April 13, 2015 at 3:29 am #40024
This post is inspired from Selco’s most recent post “Common mistakes when bugging out”. When the SHTF and things are looking dicey out there you need information to make informed decisions. Well as a self described non-expert let me give you some options for free intel that you don’t need to pay for… Social media.
Facebook and twitter actually should be part of your preparedness. Let me give you reference to put that statement in perspective. During the recent riots and flash mob attacks across the country, there was one source of information you could go to that would paint a useful image of what is happening. In Haiti, people trapped inside collapsed buildings could still text their locations for rescuers. During the Boston bombing #hashtags and the like was where people would start to share what information they had and others posted their questions and best wishes. Thankfully social media items like twitter are usually very short so you can scan them quickly to see if it’s relevant to you or not.
So lets say there is a riot in your town. Sure, turn on the news but take time to look at social media for your town. Yes even cities have their own facebook pages. It might be worth bookmarking yours for a day when you might need it.
So I open up to everyone with this question. Is there another way you can get good local intel for free and without hassle? Back in the day HAM operators were the go to guys for intel during a disaster. Where would you turn if it happened today?April 13, 2015 at 11:48 am #40030
Weiown, Your point is well taken by me. Social media is almost instantaneous reporting of an event occurance and becomes live feed as it happens.April 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm #40034
I’ve heard there are devices you can use to text on a satellite phone. LolApril 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm #40038
I agree social media is good, especially for localized events that likely wouldn’t get much coverage from other sources. I expect ham radios would still be a good source, especially for anything in a national scale where it might help piece together the larger picture. My mind always gravitates to a grid down scenario in which our modern electronics aren’t working. In such a case, what options might we have?April 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm #40040
Can you read smoke signals?April 13, 2015 at 4:50 pm #40047
Hello hello, this is Crystal Peak. I’ve been planning to get a new shortwave radio. I have 3 already. Little emergency sets. Midland Bosch Sangean. Basic.April 13, 2015 at 11:17 pm #40064
Can’t read smoke signals, but I am all ears for Brulen to elaborate on the shortwave radio thing. I assume they are battery operated being we’re talking a grid down scenario? This is my ignorance speaking here but what is the difference between broadcasting via shortwave radio and ham radio operators?April 14, 2015 at 3:01 am #40078
I think some Hams SMS via radio or heard that were working on it.
http://ageofdecadence.comApril 14, 2015 at 3:18 am #40079
MB these are little hand crank radios.
Midland Base Camp Xt 511
Grundig Fr 200
My actual Sw is so old it’s an antique, almost. it doesn’t have tubes but it’s ancient technology.
a Radio Shack Dx 392. Solar panel to charge the batteries for this one.
What’s the difference between SW and ham radio. The power output. In a grid down hams will use generators repeaters side band. The govt always has a backup plan. I doubt they will be off the air for long. Military never, if they go under its doomsday.
A ham always has an old set. anything hooked up to an antenna may be fried but who knows about the one sitting in his metal cabinet. Hit and miss with Emp.
So I believe in Emp and grid down but I think the radio traffic will be back up in no time. and hopefully my little low tech hand cranks will make it, along with my scanner and vhf/Gmrs and CB.
It’s just some of my SW reception is lacking… Poor antenna mostly. A Sangean ats-909x would be a vast improvement.
Not that I know much tech stuff but I listen occasionally.April 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm #40087
Thanks. I’m heading out for the day but when I get back I am going to look at a radio I have tucked away in my preps. I have two actually and think one may be hand cranked. It may receive shortwave I’m thinking but not transmit. This is definitely something to look into.April 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm #40099
MB, all of the handhelds are limited in distance despite their claims otherwise. Generally speaking it is line of sight so the absolute maximum Tx/Rx range might be 20 miles, all things being perfect. But they rarely if ever are. Everything interferes with radio signals like hills, mountains, buildings, etc. So in an urban area the practical limit of a handheld regardless of the band, will be 2-4 miles, tops.
Ham radio is a colloquial term that does not really mean anything though it is often used when referring to Amateur radio. All radio freqs are regulated, SW bands being just one range. Many handheld radios are Dual-band (VHF/UHF). Other bands include HF (high freq; used to reach around the globe), CW (or CB), AM, & FM. Use of Ham in peace time requires a license to legally transmit. Without a license you can listen all you want but don’t transmit as the bands are monitored. Once the SHTF who knows what the rules will be though it is best to be prepared to operate lawfully.
Licenses include a Technician class (with some limitations) and General class good for all common bands with fewer restrictions.
The key to any effective radio use is the antenna. Handhelds can often be connected to external antennas which is a good thing as that can impact Tx/Rx dramatically. Power is another factor meaning how many watts does it transmit with.
An effective network will be a combination of handhelds, base units with better antennas for monitoring area activity and for Txing as needed. Lastly, a good ham base unit with the proper antenna will allow one to communicate worldwide whereas the other two are both limited in the distance they can function.
There are many good sources of info on the net including the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) which is the national association for Amateur Radio in the US. That is the best place to start. The next best is to join a local club as there is nothing like learning from an old pro, and almost all of them love to help newbies.
In all seriousness, COMMS in a SHTF scenario is a critical, essential component of our preparations. It is not far behind food, water, weapons/ammo in importance so do not leave it out of your planning or wait until the last minute to acquire 2-3 radios. Now is a great time to buy them as there are always many used radios available, though buying the right one in good condition is important which is why it is so important to connect with a local club.
For God, Family, Country, & Liberty!April 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm #40107
Considering 99% of all scenarios that are likely to happen will still have some internet/telephone services available; what are your main ideas for how to gather intel?
Ex) If a riot/hurricane hit suddenly with little warning; how would you get your info? What would you be watching for to begin protective actions? What would be your triggers?
I ask because the vast majority of us do not have/use HAM radios or know someone who does.April 15, 2015 at 12:40 am #40140
OK, I headed down to the basement looking for my radios, had no idea where they were, and came back upstairs. Then it came to me that they’re in padded ammo boxes, so back down I go, except those ammo boxes are deeply buried behind some very heavy containers. Maybe tomorrow.
Good point Ghost about line of sight. That would give me a maximum range of maybe a quarter mile. Mountains and trees. Trees and mountains. With most mountaintops also being heavily forested, our best radio communication sites would be the occasional mountaintop home that has cleared away the trees for the view or for pasture.
I went online and saw that there is a very active amateur radio club for this county. It’s been around for 35 years and is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League. They do run various level classes. They have a repeater on top of the mountain at the end of my road. I have to think what it is I want to do on this topic. Only so many hours in the day.April 15, 2015 at 1:01 am #40142
Weiown, yes 99% of the scenarios would have some level of services available, but in my case, the reason I prep is for the 1% in which we don’t. Most of those 99% SHTF events are just that, events that as soon as they happen the recovery starts with all sorts of external help. It’s when recovery doesn’t start immediately and help isn’t coming that drives me.
I should add that I don’t have ham radio capability either and as noted in my prior post I’m pretty ignorant on the entire subject matter. Another entry on the list of things I’m not prepared for.April 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm #40182
Mt. Biker, I empathize with you on focusing on that 1% type of disaster but one big point of what Selco has been talking about is getting in the right mindset to handle and adapt for every kind. Sure, a power out scenario does have a lot of additional hurdals but a lot of the core issues we would be dealing with are the same. I don’t know how much you have put towards the disasters that can occur every few years but I hope things go relatively smoothly for us all.
To go further with your power out scenario, outside of radios the community still needs to be held together. Regular meetings at a safe local area such as a church or public office may be advisable. Especially when it comes to squashing rumors and getting out actual good info.
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