If a disaster occurs, then being able to communicate with others across a distance will be very important. Cell phones rely on too many external factors to be reliable. This leaves radio as the most durable and practical solution. Radios come in many different forms today. Some are good for short-range communications while others can receive signals from around the world. It is important to understand why radios are such crucial and essential items.
One-Way Emergency Radios
These are basically one-way consumer radios that sometimes have access to special weather bands. Emergency radios are important because they provide a very simple way to monitor public airways for news or alerts during a disaster. It is likely that any official information that needs to be sent during an emergency will be broadcast on public AM or FM frequencies. It is best to choose a radio with a hand crank as a power source. Hand-crank radios do not need batteries or sunlight and will operate anywhere.
Citizens Band (CB) Radios
CB radios are still very common throughout the country and the world. A CB radio allows for two-way communications across a number of channels. The radios have a range of up to 20 miles or more depending on the antenna and any obstacles blocking the signal outside. If a disaster or emergency hits, then there is a good chance that at least a few people within 20 miles of a shelter or home will have CB radio. They can be used for communication and coordination. They might also be able to receive news or unofficial alerts.
Amateur or Ham Radios
Ham radios are incredibly effective tools in a survival situation or disaster. The radios can communicate over very long distances. They can send and receive a variety of signals and data. Ham radios are the best option for communication if a major disaster occurs. The drawback is that they can be expensive and they require a license to own. The effectiveness of a ham radio relies on the antenna. Fortunately, ham radio antennas can be simple wires hung between tall trees outside a home or shelter. Ham radios can be used to talk to other people hundreds of miles away or to monitor local signals when planning a move.
Two-Way Family Radio Service (FRS) Radios
FRS radios are the common handheld units that can be used as walkie-talkies. These radios make it easy to stay in contact when moving with a partner or group. They can sometimes have a range of a few miles although too many obstacles will block the signal. These can be used when scouting around a home or when retreating through the terrain. They are also effective for staying in touch inside a building or a large shelter.
The final type of radio that can be very useful is a scanner. Scanners are special devices that work automatically. Scanners step through all of the available channels in an attempt to find a signal. The scanner will stop if any signals are found. A scanner is useful for finding local news or other people who are broadcasting on non-traditional frequencies. A scanner can also detect the FRS radio signals of anyone unknown coming into the area. Scanners make staying aware of what is going on easier.
Derek is a blogger for Bearcat Warehouse, a site that sells different digital radio scanners and accessories for all of your Doomsday needs.