"cb" or "two way radio" for emergency?

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by Bottom End, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. rawlus

    rawlus New Member

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    Kit, yes. My suggestion would be to have the tracking and I'm ok messaging go to another party who has the connectivity to monitor and also can get to you/get a hold of you.... Physically if needed. Good luck!
     
  2. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    With 2 meter hand held, and the vast network of repeaters now in service is the only way to go. Even in the remote areas of WV, you can talk into OH, Va and KY. There is always someone on the air.
     
  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    One thought I had was to have someone else (not camping) monitor things. However, we're usually hiking and camping several hours (or more) away from home, so it won't be possible to have someone just down the road to get messages to me. Grand Canyon would be the exception, since I know where to find both cell service and WiFi, at both rims.

    I looked into some of the FRS radios several years ago, so things may have changed. What I found at that time was that they would not be practical for the types of uses I was interested in, especially in the mountains and canyons that are often our destinations.
     
  4. rawlus

    rawlus New Member

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    I guess it would depend on the type and nature of message that needed to be relayed. Late for dinner or broke my leg. Of course the SOS is always avail for nothing life threatening so one might assume if that hasn't been activated then all is relatively well.
     
  5. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    FYI, Cabelas has the Gen2 SPOT on sale for $100 and the yearly subscription fee is $100
     
  6. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    We have the talkabout raidos as well. We use them much for the same purpose. They see quite a bit of use, but fortunately, they haven't been needed in any kind of emergency...unless you consider DW calling me away from a hike or the stream to tell me to get my arse back to camp to give her a reprieve from the kiddos an emergency...I'm pretty sure she sees this as an emergency on occasion [:D] .
     
  7. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    I have a CB in the pickup. On a good day, I might be able to transmit/receive reliably within a mile. That's useless unless you're on the highway. Out in the boonies, where you're not likely to run across another vehicle to begin with, what's the likelihood that any vehicle to do come across will have a working CB? I'd say it's about zero.

    In my experience, most of the State Police do monitor channel 9 (CB emergency channel) but again, that's useless if you're not within range.

    Naw, a cell phone would be much better. Even if you don't have a great signal and can't make a call, you can most often still send/receive text messages. No signal? You're pooched!

    Sat phone would be your best solution but that's a pretty expensive proposition for someone who'd likely only need to use it in case of emergency.

    [2C]
     
  8. n6nvr

    n6nvr New Member

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    If the people who are looking for you when you have been reported overdue know that you have a radio and may be on pre-arranged freqs they are far more likely to be listening in on and/or calling on those freqs. The caveat there is you need to give pre-arranged freqs to somebody that is on the ball enough to report you missing to the right emergency folks with the radio information.

    HAM UHF or VHF frequencies are line of sight, they don't really bend around things. But in many areas there are repeaters on mountain tops that you may be able to reach, and many but by no means all of them are monitored 24/7. Some repeater systems can cover very large areas, but you still need to be in a location you can hit a repeater. Most interesting conversation I ever had was on what was not a local repeater coverage area (I may have hit a series of non-listed repeaters.) but I was able to talk to a guy in Riverside, CA from Hollister, CA on 2 meter. Weird propagation because that isn't normally supposed to be able to happen. There is (or was) a system in SoCal used for emergency reporting and short calls. There was one repeater about ,000 feet up in the mountains by Pomona with a link to a repeater at about 9,000 feet up by Big Bear. You could talk from the west end of the San Fernando Valley to Pahrump, NV and upper floors of some hotels in Las Vegas. But there were a lot of areas in the mountains and desert you couldn't hit either.

    CB is HF and those signals will bend and go around some obstacles, but again limited range. But it is used a lot for groups.

    Satellite Comms are about the only ones you can be pretty sure will get in and out from just about anywhere
     
  9. marcham

    marcham New Member

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    If you want something to get help when in a life or death situation, do not hesitate to buy a PLB. They are waterproof, the battery is always ready to go, it will function in locations where spot or sat phones will not and most importantly it is monitored by a federal agency. There is no monthly cost, so the total cost of ownership over 5 years is significantly less than a spot beacon.

    If 2 way messenging appeals to you then get a Delorme In Reach.

    For near camp, either get a ham license and a pair of vhf radios or get a pair of MURS radios, no license required.

    If you want or need long range 2 way voice, then either a hf ham license or iridium sat phone (global star coverage sucks).

    Sent from my GT-I9100M using Tapatalk 2
     
  10. mrwithit

    mrwithit New Member

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    We use SPOT when we are multiday river trips and there is no way in or out once you start downstream. With the PUP we boondock almost exclusively and Wolfman is right there are always other people somewhat nearby (10-15 minutes by car tops).

    If you are really concerned about something happening that would necessitate emergency response you should invest in some wilderness first aid training. Much more proactive to save yourself while the SPOT beacon mobilizes a rescue than bleed out while hoping someone picks up your radio transmission. 2 cents.
     
  11. huntero1975

    huntero1975 New Member

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    there is a lot more people than you think listening to cb channels..

    my vote would be cb or vhf or ham
     
  12. saratogaowner

    saratogaowner New Member

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    onstar is there so long as I am near my tv
     
  13. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    It's been a long time since I've checked, but my childhood "Walkie Talkies" were CB radio and my understanding is that the Motorola two-way radios (like the Talkabout, etc) ARE Citizen's Band. A simple test would be to broadcast some music over the two-way and flip through the CB channels in your truck to determine the correct channel. It used to be CH 14, but I think you can get different frequencies for different radios now. Anyone up for a test to prove/disprove this? I don't have two-ways, or a CB, m'self.
     
  14. marcham

    marcham New Member

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    Talkabout are FRS or GMRS ... on UHF frequencies (462-467. CBs are on (26-27 Mhz)
     
  15. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    I'll jump in and I will not recommend a SPOT device or even a Globalstar sat phone. Globalstar's network is not that great. If you are serious about getting a sat phone go with Iridium. Globatar, in the future, may be ok since they are rebuilding their system. But from our experience out here in UT, Globalstar is not recommended. I had one and sometimes it took up to thirty minutes to connect. I hear they are getting better; but Iridium's network is better and connections are almost instantaneous.


    As for the SPOT. Well, it's major problem appears to be a small antenna, high frequency signal and a limited power output as well as their rescue coordination center is run by Globalstar. They are noted to not be that reliable in forested areas, and in fact, out here in the desert where the trees are normally shorter than most humans, they have proven not to be the best for emergency notifications or even their non-emergency tracking purposes. Had some friends who came out here and did some deep desert expeditions with SPOTS and I was only able to track parts of their trip. There were large portions missing. And the OK signals were not all received. Luckily they did not need to send out an emergency signal.

    And the price of the SPOT in the first year is 100 for the unit plus 100 for the first year's subscription to the service. It then costs 100 per year. In addition, the batteries need changing after approx. 6 months of use. (Spot can be used for normal tracking by someone at home and to send out non-critical OK signals to a third party. That is a nice feature, but those run the batteries down, so be careful, just in case you need to send out a true 911 signal.)

    The best alternative for a reliable emergency device that operates in most forested areas and the desert regions due to a larger antenna, more powerful output, lower frequency, and the use of the 121.5 MHz homing frequency (used by all SARG's in this area) and a rescue coordination system run by the US air force is a personal locator beacon. These devices cost about 250, are good for about five years, there is no subscription, you need to register them with the US air force (for free). After five years, you are supposed to de-register, and destroy. These items really do work.

    We use them; primarily the ACR ResQlink devices, but there are others just as good.

    For some more reading....
    http://www.rockymountainrescue.org/about_PLBs.php
     
  16. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Good advice, but FYI: Satellite support for the 121.5 MHz–only versions was discontinued in early 2009.
    121.5 is for local homing.
    Tom
     
  17. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    Yes, I never said the 121.5 was satellite, my quote from the post, "and the use of the 121.5 MHz homing frequency (used by all SARG's in this area)"

    The PLBs use 406 MHz sat signal.

    The homing signal is just that, a homing signal to SARs to home in on your location a lot better, which is really nice at night.
     
  18. rawlus

    rawlus New Member

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    Who's got the bigger antenna? Lol.
     
  19. rawlus

    rawlus New Member

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    I think spot and plbs both have their pros and cons. It also sort of depends on your risk tolerance. Spot seems to fill a need, it's not military grade, but it as some features people may like that can't be ad with the plbs.

    I'm not sure there is one right answer here as everyone's needs vary.
     
  20. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I never said you said that, just wanted to make it clear that in very remote areas the searchers would need to be relatively close to get a signal.
     

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