Communications for Preppers

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Preppers are always on the look out for things that will help them to survival during various scenarios that could happen in our society. I have seen various videos and documentaries involving preppers. The one thing that I do not see much is a way to communicate with others within the prepper groups. Here in the US we have opportunity to use various forms of radio communications from non licensed to licensed radio communications.

The first one is MURS (Multi Use Radio System), and this form of radio communication does not involve being licensed. This was authorized in the US by the FCC under 47 C.F.R, Part 95 to used the frequencies of 151 Mhz to 154 Mhz. There is a power limitation of 2 watts and only five channels spaced 11.25 kHz or 20.00 kHz from each channel. However on this band with 2 watts, you can get around 2-3 miles away. If you use this as part of communications for immediate personnel in your group. Then it is well suitable for this kind of communications, and the Baofeng UV5R is opened to transmit and receive on this band. The distance can be at times extended with a good antenna set higher up in the air i.e. as a base station. Also this band is not affected by sunspot activity like the HF bands are in Ham Radio or CB.

The second one is GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), and this form of radio communication does require a license that is good for 10 years. This was authorized in the US by the FCC under 47 C.F.R, Part 95 Subpart E. The power limit for this band can be as much as 50 watts. This can get you a signal farther than on MURS. Also on this band, you can use a repeater. This would be an excellent way to communicate with your group over 10 miles away. If your group deploys a repeater and everyone has handhelds, then you can have a large radius of coverage for communications in time of a disaster or other event. There are also 16 channels on GMRS over the 5 channels on MURS. The frequency range of this band is 462 Mhz to 467 Mhz in 20 khz separation between channels. There is several manufactures that make radios for this band.

The third one is CB (Citizens Band Radio), and this form of radio communication does not require a license but there are a lot more people using this band than the previous two. this was authorized in the US by the FCC under 47 C.F.R, Part 95. The power limit for this band is set to around 4 to 5 watts of transmit power. I would not discourage anyone from using this band for the fact that it only has 4 to 5 watts. I used this band in the 80’s before I received my Amateur Radio license, and if you use a good dipole that is at least full wave length 11 meters (36 feet) that is at least half a wavelength (18) in the air. You can talk a really good distance with only 4 watts. I talked all over the US with this setup in the 80’s with only 4 watts of power. This is a good way to connect to groups that are separated apart a good distance. Like I said, I have talked on a daily basis on CB to towns that were 15-20 miles away with no problems with only 4 watts; as well as, other states surrounding my location.

The final one is Ham Radio (Amateur Radio), and this form of radio communication does require different levels of licenses depending on which bands you want to have access to communicate on. This is the best option of all because you have a plethora of frequencies and modes of communication. The power limit is 1500 watts compared to the others mentioned above. There is 3 levels of licenses. The first is Technician Class which will get you on VHF and UHF band like 6 meters and above with some CW privileges on other HF bands. Even with this class of license, you will be able to get a much larger radius of coverage for communication with other modes to use to communicate with. The second level is General Class which will get you on all the bands with almost all privileges on those bands. This is the class of license that I hold and do recommend this level to all preppers. The third is Extra Class which will get you all privileges on all bands. This is the class that I am currently studying for.

Now I did not include the FMRS (Family Mobile Radio Service) because I do not see this as a good way to communicate in distances farther than a few blocks. But it can be used in emergencies, and some communities use it in monthly emergency drills. In case of an emergency, I like to be able to communicate much farther and to many more people.

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