I get a TON of emails a day- many more than I can usually get to- but this one stood out to me due to not just what it was asking but the context. I knew immediately from the writer’s language that he was a former trigger puller, and had the exact same questions I had when I got out.
Just what are the civilian equivalents to this commo gear I was issued?
Its not an easy question and the answer is muddy- hell, its taken me years to get it right and I’m still working on it. There’s no easy answer and definitely no one-size-fits-all, but then again I learned later on there was no such thing while I was in either.
Hey Brother – getting my comms game back in shape and found some really great info on your site! Great stuff!
So civilian radios are a bit different than the cinder blocks we used to carry in our rucks. I’d like to replicate a mobile setup (in ruck) that would have some additional range – more than team handsets (grms and other UHF/VHF). I’m still boning up my knowledge, but saw a seemingly good setup on Dan Morgan’s site (KX3). What is a good (rugged if possible – or the ability to) RTO setup that will give good intra-team comms and have decent range to communicate back to a base station (TOC) that is ruck-able? What is you’re dream RTO setup? Rechargable batteries would be ideal. Moderate to expensive radios is ok. Any direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated. You’re site is a treasure! thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the very kind words. Anything you need, just ask.
Your starting at the same point I did when I got out- looking for civi-side answers to the equipment I had when I was in. And…the Brushbeater blog is those answers, for the most part.
Think of the handhelds (Baofeng?) in kind of the same role as an MBTIR or 152. With the right antenna, they can do pretty well. VHF is better in rural environments, UHF in urban. You’ll need two things for more range- antenna height and more power. For more power, you’re gonna want a mobile *or* build a better antenna you can hang in the trees. That’s what we do with the various antennas we build in the RTO Course
. You can easily run one out of a ruck. Pick up a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery. I use the 7AH ones. One you pick up a couple of those you can rig them to the power wires using Anderson Power Poles.
Now onto HF- whole other animal. Check out my old posts on NVIS
. The role of HF is for regional communications. Don’t expect to get reliable local commo with HF because that’s not really how it works. When Dan wrote his post on the KX3, it was the only one on the market of its type but these days there’s a lot better out there, especially in the durability department. They are NOT durable by any stretch of the word. The CTX-10
is much better (and smaller). Both are on the expensive end of things and you’ll need a General Amateur radio license to actually get on the air with it.