Do preppers really need their amateur radio licenses?

Letter from Jon Good day! I would like to comment on all the SHTF and TEOTWAWKI people who are running out getting their amateur radio licenses. Although I applaud their ability to take a test (but the tech test is 35 questions and I have had children less than 16 take it and pass quickly), […]

An Introduction to Ham Radio – Field Day

Probably the best time to get an introduction to Ham Radio if you don’t have a friend or relative who can help you along is to visit a club’s Field Day operation. Field Day is an annual event for ham radio operators in the United States and Canada, held every fourth weekend in June. Depending on the goals of the operation you choose to visit, Field Day can be a family picnic, an emergency drill, a friendly competition, an educational experience, an equipment test, a serious competition, or in some cases a beer blast. At some locations, it may be all of the above. The food ranges from bring your own cold sandwiches to professionally catered dinners, but is most likely to have a ham temporarily designated as master chef cooking up hot food from a grille.

Dirt-Cheap Ham Radio Antenna Tuner

In the midst of a ham-radio 2-day “bootcamp” license exam course, I wanted to help the group recognize just how easily and cheaply they could make much of their own ham radio station. People today are so used to BUYING everything, that they have lost touch with their ability to MAKE small pieces of equipment for their own use. Licensed ham radio operators are unique in that they are specifically authorized to construct their own radio equipment. I decided to make a simple antenna tuner mostly out of homemade components – literally making the components, not just the circuitry.

Growing A Prepper Group Through Teaching Radio Communications Part Two: Teaching Your First Course & Creating Follow-On Courses

In Part One, (also read part three here) I discussed how you could use Radio Comm training as a way to locate potential allies who may soon share your prepper goals.  I went over how you could work to get your own ham radio license, and how to use the Baofeng UV-5R inexpensive handi-talkie for your initial ham radio VHF/UHF experience.

In this part, we’ll go over how you can hold your first Radio Comm training program.   While the Baofengs make very inexpensive VHF/UHF rigs, getting a shortwave (HF) station going that can have national/international communications in an emergency is a bit trickier.   So, In Part Three, I’ll delver farther into how you can put together an inexpensive HF station, hopefully one that is somewhat EMP protected.

Growing A Prepper Group Through Teaching Radio Communications : Getting Your Own License

One of the more difficult parts of preparing is developing a group of like-minded people. Multiple writers have suggested that a solitary person is at a significant survival disadvantage compared to a group (everyone has to sleep, for a simple example). Reading one text on the subject of “mutual assistance groups,” I found only a sparse list of suggestions, one of which was to attend local emergency response training sessions. As a variation of this, one can teach significantly useful skills–the people who choose to take the training represent a target-rich group of person who value resiliency more than the average.

Your best subject to teach may be something different, but may I suggest that radio communications skills is a great topic? You can emphasize the ham radio advantages in emergencies, and the benefit of having more knowledge of electricity and electronics. People don’t have to be outright “preppers” to be interested in ham radio!

Growing A Prepper Group Through Teaching Radio Communications : Building an Inexpensive Shortwave (HF) Ham Radio Station With EMP Protection

When you start building your prepper ham radio station, the VHF/UHF part is easy — Baofeng handi-talkies are cheap and work adequately, especially when combined with a simple YAGI antenna or a small amplifier.   You can even easily make a cross-band repeater using two of them.    But shortwave (HF) ham radio–really useful for longer-range communications– is more of a problem.  There simply isn’t any comparably cheap option.  This article will explore some available alternatives for your wallet.

While there are top-of-the-line HF ham rigs  on the market for multi-thousand dollars (some north of ten grand!), the typical solid state transceiver goes for $500-$700.  Given time and inflation, this isn’t out of line compared to what I paid for my vacuum tube Heathkit SB-102 while a high school student some 40+ years ago.

Dirt Cheap Concealable High-Gain Indoor 2-Meter Ham Antenna Project For Beginners

This is a fun, almost novice-level construction project for anyone who has a 2-meter ham radio walkie talkie (e.g., the $26 Baofeng UV-5) and would like more effective range without having to buy an amplifier. If you are currently using a short rubber-duckie antenna, this high-gain yagi antenna may well make your radio appear to have 6-10 times its power on 2 meters, doubling or tripling your range in relatively open areas, for a total cost about $21. [Dense high-rise central business city centers may not see as great an improvement, nor areas with impenetrable hills.] That may just make it possible for you to reach useful repeaters or friends from inside your house.

The Prepper’s Disaster Communications Plan…

You are at home waiting on the cable guy on a drizzly Monday morning. You relax in the quiet house since your spouse is at work, older kid away at college and younger kid in school. You settle in with a nice cup of coffee and the paper, when suddenly the TV show is interrupted for a breaking news bulletin. There have been terrorist attacks in your state capital and two other cities nearby. You grab your cell phone and get a polite message that the system is experiencing technical difficulties and to please try your call again later.

A Question for the Pack on Communications

We have all enjoyed this site. I have learned more than I could list. I have learned things here that are just part of me now.

My Multi- part Question to the Pack… What will you.. we.. do when this screen goes blank? In what way can the readers of this site communicate? What ‘hard line’.. ‘hard copy’.. method(s) have you… we.. set up to provide some continuity of communications? Yeah yeah…. Ham… CB… But what else is there unless you… we… have pre-set a system in place now? I ask as a result of the conversation on ‘Underground Railroading’ and ‘Net Works’ to provide help in a post SHTF event(s). Some of our listening audience(s) would call the very subject treasonous…… Any comments…. anyone… Beuller… anyone.. NSA… Beuller?

With regards… Tom The Tinker

Books and two way radios…

Question from a reader about medical books and two-way radios… HI MD, love your site and am slowly based on money starting to become a prepper, Question how do you compare Survival MD to where there is no dr.? I would like to buy Survival MD but they no longer offer the $22 and they […]