Marshall County Amateur Repeater Systems 
Items to have or things to do during Emergencies 
To be helpful and not a burden to the community during a crisis's you will need to be self-sufficient in order to communicate effectively. 
This Webpage is always under construction and open for suggestions. 
Source of Power 
Radio Equipment or Alternate Frequencies 
Things to make Life a little Smoother 
Light Sources 
Low Power Portable Antenna 
Building a Go-Kit by W4TI 
Portable Water Filters
Our county land mass is 10 percent water. A portable water filter will sustain a family or individual for a very long time. Also these items are small enough and lite enough to be packed into your back pack if your on foot for a sustainable source of water. Most of them only weigh several pounds and can produce a 1000 gallons of water per filter. A gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds and will not last more than several hours when you are out on a excursion. Here is one source and not the only for water filters.
Regular Clorox Bleach 
Drinking water
In an emergency, think of this (one gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach) as 3,800 gallons of drinking water. First let water stand until particles settle. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach. About 8 drops per gallon or 1/2 teaspoon per five gallons of water. Mix well and wait 30 minutes. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat dose. Wait 15 minutes and sniff again. Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.
Regular Clorox Bleach 
Sanitizing Solution
Mix 1 tablespoon Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water. Always wash and rinse items first, then let each item soak in Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution for 2 minutes. Drain and air dry.
Back Pack with Bladder
This will allow you to store some source of food and easily carry a gallon of water. Don't forget to bring a way to replenish your supply of water. You will consume this faster than you think when hiking in the hot sun. It will also serve as a way to carry extra communication equipment such as backup batteries for a hand held as a example.
Source of water in your home
Turn off your water to your house if a disaster does occur that might contaminate your water source. There is plenty of water in the pipes through out your home, including a large supply in the hot water heater. Pipes can be drained by locating the lowest point. The hot water heater should have a value that is normally used to drain the system. Be sure to turn off the power or gas before doing so.
Water in your backyard
Because a tree holds an enormous amount of water, if you place a clear plastic bag over a "leafy green" branch you'll force it to cough up some of the water through condensation. But it's important to make sure the bag is tightly sealed around the branch or it won't produce any water at all.
Boiling Water
Vigorous boiling for one minute will kill any disease-causing microorganisms present in water (at altitudes above one mile, boil for three minutes). The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by pouring it back and forth from one container to another (called aeration), by allowing it to stand for a few hours, or by adding a small pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled.
Source of Power 
You need only enough to run a few items so don't go overboard on this. A small generator is better for several reasons. One it does not consume large amounts of gasoline which will be hard to find. The Honda Generator EU3000iS is extremely quiet and will run up to 20 hours on 3.4 gals of gas. It is powerful enough to run your refrigerators, freezers, provide a light and a way to recharge you batteries. Think about what is needed and not comfort. Here is a link to a generator that I have used with great success. Honda model EU3000iS
With the above type generator you can run a week for 24 hours a day on 66 gallons of gasoline with a full load and a whole lot less if you are conservative. The amount of gasoline that you can consume will add up very quickly as you can see even with a small generator. Several sources of gasoline can be found in the tank of your car or boat.
Fuel Stabilizer
A must have to ensure that the gasoline can be stored for any length of time.
Any motorized equipment will need oil if used over a extended period of time.
Several car batteries to allow operation of your home station during times you do not have commercial power or if you turn off the generator to conserve gasoline. Additional batteries for your hand held and a quick charger to allow you to always have a fresh supply. Most of us only listen on our hand held units which can run most of the day on a single battery. But when you transmit you will find that the battery will not last very long. This will probably be your main form of communications when out on foot. 
Be sure that batteries are well ventilated. Hydrogen gas that is vented from batteries can be very explosive. Suggest that battery boxes be used and placed outside. Car and Deep Cycle Battery Facts can be found here.
Solar Panels
These are very nice if you can afford the expense. Free energy forever other than the cost. Remember that most radios will pull several amp's even on low power. The panels must be large enough to keep up with the power demand and plus some to keep the batteries charged for operation during night time hours. You will find that a good solar panel will cost as much, if not more as a generator which may not be worth the expense.
Radio Equipment or Alternate Frequencies 
Hand Held Beam
This can turn a hand held radio into a very powerful device that can reach out to repeaters. One can be built for very little cost using a tape measure and some PVC pipe. Information on how to build one can be found at 
This can turn a 5 watt radio that normally has a dummy load attached to it to a radio that has a ERP of about 27 watts. On low power using 300 milliwatts you still will produce far more effective radiated power than a rubber duck will at 5 watts. This will conserve your battery power and allow you to still get into the repeater from shadowed areas. The other advantage of these type of beams is they will flex and pop back to shape when hiking through brush. 
A commercial hand held beam can be bought at Arrow Antennas for a small price that will cover both VHF and UHF frequencies.
If the Repeater System goes down
Most of us are always scanning the repeater output frequencies. In a event the repeater in your area is offline, simply use the output frequency of the repeater as a simplex channel. Turn off the the repeater offset mode on your radio to accomplish this. Majority of the amateurs are already tuned to these frequencies and someone should hear you. Don't forget to still encode the repeater access tone since a lot of people have their radio set to only activate with this tone. All but one of our repeaters output the access tone and a lot of us use this feature to keep such things as ATM's, computers and etc.. from squawking over our radios. Also make it known that you are operating simplex on the repeater output and that the repeater is possibly down.
The National Simplex Calling Channels
Everyone should have these frequencies programmed into their radios. If nothing else for people who may be visiting the area that are not familiar with the local repeater systems. These frequencies will be their first choice to contact someone in a emergency or for local information. The VHF calling frequency is 146.520 and the UHF frequency is 446.000
Digital Communications
ARES has been pushing for people to have some form of digital communications for traffic. They would like to preserve the voice channels for emergency or priority traffic. Digital communications has become very cheap and easy to operate with some of the newer equipment that interfaces to computers. Just about any radio can be interfaced to a computer for less than $60.00 and the software to run about any digital mode is free. Example of one site that these type of interfaces can be found at is  . We have several of the Nomic interfaces running PSK-31, EchoLink and other digital mode of operations. 
Remember to turn off the bells and whistles for the computers that operate using the windows operating system. This can be done by going to the control panel and selecting the "Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" icon. Select "Sounds" tab within this dialog window. There will be a "Sound scheme" pull down selection box. Select "No Sound" within the pull down and select ok to save this information. Windows will no longer output beeps or any other sound related to the operating system. 
Magnetic Mount Antenna
May be required if you are assigned to a vehicle other than your own to help with community support. Also have a small felt pad or something that will help prevent damage to the vehicle you attach this to.
Barrel Connectors
These are great for extending coax cables when you have several short ones that are not long enough to do the job.
N Female to 259 Adapter 
239 to N Male Adapter
You will never know when you may have to quickly adapt one type of cable connection to another.
Manuals for Radios 
Quick Reference Card
Have a copy of your manual for your radios. You may be asked to tune to a given frequency using a specific tone to access a repeater. Most people program their radio memory when they purchase the unit and never touch it again. During a period of time will not remember how to do this again and not be able to perform this operation in a very quick manner. You may have to loan out a radio to someone who is not familiar with your equipment.
Current Repeater Guide 
Even a old one will do most of the time
You may be asked to go to a given area without a lot of information about the local repeater systems. Or could be asked to contact a group that is outside your assigned area.
12 Volt power cord
DC power cords for your radio. You may not fine AC power and will need to operate total off of batteries. This includes recharging or operating your hand held.
Soldering Iron
Very portable and temperature can be adjusted. Requires absolutely no power. Be sure to have extra butane to keep it running.
12 / 110 Volt
There are many great soldering irons that fall into this category with every option thinkable. Disadvantage is power of some type must be close at hand.
Cold Heat
I do not recommend this type of soldering iron after doing some research. This iron produces heat by creating a direct short. There seems to have been a lot of complaints with this device. Click on the following link if you would like further information on the problems associated with this type of iron.
Head Phones
This will allow you to hear weak noise signals and eliminate distractions that are going to be around. You never know what kind of noise environment that you may be in.
Other items to make life a little smoother 
Zip lock bags 
and / or 
Large trash bags
This will keep documents and equipment dry. The large bags can serve as a poncho.
First Aid Kit
You never know when you may need it. Also be sure to list anything that you may be allergic to that can be easily found on your person such as a medical bracelet. Have a extra supply of prescription medicines that you may need. Medical supplies may be hard to come by in a disaster.
Duck Tape
Something that everyone should have. It seems to be mister fix it.
Tire Plug Kit
Your guaranteed to have a flat it you go into a disaster area from the debris.
Portable Air Compressor
You will need something to inflate your tire after repair.
Please use the international Phonetics to prevent confusion. Words such as KiloWatt can be taken as the letter "K" or  "KW". Other cute words are not know through out the international community and can cause errors.
One of the oldest tools around. I use mine daily to build cables.
Can be used to cook food, sterilize, to keep warm, to purify water, and a way to signal for help if all other forms of communications fail.
Leatherman Tool
This device is a tool box on a belt. Here is a link to their website instead of trying to explain here what this tool is for anyone who has never heard of them. LeatherMan Tools
High Energy Food
Some form of high energy food or snacks. Most people will burn 2500 calories a day to maintain their current weight without exercise. 60 minutes of exercise can increase this by another 500 calories. This should be in some form of food that can be stored without refrigeration and can be easily packed into a backpack incase you need to be mobile on foot. You should assume that food may not be supplied or available in the area your assigned.
Bug Spray
Some form of insect repellant. This is a must with the spread of disease by mosquitoes.
Change of clothing
A must if you are planning to be there more than a few days. Change of socks if you plan not to be disabled. Keeping your feet dry is a must.
Fire Extinguisher
Fire Extinguishers are made for specific types of fires. Be sure to get one for the intended use. 
Type Of Extinguishers
Type of use for extinguisher
Class A
Will put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper.
Class B
Should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease gasoline, oil, etc.....
Class C
Are suitable for use on electrically energized fires. The presence of the letter "C" indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.
Class D
Are designed for use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of metal in question.
Class ABC
Is suitable for use on Class A, B and C fires.
P A S S -- Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep 
Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher.
Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire.
Stand approximately 8 feet away from the fire and squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. If you release the handle, the discharge will stop.
Sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire.
Wax Paper Logs
Roll sheets of newspaper into a tight-packed tube about 1 inch in diameter. Tie the roll with string about every inch. Dip the roll into paraffin. Cut to convenient lengths. Cut newspaper into 4 inch strips, roll up tight, tie with twine leaving about 2 inches of twine for dipping into paraffin wax. Dip the whole thing into the wax. Use the twine as a wick to light. Use extreme caution when melting wax. These can be used to start fires in just about any type of weather conditions with out wasting your matches or lighter. 
Note Melted wax is very hot. It can burn your skin and may catch fire if overheated.
Light Sources 
Forever Flashlights
The Forever Flashlight uses the Faraday Principle of Electromagnetic Energy to eliminate the need for replacement bulbs and batteries. The Faraday Principle states that if an electric conductor, like copper wire, is moved through a magnetic field, electric current will be generated and flow into the conductor. They have several different types.
Coleman Gasoline Lanterns
These are great for outdoor use and only if you are in a well ventilated area. They produce a very brilliant white light that can illuminate a large area for a communication center that maybe running on batteries. This would reserve the batteries for radio use and reduce noise level of a generator for people who may be sleeping nearby. Most of these now use dual fuels so you can use unleaded gasoline if you run out of Coleman fuel. They also will run up to 7 hours at high power or 14 hours at low on 2 pints of fuel.
The old fashion way. Be sure they are in some type of holder that can not be knocked over very easily and prevent wax from dripping. Also store in a cool area so they will not melt.
Battery Power Lanterns
These work great for areas that are enclosed and don't have to be concern about a flame. Some can be recharged when power is available such as a generator and used during quiet times. Disadvantage is large number of batteries or down during recharging. Could be adapted to run off same batteries as radios. Disadvantage is it drains your power reserves for your radio operation.
Fluorescent Lights
These will provide good lighting if you have a continuous power source. They are safe and draw very little power. They also have a built in hanger for easy placement. Portable Flourescent Light at Lowes
Quick and Easy 
Low Power Portable 2 M and 70 CM Antenna  
Design by Ben Clark (KE4TFI) 
   Here is a way to throw together a quick antenna for your rig that will work on both 145 and 440 MHz. 
  At first glance it looks like a J pole antenna. IT IS NOT ! This is actually two 1/4 wave antennas combined, the shorter of the two is adjusted for your favorite 440 MHz frequency and the longer is for the 2 meter band and should be adjusted for your favorite 2 meter frequency. This antenna will not take a lot of power so don't get carried away. Please form a loop at the end of the antenna to help protect people from eye damage. This will NOT PREVENT EYE DAMAGE, but it will minimize the damage should you have the unfortunate collision with same. You can solder the two antennas together. Or another possibility is if the hole in the plug is large enough to accommodate both wires is to solder them there.
Here are three versions of the antenna one using a banana plug, another using a PL 259 plug and a third if you need one that just works and don't have access to a plug. 
Practice Practice Practice 
    During none winter months we setup a mini Field Day about every two to three months to practice our emergency communications. We usually start Friday evening and operate till Sunday afternoon. Check our event section on the main page. We will post the date, where and when we will have our next field event planned.
Webpage design by  KC0ONR 
Marshall County Alabama Repeater Systems