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Short Wave Listening
19 March 2013, 16:39,
Exclamation  Short Wave Listening
Short Wave Listening

OK, the S has HTF in the scenario of your choice, the electric grid is but a memory, and all you can get on your battery/hand-crank "emergency" radio, on the commercial AM and FM broadcast bands is a tape recording of some government gonzo advising everyone to "not panic and stay in your home". Not a lot of help in decision making there.

So what do you do? Stay put? Load the family into the car and head for the hills? If so, which hills? What direction? In every situation, not just limited to SHTF and TEOTWAWKI, information is your friend. "Ignorance", on the other hand, always hurts and sometimes can kill.

What can you do right now, today, without worrying about exams and licenses? Get set to listen on the short wave bands by purchasing a small, battery-operated short-wave radio receiver. You'll be able to pick up stations from other countries that will be broadcasting some useful information. More important, buy a radio that can receive in AM single-sideband mode (SSB). This is the phone (or voice) mode most used by ham radio operators and will allow you to listen into their transmissions. Two Christmas's ago, I purchased SW receivers with SSB for my two oldest grandsons. After much research, I settled on the Kaito KA1102 ( for about $100 each.

So you have your radio (whichever model you decide on after your research) and a bunch of spare batteries. You can also buy an inexpensive 5 watt solar panel to run your radio for $20 or so: Vitabon is a good source ( ). If you have rechargable batteries and a charger, you can use solar panels to recharge batteries too. Then rig an external antenna (home-made or store-bought) for better listening.

Don't just set the radio up on the shelf to gather dust and wait for SHTF though. Get on the internet and "Google" "short wave listening", pick a site, and start reading. A tutorial ( is a good place to start. If you're in the US, the Maritime Mobile Service Net ( can be found on the 20 meter band at 14.300.00 USB and makes for interesting listening (Bill, KI4MMZ in Florida is net control as I type this, giving the maritime weather for the Atlantic).

To sum it up, there will be plenty of good information out there when things fall apart. Just make sure you have access to it!
If at first you don't secede, try, try again!

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