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Commo capabilities every Survivalist should have...

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  • #31
    Originally posted by USMC0351Grunt View Post
    I have yet to get a realistic answer as to; "What is it going to matter when SHTF with regards to anyone having a license for these things?"
    GMRS is underenforced, especially with all the FRS/GMRS hybrid radios being sold. FRS Channels 1-7 are shared with GMRS.

    An unlicensed GMRS repeater will probably attract negative attention from all the legit GMRS users, so in that case paying the $85 for five years is a good idea.

    GMRS is a good alternative for those of you who want decent comms, but don't want to put in the effort to get your ham ticket. A 50 watt UHF repeater on a decent hilltop will have some decent range to it.

    If the FCC continues on their present course, ala MURS, then they'll probably make GMRS "licensed by rule". That is, unlicensed like CB, FRS, and MURS.
    Last edited by Thomas Icom (Ticom); 04-16-2011, 11:57 PM.


    • #32
      Signal Stalker or Close Call Scanners

      Police Scanners have been previously mentioned. Pay particular attention to the scanners marketed as "Signal Stalker" (Radio Shack) or "Close Call" (Uniden). Those units have the capability to detect, lock onto, and receive nearby (~1000 ft or so) radio communications that are in their frequency range.

      It's very handy to know when someone in your immediate AO is using comms.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Thomas Icom (Ticom) View Post
        Police Scanners have been previously mentioned. Pay particular attention to the scanners marketed as "Signal Stalker" (Radio Shack) or "Close Call" (Uniden). Those units have the capability to detect, lock onto, and receive nearby (~1000 ft or so) radio communications that are in their frequency range.

        It's very handy to know when someone in your immediate AO is using comms.
        Great info! Going to check that out and long time no see Ticom, welcome back? :)

        The best thing you can do to support the site is pass it on to your friends and fav sites like other forums, facebook, twitter etc. Let people know about us! :)


        • #34
          Good thread.
          Seems like there are a lot of different opinions about what good commo is and how to achieve it.
          RadioMaster Reports - Survivalist Communications Preppers:


          • #35
            Does anyone remember when you had to have a license to run a CB? I did back then the max watts was 5 and God help anyone who went over that. The FCC had their vans out all over the place in cities; looking for anyone who broke the law. You would have your equipment taken, along with time in court and have to pay fines.

            If you look now at the CB community, it is so congested that you cannot hold a conversation with anyone. The same with GRMS, it is becoming congested with the low cost units for sale now.

            The only way to have good comm today is to get your HAM license and the equipment to go along with it. It does take time, money and schooling to get a passable ham station going but it is worth it. To talk to someone 1/2 way around the world is great. The cost for equipment is coming down. 5 years ago you had to spend around $5,000 minimum for a ham station and that was with second hand equipment. One item to note is you will need a tower to get any real reception with the equipment available today.


            • #36
              I would add that the GMRS/FRS bands being used by all the masses during a SHTF crisis would get real crowded, real fast.
              Proud Member, Oathkeepers & Patriot Guard Riders; Ret. LtCol, USAF


              • #37
                Good posts. If anyone is thinking of getting their ham license, go to and study for free. They have it set up for flash cards, practice tests, or just scroll through all the questions (with answers provided.)

                I went through them over and over, then took the test at my local eoc, cost me $14 or $15. That plus a $50 radio and I am a ham.

                Also RICH, if you don't have a place or opportunity to put up a big permanent antenna, there are lots of very cool temporary set-ups. I saw a guy use a sling-shot to put a fishing weight and line over a tree limb, then use the heavy fishing line to pull up his antenna to about 70 ft.
                "Oh, America. I wish I could tell you that this was still America, but I've come to realize that you can't have a country without people. And there are no people here. No, my friends. This is now the United States of Zombieland"

                "The constitution does not guarantee our safety, only our liberty!" Robert Steed before congress 3/2013

                Skills Beats Stuff


                • #38
                  I remember that. In fact I may have mine in the basement somewhere. Since all communications will be going digital in a few years, by mandate from the government, do not pay much for radio equipment now unless it is digital. Hams may be exempt?


                  • #39
                    Oops, duplicate post, sorry. Just got a new digital scanner. I have everything but the two way equipment, and am waiting for the following. Doesn't everything have to go to digital by 2016 or a few years hence? Shouldn't we consider that before we buy any communications equipment?
                    Last edited by KSDeputy; 02-18-2014, 08:41 AM.


                    • #40
                      Before cell phones we bought an expensive VHF business radio system. We could talk 30 miles, but the channel was shared with a plumber in an adjacent city. The plumber never shut up, they thought they owned the channel. Therefore our expensive system was almost worthless. I had a base, two mobiles, and a couple of portables. When cell phones came along, I had the antenna taken off of the top of my tower, and sold everything. I don't wish I had it back, just showing what jammed public freqs will be like. After a major disaster of some type all of the GMRS/FRS freqs will be virtually useless due to overuse if you are near a city. We live near a village which is located between two large cities. One is 15 miles away, the other 30 miles away. With my scanner I pick up a lot of frs garbage from the village of less than 1,000 people. There is a trailer court there, which accounts for a lot of it, along with the criminals who live there because there is no local law enforcement. What do you think THEY will do in a disaster situation?


                      • #41
                        If I NOW had the money to buy quality radios and necessary equipment, I spend it on hand tools, more beans, rice and boolets instead.

                        Things are seldom what they seem.


                        • #42
                          Two things:

                          First: A decade or so ago, I worked as a handyman in a crew of 5 or 6 for a property management company. The company set us up with Nextel 'phones'. I don't know the details but the phones were both like walkie talkies as far as communicating with each other, and cell phones when it came to calling businesses, customers, etc.

                          I got the sense that was a sort of challenger to standard cell phone technology, but maybe have that wrong--and that standard cell phones, of course, eventually came to dominate.

                          In a SHTF scenario, the towers (or whatever) for any such service would probably be at risk, if not actually certain to be unavailable, but is the way those 'phones' worked an option in some other form? In the employee-to-employee walkie talkie mode, we didn't have any interference from outsiders, as I recall.

                          Second: I read somewhere--here?--that FRS and GMRS have different capabilities as far as penetrating structures due to different frequencies (short frequencies penetrate buildings, etc. better?). On a recent radio show, a reporter was describing how the crew of an aircraft carrier were chattering away on walkie talkies--and that they did so below deck. In the recent movie, Captain Phillips they also used walkie talkies to communicate throughout the ship. I was surprised in both cases because I'd figured that all those metal decks and bulkheads would block signals pretty beyond more than a few yards. Anyone know if there's an explanation for how those shipboard walkie talkies worked?
                          Been there, done that. Then been there again several times, because apparently I never learn.


                          • #43
                            Just answered my own question--sort of.

                            Here's the scoop on Nextel's 'walkie talkie' like operation:

                            Nextel phones offer a service called Direct Connect that allows you to push a single button and connect with another Nextel user. Find out how this "walkie-talkie" feature works.

                            But I don't know enough of the technical mumbo jumbo to know if there's a way to model a communication system on this for a SHTF use.

                            One thought: if things REALLY went south, and there's no govt. enforcing use, etc. of such, is there a way to hack the frequencies that standard, commercially available gear uses in order to get away from the jammed, over-used (and more likely monitored) frequencies that such commercial/standard devices are set to use when bought from a dept. store, etc.?
                            Been there, done that. Then been there again several times, because apparently I never learn.


                            • #44
                              I used one of the Nextel devices at work. I could stand in New Orleans and call back to my office in Virginia using the walkie-talkie feature like a breeze. The person you call must also have one of the devices, of course. Otherwise it was just a cell phone.

                              Cell service is often an early causality during large emergency events. The system can be overloaded or physically damaged. From an OPSEC perspective, cell phones can be easily tracked by the alphabet boys, even when turned off.

                              I have several of the family service radios, and two also have the GMRS(?) channels. They are advertised as having a maximum range of 25 miles. Yeah, in your dreams! One or two miles is more like it, but they are handy and work great within realistic ranges between individuals or groups. There should be no expectation of privacy. Anyone within range having a similar transceiver can listen in.