare has stopped producing the execrable eXRS portable radios.

I'm aware of some 900 mhz units _ Motorola DTR 550 and 650 - both use 900 MHz ISM Frequency-Hopping Digital Spread Spectrum.

I don't know of anything else that you can buy without a special permit.

Good luck.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Stercutus » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:02 pm

There are a number of Motorola DTR radios that frequency hop.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Unknownsld » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:44 pm

I've been reading that the Motorola radios can be a pain and that Motorola can be jerks when it comes to upgrades. Can anyone substantiate that for me?

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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Stercutus » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:07 pm

Unknownsld wrote:I've been reading that the Motorola radios can be a pain and that Motorola can be jerks when it comes to upgrades. Can anyone substantiate that for me?
That is such a general statement it is impossible to verify. Motorola does demand that customers respect it's copyrights with regards to programming software. This makes people who feel that they should not have to pay for such things upset.
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Unknownsld
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Unknownsld » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:22 pm

Stercutus wrote:
Unknownsld wrote:I've been reading that the Motorola radios can be a pain and that Motorola can be jerks when it comes to upgrades. Can anyone substantiate that for me?
That is such a general statement it is impossible to verify. Motorola does demand that customers respect it's copyrights with regards to programming software. This makes people who feel that they should not have to pay for such things upset.

In regards to the programming software, what is this software for? I am not to familiar with communications equipment other than the short time I was acquainted with the AN/PRC radio's we used during basic training and the basic civilian cb radio's.

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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by MaconCJ7 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:55 pm

For the vast majority of Motorola radios, you need their software in order to program them. The software allows you to do everything from frequencies to volume control, depending on model. Motorola decided long ago that they would support small time radio businesses by not selling that software directly to end users, at least not ones-and-twos end users. This has upset many enthusiasts because every end user that likes to work on their own stuff likes to have access to the tools they need to do so. Motorola has actively enforced their copyright protections, and that has upset people even more.

However, most radio shops are reasonable people and only charge a nominal fee to do the programming you want.

RE: original question, I don't know of any civilian gear that does freq hopping. I don't know of any real need for it. The purpose isn't encryption, just anti-jamming. Fairly useless for almost everybody, including the .mil. Great concept, and perfect when needed, it's just really not needed for 99.9% of everything. In order to be even partially effective, there has to be good band coverage, and hopping has to be so fast that even if a few freqs are jammed, the jest of the message still gets through on what remains. Normal people would just change channels if jamming is an issue.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Unknownsld » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:08 pm

MaconCJ7 wrote:For the vast majority of Motorola radios, you need their software in order to program them. The software allows you to do everything from frequencies to volume control, depending on model. Motorola decided long ago that they would support small time radio businesses by not selling that software directly to end users, at least not ones-and-twos end users. This has upset many enthusiasts because every end user that likes to work on their own stuff likes to have access to the tools they need to do so. Motorola has actively enforced their copyright protections, and that has upset people even more.

However, most radio shops are reasonable people and only charge a nominal fee to do the programming you want.

RE: original question, I don't know of any civilian gear that does freq hopping. I don't know of any real need for it. The purpose isn't encryption, just anti-jamming. Fairly useless for almost everybody, including the .mil. Great concept, and perfect when needed, it's just really not needed for 99.9% of everything. In order to be even partially effective, there has to be good band coverage, and hopping has to be so fast that even if a few freqs are jammed, the jest of the message still gets through on what remains. Normal people would just change channels if jamming is an issue.
Yea that's what I had read before. That's why I am not quite sure I want to deal with Motorola. Essentially what I am looking to do is set up a secure communications network for a shtf scenario and training in some basic stuff learned in basic training for recruits going into service soon. Such as some squad movement tactics, but mostly land navigation and rifle range training. I need it to be secure if shtf so my family, friends and I would be able to move and keep in contact without people listening in and finding us. I also am looking at possible ham and cb radio equipment to contact other communities or people in need of help during a shtf situation. Long range equipment is preferable. Such as a 50 mile range.

What would be the best, longest range and internal battery cb that is rechargable? What is the longest range ham radio as well? What other equipment would I need to increase the range, such as radio towers by chance?

Preferably with a price around $150 for the base radio and $100 or under for the handheld units.

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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by JayceSlayn » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:30 pm

I have a pair of the TriSquare eXRS radios, and I don't use them very often, but other than the fact that the battery performance is very poor, I thought they were OK. End-to-end speech quality left some to be desired as well - but I couldn't tell if that was speaker quality or transmission quality at fault.

One of the important aspects of the technique they used for aligning the frequency hopping between two radios was that they would wait on one channel until an active call went though, and then begin hopping together. They then continue hopping through the set sequence until they reach the end and wait for another active or ongoing connection. It is a convenient way of synchronizing all the radios, but if one of them misses the beginning of the transmission because it was off, or because it was on another coded "channel", or even if the signal quality was temporarily compromised, then it will have to wait something like 60 seconds before it can resynchronize with the others.

Frequency hopping is great for a few reasons, one of them being privacy, and another being interference avoidance. But it isn't necessarily what you want all the time.

Talking without encryption on a frequency hopping link ensures that most anyone with a scanner attempting to keep up with your conversation will have a hard time following along for more than a few fragmented seconds. This privacy is great if you don't want to talk to or be heard by anyone you don't know (only people with your FHSS schedule can listen in) - which I decided is great most of the time, but not so great other times too. If I actually wanted to talk to someone else, I'd be SOL, because the radios were not able to use the most popular FRS/GMRS frequencies, and it was stupidly unlikely that anyone would happen to have the correct channel schedule as me too.

Interference avoidance is another thing that has some very limited use in the handheld voice radio usage. It is widely accepted as the best thing since sliced bread for RC airplane control, because you no longer have to impound radio frequencies at flying parks, or suffer the utter misery that happens when someone accidentally turns on their radio a few hundred feet away on your channel and crashes your plane by accident. You can ignore narrow-band interference for the large part on a frequency hopping system because you're only going to be on that channel for a fraction of a second every so often, but I think you'd be more likely to encounter wide-band interference in many other scenarios.

If you are willing to go super DIY, I have more experience with the Digi XBee radios. They have FHSS capability, several power and frequency ranges to choose from, and are very stable and configurable. You'd be signing yourself up for a lot of work though, to make something as polished as a handheld commercial radio out of them.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by MaconCJ7 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:23 pm

Unknownsld wrote:Yea that's what I had read before. That's why I am not quite sure I want to deal with Motorola. Essentially what I am looking to do is set up a secure communications network for a shtf scenario and training in some basic stuff learned in basic training for recruits going into service soon. Such as some squad movement tactics, but mostly land navigation and rifle range training. I need it to be secure if shtf so my family, friends and I would be able to move and keep in contact without people listening in and finding us. I also am looking at possible ham and cb radio equipment to contact other communities or people in need of help during a shtf situation. Long range equipment is preferable. Such as a 50 mile range.

What would be the best, longest range and internal battery cb that is rechargable? What is the longest range ham radio as well? What other equipment would I need to increase the range, such as radio towers by chance?

Preferably with a price around $150 for the base radio and $100 or under for the handheld units.
I think hitting up a few dedicated radio forums would be your best bet, though there are a few folks on here that can and will point you in the right direction. I think your hopes are set way too high for your price range. 50 miles is extreme distance for anything mobile. Stationary it's considerably easier, but you have to have at least a basic understanding of propagation and antenna types. Stuff that's easily learned, but also knowledge you don't currently possess. Knowledge being power, go out and get a few radio books, or search these forums for several free options. Read a lot, ask yourself questions, then read some more. Radio is a very basic, yet very detailed technology. Something as simple as standing next to a running vehicle can let your buddy hear you, but completely block his reply.

Radio being what it is, I have made comms change from 3 to 65 with little more than an antenna change. I've also corrected problems with just a filter, expanding no comms to a 45 mile radius. I've hit locations 800 miles away by moving antenna legs a few feet. But one thing I've never done is expand portable comms to be more than 20 miles. My personal comms are good for just over a mile. The only way I can get more than that is if the stars align and the waves part, but only after I sacrifice 20 first born male puppies.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Radio guy » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:43 pm

There is also the Marconi/Selex PRC-343 or Personal Role Radio (PRR) radios, see: http: //www.prc68.com/I/Bowman.shtml . These are made for the military but are otherwise a license free 50mw 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio for short range. They work about as far as an FRS or TriSquare radio in urban areas and surprisingly far outdoors line of sight and you can attach a high gain antenna to increase range. They are very secure with 256 possible hop codes and can only be intercepted by another PRR set up the same way.

These show up all the time on Ebay and you can sometimes find them for good prices, otherwise the paint ball types drive the prices up ocasionally. I bought several new in the box for $200ea.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by Langenator » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:03 am

Unknownsld wrote: Yea that's what I had read before. That's why I am not quite sure I want to deal with Motorola. Essentially what I am looking to do is set up a secure communications network for a shtf scenario and training in some basic stuff learned in basic training for recruits going into service soon. Such as some squad movement tactics, but mostly land navigation and rifle range training. I need it to be secure if shtf so my family, friends and I would be able to move and keep in contact without people listening in and finding us. I also am looking at possible ham and cb radio equipment to contact other communities or people in need of help during a shtf situation. Long range equipment is preferable. Such as a 50 mile range.

What would be the best, longest range and internal battery cb that is rechargable? What is the longest range ham radio as well? What other equipment would I need to increase the range, such as radio towers by chance?

Preferably with a price around $150 for the base radio and $100 or under for the handheld units.
I'm not a radio guy - all my radio experience comes from my time in the Army (starting the PRC-77s and -126s in the early 90s) - but you don't need to freq hop to maintain comsec. Encryption will accomplish that just fine. Anyone who doesn't have your key will just hear static when you transmit. If you're worried about people using direction-finding equipment to locate you, honestly, that's way, way down low on the threat scale. It requires dedicated effort from at least two stations to be able to triangulate a location. Not sure about dedicated/specialized equipment. Wasn't my MOS. But you and your family probably aren't going to rate high enough on anyone's threat or prey scale to warrant that kind of attention.

I'm not sure about any civilian freq hopping, but one downside to .mil freq hopping is that it reduces the effective transmission range of the radios. I know if we were operating at extended distances with our SINCGARS, we would sometimes have to switch over to single channel with just encryption to be able to talk. The other thing with .mil FH radios (at least the ones they trust infantry, tankers, etc. with) is that they run their FH off the radios' internal clocks, which requires all the radios on a given net to have the exact same time. If your radio loses time, or isn't set right, you can't hear anyone else, and nobody can hear you. Thus, generally, the unit commo specialist (found at the company level) has the task of making sure all the radios are set up on the correct time. This set up would be less than ideal for people spread out over considerable distances (you mentioned a 50 miles desired range), especially if they're not using the radios frequently. Even if all the radios are in relatively close proximity, and there's a decent amount of traffic on the net, it's very easy for people to not notice that they're no longer hearing anyone else. On a bunch of occasions, my company rolled out of the assembly area and left a vehicle or two, or even whole platoons, behind, simply because their radios were off time.
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Re: Frequency hopping radio for civilians

Post by CitizenZ » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:58 pm

The triSquare radios were the only entry level frequency hoping radio.

Its not a Motorola issue. Its the law that doesn't allow the LMR radios to be end user programmable.

All hand held radios are line of sight. There is no such thing as 50-100 mile portable com unless your both on mountain tops with unobstructed views and directional antennas.
Communications is the use of technical knowledge and equipment. Its not just push to talk. You really need to understand how it works and what it can and cannot do.
Encryption is not what you need to worry about. Clear communication is hard enough. Low power and directional antenna will give sufficient security and efficiency.
If you are new to radios I suggest you get a tech license and a cheap HT and learn to build a portable Yagi for it. You will learn what you need to know.
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