Part 2: Creating your own Emergency Communications Center for your Bug Out Location.

Hello my friend and welcome back! In part 2 of this post, we are going to look at camp communications, as well as what frequencies and websites you will want to monitor.  Grab a cup of coffee, my friend and have a seat while we visit.

Well, let’s start today with camp communications for talking to other members of your group who are not present in the Communications center all the time. You are going to need the ability to let others know if you hear something that may affect you.   For this, I strongly recommend using the Baofeng UV-5R  hand-held radios.  They are cheap, but built to last.  I have several of these myself and believe me, they are damn near indestructible.  They run about $25.00 each on Amazon at the time of this writing.  They have a 5 watt output they say, but I find it’s more like 4 watts myself.

These are important because if you have someone on lookout, they need to be able to warn you without giving their location away. You can download free software HERE to program them and they cover both VHF (2 meter) and UHF (70 centimeters) radio bands.  You will also need a programming cable for them and it just doesn’t pay to get the cheap ones. Spend a few extra bucks and get a good one. You will be glad you did.

Now let’s talk about software and websites. To program the Baofeng radios, you will want to download a program on the internet called “CHIRP”.  It’s free and if you do a quick search for it, it’s easy to find.  Install it on your computer and connect the cable then connect the other end of the cable to the radio.  Just follow the directions in the software to program all the frequencies you need into the radio.

Another program you are going to want to add to your computer is “Echolink”. This is a great little program that allows you to connect to radio repeaters all over the world and talk over the airwaves using just your computer.  It’s a great little website and the software is a critical one to have in the event of SHTF and you need to communicate to someone in other parts of the US of world.  Having it is literally a game changer.

Winlink is another piece of software you are going to want to have on a computer because it uses radios to send and receive Email. This allows you to send and get emails even when the internet is down.  To find out more about it, a quick search on the internet should help you find what you need to get started using it.

As for frequencies you are going to want to monitor, there are a lot of them, and which ones you decide to use is completely up to you. Here are just a few:

Well, I had hope to make this a two-part post, but I just feel like I need to add a third part to cover everything I think you will need to set up you own EOC at your Bug Out Location.

With that I will say I hope you are enjoying this post and I will see you back here tomorrow for the third and final part of this post.  Until then, please stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared.  God Bless America!


2 thoughts on “Part 2: Creating your own Emergency Communications Center for your Bug Out Location.”

  1. Great article, as always. With your permission, I have several comments that might expand reader knowledge regarding your recommended radio (which is definitely a good choice), as well as the frequency/channel assignments contained in your list.

    To begin, the dual band Baofeng UV-5R has a VHF frequency range assignment of 136-174 MHz, while the UHF range is 400-480 MHz. The radio has two RF power capabilities: 1 watt and 4 watts. I mention this only because Baofeng also manufactures another model known as the BF-F9 V2+. This model provides a larger UHF frequency range of 400-520 MHz, and also features RF output power of 1 watt, 4 watts and 7 watt (UHF) or 8 watts (VHF). Otherwise, these two models are functionally identical in technical features, programming and operating modes.

    Are these differences important? Well, the additional 40 MHz available on the UFH band of the BF-F9 V2+
    is a huge amount of frequency spectrum that can potentially be put to use in a SHTF situation. The spectrum between 480-520 MHz is assigned by the FCC primarily to Maritime Mobile, as well as some aeronautical radio navigation. If the world goes sideways, ships aren’t moving and aircraft aren’t flying, this additional spectrum could be very useful.

    Next, it is important to note that twelve of the frequencies listed on the Prepper & Survivalist SHTF list are outside the range of the Baofeng UV-5R and BF-F9 V2+.In other words, the CB and HAM HF frequencies require the use of different equipment, such as additional handheld units or a broader spectrum base station. Unless you are willing and prepared to carry multiple, inexpensive handheld radios, you will have to make a significantly more substantial investment in equipment in order to communicate with people in the field from your Emergency Communications Center.

    Next, one of the best investments you can make with your Baofeng radios (regardless of model) is to purchase a Nagoya 144/430 MHz dual band handheld antenna for each radio. This is a high gain antenna that boosts power to 10 watts with a standing wave ratio of less than 1.5. The importance is that it will extend your communications range between handheld units and your ECC. Simply remove the antenna that came with the radio and screw in the Nagoya antenna.

    There certainly will be times when you want to limit the range of radio transmission/reception to prevent bad actors from knowing where you are. This can be achieved by using the factory supplied antenna and limiting the RF output. Under other non-hostile circumstances, the Nagoya antenna, combined with the higher RF wattage of the BF-F9 V2+ can significantly extend the communications range between a remote OP and your ECC. Obviously, terrain is always a factor.

    A personal comment on programming of Baofeng radios: In the length of time that it takes to become proficient in the use of the CHIRP software, you can learn how to manually program channel assignments. Baofeng radios allow the programming of up to 128 channels. If you are in a SHTF situation and already on the move, you may very well not have access to a computer and the CHIRP software. In other words, become proficient in manual programming, as well. I have 33 frequency/channels programmed in my radios. If I happened to meet up with a guy named “Sarge” who wanted to communicate with me on a different frequency, I could manually program it into my radios very quickly.

    A very serious suggestion is that everyone have additional supply of Li-ion batteries for their radios. The standard battery provides 1800 mAh of power. You can also purchase a larger capacity Li-ion battery that provides 3800 mAh. My personal experience has shown that I can use the 1800 mAh battery in the field for more than 24 hours (constant on, periodic transmit). I have used the 3800 mAh battery on continuous scan mode for more than 4 days with depleting the charge. Bottom line: always have extra batteries. Always charge them every three or four months to ensure that they are ready to use in an emergency.

    Finally, I am not sure how you or the “RadioMaster” group arrived at the method for classifying certain frequencies as “Prepper or Survivalist,” etc. My personal choice would be to add 144.000 MHz to your list because it is ideally tuned to the Nagoya multi-band antenna. Additionally, I don’t see any reason to exclude all GMRS frequencies, as well as the other four MURS freqs.

    Again, a great article Sarge. Thanks for enlightening the prepper/survival public on this important topic.


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