As you prepare for the zombie apocalypse or some other natural disaster, most people cover all the basic needs and yet still neglect one important aspect of prepping, mainly communications. Sure, they may have a pile of ham radio gear all setup and ready to go, but if you aren’t sure on how to use the radio gear or what frequencies you need to communicate with others you are going to be lost. That is where Amateur radio comes in.
Ham radio operators.
ham radio operators have been around and using radio equipment for a long time now. Amateur radio operators are constantly checking their equipment and maintaining communications while making improvements to their system. They have groups of operators that work together to improve their stations, as well as setting up emergency stations during disasters.
Get your radio gear NOW and familiarize yourself with it.
One issue I used to see a lot when I was in the local fire department were firefighters that really didn’t know how to use the radio properly. Sure, they could press the Push To Talk (PTT) and transmit, but a lot of the times the operator would hold the radio sideways while talking into it at arms length. The proper way is to hold the radio with the antenna pointing up and about an inch away from the Microphone. They were always frustrated when they couldn’t communicate with dispatch.
For a prepper, communications with your own group of like minded people, or just the outside world is important. You would be well advised to buy radio gear, get your license now, and start using it as soon as possible, so that you are able to use your radio in times of an emergency. Know all the features and have a way to charge it up in case of extended power outages. Know how to program it as needed when away from home base so that you can quickly add frequencies. Make sure the radio has a good battery with at least 1800 Mah of use. Know what buttons do what, and know what frequencies you need to use to communicate with others.
Another neat feature to look for when deciding on which radio is right for you is the capability of extended transmit and receive so that you can monitor police and fire departments and the Family Radio service (FRS). The Baofeng is a good example of the type of radio needed. It has extended transmit as well as receive from 108-180 MHZ and 400-470 MHZ. You can also listen to your favorite FM broadcast station for emergency messages that may be broadcast.
One other feature I would like to mention is the dual receive of the Baofeng UV-5ra dual band radio. This means that you can monitor two stations on different frequencies at the same time, such as your local simplex frequency for 2M ham radio use AND one of the FRS radio channels. Or you could monitor the local police frequency and relay messages to your group. The possibilities are endless.
So to cut it short the top points would be:
- Know how to use your radio.
- Know what frequencies you can and can’t use.
- Know how and when to transmit.
- Get your ham radio license.
- Purchase and use a speaker microphone.
One last thing I would like to mention is to use a speaker microphone whenever possible with your radio equipment. The speaker microphone will allow you to hold the radio above your head and increase the distance that you can cover, and establish radio communications. Remember, most VHF/UHF radio gear is line of sight, meaning that if their are any hills or trees between you and who you want to communicate with, the radio signal will be very poor at best. An aftermarket antenna with a higher output will help as well.
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And remember, in an emergency if you aren’t prepared you’re already gone.