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Radio Communication After a Disaster

radio communication after a disasterWhat’s your plan for radio communication after a disaster? You’d better make a plan now!

Radio Communication After a Disaster

Most 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 Radios

CB 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 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 Radio

Very 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.

So you can have a MURS security perimeter setup around your home, property, farm, ranch or retreat. Bonus points for amazing!

HAM Radio

Requires licensing via a test. Amateur Radio has a great following and good community of operators.

Ham Radio gear used to be very expensive and that kept many people off the air, but with the introduction of the Baofeng radios, you can get a decent ham radio for around $30. You will pay a bit more for one that is waterproof or has extra power ($50ish)

Go find a local HAM group and make friends, study then take your license tests.

If you want to get your HAM radio license, then head over to http://qrz.com/hamtest and create an account (FREE). They have practice exams that use the real questions, so when you walk in to take your HAM radio exam, you won’t have any surprises. I got my HAM technician license last year and it’s opened up a whole new world of communications and friends!

Ham Radio is going to be the most reliable solution for short and long range communication.

AM/FM Radio

You’ll also want a tiny, battery-powered AM/FM radio. This will be your keyhole to announcement, news and weather. Even if you’re hiding out or on the run, you’ll want to know what’s going on in the rest of the world.

You need to have reliable Radio Communication After a Disaster, so this is the time to solidify your choices for post SHTF communications. If the Shizzle hits the fan, you may not have another choice.


See our other Communication and Radio Posts:

Satellite Communications with Budget Ham Radios

Budget Ham Radio – Reliable and cheap

Budget Ham Radio – Part 2: The Prequal

HAM Radio Communications Gear

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