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Friday, February 6, 2009

Alternative Means of Communication

How many of you already have an alternative means of communication?

Other than smoke signals, during a disaster situation, do you have another means of outside communication? Even if you have cell-phone coverage at home, can you reliably count on that to communicate with the outside world during a disaster situation? Cold weather is one thing, but a national/regional disaster is an entirely different topic: even here in Florida, on 9/11/01, did you have reliable cell-phone service? I had limited and much interrupted cell phone service, from a national event localized to the Northeastern portion of the country. What happens when/if trouble loams closer? The simplest and most cost efficient method of outside communication would be a Citizens Band (CB) radio. CBs are cheap and easy to use, not to mention, most of them run on 12 Volt power. Those walky-talkies are convenient as well, for very short range communications with neighbors and such, but if you want information sent out on a broader area, you should consider purchasing a CB radio as part of your preps. Then, once you've that basic communications established, start considering becoming a licensed amateur radio operator (HAM). A Technicians license for HAM radio communications is rather simple to acquire, and the equipment, thanks to sites such as eBay, is easily attainable. Though you no longer need to know .- A, .- A, -.. B, -.. B, -.-. C, -.-. C (morse code), you do need some basic radio wave propogation theory for antennae adjustment, and familiarization with FCC regulations in order to be able to broadcast with any ummph over the airwaves. A Technicians license will give you the required knowledge, and it's also fun and informative to have a Short Wave, AM, SSB, or other alternative type of radio reception during a crisis. If you consider the ripple effects of national/regional/local emergencies, it'd be easy to consider that Television, cell-phone, or any other mediums requiring commercial power might not be available, with your own independent means of communication with the outside world, you could not only keep up with what's going on 'out there', but also transmit or retransmit information in a GLOBAL network. A CB radio will get you 'out there' several miles, and allow almost 'unlimited' re-transmittal of a message, not to mention that channel 9 is 'suppose to be' monitored by local emergency assistance personnel as well; however, a HAM station will let you communicate with Uganda, Africa with the right antennae array, and skip conditions, should you so desire. Just something to consider, when you consider preparations.

BTW, thanks again to the Florida Preppers Network moderator for allowing me to post to this forum. I also maintain a personal blog @ Ewe Remembered if you'd like to venture over and find out more about me and my experiences and current preps.



Mamma Bear said...

Ewe...Is there a Ham book for Dummies? We have discussed getting one but don't have the slightest idea where to start. Other than on a movie, I have never seen one. When my little brother was in the Gulf War a ham operator passed my little brother through so he could talk to my Mom on the phone. We thought that was pretty cool!

You are right though. We sure do need a way to keep in touch. Cell phones may work but due to technology they are no longer safe. I hate CB's (but that is just me) but I sure would be interested in the other..

The Scavenger said...

Ewe, great post and I am happy to you taking part in Florida Preppers Network. I know you will be a valuable asset to them. Good job on your first post here too. Guess I better get my CB hooked up in the Jeep. Thanks buddy.


Albert A Rasch said...

Great post and good information. CBs are inexpensive commo devises with good range. SW is even better, and when used in groups or chains, can get a message to the other side of the world!

Glad to find this site!

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

jne0493 said...

Mamma Bear,
There are several sites on the internet with 'Short Cuts', and study material for the HAM operators courses/license test (There are 3 total, for the full blown license). I couldn't recommend any one in particular. I got my license eons ago while I was in the Special Forces communications course in Ft. Bragg in 87/88. I had to learn morse code and radio wave propogation anyhow, so, it was just a natural progression.

The Scavenger,
That's for the comment, I've now figured out how to view/reply (I think), and thanks for telling me about the Florida site. Be sure and check out the pics/progress on my chicken coop at my blog.

Thanks for the positive comment. Though I don't talk on them much, I've aways had a CB, like I said, I'd like to get a SW radio again, but just haven't pursued it much. The Scavenger above has a nice ole tyme SW radio I know, and it's interesting just to sit and listen to it in the evenings...


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