Letter Re: HF Radios and “Shoutcasting” Parabolic Dish Communications

Dish Communications

[In response to an earlier letter,] a HF network is a good idea. A local network also has its merits. There are lots of methods and frequencies for local area usage. Some use military surplus equipment, some CBs, some ham, some TA-1 field phones with wire, some use Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) access points (a great idea if you’ve planned ahead for electricity and it actually works.).

I know three people in Colorado who use old solid [metal-coated fiberglass or sheet metal–not expanded metal mesh ]satellite dishes to be able to stand on their hills and talk to each other over several miles using a normal speaking voice. It must be strange facing away from someone several miles away and having a conversation. It works surprisingly well, but I was told that the rare scream of a hawk flying between the dishes can be slightly unnerving.

Local Networks
Many people aren’t aware that the Atlanta, Georgia ham community has a city wide internet that’s not part of the [International] Internet. All courtesy of Wi-Fi. Now that’s an interesting concept. Voice, Phone, Data and Video on a parallel internet. Kinda like the Fed, huh?

Long Haul HF
Lots of ideas and most are good for their particular arena. But here’s the but). But HF can link the continent together so you know what is happening all the way across the continent, even to the other end of the continent. It beats restricting yourself to only knowing what’s going on 20, 40 or 60 miles away.(Not to mention talking worldwide or just listening worldwide, Hmmm?). Check out this article on the Regency Net and GRC-215s radios to get an idea of how the government planned to use HF to provide trans and post attack communications among nuclear capable units in the European Theater and then applied the concept for use in CONUS for FEMA.

Excellent idea overall. [For example,] I look forward to seeing where people suggest landing. One suggestion might be similar to the HF Backpack net, all USB. Geared to HF with less than 20 watts and the ability to carry it on your back while talking on the radio. Rough times? Conservative power requirement! Excellent capability. Perhaps someone will show up there and suggest moving to a quieter spot to start a discussion?

OBTW, the web page cited above states that the units could regularly communicate over 400 miles. Not quite accurate! From Colorado, I regularly talk to San Francisco, San Diego, Maine, and Georgia [the U.S. state]–all from this little radio which fits in a flight bag. It is 20 watts and has a 10 foot vertical whip antenna powered by a 28 volt, 7 amp battery which I can (and do) recharge with solar cells. And it’s about the same size as the venerable PRC-77! Best Regards, – The Army Aviator

JWR Adds: Please note that this letter was first posted at a point in the sunspot cycle,when HF propagation was still good. But since sunspot numbers are presently “scraping bottom”, HF is now “deader than disco.” I’m confident that this pitiful propagation situation will turn around in a few years, but for now, it is a good time to just accumulate bargain HF equipment, as hams give up on HF, in desperation. (In many cases selling their HF gear at “desperation” prices.)