Friday, August 23, 2013

List of Lists - Communication

Work has been very hectic lately for me and getting home exhausted at the end of the day has me posting less often. I am hoping to pick up again with more frequent posts.

So now we continue on our list of lists to talk about the subject of communication. Communication is a more complex subject the deeper you try to go into it. Some people will see communication during TEOTWAWKI as little more than a couple of walkie talkies for family members to use when walking around. For others, communication might mean something like a ham radio setup. Obviously, your budget, available space, desires, needs and abilities will dictate what kind of communications setup you have.

In an ideal SHTF situation (is there such a thing?) cell phone networks would still be at least somewhat functional. But you have to expect that the conventional lines of communication will be down for an extended period of time while still remembering that a recovery will mean their restoration. This means we have to be able to communicate without cell phones but still have those phones charged and ready for when they do become useful again.

A good communications list should at least contain these assets:

- Ham Radio setup
- CB Radio setup
- Two way radios
- Police Scanner
- Cell phones
- Cell phone chargers, hand-crank preferred

Ham radio (also called amateur radio) is represented and coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). Amateur radio is divided into three regions. IARU region one includes Europe, West Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Region two includes North, South and Central America. IARU region 3 includes South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Amateur radio allows you to communicate with people all over the world. Amateur radio requires licensing, so it's a good idea to research and begin the process of licensing as soon as you are able. Purchasing used equipment, you can have a basic, effective ham setup for as little as $300 for a radio, $100 for an antenna and $100 for peripherals.

CB (Citizen's Band) radio is a shorter distance radio communications setup. There are 40 channels available on CB. CB is a great way to communicate quickly and easily with other CB users near you.

Two ways radios are extremely valuable after the SHTF. Anytime a member of your group puts any distance between them and the rest of the group, you should maintain radio communication. The reasons for this are obvious. You never know what type of situation could arise.

A police scanner will be extremely helpful if the rile law is maintained in any way post-SHTF. Any type of local law enforcement will know that communication with officers or deputies is a priority. Having a scanner can help you avoid trouble spots, or even help you avoid the law enforcement officers themselves if the local police is not acting in the best interests of the citizenry.

Even if the power grid goes down, you should try to keep cell phones charged and ready for use. As soon as cell phone communications are restored, cell phones will likely immediately become your primary means of communication with the outside world. One way of keeping cell phones charged and ready is with a hand-crank cell phone charger. Needless to say, you won't be able to charge your phone on a wall outlet if the power grid goes down. Keep those traditional cell phone chargers around, but go out and pick up a couple of hand-crank ones as well.

In a long term grid-down scenario, some kind of courier mail system may come about. Don't forget the communication methods of the old days. There is a reason the old Pony Express is still famous today.

Communications in a post-SHTF world is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Once something goes down, one of the first thoughts in most people's minds will be to wonder if family and friends are safe. This stress can be alleviated with an adequate communications plan.

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