Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stay in touch

One of the topics any prepper will run into is that of communications.  While there are differing schools of thought on the necessity of maintaining radio silence lest the mutant cannibal zombie bikers hunt you down and steal your stuff, I don't care to go into that just now.

For now, let's assume that you need to talk to someone who is at some short remove from you.  Further than one of the ubiquitous FRS radios will reach, but not so far as to need a full-on ham radio rig.  You don't want any of those big, goofy CB hand-held radios, either.  Every yahoo in 3 counties has one, and they'll all be jabbering on them come The End.  And it needs to be inexpensive.

Don't ask for much, do you?

Well, your first step is to get a Technician Class Amateur Radio License.  It isn't hard--do a little studying, mostly on the rules and proper operating procedures, pass a 35 question test and you will shortly be an anointed Tech.  If you need to buy a study book, you're going to be into this about $50 including your testing fee and a bit for gas to drive to the test site.

Then you need a radio, what is know in amateur parlance as a handy-talky or "HT".  It's possible to pay as much as $600 for one of the better known name brands, and they are Cadillacs.  I have a Kenwood TH-D72, and it will do most everything including diapering the baby.  But it's a spendy item.  We were looking for inexpensive, remember?

Well, love 'em or hate 'em, here come the Chinese to the rescue.  There are several brands ranging from inexpensive to cheap.  Which one to buy?  The Signal Corps has some words of wisdom.

1 comment:

jed said...

I won't say there aren't things to recommend those Chinese radios, but spring for just a bit more money, and you'll have a Yaesu FT-60.

OTOH, I plan on buying a Baofeng just to have a spare -- something I can just toss in the car and not worry about. It's the radio equivalent of a trunk gun. Hard to argue against the utility of that, at under $40 for a UV-5R+.

IIRC, one of the advantages of some of those Chinese jobs is that you can program in GMRS/FRS frequencies. Well I already own 4 GMRS radios. Of course, I'd be carrying the FT-60 and one of those, instead of a single radio, so I guess that's something to consider.