Radio > UHF/VHF

Simplex contact


This week I went on an off roading trip with a group of guys through the Mojave Road. It's basically about a 180-200 mile run from Laughlin NV, from the Colorado river west to Interstate 15, near give or take Baker, California through the open desert. Not super hard wheeling, just a good time. You do have to plan for fuel, water etc. usage accordingly. No cellphone etc. service anywhere, you are essentially on your own. On our second night, we camped on the west side of a large hilltop which was if I had to guess 400 or so ft. tall by 1000 ft. long that dog legged south by northeast. We did this to help in blocking the morning sun as the daily temperatures were in the low 90's. Some in the group decided to drive from the camp to check out an old defunct railway station about 40+ miles as the crow flies back the way we came of sorts to the southeast. My camp was deep within the shadow of this hilltop that completely blocked everything running north by south. I decided to stay back and rest under my tarp with a cold beer!

 After the group left, I could hear one of them transmitting to the group as they drove. Granted he was pushing out about 50w of power. I couldn't hear responses from the others. The signal continued to get stronger the farther east they went. I began doing commo checks on Simplex and as they were travelling every few minutes. I made contact with them using a Yaesu portable FT-270R on 5 watts of output. The checks were crystal clear between myself and the rest of the group. Most in the group of about 7 HAM's were amazed that we could talk. When they returned, the commo checks continued every 10-15 minutes. The path they were on took them at least 60 miles out of the way from the camp even though the distance was about 40 miles as the crow flies. Only when they were a little to my north (1 mile or less) and under the very steep portions of the hilltop shadow we lost each other. If I decided to climb up the steep embankment on that hilltop I'm sure it would have been no problem talking the entire time using my radio.

 My point being is that being able to shoot, move and communicate means everything. Getting out there and testing your gear, especially in some very harsh environments is what determines success or failure. We had a total of 10 trucks plus an add on we found along the way. The Ham's were leading, mid gunning and tail gunning. At no point did any commo ever get lost other than with the CB's that were extremely spotty at best.

 Due to the moon dust out there, the trucks were interspersed a total of 5 or more miles from time to time through some really rough terrain that varied between washes, hills, valleys etc. Our camps ranged from 5500 Ft. to about a few hundred feet above sea level. I am 100% convinced that HAM is the way to go for communication when other methods are not available. During the trip, I saw maybe 4-5 other groups of folks and many also had 2m antennas, unless frequencies were shared it would be very difficult to pick up each other using minimal transmissions unless someone in the group was pretty skilled in picking up signals. Going out testing your equipment, especially while having a blast doing so is the way to go!

 73's ...Celt

Thanks for posting here too.

No worries at all, glad to do it.

Enjoyed the write-up/trip report Celt.


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