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How cool is this. My mom called and asked me to investigate a SHTF communication system (CB, walkie-talkie, etc.) she could get each person in our family for christmas. I started looking at CB's but started to think well where will my power source come from.

So let's hear it, How will people communicate when the world goes crazy?
 

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yeah, EMP and you're screwed... but i would think some high end walkie talkies that you can run with batteries. you'd probably only have close range communication but if there is a plan in place to group up somewhere then you'd all be in range when you went out for supplies, patrols, etc...

and there's always morse code and mirrors/flashlights
 

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Has anyone looked into the hand held HAM radio's? This is what I was considering but you have to get your FCC license first. Depending on atmosphere they can reach all the way around the world. I think they might even make crank ones, but I would think a solar recharging station would be more practical.

I've seen video on the history channel of soldiers in WWII with a crank powered transmitter that could be strapped to a tree and another soldier would either crank with his arms or with his legs like a bicycle. I don't know what frequency they were using but they were supposed to be longer range transmitters.
 

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It really depends on the situation. Cb radios are okay, but I would prefer two way radios personally. The two way radios will be cheaper, take less batteries, and get better range with handheld units. I think you will have more privacy on two ways also. For the price of one handheld cb you could buy 4 two way radios. I run a cb in my semi obviously and have spare units so I have both options.

Now if an emp happens or nuclear attack I suggest smoke signals, mirrors, morse code, tin cans on a string, pen paper. Etc.
 

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Are you talking hurricane, tornado, biological are nuclear?
For some of the SHTF situations communications is as easy as getting in the car and getting to a safe area before hand. Some are "end all". You really wont be able to depend, long term, on anything that requires batteries are power. In a true end all SHTF scenario if you even survive.
For the SHTF situations where you do have a chance of surviving your best bet is to already have a plan in place. Where to meet, supplies of all kinds, emergency cash, ect.
Can you plan for everything, NO but you can plan for emergencies.
 

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I have an amateur radio license and most low end handheld HAM radios work off of simplex, (which is pretty much line of sight or a little more) or off of a repeater(which is a remote antenna that is mounted somewhere high like a watertower or tall building that you ping by keying your handheld and it receives and retransmitts your signal.)
You can how ever take an oscillator,a long wire antenna, and a car battery can talk around the would with just 5 watts. All amateur radios require a license and the testing is pretty easy. There are several different levels of licenses and the hardest part is learning morse code. Just remember DIT-DA DIT-DA DIT-DA.
 

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Depends on how far away. The gps/radio combos that send your location to the other person or people in your group are handy.
 

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Smoke signals and drums?? Carrier Pigeons??
 

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It all depends on what you call "communication". FRS/GMRS are fine for close in (less than 2-5 miles) if you want more than that you need to get into some high powered VHF or UHF radios and a tall antenna and tower. If you are talking state to state, or world wide, you need some Ham radio gear and licence so you can learn about how to use it. If you want more info, I've been a ham since 2002, PM me.
 

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yeah, EMP and you're screwed... but i would think some high end walkie talkies that you can run with batteries. you'd probably only have close range communication but if there is a plan in place to group up somewhere then you'd all be in range when you went out for supplies, patrols, etc...

and there's always morse code and mirrors/flashlights
Depends on how you're storing your radios. Keep them in a metal container, or wrapped in foil, they will very likely survive to be used after the event.

They will most likely survive, anyway.
 

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Here's an afternoon project for you guys.

No real electrical skill needed, no soldering and best of all, this reciever is 100% emp proof. Why? Because it uses no actual electronics other than a siple earphone.

 

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I really just want to listen to the world, and only communicate locally.

So, I've got some FRS/GMRS radios. A little Midland with receiver and transmitter, and a couple Motorola walkie talkies. Those are primarily to communicate with the wife when I'm outside the house, or other local people.

Also, I have a Uniden scanner that scans ham channels, FAA, and analog emergency frequencies. I can listen in to see what they're saying about things, but really don't want to talk. I'm probably going to get a digital scanner soon, too.
 

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I use some similar to these and I love them. But DON'T EVEN think you're gonna get 30+ miles out of them. It's more like 3-5 on average terrain and even less in the mountains. On pure flat farmland, you might get ten miles.
True, I don't think I will be standing on the peak of any mountains here.
 

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I've been a licensed ham since the early 1970s, but am not what you would call active. I do have radios mainly for emergency use.

Some points have been covered above, but I would like to add:

* Most handheld units are low in power (5 watts or below) and are limited to straight line communications. This can be tens of miles or fractions of miles depending on your terrain. With a repeater system your range will expand vastly, but those systems require a power system and when the SHTF they will eventually go offline unless someone has really thought it out.

* Ham communications are still the de facto method of communication when natural disasters occur. The cellular telephone system either goes down or is overwhelmed by traffic.

* One option to get lots more range (without a big repeater system) using a small handheld is to do what is called "cross band repeat". You set your handheld to transmit and receive on different bands (usually 2M and 70cm) and do the same with your base station or vehicle mounted radio. I have done this out in the remote portions of professional rally car competitions using a teensy handheld and still talking to race control 30 miles away on simplex.

* Some of the newer radios also have the ability to encode your GPS location into your transmission so locating others in your party is very simple.

Mitch
 

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Walkie-talkies can reach up to 14 miles depending on terrain. Mine uses 3 AA batteries that I can recharge using my outdoor solar lights.
 
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