emergency communication from the alaska bush?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by naturerules1, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. naturerules1

    naturerules1 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Can anyone tell me, as I and my sweetheart plan to move to Alaska to the remote bush, HOW DOES ONE CONTACT PEOPLE INCASE OF AN EMERGENCY? Do CB radios have a link from some 30 miles out with a network of CBers? Or is a ham radio or aircraft radio needed? I am sure we will not be able to afford a satelite connection for a computer and I just am curious on what the residents of the BUSH use for emergency contact to the outside world? If anyone knows what would work near the Alexander Creek area, near Mt Susitna please reply. It would be across the Big Susitna River and it would be extremely hard to walk out in the summer. Winter we plan on snowmobile travel but even that would be a question. If YOU know anything to help us, it would be grately appreciated for we plan to leave in feb. of 2006 and we need to finish the planning of what we need on our meager finances. Sincerly Robert and Cynthia
     
  2. WAB

    WAB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    SC
    Ham Radio is always better. CB's are not to be depended on.The main reason is that it has been taken as a toy.Also you will need to use different frequencies during different parts of the day and nite.


    www.arrl.org
     

  3. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    237
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    use a sat phone- they are the only reliable way of communication.
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Just so you know, if there's an emergency in your family that someone needs to let you know about (or someone just needs to get a message to you, not necessarily an emergency) there's a radio station in Fairbanks that puts messages on the air for people in the bush. I can't remember which station it is, but most anyone up there should be able to tell you.

    As far as you getting help in an emergency, it wouldn't hurt to have redundant systems. Have a ham radio first, as that's proven technology. Then add the satellite phone if you can afford it. Be prepared to learn some non-electric way of communicating, also, though, in case you don't have power for some reason. And get to know your neighbors -- even if they are several miles away. Neighbors help keep track of one another, and help one another out, up there. You might devise a signal of shots fired into the air, for instance, to let them know you need help.

    Kathleen
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,264
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .........There is a 7 year Solar cycle that affects communications . WE , are , for the most part , at the BOTTOM of that cycle . CB is situated on the 11 meter band , and is directly affected by the SCycle . As we climb slowly back , out of the Trough , the consistency ....and....Distance of 2 way communication(s) will improve . The best decision you could make would be to learn the Morse code which will require you to send and receive at 5 words per minute and pass a multiple choice written exam . The test questions are available along with the answers so all you have to do is simply memorize the answers and you're entitled to a whole new world of communications possibilities . There is a Multiplicity of both frequencies and different modes of transmitting and receiving to allow you to "pick your poision" as it were . Plus , you can run up TOO 1500 watts , input ....Legally . CB is limited to ...5 watts....maximum legal input power , although alot of the CB'ers aka truck drivers are running illegal amplifiers , some of which are for Ham operation ....Only. , fordy... :)
     
  6. naturerules1

    naturerules1 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    we do not plan on having generator power because of the noise and wonder if we can run ham radios on 12 power from a wind generator to batteries?
     
  7. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    My honda generator did not make noise. Very quiet, small,fuel effecent and light. Cost about a grand. Also made 12v. I would get one as a back up for wind generator. Somone broke in truck so I lost it after one tank of fuel.
     
  8. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,264
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    ..................There are probably MORE ham transceivers and Amplifiers , that are designed to run on 12vdc , than on 120 vac . Most transceivers are designed to put out 100 watts of power . There are "backpacker" type radio's that will only put out less than 20 watts . "QRP" is the Ham lingo for low power . If , you can transport several 12vdc (heavy) deepcycle batteries to your remote location along with a sufficient number of Solar panels and an inverter\controller you can do quite nicely without a genset . Of course , you also have to have an efficient Antenna that is electrically connected to your radio and there are a multitude of different sizes and Efficiencies depending upon your budget . You can can satisify 2 needs with Ham Radio as it will become your connection with the outside world and it can also be a Great hobby that will allow you to talk with people from all over the world from a remote location . If I was contemplating living under the remote conditions that you are, I wouldn't even consider such a living arrangment ...UNLESS...I had an adequate communications system . A grown man living in a remote location is one thing , but when you introduce a wife , who is a tremendous responsibility and life partner , into the equation , I would plan on having Ham radio as an Absolute necessity . Just my opinion of course , fordy.. :)
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    smoke signals.
    pidgeons.

    I would have a sat phone, pricy but your saving $$$ elsewhere. It might save your life.
     
  10. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I checked for reference, a sat phone from globestar runs 40 bucks a month for 40 air minutes, and .99 for each additional minute.
    thats 480 a yr, VS the next plan up that is 750 a year with 1000 minutes per paid yr.

    if its just for emergencies, I pay 45 bucks a month for my cellular phone (with a ton of free airtime but... its a cell phone.)

    speaking of which, it MAY be possible to buy some booster to push a cellular phone signal far enough to hit a tower... i dunno its an idea anyway.
    40 bucks a month to ba able to call for help anytime anywhere... I'd take it.

    oh.. to buy the phone is 750 bucks. then your monthly fee.

    http://www.globalstar.com/
     
  11. babetteq

    babetteq Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    Very North, Very West, Very Canadian
    call the radio station or one of the alaska logging companies... they'll tell you what they use. You're best off using whatever everyone else is using. We mostly use radio phones around here (we can see alaska from the beach)

    babs
     
  12. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    14,944
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    I thought that I heard that the Alaskans that live in the bush rely on a relay type system of communications. A person with a problem would radio a neighbor, that nieghbor would radio the next neighbor, and so on until the message got to emergency services or a bush pilot.
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,264
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    ................Most modern 2way communication systems are configured around a single tower that has a repeater that listens and transmits on an Omni directional basis , i.e. 360 degrees . There are Ham radio repeater systems scattered all over the lower 48 and all the way up and down both east and west coasts . These systems are totally separate and distinct from both police and civil emergency systems . That is why they are such a valuable resource to ALL who have a License to utilize them for both pleasure and emergency's .
    ..............R.A.C.E.S.....is the Amateur Radio Civil Emergency Service that interfaces with ALL Other communication systems in times of civil emergencies . These systems are totally funded and paid for by Hams out of their personal funds . More often than NOT , when there is wide spread destruction like Hurricane Andrew , the 4 H's that devistated Fl. etc. , and lots of previously forgotten diseasters , .....it is Ham Radio that is the ONLY reliable source of communication(s) that Fema , law enforcement and others depend upon for spreading the "Word" as it were .
    ..............Obtaining a Ham license , is EASIER than it ever has been . The FCC has reduced the level of Technical expertise necessary to pass the Test(s) , both written and code to such a degree that almost anybody , with a little effort should beable to pass the tests and become involved in one of the Best hobbies in this county and all over the world . Alas , both cell phones and computers seem to have removed alot of incentive for "newbies" to enter the Hobby . Ham Radio is co-operative effort that involves folks of like mindedness helping each other to construct and erect support structures and wire Antenna's for "Wireless" communication . The wonderment in a Child's eyes who sits and listens to a ham operator talking to another Ham in Auuustraila is , often times , the Beginning of a lifelong pursuit of both electronics and a love for ham Radio that will be passed on to their offspring , just as a father use to teach his male children the Ways and Pleasures of Living Upon the Land . It's virtually the same Process and Procedure . fordy.... :)
     
  14. jejabean

    jejabean Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    Cell phones don't work in AK?
     
  15. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    My husband has had his ham license for years, and from what he tells me, the ham radio is the way to go. According to DH, most ham operators LIVE to relay info. It's a great hobby, and if (when?) things ever fall apart, I think the ham operators are going to be the dedicated people relaying info.

    I eventually want to get my license. I am just not that into studying for ANYthing right now. It's on my "things to do list" for 2010. ;)
     
  16. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,510
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Plus the code requirement is likely to being going away in the near future for HF privileges. Countries all over the globe have been dropping the code testing provisions for licensing and hopefully the FCC will drop very outdated CW requirements sooner rather than later.

    VHF/UHF is fine for local stuff but for any real distance HF is almost required.
     
  17. CindySue

    CindySue Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Hello from Alaska~ My money would be on a sat phone. It can be in your vehicle or with you when you may not be able to get to your radio. My daughter and I had our truck break down a couple of weeks ago 9 miles from our house. Yes, it was dark(it gets dark here about 3:30 in the afternoon) and COLD! If it wasn't for having a phone, we could have been in a real bind! Just my 2cents.

    Please don't hesistate to ask if you have any Alaska questions. I have lived here all of my life.
     
  18. naturerules1

    naturerules1 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    We are going to be in the bush across the Big Su and aways from any road and the ham radio does sound good, I dont think we will be able to get a sat phone to work and the exspense may be too high for us. We will be getting set up with a wind mill generator and maybe (hopefully) a small quiet gas generator. We also will be going to a ham convention in OHIO in May to get the test and radio. Thankyou everyone for the very good information. We have been studying. Sincerily Cynthia and Robbie
     
  19. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    538
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    SE Idaho
    When you get around to picking a radio try and find one the covers the Alaska Emergency frequency (5.1675 Mhz) its Ham legal in Alaska for emergency communications and monitored by a lot of people.
     
  20. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,286
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    WV
    When I was there last year, the folks we stayed with listened to the Christian radio station out of Neenana every day for "Muckluck messages". It was more than just a message system, it fostered a sense of community. They told me that there were people that they had never actually met, but they knew all about them from the messages, and felt like they knew them.