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Alternative comms

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So with all thats going on in the world I got to thinking about alternative communications.

What are folks here doing in the event phone and internet communications become unstable, unreliable, or all together non-existent?

Read some interesting stuff online about IRC chat and direct dial BBS sites. Gawd, when was the last time...

But with the current control and censorship issues, what would you do if it all went *poof* and your txt messages never got replied to. 

How would you communicate locally in your neighborhood? In town? Relatives nearby or across the state/country?

We've become so used to the ubiquity of it all....

I know some folks are setup with HAM, I have a set of Baeofangs I'm trying to figure out... but outside a couple miles... what have some folks prepared for?

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I have a few of those emergency radios stashed. Beyond that I guess I'm screwed. I do have a Jackery 500 and solar panel for recharging electronic devices though. I'm trying to envision a scenario where comms are actually down long term and most that I'm coming up with are scary. If that happens I'm guessing comms will be the least of my worries. 

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I would walk over to my neighbors and say "Hey, you good?"  Yep, ok?  See ya, let me know if you need anything.   What are you expecting to have to discuss?  Barricading the neighborhood?  

What did you do before cell phones and the internet?  You drove over to see someone if it was farther than just walking.

Or get handheld radio's/cb's?    I am with Erik on this.  If all communications are down, I suspect that is the least of your worries. 

Edited by Hozzie
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I actually get what RefferMac is saying.  I have a lot of family in and around Knoxville.  I suspect that if communications are down, you aren't going to be getting into vehicle to go check on family and friends. though.  I'm assuming he is talking about Marshall Law, where the Government basically shuts down all communications, including the the internet and restricts movement, other than for emergencies or food. 

It is a posser, I have to admit.  I really have no idea how we would communicate is such a situation.

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Yes, true, there were a few "current events" that made the topic bubble back to the surface..

I've wondered about everything going dark (aka marshall law, emp, etc.) and with that assumption I have concluded gasoline will be highly valuable, so simply running across town, if thats even possible (nevermind practical), could prove challenging.

When I was a kid my friend had some walkie-talkies we used, were maybe 1.5 mile apart... but after bed time Mom wouldn't let us use the phone! LOL! That memory, and the ability to 'listen' to a lot is why I got the handheld baeofengs. Worst case me and mine are good for a couple miles and I'm only out 50 bucks.

But my Sister is in Northern Va.?

And what if things don't get totally blown away, but folks that circulate on places like TGO find communication difficulties. I mean, how is @Grand Torino
gonna sell any knives if we can't buy them here?

And without trying to be political.... what if the situation becomes something else? What if I/me/mine experience persecution because of our support of the 2nd, or lack of masks, or... you can imagine many possible scenarios comms may need to go underground.

I'm curious what preparations others have been making. I attended a get together this weekend covering such examples, and what this group would be willing and able to do. Most folks in the group hadn't even thought about it.

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I just bought a cheap handheld HAM radio, and I am going to start learning to use it. I will be able to listen until I get my license. My uncle nearby says he can hit the repeaters on Lookout and Signal mountains with his from East Ridge, so that will be the first thing I will try after getting it programmed. There are networks of amateur radio operators everywhere and a big club in my town. From what I hear, the repeaters have generator backups too.

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I understand everyone's anxiety and I'm not immune to the situation, but at this point I've decided wtf. 

I'm pretty much hunkered down and have been for months. Freezers are stocked, ammo supply is good. Where I live may not be immune to discord, but its pretty low key. I can start social security at any time or if it actually gets that bad take what I need.

I'm old and whatever happens, happens. We just all need to take a deep breath and hope the Donald can sit tight.

As for congress, it seems to be living up to my every expectation.

Edited by Raoul
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In the same vein of mesh networks,  I've thought about a project where people turn their home into an xbee node. Each person involved has a 1k or 10k xbee transceiver in their home with a unique ID and information travels between the nodes in the network. You could think of it as each home hosting one of these becomes a router in a low throughput network. If the internet goes down or cellular communications aren't possible you could still pass messages to various recipients in the network or send out a mass communication to all recipients. The transceiver in your home would communicate to your phone, laptop...whatever over wifi. 

You could have high thruput repeaters with multiple transceivers and some that are just single node end points that act as back-up for the high thruput nodes. 

In the event a node is downed the network could autoreconfigure so its hard to bring down conventionally.


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I've been a ham for years. The last thing to fail is good old CW (Morse Code). There are some more modern digital modes that work through heavy noise, but those require a computer. CW just requires a key and a bit of practice. And apart from the emergency aspect of it, ham is an enjoyable hobby.


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We have been thinking the same thing, our kids are 500 miles away and I have a ham operator about 1/4 mile away. This website will let you search for names of Ham operators in your zipcode along with their call letters. www.radioqth.net/ziplookup

Locally either a cb or walk or drive to see about them.

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6 hours ago, ReeferMac said:

When I was a kid my friend had some walkie-talkies we used, were maybe 1.5 mile apar

My buddy and I built illegal CW transmitters so we could send Morse code at 15 watts or so the three blocks between our houses.  We didn't know we needed licenses, and I know that every TV in town was pulsing and clicking with every character we sent. It was fun for the short time until my dad figured it out. I think he was pleased I was able to build the transmitter, but not so much that I actually used it.

Edited by Darrell
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