I'm researching options for getting an "I'm alive" message during a disaster response out to family in another state that aren't HAMs.
There are likely to be a lot of possible answers that are art and style rather than one "right" answer, so some possible parameters. Let me know if this still ends up too vague.
- Technician or General class.
- Voice (aka phone), rather than CW highly preferred.
- Without a repeater, or at least not one for at least several hundred miles. e.g. Western Washington to California (800+) or Idaho. (500-600)
- Any suggested bands/frequencies where I might find someone willing to call a landline on my behalf? I'm familiar with UHF and VHF calling frequencies - I can look up calling equivalent freqs once I settle on a band.
- Portable. Something I can pack up and take, rather than needing a permanent or very bulky antenna installation or base station. I'm wondering if, matching the other constraints, there's an option for a coiled wire antenna that I can effectively throw up a tree. Ultra portable station - car mobile size would be ideal. I'd likely have a lot of other stuff with me.
- Common battery types - ideally 12v off the car. I'm unclear on the wattage I'd need for, say 500-600 miles simplex. 100-150w seems like starting to stretch the limits on a car inverter, so I may have to look for a generator based solution.
- Economical. I may be just into the realm of pipe-dreams here, but at some point the cost would make satellite phone solutions more practical. I'm okay with low-end solutions (aka 'junk brands') - a disposable solution means I'm more likely to have it with me when I need it, rather than sitting at home in a padded case.
- My focus is mainly on CERT short-term solutions during an event like the Cascadia subduction fault, rather than "end of the world" long term "find the survivors."
This is a bit of a companion question to the short-range family communication question.
I've talked with some locals with base stations and fixed antennas - but they're mostly focused on contesting at significantly further distances. The local ARES team does have satellite phone and bulkier base-station setups - but that's focused on more continuous and varied operation.
Satellite phones are certainly the most purpose built option here, but pricey. Ideally I'd like a solution that I might use for other things - possibly as an excuse to start getting into HF...
Thanks in advance - WE7MOR.