In the aftermath of an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, tsunami, landslide or other natural disaster, or even an act of terrorism or some other catastrophic man-made event, communication plays a vital role in man’s survival.
Prepping With A HAM Radio
You may have secured your family in a safe area and your bug out bags have proved useful, but you are going to need contact with other survivors and of course help would be more than welcome.
Cellphones will not work when the cellphone facilities are torn down; the same is true with land-line phones. It would also be logical to assume that power lines are going to be down, as well as the internet in the affected area. This is where amateur or HAM radio comes in.
A HAM radio can run on a portable generator or even a car battery, and it doesn’t depend on cell phone signals to be able to communicate with other users. The bottom line is that if you have a HAM radio, chances are high that you will be able to find and get help.
If you are new to the idea of HAM radios (as they have become obsolete since the advent of the cell phone and the internet), they made rescue operations during Hurricane Katrina and the Sichuan and Haiti earthquakes faster and more efficient. So you can imagine what one could do for you. Click here to learn more about prepping with HAM radios:
A Prepper’s First HAM Station
Being amateur radio operators and a preppers, we tend to share a little more about HAM radio than most emergency preparedness pages. Just search our site with the word “HAM” and you will find a plethora of articles on amateur radio, better yet, just click here. We’ve noticed that there has been some confusion as to what types of equipment you need to talk to whom, and how far each radio can communicate. This is to be expected from folks on the outside of the hobby looking in as things can get somewhat complicated.
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The most popular HAM radio at the moment seems to be the Baofeng UV-5R. Why? Because it is the least expensive way to get into amateur radio. For less than $35, you can have basic, local communications. The Baofeng is what it is, a very inexpensive radio, and it has it’s limitations. It isn’t much to do with the radio, more so the bands that it operates on. We say 2 meters and 70 centimeters in HAMspeak. What we are referring to are the frequencies on which it operates. 2 Meters and 70 centimeters, or 2M and 70cm, are what we call “line of sight” frequencies. These frequencies are limited by the curvature of the earth and interference from trees, buildings, hills, etc. The Boafeng is great for communicating person to person but the real world range is limited to just a few miles in this configuration. Baofeng’s are also limited by their output power. At 5 watts or less, they don’t have a lot of “punch”. While you will never talk through the earth, a little more power can overcome other forms of obstructions.
Contact with the outside world is made possible by amateur radio. This is why we recommend having a handheld in your bug out bag so that you can be ready whenever disaster strikes.
Investing in a communications station or radio base for your home would also be a wise decision as it is more powerful and has a longer reach compared to a handheld. Just remember to comply with the regulations and do a little studying to pass the test and get a license.
You can have all the necessary tools and skills to survive anything that comes your way and self-sufficiency may be your by-word, but communication through HAM radio will make you realize that when disaster strikes or when the EOTW comes, we still need each other to survive.
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