Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Reading - Small Hold Communications Revisited

It's amazing what one good dry day and a little sunlight will do for my mood. Actually we started seeing some sun again on Friday but I was at work and we also got more rain again over night but today the clouds cleared away, the heat came (a bit more than I would have liked but beggars and all that) and we started drying out for a change.

By late evening there were some very ominous thunder clouds along a front off the the North moving in but radar shows the system slid by to the North and East of us hitting the worst spots of this rainy hell once again up towards Hannibal and along the Mississippi. I feel for them I really do but I am glad it wasn't us as well for a change.

I finished up the first stage of mowing catch up and got my dad's lawn finished. He is actually pretty picky about his lawn being short and neat and was stressing out about the length I had allowed it to get. He was much happier once it was finished. I was then going to come back to the Small-Hold and start on the parts that need mowing here but it was still a bit wet and my favorite riding mower needed the battery charged so I switched gears and tackled a mini-project I been toying around with for over a year now.

I have been researching and weighing the various pros and cons of whether to use standard CB radios for most Small-Hold grid down communications or to make the leap to HAM. My final decision was to go the CB rout for a number of reasons and I will tell you why.

The main reason was that playing around with various antenna types and radios, of which I have a bunch of them to play with, I was able to achieve a pretty solid 5 to 6 mile communications radius between the house and the mobile in my pickup. I was also able to achieve over a 2 mile radius between the house and my handheld CB models as well. These should be well inside the immediate area I would need to communicate back and forth with the house.

Secondly I discovered a pretty solid number of local mudrunners and off roaders using their CB's in the area and that a fair number of the local farmers still use em to communicate as well. In effect there is already a local communications network using standard CB's so go with what is there. This also translates into the fact that CB's are literally everywhere stuck in closets and basements all over the place and I believe will become the main local communications net in a grid down situation.

Which brings us to number 3. Power considerations. All my CB radios can be run on standard 12 volt batteries straight off my solar panels, even the base if I switch it over. For my needs power would be at a premium however but I could run a larger HAM or SW setup but I see no reason to. If I ever do I see no reason to need more than one transmitter in the range while still using the CB set up locally. Assuming most around me will not have the advantage of a solar and battery storage system like myself I doubt they will use more than car batteries and short antenna anyway so again why put the money into something that won't do me much good?

While the extra watts in transmitting power were certainly attractive there was bang for my buck to consider, the fact that I don't like being officially certified for anything by our current government and more importantly most of the advantage to a HAM setup would be eliminated when all the government repeaters go down anyway. CB seems to fit more to my self sufficient and contained philosophy actually in the end.

Lastly I must admit a bit of interest in the so-called Freeband through the various SSB and 11 meter tweaking into the Upper Sideband range. Since a couple of my CB's are able to reach into the upper in between channels and also able to be used with normal 24 or 40 channel CB's the so called freeband appears very appealing. Not to mention price, non-regulation and the number of preppers already playing in those ranges. It kinda reminds me of the 70's again when my Dad used to play around with that stuff.

Now all that being said I can see the definite advantage to having say a base transmitter in short wave and maybe one mobile unit. Leaving them as listen only until the time comes that government snoops have something more to worry about. Price and availability however seems to greatly favor the stock of CB's I currently own though.

Security is a real issue however as pretty much all radio waves are wide open to anyone with the expensive toys to listen. Of course CB is wide open to everyone regardless but I am not yet up to working towards secure, tactical communications just simple local emergency communications between the main house and myself or family members.

For that I don't think CB's can be beat. Five to six miles in my truck tot he house is about all I foresee the Small-Hold ever needing. Others mileage may vary of course.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!



  1. I think you are correct. At the point that you would need secure tactical communications, you would be up against way too much to have a prayer of survival in any case.

  2. I have nobody outside our location that I want to communicate with. It would be nice to be surrounded by helpful neighbors but as things are now they are pains in the ass. Things may change in an emergency, we can only hope.

  3. PP,

    We have a couple of CB radio's we use, along with some hand held ham radios for emergency communication. Hubby just took down our portable antenna, and installed a homemade more permanent antenna for the home base radio. After the last category F5 tornado 2 years ago total communication was lost, we invested in hand held ham radios, and another CB.


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