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 transceiver to access one or more of the Ham radio bands, that also will in many areas 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 $150 to fully join in, including radio purchase. The typical Ham hand held 5 watt transceiver as example will operate a distance of approx. 20 miles, depending on 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. 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), 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 (long range) high frequencies. This can allow continental or even world wide contacts with appropriate antenna and radio 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. 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.
There are some non-licensed radio communication avenues available such as the FRS (Family Radio Service) and the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). However, activity is limited to 1/2 watt usage, which generally results in very short immediate neighborhood only type ranges. Some limited GMRS channels do allow up to 5 watt transmissions but 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 probably too 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 licensed by and administered by the Federal Communiction Commission (FCC) for all Americans is our best bet for overall and legal communications under all conditions, whether pleasure or emergency needs. We would highly suggest at least one family member per physical houseold join the ranks! ... in meantime, "73" (bye) for now...Joe Lanier...(Note: my Ham web page is at QRZ.com, under call sign KE5NYS...Our local Club site on the internet is at W5JAS.org...and ARRL.org is the national site...)
Survival PS: Browse all the “Prepper” books 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 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 (such as available from Food For Health International). For sure youʼll want a good AM/FM/Shortwave multi-powered portable radio, (such as the Kaito Voyager KA500 model) along with a knife, axe, saw and pry bar, and some garden tools (and seeds). Important Note: store 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 (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, waste bags, flashlights and candles with matches, rain and cold weather wear, sleeping bags and/or portable camping tent and 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 compete 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...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)