Lots of useful signal amid the noise in this thread, thanks. Though the 'noise' itself has some utility as well. Aside from the posts I acknowledged in earlier replies, these two later ones I also found particularly useful. KF4ZGZ: https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?th...cy-comms-situation.676444/page-2#post-5224679 KK4NSF: https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?th...cy-comms-situation.676444/page-2#post-5225894 I had arrived at notion of a ~60-80 foot inverted-vee (or perhaps horizontal) mounted at ~14 to 20 feet above ground independently after reading the earlier-posted NVIS articles; good to see my conclusions confirmed, thanks. For sake of convenience & ease of put-up and take-down I may even try to figure out a horizontal end-fed random wire for ~40 to 80M NVIS between 0 and 250 miles (avoiding the effort needed to feed a dipole out in the middle of a yard,) with caveats noted on antenna tuning challenges and possible "HF in the shack" hazards. Reviewing my initial post, I see I made the semantic error of using the word "mobile" when I meant "portable." I would probably buy a mobile rig & set it up as a home base-station for ordinary use, I just want to be able to take it with me & string up some kind of field-expedient NVIS antenna should the need arise. My mentioning "8 foot whip" shows how rusty my HAM knowledge had become; now that I've taken a weekend to review basic HF prop theory & antenna practice I'm under no illusions that I'll "get out" on NVIS prop with a short little whip. (Though I did see an interesting diagram of an 1960's vintage army vehicle with its ~15 foot bumper-mounted whip "tied back" in a long 90º bend to accomplish some level of field-expedient NIVS prop.) There is a huge variety & range-of-seriousness for "ecomms" scenarios. Anything from a little 5.0 to 6.0 temblor which might knock over a few buildings and injure 0.0001% of the local population to a full-on GIC / "Carrington Event"-type regional or national blackout possibly lasting for years. In the former situation there's probably not a dire need for HAM ecomms in urban areas with reasonably-hardened gov't-agency comms infrastructure. In the latter it is a virtual certainty that after a couple of days to weeks (at most,) most repeaters will be down & various forms of independent amateur radio powered from private gennys, solar panels, large batteries, etc. will be pretty much the only game in town. It's the larger/longer/scarier "grid out" situations that are my specific interest, though it would also be nice to be able to broadcast my situation ("Hi, _____ here, I'm alive, not dead, the house has not burned down, I will re-transmit daily on X.XXX Mhz @ XXX UTC) to those whom it does concern) even if public consumer-grade access to cellphone & internet service is unavailable. (Say, a 7.1-7.7 Bay Area quake that knocks out or traffic-jams internet / cell phone / TXT messages for ~3 to 7 days post-event.) Re: licensing, taking an on-line practice exam I scored ~75% (pass) on Technician class without any preparation. I'm sure a few hours of brush-up and review will easily put me in the Technician class, maybe a day or three and I'll also pass Amateur, when I have time to schedule those exams. About the State of CA and overall emergency prep -- I have a lot of respect for what the amateur-radio community generally, esp. in the US, has accomplished for emergency backup & assistance comms (sometimes becoming primary comms, situation depending,) and I can also perceive/understand how the tides may be gradually changing over a years-to-decades time frame as cellular / digital radio tech becomes ever more ubiquitous and specific attention is given to hardening it for disaster situations. After all, the entire HAM/amateur social phenomenon & culture is itself an off-shoot of technology; it is reasonable therefore to expect the culture to continue to change as technology develops. Maybe there's a bit of "saltiness" in some parts of serious HAM ecomms community as local governments start to say, reasonably or unreasonably, "we don't really need your services the way we once did." About the changing relationship between amateur radio & government, I sense a distinct shift (or perhaps ongoing evolution) underway in how 'the government' treats 'the citizens,' and I can see, particularly under the current federal administration, a constriction and formalizing of govt. <--> citizen / volunteer rapport. Put another way, due to the polarizing and intensifying of political opinions (on any and all sides, whether right/left/center) and the increasing tendency of people on many sides to "get nasty" in response to actual or merely perceived offense -- many sectors of gov't are "pulling up the ladders" and keeping more distance between themselves (their workers, their public image, their liability) and the general public by giving citizen & volunteer orgs short shrift, the cold shoulder, rescinding "the benefit of the doubt," etc.