A handheld radio may be the only way to keep in touch with the rest of the world when a disaster strikes or when SHTF. In these situations, communication is tantamount to your survival.
How to Extend the Range on a Mobile Handheld Radio
This is especially true when you have chosen to bug out in a location where there are no cellular towers nearby. That is, if cellular networks are still operational.
Handheld radios, walkie talkies, etc. are methods of radio communication, and however primitive and outdated they may seem in this high-tech digital world, the good thing about them is that they do not depend on servers or telephone networks in order to work.
If these devices have any weakness, it would be their range and of course their dependence on electrical energy. Just like your smartphone, the battery of a handheld radio also needs to be charged. For the full post, click here.
The Ten Cent Modification You Can Do to Double Your Radio’s Range
Some things in life you can never have too much of. But for this article, we’ll concentrate just on radio range/efficiency!
There are many ways to boost the range of your two-way radios. We write about this topic regularly (please see our complete section on communication related topics to access these articles) and basically, the suggestions we offer fall into one of two categories – either getting a more powerful radio transmitter and more sensitive radio receiver, or boosting the effectiveness of your antenna.
Between these two choices, improving the effectiveness of your antenna is always the better approach. More powerful transmitters and more sensitive receivers are, of course, more expensive than standard grade units, and a more powerful transmitter is also going to need much more power to operate – chewing through batteries maybe ten times faster, and/or becoming a power-hog when you’re off-grid and power is precious and limited.
One more important issue – the more powerful your signal, the further it goes, and the greater the number of people who might receive it. This is seldom a good thing, particularly when you are trying to keep a low profile.
This is why our focus is not just on greater transmitting power, but also on better overall efficiency of the antenna so it can receive weaker signals more clearly, and – with our radios – if we improve our antenna, we often then cut back on our transmit power, keeping it at the minimum needed for the range we require.
Enough introduction. By now, you’re probably keen to understand the 10¢ device and how it can double your radio range. Actually, we may have misstated the truth – the device might cost you less than 10¢!
How a Piece of Wire Can Double Your Radio Range
This device is simply a piece of wire which dangles down off your hand-held radio transceiver. That sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it, and a bit like the ‘patch’ devices that used to be sold to gullible fools to add to their cell phones, with claims either that they would magically filter out harmful radiation or boost the phone’s range or something.
Despite its weak points, a handheld radio is one of the most reliable methods of communication in emergency situations. Walkie talkies can be counted on when you are not too far from the other party.
Handhelds with external antennas can reach farther as long as there are repeaters that are still working.
A handheld radio transceiver is a solid alternative to your smartphone when things go wrong. Radio communications are not shut down as quickly as cell towers are when there is a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other worst case scenario.
This is not to say that we should not use cellphones, smartphones, tablets or notebooks when faced with crisis situations. The point is that as preppers, we should also have another way of calling your family, friends or for help when SHTF. The handheld radio should not be left out.