Hello my friend and welcome back! In today’s post, we are going to look at survival communications and what the frugal Prepper should know about them. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a top-notch communications setup. It can be easy and inexpensive if you know how. Grab a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.
So what exactly do I mean by “Survival Communications”? It’s simple really; it is what you will need to stay as informed as possible in the event of an emergency. While there are many options available on the market today, we are going to look at some of the least expensive options out there and just what you will need to stay informed. Let’s start with the scenario that the US has been attacked and you have had to bug out and go to your retreat in the hills. While this could be any scenario, we will use this one because it is rather generic.
OK, so we have just been attacked and the internet is down and all of the TV stations have been taken over by the Emergency broadcast service. As we all know, this will not produce any real useful information that you can use to access the current situation. So where exactly do you get information that you can use in this situation? The simple answer is Radio, but not the regular radio systems that you are used to hearing in your car. No, I am talking about public radio such as short wave and ham radio along with CB radios to get your information. All of these can be great sources of information and you really do not need to spend a fortune to put together a system that will work for you in this situation.
Let’s start with Amateur radio, also known as Ham Radio. There are many hand-held and car mounted versions available. For example, the Baofeng UV-5R is a hand-held radio that covers 2 of the popular Ham radio bands and you can get one on Amazon.com for as little as $26, at the time of this writing. It has a power output of 5 watts which is plenty for local information. There is also the Baofeng BF-F9 V2 TP which has a power output of about 8 watts and sells for $55. They are hand-held radios that are very tough and would serve you well in this situation. If you want something that you can mount in your car or put in your house then you may want to consider the Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Transceiver. It sells on Amazon for around $150 and has an output of 65 watts. All of these are great choices for your survival coms package. Just remember that you will need a Ham Radio license to transmit on these in non-emergency times, but not to just listen to them.
What about the other Ham Radio bands? I have a solution for that as well. If you do not want to invest the money in buying a HF (High Frequency) Transceiver you could look at getting just a receiver that will let you listen, but not transmit. This is fine because in an emergency, you will be more interested in hearing what is going on than talking about it. In this category, there are a couple of choices. There is the AM/FM short wave receivers which also usually cover air traffic as well can be purchased for around $140, but there is even a cheaper way to go and that is by using an SDR Radio (Software Defined Radio) which uses a laptop or desktop computer to listen to the HV radio signals. (No internet required). These can be purchased for as little as $20 and a really good one is about $90. These connect to your computer using a USB connection and software on your computer. These are excellent choices for your survival preps because they are small and light weight and will take up little space in your bug out bag. By using these and a simple antenna, and it can be plugged into your generator if there is no power, you will be able to hear the world and see for yourself what is really happening around you in real-time.
The last piece of your communications package is the CB radio. These can be purchased very cheaply and are very common. They run from around $40 to up around $100 for one with single side band on it. The advantage of having one of these around is that so many people have them and you can learn a lot about what is going on in your local area with other people. Just remember that they are only good for local area communications and you will not be able to hear very far with them.
Buy at least one or all 3 of these kinds of radios (Ham, Shortwave, and CB radios) to your survival comms, you should be giving yourself the best chance for learning what is happening and be much better informed than many other people around you. You could actually add one of each and stay below $100 for the entire package. If you purchase them a few at a time it won’t be so hard on your prepping budget and you will have comms for whatever emergency comes your way. Well, that is it for today and I hope you have enjoyed our little chat. Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared!