Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24

Thread: VHF Cabin Set Up

  1. #1
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default VHF Cabin Set Up

    What is a good VHF radio set up for a cabin?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member mjm316's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    821

    Default

    One that works would be a start
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

  3. #3
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm316 View Post
    One that works would be a start
    OMG! Lol...This is serious dang it!

  4. #4
    Member mjm316's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    821

    Default

    Ha! Just thought I'd harass ya a little as I've seen ya do to some others. Glad to see you have a sense of humor. Cheers
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

  5. #5
    Member logman 49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Just South of Moose Pass
    Posts
    353

    Default

    Can't help you with what a good VHF setup would be. But that reminded me of a fellow I knew down in Wrangell who had a VHF in his cabin up the river. He had his unit up on a shelf and was sitting in the cabin one evening and like it was shot out of a cannon the radio flew across the room narrowly missing him as it exploded against the opposite wall. Turns out he had the antennae up a tree, ran the cable across the yard and into the cabin, well the river eroded under the tree and it fell into the river, antennae cable and all., you get the picture.

  6. #6
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by logman 49 View Post
    Can't help you with what a good VHF setup would be. But that reminded me of a fellow I knew down in Wrangell who had a VHF in his cabin up the river. He had his unit up on a shelf and was sitting in the cabin one evening and like it was shot out of a cannon the radio flew across the room narrowly missing him as it exploded against the opposite wall. Turns out he had the antennae up a tree, ran the cable across the yard and into the cabin, well the river eroded under the tree and it fell into the river, antennae cable and all., you get the picture.
    Good story! I will make a mental note And not hang my antenna in a tree next to the water!

  7. #7
    Member greythorn3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Chasin the ladys! away!
    Posts
    2,507

    Default

    what kinda power options will you have in the cabin?
    Semper Fi!

  8. #8
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Do you want 110AC or 12V DC?
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  9. #9
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Do you want 110AC or 12V DC?
    Is 110 AC an option? We don't have a battery bank so 110 would prolly be my best bet if it falls within my budget.

  10. #10
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    Is 110 AC an option? We don't have a battery bank so 110 would prolly be my best bet if it falls within my budget.
    I suggest a 110V AC, then when you get your inverter set up, it will work even when the genset isn't.

    You can also run 12V wires from your batteries when the inverter isn't on and use a transformer.

    You can also use a 12V transformer and a marine 12V radio on your gen set.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  11. #11
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    I suggest a 110V AC, then when you get your inverter set up, it will work even when the genset isn't.

    You can also run 12V wires from your batteries when the inverter isn't on and use a transformer.

    You can also use a 12V transformer and a marine 12V radio on your gen set.
    I read that a power supply that you would use for an old computer would work as an inverter for a radio. Have you ever heard of any one using one before?

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    What is a good VHF radio set up for a cabin?

    Thanks
    I guess it depends on what you're wanting to do with said VHF radio and the location from which you will be using it. Since you stated "cabin" I'm going to go with the idea of setting it up as a way of off grid communications, possibly for contacting someone for help in an emergency. Another option is you're looking for something to just chat with local cabins on.

    The first thing to remember is that VHF is generally a line of sight communication (not always but usually so) that sends radio waves essentially over the ground. Antenna design and height are critical to good performance. Terrain can also adversely affect performance. At any rate, you've basically got about three options. Marine Band, Air Band, and Amateur (Ham) Band.

    I know a lot of people in the bush use Marine Band VHF radios in their homes in the same way you or I would use a land line telephone. This could work for you if, for the most part, you only want to contact others in a limited area (5-15 miles depending on antenna height and terrain) who are also using Marine band radios for that purpose. (In other words, there is someone nearby listening for you on Channel 16). This could also work if you plan to use the radio in a coastal area where the Coast Guard is likely to be monitoring Channel 16 for emergency calls. Marine radios come stock with 25 watts of transmitting power, which is plenty if you have the right antenna setup, they're cheap, readily available in local stores, and don't require a permit or license. The drawbacks are a.) they're not much good if you're using them inland where no one else is using them and b.)it's against the law to transmit on Marine band from anything other than a ship or coast station.

    Most of the above can be applied to aviation radios, except for the cheap and readily available in local stores part. The FAA really frowns on using air band radios for non aviation purpose. Bear in mind that base fine from the FCC for using a radio without the proper license or in an improper manner is $10k and there have been citations issued right her in Alaska this year.

    And then there is amateur (ham) radio, which is what I use at my cabin. You can get a 50 watt mobile ham radio that transmits on 2 meter band (144-148MHz) for about $200 and power it off of a deep cycle battery that you can recharge with a small solar panel. (You could apply that to any radio really.) Depending on your location, you can possible skip the mobile unit and go with a handheld. There is a pretty extensive list of repeaters for south central and interior Alaska (less so for interior). A repeater is a high power station that will pick up your weaker signal and retransmit it over a much wider area at higher power. For example, the 147.27 repeater on Mt. Susitna (scheduled for decommisioning next spring) will pick up a VHF signal from Petersville and retransmit it all the way to Soldotna. There are repeaters like that all up and down the Parks Highway corridor. Witha good repeater, yo don't even need a lot of power. I use a 5 watt handheld transceiver and an external antenna at out cabin and I can contact Anchorage, Wasilla, Houston, etc with no problem. Do it all the time. I also do the reverse, contact those towns from Anchorage.Once you find the repeater that gets you the best coverage or the best possibility that other hams are listening, that's the one you use. Another option with ham VHF, albeit far more costly, is high power (hundreds of watts) with big antennas and transmit directly to another radio (called simplex operation). The national simplex calling frequency (similar to Channel 19 or "truckers channel" on CB) is 146.52MHz. However, there are established simplex frequencies for Anchorage, the Matsu Valley, and the Kenai Peninsula as well. Of course, you'll need a license and call sign. But the tests are free in Alaska because volunteers from the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club give the tests for free. All you need for using a VHF ham radio is a Technician Class license, and it's super super easy to obtain. (I know a 10 yr old with a Tech license.) Very basic math (not much) and a mostly basic operating principles. 35 question test and get 70% right.

    That's all I have to say about that.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    I read that a power supply that you would use for an old computer would work as an inverter for a radio. Have you ever heard of any one using one before?
    Those things have a 5 volt DC output; while many handhelds will operate at 6vdc with 7.2 being their rated voltage, 5vdc isn't going t do much. You might be able to receive with it.

  14. #14
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    I read that a power supply that you would use for an old computer would work as an inverter for a radio. Have you ever heard of any one using one before?
    I have heard of cabin fires. Buy the right stuff, the first time. You will need some power (as in VHF WATTS) for your location. 5W doesn't work well enough for my handheld.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  15. #15
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Thanks! This is all very good info! Where would you guys recommend I go to buy "the right stuff"?

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    I have heard of cabin fires. Buy the right stuff, the first time. You will need some power (as in VHF WATTS) for your location. 5W doesn't work well enough for my handheld.
    I would ask where are you and what are you trying to do with that 5 watts? I tunr mine down to 2.5W and I'm full quieting into the Susitna repeater from Trapper Creek, 50 miles away. From Bleberry Hill, just below Flat Top, I've talked to Talkeetna, 90 miles away, on 5 watts and had a 5 x 7 signal report. But I would agree with the idea that 5 watts can be a very limiting factor, ESPECIALLY when working simplex.

  17. #17
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I would ask where are you and what are you trying to do with that 5 watts? I tunr mine down to 2.5W and I'm full quieting into the Susitna repeater from Trapper Creek, 50 miles away. From Bleberry Hill, just below Flat Top, I've talked to Talkeetna, 90 miles away, on 5 watts and had a 5 x 7 signal report. But I would agree with the idea that 5 watts can be a very limiting factor, ESPECIALLY when working simplex.
    Only 13 miles from a base station. ..... My math said hand helds should work.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    Thanks! This is all very good info! Where would you guys recommend I go to buy "the right stuff"?
    If you're talking about wires, electrical connectors, fuses, FR adapters, stuff like that (materials for setting up and installing a radio, check out Frigid North on Spenard at 33rd Ave in Anchorage. If you're not good at soldering and terminating wires, ask for Gene, their bench tech, and, for a modest fee, he'll solder all of your connections for you right there at the store.

    If you're talking about buying radios and antennas, check out hamradiooutlet.com and universalradio.com. (Universal has better tech specs listed while HRO has better prices and cheaper shipping to AK.)

    If you're talking about Marine Radios, head over to West Marine on Dimond BL in Anchorage or do a google search.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Only 13 miles from a base station. ..... My math said hand helds should work.
    Maaaaaybe. That's right on the edge. According to my hand dandy little VHF/UHF line of sight calculator app for iPod, using station antenna height of 5' (the HT), a base station antenna height of 50' would just barely get you the 13 miles (13.162 mi to be exact). Toss in a hill or two and that bare minimum gets reduced even further. Toss in some wet, marshy ground or open water, and it increases a bit. 75' base station antenna will get you 15 miles, but bear in mind those are just line of sight figures, which don't account for antenna gain and design, RF power out, line losses at the base station, etc etc.

    My other line of sigh calc app, for aviation stations, shows a line of sight of only 7 miles with a 25' base station antenna, and it also shows a received signal strength of 11 micro volts from the HT, but I don't know how to convert that to an S meter reading.

    At any rate, if you're working simplex, you'll need a really high base station antenna. I also suggest using a small, hand held directional yagi antenna (check out arrow antennas) or one of those gain flexible whips on your HT, such as the Diamond or Hy-Gain brands. Using a 9db gain yagi, which you can get from a hand held antenna) will boos your effective radiated power to almost 40 watts. Even a Diamond flexible whip at 2 db gain will get you to 8 watts, and that's omni directional.

    You know, another option you could try is one of those Alinco or Kenwood mobile dual band radios with cross band repeat. It will pick up your 5 watt HT signal on 2 meters and retransmit it on 70cm at 25 watts. Use your vehicle or your ATV as your personal repeater.

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    What do you want to use the radio for, chit chat? or emergency. In ether case you need someone to talk to, find out what your neighbors use and buy that type of radio.

    You mention VHF, I am sure your asking about a marine radio. The hi power setting on a marine radio is 35 watts. You will need a 12v, 5 amp power supply or use a battery and charger. The advantage of the battery is if you lose your AC power you still can use the radio, unless you have a generator.


    Your going to need an outside antenna, any marine radio antenna will work and coax (RG-8) that the cable that go between the radio and antenna. The higher up you get the antenna the farther you will talk.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •