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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A few days ago, I received an email from Santa. No...really, I did!! lol Santa from West Virginia suggested that we do a post on Emergency Communications. Since this is a very important topic and I have zero experience, Santa graciously offered to do a post for us! Yay!! If you have any questions, Santa can be reached at Thank you so much for this!!!

“Emergency communication”
I wanted to see what the thoughts would be from our neighbors to the North on this subject. I have only recently been following this blog site and have been amazed with all the great information that people are posting. The one thing that seems to get very little attention is how we plan to talk with one another when the land line phones, cell phones and the internet are at best unreliable or non existent. If any of you are getting small groups together to try to survive the hard times ahead (at this point seems inevitable) then you will need to have a plan to be able to communicate with each other. There are several options that you may want to consider and prep for. The three most readily available means to do this would be GMRS/FRS radios, CB radios, and Ham radio. I am not familiar with Canadian law on rather you need Government issued licenses for the different radios, other than Ham radio, that you will need a license for.

Now for the pros and cons.

GMRS/FRS: These are very good for short distances with very little terrain interference. These are probably good for about 1 to 2 miles more or less depending on your location. They are very small and easy to carry with small antennas built in. One draw back to these is their range if you are in a city environment or in the mountains. The other draw back is the need for batteries.

CB radios: These have been around for a very long time and are readily available and fairly cheap at yard sales and flea markets. The range on these are much greater and when combined with a “linear” amplifier even better. (Check your local laws about the amplifier) While I will not advocate using these with a linear, (against the law here but not really enforced) in the past I have done this and have on many occasions talked from here in West Virginia to people in Canada. These radios come in many different forms, from plain 40 channel models to what here in the states are referred to as export radios. These export radios go way outside of the 40 channel cb band both below and above the 27.695 to 27.405 MHZ frequency range of the 40 channel models. Most of these “export” model radios are also more powerful than the standard cb, but also more$$$. These radios come in plug in the wall type for home use. There are also mobile versions normally used in a vehicle that work on 12 VDC power. These can also be used at home with either a power supply or on a solar and battery power setup. The cb type radios also need a much bigger antenna than the GMRS/FRS radios, but if you select the right antenna they are still reasonably portable and easy to set up with limited skills. One big draw back to the standard CB radio here is the foul mouthed people that are heard on the airwaves. (As I stated about the linear even though they are regulated by the Government the rules are rarely if ever enforced)

I saved the best for last.

Ham radio or Amateur radio: This has the best of all types of communication available, but these do require a license to operate and are very well organized and self regulated (No trash talk like the CB) by the people that chose to become ham operators. The entry level in ham radio is fairly cheap to get started in as there are many used radios around. Under the new licensing structure with a little studying anyone should be able to pass the test very easy. As you move up in the 3 levels of licensing here in the states you get more frequency range to use and more powerful radios along with that. While this is a great hobby it can get rather expensive once you move up in the levels of licensing do to the cost of the equipment. As I said though I saved the best for last. I am in no way wealthy but I have managed over the last 2 years to set up a rather nice base station .Since I got my ham license I have talked all around the world with a good mid line radio and well made antennas at home. Almost all of my antennas are home made and most are simple to conceal wire antennas strung up in the trees on my property. This type set up is also very portable if need be and can be setup almost anyplace. My work truck is also set up with radios and again I have made contacts all over the world from it. To give you an example back when I had a 2 hour commute very early in the morning, I would check in to the Early Bird net and there were regulars there everyday from Florida to Canada and from the east coast to the mid west and I was able to talk with most, if not all of those people while driving down the road. WOW it does not get much better than that. I could go on for ever on this topic but I would rather hear from some of our Northern neighbors if anyone is interested in hearing more. My home station at the moment has most of the wire antennas taken down to clear off some timber but they will be back up soon and I hope some of you will read this and maybe get on the airwaves to talk. I did find a few web sites for Canada so if you want to find out more info check them out. Feel free to ask if you have any questions I will do my best to help.
God Bless all from the hills of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

CB or Ham radio?
Ham radio
Ham radio


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