Radio Communication After a DisasterMost of us are reliant on our cell phones, land line phones, VOIP phones or internet for all of our communication. Most cell phone towers are already over subscribed. The companies count on the fact that everyone won't be on the phone at the same time. If there's a local disaster or emergency the towers and phone lines, in those areas are JAMMED up tight. Can you imagine how it would be after a major disaster or when SHTF? Even if the cellular network is still up, it make take hours of constant trying to get calls in our out. Another consideration to keep in mind, if the area you are in goes "Grid Down", most phone companies only have enough generator fuel for 2 or 3 days. You can't count on publicly provided communications, which means you need to provide your own method of communication, and start practice using them now!
Radio Communication Options:What our the options for radio communications?
- CB radios
- FRS / GMRS Radios
- MURS Radios
- HAM Radios
CB RadiosCB Radios will likely be the unsung heroes after SHTF. They can transmit and receive from a mile or two up to 20 miles (depending on antenna) and in some circumstances much much further. CB's are readily available, can be found laying unused in many garages and basements, and are very simple to use. Even if you've never seen or touched a CB radio before, you could pick one up and be communicating in a matter of seconds. I expect the 40 channels (and sidebands) will be widely used for communications immediately following a disaster or grid down situation. This means that you'll be able to get plenty of recon and local news reports from other folks, using CBs in your area, just by listening. This alone make the CB radio a must have! CBs are available in Base station, portable and automobile version or the even more portable handheld CB radio.
FRS/GMRS RadiosFRS and GMRS Radios are convenient, readily available, you probably already have some, Range can be up to 2 miles with line of sight (so I hear, I've never gotten that kind of range). These are so common that, while handy, I expect these will also be heavily used, maybe to the point of way to much to be useful. How common are these radios? They are available at sporting goods stores and big box stores. I even found a pair of Hello Kitty FRS/GMRS Radios for my daughters (not everything prepper related has to be camouflage, have some fun).
MURS RadioVery convenient, readily available, less common than the other options, Communications range exceeds GMRS/FRS radios and are ideal for outdoor activities. I think these would be your best bet for non-HAM licensed individuals, families or groups. Another really nice set of features for the MURS band:
- Infrared sensors for vehicle and pedestrian traffic and magnetic probe sensors, for vehicle only detection, can be combined in one system.
- Sensors can be added to the system at any time. Build out your security one piece at a time or add in new zones when you need them. Each sensor has a unique voice alert message so you know which one was tripped.
- Long range allows for the monitoring of remote buildings and areas. External antennas can be added to increase range if needed.