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During a catastrophic event, getting your immediate family or household to safety will be your primary objective. A well-prepared bug out vehicle will get you to safety and provide your survival necessities for the near future, however, after arrival, you will likely be looking to communicate with other family and friends ASAP. With cell service likely down, you will need a survival vehicle communication system that works completely off-grid, and designed to withstand disruptions to electricity, cell service, and other systems.
Although having the right communication system in place is an essential tool for Car Preppers, the good news is that you have plenty of options. In this article, we will take a look at communication systems that can serve you well during a disaster.
Communicating Without the Electrical Grid
Whether your emergency comes from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, there’s a good chance that you will lose access to the electrical grid. So having a survival vehicle communication system will be your lifeline to the rest of the world.
Battery-powered shortwave radios will work well for a while… until you run out of batteries. Typically, you can expect your battery to last somewhere from 10 to 16 hours. After that, you better have spare batteries on hand.
A wind-up shortwave radio helps solve your energy problem because you don’t need batteries or electricity. You don’t create that much energy when you wind the crank, though, so you can’t leave the radio on. This means you can use it to reach out to the rest of the world, but other folks will likely have a tough time reaching you.
Solar shortwave radios will work best for most survival scenarios. You have to consider your local weather patterns, though. If you live in a cloudy area, then a solar-powered shortwave radio won’t do the trick. If you have abundant sunlight, though, you can use your radio all day. The night poses a problem unless you have a solar panel that charges batteries.
Short-Range Communication With Your Family
Hand crank walkie-talkies can save lives during emergencies. They don’t need batteries, and they have pretty wide ranges. A 2-watt radio can send signals about 8 miles. A 4-watt radio can reach an impressive 30 miles.
You will run into some limitations, though. Hand cranks don’t make that much power, so you can expect your range to stay somewhere under 10 miles. Also, you have to coordinate with your group to make sure the walkie-talkies remain charged. Set specific times during the day for everyone to charge their radios and check-in.
What If Your Survival Vehicle Has Solar Panels?
Ideally, your survival vehicle has solar panels that you can use to make electricity during cloudless days. Depending on how much power you can generate, you might find that a HAM radio gives you the best way to communicate with other people.
Here’s the bad news: today’s top portable solar panels can generate about 200 watts. The typical HAM radio needs about 1,500 watts. You can find handheld versions that only require about 10 watts, but they have shorter ranges.
That doesn’t make HAM radios necessarily a bad option. If you manage to connect eight or more solar panels to one solar controller, then you could have enough power for your HAM radio.
Is a HAM radio worth the money and space of several solar panels? Considering that HAM gives you a lot of equipment options, you can use it to communicate with local authorities, and you can also tune into popular prepper radio frequencies to get advice.
While you may not have a perfect option for survival vehicle communication systems, you do have numerous ways to prepare. Perhaps it makes sense to have more than one system. Combining a HAM radio with a solar-powered shortwave radio and a few hand-cranked walkie-talkies might give you overall the best chance of always staying in communication with the right folks.