Recently I was posted with a question about how I would or could maintain communications during an extended power outage. The fictional outage window is roughly 10-15 days. Thanks R. Copley (@Liberty_2112) for the great question.
I am going to assume that this question relates to a grid failure, not an EMP that would knock out electronics.
Okay, so let’s start first by listing the different types of communication you are going to want to maintain in the event of a grid failure.
1) Personal – This is communication with your wife and children and other loved ones.
2) News/Emergency Related – This is communication with news media (one way) via a radio link of some sort.
3) External 2-way – This is communication between you and the wider world.
In the event of a grid failure cell phones will cease operation once the cell towers go down. This is really going to mess people up. To combat this I would suggest a two-way radio set with an extended range capability such as the Midland GXT1000VP4. These bad boys are nice and have a range up to 36 miles (obviously that’s in the best possible conditions one could imagine). You will get two-way comm with a loved one, plus emergency NOAA channels. Use the car charger and as long as you have gas, you have comm.
If you don’t wanna blow the battery on your two-way comm, you can opt for the Eton American Red Cross ARCFR160R Microlink Weather Radio. This dude comes with a built in flashlight too in case you want to do needlepoint while you listen to the emergency broadcasts. This item is highly rated and also comes equipped with a cell phone charger!
Lastly, communication with the wide world outside. If you have a generator you can opt for the Yaesu FT-2900R VHF Mobile Amateur Ham Radio. It is what it is, a HAM radio. Obviously you need to look into getting licensed before utilizing this device.
If you are more interested in a portable device, or you don’t have a generator, you can still choose a Ham radio device such as the Handheld VHF 2 meter Amateur Radio Tranceiver by TYT. Again, you will need to learn how to operate a Ham radio and get licensed before utilizing this device.
For those that don’t want to get Ham radio licensed, there are options for 2 way communications. One option is the handheld Midland 75-785 40 channel CB radio. This device is the same as a CB in an automobile, only portable. Obviously, you can also install a CB in your vehicle if that is a route you are interested in taking.
Commclusion (get it?)
In conclusion, there are several ways to maintain communications during a power grid failure with a duration of 10-15 days. Most vehicles will be able to power these devices on their existing fuel supplies as long as you aren’t driving around town trying to get a signal or doing spot on reporting. Basically, as long as your vehicle or generator can run, you have communications. As preppers, I don’t think that 10-15 day period is going to be too hard to accommodate.
For longer term power grid failure scenarios the options steadily decline as the event continues. As peaople run their gas tanks dry they will lose communications. Very few people will be able to maintain, most likely only well prepared people or communities pooling resources will be able to continue communications past the first 3 months.
All of the items listed in the blog above are available at Amazon. Even if you don’t buy, you may want to take a look and start comparing.
It’s something to think about.