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REPOSTED: Emcoms: Needs and priorities… It doesn’t have to be complicated
10 March 2016, 20:05, (This post was last modified: 10 March 2016, 20:06 by Lightspeed.)
REPOSTED: Emcoms: Needs and priorities… It doesn’t have to be complicated
I keep hearing prepper folk state that they really need to get their coms sorted, with the implication that this will be a complicated and costly activity.

Truth is that they probably already have the highest priority item covered, and the next two layers can be covered of quite easily and inexpensively. A mobile phone, a low cost shortwave receiver, and some low cost walkie-talkies will cover 80% of their communications needs.

Of course the better the phone, the receiver and the walkie-talkies, the better the solution. But any solution is better than no solution at all.

For starters, we can assume that mobile phones are already in place. E-bay will yield SW receivers for around £10.00 and pairs of PMR446 radios or better still pairs of Baofeng BF888s for less than £20.00.

So that’s £30 to get the coms box ticked. Not completely sorted, but ticked off as having covered the basic requirements. You can revisit your coms preparedness later and upgrade it as you wish, but probability is that one day you'll be grateful for having just gotten the basics covered.

By the way, it’s a good idea to remove batteries from all receivers and walkie talkies while they are in storage to prevent leakage and component damage. Conveniently this sort of equipment can be stored in metal biscuit / sweet tins left over from Christmas….which also serve as reasonable shielding against possible EMP. Just keep them somewhere dry and cool.

Here’s my take on coms prioritization:

For use as things start to unravel and we need to try to keep in conventional contact with friends and loved ones:
• Mobile phone. /Smartphone. One with a good long standby capability and ideally one that is ruggedized will be the best choice.
• Smartphones are very useful as a portable databank.
• Along with phones a means of charging them from mains or 12v supplies should always be carried.

For listening over a broad geographic area ( worldwide) as things unfold, in order to make sense of the situation and acquire validated information upon which to base decisions
• A small battery powered Shortwave capable radio receiver with AM and FM capability
i. This will pick up national broadcasts from across the globe as well as local public service announcements on local FM broadcast stations.
• Better still if it has a frequency range from 3Mhz or lower to 28Mhz or higher.
i. As above but covering HAM and CB frequencies
• And better again if it has SSB capability
i. Needed to clearly resolve HAM SSB and Morse code signals

For day to day marshalling of own group’s activities around base camp, feeding back intel from Observation Posts, and maintaining contact with foraging parties.
• Close range tactical communications out to 3 to 20 miles
• CB/PMR446/VHF/UHF ideally in self-contained walki- talkie format.

• PRIORITY #4 MEDIUM / HIGH because in the long term it could be IMPORTANT:
For UK-wide inter-group communications. Providing coordination of activities, intel exchange and nationwide situational awareness:
• NVIS High frequency shortwave using SSB voice, Morse code, or digital modes while computers still function and can be powered.
• As equipment wears out, it is predicted that simple Morse code transceivers will likely be last man standing radio communications tools
i. With these simplest devices, stockpiling of components and standardisation of operating frequency is key to long term future effectiveness.
• ALSO useful for daily contact with group members operating at long range.

For transmissions to surviving stations in foreign lands
• HAM type DX radio stations and techniques. SSB , Morse code or Digital mode
• Frequencies greater than 10Mhz will usually fare best with 14Mhzbeing the most popular long range band.
• SSB capable CB radios will be capable of meeting this need
• Summer and early winter 1000 mile seasonal skip will be possible ( works on FM and AM rigs too actually)
• True worldwide communications are also possible on CBs, a year either side of the solar maximum….at the current time (2016) that means another 8 years or so of waiting.
• While enthralling to be able to speak to someone on the other side of the Atlantic, the probability is that being able to do so will have little impact on day to day survival.
• The exception might be in a situation of global pandemic where the ability to share a new found cure to the international community would be an honourable endeavour. Probably better would be to maintain isolation and listen for others to broadcast such information on the Shortwave bands.
72 de



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