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Communication...

This is a discussion on Communication... within the General Prepper and Survival Talk forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; I am new here so apologize if covered before. In the prepping world, are there any means of communication that fellow preppers plan to use ...

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  1. #1
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    Communication...

    I am new here so apologize if covered before. In the prepping world, are there any means of communication that fellow preppers plan to use or currently use to stay in touch with each other should an apocalyptic event ever occur?
    Renec likes this.

  2. #2
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    Greetings CountryTom, you might be a little late to the party. But welcome anyway. There's plenty of resources both here and out on the www.

    Most don't give out their info online, go figure.
    ďGet your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.Ē Planet of the Apes, 1968

  3. #3
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    Hey there Tom, good to meet you.

    Yes, there are a few options that prepared folks have discussed for maintaining communications.
    First and foremost, HAM radio transmission options are the best method for keeping comms during an emergency or grid down situation. The reason for this is, it requires ZERO infrastructure to function. If you have a radio and your own power source, you can reach out to people and communicate. You can have a full "radio shack" setup, or just a handheld option at the ready. Limitations and benefits apply to each. With a large setup, you can have various methods of communication on hand, and likely a much larger reach, but you sacrifice any mobility. With a handheld, you normally get a simple interface and high mobility, but sacrifice power output and variety in methods.

    Other methods are along the same lines, such as "long-range" walkie-talkies that use the FRS or GMRS frequencies. They are not very long range compared to HAM, but can work for neighborhoods
    CB radio is another quick way to get up and running as well.

    There are a few folks flexing their technological ingenuity by creating mini-networks by way of their mobile phone's wifi functionality. A project called "Serval Mesh" is working on this. It is intended to work as a standalone network, separate from the need for cell towers. Due to the variations in mobile phones, this can lead to some headaches. It is not the first option I would pursue, but handy to have as an alternative.

    I'm including a chart of common frequencies that have been chosen by prepforshtf.com to serve as means of contact among prepared folks.
    I do not vouch for any of these, but figure it can't hurt to spread and get these frequencies out there. I'm not affiliated with the site in any way.
    If anyone has additional freqs that would be in common use, please add them.

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    Mad Trapper, pakrat, Renec and 1 others like this.
    "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." - H. L. Mencken

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  5. #4
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    Hello @CountryTom and welcome.

    As @Kauboy so well laid out, there are a lot of options for SHTF comms and I would advise not to commit hard to one and ignore the others. You may have one neighbor who has an FRS radio and another that talks on his CB. Regrettably, it takes a bit of research to make the choices that are best for you, for whatís used most in your region and for what fits your pocketbook. Thereís also no shortage of exaggerated claims and just plain BS in personal comms advertising.

    When it comes to bang for your buck, Iíll repeat what has already been stated, HAM is the best way to go. If at all possible, locate the nearest Amateur Radio club that offers study groups and testing and go for a HAM Technician License ($15). Even a $25 handheld 2 meter HAM transceiver can easily outdistance FRS or GMRS units in the same price range. The HAM Tech test is not that difficult and the understanding of radio and antenna functionality you gain can be invaluable in a SHTF scenario. It also opens up the world of repeaters and Amateur Radio information networks, which can prove extremely valuable.

    Practically and affordably, I would recommend FRS radios for short range ( about 1 mile or so) comms for family and neighbors (low cost, no license required). GMRS may be marginally better, but with the $70 required for a family GMRS license, you could buy about 4 FRS radios. Donít fall for advertising BS that promotes 30 or 40+ channels and sub-channels. All FRS radios have the same power limits set by the FCC and there are only 22 actual FRS channels, the rest is fluff. Some are built better than others and some have better antennas, so go for simple configuration, availability of additional battery packs and a well established brand name.

    For longer distance, a 2 meter or dual band (2 meter & 70 cm band) hand held (HT) with an extended antenna (a $9.00 add-on) can reach other similar set up HTís out to about 5 miles, base units out about 10 miles and repeaters out to 15+ miles, depending on the terrain. Once you connect to a repeater, you can talk with people who may be 20-25 miles away. HTís cost anywhere from $25 - $100Ö with build-quality, ruggedness and customer support being some of the biggest variations between models.

    Sorry for the long brain dump. There are several comms-savvy members on the forum. Iím sure you can get answers and input to help you navigate through it all if youíre determined to get established in this extremely critical area of SHFT preparation.
    Kauboy, Renec and Slippy like this.
    Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

  6. #5
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    If you just want long distance news, a SW radio receiver is informative and sometimes entertaining.

    I'm turning mine on tonight to see what might be going on across the "ponds".
    pakrat, Kauboy, Renec and 1 others like this.

  7. #6
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    I am sitting here monitoring FRS/GMRS in scan mode. Very quiet but I expect the activity to increase. I was a CB head back in the mid 90's. I need a decent radio and a good old Wilson antenna.
    Slippy likes this.
    "There is a destiny that shapes our ends, Rough, hew them as we will."

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by csi-tech View Post
    I am sitting here monitoring FRS/GMRS in scan mode. Very quiet but I expect the activity to increase. I was a CB head back in the mid 90's. I need a decent radio and a good old Wilson antenna.
    I've been monitoring the FRS/GMRS channels as well and have noticed only marginal use. 2 meter has a little more activity, but nothing associated with the response to the pandemic... basic traffic nets, etc. I caught some discussion a week ago that most ARES administrators don't see a roll for civilian radio in organized pandemic emergency response. Time will tell. 2 meter simplex is dead air as usual.

    Yes, love those Wilson antennas... had a Little-Wil mag-base on my pickup for years... great CB antenna.
    csi-tech likes this.
    Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

  9. #8
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    I rocked an RCI 2950, a shooting star 500 amp and a Wilson 5000 in my patrol car. Great times. Used to love hearing the truckers bad mouth me. I need to grab another cheap CB like the old bearcat and a small antenna just to hear the chatter.
    Slippy likes this.
    "There is a destiny that shapes our ends, Rough, hew them as we will."

  10. #9
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    I even applied for my license last night. Now I want to dabble in HAM.
    "There is a destiny that shapes our ends, Rough, hew them as we will."

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountryTom View Post
    I am new here so apologize if covered before. In the prepping world, are there any means of communication that fellow preppers plan to use or currently use to stay in touch with each other should an apocalyptic event ever occur?
    KUSA likes this.


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