Survival Radio: 5 Critical Concerns And Why HAM Radio Is The Only Answer

Want to stay in touch with your loved ones in the middle of a hurricane? Well, if you are thinking about using your trusty cell phone or FRS or GMRS survival radios, then think again.

I want to show you 5 critical issues you need to address.  But even if you don't, the truth is, these 5 keys are essential to your survival.  So what are they? When it all comes down to it survival radio is about:

Has This Ever Happened To You?

Maybe you've never considered HAM or shortwave radio. When I first started out, I thought FRS and walkie talkies would do the trick. But after learning more about HAM and all the areas it addresses, I was sold.

There were just too many critical areas where HAM blew away FRS and CB. What I'm going to be doing is start working on getting my license. Then I'll pick up a BaoFeng UV5R or a Yaesu. How about you?

Did these 5 critical concerns help you? Do you understand the issues of survival communications a little better?

Survival Radio Issue #1: Pricing & Budget

Why is the pricing important when it comes to the best emergency radio? Well, Walmart has some great low priced radios. But watch this. Walmart has two way radios that cost more than a Baofeng UV5R handheld HAM radio. And the Baofeng is of pretty good quality at under $40. The only thing missing is your license. So don't assume that you'll only get bad stuff at low prices.

As for CB radios, emergency handhelds are reasonable priced. You can easily find a Cobra WX or a Midland handheld transceiver in the $70-$100 range. Ok, so what’s the next essential ingredient to a good survival radio after price?

Survival Radio Issue #2: Range, Reach, Distance

Why is reach or range important? Well, do you want to get your signal beyond the neighborhood? If so, then range is critical. For any use beyond your immediate family, walkie talkies are out. FRS or Family Radio Service radios are also out.

GMRS radios say that they can handle 14 miles, but the reality is more like 1 or 2 miles. But here's something interesting. Some GMRS radios have repeater capabilities. Repeaters are devices spread all around the country that receive and retransmit signals. If you can hit a local repeater, then it can forward your transmissions around the country. The downside to GMRS is that you need a license. So what do you do if you want range but don't want to get a license? Then get a CB.

Now with CB's, their range is better than FRS and you don't need to get a license. With full power, a CB can reach about 4 miles. The limits are your line of sight. If you want to increase your range, then attaching a longer antenna to your CB will do the trick.

Another way to increase range is to get a HAM radio/short wave radio. You'll need a license. At that point, you have access to repeaters which are located all over the country. Some great handheld HAM transceiver examples are the Yaesu VX3R and the BaoFeng UV5R as mentioned earlier.

I think that if you want farthest range, then get your license and pick up a HAM or GMRS radio. But price and range aren’t where the search ends. Lets look at another essential survival radio consideration.

Survival Radio Issue #3: Privacy

Why is the pricing important when it comes to the best emergency radio? Well, Walmart has some great low priced radios. But watch this. Walmart has two way radios that cost more than a Baofeng UV5R handheld HAM radio. And the Baofeng is of pretty good quality at under $40. The only thing missing is your license. So don't assume that you'll only get bad stuff at low prices.

As for CB radios, emergency handhelds are reasonable priced. You can easily find a Cobra WX or a Midland handheld transceiver in the $70-$100 range. Ok, so what’s the next essential ingredient to a good survival radio after price?

Survival Radio Issue #4: Mobility

Why is mobility important? Well, what if you have a HAM or CB station setup in your house, and a flood comes? If you have to leave without your gear, then you've got no communications. So mobility is going to be essential.

FRS and GMRS radios are by default mobile. If you want to go CB, then a great mobile CB is the Cobra HH 38 WX ST 40-Channel CB Radio. With the built in antenna, the range isn’t that good. Maybe it's a mile.

The downside to mobility is that you can't just plug into the wall for power. Batteries will be at a premium so think about foldable solar panels or a BioLite stove with a USB to power a battery charger. Now although mobility is huge, reliability is even bigger.

Survival Radio Issue #5: Reliability & Durability

Why is reliability important? Here's why. You never know what you'll encounter. Let me explain.  Imagine it's raining heavily in a hurricane. Water is everywhere. You are on the run and you drop your radio in the water. Everything is wet and short circuited. End of game.

But, it doesn't have to be. That's because the Yaesu VX7R can withstand 30 minutes of submersion in 3 feet of water. But physical reliability isn't where things end.

Another example of reliability is the use of channels. With everyone crowding existing channels, they increasingly become unreliable to communicate on. But with HAM, you have more to work with. In short, your communications become more reliable.


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