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Old 12-13-2019, 09:54 AM   #1
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Short Wave Radio Question

Most of the time we are camped off the grid and out of cell range and no radio or tv.
Does Short Wave radio work for people in this case or does it have the same problem because of mountains and such?
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Old 12-13-2019, 10:07 AM   #2
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For short wave Each day is different for short wave skip off the ionosphere,
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:01 AM   #3
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There is also a fair amount of RFI generated by the solar controller that presents problems on the AM bands.

I have one that I use outside the trailer, or at night.
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
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As for the lack of communication to the outside world without cell service...much of British Columbia does not have cell service once you leave the main highways.

However Amateur Radio operators do have a network of mountain top radio repeaters that can reach the outside world.

Since you live in Surrey BC, I will give you a BC example:
Hwy 20 between Bella Coola and Williams Lake has no cell service. That is a 6 hour drive without cell service and very few towns. 5 hours of this drive is covered by Amateur Radio Repeaters that are linked together in a network from Prince George down to Kelowna....and more importantly...most areas in between.

Even the Kelowna area...once you leave the city and or hwys there is no cell coverage. Our local Search and Rescue relies on the Amateur Radio repeaters in the area to keep in touch with the outside world for police, ambulance etc while in the back country.

Amateur radio equipment is inexpensive with handheld radios starting under $50 and mobile radios in the $120 range. The stumbling block for most people is that you need to be licensed to operate the equipment. This require passing an exam that is not easy, but there are clubs that have courses and there are test exams you can generate on line.

All the information you need to become a Canadian Amateur Radio operator can be found at ic.gc.ca
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Old 12-13-2019, 05:38 PM   #5
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Most of the time we are camped off the grid and out of cell range and no radio or tv.
Does Short Wave radio work for people in this case or does it have the same problem because of mountains and such?
Hard to provide a simple answer to this question.

A radio designed to receive shortwave may be operated without a license. You do need a license to transmit (talk to someone).

Mountains may be an issue but it depends on many factors. For example, I was able to talk to local amateur radio operators from my campsite in Big Bend NP by using a special (home made & cheap) antenna. I was able to talk to distant amateur radio operators on the east & west coasts (and outside the country) by using a different homemade & cheap antenna. The challenges are part of the fun but there is never a guarantee you will be able to talk to someone.

And by-the-way, the license in one country probably can be used in many, after completing the necessary paperwork. I was able to use my amateur US license in Sweden - after obtaining a police report of "good behavior".

Amateur radio is a major hobby that does lend itself to camping and visiting off-the-grid places. It fits in nicely with topics like batteries, solar, power supplies and the like. It works well during the time of the day that the fish aren't biting. But you can be bitten by the radio bug and never recover!

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Old 12-14-2019, 08:09 AM   #6
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There is also a fair amount of RFI generated by the solar controller that presents problems on the AM bands.
Hmm, that's bad news. I haven't tried out AM during the day with the new controller. Sounds like I'll have a problem.
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:55 AM   #7
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Hmm, that's bad news. I haven't tried out AM during the day with the new controller. Sounds like I'll have a problem.
Didnít know either . Linda has her license , KK6TLQ . We have a extra j-pole I was going to make a set up for her to bring along and try . Any information would be handy ? Pat
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:31 AM   #8
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Didnít know either . Linda has her license , KK6TLQ . We have a extra j-pole I was going to make a set up for her to bring along and try . Any information would be handy ? Pat
Assuming the J-Pole would be used for two-meter FM, you shouldn't have a problem with RFI from the controller. I have a J-Pole mounted to the rear of my trailer. It works okay with the Victron MPPT controller operating.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:49 AM   #9
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Assuming the J-Pole would be used for two-meter FM, you shouldn't have a problem with RFI from the controller. I have a J-Pole mounted to the rear of my trailer. It works okay with the Victron MPPT controller operating.
Thanks Mike . Just asked Linda and she said her radioís are 2 meter . We are using Mppt Victron controller with our solar too. I was thinking to use a painters pole or something like that to extend the j- pole on the rear for her ? What would be the ideal height ? This is something not in my comfort zone so I need all the help I can get . Pat
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:46 PM   #10
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Thanks Mike . Just asked Linda and she said her radioís are 2 meter . We are using Mppt Victron controller with our solar too. I was thinking to use a painters pole or something like that to extend the j- pole on the rear for her ? What would be the ideal height ? This is something not in my comfort zone so I need all the help I can get . Pat
Yeah, a painter's pole would work, if you don't mind setting up the antenna every time you stop, which is what most people do. Most two-meter ham communications involve contacting a repeater, which is a radio that picks up the transmission and retransmits it. As long as you can hit a repeater you should have plenty of people to talk to. There are folks with restrictive covenents at home who hide a J-Pole or other 2M antenna in their closet and can hit a nearby repeater.

I permanently mounted my J-Pole on a telescoping flagpole I bought from Harbor Freight. The flagpole retracts, then I unhook the antenna cable and fold the antenna over. This is overkill for most people though. I did it mainly to see if I could.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:06 PM   #11
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Yeah, a painter's pole would work, if you don't mind setting up the antenna every time you stop, which is what most people do. Most two-meter ham communications involve contacting a repeater, which is a radio that picks up the transmission and retransmits it. As long as you can hit a repeater you should have plenty of people to talk to. There are folks with restrictive covenents at home who hide a J-Pole or other 2M antenna in their closet and can hit a nearby repeater.

I permanently mounted my J-Pole on a telescoping flagpole I bought from Harbor Freight. The flagpole retracts, then I unhook the antenna cable and fold the antenna over. This is overkill for most people though. I did it mainly to see if I could.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:07 PM   #12
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Gee, I didn't know that there were so many hams on the forum. Of course I mean of the short wave type.

Mike, I see that you still have the King antenna on the pole. Has it been on the pole continuously and have you found any negatives of having it there?

I was going to mount mine on the fridge vent with brackets but now I'm thinking that your way is better.

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Old 12-14-2019, 01:15 PM   #13
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Gee, I didn't know that there were so many hams on the forum. Of course I mean of the short wave type.

Mike, I see that you still have the King antenna on the pole. Has it been on the pole continuously and have you found any negatives of having it there?

I was going to mount mine on the fridge vent with brackets but now I'm thinking that your way is better.

Ron
We will probably have another secret Ham meeting at the Rally in the spring...it is only secret because nobody else cares about our connectors, coax, poles and radios.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:27 PM   #14
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20190718_antenna_mount_closeup.jpgI took my King Omni antenna / flagpole combination on a test run from home -> Sarasota -> Orlando -> home, and it held up well. That was encouraging, so I bought a second flagpole for the ham antenna, figuring that mount would be just as durable.

I bought the brackets to hold both antennas to their masts, and the masts to their pipe mounts, from Flying J truck stops. They sell antenna mounts to truckers for CB antennas. I used conduit hangers to attach the brackets to the masts. A welder friend made the pipe mounts for me; they clamp to the bumper with U-bolts. I'm about to get him to make a third mount for me, to mount another antenna to the front of the trailer. The back is getting too crowded.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #15
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The Harbor Freight flagpole masts are cheap and their locking rings aren't sturdy, so I drilled each section for ring pins to help hold the masts up.

https://www.amazon.com/Qfauto-Stainl.../dp/B07NS3SK41
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:27 PM   #16
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As for the lack of communication to the outside world without cell service...much of British Columbia does not have cell service once you leave the main highways.

However Amateur Radio operators do have a network of mountain top radio repeaters that can reach the outside world.
Ed- I'm assuming these are two-meter repeaters you are talking about. Are there six-meter FM repeaters in BC? I thought that given the terrain and sparse population they might be more common there, unlike in the eastern U.S., where they are quite rare.
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:10 PM   #17
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There maybe one or two 6 meter repeaters but very experimental...the duplexers are to big and very rare, which means a split sight. A ham here in Kelowna was going to build one.

One of the 2 meter networks is called the SIRG Network and you can see the coverage on the web. Great bunch of guys keeping that running.

With 3,000 plus foot mountain tops for the repeaters, it is not uncommon for one to cover 100 miles in all direction here in BC. However, you do get deep valleys with no coverage.
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:43 PM   #18
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Mike, can you post photos of the welded bumper mount?


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Old 12-14-2019, 05:26 PM   #19
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Thanks Mike,

I looked them up on Harbor Fright, didn't find them under paint roller extension poles but found them under flag poles. What am I going to do with the 3'x5' flag that comes with it.

It gets good reviews and one mentions it not having internal ropes to hoist it. Yours have two red ropes, is that what they're for. Hope not because on a sailboat mast with internal wires hanging down the whack-whack can drive you nuts.

I might make up the bumper mount bracket ahead of time and pick up one after we cross the border. I'll make one similar that I had on the 19. If you could give me the diameter of the pole base tube that'd be great.

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Old 12-14-2019, 06:39 PM   #20
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Yours have two red ropes, is that what they're for.

I might make up the bumper mount bracket ahead of time and pick up one after we cross the border. I'll make one similar that I had on the 19. If you could give me the diameter of the pole base tube that'd be great.

Ron
The "red ropes" are a couple of those Gear Tie things you can buy at a home improvement store. I use them to hold the J-Pole antenna in place when it is folded down, and to make sure that when the masts are retracted they stay that way. I'm sure I could come up with a more elegant solution if I made the effort.

I envy your welding and machining skill. My dad, a farmer, would never teach me how to weld or use his cutting torch. He was afraid I'd cut up the farm, he said. I'll take measurements of the mast and photos of the mount tomorrow.
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