Skip to comments.VANITY - Rural communications options - CB radio?
Posted on 09/21/2013 6:43:48 PM PDT by PinkChampagneonIce
Am looking for information about how to communicate in emergencies. I live about 20 miles from where I work. I am an attorney, and need to get word to the Courthouse if I am not able to get where I am supposed to be due to a combination of physical obstacles plus no phone service. I am on dial-up internet, so if there's no phone, there's no Internet. I am 1/2 mile from a paved road, so if there is no vehicle, there's no way out. There's no cell phone service in my area - have to drive about 10 miles to get a cell phone signal
One of my clients suggested that if I get a CB radio I could call into the Sheriff's station, which is in the Courthouse, to alert the Court to emergency situations. This sounds like a good idea. The client also said that I could install the CB radio in my truck and then I would be able to take my communications with me.
I don't know anything about CB radios, and am hoping my FRiends can tell me if this is a viable solution and, if so, the cheapest way to do this.
Breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck...
get an amateur radio technician class license....info at www.arrl.org/home
Can get satellite Internet with a VoIP phone from Hughes net, dish, wild blue, via sat, whoever is in your coverage area; or you could buy a globalstar or Iridium phone; gives you more mobility.
If I were you, CB radio would be the way to go.
i concur - get your ham license. On 5 watts I can hit repeaters 30 miles away. At 25 watts I can reach even further.
What do the old timers at the courthouse suggest?
Surely your problem isn’t new.
Satellite internet and VOIP may be a solution.
Where are you that there is no cell service? CB radio is relatively low powered, and your local sheriff may or may not monitor the emergency channel 9.
Ever since the FCC eliminated the code requirement, a ham radio license on the 2 meter band, along with a local ham radio club that has set up a repeater station with a phone patch, would allow you to make a phone call from a mobile radio.
It will take just a little effort on your part to get a 2 meter license, but since you are a lawyer, I think you can handle a little study.
Look at the Ranger brand. Get one equivalent to 10 meter capabilities and have a qualified cb technician tweek it out to 45 watts. It should be able to easily carry 50 miles with upper and lower sideband.
my inexpensive baofeng radio at 5 watts can hit a repeater 12 miles away and more reliably than CB for clarity of signal.
Check out satellite phones — they may cover your area .
Amateur radio...You can have both base, and mobile...and you can have comm with town....any town....in the Phillipines....or anywhere else.
CB is pretty much worthless. Ham radio is the way to go, but you will need a minimum of a “Technician” license.
Look into a satellite phone, as opposed to a cell phone? There are large swathes of Australia, among other places, where a satellite phone is the only real option.
Sorry, Hughes net is in the area, but no VOIP available. During bad weather, satellite is no better than dial-up. Everything goes down. Wild Blue is also in area, but so unreliable that no one is interested.
general info in Wikipaedia:
and do searches on satellite phone, satellite internet, etc for more info in addition to the previous links I gave you for specific companies.
bear in mind that amateur radio is only for non-commercial use, and that using it to facilitate your business as an attorney may not be permitted. contact a two-way radio dealer about land mobile options, including community repeater access that would offer similar capabilities for business use.
None of the “old timers” live as far out as I do. Most live in town. It’s not a new problem, but my situation tends to produce a “perfect storm” of communication problems. I have an unreliable landline that goes out every time there’s a storm, or if the squirrels chew on it. I have NO cell phone signal (am in rural Oklahoma). Have two culverts between me and the paved road. If one or both wash out, I have no way to get to the road. If the truck decides not to start in conjunction with all these other things and, assuming I can get past the washed out culverts, I have about a 5-6 mile walk to the nearest reliable neighbor, 3 miles to the volunteer fire department (unlikely anyone will be ther), and about 6 miles to the nearest “trading post.” Don’t get me wrong. Normally, I LOVE it. But every now and then I need to get a message out.
Ask a local cell phone dealer if they still carry car phones. They are the ones that use a roof top car antenna and they push about 3 watts. Their range is a lot further than a hand held cellphone. There is a world of difference between the capabilities of a hand held cell phone and a Transportable I think they were called. They may still make them but likely special order.
Well, with all that, — landline unreliable, satellite phone doesn’t work for you, physical travel won’t work — looks like you have very limited options — one of which is to move while you are a practicing attorney, or retire and just ride out the storms incommunicado...
How often has it happened that you have both no phone and no vehicle?
One other option may be checking with a business radio communications company that leases radio systems, frequencies, repeaters, etc to clients. Some of these type systems can go state wide. A phone patch capability should be a service they offer.
LOL. It isn’t as bleak as that. There’s no way I’m moving from my place. Everyone at the Courthouse knows about my situation, and if I don’t show up they all know why. BUT, I would still like to figure out a way to let them know the situation, and to at least get them to call the back-hoe guy to come dig me out when there’s a flood.
People in this area are remarkably resiliant, because they deal with this all the time. It’s not as scary as it sounds!
In ten years, about 3-4 times.
I really would recommend you check out the various satellite communications options and ask them about reliability.
Do you live alone? It sounds like you are really saying that you are becoming afraid to be so isolated where you live. Maybe you need to have a friend or co-worker call you and check on you on a regular basis. If culverts wash out, then people can’t reach you anyway, so maybe you need to move closer to someone. How often have the culverts washed out?
I don’t know if CB is going to reliably reach 20 miles - may work better now than they did 30 years ago when everybody had one.
Have you considered getting a horse? That would at least get you to where you could call for help. Or see if a cell provider was interested in providing service if you gave them some land to put a tower for the area.
Dish network (satellite) offers Internet service. It’s way faster than dial up and the satellite is reachable at most latitudes.
Yes, I do live alone, and that’s not going to change. It’s just annoying when I can’t get a message out. One culvert washed out about 3 months ago during a “100 year flood”, but there are three other people who have to use it to get to their property, so eventually it’s going to get fixed even if I don’t do anything.
If the landline goes down, no one can “check on me.” They just have to use their spider sense to figure out what’s happening!
That’s funny about the cell phone tower. I actually contacted a nationally known cell phone provider about offering land for a tower. They directed me to a website where I was required to provide all sorts of information about where my land was located, how many acres were available, the legal description, etc. I provided all the information, and the response I got back was “Sorry, but we cannot consider your proposal because we do not provide service in your area.” Well, DUH! ROFLMAO
CB will not work for a 20 mile transmit, at least not reliably.
Thanks for all the replies. I think I will check with the Sheriff to see what they suggest. The satellite option just won’t work - when the weather’s bad, it goes down. There truly is NO cell phone signal, and none expected in the near future because there are not plans to put a tower on this side of the hill (it’s the hill that blocks the signal).
For all you people who might be considering a move to the “real” country, I think perhaps there are a lot of people who do not realize that communications in some areas are still what many would consider primitive. Many older people in my area don’t even have voice mail. They have a landline, and if you call and they are not home it will continue ringing until you hang up. Just like it was 30 years ago!
“Ask a local cell phone dealer if they still carry car phones. They are the ones that use a roof top car antenna and they push about 3 watts.”
You are referring to a “bag phone” and a magnetic mount antenna.
That is all I sold when I was my counties first Bell South agent back in rural Tennessee. They were analog phones, as opposed to the modern digital.
You'll need someone to host the other end of your data link where there is solid broadband internet, like a cable modem.
The result would be not only a backup phone, but broadband internet. That might really be helpful for working from home, Skype calling, etc.
Price may be an issue, commercial products often have way more performance than you need, and a commensurate cost.
Research a cell booster like: http://www.amazon.com/Wilson-Electronics-SignalBoost-Booster-Vehicle/product-reviews/B0011GI95A
You can see how far away from a tower you are here: http://opensignal.com/
I’d call Wilson after looking into it.
Units are 150 to 400, deductible I assume.
The local ‘outpost’ store has a booster and people go to their parking lot to use it. We have no or little signal here.
Thanks, everyone, for your useful and interesting suggestions. I’m off to bed now, so won’t be replying, but y’all have given me a lot to think about and I appreciate it.
Perhaps a couple of marine band radios. One for you and one for a monitor.
I have no idea if it would work.
And what's this about an unreliable truck, too? Can't you at least buy a truck that will start in the morning?
Talk to the sheriff about using their police radio frequency to call in. Usually they have a pretty good setup and there is a good chance you can use a 37 dollar hand-held to connect with them.
I used to live in a rural setting and was a member of the local volunteer fire dept and they let me use my ham hand-held gear to contact fire and police. You are an officer of the court so maybe they will allow it...it’s worth a shot.
A good external antenna for the Baofeng is not too expensive in case you can’t reach the courthouse on the radio’s rubber duck antenna.
The BAOFENG UV-5R for $36.99 and free shipping.
Satellite Internet is one thing meaning Voice Over Protocol. Satellite telephone service is a different and more reliable critter. They are reliable enough they are used at sea. But it’s expensive as I understand it. Seriously I’d check with a business radio communications company. They may have a shared service which several businesses might share. The secret is in general the lower the frequency the longer your range is without needing a repeater. IOW the tower in town would likely be within range.
For reading when I am awake....good info in the responses.
True but I think I saw a digital version a year or two ago. Just the car antenna alone with a gain antenna increases the range significantly.
As I worked on the Iridium Sats in 1997, the proposed cost was 5 bucks a minute.