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Remember, radios at these frequencies work line of sight. Adding more power will not increase the range of the radio. You must raise your antenna. VHF and UHF radios do not propergate like a CB radio. After you install a radio into a base or mobile station, check SWR with a wattmeter designed to work at that frequency. Never transmit into an unchecked antenna.
 

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I mostly concur with the “line of sight“ claim, but not completely. Even at low uhf frequencies (440 MHz) the signal does refract to follow ground path for quite some distance. Especially true of vhf. There is no way that NY state is line of sight from an 8 element yagi at 35 feet in a burb north of Detroit, but lots of contacts from them during vhf contests.Same can be said for Chicagoland and even Wisconsin.
 

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What you are describing is ducting, caused by summer temps. You can't count on that for everyday comms. de KA5SIW
No, that wasn’t tropo. It can’t be counted on regularly, but tropo is much more pronounced than that. Troop doesn’t happen in January in Michigan Lol. And to some degree an amount of atmospheric diffraction always exists. It is why beyond line of sight commo works at all at those frequenches.
Beyond GMRS, at today’s trunk ham swap I could have picked up a vhf repeater, kenwood, 2 meter band, for 200 or best offer. Granted I have no need, but just saying that ham swaps are amazing sources of good stuff. Picked up a g7-144 antenna off of an old repeater, in great shape, for a whopping 20$. I have a friend out in farm country that just got his tech license and he is having trouble getting into some of the repeaters from his farm with his current vertical at 35 feet. I am sure this vertical will help. If he doesn’t want it, I will use it myself.
 

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46camper: Sir; as an objective.
Something narrowed down for the working com.
You are doing good.

For those play times with meteor showers -ducting lanes.
enjoy those moments.
They will come and go.
But will not be the consistent.

ka5sis perfect
reverendg perfect

in the imperfect

keep tweaking for strong consistency
You will find small tweaks that will sharpen
Signals.
I can happen 3 ways. Your son or brother are major participant. Tweaking theirs is just as beneficial
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
So I haven’t gotten to do any equipment and range test ,as of yet.
With that said I finally got me a SWR/power meter . It’s a Nissei RS 40. Probably not the best and most accurate meter . It will give me more of a idea on power output and what kind of SWR I’m getting .
That all helps give a better report on my range test . So now when I do range test not only I be able to list my equipment I will be able to give SWR and accurate watt vs what the manufacturer states as watts that given radio puts our. Plus I’m sure that low SWR on the antennas I’m using will give better range also.
Also from what I have found in a lot of my research is there are a bunch of guys that really give truthful information about power out put of the Baofeng radios . I have the BF-F8HP from BTech. A lot say those radios won’t do the 8 watts.
If you search hard enough you find out they are buying there radios from eBay and Amazon.
Not the same as from BTech.
In those searches the guys that know what there doing and know what to expect. Are getting the full 8 watts on the correct frequencies.
Plus alot of those guys are testing using UHF frequencies.
BTech says with the BF-F8HP 7watts UHF and 8watts VHF. I think 7.75 watts is close enough to 8 watts for me.
Anyway Tuesday or Wednesday I will know what power and SWR my radios and antennas are putting out.
I need to order another connector so I can test my base radio .


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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
So hopefully once I get all this testing done it will give others a idea of what to expect going the route of GMRS as backup communication. I know in the last 6 months I have learned a lot . If I would known what I know now it would have saved me a lot of money.
I would have skipped the BTech V1 GMRS radio and the BTech U25 amp. Also I think just for emergency communication that GMRS is fine for groups / MAGs . But you should skip the GMRS only radios and go with. Ham radios that do GMRS frequencies. The versatility of the amateur radios that can transmit on GMRS frequencies is more of what Prepers need.
Because in SHTF at some point you and your family/ group will have to communicate outside of your small group


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That SWR meter should be fine for your purposes. They are not complicated instruments. So long as the leads are short, the proper diodes are used, and the meter movement isn’t junk, they work pretty well.
Don’t fret too much over SWR anyways. Sure, you want a good SWR, but an antenna that gives a great SWR over a range of frequencies is likely not very efficient. Remember, a dummy load has a great SWR over a wide range of frequencies, but doesn’t put out much signal at all.
Same with power output. The final output circuit can only be so broad-banded, so power output naturally varies from one end of the band to the other. And bad SWR can give the illusion of low, or high, power output, depending on which way the SWR is off. A 2:1 SWR can be 25 ohms or 100 ohms pure resistance, or any number of other values, with added reactance. Check power into a resistive dummy load, and then you can compare to your antenna system and they should be similar. Seriously though, The difference between 7 and 8 watts is trivial, and can be explained away by all sorts of intrinsic things, even the the location of the coax. That’s especially true if no balun or rf choke is used to keep rf off the outside of the coax shield.
One thing not mentioned is audio processing, If your rigs have a speech compressor or mic gain control, use those as high as possible without distorting or clipping the mic audio. This increases the effective signal power, making the signal intelligible at longer distances. Not more watts, but more information sent using the watts available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Thank you reverendg my mobile/base radio does have mic. gain control. I have also been experimenting with it .
I still haven’t gotten to do many range test yet with my new equipment. . I hope to do that this weekend. At least test my mobile radio .

There is one antenna that I’m looking at adding to my arsenal of antenna’s for my HT radios. It’s the Smiley Super Stick IV 465Mhz . I know it’s probably not as good for GMRS. Thing is in SHTF I may not always be on GMRS frequencies. So a little more frequency range . Gives me a lot more versatility.
Same as my base antenna it’s tuned for 400-520Mhz . So I imagine that GMRS falls in between those frequencies. My SWR won’t be perfect but reasonable.
Versatility is also I’m going to not stick with GMRS only radios. The ones I have will be given away. To help some friends and family members get started.
 

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I am not familiar with that h-t antenna, but you did bring to mind an old trick for increasing range on handy-talkies. They were once marketed and sold, but people were quick to make their own. It was a “tiger tail“, Google ht tiger tail and you can make one. Just a piece of 14 or 16 gauge wire, cut to 1/4 wavelength at the frequency of operation. I think the marketed models had a washer soldered to the wire, the washer was placed over the antenna connector before the antenna was attached. Some people used similar washers, others clipped it to the ground side of the antenna connector plug with an alligator clip.
The idea was to provide a counter poise, the missing half of the antenna that an H-T tries to make up for by including you in the antenna ground system. The simple radial can increase antenna efficiency quite a bit.
another thing you can do for portable range improvement is to include a twin lead j-pole rolled up in your go bag. The simple j pole, with a loop of rope to hang it off a branch, and 5 or 10 feet of coax (even rg-58) attached, can make that H-T quite capable for commo.
When I was first licensed I used an H-T, a homemade 1/4 wave ground plane of #12 thnn wire soldered to a so239, and a computer power supply, as my base station. It worked just fine. A j- pole would do even better.
 

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reverendg: Sir; adding



ht antenna

The yellow wire is a tiger tail antenna. It may not look pretty, but it dramatically increases the performance of the HT. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter W3ATB
“It’s probably best to just use a length of 19 and 1/4 inches to put you right about in the middle of the 2-meter frequencies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
Thank you reverendg and neophyte.
This is the antenna I was talking about in a early post. It is completely modular. The connector can be changed and the telescoping piece can also be replaced. Little pricy $25 but the modular and telescoping functions alone make worth the price.



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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Audio equipment Cable Camera accessory Bicycle part Gadget

The antenna I think that should be a must have item in your B.O.B , Go bag , is the Slimjim made buy N9tax labs . The one I will get is tuned for GMRS and MURS. I considering the one with a 16 foot cable.
10’ or 16’ cable either one I decide on it will be used when I’m further from home in the woods . Or on occasions when there is a group of us away from home and we need to set up a camp and we spread out. The Slimjim and a radio will be our short term relay . So that way we can keep in touch at camp and even keep in contact with home.
I’m even trying to figure out a way to have to set up a HT and the BTech amp with a decent light weight portable base radio. Once I get my other experiments finished. I will see what I come up with that will be another talk .
As for the antenna it’s a must have item for me and my radio equipment.


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The slim Jim is a twinlead j-pole like I was talking about. Perfect field expedient commo antenna. That telescoping antenna is also much better than a duck. I have something very similar for 2 meters. The only caveat is to be careful when it is extended, it can put a lot of stress on the antenna connection. Especially so on 2 meters, where it Is quite tall for a small bnc connector. That telescoping antenna and a homemade tiger tail can make an ht quite effective while moving, and that slim Jim j-pole is perfect for a field camp.
Neo…that pic comes from the website I checked to remember the name of that tail, lol.
 

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I mostly concur with the “line of sight“ claim, but not completely. Even at low uhf frequencies (440 MHz) the signal does refract to follow ground path for quite some distance. Especially true of vhf. There is no way that NY state is line of sight from an 8 element yagi at 35 feet in a burb north of Detroit, but lots of contacts from them during vhf contests.Same can be said for Chicagoland and even Wisconsin.
What you are describing is ducting, caused by summer temps. You can't count on that for everyday comms. de KA5SIW
I think I had a post in here before about ducting which we sometimes saw jamming radars in the EF-111. As I remember it it could happened to frequencies quite high -- perhaps 3000 MHZ or more, but was more prevalent at lower radar frequencies. We got a good bounce against the NORAD FPS-117s and -124s ( one was made by GE the other by then Unisys) years ago during a test and despite being at a few hundred feet running like a scalded cat from some Fargo F-16s were still putting some pretty good strobes on their scopes (as well as screwing with the gains).

Obviously we had to break line-of-sight to do the dive and run away (bravely--one of the problems with not having any A-A missiles on the jet) so it was puzzling at first until someone explained the ducting phenomenon.

Problem is as I remember you couldn't count on it. Although the military HAD developed a radar exploiting it as I remember to look over the horizon.
 

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46camper: Sir: 😁 a project for you 😁
gather up 3-4-5’ 12g single strain wire 5’ or longer is better
(can clip off 1/4 - 1/2” at times)
2 roach clips
2-3’ 16-18g flexible wire

we will create a coil with12g
anything to create a tight coil 1”-5” (doesn’t matter) 10-15 wraps
you can make a screw loop on the beginning
place something on the long end. (No pokes in eyes)

screw eye loop to what-ever to keep unit vertical
at this point. The coil is removed from “round“ something

now expand the coil approximately 3/4” 1” vertically . (Pretty is nice)😜

connect the roach clips said flexi wire.
you are done

Clip roach to your antenna Set a channel (weak or strong)
(look for) a busy channel (receiving)

without doing anything but with the free end roach start @ bottom coil
up 1 coil at a time
weve (for fun) divided coil to quarters (viewed from above)

you will possibly find a sweet spot tuning 🤓
will-does assist transmit / receive

Simple-cheap experiments work wonders 🧵
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
I got to do a range test today. Using my new base radio . The wife went a direction we know is not that good it’s the shorter way for to get to work .
Equipment was the BTech UV-25x2 the base antenna. She had a HT hooked to the Nagoya UT-72g antenna. The test was to see how much further I would reach from Base. It was at 3:40 am temp. 63 degrees.
Lots of trees and hills . The results were as expected. She made it 5 miles dropped over a big hill lost signal with her . Thing is she said i was clear and sounded like I was in the car.
Next test will be from base to vehicle in my target areas . Also this was a just a quick test.
The next test will be in the areas I’m most concerned with . That’s in town my brother lives in.
Then close to where my son is . I won’t be able to reach his house there is a big hill in the way but if can reach close to him I will be able to have a spot picked out that he can get too . So he can contact me to get help or meet at a location in SHTF
One more thing on this morning test . 25watts did give me 100 more yards in that location . With the way the hills and trees are in that area it will alway be hard to get a signal too.
I’m almost certain that I will have good transmission in my target area and that 25watts is plenty.also proves that my vehicle needs a better radio set up . It will have one after deer season this year.
At least a 20 watt radio . The radio has to be a strictly GMRS radio.
The wife’s adult children don’t need access to a Ham radio frequencies. It would cause to much grief on on me.
I will give a better test and results this week or weekend
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Test two 11:30 am sunny day 73 degrees. Test radio’s as fallows base radio BTech UV-25x2 test range 5.5 miles . Vehicle radio was a BTech V1 2 watt radio hooked to U-72 Nagoya antenna. Signal to vehicle 20watts of power. Loud and clear . It was to be expected vehicle radio back to base its signal was lost at 3 miles .
If did not mention the test area still has full foliage.
For my use and intention the equipment I have will do . Everything from the radios to the antennas meet and exceed what my research has said about GMRS frequencies. My next test will be with the watt meter . That way I have a idea of my actual power out put is and what kind of power increase I had to have to reach my range goals.
So far with out a meter test it takes at least 20watts in my area for me to get 7miles out from my home. Today’s test was only 5 miles . With lots of trees and homes between the 2 radios. The base and antenna may be higher then most of trees and houses but when the vehicle is in the test area those trees and houses are in the way. Some of my signal i am sure is being reflected. Definitely from vehicle back to base .


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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
My next test will be after I get the parts I need to test my radios . That way I can give a more detailed report. Then I want to do some field test with my HT radios those test will be from the woods in my area back to base.
After that is all complete I’m going to do some winter test to see how much difference that makes with no foliage.
I’m also thinking about making the U25 amp into a field portable unit . Like a Ham in a can set up. That would be for longer range and group expedition’s . More or less a mobile base radio. While it’s hooked up at the house it will be used as a radio to reach the simplex repeater I plan on setting up. For reaching my brother. In a emergency or SHTF situation. Hopefully SHTF we have enough warning . That my brother and son are already with us and we can move on to our family property.
So with everything said I believe that my test was a success.
Till the next test


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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Ok so I tested all my HT radios today. All the SWRs were good . All of them hit the power that they were supposed to .
I did get a couple surprises. The 3 BTech V1 GMRS radios are supposed to be 2 watt radios . I got 3.5 on low and 5 watts on high. With that said on the 3rd V1 I got 3.5 on low and 6 on high.
I know when I ordered my first V1 GMRS every place that sold them said they were a 5 watt radio. By the time I ordered my second V1 BTech changed it to 2 watts even on there website , so I most have gotten the last of the 5watt GMRS V1 radios from BTech.
The real surprise came from the cheapest GMRS radio I have the Retevis RT76P. It’s sold as a 5watt radio. I got 8 -9 watts on high. Low power was one.
The Baofeng BF-F8HP radios did what they were supposed to. 8 watts on vhf and 5-6 on UHF. So I’m fairly happy. Knowing the power range explains a lot on some things .
As to why earlier in the summer I was getting almost 3 miles with the V1 GMRS radios . Then before the foliage stated in the dead of winter I was getting 4.5 to 5 miles depending on witch way the vehicle was going.
People say 5watts isn’t a whole lot of difference in 2watts there is. I guess I haven’t ever owned a 2 watt radio so I can’t really say.
Now I need to test my base radio and my amp with the different radios to see what I get .
Then back to my range test. So far I think that GMRS can be effective for Grid down communication.


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