Any Backpacking hams out there ? Could use some direction

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KC3DBO, Jan 28, 2018.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    In many cases, the old flip-phones had both better working range and longer battery life.:)

    It's funny when I compare my old LG Revere-3 flip phone with my new iPhone X (only about two months old). The Revere-3 receives "full bars" and is usable in places the X does not, including in our kitchen. The difference is likely antenna design and placement (I guess). They're both activated (different phone numbers) and "in a pinch" I've often resorted to the Revere-3.:p
     
    KC0BIN likes this.
  2. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Repeaterbook doesn't show ANY local repeaters for that Wild area... so I would stick with the sat solution! A new battery can't be that expensive! Verizon shows little to no coverage in that area also...
     
    KC0BIN likes this.
  3. WB3BEL

    WB3BEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    For those who think that the mobile operators coverage maps are engineering documents you are sadly misinformed.

    Those are marketing "pretty pictures".

    For people who like to go on backpacking trips, my advice would be to find a hiking buddy. You can lighten your pack load and enjoy friendship in many ways beyond needing emergency assistance. This is way way safer than any alternative.

    But sometimes solo hiking is also an option. Let people know your plans and try to stick to them, or inform them of changes so they know where you will be. If you don't go to the complete boondocks, it is often possible to use telecommunications equipment to check in once a day, or more often. Mobile phone is first choice, and from elevated locations its sometimes possible. VHF amateur equipment may also work in some locations, and may also allow SOTA activations, if you like that kind of thing.

    A SPOT terminal is pretty low cost and can provide peace of mind to others. You are not going to summon immediate assistance with this kind of device, but if you are in the boondocks you need to be self sufficient for hours or days, even in an emergency. You need proper clothes and food/water and shelter for the conditions that may occur.

    There are other more costly devices that provide worldwide coverage but you probably don't want that if you are wrestling with the SPOT cost.
     
    KC0BIN likes this.
  4. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Taking VHF or UHF into a remote trail is silly, you need to carry enough mast to get an antenna and the heavy coax up 50 or 60 Ft to get the Yagis way up to work over the RF horizon to where there are other stations to hear you. What a heavy load to haul !! :eek:
    With a small HF rig you only need some wire antenna to throw up in a tree to get the signal out a thousand miles ! :rolleyes:
     
  5. KD4UPL

    KD4UPL Ham Member QRZ Page

    It amazes me how many people don't know that places with no cell coverage exist. You see that large gray area on that map centered over the WV/VA border? That's where I live, work and play. There LOTS of places with no cell coverage. A lot of the problem is our proximity to the Green Bank radio observatory in WV. I routinely work in VA's least populated county, Highland. There is one, that's right, one cell tower in the entire county and it does not have data coverage, only voice. And it doesn't come close to covering the entire county.
    OP,
    I have found that APRS messaging works just fine if you have a great signal into a digi. It seems to need a better signal than voice communications. So, an HT alone isn't likely to work for you unless you stay on the tops of the mountains. My Yaesu FT1XDR works great for APRS messaging as well as voice communication and it can do both at the same time since it is a true dual band rig. If you have a radio in your vehicle parked near where you are hiking you could set that up as a digipeater to get your HT's signal repeated back out with a good mobile antenna and 50 watts. You can do the same thing with voice communication. You can set up a mobile dual band rig on a 2 meter repeater and a 70cm simplex frequency and keep your HT on the 70cm frequency. Your vehicle mounted radio will act as a repeater. I do this a lot when I'm working where there is no cell coverage. My wife is a ham and she will monitor the same repeater. We can call each other if need be during the day. I keep a very small 70cm HT on a 50 mW power setting in my pocket as I work. My dual band rig in the work truck allows me to reach the repeater. I have found there is much better voice repeater coverage in the areas I work than there is APRS digipeater coverage so we continue to rely on voice communication. If APRS coverage improves I hope to convert to messaging so I don't have to listen to all the rag chewing that goes on all day on the repeater. You can even use the APRS radio to send text messages and short emails so the recipient doesn't have to be a ham operator.
     
    KC0BIN likes this.
  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Yes, I have backpacking radio experience both HF and VHF/UHF.

    One time I made a folding roll up VHF Yagi out of a piece of cardboard with wire elements glued to it. If you spray paint the cardboard with clear spray, it will become water repellent. I thought about using foil tape as the antenna elements, but I used copper wires instead. Just tie a string to it and hang it from a tree branch.

    cardboard yagi.jpg

    kc8vwm.jpg
     
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  7. KC3DBO

    KC3DBO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a rolled up slim Jim I take along if need extra reach I can hit the repeater's normally without in area I backpack. Just got to try aprs
     
    KC0BIN likes this.
  8. KC0BIN

    KC0BIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yaesu FT690RII 6m all-mode in my pack; 50MHz collinear wire dipole rolled up and stowed in a side pocket. The grim expression on my face is an indication of the kind of mass I'm packing to satisfy my 6m masochism......

    I also have a lightweight 3-el yagi that breaks down into tubular pieces if I don't want to have to mess with the dipole on a trip/hike. I've got a hoist system for the beam, and can turn it from the ground in 60-degree increments. But much more hassle than the collinear. The battery for the Yaesu is a Duracell 9aH AGM.
     

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  9. KN4OK

    KN4OK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry guys but I won't trust cell service worth a crap unless that was your only hope, then again I would still try to hike out. I would take an HF/VHF/UHF setup every chance I had. There are so many options, just find what you like.
     
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  10. KC0BIN

    KC0BIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Basing a huge part of any modern civilization on frippery like cellphones is an outstandingly bad idea. Ham radio works, period. It is what's known as a "robust technology".
     
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