COMMUNICATIONS: Factor Ready is not a Communications Dealer or Distributorship and we do not stock, ship or sell ham radio supplies. We can nevertheless supply you with beneficial "prepping" tips per this article, and direct you to some good supply sources we have discovered. Radio Communications in America are assigned and administered by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) who controls who uses what frequencies. Several of these bands are assigned for Amateur Radio usage, popularly known as the Ham Radio Hobby. Operators in this realm have had FCC licensed legal use privlleges since 1912.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO COMMUNICATE: How do you plan to communicate should a factor disable all local power, phone lines, internet service and cell towers? We recommend you cover this vital base by promptly obtaining an FCC approved Amateur (Ham) Radio License and at minimum a compact (battery operated) hand held radio to access one or more of the Ham radio bands. This will also in many areas (depending on frequencies) monitor local law enforcement and fire services as well. There are now well over 750,000 Americans participating in this most useful and rewarding hobby. Cost can easily be kept under $100 to fully join in, including a radio purchase. The typical Ham HT (Hand Held Transceiver) 5 watt unit as example will operate a distance of up to approx. 20 miles, depending on radio quality, terrain and antenna. However, thanks to private and/or Ham Club owned permanent mounted Repeaters available for 24/7 radio access in most areas, that distance is greatly increased. Even state-wide access is available via nets in some areas. Please download and read our “How To Get Started In Ham Radio” PDF document under the Downloads section at the FactorReady.com web site. It is also posted at our local Ham Club internet site, W5JAS.org. You can further visit the Amateur Radio Relay League national organization web site at ARRL.org for a world of good information on the Ham hobby (including test study books and find clubs in your area, etc.). Once you are into the hobby you may well have interest in a higher class ham license that will permit use of additional frequencies with long range abilities. This can allow continental or even world wide contacts with appropriate antenna and radio or computer gear. Note: Morse code is no longer required for any of the 3 level ham radio FCC licenses. Our local club (and others) can administer the relatively easy multi-choice test questions for any class license sought, Technician, General or Advanced (Extra). The entry (Technician) level test as example is only about 35 questions with 26 correct answer needed for a passing score and re-tests are offered if needed. Pre-study is accomplished via approved designated materials such as economical books, online internet courses or club classes. FCC Ham Licenses are valid for 10 years with no further testing or costs required for renewals.
BECOME A LICENSED HAM RADIO OPERATOR: Althogh there are some non-licensed radio communication options available such as the FRS (Family Radio Service) and the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), be aware that activity is limited to 1/2 watt usage. This generally results in very short immediate neighborhood only type ranges. Some limited GMRS channels do allow up to 5 watt transmissions but they require a FCC operation license to be utilized at that wattage. Therefore, these two services are basically very localized walkie-talkie type outlets. An intermediate step up would be the CB (Citizen Band) radios which have mainly been utilized in recent years by the truckers. No license is required but transmission range is somewhat limited for true emergency communication needs, with fairly lengthy antennas required for any decent local range. These radios also compare in cost to genuine Ham radios in most cases. All in all, we certainly feel the Amateur (Ham) Radio Hobby as currently administered and licensed by the FCC is our best bet for overall and legal communications for all Americans, under all conditions, whether pleasure or emergency needs. As mentioned above, see our pdf article "How To Get Started In Ham Radio" under the Downloads tab (in the Ham Radio folder). We would highly suggest at least one family member per physical houseold join the Ham Radio ranks!. Note: Our local Ham Club web site is at W5JAS.org and ARRL.org is the National Ham organization site. Various suppliers of Ham Radio equipment may be found on the internet too, such as R and L Electronics, Universal Radio, etc. A popular Ham general registry data base is located at QRZ.com. Many friendships can be readily established within the Ham broad based fellow member community. In addition to area Clubs, Radio "Nets" are frequent on-air "rag chew" events involving any Hams wanting to participate in same. Many are even conducted on a world-wide basis involving use of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) mode. Participation just requires an FCC Ham Radio License (any level) and a computer with internet access and mic headset. One such applicarion is the CQ100 virtual radio available to licensed Hams at QSOnet.com. We hope you'll consider joining the very worthwhile and world wide Ham Radio Hobby! Remember..."When All Else Fails - Ham Radio !" ...in the meantime, "73" (which means "Best Regards" in Ham lingo since 1908)...Stay Well, Stay Prepared and Stay Prayed Up !...Joe Lanier, FCC Radio License KE5NYS in Jasper, Texas USA. Member: Lakes Area Amateur Radio Club (W5JAS.org) and Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL.org).
SURVIVAL PS: Browse all the “Prepper” advice books such as at Amazon for any that may especially appeal to you, as literally all would have beneficial information. Good books on how to garden could come in handy to know too, for example on the the compact keyhole or cinder block gardens. And last but not least, in addition to food, water, and hopefully a portable generator and communication ability youʼll want to have on hand some means of self-defense, your Bible, a Fire Extinguisher (ABC all-purpose type), a good large First Aid Kit, spare Rx medications or natural alternative substitutes, plus some Silver Sol to kill most virus, bacteria and fungus would be a good ideal. For sure youʼll want a Ham HT (hand held transceiver) once you are licensed, plus a good general AM/FM/Shortwave multi-powered portable radio, (such as the Kaito Voyager KA500). Also, a knife, axe, saw and pry bar, and some garden tools (and seeds). Important Electronic Storage Protection Note: Keep the radio (or a spare radio with antenna disconnected if practical) in a box and place it in a metal container or tight lid garbage can lined with cardboard. Otherwise, at least wrap the box (with the radio inside it) with tin foil to hopefully protect the electronics from any EMP attack or large CME solar flare that might occur (see article at our web site under Downloads concerning these dangers). Also have on hand some spare clothing, soap, toothpaste, gloves, insect repellant, paper towels, toilet paper, and waste bags. Plus, flashlights and candles with matches, rain and cold weather wear, sleeping bags and/or portable camping tent with cooking or heating water means and utensils. Even Gas masks might be needed in event of volcanic ash or other matter in the air, or at least have some N95 rated respiratory face masks on hand. If nothing else, have sufficient duct tape to air seal the doors and windows for a safe room within your dwelling. See the more complete Emergency Kit List (and separate First Aid Tips too) under Downloads at our web site. It is our hope that you and yours stay well and be prepared for any and all factors that we can prepare for and most importantly, stay Prayed Up! We hope you never desperately need any of these emergency tips, supplies or resources presented, but what if...and do keep in mind the Bible says. "A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." Proverbs 22:3 (TLB)