Survival Radio: What Will Work

Survival-Radio, Emergency-Communications,Survival, Bug-Out-Radio, Bug-Out-Bag, Survival

In any type of disaster (Hurricane, Earthquake, Economic Collapse, Nuclear War, EMP Blast/Solar Event, etc) your typical means of communications (Mobile Phones, Land Lines, Internet) will most likely be severed or severely impaired.  Now is the time to start your Survival Communications Plan.

I know from reading about past disasters and being in the middle of 9/11 myself that whenEmergency-Communications-Survival-Radio-Bug-Out-Bag disaster strikes, using your mobile phone (which we are all so heavily dependent on) can be a frustrating experience to say the least.  If you have ever tried to dial out and received the message “All Circuits Are Busy” then you know what I am talking about.

The question that a lot of us have not answered is how are we going to communicate with our loved ones and friends when all traditional communications will be at best unreliable or at worst nonexistent.  This is especially important in an Urban Survival situation.  The Emergency Communication question is one that seems to get very little attention and is wide open to speculation.

Options

A small group trying to survive in hard times (which, depending from your viewpoint seems to be inevitable), will need to have a plan to communicate with each other as well as some form of back up plan.  Aside from smoke signals, there are modern options to consider for Survivalists and Preppers.  The three most readily available are GMRS or FRS radios, CB radios, and Ham radio.

GMRS/FRS: These survival radios are good for short distances with little terrain interference. Used as pagers/communicators inside a building or a camp, GMRS/FRS radios offer low-cost & convenience. Small and easy to carry, GMRS/FRS radio family biggest drawback is their range and their battery life.  Some of the manufacturers report that these survival radios will work up to 35 miles, but that is 35 miles over a flat surface with no interference.  Once you start putting trees, hills, houses, etc in the way the range drops dramatically.  While fine as a short range group communications tool, they lack the ability of medium or long range communications.

CB radios: Around for several years as an offshoot of Ham Radio, CB does not require a Survival-Communicationslicense and unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications.  Enjoying a boom in the mid-seventies and are readily available today, CB radios are still the main short range communications choice for truckers and some of my red neck friends.   You can find CB’s fairly cheaply at yard sales, craigslist, ebay and flea markets.  Mandated by regulation as a low power device, the range on these radios is much greater when combined with a signal amplifier, or “Linear” Amp.  It is not advocated using a linear amp, however for the most part, enforcement of the restrictions are few and often only when an illegal stations signal interferes with other communication methods.  Long distance communication is possible when atmospheric conditions permit.  CB radios come in many different forms, ranging from legal 40 channel/4 watt models, to a grey-area type of “export radio”, that skirts legality by being built for ham radio use, but are easily modified for the CB band. Operating within the 10-12 Meter HF Band, CB radios need a longer antenna than UHF/VHF GMRS/FRS radios.

Ham or Amateur Radio: Offers the farthest operating range, and broadest array of emergency-communications-ham-radio-survival-empcommunication modes, from voice communication, to text, photo, video, and digital telemetry.  Requiring a license to operate, ham radio is well organized and self regulated.
Ham radio is fairly cheap to get started in as there are many used radio bargains around.  New ham radios cost run from hundreds to several thousands of dollars, but with frugal shopping one can set up a rather nice base station and talk all around the world.
Some of the best ham antennas are homemade, simple to conceal, wire antennas strung between trees.  This type set up is very portable if need be, and can be setup almost anyplace.  Mobile ham radio setups that are available that can talk all over the world.

Things to Consider

Text Messaging: It has been reported that during Hurricane Katrina, the only reliable way toEmergency-Communications-Urban-Unrest communicate was by Text Messaging.  This is a good piece of information to know if you are caught off guard in the next crisis.  While everyone else is desperately trying to call, you might be able to get your messages through via text.  I would recommend to plan as if Text Messaging will not work and if the crisis spills into multiple weeks you can bet that the service will no longer work at some point but this is still good information to know.

EMP Blast/Solar Event Considerations (Electromagnetic Pulse): Because we are talking aboutSurvival-knife-survival-radio electronics and two of the scenarios which many people plan for is an EMP type blast or the more likely scenario, a Solar Storm Event like the one that took place in 1859 (Carrington Event).  Because these threats are very real, you should try to store your critical electronics in a protective case.  One of the ways you can protect yourself from this scenario is by storing your survival radios and critical electronics in a Faraday cage.  While we are not going to go into “How to Build a Faraday Cage” in this article, I can assure you that there are a lot of examples out there on the web and youtube.

When selecting GMRS/FRS radios radios buy only models that will run on 12 volt DC power or rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery packs that can be recharged from your retreat’s 12 VDC power system without having to use an inverter.  Also look for the models that can also run on AA or AAA batteries as a back up.  As a secondary purchasing goal, buy spare radios of each type if you can afford them.  Keep your spares in sealed metal boxes (that are grounded)  to protect them from EMP.  If you live in a far inland region, I recommend buying two or more 12 VDC marine band radios.  These frequencies will probably not be monitored in your region, leaving you an essentially private band to use. (But never assume that any two-way radio communications are secure!)

Choosing a way to communicate outside normal everyday methods can be a daunting task. So much of it not only depends on your needs but how you can apply your limited resources.  The return on your investment is inconsequential as long as your ability to get your message heard at a critical time by the people you are trying to reach.

A good book to get you started on Emergency Preparedness is “Making the Best of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens

This article was a collaboration between David M. Hill Sr. of The American Preparedness Radio Network and The SurvivalCache Team

You can find out more about The American Preparedness Radio Network at www.taprn.com

Visit Our New Survival Gear Store – Forge Survival Supply

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Chefbear58 December 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I have been wondering about ham radio for years, but it has fallen to the wayside because of redirected focus to more "immediate" preps. So how does one go about getting a license to operate a ham radio? Are there groups that will help an up and coming enthusiast get pointed in the right direction?

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Craig August 11, 2013 at 2:30 am

As others have already mentioned, you no longer need to know any morse code to get a ham radio license. There are many ways to study (and many ham clubs all over the country willing to help you learn what you need to know to pass your test), but my vote is to buy the Technician training class from Ham Test Online for $25.00.

It's an internet training class that teaches you at your own pace and they guarantee you'll pass or you get your money back. Nobody else does that, no books and no other training class. So go to their website, spend the $25.00 bucks, and if a few days (if you study a lot) or a few weeks (if you don't study a lot), you can join over 750,000 hams in the U.S. (We even sell the class when we attend various prepper events around the southwest).

Of course once you get your entry level Technician license, you'll want to upgrade to General (which gives you many more frequencies to use and much greater range), but they have a internet based class for that as well.

Craig – N7LB
RF Gear 2 Go

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Herman October 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

http://www.arrl.org will lead you in the right direction.

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AuricTech December 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

What are your thoughts on MURS?

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Rourke December 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I am no EMP expert – but from the research I have done it is important that the device being stored inside a metal box does not come in contact with the metal itself. Layering is also beneficial – such as putting a metal box inside of a metail box that is inside of a metal box – without any of them touching each other or the device.

This is how I have my son's sparre insulin pump stored – just in case.

Rourke

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Minarchist_1776 December 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I'm not an expert either, but it was my understanding that the outermost "box" of your attempted Faraday cage has to be electrically connected to ground. The theory being that as the EMP wave comes into contact with the outermost box it will generate a current flow in/on that box that will counteract the wave. But it can only do that if the box is electrically connected to ground. If the outermost box is not connected to electrical ground then no current will flow and the wave will continue on through, possibly damaging whatever you have stored inside it as it generates potential differences in the various electrical/electronic pieces/parts you've got stored there. If we were only talking about flashlights, radios, car computers and such that could be bad enough, but your son's pump is a much more important item than that. You're also going to have to figure out ways to get and keep decent supplies of insulin on hand without refrigeration. Over the long haul that could prove to be much more challenging than simply keeping an operational pump handy.

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CaptBart December 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Does not "have" to be grounded to work – a lead safe with an isolated metal box (no electrical connections) inside will work, for example – but best solution involves earth ground. Part of what makes EMP devastating is that the speed of light in wire is slightly slower than in air. This can create a HUGH potential difference in a metal object. (it takes an electrical pulse about 1 nanosecond to travel 11 inches in wire while in air it goes about 11.7 inches.) When you start with a very large voltage pulse and then create this kind of difference, electronics get fried. The more modern the electronics, the easier it is to fry it. Any electrical connections are a path for EMP to destroy the box. What makes it tough is making sure ALL electrical connections are cut off. Lead works very well. A grounded, very fine mesh screen works well as also. You can build a capacitor out of two, electrically isolated boxes, one inside the other, if they aren't grounded. If the voltage difference gets big enough (and it easily can) the dielectric (insulating material – in this case air) can break down and a spark jump between the boxes and frying the 'protected' electronics. EMP is nasty stuff but when I was in a Pershing missile unit it was a normal operational expectation.

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Rourke December 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I am no EMP expert – but from the research I have done it is important that the device being stored inside a metal box does not come in contact with the metal itself. Layering is also beneficial – such as putting a metal box inside of a metail box that is inside of a metal box – without any of them touching each other or the device.

This is how I have my son's sparre insulin pump stored – just in case.

Rourke

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Chefbear58 December 29, 2010 at 12:29 am

I have a few more questions (Sorry Guys!), sorry if someone already asked and I just missed it!
Do they make HAM radio set-ups for vehicles? Do they have "hand-held" HAM radios?
They run an DC power correct? If so could they run on a a system such as the GN-58 Mil-Surp hand crank generator?

Side question… Has anyone ever used a GN-58 or similar large hand crank generators? Any different opinions on simple to use, rugged, reasonably priced portable power supplies that do not rely on "dinosaur-juice"?

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Dave December 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Yes there are mobile radios(for your vehicles) Yes there are hand held refereed to as HT's or handi talkies. Most of these come with rechargeable battery packs as part of the radio.

There are some base radios that plug in the wall but many radios including base units run on 12 volt DC

As for the GN-58 I am not familiar with it but if will supply the required amps of 12Volt DC power it will power a radio. During Field Day operations (set up portable in the field) We use 12 volt storage batteries and recharge them as needed with a small 2 cycle generator.

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CaptBart December 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I have a QRP (low power, under 5 watts) rig that I have used to talk to New Jersey that takes 12 volts, DC and I've run from a stack of "D" cells and from solar power. I have a power supply to give me 12 VDC from wall current. I also have had QRO (high power) rigs that require 220 VAC. I also have 120 VAC rigs so you can pick and choose to some degree. They vary in size from 90 lbs monsters (power transformers are heavy) to units the size of a deck of cards.

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CaptBart December 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Chefbear, I'm not familiar with the GN-58. The potential problem with something like a handcrank is the purity of the power. If the power output is very erratic and it is not filtered (a battery actually makes a pretty good "smoothing choke" for variable DC) it can damage modern electronics. As things have gotten smaller, the ability to damage them has gotten easier. Hard electronics are available but they are expensive. Look at the output of your generator and if it is stable, it should work. I suspect that charging a deep cycle battery, like a golf cart batter, with it should work very well.

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Chefbear58 December 31, 2010 at 7:16 pm

That was exactly the plan for said generator, to charge a large battery which could then power/charge other devices. I am still doing research on the GN-58, but I haven't been able to find a monstrous amount of data on it's performance. If anybody is familiar with them your input would be greatly appreciated!

Dave & CaptBart, Thanks for your input on the radio's. I am starting to research the hand-held versions of the ham radios and will hopefully settle on a few of them within the next few weeks. I have also found a local ham radio operator at my mother's church who is going to help me get started. He invited me over to his house to "sit in" on a broadcast (I guess that's what you call it, shows how much I know!) next week.

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CaptBart January 1, 2011 at 6:42 am

Chefbear, with rare exceptions, it is illegal for a ham to "broadcast". A two way radio contact is called a QSO (pronounced QUE – SO). Like many hobbies we have our own language. Many of the "Q signals" go back to the code only days. There are signals for aviation (QNH is height (altitude) above ground for example), trains, ships and radio. Check out http://ac6v.com/ web site for a wealth of information. My call sign is WB5JWI and you can go to QRZ.COM enter my call and see my station. Your Elmer can help you with that if you wish. (QRZ is another Q signal meaning "who is calling me" – the web sight lets you look up any call sign and get info like mailing address). So, enjoy your session with your Elmer (more experienced ham helping newer ham). If your friend can contact me before the session, maybe we can set up a sked (schedule) and we can rag chew (talk) with each other. HP CU ON BANDS SOON (HoPe to (CU) see you on the bands soon – CW ops shorten everything!)

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Mike January 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

A marine battery and a couple hundred watts of solar will be sufficient. There are also plans for hooking up a dc motor to a stationary bike to generate power. I agree with the other comment that you need to generate this power into a battery first. Also make sure that everything is properly fused on the negative and positive first. I have been a ham for almost 20 years.

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Chefbear58 January 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thanks again guys. The gentleman I mentioned previously said that experience with electical systems would help the learning curve for operating a ham radio (I am a Universal HVAC Tech EPA s.608 type III). Sounds like he was right.

CaptBart- I am not quite sure exactly when his schedule will allow next week (he's been out on business a lot lately) but I will try to figure that out and let you guys know, hope to be talking to yall soon!

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Karen February 1, 2012 at 1:32 am

Ham radios come in all shapes, sizes, prices and types. The easiest way to find out what might be best for you is to search for “ham radio equipment” or “arrl” and you can find more information than you might want.

If you are looking for used equipment, all you need to do is a internet search for “hamfest”. These are held across the country mostly in the spring and summer and are get-togethers were hams sell all sorts of new and used equipment.

At most of these hamfest you can also take your license test to allow you to ligally use the equipment and cost $14 win, loose or draw. Best of luck, hope to hear you on 80 meters one day. 73 de me!

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Chefbear58 December 29, 2010 at 12:29 am

I have a few more questions (Sorry Guys!), sorry if someone already asked and I just missed it!
Do they make HAM radio set-ups for vehicles? Do they have "hand-held" HAM radios?
They run an DC power correct? If so could they run on a a system such as the GN-58 Mil-Surp hand crank generator?

Side question… Has anyone ever used a GN-58 or similar large hand crank generators? Any different opinions on simple to use, rugged, reasonably priced portable power supplies that do not rely on "dinosaur-juice"?

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Hoover December 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I was curious about the utilization of Satellite Phones as an option. What are thoughts on that as a viable means of back up commo?

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CaptBart December 31, 2010 at 6:32 am

Hoover,
the suitability of Satellite phones is heavily dependent on what caused the emergency and who else is trying to use it. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun frying the power grid has fried the satellite as well. A nuclear device will have ionized the atmosphere to the point that the sat phone is useless. My missile battery used Tropo-scatter devices that actually worked better after a nuke popped because of the heavy ionization. Heavy precip would also interfere but you'd be fine after the precip ended. If the problem is the government, the cell system AND the sat system will be controlled and not available.
As a final thought, the sat phone would let you call out of a disaster area. For use as a tactical device, it is probably a little bulky for each member of a group to be lugging one around all the time.
Depending on your financial resources, it isn't a bad idea for calling out of an area to let loved ones know you are OK but I don't think it is the best all around solution nor is it cost effective.

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CaptBart December 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Dave, I agree. If you get 60% of the promised range consistently you are doing well. Rechargeable Li-Ion or NiMH batteries with a solar charge system is absolutely required for these radios as they use them up quickly. I use them for really short range stuff, under a 100 yards usually and not much else.

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CaptBart December 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Excellent point, Pepe. One of the biggest problems for some of the low power ham operators is the Canadian and Mexican hams operating high power SSB stations (quite legally) in the area where Americans are CW only. Nobody is breaking any laws, but the interference is very real.

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Doug December 31, 2010 at 10:30 am

Hey Guys, Thanks for the article and everything on your site. I love it. This article was particularly timely for me as I had just begun researching scanners and Ham radios to potentially install in my '98 Jeep Wrangler. Like others, I had neglected the importance of communications when all else fails and I'm trying to get up to speed fast.

I'm curious as to whether anyone else has information about sites or guides to help with installation of mobil ham radios, scanners, etc. in a Jeep like mine. I'd appreciate any help.

Thanks, and keep up the great work. Semper Fi!

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CaptBart December 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Doug,
the ARRL has publications on mobile radio communications. There are issues with ignition noise and a whole different set of antenna problems that makes mobile radio "interesting". I'm setting up my vehicles for HF as well as VHF so I'm doing some of that research. Check out the 2011 Radio Amateur's Handbook for really good information on all aspects of HF communications. Available at Amazon, many bookstores, most ham stores and from the league at http://www.arrl.org/shop/The-ARRL-Handbook-2011-H…

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Doug January 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Thanks, CaptBart. I'll do that. While doing some research yesterday, I did come across a site with a project for an SAR (Search and Rescue) in Utah. He's posted some pretty good explanations and illustrations along with other firsthand experience with add-ons for Jeep owners. I drive my Jeep daily in the L.A. area and love it but I want to prepare for possible chaos. Thanks for all your advice.

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Doug January 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

CaptBart, I'm sorry but I forgot to include the site. Its http://www.hamjeep.com.

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Chefbear58 January 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for putting that link up Doug. I drive a '09 JEEP, I wish mine was set up half as capable as the one on that site! Let us know what you do with your JEEP, I would be interested in seeing it

Dave December 31, 2010 at 3:39 pm

There is more info on this site about mobile installation than any one other place I am aware of on the internet and the guy that owns it is real good about answering any questions you may have it is a little technical but well worth the time to look at for ideas. http://www.k0bg.com/

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CaptBart January 1, 2011 at 6:44 am

Dave, K0BG has a very good site, indeed. Thanks

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Dedicatedpro December 31, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Great article and great posts … a couple of thoughts to offer on the FRS/GMRS side of the equation are about batteries. Get ones that use AA. Ones that utilize AAA are terrible for power conservation. Recharable ones are ok if you get the NiMh ones but I've had the best success with AA not to mention they are compatible with most of my other electronics such as handheld GPS (which probably won't matter in a SHTF scenario) as well as other stuff like flashlights, camp lanterns with LEDs, Handheld CB / Marine radios, etc. ____Some other ideas include couriers/messengers (travel at least in pairs with proper supplies) if you have friends and family in distant areas and you have an established "group" for these kinds of scenarios. If so have several different sites / routes that you can leave "dead drop" messages for family and friends traveling to, from and in between to get information out until everyone is together (strength in numbers) or until everything gets back to G2G status.____Just a couple of cents to add to the posts and worth exactly what you paid for it! Keep em coming…

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Mike January 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

For monitoring ham radio a license isn't needed. I would recommend getting one. The government rarely monitors it, hams usually regulate themselves. When someone is interfering (jamming) we have to beg the government toi prosecute someone. Most hams have databases on who is licensed and we can usually figure out who is fake and who is not and we won't talk to them. The good news is that they really dumbed down the test. They actually give you the questions and answers to study and there isn't a code requirement anymore. I still would recommd learning the code anyways. You can communicate better with less power and there is a better crowd out there using the code. The test material is extremely invaluable with needed knowledge of antennas and radio operation.

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Mike January 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

For monitoring ham radio a license isn't needed. I would recommend getting one. The government rarely monitors it, hams usually regulate themselves. When someone is interfering (jamming) we have to beg the government toi prosecute someone. Most hams have databases on who is licensed and we can usually figure out who is fake and who is not and we won't talk to them. The good news is that they really dumbed down the test. They actually give you the questions and answers to study and there isn't a code requirement anymore. I still would recommd learning the code anyways. You can communicate better with less power and there is a better crowd out there using the code. The test material is extremely invaluable with needed knowledge of antennas and radio operation.

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survivalcyclist January 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

As far as the text messaging goes (in a disaster like a hurricane, etc) there is a easy (and free) service you can use to notify your family/friends that you're OK, where you are, etc. I posted a short article about it on my blog, which you can read here:
http://ptkmatt.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-emergenc…

Basically, you register with the service, and set up a list of email addresses you want them to notify. Later, when you send the service a text message, they repeat the message to everyone on your mailing list. It's simple to use, and so far it's been 100% reliable.

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Combat_Medic January 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Hey everybody, I have a question about the handheld HAM units. I was going to take the test and buy two handhelds one for my wife and me. Then possibly set up a base station at home. This would just be a emergency prep. I would probably get on there and talk from time to time but mostly for reliable longer range coms. I was looking at handheld CB's but there is only a few dollars difference and possibly many more miles with the help of repeaters. I would be looking to talk up to 20 miles or maybe a little more atleast and then possibly a couple hundered from the base to other family members. My question is am I barking up the right tree? I was in the Army for 10 years and have alot of time on VHF military radios and ICOMS for induvidual tactical radio's. Thanks for reading and thanks for the info.

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William March 21, 2012 at 1:38 am

Both must be hams to talk on seprate radios. Test are not that bad. I passed all 3 in 4 months and so did my wife. We are both 72 years old. You buy the books and study the answers for a few hours a day for about 3 weeks. ARRL is helpful if you don't know where to get the books or take the test. Any Ham will help you anytime. When you buy your radios, have a Ham program them for local towers and other local events and groups meeting frequencies. I would suggest a car radio. A second hand held would be good. Wrap it in rubber and store it in an ammo box to protect it from EMP. If I can help, my Email is WLGEB@aol.com.

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General_Todd February 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

CaptBart is right, The greatest advantage to Ham Radio vs CB is the about of watts you can use. On CB you are limited to 3-5 watts max (legally). On Ham Radio you can use up to 1500 watts, but you should not use that much power as you are required to use only the amount of power it takes to make contact with the other station. You will need to take and pass 2 FCC administered tests given by a local Ham Club near where you live. The first test is for Technician level privileges, IE 50 MHz and above which is good for some of the 10m band, all of 6m, 2m, 440 MHz and above. Most local repeaters use 2m and 440 MHz.

Your second test will be General Test. This will give you availability to use all the HF bands within the General coverage privileges, as well as most of 10m.

I as a Ham don't really use CB that much, due to the limitations of such low power requirements. Although they are useful for listening to during long driving trips.

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CaptBart February 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Sir,
don't forget that the Technician License can also use all the novice frequencies in the hf. Those are restricted to CW but I still occasionally work a new tech on CW in the HF. Most recently an 11 yr. old making his first CW contact. The other advantage, besides the big edge in power, of the general ham license over the CB rig is that you can choose the best frequency for what you're trying to do. For local work out to intercontinental 20, 40 or 80 meters can outperform 11 meters depending on the time of day.

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General_Todd February 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

No Ham Radio is alive and well.. Just last night I talked to a guy in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa from Alabama.

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Robert February 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Hello: I have been learning CW from a great web site http://www.newtonarc.net/morse/ it should get you up to speed quickly.

Regards,

Bob.

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CaptBart February 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Glad you found something that works for you. If you are already a ham or just have a receiver, you might tune to 7.114 which is the SKCC 'Elmer' frequency. there is usually cw there at anywhere from 5 to 15 WPM. You can also pick up various code practice sessions that are broadcast by the ARRL station W1AW at verious speeds. Good luck with the code. Let me know if I can help.

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Joel April 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

dont forget vasoline and cotton balls makes a great fire starter and use of medical purposes

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grizzlyb3 September 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

for around 200.00 bucks you can get 50 wat uhf radios. they go a long way and can be 12 volt.just make sure your group or groups each have one and on same freq.

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wendy October 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Guys,

I am not a techie – just want to know the easiest thing to buy with a site link to be able to communicate with as many as I can for as far as I can and understand how to back up the power to the device when the grid goes down due to solar maximum event, etc. What exactly do I buy?

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Kevin December 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

how do I store spare electronic car parts

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William March 21, 2012 at 1:02 am

My wife and I took the ham Tech test in July 2011, the General test in Augst 2011 and the E
xtra test in October 2011. Can't go any higher. To top this, we are both age 72. Talked on cb in 60s but never a ham until we passed our general. You don't need code now. We did it, anyone can. Study, study.

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JMaulz August 16, 2012 at 9:00 am

Just a note on the HAM radios. You can buy a HAM radio without being licensed, although you wouldn't want to transmit without obtaining a license. You can use the radio as a makeshift scanner, and in an emergency situation, you do NOT need to be licensed to transmit…but only in an emergency situation. Might be a nice idea to keep one around just in case, licensed or not.

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AbbyPlew November 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

There's this so-called amp automotive connectors which could help you in fixing the communication system specially in times of danger. I think this is usually installed to army's communication system to be able to establish a better connection among the other military forces.

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Reply

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christian prepper February 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

i like the ten meter ham radio i also think a police scanner would be good to have(to get info)

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ron February 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

These days ham radio is constantly growing. There are now about 700,000 licenses in the U.S., and it has been growing every year for the last decade.

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radiofreeq July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm

BAND CHANNEL FREQUENCY MHZ NOTES
FRS3 462.6125 FM PREPPER FRS
GMRS20 462.675+ FM PL 141.3 REPEATER
MURS3 151.9400 FM PREPPER MURS
CB AM3 AM 026.9850 AM PREPPER CB
CB AM9 AM 027.0650 AM EMERGENCY CB
CB SSB 36 USB 027.3650 USB SHTF SURVIVAL
CB SSB 37 USB 027.3750 USB PREPPER CB SSB
CB FREEBAND 38GAP 027.3780 USB SHTF SURVIVAL
CB FREEBAND E2HI 027.4250 USB SHTF SURVIVAL
LOW BAND VHFLOW 033.4000 FM SHTF SURVIVAL
LOW BAND VHFPKDOT 042.9800 FM PREPPER LOW SIMPLEX
HAM VHF 2M 146.5200 FM HAM CALL SIMPLEX
HAM VHF 2M 146.5500 FM HAM PREPPER SIMPLEX
HAM VHF 6M 051.0000 FM HAM PREPPER SIMPLEX
HAM HF 10M 028.3050 USB HAM PREPPER TECH
HAM HF 20M 014.2420 USB HAM TAPRN
HAM HF 40M 007.2420 LSB HAM TAPRN NET
HAM HF 60M 005.3570 USB HAM SHTF NVIS
HAM HF 80M 003.8180 LSB HAM TAPRN NET
LAND SAR VHF SARFM 155.1600 FM SEARCH & RESCUE
MARINE VHF16 156.8000 FM SAFETY CALLING
MARINE VHF72 156.6250 FM MARINE PREPPER
AIRCRAFT VHF GUARD 121.5000 AM EMERGENCY DISTRESS

More details of Survivalist Communications information: http://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/

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radio user August 8, 2013 at 5:12 am

My thoughts :) Based on my extensive and licensed radio experience:__I live in a very busy, large metroplex and stood on the roof of a car, a house roof, on the ground, out a window and in various locations around the neighborhood. I could not get a single reply from anyone including the bored people working with me that day unless almost right in front of me. __I don't think I need to tell most ham operators how that compares to a simple, under $250. (which can also work on a battery pack) 2/.70m dual band mobile (most of which can receive whatever if anything, that would be heard on murs in that given location).__Here's why: First, in significant emergencies you'll get information from a decent ham radio and such users are often directly involved in the emergency help process. Well informed 2 meter users will hear what's happening on MURS (but they will be more involved probably with their ham radio for good reasons) and such a ham radio (get a license) gives FAR greater transmit abiities to the user when needed (and it may very well be needed).__Where there's one ham user, I can find others and some Ham operators I've worked with have information faster than it gets on MURS anyway!

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also a survivalist August 8, 2013 at 5:21 am

To extend a little on Radio User's comment (herein this website):
And IF you live in an area which I would certainly never live in for a huge number of reasons (and yet call yourself a survivalist) such as some severe tornado prone deserted flat area with no repeaters, well….I think you're in the WRONG location anyway for many people and whether they like it or not, MONEY plays a big role. The more extensive communications you desire (ie: 6,10,20,40 meters or more), the more money you will likely need to spend (unless you get these things for free). And spending money wisely is part of survival too (and good quality of life).
My thoughts :)

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Craig August 11, 2013 at 2:51 am

While I agree the distance with FRS radios is a joke (more like 15 acres vs. 15 miles that various manufacturers post in their ads), both MURS and GMRS do have some advantages.

MURS is just above the 2m ham band on VHF, so MURS radios (with proper antennas) tend to work simplex (line of sight) fairly well in open areas, but GMRS on UHF has the advantage of working better in urban areas (in and out of buildings for example).

Of course the best option (in my opinion) is to have a radio that does both (MURS & FRS/GMRS) and also offers both VHF/UHF ham bands as well. It'd ridiculously easy to get your Technician class ham radio license nowadays, and with that comes the ability to use mountaintop (or high buildings) repeaters, which can easily allow communications over an area of 50 to 100 miles.

I happen to live in the Phoenix, AZ area and can talk to folks in Tucson (around 120 miles south) on my 5w handheld radio using the Tucson, AZ 2m mountaintop repeater. In an emergency situation, that same handheld radio can also be used for MURS, or FRS/GMRS.

Simplex communication (point to point, or line of sight) is always going to depend on many different factors (power level from both stations, antenna performance at both stations, height above local terrain at both stations, etc., etc), but mountaintop (or repeaters on high buildings) can greatly extend your "normal" ability to communicate with a handheld radio, something that MURS doesn't allow and GMRS charges for.

Anyone seriously interested in communications really needs to look into getting their Technician class ham radio license. When we attend any prepper events in the southwest as a vendor, we always offer internet based ham radio training classes from Ham Test Online at our booth. It's really the best $25.00 you'll ever spend IMHO.

Craig – N7LB
RF Gear 2 Go

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coventrywest August 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

The use of craft for search and rescue in war II brought line-of-sight VHF radios into use. The abundant shorter wavelengths of VHF allowed a straightforward dipole or whip antenna to be effective. Early devices enclosed nation director, a compact single electron tube generator style operative at 177 MHz (1.7 meter wavelength), and therefore the German Jäger (NS-4), a two-tube master generator power electronic equipment style at fifty eight.5 and, later, 42 MHz.[4] These were sufficiently little to incorporate in life rafts used on single-seat warplane.

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Shelly September 11, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thanks for letting know some exceptional communications ways to survive during critical situation. I enjoyed reading complete post and I just wanted to say lot of people can survive following such surviving ways.
which is better uhf vs vhf

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just me September 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Marine radio use on land is illegal!

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CaptBart January 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

If you are going to run off a battery, make sure it is a "deep Cycle" battery. Most auto batteries are not and will be ruined by repeatedly discharging them to almost 0 volts and recharging. Golf cart batteries and UPS (Uninterpretable power supply) batteries tend to be deep cycle and will stand the strain. They are more expensive but they do the job.

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Forge_Survival January 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

Thanks for the tip!!! I always enjoy your insight.

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William March 21, 2012 at 1:07 am

Ammo box should work for Hand held radios.

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William March 21, 2012 at 1:17 am

They have hand held radios from $60. and up. Mine is a Yeasu $325. You can get a good mobil ham unit, used for $250 to $300. Antenna with mag mount for about $30. Two bands, 2 meters is most popular and 70 centimeter. Both run on DC. Hand helds come with a battery and a recharge unit for AC outlets.

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Steve September 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

Here is what might sound like a really dumb question, but since I am a novice – I will ask it anyway and then throw myself on the mercy of the professionals.

I've been thinking about purchasing a CB that has SSB, and having it installed in my RV. Obviously, I'd also need to add an antenna – and I've read that the whip antennas that are about 102" are the best ones to get. Meanwhile, I bought a Wouxon KG-UV2D Hand held Ham radio some time back and have been thinking about studying for the basic Ham operators license. Here is my dumb question: It seems as if the Wouxon can be connected to an external antenna, as a means of extending it's range beyond the distance that you can get using the standard antenna that comes on the radio itself. So, I was wondering if the Wouxon might be able to use the same 102 inch whip antenna that is used by the CB SSB radio that I am thinking about getting for the RV?

Is there any risk of damaging the Ham radio in such a scenario?

Let me apologize in advance if this question is really dumb, but as I said, I am a novice.

thanks!

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