What is the best system/device for post collapse communications and news

Please explain your answer in the comments below…

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M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Okay I am a little perplexed in which is more important and there are really two questions here not one. Is it communication or news from the outside??
    There are to many variables to make a decision , who are your communicating with? Who do you want to listen with or on? Are we to pick just one and that will be are only choice? If we need to listen and get news and communicate then the ham radio is probably the only choice.

  2. George,

    You choose the one that YOU feel is the most important. Then you add your other thoughts and suggestions here in the comments.

  3. Well, since I don’t know what will work or not, I am working on 3 systems, depending upon what is happening.

    Ham & SW for getting information from sources other than “public” radio.

    CB’s for traveling in vehicles.

    GMRS for non-vehicular traveling.

    I also found a st of instructions for turning old phones into intercoms for around the ranch.

  4. I voted for Ham. I dont have one but i think it will be the best for getting info from a long distance away. I do have a 10 and 11 meter radio which is technically ham, but in a cb chasis. I think murs/gmrs are the handiest for apound the homestead and cb for short range travel in vehicles.

    • My sentiments exactly!
      I too voted for ham radio but don’t have one. I’ve focused on relatively short range communication for my two way coms. Since we live in a valley surrounded by very tall mountains the range of these devices is limited but I wanted to be able to actively communicate within our local area. I purchased a super nice world band radio for passive listening. This’ll allow us to keep informed to what is going on elsewhere …… assuming there’ll be someone broadcasting! I also installed a 24′ whip for my CB base station and a 40′ long wire receive antenna on our roof.

  5. Ham radios are my choice because of their capacity to communicate over long distances.

  6. 1MoreBoyScout says:

    I’d have to say a HAM would probably make the most sense. It certainly would be the best for long distances. My son has a couple of sets of cheap motorola walkie-talkies. For quick comm. around the ol’ homestead they work just fine.

  7. Ham radio system:
    You can communicate with other ham operators, and the other units are only for short distances. Then the next step down is for listening only(am/fm shortwave comb), unless you have a base station for the walkie talkies.

  8. This could be a “toss-up”. After a SHTF event and/or martial law situation, I’m willing to bet the Gov’t WILL take over ALL AM/FM broadcasting stations…mainly for their propaganda on how well they are handling the situation and making “us” safer…along with trying to coax us into FEMA camps. This information will be important as it will give you ideas of areas where NOT to go…unless of course, you want to get “picked up” and go to a FEMA camp. I would try to get something that would serve my or my familys’ immediate needs first and then “branch out” a little for more distance. No matter what…the gov’t will be able to or try to “scramble” most communication frequencies that they think are being used. The non-mobile or home based “units” we might use will be targeted and probably targeted as “hostile”. I really don’t have a definitive answer…just some thoughts on this.

  9. Best means of gathering & SHARING info in a SHTF scenario has to be HAM. It connects with a myriad of like minded people BUT my concern arises should we encounter a power outage aka. EMP??? The reason being the HAM may depend upon repeaters that without power, are nothing more than very expensive lightning rods. So although I would want HAM I will also rely on a myriad of the methods mentioned with CB & HAM my principles for “TALKING” to people and the others for listening.

  10. Many “Amateur Radio Transceivers” are capable of receiving COMMERCIAL am/fm and shortwave transmissions. They also transmit on the am/fm spectrum, on radio bands allocated for amateur radio, and also modified can transmit “out of band”

    I am a tech class amateur radio license holder….and have lots of “rigs”.
    I definitely recommend folks looking into and getting involved with Amateur radio. You can talk a long long way, and even farther depending on atmospheric conditions.

  11. As a long time amateur radio operator, I would not only choose this, but would encourage everyone to get their license. The licenses are technician, general, and extra class. The Technician class allows use of some of the High Frequency (HF long distance) with Morse Code only, and voice on a fraction of the 10 meter band, and virtually unlimited voice and digital data on 6 meters (50 MHz) and above. The General class allows voice and digital data operation on most segments of all ham bands. The Extra class license adds in some small segments that are for extra class only, and although I have held that license class for more than a decade, it is not something to sweat over. In layman’s terms the Technician is an ice cream sundae, the General, a banana split, and the Extra, the same banana split with a few cherries on top. For more details on which licenses allow which privileges, download one of the charts (free pdf) from here: http://www.arrl.org/graphical-frequency-allocations.

    As for the radios, you will need several; but, they will cover everything listed in the poll above. A good HF rig (such as my 30+ year old Kenwood TS-430S), can be modified (search for your radio and CAP or MARS modification) for transmit AND receive in the entire range of the radio (150 KHz to 30 MHz) and covers not only the ham bands, but the AM broadcast, shortwave, and Citizens Band. This radio (and most others) can handle CW (Morse Code), AM, FM, and Sideband (LSB & USB).

    Inexpensive radios like the Wouxun KG-UV6D MD just acquired or my Baofeng UV-5RA all have coverage for FM broadcast, FRS, GMRS, MURS, and the commercial frequencies covered by most police scanners. Although you cannot legally transmit on these radios without a license, and must stick to the licensed frequencies, the capability is there to receive, and even to transmit in an emergency situation. The same applies to the HF radio discussed in the previous paragraph. These radios are insanely inexpensive, and should be purchased at a minimum in pairs for point to point local communications.

    To sum it up, everyone should strive to get their General Class Amateur Radio license, and although it is no longer required, learn the Morse Code, both by hearing and sight. Morse Code can get through in many situations where the other modes cannot, can be used with significantly less power, and although encryption on ham radio is not allowed except in a very specific instance, provides some degree of privacy since most folks don’t know the code.

  12. i have a question about cb’s and hope that someone can give an answer.
    is a 40 channel with upper and lower bands still usefull?
    i have an old one in good shape and was just wondering if i should dust it off and get it ready.
    thanks in advance for the reply’s.

    • davin,
      Any working radio can be useful, so I personally would dust it off and get it running. Even if you don’t transmit on it, the number of people who do transmit, including many truckers who are on the move, will provide you with an additional information source, and that is always a good thing.

  13. by the way, the cb has a regular channel also for a total of 120 channels.

    • davin,
      The radio really only has 40/80 channels. The original CB radios used AM, just like the AM broadcast band to communicate. An AM signal contains a carrier frequency and two sidebands, one above the carrier and one below it. These sidebands are called the Upper Sideband (USB) and Lower Sideband (LSB), and each contains the same information. When sending a signal, the CB is limited to a maximum of 4 watts output, and in “normal” AM mode, that power is divided between the carrier and the two sidebands. Since each sideband contains the same information, we can eliminate one of them and only share the power output between the carrier and one sideband, while still delivering the information (i.e., your voice). Finally, since each CB channel is at a fixed, known frequency, we can eliminate the carrier, and only send a single sideband, using the entire 4 watts for just that information. This mode is known as Single Sideband / Suppressed Carrier or SSB. This tends to allow SSB to contain signal levels that may be understood, at greater distances.

      So, you can communicate in normal” AM mode on 1 of 40 channels using both sidebands at the same time or you can transmit on 1 of 40 channels and use only a single sideband. This in essence does give you 80 channels; however, two radios on the same channel with one using USB and the other using LSB must be separated by some minimum distance, generally in miles, for the signals to not interfere with each other and a radio using AM on the same channel, will interfere with both radios, since it transmits on both sidebands simultaneously.

      I hope this was at least reasonably understandable.

      • BTW
        The tome above did not get moderated since it contained no links (URLs) and evidently no key words.
        Either that, or MD likes me more than his mom, LOL.

  14. OhioPrepper, thanks much for the great information and sharing that.
    now i have a better understanding of the upper and lower bands and yep, i do plan to get it going soon.
    again. thanks.

  15. Rod Zeigler says:

    Ohio Prepper, Good info and well presented. I have experience in everything from CB to Broadcast and agree 100% with what you wrote. I prefer Ham as it has multiple uses for both short and long range communication, but would be lying if I said I had no CB’s, scanners, or other gear. With public service going digital, encrypted, trunking, and even frequency hopping, scanners are not nearly as much fun as they used to be. Fine Business Old Man de W0RVZ.

    • Rod,
      A real name and call are probably not the best OPSEC, but it’s good to hear from you.
      I have a lot of other gear, and although the minimum like my TS-430S and Baofeng UV-5RA cover all of the bands and services in the survey, sometimes you want to communicate or at least listen on multiple frequencies simultaneously. Therefore I have a multitude of radios going back in time more than 30 years including CB and general coverage receivers, including scanners.

      As I’m writing this, it dawned on me that perhaps the most important radio that everyone should have at a minimum is a Weather radio with alert. The Federal Government has a list of state/county codes called the FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard). When you get the radio, you simply set the FIPS county codes that you are interested in, like your county and the surrounding ones, or in my case, the local county and those to my northwest, which is where the weather generally comes from. You then go through the menu and select the type of warnings and watches in which you are interested. For example, I don’t bother with Volcano’s or Hurricanes. That’s all that is required to give you warnings of potential events that may affect you.

      Sorry for the kind of off topic warning, but it simply hit me as I was typing this reply.

      In any case to Rod,
      73’s OM

      • Rod Zeigler says:

        I appreciate your concern, I really do, but I am not real worried about using my real name and call on here. I do have op-sec concerns and deal with them on a daily basis. I have decided that anything I write on any blog, web page, or social media page is easily traceable, so why bother. I am much more concerned about Big Brother than I am those on these pages. Big Brother knows me well and where to find me any time he wants to. 73’s

      • Hunker-Down says:


        We have a NOAA radio with FIPS but it runs on AC or batteries. Does anyone make a solar powered version?

  16. Suburban Housewife says:

    I voted for HAM as I just began studying for my license. It is super hard for me because I am not really all that interested in it and it’s a lot of memorization and all numbers and abbreviations. However I can’t imagine being without communication of some sort. And I will definitively need a way to with my daughters on the opposite coast. Then I have to talk them into getting their licenses too – that will be even harder than the test I think –

  17. Hunker-Down says:

    I will probably get a bunch of demerits from the pack for this but I’ll surely learn something from it.

    It seem to me that using the required ham call sign that can be tracked to my house from an on line database is the same as posting my social security number online. For OPSEC reasons I don’t want to broadcast anything. A community would have different objectives but as an individual I prefer to not broadcast.
    The author says AM will be the farthest reaching incoming signal other than Ham, so I choose AM. For talking to someone close in a MURS encrypted device seems attractive.
    AS you can tell, I know nothing about the topic.

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