A typical Prepper Communications Setup.

Hello, my friend and welcome back!  After reading about what is going on in Venezuela, I can’t help but think how a good comms setup would go a long way in making the situation safer and more bearable.  As a licensed Amateur Radio Operator here in the US, I thought I would share what I have in my setup and just what you will want to have in yours.  Now grab a cup of coffee and have a seat, my friend, while we visit.

Communications is one key area that we can all agree on as a must have for your preps.  We will need to be able to communicate not only with other members of our party or group but with the outside world to know what is going on without Government intervention or propaganda.  Amateur radio is truly one of the last and most important areas available to us, that the Government will not be able to controlof in the event of an SHTF event.

While the Government will most certainly be needing the help of Amateur Radio Operators in most disasters, I don’t think it will be the case in an SHTF situation.  The Government needs to control the flow of information in order to propagate their version of things and will do what they can to control it when it all goes to crap.  Trying to obtain and learn to use these radios after SHTF is a bad move, as you would have no idea who to trust and what frequencies to monitor.  There are a lot of frequencies and without training, you would have no idea where to look.

The intelligent Prepper will buy and learn to use these radios now, but how do you know what you will need to be prepared?  Here is a short list of types of radios that you will need and why.  There are basically three types of radios you will need to communicate after SHTF, and they are “HF”, “VHF”, and “UHF”.

RADIOS:

  • “HF” (High Frequency) radios are radios which will allow you to operate on the 1.4 to 54 Mhz. frequency range.  Not all of these frequencies are available, but it is the range that makes up the “HF” band.  These radios are great for talking long distances such as state to state and country to country.  With these, you can hear what is going on all over the world which makes them vital to long-term survival.  I keep 2 separate HF Radios in my comms room for just this type of situation.
  • “VHF” (Very High Frequency) which operate between 136-174 MHz are radios which are intended for more local communications compared to “HF” signals as most of these have a range of about 5 miles on the flat ground unless you are using a repeater which is a radio placed in a high location that will pick up your transmission and retransmit it, which changes your range dramatically.  I have seen VHF signals travel hundreds of miles when using a repeater and the conditions are just right.   I keep a mobile unit in my vehicle and have several hand-held radios in my preps such as the BaoFeng UV-5R, 5-watt radio and the Baofeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-watt radio.  These are my go-to radios for local comms with my group.  Both of these radios cover both “VHF” and “UHF” frequencies which makes them very handy to have.  Their cost ranges from about $25.00 top for the UV-5R to about $65 for the BF-F8hp.  The higher the power output of the further the signal will travel which is why many people have mobile VHF and UHF radios in their comms shack.  These offer up to 100 wats output and can reach further than the handheld.  I have about 10 of these that I keep most of these in a fariday cage for safety.
  • “UHF” Radios are primarily used for short distances in areas with a lot of obstruction between you and the person you are trying to contact. They operate on frequencies from 400-512 MHz These are ideal for indoor use where there are walls and other obstructions.  There are Repeaters for these as well but are not as widespread as the VHF Repeaters.  UHF frequencies would work well when sweeping a building or scouting out areas with a lot of hills and trees. Because they use a higher frequency than VHF radios, their signal doesn’t travel as far with the same amount of power.  While the two handhelds mentioned above also have the ability to transmit and receive on both UHF and VHF, you may find a UHF only radio more to your liking as they are pretty cheap and come with fewer features than the ones above.  An example of this is the Baofeng BF_888S or the Retevis RT21 handheld radios which can be purchased singly or in groups for a very reasonable price. At the time of this writing, the Retevis RT21 is on sale on Amazon 10 for $125.00 which is an awesome buy if you still need to purchase radios for your group.  I keep about 10 of these in my faraday cage as backup.
  • Another radio to consider having in your Comms Shack is a good Police scanner.  While you can’t transmit with them, they open up a whole new range of information that you can use.  These can be a little pricy for a good one, but well worth the investment.  While many agencies will in all likely hood change the frequencies that would normally use in an SHTF situation, many will not.  In an SHTF situation, any information you can be vital to your survival.

There is so much that I would like to cover on this subject, but I’m afraid there just isn’t enough room.

Ham radio doesn’t need to be expensive and having the radios you will need to survive, when the time comes, will be well worth the little you spend.   If you doubt this, just ask the people in Venezuela who are currently going through an extended blackout with no information coming from their government as to when it will end.

Amateur Radios save lives, without a doubt and are something you must have in your preps if you are serious about surviving SHTF.  Prepare now and you won’t be sorry, who knows, you may even decide you’re like Amature Radio.  Well, that’s it for today my friend, and I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared.  God Bless America!

-Sarge-

Sarge

Prepper, Patriot, and Proud U.S. ARMY Veteran.

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4 Responses

  1. Brandon says:

    Great post, I just found your site and it has great content. I have been thinking about needing more then an emergency crank radio and this post really hit that on the head. Any suggestions for an inexpensive HF setup. I don’t really need to transmit but I would like to just start by listening in and getting comfortable with the set up. Thank you

    • Sarge says:

      Brandon,

      I’m glad to hear you’re interested in Ham Radio, it’s a wonderful addition to your preps. You’re starting out the same way I did and I now have a General class license. (K5IVR) If you’re looking for a good used HF Radio, most Ham radio clubs will have one they will loan you while you decide if it’s something you want to get involved in. You won’t be able to transmit until you get a license, but you can learn a lot by just listening and local Ham Radio Clubs will are full of friendly people who will go out of their way to help you get started and learn this great hobby. Just look on the internet for your local club and attend a meeting. You won’t be sorry you did. 🙂 Best of luck to you and if I can be of any assistance, please let me know.
      -Sarge-

  2. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    You ain’t gonna like what I’m bout to say but it’s the truth as I see it:
    “Amateur radio is truly one of the last and most important areas available to us, that the Government will not be able to controlof in the event of an SHTF event.“
    Um they control it now AND y’all help them by telling on anyone and everyone who isn’t government licensed or runs too much power or anything else y’all deem bad.
    Y’all run to the government quicker than anything I’ve ever seen.

    • Sarge says:

      Matt,
      I’m not quite sure what you’re saying? If you mean that the Government will try to shut down all of the Amateur radio frequencies in an SHTF situation, then you are probably right. Now, having said that, I seriously doubt they will be able to shut them all down. I would expect them to use radio triangulation to try to shut down those they can, but I really don’t see them having much success at that either and the smart Prepper will transmit from a different place each time and use a private repeater to isolate his real position. The funny thing is that according to the FCC, in an emergency, licensed users are to use any frequency necessary to get the message through. Yes, I’m well aware that the President can change that if he decides, but he will never be able to completely stop it. Your remarks just go to show the importance of having strategic alliances with other Preppers in the Amateur radio world.
      -Sarge-