Prepping 101: Hiding your communications equipment from prying eyes.
Hello my friend and welcome back! As many of you know, I’m a ham radio operator and as you may guess, my communications equipment is a big part of my preps. Now, many people think you need to have this big honking antenna on top of a tower, to use a ham radio and wonder how would you hide it so it can’t be seen? This is the subject of today’s post on hiding your communications equipment. So grab a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.
My grandfather was a ham radio operator and had the great big tower in his back yard, with a lot of different antennas on top of it. This doesn’t exactly lend itself to stealth operations, but then, that is not the only way to do it. Let’s say that SHTF has hit and you have a working ham radio that you want to use, to hear what is going on around the world, but you don’t want anyone to know you have it, so what can you do?
You may be surprised to know that there are actually many ways of making a base radio antenna, that not only works great, but is stealthy as well. All you need is a tall tree, a couple of small insulators and some wire. How much wire? Well that depends on what frequencies you want to listen to. The lower the frequency, the longer the wire you will need. The formula is simple; you divide 468 by the frequency in Megahertz that you want to listen to. This will give you the total inches you will need for each leg of the antenna.
For example if you wanted to listen to something on the frequency of 14.00 MHz then you would divide 468 by 14 which equals 454 inches. You can also divide that amount by 12 to get the number of feet which may be easier to work with. In this case, it would be 37.8 feet. Now divide that by two and you will have the length that you would need to make up the legs of your antenna (18.9’). The higher you go in frequency, the less wire you will need. To make the antenna, hang one end of the antenna wire in the top of a nearby tree and connect the center wire of your coax to it. Then you will want to lay 4 more pieces the same length on the ground facing the four directions away from the vertical wire and attach them to the outer shield on your coax wire. Connect the other end of the coax to your radio and you should be good to go.
There are also many antennas’ that are designed to be portable and small enough to carry in your pack, as well. Just look on the internet and you can find some that are already built, or you can get the plans and build one yourself. The idea of using thin wire is nothing new and has been around as long as ham radio has. The thing is that when it is hung in the trees, it all but completely disappears. Unless someone runs into it, they’re not likely to even know it’s there.
You may also think of a ham radio as being very large. They were at one point in time,but not any more. Now, they can be as small as a book and do a lot more than the old ones could. There are many brands and sizes out there, so choose the one that is right for you.
Now let’s talk a minute about hand-held communications. Let’s face it; walking around with a hand-held radio pressed to your ear isn’t very stealthy either. Fortunately you don’t have to anymore. Have you ever watched one of those shows where the Secret Service guy has the little clear wire coming out of his collar to hear his radio with? Well, now they make several brands of them and they will fit most small hand-held radio that’s sold now. They also make a throat microphone that works pretty well also. All of these are available online from Amazon, as well as other vendors. They are small and easy to conceal. The best part, is that the hand-held radios and all of their accessories are pretty inexpensive. They would make a great addition to your preps and helps knowing that you and your family will be able to communicate with the world, even after the cell towers go down.
I do, however, suggest that you take the time now to get your Ham radio license before it all falls apart. Not that you will need a license once it does, but rather to get used to using your equipment now and learning which frequencies to use whether you want to talk around the world or across town. Some are much more suited to different activities than others. It will also give you a chance to make outside contacts which may be in a different part of the US than you or maybe in another country all together.
These contacts, will be the ones you will need to rely on when the time comes and you will want to know who you can trust. The more you learn and practice, the more you will see just how important it can be to your survival.
Well I guess that is it for today and I hope you have found this post helpful? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask because I am always glad to answer questions. Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared. God Save America!