Emergency Communication

My radio setup in the shack is not overwhelming – not too much with bells and whistles – but it’s solid gear and was build with emergency communication in mind. If I would do a list of inventory for emercomm operation (or a fieldday) somewhere in the open, this is how it would look like and being packed in the car:

Radio’s and Antenna’s

Amount Manufacturer & Type Functionality Remarks
1 Yaesu FT-857D Multibander SSB, AM, FM RX:0,1-56 + 76-108 + 118-164 + 420-470 MHz
TX:160-6m + 2m + 70cm
Modulation: LSB/ USB/ CW/ FM/ AM/ RTTY/ PSK31/ AFSK
1 Anytone AT-D578 UV Pro DMR, FM, 2m, 70cm TWINband 2m/70cm (V/U, V/V, U/U)
1 Anytone AT-D878 UV Pro DMR, FM, 2m, 70cm TWINband 2m/70cm (V/U, V/V, U/U) for Backup of D-578UV + Nearfield Comms.
1 ICOM ID51E Plus 2 DStar, FM, 2m, 70cm TWINband 2m/70cm (V/U, V/V, U/U) for DStar and Backup + Nearfield Comms.
1 Baofeng BF-F8HP 2m/70cm FM MONOband 2m/70cm for Nearfield Comms.
2 Baofeng UV-5R 2m/70cm FM MONOband 2m/70cm for Nearfield Comms.
1 LDG AT-1000Pro II Autotuner to match the  HF-antennas For the Yaesu FT-857D
1 Chameleon CHA Hybrid-Mini UNUN with 60′ (approx.18m) long wire  6m to 160m HF EndFed antenna For the Yaesu FT-857D
1 Chameleon CHA Mil-Whip 9’4” (approx. 3.10m) height 28-54 MHz monopole For the Yaesu FT-857D
1 G5RV Full 94′ (approx. 31m) long wire dipole  80-10m Band coverage For the Yaesu FT-857D
1 Antenna Switch 3x PL-Connectors  
1 Diamond NR-770H 2m/70cm antenna For the Anytone AT-D578UV / AT-D878UV or ID51E
10 RG58 cables PL – PL different length To connect the external antennas
1 PL/N-Adapter For the Yaesu FT857D
1 Antenna extension for antenna base mount To have the 2m/70cm antenna higher than the roof of the car (radial propagation of signals)


Supporting Materials

What Used for Remarks
1 Suzuki Gran Vitara SUV 5 Door Transportation, antenna support, 13.8 V power generation, shelter
1 Voltmeter  To monitor the battery
2 Sleeping Bag & Blankets Shelter & warmth
2 Self-inflating sleeping mats Soft and comfortable mattress Isolation from the ground when not sleeping in car
1 Camping table For the radios Foldable
2 Camping chairs For the OM’s Foldable
1 Rain cover Between hind door and a pole With eyelets
1 Pole For the rain cover and the dipole For the other end of the dipole if no other tree is around
1 Ground screw For the pole
90′ (approx. 30m) duct tape For repairs
21 gal. (approx. 80L) Diesel To keep the car going, charge the battery, deliver 13.8V in army fuel canisters (metal)
1 Powerpack 12V To start the engine if the main battery is too low
1 Roll of paracord To fix things, to hang the antennas, to place the pole
1 Set of tools To fix things
1 Set of tent pegs & a hammer For rain cover and pole
1 Camping oven, pots, pans, cutlery, dishes, gas, plastic bowl, kitchen towels To cook
1 Camping light gas with refills + mantles For light
50 bin bags For waste
1 Maglight Torch For light
1 Universal tool with knife (Leatherman) various use
1 Bow and arrow To shoot paracord through a tree to hang the dipole
1 Fishing line nylon To shoot first with the bow to pull the paracord later


Food, Water & other supplies

What Used for Remarks
5.3 gal. (approx. 20L) drinking water p.P. Fluid intake bottled or canister
20 Can’s of food, pepper, salt Food intake canned, packed
div. other Food (i.e. noodles, noodle sauce, butter, bread) Food intake packed, bread (=long lasting)
div. toilet-paper, kitchen-paper, soap, towels Hygiene
3 Lighters For the oven and candles
div. Candles for some light



The area I live in (red arrow) is relatively flat, but west of my home is a 210′ / 70m high hill (marked 70m) which is a leftover from one of the iceages. Reachable by streets and has parking areas, some houses nearby, lots of trees for the dipole. This would be strategically my point for emergency communication, as I can propagate FM/DMR/DStar into the rhein-ruhr-area (which is east and between 12.5mi / 20km closest, up to 40mi / 65km to the farthest point in the east), into Holland (19mi / 30km west) and maybe Belgium  (56mi / 90km south-west), Dusseldorf (18.6mi / 30km south-east), Cologne (34.4mi / 55km south) and everything in between. HF propagation is of course a different story.


Availability of the above stuff

Everything above is already “in stock” and used in day to day operations (radios)


Other things to consider

My Diesel engine of the Suzuki Gran Vitara consumes – in idling mode – approx. 0,26 gal/h or 1L/h. If the tank is full (18.5 gal or 70L) plus (21 gal or 80L) in canisters ,gives than (70L+80L)/1L(hour)= 150h idling of the engine 150h/24h=6.25 days of idling,

The box with tricky equipment

I sometimes spend weeks in a hotel when on a consulting job at customer site. Therefor I have created a tricky box to take with me; that I can easily have an outside antenna, without leaving a window or balcony door open to get the antenna cable through. Further more I like to have the AT-D578UV in my i.e. hotel room instead of the handheld. I prefer real RF-communication to the next repeater, not using the hotspot. Took me some weeks to think about how to do it best. Finally I came up with (I believe) brilliant idea. What you need is:

A heavy duty sucktion grip
A power supply here a 13.8V 30A Version for the radio
Diamond MGC50 Through Window/Door Cable Set
Mount for the antenna socket, will be fixed with reuseable cable-binders instead of the metal clamps. I have two mounts in the box. The second one is used when there is a balcony railing, where I can fix the mount with some cable binders directly
Antenna socket for the mount above
Short cable between the MGC50 Through Window/Door Cable set to the antenna mounts on the outside
Cable for the inside of the MGC50 connector
reuseable cable binder

With these parts you can easily build a “Hotel Shack”. On the handle of the sucktion grip the antenna mount is fixed to it with the reuseable cable binder. The antenna socket is fixed to the antenna mount. Now you can fix the sucktion grip to a window or any flat/even surface which is good for sucktion grips. The short cable is between the antenna socket and the MGC50 (through Window/Door Cable Set). In the inside the longer cable is between the MGC50 to the radio. If I am in a sky-scraper where I can’t open the window, I can use this construction just from the inside sucked to the window.

Brilliant ?

This how the antenna mount with suction grip looks like:

Holds even on a door or any other even surface

sucktion grip with antenna mount and short cable



Antenna Mount for my Suzuki SUV

I want to be prepared for Emergency Communications, where the car becomes my QTH. As I do not like to drill through the roof to have an antenna mounted there and due to the fact that I want to use Shortwave (AM, SSB, CW) as well as VHF and UHF (FM, DMR, DStar) I had to lay back and think entirely through this. Luckely the car has the sparewheel mounted to the back door I had to create a construction to have two antennas mounted in a way that I can extend the antenna mount over the car’s height, when not driving.

When driving the antenna mount extension should not disturb my view through the internal mirror, therefor must be removable. Both the antenna mount base and extension should also be constructed in a way that I can use my chameleon hybrid mini antenna, dipole or HyEndFed Antenna together with the 2m/70cm Antenna.

At the end it was easy. An aluminum profile delivered to my specs and another profile as the extension, A ground connection from the profile to the door and from the door to the chassis of the car. Two holes for the RG58 cables. Neatly screwed to the Sparewheel housing and screws/threaded holes to connect the antenna mount extension to the antenna mount base. One day work and it was done, works like a charm. Worst case there is always “the claw” on board, which allows to fix the chameleon hybrid mini everywhere.

I can now have either two VHF/UHF Antennas mounted to the mount base or one VHF/UHF and a HF-Antenna (Chameleon, Dipol or HyEndFed) or two HF-Antennas. Exactly the same is possible when the antenna mount extension is fixed to the mount base. The only difference is that the antenna bases are the same height as the cars roof. Tricky eh !!

Here are some pictures:

Base Mount

Base Mount









Antenna Mount with Extension Chameleon Unun and Mil-Whip


Detailled View, Chameleon Unun on top level w. Mil-Whip


Detail View Chameleon Unun on top level


Detailled View, Chameleon Unun on lower level for use with a wire


As before, more detailled

Codeplugs for specific use (QTH, Car, Portable)

Let’s assume you have the same gear as I have. Three D-878UV Handheld, two D-578UV mobile radio’s, one in the car, one in the QTH. Just by their use they are different.


Radio Where located Movement Repeaters in Codeplug Remarks
D-578UVPlus QTH none, static local connects to repeaters nearby, always the same ones
D-878UVPlus Always with me, beltclip often, dynamic Europe or Countries I will travel to connects to repeaters when available otherwise to a hotspot 
D-578UVPlus CAR mounted often, dynamic Europe or Countries I will travel to connects to known repeaters or hotspot, gps-roaming should be enabled for common regions. “Normal” roaming should be configured after your countries band plans

I am lazy and want to get what I want without pressing to much buttons or crawl in lists. That’s why I created three different CP’s each developed with the best performance for the specific use in mind.

QTH: The D-578UV in the QTH knows only my hotspots at home and 8 repeaters nearby. BUT I have multiplied each repeater (channel) 23 times. As the codeplug software does not accept duplicated channel (repeater) names, each repeater name got an addition which represents the TG. I.e. you will find the repeater DB0ANT as DB0ANT World, DB0ANT Germany and so on. In the channel list a different TG is associated for each channel of the same repeater as you can see here in the screenshots:

Zone Edit - pointing to the channels with TG for the QTH zone
Zone Edit – pointing to the channels with TG for the QTH zone

Part of the channel list, repeaters with TG's directly associated
Part of the channel list, repeaters with TG’s directly associated


The zones I have defined are the digital repeaters with (QTH) or without (CAR, PORTABLE) associated TG’s, my hotspots, PMR, analog repeaters and European DMR repeaters as seperate zones for each country. The TG-List is still there with all TG’s available worldwide, but for QTH use, I just need the channel knob to switch between talkgroups by using the Channel/TG combination. Very convenient. A roaming list is not needed, as this radio normally does not move.

CAR: Differently constructed is the CP for the D-578UV in the car. Each repeater is marked with the associated Timeslot (TS) and my most used TG. That means i.e. DB0ANT has two entries DB0ANT-Germany (TS1) and DB0ANT-World (TS2) associated by me as a default. That saves channel entries and is used in all DMR zones.

I have in my channel list all (and I mean ALL) European DMR repeaters after this methodology. Countries can be selected by the zone list, where each country has its own entry with the corresponding repeaters associated twice (TS1/TS2 = Germany/World). With one look at the repeater name I can imagine my TS and my TG is also displayed underneath the repeater name. Of course my hotspots are also there, in case I can not reach a repeater and I have a hotspot with me. In such a case I have LTE connection for my DMR hotspot to the WLAN router in the car. In addition I have created a roaming channel list and a roaming zone list for my state, where I travel most. With the roaming switched on, the radio in the car chooses by itself the next reachable repeater. GPS roaming is also switched on.

PORTABLE: The handheld radio has the same channel-list and zones plus the QTH zone with the Channel/TG combination settings. Furthermore it uses roaming zones and roaming channels as well as GPS roaming. Also my hotspot can be used with the handheld, either in the QTH or i.e. in a hotel with internet access or using my portable router where LTE is available.

I hope that my ideas behind these different CP’s became clear to you, if not pls. blame me as I must have explained it in a wrong way.


My Digital Radio Setup

How it all begun…

I was on a business trip in Plano, TX, some years ago, where I visited a local Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) and bought an ICOM ID51E for DStar and a ZUMSpot. Back home in Germany I made it to work within a few days as this was completely different from my analogue experiences in HF/VHF/UHF so far. But the activities here in Germany on DStar were not overwhelming and in a lot of publications DMR was pushed heavily. The ID51E still exists but I am now mostly on DMR-Brandmeister, which I really like. But now in 2022 I found that Brandmeisters DMR became a bit rough and undisciplined here in Germany, so I often go back to DStar, to enjoy civilized OM’s.

Due to the fact that the ZUMspot can do both, I ordered an Retevis RT90, but we both did not click into each other. I got it working, but the software was not stable, crashed very often and the radio could only be run via Codeplug, no VFO Operation possible. I simply did not like it.

As I bought it at Amazon, I could send it back within 30 days, but I was already highly frustrated after 14 days and simply sent it back. I promised myself to do some more researches which radio could suite me best and came across the ANYTONE radios. I had a look at the AT-D868UV and AT-D878UV Plus (with Bluetooth and Bluetooth-PTT) and ordered it at a distributor here in Germany. Received, unboxed, Software installed. WOW !!! THIS IS COMPLEX AND COMPLICATED ! (Actually it isn’t when you have understood the basics, which I will explain in another post)


During my researches I came across the website of a Dutch HAM, PC5E who is dedicated to a lot of different DMR radios of many manufacturers. I downloaded his Anytone codeplug for Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and studied what he had done to get the Anytone UV878UV running. Playing around with it I understood the concept of codeplugs. Not in depth and not using all features of the Anytone, but enough to get it running. Now, 6 month after buying the AT-D878UV I create Codplugs for others, using my blueprints and being the proud owner of one AT-D878UV Pro and two AT-D578UV Pro (one in the car, one in the QTH).

Beside the radio’s I own four hotspot’s. One ZUMSpot, which I do not use anymore, as it was making problems (not investigated on it) when I visited a friend in Canada (12/2019) and I will later take care of it. The ZUMSpot was later given to my club after I fixed it. I use two MMDVM (China-Clone) Dual-Hat Hotspots mounted on two Raspberry Pi 3B, one for DStar, one for DMR and a brandnew SharkHF openSPOT3 for use in the car, hotel or anywhere I do not have a proper repeater or do not know the repeater frequencies. The openSPOT3 is typically connected through a LTE wifi hotspot or my mobile phone in tethering mode.

At home I use the Dual-Hat Hotspot for DMR to have TG91 (world) and TG262 (Germany) on Timeslot 1 and Timeslot 2 in static mode as the German Brandmeister Repeater OM’s only have TG262 static, TG91 is set to dynamic, which means you get kicked out every 6-10 minutes. To avoid disturbing the local repeaters too much. With this in mind I use my radios in the QTH to monitor TG91, 262 and 263 (multimode) via the hotspot. Both, TG262 (TS1) and TG91 (TS2) are set to static on my hotspot(s).

The other Dual-Hat hotspot at home is dedicated to DStar. Both Dual-Hat Hotspots run the pi-star software.

Here at home I use a DIAMOND X30 about 10m (30ft.) over the ground on a telescopic mast 6.5m (19.5′) for the AT-D578UV Pro and a special construction on the car for a Diamond NR-770H which can be flipped to a horizontal position which is useful for parking garages. In the car I use the Bluetooth PTT switch, mounted to the gear-stick and a typical BT-Headphone for a mobile phone. This does the job more than well. Same for the handheld AT-D878UV , BT-PTT-Switch attached like a wrist watch (with a wrist watch band) to my right arm with the same BT-headset as in the car. In the QTH I use a callcenter style BT-Headset with the PTT-Switch on the desk or in the pocket.

BT-PTT Switch with a wrist watch band  BT-PTT Switch as delivered


+ QTH use: AT-D578UV Pro with a callcenter like BT headset and the BT PTT-Key either in the pocket or on the desk
+ Portable use: AT-D878UV Pro with a BT headset for mobile phones and the BT PTT-Key with a wrist watch band
+ Mobile use: AT-D578UV Pro with the same BT-headset for mobile phones, BT PTT-Key mounted to the gear-stick

For the handheld I use (depending where I am) the DIAMOND SRH805S which is only 3.5 cm or 1.5″ long (!!) which works very well, the manufacturers antenna and a DIAMOND SRJ77CA Antenna, about 40.5 cm / 15.9″ long. With the SRJ Antenna I could easily reach repeaters in Canada 30km / 19mi away from the livingroom of my friends house. In tests I could reach repeaters 90km / 60mi away.