The New Survivalist
Disaster Preparedness and Self-Reliance

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Chapter 11:
Communication

Staying in Touch After a Disaster

You should have a backup plan for recharging your cell phone when there is no utility power. A charger that plugs into a cigarette lighter will allow you to charge your phone from the battery in your automobile, as well as from any other 12 volt source if you have the appropriate adapter. Of course you should also be prepared in case you have no service for your cell phone.

A battery-operated radio will allow you to hear radio broadcasts and keep up with local news announcements. Even the simplest emergency kit should include a small battery-operated radio along with extra batteries. Make sure that you do not store your radio with the batteries in it because they can leak and ruin it. Additional batteries that are rechargeable are also a good idea as long as you have some means for recharging them when the electricity is off, perhaps a small solar battery charger. Portable radios with built-in solar chargers are also available.

An even better idea is a windup radio. These will typically operate for an hour or longer after only 90 seconds of turning the crank to charge the internal rechargeable batteries. Some units, like the one pictured below, also come with a built-in LED flashlight and even an adapter that you can use to charge your cell phone—a very nice feature!

American Red Cross FR150 Microlink Solar-Powered, Self-Powered AM/FM/Weatherband Portable Radio with Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger (stock photograph)

This emergency radio with water resistant housing is endorsed by the American Red Cross. The hand crank on the side can be used to recharge the battery, which also powers the built-in LED emergency light, flashing beacon and emergency siren, and it can even be used to charge your cell phone! It receives AM/FM, seven NOAA weather alert channels, and TV channels 2-13. A radio like this can be purchased from Amazon.com. (Stock photograph)

CB Radios

Citizen's Band (CB) radios are one method of emergency communication for some survivalists. CB's provide local two-way communication when telephone service is unavailable. A CB scanner is a nice feature because it allows you to quickly search all the "action" bands where you will hear police, ambulance, fire, amateur radio, public utilities, weather, and more. For emergency use it is important to have a CB that will operate on batteries, and a backup power supply for when the batteries become discharged. A rechargeable 12 volt power supply could come in very handy if you have some method for recharging it when there is no electricity—perhaps a solar charger.

Amateur or Ham Radios

For many survivalists ham radios are the ultimate in emergency two-way communication. A ham radio will allow you to communicate with other ham radio operators over great distances. You have to pass a simple short exam and acquire a license in order to operate a ham radio. Don't worry, you do not have to learn Morse code for the first class of ham radio license—the Technician class—which will enable you to talk to fellow ham operators in your area. After you have had your Technician license for a while and found that you really enjoy the hobby, you may want to the General class license which will allow you to talk with ham radio operators worldwide on the short-wave bands. The third and highest class of amateur radio license is the Extra class, which requires that you pass a 50 question exam. Books are available to help you prepare for the exams for all three levels of ham radio licensure.

Get Your Ham Radio Technician's License in Three Easy Steps

Action Step 17: Communication Check Lists

Below are sample "GET" and "DO" lists for emergency communication preparedness. Use these lists to help you formulate your own check lists using the appropriate page in your Action Planner. Add additional items as you think of them:

Printer Friendly List Printer Friendly List
    Communication "GET" Check List:
  1. [  ] Handheld 5 watt Ham radio
  2. [  ] Extra batteries for Ham radio
  3. [  ] 12 volt DC ("cigarette lighter") charger for Ham radio
  4. [  ] Portable AM/FM radio with batteries
  5. [  ] Rechargeable batteries
  6. [  ] Solar battery charger
  7. [  ] Phone charger for cell phone
  8. [  ] Windup radio
  9. [  ] CB radio/scanner
  10. [  ] Etc.
    Communication "DO" Check List:
  1. [  ] Learn more about ham radios
  2. [  ] Take Ham radio technician class and exam. Study Guide
  3. [  ] See "Get Your Ham Radio Technician's License in Three Easy Steps"
  4. [  ] Form a Ham Network with other preppers in your group
  5. [  ] Etc.
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