Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion what to do when they cut off communication?

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    HI Ya’ll. new to this. we have an old satellite dish ( no satellite service though). wandering if it can be used to restore cell phone signals if communication is cut off like they did in Egypt.


    In a word No!

    Different frequencies and different technology.

    But one of these would make one hell of a suntracker. <smile>;

    Think carrier pidgeons and heliographs. First used by the Roman Army and still effective right up past WW2.


    Find a ham radio club in your area.

    If you can string some wire and spend about 1200 dollars, you can have pretty reliable world-wide communication for emergencies.

    Also, EVERYONE should own a good shortwave radio. Not just to place in a box for WTSHTF, but to use at least a couple of times a week to listen to out of country news broadcasts. (Funny the things you hear other countries talking about that we miss here in the USA for example.)

    I would be happy to help anyone who is interested in doing this.


    BTW, you do need to get a license to use a HF ham radio. But since they dumped the code, you can pass a General license exam in about 30 hours of honest study.

    For someone with off-grid electronic know how, even less.


    CB radio, Ham radio seem to be the best options. Both well established and so little regulation. Any Govt entity or hostile power usually looks by this technology when imposing martial law or when operating a military junta. Throughout Recent history…Ex. nazi germany and the french resistance, the chinese of WW2. Also have read in Janes defence weekly that long wave radar is used to detect stealth aircraft{or was}. All technologies long forgotten by big brother or uncle Adolph or whoever….Yet when history analyzed it all the simplest of technologies seemed to do the worst damage. During the invasion of Iraq US supply planes dropped shortwave radios to notify Iraqis of how to surrender.

    Nick Rosen

    I would not count on CB. You don’t want to talk to people on that band unless you have to. I’d much rather have a ham rig. Those radios are crude, limited in power, and lack features I have to have.

    I have two types of Ham Radios, three actually if you count hand held radios. Handheld radios are small, low power but work well with repeaters.

    Mobile radios meant to be used in cars, but that work great as a base station as well. They are the best choice. I have 7 of them in two models. Just so I can swap one out and all the control are similar. It makes them easier to use having just two models. I buy mostly used radios as Hams are often trading up to newer stuff, and the old radios work perfectly.

    A battery and a solar charger will give you off-grid capability. There are auto switches to run on grid until a power outage and switch to off-grid sources.

    So lets talk about 2 meter and 70cm. These are the most often used frequencies in what are called dual band radios. Line of sight radios can extend their range by talking into a repeater. A repeater retransmits your signal from the top of a high tower, with lots of power. A low power radio can link into a repeater and suddenly be able to reach someone quite far away–400 sq miles or perhaps much more. There are linked systems here in my home state, but there are even more common elsewhere, which link up many machines to cover perhaps half of a state. You can also talk direct from one radio to another–this is called simplex.

    A dual band radio can often cross-band, which allows it to work like a mini repeater. Park your car in an open spot or on top of a hill, and as long as the battery holds out you can extend your range. I often used a handheld radio, when out sailing to link into my truck, which links into a repeater, which allows me to talk over a huge area with a small portable low power device. I would mostly use this to get weather reports of cold fronts coming in. If there were high winds reported, I’d run for cover in the harbor. In any event, the idea that you can easily set up a repeater of your own, for very little money–a radio, and antenna and a battery with some sort of weather enclosure, means that even if you live in a radio hole, you can still talk to friends far away. Think about this in an emergency situation. You can conceal your actual location and still hear and be heard.

    It is a really smart idea to have a base station set up and on all the time. You can pick one quite frequency, or even set up your radio to remain silent until it hears a sub-audible tone–to avoid listening to other conversations not related to you or your family and friends. I chose a frequency used for satellite, an this particular satellite was dead, so I was not interferring with anyone else. Well it was not totally dead. The story was it ran out of maneuvering propellant and only worked twice a month when the solar panels lined up with the sun. I listened on that frequency for three months and never heard anything.

    Then when you are out and about, you can check in and see where signals are strong and you can talk simplex, and where there are holes where you might need a repeater to get out. You will discover what works and what does not. Best, there is no monthly fee for this. Just a one-time cost to purchase the radios, and perhaps some repair work, if you burn it up from a mismatched antenna or talking too long on high power. Hams always try to use the least amount of power.

    Have a radio in your car, a handheld in your purse or backpack, and one on your boat, and everyone can stay in touch if not directly, then buy repeater. Try it and you will see how many people do this, on a daily basis.

    In the event of an emergency, Hams often volunteer to pass message traffic. They do this on HF bands–which are worldwide, as well as local bands like 2 meters.

    The HF bands can be worldwide depending on sunspot cycles. It is good to be able to receive information on these bands, even if you can’t transmit. You can receive with a coat hanger for an antenna. You only need a good antenna and a tuner to transmit. Transmitting on HF takes more work, and it is something to try later on. You many find you have no need to talk on HF and you only want or need VHF bands like 2 meters. I agree with the other fellow about having a receiver and listening to it often to get familiar with how it works. be able to listen. Talking on HF is less important.

    To talk locally with your friends, and for privacy, pick a band that no one uses like the 220 MHz band or you can even get radios on the 1.2 GHz band–this is up in the microwaves. Those are rarely used and the radios cost more. DSTAR radios can transmit data, albeit slowly compared with WiFi. My choice was 2 meter because that is where the people are talking. If I had a big family and we wanted a private network, or if I was part of a survivalist community, I’d use DSTAR radios on 1.2 GHz and send all my traffic in a digital format so other people could not listen in on it.

    You should be able to get started with a used dual band radio in your car with an antenna for a $200.


    That was a informative post on 2 meter. A great option to consider!



    Not good for Cell phone BUT >> >>

    A Satellite dish may be use. If you aim it at another one, with a line of site (on Earth), you can set up a form of wireless connection. I have seen this in action where a person did not want to string wire to his other building. He used old DirectTV satellite dishes.

    To expand on this idea. It is possible albeit not practical at this time, if you have 2 of them; to have the other one rebroadcast the information you get again in another direction. If you had a lot of people doing this we could have a local wireless internet of sorts.

    Techy Mike

    While many people try to get away from all the grids (electric, water, internet) having emergency communications is kinda essential in my opinion.

    If you happen to be off-grid in a higher-up location you have a good chance of being able to make a good point-to-point link using directional aerials for both voice and data modes… even as simple as a wifi adapter and a pringles cantenna for example. Directional signals (the narrower the better) and very good at not being detected unless you happen to be in the path of the signal and are a pretty good option for when TSHTF, laser is even better at not being detected easily, but a pain in hot and humid areas due to optical ‘seeing’ where the heat causes the refractive index of the air to change over the path causing the beam to dance around a bit. — it isn’t actually that difficult to go far, just few people have the locations to install equipment or the inclination to try it.


    On my blog I have a ham radio article which comes up first I work a lot of hours, it took me 6 months in my spare time to study for the Technician and 1 year for the General class licenses.


    All of the communications and emergency schemes are based on a common concept.

    Namely that you are in a localized aree needing help but the world at large is prety much business as usual. In other words they can send help.

    But if indeed its a case of global WTSHTF, everybody is going to be in the same quandry and few people will be in a position to send help to anyone else. That is when true self reliance becomes paramount and if you haven’t got it or can’t makee it. you have to do without. All store houses will be of finite capacity. Doesn’t matter if you have six days week or months reserve sooner or later it will run out. Even if you use the Mormon approach of having a 2 year supply of preserved food at some point you will need to know how to begin again. Literally from scratch. You will need food, shelter, and protective clothing. Having all kinds of books stored on DVD is fine as long as you can access the books. The world’s finest computers (brains)still take 15 – 20 years to manufacture (grow) by unskilled labor and program (schooling)

    and if the programming code is lost (no books) you still end up with zilch.


    I think 27 meg cb radio is a better choice for most people

    the reason i say that is I envision it being more important to talk to your

    close neighbors than somebody 50 or 500 miles a way.

    so a local radio net of common, short range and simple radios that run off

    12 volt is a better plan than more expensive more complicated amature radio.

    add in a amature operator to the local comunity net and you have the ability to

    send messages anywhere.

    also the cb radios on occasion are able talk much greater distances its

    just not reliable or predictable


    Chowan how long have you been a ham radio operator?

    Or is this coming from a CB user because that is all you are accustomed to?

    The reason why CB radio is on 27Mhz is because technically its a shit band with all sort of technical drawbacks.

    “so a local radio net of common, short range and simple radios that run off

    12 volt is a better plan than more expensive more complicated amature radio”

    Your statement quoted above is exactly why CB is not the best choice.

    CB radio’s are prone to sun spot activity, e-layer shifts from day to night time and atmospherics such as distant lightning storms. Oh yeah lets not forget skip and ‘sliders’ Thtis enough to really get serious operators ranting.

    6 meter equipment is no more expensive than quality CB equipmment. One reason some of the 6 meter equipment is more expensive is because 6 meter FM is so much more versatile so the users tend to load it up with the goodies.

    Supply voltage has nothing to do with operations and you can get all the gear in whatever version you want.


    Im not a ham operator but I am familure with many different radio sytems

    when i was younger i used to work in the repair and install industy for them.

    and i have also had a little military radio expierience

    I am NOT trying to say that the 27 meg band is better than ham/amatur frequencies im saying it is a better choice for many people because

    they can plug in the power throw up an antenna adjust the volume and squelch

    and get 3 to 10 miles on most days.

    Im saying its cheaper and im saying they can walk into any truck stop and pick

    up the equipment and be using it legally that same day.

    They can also be using it comercially unlike amature.

    if i was 100 miles from anybody else sure amature would be the way to go

    But and im thinking from a preparedness mindset what things may be like

    after a EMP or CME there is going to be a lot more operatable CB,s around than

    ham units simply because there are more to begin with.

    Dang ham operators can get cranky when you mention that CB is a good thing lol


    I am not a ham operator nor have I ever been one. However I have had several years experience at the engineereing level with various systems. I was also production manager for a company manufacturing equipment used in radio control systems.

    You said: “after a EMP or CME there is going to be a lot more operatable CB,s around than ham units simply because there are more to begin with”

    That’s an assumption without any logical or technical supportive evidence. Furthermore in the kind of emergency we are talking about having a range of 5, 50 or 100 miles is not likely to make a real difference. Do you have any idea what it takes to harden an electronic product against EMP or CME effects?

    Not to mention which such an event is going to affect the atmospherics so badly as to render AM transmissions on CB equipment useless assuming the equipment was still functional. An EMP can destroy electronics whether or not it is turned on.

    Unless the disaster is highly localized your best plan is to be totally self reliant. Just look at the lightning effects associated with a volcano eruption. Consider how badly that affects normal AM transmissions.

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