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Communications/Computers/Software Ask questions and offer help on anything to do with electronic communication, computing, or related areas.

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  #1  
Old 03-04-2016, 12:30 AM
Hermit Hermit is offline
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Default CQ CQ CQ

I just pulled the TS-530 out of the lineup and replaced it with an FT-840 (I now have the pleasure of knowing I'm actually transmitting on frequency).

I'll be monitoring 7212 LSB Friday evening EST if anyone wants to warm up the ionosphere.

73


Edit Friday evening: I'd like to have a chat on the ham radio, but it seems the international DX contest has just started. I can hear at least five signals on top of each other on 7212 right now. I'll post a time and frequency later when I'll be monitoring. 73

Last edited by Hermit; 03-04-2016 at 10:48 PM. Reason: updated
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2016, 10:00 PM
doc doc is offline
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Hiya, Hermit. Welcome to the forum.

I know very little (like maybe, nothing) about SW, but I just noticed your post and didn't want you to feel left out.

I was recently on another forum and the subject of communication during a crisis situation came up. It was noted that in a major EOTWAWKI scenario, SW may be the only way to communicate, but then, maybe it's a situation where you don't want "them" (like the Feds) to know where you are. Your SW license info (like your weapon registration) may come back to haunt you. Not to mention, in such a situation, what exactly do you need to communicate over long distances for when travel and movement of materials may be impossible?

OTOH- in less dire times, like a natural disaster affecting a limited area, the SW may be life saving. It has proven itself to be so many times in the past 90 yrs.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2016, 01:29 AM
Hermit Hermit is offline
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I disagree with you on several points, but that doesn't mean I'm right, and both of us could be wrong. I just don't see things the same way.

"They" already know where I am, and if "they" want to waste taxpayer dollars listening in on my conversations on the ham radio, I'll be happy to bore them as long as they can stand it. They are more than welcome to come inspect my stations any time (home and car). That's part of the licensing agreement -- if you don't allow them to inspect your station at any time for technical violations, they can and will revoke your license and fine you up to $10,000 a day indefinitely. If that's a problem, then don't get a license. I don't have that problem.

As far as to whether or not they are listening in, I can guarantee you they are. I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of websites that illustrate my point. The first one is http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ . That one is a wide-band software defined radio. See the display that looks like a waterfall? Just below the waterfall, there are a number of purple lines. There's one tiny one waaaay at the left labeled "MW". That's the entire AM radio band from 540-1710 kilohertz. Think about it: the circuit board that this guy in the Netherlands put together for a hundred bucks or so can monitor and record the entire shortwave band, twenty times the size of the AM band, at one time -- "they" have access to unlimited funds -- don't you think that "they" can monitor and record all the frequencies all the time? See the box labeled "Bandwidth"? That allows you to listen to different modes. You don't have to have different radios or different electronic circuitry to decode different signals. Computers can and do simulate and decode all different types of signals. It's just a matter of a few lines of code. Software to decode digital signals is pathetically common and available as freeware -- do a Google search for DigiPan, that's one of dozens available.

As to do "they" know where you are? Check out http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime . Click on the box that says "Stations on". You've heard of triangulation? This is much superior. Triangulation works by two stations finding which direction the signal is the strongest, drawing two lines on a map, and finding where they intersect (that's where the station is). This works differently: any number of $100 receivers hooked up to the internet (or the military equivalent) can hear a signal and measure the difference in the time it takes for that particular signal to reach the receivers at 186,282 mph. This site does static crashes near the AM radio band to locate lightning strikes; it could just as easily be a set of software defined radios listening for illicit conversations. Time keeping on the internet is so accurate and math processing is so quick that they could fix any signal anywhere in the world in less than ten seconds.

If you're transmitting on a radio, any sort, it's an ironclad guarantee they're already receiving and they know exactly where you are.

The feds know my address on my license -- a post office box. You don't have to have your license at your home address. My own has never been at my residence. Many hams have theirs at another place; for instance, Tim Allen (of Tool Time fame) has his at the television studio where he works. All legal. The regs state that they only need an address where you check your mail on a regular basis. But just like everyone else, ten seconds on the internet will find my home address.

Many long-time hams know of a certain bunch that talks politics on a regular basis on 80 meters. They are known, they are monitored, and not by your average federal law enforcement, but the really scary people that you really don't want attention from. This is not conjecture, this is fact. I don't promote or agree with their agenda. I can point you to the radio operators' website, but I don't think you want it in your browser history.

My version of prepping is more of the gardening and self-sufficiency sort. When the hurricane has come and gone and I need to call my extended family 200 miles inland to tell them not to freak out when I have no phone, electricity, or roads, I can do so at will. I have a car battery, some coax, wire, and trees, so calling them is mainly a matter of which pair of shoes are going to get soaked if I have to hang an emergency antenna from a tree limb. I can contact Munich, Anchorage, or Buenos Aires just as easily as I can call ten miles down the road. It's not cheap to get started, but I spent the money one time, I don't have to pay monthly fees, and it's a better way to waste time than watching reality TV. If there's a better way to accomplish the same thing, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Sorry if I ran on, but there's no quick way of answering it. Thanks for replying.

Last edited by Hermit; 03-10-2016 at 01:47 AM. Reason: because I can't English
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  #4  
Old 03-10-2016, 09:24 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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I think another use for Ham radio--VHF and UHF--is in a local disaster such as tornado, earthquake, hurricane, etc. is for "inter-friend" or neighborhood communication. One of our neighbors has started a "neighborhood group" so that we can communicate with each other without everyone (read looters) knowing what is happening. The repeaters around here are pretty rugged and powered by solar and wind, so they may be up when everything else is down or marginal. You can use CB or FRS to communicate, but many folks have those radios. Far fewer have Ham radios, so, while the communication is not private and the gov't can listen, far fewer of the looters will be able to listen in, especially if you pick a random, non-repeater frequency to monitor. HF bands are useful for communicating with relatives and friends in far away places to let them know your status when the phones aren't working.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:32 AM
doc doc is offline
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As I said, I know little about the state of SW communications. My only knowledge of triangulation comes fro those old WWII movies with the BBC & French Underground sending clandestine messages: "The postman comes at midnight...Annie still wants apples....The King is in his counting house."

That's interesting about the Feds allowing a PO Box as your address..but, then, apparently just turn on your transmitter and they can tell exactly where you are instantaneously.

SW has provided help in thousands of cases of emergencies thru the yrs. I do have one of those cheapo, hand-cranked, multi-band radios. I have trouble enough picking up the major broadcasters (like VOA or that Christian bunch from Ecuador or Peru or wherever they are). Will it be any good to pickup any local amateur Hams during a natural disaster?

ps/ I'm glad you brought this topic up. I don't recall it coming up here before and we apparently (?)don't have any members who are Ham operators. Communications is an area that deserves more attention by preppers.

Last edited by doc; 03-11-2016 at 09:38 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2016, 07:36 PM
Hermit Hermit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
I do have one of those cheapo, hand-cranked, multi-band radios. I have trouble enough picking up the major broadcasters (like VOA or that Christian bunch from Ecuador or Peru or wherever they are). Will it be any good to pickup any local amateur Hams during a natural disaster?
Ah, that would be the venerable HCJB, out of Quito, Equador. You can find their schedule and others at http://www.shortwaveschedule.com/ . The only VOA broadcast I've had any success receiving on the east coast USA is the transmitter out of the Ascension Islands.

Unfortunately, most hams use sideband mode rather than AM mode, as it is a lot more efficient. For the same amount of input power, you get three times the transmitting power with sideband mode; that's why you see CB radios advertised with 4 watts of AM and 12 watts of sideband. SSB is just a more efficient way of transmitting a signal (12,000 word technical explanation omitted).

Many portable receivers don't have sideband capability, so unless you buy one with this feature, you won't be able to listen in on their conversations; it will just sound like Donald Duck being played backwards. The receivers that do have that capability tend to cost $100 or more new, and half that used.

Last week, I bought a Tecsun PL-660. New, they sell for about $119-139 plus shipping. It is by far the best deal on an all-purpose portable receiver available as I type; it has AM, FM, aircraft, and all of the shortwave spectrum. It can receive wideband and narrow band AM and sideband, has awesome weak-signal reception, and works well with the internal antenna, supplied wire antenna, or your own homemade external antenna (I have 102 feet of wire in the trees). I got the deal of a lifetime on a used one for $40 shipped -- it had it's original box, documentation, plastic wrapping, and the protective plastic was still on the display. I gave it to a friend so he and his kid (about 13 years old) could enjoy it.

There are any number of websites that review older shortwave radios if you're looking for a used one on Craigslist. I can personally attest to the quality of the Tecsun, Sony, Realistic/Radio Shack and Grundig radios (not the little cheap Grundigs). They won't take a real beating, as in don't take them to the beach and leave them in the sand, but with reasonable care they will last for years.

edit: Oh, if you are looking for any hams transmitting in AM mode, try tuning your dial between 3880-3900 and 7290-7300. That's where they tend to hang out. They usually get on around sunset and talk until about midnight, but your mileage may vary.

Last edited by Hermit; 03-11-2016 at 07:39 PM. Reason: I forgot
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  #7  
Old 03-12-2016, 08:23 AM
doc doc is offline
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I've never heard idle chat from Hams when I scan the dial of my little receiver. Occasionally I find Morse code. Ham operators?

When I stand at the home site at my WI property (hope to break ground finally this summer) in "hill country," I have trouble getting service for my cell phone. I'm in a valley surrounded by hills rising maybe 3 or 400 ft. Would short wave reception be any better?

I appreciate your expertise & input. It's good to expand one's horizons.
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2016, 01:11 AM
Hermit Hermit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
I've never heard idle chat from Hams when I scan the dial of my little receiver. Occasionally I find Morse code. Ham operators?

When I stand at the home site at my WI property (hope to break ground finally this summer) in "hill country," I have trouble getting service for my cell phone. I'm in a valley surrounded by hills rising maybe 3 or 400 ft. Would short wave reception be any better?

I appreciate your expertise & input. It's good to expand one's horizons.


The Morse code is likely ham radio operators. There are still people on the HF marine bands and companies that use Morse code as an option, but they are few and far between. While Morse code traffic is still regulated by the International Telecommunications Commission, there is no commercial service anywhere in the world that uses Morse code exclusively as a standard of communications any more. I believe Western Union was the last company that did use it on a regular basis, but don't quote me on that.

If you have trouble getting signals and you are surrounded by 300-400 foot hills, then an external antenna is definitely in order. You can do a search on YouTube for ideas on how to make a longwire antenna, but it's pretty simple: attach an alligator clip to as long a piece of wire (20-30 feet is good, 50 feet is better), and put it up as high as you can either around the room, or you can string it up between your house and a nearby tree or building. Run the wire into your house through a window.

Since you say you have hills about 300-400 feet high, that creates a small dilemma: there's really no point in trying to get the antenna more than 15 or 20 feet off of the ground. If you have it 15-20 feet off the ground, you will pick up signals from about 4800 kHz and above for long distances, but you will pick up signals below that frequency for only about 400-500 miles. Most shortwave stations are above 4800 kHz, anyway. You'll have to go up about 60 feet in the air if you want to hear any long-distance communications at the lower frequencies, but it's not really worth it.

If you do make a longwire, I would also recommend that you put it in an "L" pattern; that is, if you have 50 feet of wire, put 25 feet (for example) pointed north to south, and make a 90 degree turn in the middle with the rest of the wire pointed east to west. You would have a chance at picking up signals from more directions that way.

One other cheap alternative (albeit on the ugly side), is to make a "slinky antenna". Once again, you can find instructions on YouTube. Find about 20 to 40 feet of good stout string, run it through the slinky, and tie the ends of the string to something on either end of the room. Stretch the slinky along the length of the string (the string bears all the load of holding it up) and use a piece of wire with an alligator clip on both ends end to connect the slinky to your rod antenna. You now have a really long, though physically compact, antenna. Alternately, you can hang the slinky antenna as high as you can between your house and a tree or whatever, and use a piece of wire with alligator clips on each end to connect your rod antenna to the slinky.

The advantage of a slinky antenna is that it doesn't need to have any 90 degree bend, all those coils pretty much guarantee that at least some of the antenna will catch a signal from a station in any given direction. Just make sure the cat can't get at it.

If you want to get fancier, Arnie Coro of Radio Havana, Cuba, has instructions on how to build a broomstick antenna out of scrap parts. You can find the instructions at http://www.hard-core-dx.com/nordicdx.../bromstik.html . It works as well as anything you could buy professionally-made for a reasonable price.

With any outdoor antenna, there are two rules you must never break: Never, never, string up an antenna where it could possibly in any way fall on an overhead power line. If the antenna falls on a power line, the resulting fire could destroy your house and kill you or your family. Secondly, always disconnect the antenna from your radio if there's a chance of electrical storms. Your antenna is a great path for lightning into your house. If there's no path to a ground (your household electrical system through your radio), there's far less chance of a lightning hit.

I can empathize with your cell phone problem; I haven't found a solution to that one yet.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2016, 09:41 PM
CatskillDraht Male CatskillDraht is offline
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I would Echo Hermits comments about getting a shortwave radio that has SSB capabilities. It's not that much more $$ but it opens up whole new levels of receiving potential. Including digital modes, which you can decode with just about any old PC you happen to have around.
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2016, 08:10 PM
Dude111 Dude111 is offline
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I hope ya like your NEW radio buddy
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2016, 08:08 PM
bopperman Male bopperman is offline
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Default Police and Fire scanner channels on Shortwave?

Can I recieve emergency police and Fire channels on a shortwave receiver ? I have a Sony icf-sw7600gr portable unit that I listen to frequently . I can get many stations out here in the hills and enjoy listening to the many preachers on SW . And yes , there certainly are some lunatics on there too ! Ha! Ha!
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Old 05-09-2016, 05:24 PM
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DavidOH Male DavidOH is offline
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Your Sony won't tune those frequencies. Most Police & Fire departments use the VHF or UHF band. Those are much higher than AM and SW. Most of them have gone digital also.

You'll need something like this for those bands: http://www.amazon.com/Uniden-BearTra...igital+scanner

One of my favorites on SW is Radio Australia.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:39 PM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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KM4LQL here. General.

Green as all get-out too.

Passed the test last summer, day before the test questions changed. But then, my hubby got very ill and passed away in the fall. I'm still dealing with all the stuff that comes after - legal, financial, etc. But I really need to get going again. And am pursuing relocating as well - so time is a real issue for me right now.

Am interested in your mobile setup. Ideally, I want a home base, a mobile and a few handy-talkies. Currently have the Baofeng UV-5R. Our net here on the sandbar relies on several repeaters - and of course, we all go into high gear during storm season, which is now upon us again.
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  #14  
Old 07-17-2016, 06:50 PM
dademoss dademoss is offline
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I'd be in for a net if you decide to give it a try
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