Simple, Rugged, Rural Line of Sight Communications

Bottom line, minimum equipment, reliable, ease of use under stress, able to survive primitive and combat abusive circumstances.
What do I go out and procure for on foot mobile comms for a citizen small unit infantry team for inter squad and checking in periodically with a home base system in the Appalachian Mtn range?
Keep it simple, rugged and primitive as possible.


In Mountains or other hilly terrain, 2M works best. The most rugged, yet inexpensive set I’m aware of is the Icom V80.

icom v80.jpg

Icom IC-V80

You’ll need a simple 2M set in your Base of Operations, AKA a Command Post. A single band Mobile is what’s needed:


Kenwood 2M mobile

You’ll need a good antenna. The roll-up J-poles work well, and are great for temporary setups, such as a hasty Patrol Base or longer-range needs while on patrol. For long term durability, you’ll need a more rigid antenna. Most J-poles or Groundplane antennas will fit the bill well. Feed them with LMR-240 and you’ll have no worries.


82 thoughts on “Simple, Rugged, Rural Line of Sight Communications

  1. Pingback: Practical Commo Advice – Mason Dixon Tactical

  2. Pingback: Brushbeater: Simple, Rugged, Rural Line of Sight Communications | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  3. Pingback: Practical Commo Advice | Prepper's Survival Homestead

  4. If you don’t have LOS, you might consider setting up a simplex repeater. Not as fancy as the big HAM repeaters for 2m, but these look really cool for a relatively affordable price:

    Not just immediate repeat, but ability to store up to 20 messages. We’re looking at picking up a few of these based on the hilly nature of our terrain (between the Blue Ridge and Southwest Mountains), not too dissimilar to the original reader’s question area (maybe a little less elevation differential here, but similar concerns with getting over peaks).

    1. Agreed…

      However the post comes from a very, very good question presented in another post. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for rugged communications, not only for reliability concerns but also for the beginner to have a good starting point.

      1. Man, I can’t thank you enough for your advice. I’m in your debt. A lot of imponderables have been washed away. And if Matt Bracken refers to you on such matters, that say a great deal about your veracity and knowledge.
        One thing I’m understanding is antenna’s are everything. I’m digging the idea of Near-Vertical Incident Skywave Antenna if it is capable of filling that gap between LOS groundwave and long-distance “skip” skywave signal. Especially in these mountains in my AO. I’m thinking it is best to have at least two antenna systems. Of course I plan on field testing once I get my kit up and running because that is the only true test of what works best for your given environment. Seems like the home base with the altitude and the tower advantages we have that end is fairly certain and should complimentary to the V80 HT’s.

        Purchased the Kenwood-281A already so that is a wonderful surprise, those V80 Sports sure look like the ticket.

        As an aside, I’m going to try and stimulate a neighborhood net/grapevine with HT’s once we get the tower up. Our location along this ridge puts us smack dab in the middle and at the highest elevation between our neighbors. CB is pretty popular around these parts too, so thats an option that may be more viable as almost everyone has one lying around in an old truck or garage. Maybe a one channel/frequency repeater for the hood if that is possible. People are pretty poor up here, but I think once a couple of us get something running it would catch on. The ole hillbilly grapevine in Hi Freq.

      2. You don’t owe me anything- I run this blog to help folks and educate.

        It’s sounds like you’re occupying a great piece of property; you’re in an ideal spot for what you want to do. I’d definitely have a CB setup, with a good groundplane antenna, like a Solarcon A99, and you’ll maintain excellent coverage to your neighbors.

  5. Matt

    Any thoughts on Yaesu FT-270s vs the Icom IC-v80s? As I already have some Yaesu gear I’m leaning that way for commonality, but I’m curious which would stand up better to field conditions. The FT-270 is theoretically submersible, which might be nice for when things don’t go exactly as planned.


      1. I like the salt water fuel cell recharger for the AA batteries. If you are out for extended time and your getting low on your battery sets, no need to set up a PV cell, especially useful when its night, cloudy or your under tree canopy, a little back up charging capability would be mighty handy. Get to keep a little opsec with not having to go exposed finding a sunny spot in the bush.

  6. s6cnrdude

    Another possibility is to go to the used market. Although there are many to choose from and of course w/ pros/cons, I would suggest a Radio Shack HTX-202. Like the V80 mentioned above, it is tough as nails, simple to program and has a BNC antenna connector that you can easily mount a gain antenna on for increased range. It can put out about 6W on 12V. But it is 2M only, no NWS RX etc. There is also a UHF version of this radio, HTX-404.

    1. Solid options as well.; if you can find them in serviceable condition.

      Avoid ebay; go to hamfests. And when you do, get the callsign of the guy you’re buying from. Don’t get burned by other guys’ junk.

      1. everlastingphelps

        That’s what I was thinking with the Icom handhelds (when it is time to replace my chinese “good enough”, which is sooner than later.) I’ve already gone that way with the mobile/base, and went YT-2900 instead of Kenwood. It’s not as feature-y, but it’s built like a boat anchor and the whole thing is heatsink. I worried about the Kenwoods and overheating — my AO is Texas, and I have a lot more 100+ days than I have 32- days.

        Is there a good reason for me to look at the Kenwoods as a second mobile over another Yaesu, or is this mostly just Chevy vs Ford?

      2. It is Chevy vs Ford.

        The reason I listed the Kenwood is it’s pricepoint. It’s currently the lesser expensive of the brands.

        The larger point is that having a simple mono-band mobile is important. The reader who posed the question is on a tight budget; rather than just buy the cheapest crap possible, he asked what was the toughest and simplest for the money.

        Any of the reputable options out there will work well.

  7. shocktroop0351

    Its ironic that a baofeng wasn’t the best choice…I have a Yaesu ft-60r and it has worked great. It also can run off AA’S or the factory battery and still give you full power. Alot of radios don’t do that. Get an sma-bnc adapter and an 18 inch whip.

      1. shocktroop0351

        That was just some sarcasm on my part. It seems like you can’t find straightforward information on radios online without getting smacked in the head by a baofeng.

  8. Homer

    Also keep in mind the V80’s predecessor the V8. Many times these can be found new(old stock) or gently used for as low as $60. Be sure to get the aa battery packs as well. I also highly recommend the mars/cap mod too. Gigaparts is a good place to have that done. $20 or so will also get u a much better rubber duck antenna.

  9. Baofengs are good little open radios to keep in your glove compartment as a back up. Otherwise, yeah, they’re pretty damn dollar store.

    It’s hard to tell people to invest in the better, more expensive brands. They are just not the quality, and like Gordon West says, Baofeng does not support the HAM Radio community.

    A reader asked about the VX-270. I’ve had a couple of VX-170’s, and they are great. I rolled my truck over one and it would still transmit with a hand mic. I don’t recommend doing that, but things happen.

    If you don’t mind me pointing out, you can field program a Yaesu/Icom/Kenwood allot easier than an inexpensive Baofeng.

    1. For sure…the “name” brands out there are not simply a known quantity…they’re companies who’ve worked at their reputations and stand behind their products.

      Field programming is critical in my opinion; Baofeng/Wouxon, etc are definitely not friendly in that regard.

  10. Pingback: Simple, Rugged, Rural Line of Sight Communications | lisaandrews1968

  11. Brad in TX

    Excellent information NC Scout
    A solid choice for a handheld is a Yaesu FT 60 R:
    $149. Have this dealer do the MARS/CAP modification for $35. Add a AA battery module. You now have a 5 watt waterproof radio which can be operated on 2 meter ham, MURS, FRS/GMRS, marine mobile, and 440 ham. Also has nice scan features so you can scan all of the above.
    A lot of capability for the money.
    IMHO, every group should have at least one such unit to allow inter-operation with other radios in their AO. If every team member has one of these, and a base/mobile unit as NC Scout outlined, then you have the “communicate” part of the deal well covered.

    1. The FT-60 is an excellent radio. Yaesu builds great stuff.

      I didn’t include it, or the VX-6 for a reason; the reader asked for the simplest most rugged set out there; that’s the V80 for it’s price point.

      The FT-60, while excellent, is not nearly as rugged as the Icom unit. It does have a measure of water resistance, but not actually rated. The VX-6, and 8, are, but are much more expensive than their Icom counterpart.

      One drawback of the Icom V80 is that it’s 2M only; but if you’re going for simple, that’s not a huge issue. They also build a dual band model for just a bit more money.

      The bottom line is, there’s many excellent radios out there, and what you run is completely up to you, but get quality from the beginning, and you’ll be much better off in the long run.

  12. Tim

    This is probably a stupid question but I’ll ask it anyway.

    What type of license is required to operate under current law?

      1. Tim

        Thanks. Any suggestions on where to get started on licensing? A quick web search turns up a bizillion links.

      2. Tim

        Ordered Gordon West’s Technician Manual to prepare for the test. Spent tonite over at a friend’s house who has been a ham operator for 20 years going over the basics. He’s not tactically minded, but for now I just need to get grounded in the basics. Expect to take the test in about a month.

      3. Tim

        Passed the technician test yesterday. Going for general license in 30-60 days. Need to research a mobile station setup for a BRS. NC Scout, if you are planning any type of training or informative meeting I would be interested as I live in SW Virginia.

      4. Feel free to shoot me an email.

        I’m putting together some material now; email me for details on what you and possibly a group would like to see.

    1. Matt


      This is for your below question on getting your license. Like most güberment testing, all of the questions come from a published master question bank. You can find numerous books that you can use to study the material & the questions. The book from ARRL is a great reference and is available directly from them or Amazon. Get a new one because they change the questions every four years and you don’t want to be studying out of date questions. You can also practice the Technician test (2014 is the current one) for free online at

      Just keep taking it and retaking it until you consistently score above 85%. As there are only so many questions, it’ll come pretty quick.

      Once you’re comfortable with the question bank, you’ll need to take the test. They are given by volunteers in most large towns. Just do an internet search for FCC testing in close by large cities. There’s a fee to take it, which generally runs around fifteen dollars.

      Alternately you could search for local Ham radio clubs in your area. They mostly likely be able to guide you through the process. I’d recommend that once you get your Technician license that you study up and get your General license (the second level) as well. That’ll let you dip your toes into HF radio when you get the itch.

      Hope this helps.


      1. shocktroop0351

        Another option if it works for you Tim, you can get testing apps on a smart phone. I personally found that easier than sitting in front of a computer practicing since I could do it anywhere. The app I used also kept track of your progress so you knew where you needed to study most.

      2. everlastingphelps

        A tried and true method, especially if you have a basic background in electronics or if you are good at memorizing, is to simply download the question pool from the FCC, print it out, put it in a binder, and the highlight the right answer with a hi-liter. Then, you commit to studying it. It worked for me to General on the first shot, and if I had studied Extra for more than the half hour or so I did, I probably could have gotten it too.

        It’s cheap, and it works. It doesn’t educate you as well as other methods, but I’ve found that nothing really educates you as well as being on the air, and you need the ticket for that first.

  13. All very good info. I always recommend equipment from the Big Three first. That’s Kenwood, ICOM, and Yaesu. Since each company has a sort of methodology of programming and hardware nomenclature, it’s often easier if you stick with one brand. I used to have all Kenwood; have recently ventured into ICOM for some of their features on their current equipment; D-Star for example. All of my HF transceivers have been ICOM, too.

    Single band transceivers are relative bargains these days, and for the use the author gave in his essay, they’re the deal. A mobile transceiver for 2 meter band can be obtained for significantly less than $200.00, a bargain for the range they offer. My first transceiver was a 2 meter Kenwood TM-241A, purchased new in 1991, which connected to a homemade half wave dipole bolted to my ratty ’75 Chevy Blazer could reach out past 30 miles from a hilltop location. It still would if I needed it to do so.

    I like the bells and whistles the current dual band transceivers offer, but they’re not necessary to affect basic communications.

  14. Is rg-58 as good as LMR-240? This rig below uses dg-58.

    This looks like a complimentary antenna system for the V80 when attempting longer range comms like back to base. With it’s long patch cable, a piece of 550 that has a small weight, attached to the end of the unit, you can throw it over a branch, and stay down in cover while communicating, and in a jiffy pull it down wrap it up and skeedaddle.
    They have the correct BNC fittings to screw into the V80.

    Here is the fellows info page

    1. RG-58 is the lowest grade of coax you can get; for a short run it’s not that big of a deal, but there’s way better out there.

      RG-58 or RG-8(which is better) are both best suited to HF due to the amount of signal loss. LMR is a much better bet. I use RG-8x for HF, LMR-240 for VHF/UHF. LMR has very low loss. RG-8X is also narrow and light making it easier to pack than RG-8.

      As far as connections go, the standard connector for coax is SO-239/PL-259. You can buy an adapter for just about anything out there; a simple PL to BNC adapter makes life easy.

      I have the N9TAX antenna; it’s good to go.

      1. mtnforge

        Thanks again. That sounds like solid advice right there. Can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in this one blog post.

      2. That’s why I run this blog Brother. Any other questions you may have, please ask. Our end goal is building a solid infrastructure aside from the existing one.

  15. I hear you. It speaks to great things like virtues and solidarity, I hope in some way I can pay it forward. I truly believe as you do, that the only way we make it is together.
    There are a lot of great people in this movement towards Liberty. You can sense and see signs things are beginning to coalesce into that infrastructure.

  16. OK, gave it some further thought, here is another question. (Hopefully coherent:-) Again bottom line as uncomplicated to run, practical to tune, a base station that is economical power consumption wise on transmit, with a reliable antenna say mounted at 40 ft at it’s attachment point, consistently as is reasonable to expect system that receives and transmits in normal atmospheric conditions day and night, at a nominal range of say approx geographic center of WV to the rural mountains of North Carolina, or if possible a little more legs to be sure of reaching the various self reliant Appalachian Mtn enclaves of around 300 straight line miles from the WV location and vice versa?

      1. mtnforge

        NVIS absolutely is the way to go If I’m groking the concept. Thanks. Checked out NC’s posts and some other pieces about NVIS, that is fascinating stuff. Lot of smart people involved in civilian comms, quite a community too. Just that alone makes me want to be a part of it. Fun and practical, best of everything.
        Great comments here, lot of good solid info and ideas.

    1. s6cnrdude

      In “modern” times, radio stations and comms centers have always been high value targets. Consider anything that you put up in this manner. Ask questions like can it be seen by a passer-by? Can it be seen from the air? Are you running high power to get extra range?
      Even though you may live in an area that there are like minded individuals, if you have some highly visible antenna rig, a passer-by can see it and “think they are doing a good deed” and report it.
      Use low power if possible, use wire dipoles and sloping antennas if possible, use terrain masking if possible. Don’t become a TRP!

  17. shocktroop0351

    So Ive built a 1/4 wave ground plane using an so239 chassis mount, and I plan to use lmr-240 as reccommended. Is there a limit to how long your feedline should be? I would like to use around 35′ to get the antenna up high to clear some terrain.
    Another question: Ive also got an N9TAX antenna, I was thinking of mounting it inside a piece of pvc and using it in a semi permanent role. Would the 1/4 wave ground plane be better or worse? I also plan on running 2m data, so would there be any concerns there? Thanks again for helping us all out.

      1. This guy is making decent looking J-poles, out of copper tube stock too. That should help them little electrons zipping back and forth. Actually the slim jim he’s making looks like a better antenna for the base radio on 2 meter running the V 80’s HT’s, has that 7 degree take off, if I’m understanding things correctly

        But NCscout recommended the ground plane, so that is the way to go for me.

    1. I wouldn’t go much longer than 50ft; there’s a chart out there with loss calculations per band per foot; I use a 50ft run on a 38ft mast to my aluminum J-pole…it works well.

      You don’t want to put a slim jim inside PVC. You won’t get the results you want. Slim Jims a great as a packable field antenna; nothing permanent. Aluminum or copper J-poles are not expensive; there’s good ones out there and lot of folks home brew and sell them at hamfests.

    2. With regards to the 1/4 wave ground plane, I’m running the K7AGE design from youtube (so239 with wires off each corner and one soldered in the top) and I had run it with RG8X with horrible results. I was doing a 100′ run and I had 10db of loss. Switched to LMR240 and have very little loss and the audio quality on RX is immensely higher. the LMR runs up a 10′ length of PVC pipe and the antenna sits in the top. I lashed it to a fence post near the barn but far enough away that the metal sides have less effect on the signal.

      I’m currently experimenting with an Elk 2m/70cm log periodic which works well for both SSB and FM 2m. Haven’t tried digital modes so I can’t comment specifically on that. I have no experience wit the N9TAX, so I’ll leave that to others.

      Good luck and let us know what works/doesn’t work!

      1. Shocktroop0351

        That is the exact antenna I built (The K7AGE). If I would have had some small enough bolts to bolt on the radials I would have been done in roughly 20 minutes, and that included rounding up the materials. Thanks for the advice on the J-pole inside of PVC ncscout, glad I didn’t waste time on doing that.

  18. mtnforge

    I hope I’m not imposing here, but it would be amiss not to share this. Each time I’ve read it it is exactly what I needed to hear. Reading everyones marvelous comments and the dynamics shared I can’t help but be proud to be a part of it.
    I hope you guys see it for the whole armor of God I believe it is. I’m not an organized religion kind of guy, but I got faith and believe this is a God blessed country, and count my blessings I;m in the company of good people who make it the best place on Earth. We are going to need that armor and each other before we are through. In the least it Ann’s missive shows how much an enemy the cultural marxists are to everything our liberty and this great place we call our home is. And every reason in the world to fight with everything we have to win.
    Besides, the Lady has a warrior and heroine’s heart.

    “…I think we can all agree that the Tomb of the Unknowns, the 24/7 guarding of the Tomb, and the intense precision of the ceremonial rubrics therein is one of the most excellent things in American culture. The old saying goes, “You may judge a nation by how it treats its fallen warriors.” In an otherwise degraded and despair-inducing society, the Tomb of the Unknowns is a beacon of cultural light and hope.

    The Tomb of the Unknowns is also extremely instructive, and believe it or not, it instructs us about . . . the Mass. The reason the Tomb of the Unknowns instructs us today about the Mass is because the Tomb of the Unknowns rubrics are highly informed by the rubrics of the Mass, which were themselves informed by military rubrics, which were informed by even older liturgical rubrics. Military ceremonials and the Ceremonials of the Church are intertwined. Only since the Asteroid hit in the 1960s has the masculinity and, if I may use the term, militant aesthetic been utterly purged, in an attempt by the infiltrators to destroy the Chuch Militant from within by concealing its very nature from itself – MILITANCY. And so I am reminded of a quote I once heard:

    It is important for Christians to know their own history, because if you know your own history, no one else can tell you who you are…

  19. Matt


    Going along with the handheld radios for use in the field, I’m assuming the use of an open speaker may not be the best idea. What recommendations do you have for types and styles of headsets? Thanks?


  20. mtnforge

    NCScout, little different question for you.
    I’m running a Hughes satellite internet system, actually own it, not a lease, it is a 10 watt system. It is definitely a LOS transceiver right? 35,000 miles to a geosync satellite. Still have the 1st system bought in 2002, and this current system, upgraded in 2014. In consideration of a few mitigating imperatives, like secure line of sight comms, and in the advent of a break down in society or other reasons to utilize resources in expedient and or for reasons of necessity, could this system be modified to be used as a tight secure beam comms system? Hear of it attempted before?
    I don’t have the skills or knowledge to turn this system into something else, but maybe others could. Just seems like a great just in case resource that might be pretty handy. If it can beam data so reliably on a 70,000 mile round trip, could it be used to create a secure point to point comm system? A WV mountain top to a SC mountain top would be possible lets say? It sure works well as it is configured now. The latest one I have rarely looses signal, but for maybe the briefest of times when there is extreme torrential rain, and it re-aquires signal very quickly.
    Just thinking. I’m a nuts and bolts contemporary maker, welder fabricator all my life. Love making stuff and using things and modifying items and materials in practical ways. Got me a metal fab and blacksmith shop at home. This above electronic stuff is out of my league, but maybe others could use it.

    1. everlastingphelps

      If you have true line of sight from peak to peak between the mountains, then you are perfect for a microwave setup, or even a laser modulator.

      Your best bet, though? Learn morse on both ends, and set up a heliograph system using comm windows, handheld searchlights, and telescopes.

      I’ve personally been building up my radio shack in the direction of doing EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) comms. Bouncing a signal off the moon with a good tight beam strikes me as a good compromise. Your “They” will be able to overhear all the comms that you do, but direction finding to your transmitter would be nearly impossible, and there’s no way to know what the target of your comms is at less than a hemisphere in specificity. (Also, the moon is the only satellite that I don’t see surviving it being knocked out of service.)

      1. Matt


        “Your best bet, though? Learn morse on both ends, and set up a heliograph system using comm windows, handheld searchlights, and telescopes”

        Heliographs have a long proven history, being used by General Miles’ troops to speed communications and help defeat Geronimo in the Indian Wars. You can still find some of the sending platforms high up in the western mountains.

        With a tight sending beam and accurate aiming you’d have darn near undetectable communications in good weather. There was a thread on Sparks31 now defund forum where a gentleman had done quite a bit of study and testing on this subject. Too bad that forum went belly up, lots of good information there.


    2. OK…I’m familiar with Hughes net as well; but that doesn’t have a huge bearing on the question. Sat systems are indeed line of sight, with Sat TV and Internet working in the Ka band(26.5-40Ghz). That’s microwave…and well past what can be practical. What old Sat TV/Internet gear is good for is possibly making point-to-point communications through the microwave portion of the Amateur spectrum. But I’ll go ahead and state that it’s above my pay grade; and there’s no way you’ll make a contact at the distance you want.

      Sat works due to geostationary and orbital satellites keeping a solid communication with the receiver(the dish) and the frequency property itself is very tight and in-flexible.

      1. Oh Ok, I was just thinking in terms of making use of something, like if it all goes down the crapper, it is resources that might be re-configured for practical use.
        One of Rogers Ranger’s Rules: Don’t Waste Nothin’

        Wasn’t looking for some secret squirrel magic technology anyways.
        Beyond my pay grade too.
        But thanks.

      2. everlastingphelps

        Sure, but when we start getting into the high speed low drag we also get into power consumption, reliability, etc. Everyone should have a good scope and a good rechargeable searchlight, and the most reliable computer we have is the one on the end of our neck.

      3. By the way, your right that Yaesu FT-817ND QRP portable is a honey. With a well tuned jungle antenna, good supply of batteries, man that little sweety could perform.

      1. Funny you made comment about using headsets for opsec in the field. Was thinking about headsets too. Looking around there are some pretty nifty units, got to thinking about how they would stay on your head or in your ear, how important a hat is and the effects of hard physical activity and movement has to be considered.
        The units with a throat mike and the ear bud on a coiled tube look like they would be less apt to dislodge or get knocked off your head. This shows decent descriptions of various options:

    1. Mike Bishop

      Before I pulled the drain stop on my blog, I HD a post on this.

      NC Scout is right, throat mics generally suck ass.

      They’re good for low profile, urban environments, and that’s it.

      If you’ve got electronic Earpro (Howard Leight) you can run an external microphone/speaker with an auxiliary port. Be sure to pick up an external lapel/shoulder/”fist” mic for your radio that has an external/aux port. Typically the ports are 3.5mm; however on some external microphones the port is 2.5mm. Run a standard audio cable from your microphone to the input on your electronic muffs. The whole setup can be done for less than $60 or so. Obviously, a TCI Liberator or a Peltor Comtac III is a superior option, but your talking the difference between $600-$700 for a PTT and a headset vs about $60. for a Howard Leight, and a cheap external mic.

      The $60 solution will get you ~70% of the capability for 1/10 the price.

      1. I think you told me what I needed to hear Mike. Sounds good.
        Just one question, even though the idea you present is cost effective, is it austere combat rural long term rugged reliable?
        I think the idea of a head set is very important to operational sound and visual security in the field, integral to the ruggedness and simplicity of the V80 type HT, and it has to fit complimentarily into this whole concept.

        As a matter of friendly conversation allow me to say this, I have adopted the approach and as my own preparations have evolved, it is become brutally apparent, longevity and reliability, along with being able to service, modify, and repair gear and equipment is a huge imperative. I’m a working stiff, I have to make every penny count, I can not afford do-overs, or do I believe there is much luxury of time remaining to start anew. There are a myriad of things that may well be unobtanium at some point. There is a cascade failure built into this reality. The more complex technology is the higher it’s probability of rate of failure is. And the more difficult it is to come up with expedient remedies when it does fail.
        Less is more…Keep It Simple Stupid. It is my minds mantra to keep my preps on the straight and narrow of ruggedness and reliability.

        This whole thread NCScout started is instructional, highly. I know for most here many aspects are old hat. And brother that alone is a great caveat for a guy like me just getting into HF Comms. You all might not know how valuable or fully appreciate the gift of base knowledge you all are sharing here is.
        I can extrapolate on that from something I have learned here in the larger scope of this thread. NC Scout said 2 meter comms. These basic rugged radios, those ancillary components, that type of Antenna systems, and your golden. Everyone chipped in with great anecdotal info and sharing their experience. It is a gold mine to me.
        OK, follow me so far?
        So it really gets the old brainwaves flowing, and I’m already thinking well, how do I improve this comm kit? Because this is what it is, a kit really. Great stuff. And you always try to get that little edge in your kit, like your LBG and your battle weapons, make it a bit better to suit your AO and your operating style, maximize the little things, you end up with quantifiable improvements. It is the little things that get you, they also can save your arse.
        I’m thinking Mmmm, 2 meter, how do I take 2 meter to the limit, (remember KISS), well do I add an NVIS antenna to my base 2 meter rig for the longest reach usable on this band to fill in the dreaded skip zone and line of sight comms, don’t worry about further than the range of NVIS, and work my way back in to my center of AO’s, and have another antenna that limits the shortcomings and enhances the attributes of the HT’s, run a folded dipole slim jim with it’s 7Degree take off, (here:, or is the ridged ground plane as NC Scout recommended at the top a better choice in these mountains and hollows? I’ll be loosing and re-aquiring line of sight comms on the mobile end of the system. I do have advantage of highest terrain for more distance than I will probably be able to frequent on foot. But the folded nature of the ridge lines you spend more time moving out of LOS, because you have to cross the hollows and handrail the ridges if your moving with tactically.
        Complex question but it is probably a common situation everyone developing comms in Appalachia confronts.

      2. w/r/t Mtnforge’s comment in reply to this about taking 2m to the limit, what about 2m SSB with a log periodic antenna on simplex as opposed to repeater work? I’m just starting to play with this and an Elk antenna, but haven’t had much time to get into it outside of working on rigging the antenna on the barn. We’re between the southwest mountains and blue ridge, so we’ve got physical blocking in both the east and west directions unless I go for a (not to distant) walk to the SW mountains (~1.5 – 2 miles to the pass into the Virginia piedmont from here). Is SSB worth pursuing in anyone’s experience or is it just not the right tool for that medium haul operation?

      3. Mike Bishop

        Practically speaking: yes it offers advantages over FM in some regards (range/efficiency). That said, the equipment isn’t easy to come by, and with a lack of common use there’s not a lot of support. Unfortunately, in mountain terrain, there’s no alternative to NVIS.

  21. Humping these ridges at 3000 ft in the summer, ya you get sweaty, probably short the darn thing out.

    You read this?

    After reading Lind’s “Victoria”, got a delightful sense of that old warhorse didn’t quite understand before. So I re-read Battle Leadership by Captain Adolf Von Schell. Good stuff. I’m going through everything again. Max publish his sequel to Patriot Dawn last week, waiting for the dead tree version.

  22. “I’m thinking Mmmm, 2 meter, how do I take 2 meter to the limit, (remember KISS), well do I add an NVIS antenna to my base 2 meter rig for the longest reach usable on this band to fill in the dreaded skip zone and line of sight comms, don’t worry about further than the range of NVIS, and work my way back in to my center of AO’s, and have another antenna that limits the shortcomings and enhances the attributes of the HT’s, run a folded dipole slim jim with it’s 7Degree take off, ”

    OK…NVIS does not work on anything past 40M.

    Taking 2M to it’s limit is way too much to explain in a comment. It’s line of sight in FM mode; meaning in the hills you’ll get a few miles. A slim jim/N9TAX antenna helps considerably over the stock duck antenna.

    For an HF antenna, a wire dipole hung from a tree is the best option for both portability and in many cases durability. It’s also quick to repair.

  23. mtnforge

    This is exciting stuff NCScout. Really excited to get it all together and running. It changes everything. One more step towards self sufficiency and determination.
    Meat Space and freedom of comms, best of both worlds.
    With all the info and advice here in this thread I know I’ll have a reliable LOS comms system.
    Can’t thank you guys enough, really appreciate you all.

    Hopefully get a multi band base system going after that.

  24. Pingback: Deployable Communications Concerns – brushbeater

Comments are closed.