Two Letters Re: Advice on Disaster Communications

I am somewhat new to your web site. The information I have been able to get from it is wonderful and greatly appreciated. Have you seen the article from World Net Daily [about the DC Emergency Radio Network]? I have not heard of this type of system before. Respectfully, – B.W.

JWR Replies: Yes, I saw the article. The DCERN uses the low power FRS band and thus these radios have very short range. I think that the higher power MURS or CB bands would have been a better choice. The system does has some utility. However, except for people that have an alternative power power system (quite uncommon around Washington, D.C.), in a long term TEOTWAWKI, stations will gradually drop off the air one by one because most folks will not be able to recharge their batteries. (Just another reason why every family should have at least a small photovoltaic (PV) power system.) Contact the folks at Ready Made Resources for details on setting up such a system.

Mr Rawles:
Which receiver(s) and which transceiver(s) do you recommend I buy for my first few pieces of disaster communications equipment, and should I buy in any particular sequence? I’m new to reading your blog. How can I find articles that have already been on SurvivalBlog about communications gear? Thanks, – L.Z.

JWR Replies: Your first receiver should probably be a compact portable general coverage AM/FM/Weather Band/CB/Shortwave receiver. There are several brands on the market, most notably Grundig, Sangean, and Sony. I consider the Sony ICF-SW-7600GR receiver among the most durable portable general coverage receivers for the money. It is about the size of a paperback book. I’ve had one (actually mine is an earlier “pre-G suffix” model) since 1992 and even with very regular use it still works great. In my experience, the secrets to making them last are to buy a couple of spare hand-reel antennas (the most fragile part), show care in putting stress on the headphone jack and power cable connections, and to always carry the radio and accessories in a sturdy well-padded case. (Preferably a waterproof case. I found that a small Pelican brand case with “pluck and chuck” gray foam inserts proved ideal for my needs.) One low cost alternative is to cut closed-cell foam inserts to fit inside a .30 caliber USGI ammo can. (SurvivalBlog reader MurrDoc calls GI ammo cans “The poor man’s Pelican.” These steel cans are very sturdy, inexpensive (under $10 each, at gun shows), and they also provide limited protection from nuclear EMP effects. (They would be a near-perfect Faraday cage only if you removed the rubber gasket and replaced it with EMI gasket wire mesh, but then of course the can would no longer be waterproof. (Sorry, TANSTAAFL.)

Your first transceivers should probably be a pair of MURS walkie-talkies, such as those sold by MURS Radios.

Next on your list should be a SSB-capable CB radio, such as the time-proven Cobra 148GTL. (BTW, this model is also readily adaptable for “freeband” frequency range modification.)

Next should be a pair of military surplus field telephones, for coordinating retreat security.

Then, perhaps get an EMP-proof vacuum tube technology table radio, preferably one with shortwave bands. Something like a Zenith Trans-Oceanic H500 would be a good choice. Table top vacuum tube radios can often be found on eBay.

In answer to your question about older posts: The most recent ten months of SurvivalBlog posts have been cross-indexed. Using the right hand bar (down below the scrolling ads) you can either sort by Categories (for example clicking on: “Communications and Receivers”). You can also use the Search window and type in a keyword such as “shortwave”, “CB”, “field telephone” or “scanner.”
BTW, I hope that you benefit from the information posted and archived in SurvivalBlog and that you will consider joining the less than 1% of readers that have become 10 Cent Challenge voluntary subscribers.