Letter Re: Radio Basics Presentation


This was a great, quick “down and dirty” presentation on “Radio”. I would like to offer a few additions to his list.

Section 3 Tactical Radios

CB – Citizens Band

  • CB actually can have 120 channels; if you include upper and lower “sidebands” in SSB radios, there are 120 total.
  • Channels from 26.965 to 27.405 MHz are not the only ones used. There are also “free band” frequencies above and below these that “pirate” operators use.
  • During a solar maximum, I have talked all over the world on CB SSB, but yes, the normal range is 4-5 miles.
  • “Channel 9 is used only for emergencies or traveler assistance.” True, but I have never had ANY luck raising someone on CH9; also remember that 19 is the “Trucker Channel”, so you can most always contact someone there.
  • “Generally limited to 4 watts” That’s on AM mode; it’s 12 watts PEP (peak envelope power) on SSB, but there are guys out there on the “Super bowl” (CH6) running up to 50,000 watts. Yes, you read that right! [Editors Note: They’re not legally doing this, and your neighbors generally dislike you due to the interference.]

GMRS – General Mobile Radio Service

  • Channels from 462.5625 to 467.900 MHz (just above the 70cm Ham band) in the UHF band.
  • “Range is normally 2-5 miles.” This is so true, NOT The “36 miles” you see on the package; this is “line of sight” type of communication. If you were on top of a very tall mountain, you might get 20 miles out of them.
  • “Requires a license ($85 / 5 years) but no exam.” Yes, GMRS requires an FCC license. Yes, even the little “throw away” handheld radios. You can also run a “repeater” on GMRS frequencies with up to 50 watts ERP; this along with mobile radios can get you up to a 50 mile range RELIABLY.

FRS – Family Radio Service Total of 14 channels.

  • Don’t bother. There is no power here. Also with all the radio systems listed, ANYONE can listen in.


  • Limited to “on the water.” (But in TSHTF who cares)

Section 4 Ham Radio

Why Ham Radio?

  • Can’t be controlled by government despite government involvement (FCC licensing, et cetera). Can’t be shut down (during WW2 ALL Ham radios stations were ordered closed. With that much quiet, it would be very easy, with the equipment the FCC has now, to find a rouge transmission.)


  • Night time communications work best on the lower frequencies (75-80 meters and 160 meters). Day time can use 40 meters and up, 20 meters is the “world band”, and it works night and day. Up from there is very dependent on conditions.

Antenna Modification

  • Part of the fun of HF radio is building your own antennas. All you need is some wire and coax/window line.

Thanks for posting the article. – W.A.