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Jul 312013
The Ten Cent Modification You Can Do to Double Your Radio's Range

Some things in life you can never have too much of.  But for this article, we’ll concentrate just on radio range/efficiency! There are many ways to boost the range of your two-way radios.  We write about this topic regularly (please see our complete section on communication related topics to access these articles) and basically, the suggestions we offer fall into one of two categories – either getting a more powerful radio transmitter and more sensitive […]

Jul 292013
Using a Repeater to Extend the Range of your VHF/UHF Radio Communications

If you wish to establish emergency communications with other people in your immediate neighborhood, then you can probably do this successfully with portable VHF or UHF radios – ‘walkie talkies’ – ideally using higher powered longer range Ham radios analogous to but better than the popular FRS, GMRS and MURS radios anyone can use.  We have written about this topic regularly, most recently an article about optimizing the performance and range of short-range VHF/UHF radios. […]

Jul 232013
Using a Directional or 'High Gain' Antenna to Boost Your Radio Range

A directional antenna can give you a massive increase in the strength of signal you transmit, and in your ability to clearly receive weaker further-away signals in return.  If you are currently having problems communicating with another person while using omnidirectional antennas, a directional antenna might be an excellent solution. Note that a semi-synonym for a directional antenna is a ‘high gain’ antenna.  And also note that in all cases, an antenna is not ‘creating’ […]

Jul 222013
How to Optimize Your Two Way Radio Short Range Communication

Several readers have asked us how best to communicate with other nearby friends and family in an emergency when landlines and cell phone service is all unavailable. Maybe you too want to be sure to be able to reach your children in their schools, your spouse at their work, or your parents in their retirement village.  If they are relatively nearby, this might be relatively easy – but it also may not be so easy.  […]

Jul 072013
How to Receive Emergency Alert System Messages

We’ve written before about the need to urgently make your way to your shelter if you receive a warning of pending nuclear attack, and about setting a policy for how long you wait for others to join you in your shelter. But these considerations overlook one vital issue.  How can you get any such warnings of any type of pending disaster that you need to respond to?  It isn’t just pending nuclear Armageddon you have […]

Jul 072013
It is Legal to Use Illegal Radio Frequencies in an Emergency

You almost certainly know that the FCC has very stringent restrictions and requirements about what frequencies you can transmit on, and severe penalties it imposes on people who fail to observe these limitations.  But did you know that the FCC waives all such restrictions in emergencies? If you find yourself in a true emergency situation – such as we prepare for – then if you’re a licensed ham operator, you can use pretty much any […]

Jun 242013
Transportation Rankings by State

What would life be like without cars and other forms of motorized transportation?  That’s a question we’ll almost surely find the answer to in a future Level 2/3 situation, but until such time, having convenient transportation is an essential part of our lifestyle. Actually, convenient transportation will become even more vital in a Level 2/3 situation in the future, in a scenario where you might be more reliant on horse or other animal power rather […]

May 012013
Answers to a Reader's Questions/Suggestions on Emergency Radio Communications

We received an interesting email from reader Phil today, and on the basis of ‘If one person asks a question, probably a thousand others are wondering the same thing’ we thought we’d quote his email and our replies and share it with all. Not to rain unduly on Phil’s parade, because the questions he asks are sensible and his hoped for answers seem to be intuitive and easy, but unfortunately, that is not the case […]

Apr 222013
Tips on How to Best Configure and Use Your Baofeng UV-5R

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably either just purchased a UV-5R or are about to do so.  Congratulations on a good choice. Like any other professional grade two-way radio, the UV-5R has an enormous amount of flexibility and versatility in terms of how you can program and use it.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  You can’t just take the radio out of its box, charge up the battery, and start […]

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