in #politics7 years ago (edited)

As preppers we hear "beans, bullets and bandaids" over and over. While these are great to have and if you have them thats great.
I see over and over preppers have these radios from Wal-mart. While something is better than nothing. Let me give some ideas. First, I am an amatuer radio operator, (ham radio). I am an amatuer extra class operator. I have talked all over the world literally. I got into ham radio as an prepper. I started out small and then got hooked. Most people think ham radio is expensive, (and it can be) IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE.
The radios from wal-mart are called frs (family radio service) and gmrs (general mobile radio service). They operate in the 462 mhz range. These radios have a max power rating of 5 watts. The frs and gmrs has channels instead of frequencies. As this can be confusing, a channel is a frequency set aside only for this use. Like I said anything is better than nothing.
Now, ham radio. You could get your technician licence with some very simple studying. I urge all preppers to go ahead and study. Get your licence. Why? So, you can use your radio and learn how to operate. Become active and learn how to build simple antennas. You would be shocked what you could do with "just a piece of wire".

This way in a SHTF scenario, you could build an antenna and know what is happening around you, especially if there is no power.
With hame radio 2 meter band and 70 centameter band, you do not have channels you have hundreds of frequencies.
So, frs and gmrs you have maybe 10 channels, now having ham radio you have hundreds of frequencies. Why is this so important to a prepper? I'll answer with a question. Is it easier to scan 10 channels and listen to your conversation or is it easier to scan hundreds of frequencies to just find the frequency you are using to listen to your conversation? Getting the Idea?
Ok, but what would this radio cost? A handheld duel band ham radio...........wait for it............$30 bucks. yep 30 bucks. The baofeng radio on ebay, and get this. Buy it from china and you will be able to use it on frs and gmrs also. The band plan in Europe is different than the U.S. Upgrade the antenna to a better antenna. Nagoya 771 is a good one. This will help your signal. There are some 8 watt version and the extra 3 watts do help.

If you have the cash, get you a mobile radio. 50 watts of power. Now you can reach out even further. I know, I know, those boxes at wal-mart says 30 miles. Read the back of the box. It will say "in best conditions" It will show you both parties on mountain tops. See, it travels by line of sight. You add buildings, trees and other objects in between you and recieving transciever, your signal is blocked. frs and gmrs might get 1 1/2 miles in the forest. I have talked 15 miles on my baofeng uv5rtp. While, 2 meter and 70 centameter also travels by line of sight. By adding more power you can travel further with objects in the way. By getting your license you can use your radio and practice, practice building wire antenna and try them out. Just get it in a tree and tune it up and you would be good to go.
If you can go even further and get your general class license. Then you can get on hf frequencies and know what is happening in you state, country and around the world. And yes these radios can get more expensive. There are older radios that you can pick up for 300 bucks. Most of these radios are 100 watts hf, 50 watts 2 meter 30 watts 70 cm. Most of the mobile hf radios will do 2 meter, 70 centameter and hf. Here is where your wire antenna will come in handy. Plus, instead of hundreds of frequencies, now you have thousands. Much harder for someone in a bad situation that means you harm to even find the frequency to listen and find you.
Beans, bullets, bandaids and ham radio. Do not over look communications as a prepper. In a SHTF scenario, if you have no communications, it is very possible for you and your family to be a sitting duck just waiting for danger to hit your front door. If you had frs and gmrs, while better than nothing. You dont have much to monitor with. But you have some channels to stay in touch with others. A duel bander ham radio, you have a much better radio to scan frequencies to find out information. Plus, many many police use 2 meter and 70 centameter. This gives you a way to monitor them.

The best is a mobile hf radio. Powered with a 12 volt deep cycle battery, you have the best prepper comms.
I hope this helps someone out.

Peace from Texas, stay safe everyone and be prepared.


Nice writeup! I only have a shortwave, but someday wish to get a real setup like yours. Following for future tips!

Thank you

As radio operators, we volunteer for our communities. I am a licensed storm spotter. Also with Ellis County Emergency Services.

I’m a ham. Like your article. I have a screwdriver antenna on my truck. Check out my blog for the pics of my truck and antenna 73, Paul