In any emergency situation where survival is challenged, the need for communications equipment will be evident. The better you are able to communicate with others, the better chance you have of overcoming obstacles and surviving the ordeal. Without communications, you may not be able to obtain the help you need, or direct rescue units to the location where assistance is needed. Communications are an integral part of any successful survival plan. That being said, many people today take communications for granted; almost everyone has a cell phone of some sort and we are able to contact them rather conveniently when we need to.

The field of communications covers a very broad spectrum, especially in the survival community. We use anything and everything we can to establish communications, from hand & arm signals to fires and from handheld walkie talkies to H.A.M. radios. When using sight signals for communication, they are always arranged in triplicate; this is an internationally recognized symbol of distress that alerts those paying attention to the need for assistance in a given area. Non-verbal communications systems, such as Morse Code, are also an acceptable method of relaying messages from one location to another.

One of the first things you will want to do is learn Morse Code. It is one of the oldest methods of sending and receiving data in existence, and it is internationally recognized, making it a useful form of communication for any disaster scenario. It is essentially the oldest form of non-verbal communication we have available, aside from hieroglyphs and cave drawings. Morse Code may not be your preferred method of establishing communications, but it is an alternative worth knowing, especially if you want to eavesdrop on those who will be using it, and in a grid down situation, there will be plenty of preppers using this method.

Not all emergency situations are going to result in a complete collapse of grid based services. In many small scale, local disasters conventional communications grids will remain operational, although they may be overwhelmed if regional residents flood the system simultaneously as they try to reach relatives to update them on the situation. In these instances, you may want to use some of the apps available for smart phones, as well as two way radios to stay in touch with your family, friends, and prepper group participants. Smart phones and hand held radios are a very effective means of establishing and maintaining communications if the infrastructure remains intact and uninterrupted.

CB’s and Base Camp Radios are another excellent method of establishing emergency communications. While they may not allow you to contact a relative living on the opposite coast, they can be used to contact someone outside the affected area who can then relay the message via phone to the target parties. These can also be used to establish normal day to day communications with your prepper group, provided all participants have some form of CB radio, mobile or base camp. CB’s can also be used to monitor radio traffic, which may come in handy if you are trying to figure out what has happened, or where something has happened; this may allow you to avoid problematic areas as you try to make your way to safety!

Next up is the grand-daddy of them all the HAM radio. Before you run out to buy one of these beauties though, you will need a license to operate the HAM radio, which will be covered in the next video. The HAM radio allows you greater reach than any of the previous methods listed. Two people proficient in the use of HAM radios could establish a channel of communication from opposite sides of the Earth. These are very powerful communications platforms that all preppers should consider getting familiar with. In a serious SHTF scenario, the ownership of a license will be a moot point; the primary objective is to survive, all legal ramifications can be dealt with accordingly after the event.

This video gives us some insight into what can be expected when we go to obtain the license necessary to operate a HAM radio. We recommend conducting a bit of personal research in this area as there are several good video tutorials on how to go about getting this type of license. If you are wondering why you need a license to operate a HAM radio, it is because there are FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations that cannot be ignored or abused, especially under normal day to day operations; you will want to know what these are to avoid getting in hot water, fines, and the possibility of losing your license and equipment!