Letter Re: Communications for Disasters–Are Scanners Useful?

A very good shortwave portable is the Sony ICF-2010. It is an older portable from the 1980s but is a very strong performer with its synchronous detector. It is often found on the used market and eBay. One fact that many sellers don’t know is that you need to have fresh AA batteries in them for memory retention or the unit will not even function. Many sellers believe that their radios are broken when in fact only need fresh batteries. The unit can be run of D cell batteries or via an AC adapter. Another thing that “goes wrong” with them is the FET transistor blows when connected directly to an external antenna. This transistor can be easily repaired and diodes can be placed in line to help protect the radio from this happening again. If you know how to fix some of the common issues with this radio, you can often obtain a bargain that will perform nearly as well as a tabletop unit with a long wire antenna!
Another good performing SW radio is the Yaesu FRG-7. This radio has an almost cult following. It is a table top unit that was originally produced in the late 1970s. It has a preselector that allows for signal peaking. Useful to help bring in the weak ones and attenuate the strong ones. The radio can be run off AC or via D cells.
Other radios to have available:
CB – Every trucker has one installed, high usage near freeways, good way to hear what’s happening down the road from you (get a good antenna for the best range)
2 Meter ham – Nearly every ham has one, listen to the national simplex frequency 146.520 MHz if electricity is not available and repeaters are down (again, get a good antenna for best range)
FRS/GMRS – Many families have them and know how to use them, be sure to match the CTCSS (privacy tones) to communicate
All the above are very inexpensive to own. Having multiple radios gives you more options because no one will know what its gonna be like! Regards, – Echo Echo