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), I wonder some days WHY they are getting a license to begin with.

IF the SHTF (or maybe better WHEN), there will be absolutely no accountability with people using amateur radio bands; NONE. That will be the last thing on the minds of the alleged authorities.

A CB radio with good linear will get out pretty far. When the bands are right, they might even get out of country. In a TEOTWAWKI, there will be almost no comms because in that type of event, the air will be so clogged with fall out (pulverized rock), radio will not work except for very specific and narrow bands.

2 meter will quickly become point to point (simplex) because the repeaters will run out of power when they kill the power grid to allow things to ‘cook’.

The ONLY way that any radio will be effective is if there is a local coordination of people on specific pre-agreed on frequencies.

The scramblers built into some radios are already programmed into the PTBs computer systems, so that will serve to confuse them for about 5 seconds. Using a real scrambler is VERY illegal in the US and will be tracked to it’s origin quickly (less than 1 hour) if you test it out. That DOES scare the PTB.

People who survive the initial purging and culling will be trying to communicate past the borders; they will be using HF and weak signal (QRP in HAM jargon). They will relocate after every session because the PTB will try and locate them; with drones, that will be very quick.

Allot of Baofeng 5W 2M/70CM radios will be just a huge number of FRS/GMRS radios in the hands of someone who has not clue of programming them. With the repeaters down, there will be allot of people calling for help with a 2 hour battery and getting very ticked off when the battery dies and nobody answers.

Again, the KEY to any use of survivalists would be coordinated frequencies, radio use protocol, battery preservation (especially with HTs). Other than that, a CB radio would be more effective. For those that survive past a few weeks, getting and knowing HOW TO USE a QRP rig will be the people who make good use of the tech and bands. A good QRP rig, power supply (that actual HARD part!), a portable antenna (I use a modified sling shot and a coil of copper braid covered rope), a small transmatch and knowledge of who is listening when and where to get the coms outside of the country. Maybe even a small laptop (palm top, tablet, etc…) to get on PSK (which does not require allot of power to begin with). I have a few contacts in eastern Ukraine; ask them and the survivors of Clinton’t little genocide in Bosnia and those areas.

I have not read your entire communications section; I ran across your site by accident by looking at Pinterest that stated an article for $120 radio rig. Thinking it was a SDR I checked it out; the picture was misleading.

The PTB are not going to be concerned about the “ham shack on a belt” people. They will be VERY concerned about coordinated com plans. They will target as number 1 the mobile QRP users! Getting the truth out will be their top concern for suppression. Their plans will not survive the light of day.

I can write about this for days on end, let me know if you want more prose.

Thanks!

Comments

  1. PrepperDoc says:

    Good and not-so-good ideas in this post — thanks for the discussion, Jon!

    Agreeing:
    1. You don’t need a license — you need FAR MORE — you need KNOWLEDGE so you don’t waste time and effort trying things that simply won’t work, or may even endanger you.
    2. Planning ahead is key — but maybe not what Jon envisioned
    3. CB radios can be used effectively — but not for much more than very local limited distance commmunications. If you don’t know much, you probably can’t even get those to serve your purpose (see #1 above)
    4. Repeaters will be worthless, and if you can’t program a Baofeng….it will be worthless to you.

    I think the real dividing line is whether or not the federal government is still functioning & whether or not it is friendly or not. Sure, if the entire military is functioning (incuding the satellites & drones) and the feds are unfriendly, and you are enough of an important target that they wish to take you out (instead of the real opponents who caused the EOTWAWKI)…then you’re history. Is that really likely? Probably not. Since only a very small number of people actually know how to do DF’ing…..I really don’t worry much about that. My concerns are much more local: what are the local conditions, what are the situations of my loved ones etc.

    Disagreeing:
    1. Radios still work no matter how much dust or dirt is in the air; the permeability and permittivity of dust does not significantly alter radio communications. If there is an EMP the ionosphere will be out-of-whack for some hours….but it will come back quickly, just as the DEF layers form and reform every day.

    2 Programming a Baofeng for simplex is not hard. making a high gain directional antenna out of coathangers isn’t hard (mine gets about 10 dB). People who have learned that level of skill already have a license, moot point.

    3. Planning: The key. Planned brief encrypted digital transmissions. Timed. You’ll need to understand propagation like the back of your hand. People too lazy to learn this stuff now…forget it. Surreptitious automated servers — WINLINK type stuff operating “post office” mode — those will work and can be made inaccessible to unwanteds. FLDIGI. Kleopatra.
    4. Purpose: the purpose of communications is intelligence. Advanced social groups need intelligence. Alliances worthless if no communications. Family welfare. Patrols. Sentries. Reconnaissance on advancing threats. Radio surveillance for lesser intelligent advancing threats (MONITOR that CB! Cocky folks will reveal themselves!)

    There are many different kinds of timelines of collapses. I’m not bright enough to know all of them. But knowing the basics of communications — just like the ability to reload cartridges, grow crops and preserve seeds, treat infections, birth babies, suture wounds — will be important. People who are too lazy to learn even enough to get a license? Forget about them. To effecitvely use radio equipoment after many scenarios, you’re going to need to know MUCH more than the piddling amount of knowledge needed to pass a multiple choice test! How do you get that amount of knowledge and experience? The same way you did with firearms, and crops. You pay your dues (get the license) and you start trying things and learning.

    • Curtiss says:

      You nailed it!

    • Prepper Doc, have you ever communicated with any members of this blog via HAM especially say on 20M? If you don’t mind me asking and I understand OPSEC concerns, what part of the country are you located?
      Your comments hit home-as I have plenty of gear (Elecraft KX3, 100W amp, portable antennas, even a top of the line Dragon SDS modem, along with Extra license…but I haven’t been using them. Got a Yaesu triband hand held which I can’t program either. Guilty, guilty, guilty of collecting paperweights.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Wow, you must be independently wealthy! I would suggest that you spend a bit of time with FL DIGI, learn how to do various modes, that Dragon may do PSK 31 all by itself, I know it will do PACTOR 3 into WINLINK stations. The Challenge will do you good. Look up WINLINK .org and learn!

        Sorry, I don’t release identifying info…..

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Carl,
        Your idea of folks on this blog discussing radio via radio is interesting; but, it would mean passing around our calls, and as you know, our calls are the keys to the kingdom in as much as the name, address, grid square, lat & long would then be available to everyone. Would be interesting if we could figure it out. There are a few long time folks on this blog who have shared direct email, such as BC and Me; but, that takes time to develop trust, and I’m not sure how we would work that out with the hams.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      PrepperDoc,
      Amen!!!
      And BTW, in my typical PITA mode I have to ask about your coat hanger antenna. Is it 10 dBd or 10 dBi LOL.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        I don’t remember exactly and of course that is VERY hard to measure. We did field strength measurements against a dipole and it was a clear winner. With the number of elements it has, the usual figure is 10 dB but I don’t remember if over d or over i

        it is easy to make and worked well.

  2. IdahoBob says:

    Ham radio is a hobby. For some people it is a huge consumer of their time. It is a good hobby not trying to put it down. Is it more important than other prepping education and methods? Probably not. IMHO it is over rated in it’s practical usefulness after SHTF day. I would rate it right up their with playing music, doing puzzles and playing cards after SHTF.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      IdahoBob,
      Are you a licensed ham?
      If so, are you active in the emergency communications activities in which many of us participate?
      SkyWarn, Simulated Emergency Training, local EMS support, and others? Perhaps you also would consider that shooting a rifle is like playing music, since you really are not shooting real people. Like any preparedness activity, it’s the skills and networks you develop that make it all useful and worthwhile for us in a SHTF scenario.

      • TexasScout says:

        When I became a ham over 13 years ago, I joined it all. RACES, ARES, local clubs, even built a radio room for the local Sheriffs office. I gave it all up. I got so tired of the requirements, (no body TALKS anymore, it’s all airmail now) the endless online training, and most of all the politics and squabbling between those in power. All I wanted to do is help and people got in the way so I let them have it and went home. If you can put up with the BS and the hours and hours of training, go for it.

      • darkangel says:

        Many people have in the past said that when the SHTF we won’t have TV and be able to go out on the town and boredom sets in. Some suggest putting board games, cards and books in your BOB. Other suggest a good hobby or recorded music to pass the time. Still others will spend their time listening to and/or talking on the radio. All good hobbies. Everyone of course wants to believe thei hobby is soooooo much more and will make up stuff to make it sound more important and put down any suggestion that it isn’t. Is that what you are doing?

  3. Curtiss says:

    The idea of people getting their license now, may not be to maintain the legal aspects of amateur radio operation when SHTF. I would think that it would be to make contacts local and distant, to learn the protocol and train to maintain order on the air when SHTF. Learning now and being able to operate in a civilized manner, may hopefully maintain that order and keep people in communication with each other.
    Transmitting distances may not be great, but if you have the contacts, you may be able to communicate by relaying from contact to contact, around the world.
    Getting your license now is a great idea, it gives you time to learn the ropes of ham radio operation when you have time. When SHTF it will be to late.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Curtiss,
      When you state, “you may be able to communicate by relaying from contact to contact, around the world” you hit the nail square on the head. Our parent organization, like the NRA is for firearms, is the ARRL or the American Radio Relay League. Knowing not only the contacts; but also the procedures and mechanisms to efficiently and accurately pass messages, is part of the whole skill set.

  4. Comingstorm says:

    It’s thinking like IdahoBob that backs up the toilet.
    There is already in place a ham network for shtf.
    Get your license, know your freqs. , learn your contacts, that way you won’t be another casualty of ignorance.

    • Axelsteve says:

      I have a c.b. in my bov. It works but I need a better antenna. It is a magnetic about 18 inches long. I plan on putting a whip on it mounted to the left rear bumper. I think a ham license would be good for educational reasons if nothing else. If you have the radio.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Hi Axelsteve! The ham bit also teaches you a great deal. A CB radio is on the “11 meter” band, meaning the wavelength is roughly 11 meters….. There is a concept of “radiation resistance” which relates to how efficient an antenna is. Very short antennas for their wavelength — like your 0.5 meter antenna on an 11 meter band — have a very small radiation resistance, and hence any resistance in the wiring tends to waste away your precious power as heat….. Meaning you don’t have nearly the signal you think you shouldhave. Mobile antennas on the HF bands can be quite a challenge. As you move into more radio knowledge, you’ll learn more about how to make the best of every watt your transmitter produces, and to be sure that every microvolt of field strength makes it to your receiver front end!!! You will also gain access to many more frequencies, understand “criticalfrequency” and “maximum usable frequency” for different distances, and you’ll get much better results at a wider range of commmunications tasks and goals.

        • Axelsteve says:

          Thank You P doc! I do not understand much about radios but you gave me some stuff to think about. My c.b. does work I just need to tune it.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          PrepperDoc,
          Great summation. I would also point out that the hams and CB’er have had their challenges over the years, since the 11 meter band (around 27 MHz) once upon a time was a ham band, which we lost for public service, that eventually turned into chaos.

    • AnyoneHere says:

      Wish it were all that easy. If you are a ham you are smart but if you are not than you are ignorant??? How much have you spent on this? Seriously, a $100, $1000, more? How much? Would that same amount in food and other critical supplies be a wise investment or would it be another example of “ignorance”?

      How much time have you spent at this “hobby”? 100 hours in your lifetime, a 1000 hours?, more. What if you spent that time improving the facilities at your BOV or your home or garden? No, wait, that would be… “ignorant”.

      Life is full of choices. Right now I’m spending a couple of hours in front of my computer. Probably my biggest time waster. I recognize that, I accept and acknowledge that, it is a hobby. I would never assume that people who choose to not do this are… “ignorant”.

      • TexasScout says:

        I was a ham LONG before I was a prepper. I have about $30,000.00 in ham gear, if I have bought it new. I only bought three of my many rigs new. I built my station off of ebay and hamfests. You don’t have to spend a bundle to get a competent station. You can buy a used HF rig for $200 and build your own antennas. It’s not that hard.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        Hi, lets ease this tone down a bit. Not everybody needs to be a radio expert, but believing that you were going to be one without paying your dues might get you into trouble. My main radio I built several decades ago, my entire station was worth a lot less then a car with 200,000 miles on it. I’ve upgraded event since then, but eBay is your friend! You can sure build a lot of stuff for cheap once you understand how they work.

      • How much have I spent? Maybe $300. That won’t even buy one decent gun. That’s less than a basket full of groceries.

        I’ve got a couple of Baofengs (one in a faraday cage just in case), and an FT-2900 I got on sale. I hacked together my power from an old computer power supply, and I haven’t invested in batteries yet, because there’s two sitting in the cars in the garage that will do just fine (along with the rechargeables from my cordless power tools.)

        How much time have I spent that could have been spent training? TRICK QUESTION. All of it has been spent training, because pretty much the only thing I do is RACES training and stormwatcher functions. In there, I’ve learned how to use the radios, learned how to read the skies, have learned how to use the USNG, and most importantly, I’ve learned from the inside how my local government intends to handle an emergency — and started to build relationships with other people who are also catastrophe-aware.

        So, you know, you run around in the woods all by your lonesome. You’ll be real entertaining for the first ZBG that comes by. Meantime, I’ll be in a vast group of prepared people who are likely to be the first ones to hear when something happens.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          Phelps,
          Amen, Amen, Amen!!! Training for anything takes away time from training for other things. Would I spend an entire weekend on the radio (except maybe during field day LOL) and let my garden clog up with weeds? Not likely. The whole point of prepping is to be proficient at many skills from gardening, to canning, to firearms, to radio, and much more. Skills training is NOT a zero sum game, except of course when I’m force to sleep LOL.

  5. I haven’t got a license yet but what I have done is get one of the new little radios with multiple bands as a receiver and a old Montgomery Wards tube type radio which a friend who is a ET restored to perfect working condition for me, this will allow me to monitor what is being said and try to sort the chaff from the grain.
    Being able to get information as to what is going on is critical for everybody’s survival.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      I think those are really good thoughts!

      Be warned however that much of what may go on will not be voice….it may be digital, spread spectrum, or encrypted.

      There are so many ways to NOT be able to decipher what is being communicated! Without some time devoted to understanding all this, you may not get much out of it when the time comes — and I think you should have specific objectives covered IN ADVANCE.

      For example:
      1. Communicating with sentries / patrols / nearby. Voice good for this, over FM, low power, possibly using codes to conceal the data being passed. If terrain is a problem, you may want to create a simple crossband repeater and mount it HIGH within your protected community. You will probably want at least some private tones to make it more difficult for interlopers to spoof your system. Learning about ham repeaters will help you with those issues.

      2. You will probably want to be able to MONITOR cb frequenices, perhaps with a scanning system, because it is possible that attackers might use this. Or you may wish to monitor police/fire frequencies (if possible….increasingly these are trunked and/or encrypted)–but at least you need to UNDERSTAND that and the techniques to overcome it.

      3. You will want to be able to get information to/from further allies/loved ones. Encryption may be important here, and some form of high frequency (could be voice, morse code, PSK31, WINLINK, ham satellite, just about anything) commmunications to span larger distances.

      4. You will want some form of broadcast receiver to listen to remaining foreign news stations — to compare and contrast with what you are hearing locally, from the local authorities, and from your own distant contacts, to try and know what is happening for real.

      Those may be missing something important, but it is my best try at this point.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        PrepperDoc,
        Good tips. I would also add that with the radios being discussed, WxNW should also know how to tune CW and SSB (Single Side Band). Often those old radios don’t have a USB or LSB mode; but, they may have a BFO (Beat Frequency Oscillator) which allows reception of those modes with some practice. The BFO could also be used with the most efficient digital mode, that being CW or Morse code, since it requires nothing more to decode it that a trained ear.

  6. Ray Walters says:

    Hey Jon: Could or would you make a drawing of your “Home Made Antenna” that you mentioned in this Survivalist Blog.net? The whole 9 yards.
    If they don’t want to put your antenna in this Blog; then maybe you could send the information, drawing and data to me at: [email protected]. I probably have too many antenna’s but I like to use a yagi once in a while. Mine is a 2 meter.

  7. TexasScout says:

    Skills are lost if you think practice them. A license will let you practices she skills, and skills AND knowledge ARE required to be proficiant at COMMUNICATING (the whole purpose), station building and safety.

  8. TexasScout says:

    Dang auto correct.

  9. PrepperDoc says:

    If you dont know how to use a tool, you will conclude it is of no value when it doesn’t seem to do anything for you. A professional steps up, and suddenly the worthless device is doing a critical part of an important task! There’s a proverb that goes with that “A poor workman blames his tools.” The reason is: a good workman knows how to use, or repair his tools.

    This is true of just about every skill in the prepper bag of tricks. If you don’t know how to plant seed, you’re going to say the seed is at fault and worthless. If you don’t know how to use a scope, you’re going to blame or downgrade its usefulness. If you don’t understand the difference between clindamycin and tetracycline, when one doesn’t do what you wanted, you’ll conclude it is worthless.

    One needs to be able to grow / catch / find / forage / store food. Enough to live on.

    One needs to be able to defend territory with firearms at the appropriate distances, and with other techniques if appropriate. A man who can only use a handgun at 30 yards will be embarrassed by an opponent who can hit him at 750 yards.

    Since human beings are incapable of mental telepathy, long distance communications skills were invented. Are they more important than obtaining calories? No. More important than antibiotics? No.

    But if you can’t communicate to your sentries at 100 yards; if you can’t communicate with your allies at 1 mile; if you can’t receive word from others 2 counties over on which antibiotic worked on the plague that has decimated many communities; if you can’t get news of the blight destroying crops 50 miles away and what worked; if you don’t hear of the approaching forces 300 miles away, or the hurricane at 200 miles — you may wish later that you had rated commmunications at a higher level than some other activities.

    Many different frequencies, emissions, times, techniques, powers etc will fit best in those different tasks. If you have only 1 skill in your knowledge base, or only one radio in your equipment bay…..you may regret it.

  10. In a TEOTWAWKI condition no license will be needed to do anything. No radio license, no driver’s license, no pilot’s license, no license plate, no tax stamp to make moonshine, etc.
    YOYO! You’re On Your Own!

    • Nolan, I would like to disagree just a little bit, but not totally. A major event will set us back in time, maybe 50 yrs or maybe a 100 yrs but never the less if it’s 50 yrs then just go back and look at how society functioned then and that’s close to what we will have.
      Having said that we have a couple of generations like my grandchildren that get up in the morning with a smart phone and really I think their whole day is controlled by that device, what happens when that factor is non-functional.

  11. If a person thinks for one minute our government is going to standby and watch this country implode to the point of where WROL is now defunct well they either have their head in the sand or have a bad case of rectal-cranial inversion disease. What will happen is martial law will be declared, all personal property will be forcefully confiscated and doled out to the supporters of whatever regime is in the power position. When this occurs mass civil disobedience will ensue. Now the powers that be will have one of two choices. Allow the country to self implode or let the U.N. Troops that are already here restore peace. Rule of law will be restored and violators who think have cart Blanche will be made to disappear

    • Christian Gains says:

      Good points Doc!

      But, I think that there are millions of “gringos” that ALREADY are PREparing for JUST SUCH A Scenario…Which means, (as USUAL), Uncle Sugar is two days late, spent ten times as much as needed, got poop for results, and isn’t GENUINELY as PREpared as they think…(since they’re betting on those millions of resisters being “Dilberts” & “Dufusses”).

      And, again, UNDERESTIMATING the capabilities, and intelligence of the, (as they think of us): “common herd”.

      Well, I say leave’em be…let’em bask in their arrogance…as a matter of FACT, we should do ALL we can to encourage they’re arrogance.

      I’ve studied Bosnia, the U.N. “actions” in Africa, and the M.E., and I believe that the PTB will be FOOLISH, at best, to utilize the U.N. Mercenary troops….VERY, VERY FOOLISH.

      BUT!

      Those Russian Spetznatz, (running around the Washington State woods), ARE a SERIOUS problem. As are the foreign owners of cities, and Corporations, and “Tax Free Zones”…here….THOSE are the GENUINE problem.

      And no…THEY will NOT “allow the country to self-implode…”. You got THAT right!

  12. Not having a Ham license is the same as the guy who thinks that if he buys a year supply of freeze dried food that he’s done prepping for food, and if he buys an SKS and a tuna can of ammo and throw them in the closet, he’s done with setting up self-defense.

    Skills are just as important as gear. No man is an island, and no one is going to last long without the ability to reach out and communicate with their neighbors. Maybe you have lots of expendable teenagers around that you can uses as runners, but radios probably work better.

    If you are going to have the radios, you have to know how to use them. If you want to know how to use them, you have to practice with them. If you want to practice with them without having the FCC knocking on your door, you need a license. (BTW, the real danger isn’t the FCC itself, but the do-gooder Hams who report non-licensed transmitters and send the FCC to them, and there are a lot of those.)

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Phelps,
      Those do-gooder hams are assigned the task of Official Observer (OO) and they are what helps keep the ham bands from disintegrating into the supposed public service band known as Citizens Band (11 meter CB).
      Does calling the local law enforcement on your cell phone and reporting an obviously drunk driver make you a do-gooder? I suspect it does, and you should be proud to do such an act, since it could quite possibly save a life.

    • While I agree with having the knowledge and the skills, registering with the FCC has nothing to do it either. There’s a lot of radio spectrum outside of the amateur bands, some better suited for shorter range inter-group survival communications than amateur radio (licensed or not) bands IMO. Encryption is legal and commonly used in the industrial/business band just as one example, and the time spent researching what goes on outside the amateur bands in your area, scanning, modifying / tuning amateur radios and antennas to operate effectively on those frequencies, the different modes used, and the radio operator practices in those bands all contribute to your radio knowledge and skill. Depending on how far you want to take it, it can require a broader range of radio knowledge than working strictly within the amateur bands (with only like-minded people following standardized rules and operator procedures). It also teaches clandestine and OPSEC oriented radio operation, skills not associated with amateur radio but potentially very useful in some survival situations as John alludes to in his article. If you don’t practice those skills too, then don’t expect to be very good if you need to use them later.

      As far as “the FCC knocking on your door”, that’s scare tactics IMO. If you’re knowledgeable and skilled with your equipment and procedures, then you’re indistinguishable from licensed/registered operators. The golden rules are to not interfere with others, keep your exchanges short, and “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. Take a few moments to look up what is actually required to get noticed by the FCC if anyone has any doubts.

      ARRL field day is coming up, a perfect time for us to make some quick QSOs with hams, get RS(T) reports, and practice our ability to operate effectively and clandestinely.

      • TexasScout says:

        Yes, using GMRS/FRS type radios for “local” communications and drills is a good idea, just remember there is a multitude more people that have them so OPSEC is more likely to be compromised. Not near as many have Amateur radios. Amateur radios are frequency agile where GMRS/FRS is not.

        As for HF, there is an “art” to HF that must be learned and practiced for solid comms to take place. This takes time “on the bands” building/erecting/tuning” antennas takes skill and time to get it right.

        As for: “As far as “the FCC knocking on your door”, that’s scare tactics IMO. If you’re knowledgeable and skilled with your equipment and procedures, then you’re indistinguishable from licensed/registered operators. The golden rules are to not interfere with others, keep your exchanges short, and “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. Take a few moments to look up what is actually required to get noticed by the FCC if anyone has any doubts. ” Yes, the FCC is VERY lax in “takin’ care o’ biddness”. But the OOs and other hams are not. They know who/what/how/when of the airwaves and they report it. Believe me, I KNOW when someone doesn’t belong there. It’s very easy to figure this out. I and my fellow hams have tracked down rouge operators ourselves and reported them even confronted them.

        You just can’t get enough HF mic time without your ticket.

        Tex

        • So you wouldn’t QSL a CQ from KG5NYY, who passed the tech and general tests the same day, and just got his license granted a month ago? Is he not allowed to check into a net because his style lacks “art” or he sounds like a lid?

          Not to argue, maybe you don’t like talking to new hams and that’s fine. I’ve found that’s not true of most hams however. I personally don’t like to ragchew, so field day and QSO parties are my favorite times to practice.

          • TexasScout says:

            You got what I posted all wrong. That’s not what I meant at all. Somebody who has a callsign and uses it, easy enough to find out who they are and if they are legal. No more than 10 seconds on QRZ.com and you have your answer. I encourage New Hams, I Elmer New Hams, I have taught radio merit badge to Boy Scouts. If you’re going to do it do it legally. All I meant was it’s easy to tell someone who doesn’t belong there.

  13. “In a TEOTWAWKI, there will be almost no comms because in that type of event, the air will be so clogged with fall out (pulverized rock), radio will not work except for very specific and narrow bands.”

    Now, I know nothing at all about HAM radio, though I’ve thought about studying for my license. However, this bit I quoted is what I took a bit of issue with.

    What an unnecessarily narrow view of TEOTWAWKI causes.

    Plus, there are a lot of reasons one might need HAM without a world WROL. Tons of them. To claim one doesn’t need a license because there won’t be a government is silly in my opinion. While debate about whether a prepper should get a HAM radio is one thing, that’s not what this is.

    Sorry, but this annoyed me to no end.

    • Christian Gains says:

      He’s “forward thinking” Tom, and not relating to today.

      You’re ABSOLUTELY CORRECT that there are DOZENS of reasons to have a license today…BUT! Once TSHTF, “legal” will be spelled “S.L.A.V.E.”…

      So, Licenses will simply be invitations, (for unwanted visits), and revelations of “WHERE DEM NASTY FREEDOM LUVA’S IS HIDIN!” (DEEP Suthun DRAWL necessary). lol

      He also didn’t insinuate that there’d be no “Gummint” — His ENTIRE thesis is BASED upon there being a very ACTIVE “Gummint”…Dornes, et al…and how we should proceed under such a scenario…(again…future tense)…

      I’m sure that there’s folks that agree with such forward thinking & prepping intelligently, due to KNOWLEDGE, that they MIGHT not have had if Joh had not piped up.

      But, it’s good to get frustration off your chest…God bless Brother!

  14. OhioPrepper says:

    Jon,
    First of all, what’s with all of the conspiracy about TPTB. There are probably those folks out there; but in your scenario of nuclear fallout, looking for the survivors with radio will be far down the list of those left in authority unless you are causing large amounts of trouble.
    You say you stumbled upon this site, so I don’t know where you’ve been before; but, a nuclear event, although a horrible thing, is much less likely than a hurricane (e.g., Katrina) or many other natural disasters OR upheaval somewhere in the world that deprive us of our necessities like fuel.

    As for the “they” who will kill the power grid, I must ask – Who are “they” and why do they want things to cook. Unless “they” can run a tractor and combine, or know how to keep the machinery of our civilization running, they will soon be in deep Doo Doo themselves.
    As for fallout stopping HF radio, that too is a fantasy. Ionizing radiation could change propagation; but, that would also be true for 11 meters (CB) and then again, how would you power your LINEAR?

    “purging and culling”? Say what!!!!

    When you state: “Again, the KEY to any use of survivalists would be coordinated frequencies, radio use protocol, battery preservation”, you have listed the main reasons for getting an Amateur License. The ability to get on the air now before you need it, so you can learn the protocols & practices, and learn and become proficient with the skills to allow communications when you really need it is the best reason for getting that license NOW. It’s no different from any other piece of kit or the skills to go with it.

  15. Christian Gains says:

    This Article is what us “dummies” NEED, to set us on the right path, at LEAST! THANKS for a good beginning…PLEASE DO continue!!! I’m next to UTTERLY ILLITERATE, but have “Ham’s for Dummies”, and “Radio Amateur’s Handbook”, so, have a “beginners” beginning…BUT!

    ANY thing you want to share, share on brother…once TSHTF, we’ll be fairly lost. We DO have a generator…but I’m thinking to get a portable solar set up….liked your “copper coiled around rope, & slingshot” method of portable antenna set up!

    THAT type of info is priceless!!! ALL I need now is the roll of copper wire, and study about the dynamics of setting up Antennas.

    Also, be assured that there’s a “coordinated comms reality developing Nationwide…AND a well developed “MOLON LABE'” mindset also. THANKS AGAIN!

    • How you set up depends on your AO. I’m in a city, and it’s going to be 1000x more important for me to have local comms than to talk to Iceland and Australia. That means VHF.

      That’s good for me, because VHF is much cheaper, and limited to line of sight. My rig for reaching out and touching someone is an inexpensive 2m FT-2900 (doubles as an extra chest plate if you need body armor), whatever 12v batteries I can scrounge up (and I wasn’t kidding about the car batteries and power tool LIon batteries), and an antenna. My antenna of choice is a Slim Jim antenna made out of old Ladder Line, like we used with TVs. (Google is your friend on all of this.)

      That’s $120 for the radio on sale, $30 or so for the antenna (premade and tuned from a dealer) and $25 or so in coax from amazon. Add some 550 cord to hang the antenna from whatever is handy, and you are on the air to anyone similarly equipped for about 40 miles (if you can get the antenna a ways up in the tree.)

      HF is another can of worms, and you’ll need a different person to help you on that one. It’s not necessarily more complicated (lots of other people have done the thinking for you and you just have to follow directions) but the radios are an order of magnitude more expensive. They start around $800-1200 new, but you can get deals at swap meets. You can buy some really expensive antennas, but practically everyone makes their own.

      • PrepperDoc says:

        I would just caution that how much you spend on an HF rig is inversely proportional to how much you know and how much help you are getting. I currently have about 5 complete HF stations — digital/SSB/CW, the whole gamut, and the most I spent on any of them is less than $500. Usually I figure on $300. Used ICOM 725 is fantastic. Used HW-100 or SB101 … also works. The chance to LEARN: priceless.

  16. question was
    do you need a license to be preppared¿
    nope…
    i got mine w0trd,,worried about the man¿
    rofl
    yep if they dont see me they dont know me¿
    whatever…google
    but it is a good thread..

    a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse…

  17. the ability to operate your station off grid seems most important…
    no matter what mode you choose..
    12v hf or cb or…but you need powa to run the rig…

    hf rig..12v if needed…modded for mars cap…
    wire..rope..size 12 boot for measureing stick…
    if i gots powa,,im good…

    local comms means the goons are upon ya dont it¿
    that close i dont need my radio,,i want my mini14
    lol

    …the more youre slip sliden away¿

    • hey doc
      wats your call¿
      lets start a net….3.992 maybe…
      good be a good time…
      think patriots net…

      survival net…

      i thru my call
      into the air
      and where it landed
      i know not where…
      burma shave¿

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