Do you think you’ll be able to pick up your cell phone and call for help in an emergency situation or when SHTF? Take hurrican Katrina for instance, 70% of all cell towers were out for many days when the storm hits.
How about the Boston marathon when the bomb goes off? So many were trying to dial for help on their cell phones that the network was left paralysed.
The hard truth is your cell phone is NOT reliable in times of emergency. Period.
That is why so many preppers go for a HAM radio as their primary means of communication during SHTF.
Why A Ham Radio For Preppers
Being able to communicate in an emergency is a must have if you want to be able to protect yourself and your family when SHTF.
As a Survivalists or Preppers as we’re being called now, we cannot simply grab a cheap handheld GMRS/FRS radio from Walmart and consider comms take care of.
You know the ones I’m talking about don’t you? Those little plastic things you buy for twenty bucks from the sporting goods section. Sure they’re fine as a toy for your kid, but I don’t know why people would be ok with one of those if their lives are going to depend on it.
If you do decide to go for the cheap handheld radio option, then whatever radio you use, please take them out and use them in a practical test environment and see how far they get you. I imagine that most of you would be utterly disappointed at their performance and you would rethink your plan to rely on them in an SHTF situation.
What you need is a ham radio that is suitable for preppers.
The Reasons For A Ham Radio
In ham radio, there are radio clubs out there which specialize in prepping & survivalist stuff, and there’s a huge network of people to help you if you get stuck.
The main reason you should opt for a ham radio is that they are about 10 times more powerful than these handheld ‘toy radios’ that you see in sporting goods stores. Ham radios also have a removable antenna which means we interchange the antenna should we need something a little more powerful. For example, a telescopic antenna that’s a little over three feet long gets me many times the range of the standard rubber duck antenna.
Now, when it comes to comms in an emergency, you want to be able to communicate with your family, friends, neighbors or prepper community. No matter the distance.
It is perfectly legal to modify your radio to transmit outside of amateur radio bands.
Simply put, my radio will now be able to talk to a lot more people than it used to when I first bought it. These radios when modded can talk to just about everyone from 136 megahertz to 174 in VHF and up in UHF from 420 to 470.
That is a heck of a lot of bandwidth and most commercial radios are in one of those two bands.
So just to clarify, I’m not advocating breaking the law doing what I just mentioned, it could, in fact, be illegal in your state, however, there is a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Legalities of Ham Radio Use in an Emergency
The FCC has a rule that in the event of an emergency you are allowed to do anything you need to do, in order to get help.
Basically, you can do whatever you want with these radios and if you know what you’re doing you can actually get into police repeaters and Fire Department repeaters etc. I would only advocate this in an emergency and to listen only mode, don’t be stupid and mess with people’s lives of course.
It will, hands down, be the best communications tool you can have and it beats a cell phone as cell phones likely won’t work. I’ve been in many situations where they do not work both caused by natural disaster and actually mostly caused by people panicking and overloading the cell phone system.
So these ham radios are very important, if you’re going to spend the money on radios where your life is going to depend on it, maybe the lives of your family, then do not spend twenty dollars for a pair of cheap mini child junk radios.
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