If you have ever experienced the grid going down, then you would know that the communication network happens to be the first victim. No internet, no cellphones and no landlines. All these can be caused by nature or someone just cutting the main fiber cable hence cutting you from the rest of the world. However, there are several communication devices you can use to get in touch with those people who are important to you and even call for help.
- The CB Radio
Having a CB radio might seem like something that would be relevant in the 70’s, however this device is still available. The mobile unit happens to be the common type of a CB radio. It’s normally installed in a motor vehicle and with a perfect antennae it can be very suitable. The handheld CB radio. Operating a CB radio is very easy and you don’t require a license, its coverage is quite impressive especially in the rural areas. Though the range and power of the CB radio have legal limitations. Before you purchase one, check on how active the CB radio is being used in the area. Apart from that it’s cheap, and has a very minimal technical barrier.
- The FRS/GMRS
The FRS is a family radio service while the GMRS is the general mobile radio services. The two radios use the UHF frequencies, hence they have limited range. The FRS can be used without any licenses. Needs fixed antennae and cannot transmit more than ½ a watt. If you are in a group and within a short range, these radios will be ideal for communication. Though you can’t use privacy codes when communicating with these radios. The GMRS however, will need a license before you start using it, the license costs around $70 for a period of 5 years. It’s more powerful transmitting as much as 50 watts, with a range of between 1.5 miles to 3 miles. You can use a few extra FRS frequencies since there are several channels that tend to overlap the FRS. Most radios have been constructed to have inbuilt GMRS and FRS, though it’s good to check the range of the radio before buying.
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- The Satellite Phones
The satellite phones are things every Prepper should have if they want to enjoy uninterrupted off the grid communication. They are very reliable, only if there is no interruption of the satellites. They are able to send short text messages and one’s location. They are very affordable in terms of cost and service. You have only 160 characters to use when sending your message, which can be very frustrating. Some of the satellite phones are even able to send voice messages and make voice calls. They are very reliable and the market has several types and brands that will suit your personal preference and need.
- The GoTenna
This little device is attached to the smart phone, hence allowing the smartphone to create a short range network that can be used for communication. Depending on the terrain you are in, the range varies from ½ a mile to several more miles. With this tiny device, you don’t need the cell tower to make any calls and/or send texts. However, it will be more cost effective if you get the radios (FRS/GMRS) and be able to enjoy a better range. But if you are looking for off the grid private communication, then a GoTenna will be your communication companion.
- The Ham Radio
This is a tough topic to go over. Since the ham radio covers a wide range of communication devices from handheld devices, mobile units to a fully-featured station based communication device. Using a ham radio will require some serious training. This means it is far from being affordable. It’s a radio service that is licensed, so be prepared for licensing exams, serious expenses. Luckily, there are other cheaper options which offer easy access to most types of radio communication (at a cheaper cost). Though you will still need to learn how to use the device.
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During an emergency, you will have several options you can use to communicate. Some are rudimentary some are more modern with plenty of technological advancements. They are varied when it comes to cost, some are very expensive, while some can be deemed to be free. As a Prepper it’s good to have a range of emergency communication strategies. Since most of these devices are portable, why not have three or four just for emergency. What you must probably always have with you is radio and/or a satellite phone. Take some time to study the environment and situation around, this will give a clear directive on how to equip yourself.