Turn Your Portable Ham Radio Into a “Survival Tool”

The importance of communications in a disaster, especially a grid-down situation is understood by most experienced preppers. Inexperienced preppers or non military personnel may find communication options confusing to daunting. This post will address portable ham radios; their abilities and limitations.
The advent of inexpensive portable hand-held ham radios has greatly improved the landscape of disaster preparedness. These little gems could be the difference between life and death in many scenarios. An example of one of those scenarios could be trying to get home during an EMP event.

These radios are invaluable, but they need a little help when they come out of the box. Let’s look at three ways to make your radio a survival tool.

• SIGNAL

Portable ham radios usually come with a short antenna that ham operators call a “rubber duck”. These antennas are very limited in transmitting and receiving signals. This is where ‘’The Survival Antenna” comes in.

Think of an antenna as a “net”. The bigger the net, the more it catches. After-market antennas have a general rule-of-thumb range of 10 – 20 miles. The Survival Antenna has a general range of 40 miles to a base antenna or a repeater. This, of course, depends on a few factors.

Most inexperienced radio handlers ask this question: “How far away can I transmit and receive”? This is a genuine question without a simple answer. Radio signals are subject to: terrain, buildings, and propagation. (More on propagation in another blog.)

The Survival Antenna has been built and tested in the most mountainous region of the United States. Please watch our video.

• POWER SUPPLY

It is important to have additional battery packs and an alternative charging source. This subject will be discussed in detail in a future post.

• PROGRAMMING YOUR RADIO

The third improvement, (optional, but recommended), is to program your radio to your geographical region. This means inserting repeater and simplex frequencies and channel into your radio. This eliminates writing this information on something that will be misplaced when you really need it. This option also simplifies the use of the radio in the hand of a less experienced operator.

This subject and more concerning radios will be discussed in future posts.

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