February 05, 2022 – Layered Radio Communications Plans

Net Control – N0KMO

N0KMO – Layered radio comm plans, this is an idea that has been out there for a while. Layering your preparedness is useful for many areas a preparedness, security, bags, etc.

My work bag doubles has the start of my get home bag. My truck has items that I could use to add to my bag, etc. Same thing goes with communications. I always carry an HT.

My mobile plans for my mobile units include monitoring UHF and VHF frequencies. When I get to my QTH, there’s a communication plan there as well. With includes UHF, VHF and repeaters, but it also starts adding HF capabilities. This communication plan becomes a lot larger.

I also carry a laminated list for my HTs.

KE0SMR – Did you say you carry an HT in a backpack you take to the office? This sounds like a good idea. I have an HT in a go bag in the vehicle.

N0KMO – Yes, I take an HT with me inside. If there’s an emergency and I lose communication, I have it on my belt everywhere with me. When I’m at my desk I turn it on with a headset, just in case something happens to the building. It can also give me information about what’s happening locally or where I may be headed.

I also keep backup batteries with me.

KE0SMR – I have a couple HTs just sitting around that I could do something better with.

N0KMO – How do I keep my batteries charged? One is none, two is one. I take a charger with me, which is in the truck. I can walk out to the truck and grab the charger. I also have extra batteries. Power is something you need to think about when you’re putting together your communications plans.

It’s not just layering your radio comms plan, it’s also about power as well.

AD0ZM – One of the things we look at in terms on emergency plans for ARES, is PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingent , Emergency). Not so much about which frequencies to use, but what to use when.

N0KMO – I’m going to talk about hardware. We get a lot of our information not only from civilian prepper, but there’s a lot of people thinking about this in government.

I’m going to talk about the PACE acronym.

Primary Comms – For me and my family first is text messages, phone email. Part of my EDC
Alternate – Might be able to get them on the radio via repeater on HT or mobile
Contingent – GRMS and MURS and monitor some CB. Our condition is “what is working”. If Ham repeaters are down, I can switch over to conditionals. This extends to QTHs as well.
Emergency – HAM radio, maybe data. This is extreme emergency. We have drop-points for emergencies. Everyone knows what they are looking for and can pick up that message. This is down to written communications. It is encoded.

When you’re talking about primary communication, what is your plan when the power goes down. How does power relate to PACE?

KE0SMR – What backup charging capabilities. I always carry a backup charger for my phone. Around the house I have a couple backup battery power. Then I’m looking at generators.

K0MGL – In order to make my power distribution I have standardized on power pole connectors, so I can mix and match. On power packs I have power pole connectors. I have done the same thing with my HT chargers. A lot of these HT chargers use a 12 volt power supply. I have taken the lead cables and I extras of those and rigged up power poles on those, so I can hook those up to power distributions and power packs. So as much as possible I’ve standardized on these power poles.

KT0ZM – I think power poles are great. A communication plan only works when multiple people have it. Another piece is practice. You need to practice all the layers.

K0STR – I have a large generator. I have a dry cell D charge for my radio and I also have a small foldup for solar.

N0KMO – The last point in layered preparedness. Depends on the radio, each radio has different output voltages on those wall warts and different radios take various input voltages. Matching the voltage is key. When you’re looking at solar for charging look for a 5 volt and a 12 volt output on them.

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