A ham radio might seem like a fun and goofy hobby to those who aren’t invested in the world of prepping. However, in the event of a serious catastrophe–or, goodness forbid, a societal collapse–a ham radio goes from being a hobby to a serious survival tool.
Here’s what all preppers need to know about ham radios.
What Is a Ham Radio?
A ham radio is a traditional communication device that uses radio waves to broadcast a signal. This is the same technology that big rig truckers, police radios, and emergency agencies use today. Since the radio waves don’t require a cell phone tower to route them, ham radios are very reliable in the event of power outages or downed cell towers.
A ham radio with a portable generator is a valuable low-tech long-range communication device. If a catastrophe were to occur, a ham radio would allow you to not only communicate with friends and family, but also to coordinate with emergency services.
In order to use a ham radio, you need to get a license. This isn’t particularly difficult, as the previous requirements for knowing Morse code have been removed from the test. The questions on the exam aren’t particularly hard, and kids as young as ten have passed the exam with a bit of studying.
Different Ham Frequencies
There are several ham frequencies used in long-range radio communication. These range from ultra-high frequency at the high end to medium frequency at the low end. However, the UHF signals are only for short-range communication, local to within a city. Very- and ultra-high frequency bands are normally good for around fifty miles.
Meanwhile, medium frequency and high frequency are both able to reach for many hundreds of miles. On a clear day, with the right conditions, medium frequency ham radios can even enable communication across the planet.
Equipment You Should Consider
Equipment tends to be relatively inexpensive if you’re looking for a no-frills high-frequency radio. You can often find these simple setups for as little as $30. On the other hand, one could spend many hundreds of dollars on very excellent equipment. However, for most preppers a simple high-frequency radio is plenty for their purposes.
A ham radio affords you some comfort and peace of mind. With a radio, you’re not constrained by cell service or the power grid. You can rely on your own generator and your own equipment to communicate with family and local authorities in the event of a natural disaster or other catastrophe.