SHTF Communications - Family Radios

Going to dive into a very opinionated topic here. Feel free to take what you will and leave what you don't like.

Seems many folks have many ideas and some folks just can't play well with theses these days... Lets discuss and try to help each other instead of attacking and belittling.

Emergency Communications, it is NOT a one and done thing.


What will work great for someone out in the Great Plains will not work in an Urban environ.
What works GREAT on water may not work at all on land.
Wild fires offer different challenges from Tornadoes.
But how do tick this box off with so many variables???

I lean heavily towards the "Many Tools in my Tool Box" approach instead of one "sure fire" winner. 

Communications should be a multi-layer approach, and do not forget back ups too!

I am willing to bet, once the grid goes down most of your important communication will be over short distances:

  • from one side of your property to the other
  • from the barn to the house
  • from the roof look outs to the team inside
  • from a hidey hole by the road back to the house
  • from one hunter/fisher to another
  • from one scavenging team to another

Longer distance communications will be important, but not as important as what you will be physically facing in the immediate future....

SO how will you communicate over those relatively short hops? Yelling? Flashlights? Whistles? That can attract unwanted attention or scare off game...

Some relatively easy to operate, inexpensive, easy to maintain radios sure would be nice!!! Something small you can toss in a pocket!

If you are killing time on the internet and happen to think "Hey I need to do something about communications IF (fill in break down here) happens", look these up and grab a few! 


Rivins RV-7 Walkie Talkies


These are what is lovingly called a FRS Radio, which stands for Family Radio System. These are a jump up from the play walkie-talkies you had as a kid. As a matter of fact, this is what replaced those old Radio Shack Walkies with the chrome extendable antenna!!!! Isn't technology great!!!!

Those walkies were sure a lot of fun!!!  Playing army or police with your buddies! What great memories!!!! How about talking to your friend down the street at night when you were supposed to be in bed asleep!

But then.... Remember what it was like when you accidentally broke off the antenna and that ended talkin to anyone... 
Enough ramblin'' Down Memory lane....

These new little wonders have built in antennas that are MUCH tougher and work MUCH better!!!! 

The "5 Miles" range thing is a joke btw... You _MIGHT_ get a mile out of these, maybe two if its FLAT and no vegetation. SO these are not for long distances for sure!

I recommend you get double the number you think you will need so you have extras and standbys. If you have a family of 4, get 8. They are not that expensive and can go along way in assisting you keep people together when they are apart.

I picked these radios because they use normal batteries that you can easily find now while things are good, and should not be impossible to find when IT happens.

You could go with rechargeable batteries like these and make this system that much more bullet proof as a First Step.


1100mAh Rechargeable Batteries


Go one further and grab a small solar charger like this and you got this level of comms covered pretty well!


Sola Solar Battery Charger

What ever you do, get used to doing it NOW so that when things go sideways you are not soooo busy trying to figure things out! Use these while out camping, fishing, hiking, hunting or bicycling! (Or send your wife into Wally and you can go to Tractor Supply and get the shopping done that much quicker while staying in contact! Using them NOW while things are good will make using them later when things are not so good a lot easier!!!

AND if the end does come, at least you will be able to talk to folks not in shouting distance, or in a hidey-hole watching for trouble...

Next time we will look at some radios that have a bit more range that won't break the bank and can let you expand your reach out a few miles!

And remember, we are all in this together! 

PLEASE add to the discussion below in the comments. 

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Father, retired Firefighter

Preparedness - Baby Steps
Preparedness - Baby Steps

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