Communication Items You’ll Want Before TSHTF – Part 1
by Sheila and Dan
September 27, 2012
Having good radio equipment is important for many reasons. What will you do when there is no Internet? What will you do when there is no cellphone service? How will you know what’s going on in other parts of the country, let alone the world? Radio signals don’t need an intermediary, they just bounce all over the earth and are received by radios.
It’s not even necessary that you transmit (speak) on the radio, but the information you can garner from just listening to others from far away is worth the time it takes to understand how to use a radio.
There are many ways to go in purchasing a communications radio, depending on your budget. You can buy yourself a brand new, state-of-the-art Kenwood or I-com for example, both of which are great radios. But the expense can be quite high, typically in the many hundreds of dollars.
A less expensive but just as viable way to go is a “free band radio”. This is a 10 meter ham radio that has had additional freeband frequencies installed. This will expand coverage to include the 12, 11 (the CB frequency band) and sometimes 9 meter bands. In a converted CB radio, this is called a radio with extra channels.
A 10 meter radio is very common and inexpensive, as well as their low-rent cousins, CB radios. Many can be found on ebay for under $200 and may already have the additional frequencies installed. Also any good SSB (single side band) CB radio can have what they call “Extra Channels Added” by any good tech. (Lots of mods here http://www.dxzone.com/tag-cb-mods/.) CB shops at truck stops often times have used free band radios for sale at good prices, but check Ebay for prices on used radios before going.
Any frequency on the radio can be used in various modes, the most common being AM, Single Side Band (SSB), Upper Side Band (USB) and CW. CW means constant wave mode, which is the mode used for Morse Code and RTTY. It is possible to send several and receive multiple pages of text files via RTTY. The software needed can be found here (http://gmfsk.sourceforge.net/ ). Radios with a CW mode like the RCI 2950 (et al) and the Uniden HR2510 have the CW mode installed. There are other models that also have CW mode, however no CB radios have CW mode. You can send pictures and text files to others, similar to a fax. This will be an excellent way for the people to maintain contact with others during times of crisis or total collapse.