Quick Planning

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Some people just want a list, so here is one
  • Do we need a local EmComm RMS?
    • Not likely, yes, or perhaps. If there is local digital email messaging activity with Paclink and Airmail stations already in place, then the answer may be yes.
    • No, if you are mostly alone. Set up Airmail and do what you can do.
  • Do we need HF?
    • Yes, if you anticipate the need to reach out farther than a few miles.
    • No, if you have reliable, secure, battery backed, local VHF, UHF, and/or WiFi networks and do not need to communicate with others outside the local network.
  • I would suggest ...
    • Start with Airmail using Telnet - then add HF and VHF
    • Add UHF, WiFi, D-Star, and/or Sat Links if your area has the resources available
    • Run Windows XP on a reliable computer
    • Run some antivirus program with a firewall. I like Norton Systemworks or 360.
    • Use an Uninteruptable Power Supply (UPS) on the computer if you do not run it on 12 volts directly
    • Use a Keyspan USB to Serial adaptor if you need one


  • Use a reliable HF rig such as a Kenwood 450, 950, 570, 480, or 2000, or an Icom with the level converter to control the rig using Airmail. Some others work well also.


  • Use a 144 / 440 rig that will run 1200 and 9600 baud. Kenwood and Icom and Alinco work well. Some others will do well also. Check the specifications.
  • Some people like a multiband HF/VHF/UHF rig to do it all
    • A multiband HF/VHF/UHF rig is fine if you do not expect to run VHF and HF at the same time.
    • If you expect to run local VHF and also HF in an emergency, then you will do better having separate rigs running independently.
    • Get an Astron or some name brand switching power supply to power everything.
    • Get a West Mountain RigRunner and PWRgate to distribute the power with Anderson PowerPole connectors which are common to many groups.
    • Get one or more Gel or AGM batteries for back up.
    • Do you need a generator? If so, then you need fuel, oil, and supplies.
    • You may need a 12 volt to 110 volt converter to run the computer or some other 110 volt equipment. Be sure the converter does not produce RF Hash.
  • Put up flexable antennas
    • A multiband HF antenna such as B&W, or multiple dipoles off the same feed line will allow for band hopping and scanning
    • Put up a dual band 2 meter and 440 vertical.
    • Be sure to do a good job of grounding everything.
    • Frequency agility is much more important then being the strongest on the band.
    • Get a SCS modem.
    • The PTCIIpro or PTCIIex works very well. The pro will run both VHF and HF on separate rigs. The IIex will run all modes off one port.
    • The USB version works well as do the others.
    • Get a KPC3+ for VHF 1200 baud packet or the Kantronics 9612 if you expect to have some 9600 baud packet..
  • After you get it all running and have used it for a while, then you may decide you want to be a 24/7 RMS. All you have to do is load the software and you are up and running
  • Others have various thoughts and opinions, and variations are part of your circumstances.
  • There is not ONE way to do it.
  • No matter how you do it, if it is not enjoyed and used, then it will become useless and worthless.