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Ghost Prime

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.
Ghost out.

For God, Family, Country, & Liberty!