In this post I would like to explain ideas that have been tossed around about a ZS radio network. This proposal is based on ideas discussed on this board and discussions between Kyle and myself. This is certainly open to discussion, and will undergo changes in the process.
Effective long-range communications are a fantastic asset to have. We are all able to communicate very effectively through the message board, but what if a zombocalypse occurred? Would the internet still be usable? Would we be able to maintain our connection to it?
We need a backup communications system. Thus the ZS radio network.
We propose using a blend of ham radio and CB radio to accomplish this purpose. We would like to be able to communicate with one another via radio both regionally and nationally – even in a disaster.
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the biggest organization for ham radio in the USA. They have divided the USA into “sections.” Sections are often states; for example, Tennessee is its own section, as is Minnesota. But more populated or larger regions are subdivided. Pennsylvania has two sections; Florida and Texas, three each.
Here is a link listing the ARRL sections:
I propose that ZS try to have (at least) one ham radio operator in each section to coordinate communications for that section. For example, I could serve as the ZS ham operator for Western Pennsylvania. One of the St. Louis hams could be the ZS op for the Missouri section. If Bear gets his license, perhaps he could be the ZS op for the Northern Florida section. All of the ZS ham ops could keep in touch with another using HF radios. (This requires getting a General class license, eventually.) We could relay information from one section to another. That would allow us to communicate nationally, or even internationally.
Then on a regional level, we could use CB radio. CB has two fantastic advantages. First, the equipment is so commonly available and a station is easily assembled. Second, no license is required. It is rather short-range under most conditions, however. (The ZS ham ops might also be able to build more sophisticated antennas that would allow somewhat longer range using CB.) But as Bear pointed out in one of the Katrina threads, relaying signals is a way around its range limits. All of the ZS members in a section could keep in touch with one another (and the ZS ham op) by relaying messages over CB radio. Each section could gradually build up a CB network so they can keep in touch within a section, and relay information to the ham op, who could pass it on to other sections.
This is a long-term project, there is no doubt of that. There are only a couple of hams in ZS now. But if we start now, in time it will develop.
I would suggest that we begin by gathering information. If you are interested in participating in the ZS Radio Network, leave a post or a PM. I will start gathering a list. Please include the following information:
The section you are in.
Your latitude and longitude
. I want to map station locations. You don’t have to be precise; I don’t want to know exactly where you live, and it’s a bad idea to publish that info on the internet. Just give me your latitude and longitude to the nearest tenth of a degree; for example, I am at 40.2 degrees North, 79.8 degrees West. That tells you generally where I am; but only narrows it down to a square 6.9 miles on a side, or 48 square miles. If you don’t know your latitude and longitude, just use Google to find one of the many sites that can provide that information.
Your particular interest
; in other words, do you have a ham license (and if you do, your license class and call sign); do you want to pursue a ham license; do you want to just stick to CB. Whatever you are interested is fine. We are encouraging people to get ham licenses, but everyone here has a life beyond ZS (except Kyle), and you may not have the time to devote to it. That’s fine, we need CB people too.
Your equipment situation
. Do you already have a CB? How many watts does it put out? Is it in a car or a base station? If a ham, what type (HF, VHF) of equipment do you have?
Once this info is gathered, then we can continue to plan. Hams frequently run radio “nets” – meetings on the air. Perhaps once a month, we could have a date and time when we all see who we can reach in our section with our current radio setups. Once we get ham ops in different sections, they can try to reach one another, too.
Part 1 - Intro
Part 2 - Licensing
Part 3 - Equipment
Part 4 - Networking