Need help with communication devices : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

With father's day coming up, I'm thinking of buying my husband something useful for Y2K. What do you folks think of the need for either two-way communication radios (2-mile range for families), or a scanner radio to hear what's going on in the community? We live on 18 acres about 30 miles outside of Atlanta. It's semi-rural. On a bad day when I think the worst I wonder if we'll end up with one family member up at the road (quarter mile from the house) keeping the rest of us posted on who or what's coming (hence the two-way communication). Or would it be better to have a scanner? Or is this too silly to worry about? Thanks.

-- Jill (, June 14, 1999


May I suggest a $20 CB from a pawn shop or flea market and a good scanner. In my not at all humble opinion, a CB is a MUST. If you live that close to a city I would also want a scanner.

-- FLAME AWAY (, June 14, 1999.

Errrrrr.... 2 CB's....... They have a range of about 5 miles.

-- FLAME AWAY (, June 14, 1999.


Keep an eye out for a post I hope to make soon (within a week?) on CB use in y2k. If you can hold out till after Father's day the info might help you make a better CB rig choice.


-- William J. Schenker, MD (, June 14, 1999.

Another possibility is "FRS" which is Family Radio Service. An article about FRS can be found at:

The only caveat about the article, is that the prices have come down since the article was written. FRS radios can be found at CostCo (Motorola) for < $60.


-- Jollyprez (, June 14, 1999.

GN's Amateur Radio y2k Forum...

-- otay (, June 14, 1999.

Jill : You might want to take a look at Marine VHF radios. 25 watt base and mobile sets or 5 watt hand-held. Good range and quality of signal . Standard (brand name) has chips you can have installed to scramble the signal, so your conversations are truly private. Good Luck.

-- Capt Dennis (, June 14, 1999.

Good question,

From my emergency services experience it is common knowledge that one of the most common (and critical) screwups in an "event" is communication - the failure thereof. I don't know what is the best for your situation, my first guess is cb but check with folks in the area. Not only do you need to have reliable means of communication but you need to think about practicing with it - remember most use public channels. Common boo boos: on the wrong channel, scanning improperly set, squelch adjusted improperly, is it turned on?!, batteries (and backups). One thought, check out pawn shops and yard sales (cheap!). Remember that you can use a car model indoors (with a good antenna) linked to a car battery that you keep charged in a variety of ways. IMHO Don't try to gett too fancy! Good luck and keep us posted.


-- Kristi (, June 14, 1999.

No one device can cover everything. The "Family" radio service is really good for what you mentioned (up to 2 miles - actually mine goes farther) --- on sale this week at Kmart (WI anyway) at 2 for 59.95. Easy and light. Of course for long distance you need something else.

-- Jon Johnson (, June 14, 1999.

If you've got enough technical know-how or can learn it, go get a Technician-class Amateur Radio license, which does not require any Morse code. It'll cost you $6.45 for the tests (two of them, a 35-? and then a 30-?) and if you pass both you'll have a callsign issued within about ten business days. You can get study aids from all over the place (Try the Amateur Radio Relay League for example.)

Once you have the license, you can use all Ham radio bands from 6- meter (~50 MHz) on up. Most local Ham traffic is on the 2-meter (~147 MHz) or 1.2-meter (~440 MHz) bands, with some folks using 23- centimeter (~1.2 GHz) in some areas.

Range on 2m can be about fifty miles with a decent antenna. (I use a 4-element Yagi, made out of aluminum tubing and PVC pipe, to hit repeaters about thirty miles away with a handheld "walkie-talkie" style dual-bander radio and about five watts of power. It's more or less portable, easy to set up, comes apart for transport, cost me about $30 in materials and a few hours to assemble, and works VERY well.) 2m-only radios can be had for relatively cheap, under $50 for used ones in some cases.

This approach is very good as a backup plan or in cases where CB doesn't work well, such as near sources of RFI in the <30 MHz bands (CB is 11-meter, ~28 MHz).

Alternately, if you already know or can learn Morse code, go for the General class or higher license so you'll have access to the bands below 50 MHz, where you can bounce signals across the globe for a few watts or less.

73 (That's "Best regards" for you non-Hams!) DE (That's "from") the OddSter (So it's not my callsign... [grin])

-- OddOne (, June 14, 1999.

With any uck, Bill will comment on the Galaxy (export) versions available at some of the truck stops, that include FM on 11 meters.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, June 15, 1999.

I have 2 walkie-talkies with a 2 mile range. I think they are Cobra brand. The model is FRS-1200. I like them. They take 3 AA batteries (an odd number) and we use them when we go to the mall. (My wife and I). I also use them when I'm out in the yard and she's in the house. Mine have 2 jacks. One for an optional headset. Then you can set it to be voice-activated. Of course the headset is probably another $60 each.

A better thing might be a handheld CB. Then you can add an amplifier to it to transmit further. Also, they are inexpensive, so more people would use them in an emergency.

-- Chuck (, June 15, 1999.

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