> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Walkie Talkies (Basic Comms Gear)



Walkie Talkies (Basic Comms Gear)

Since the characters in You Took Away Tomorrow make fairly frequent use of walkie talkies, I've had a few requests for a post on the matter. I'm not an expert when it comes to radios--I've tried to get interested in 'em, but so far it hasn't happened. Time, attention and resources have been devoted elsewhere.

With that in mind, here's my take on the matter of walkie talkies for short range communication between group members

When talking the subject of survival comms, HAM radios are often amongst the first to come to mind. But, if you're looking to communicate with a specific group of folks--your survival group/buddies--they're probably not particularly interested in the time/effort/dollars requirement to get licensed and set up on HAM.

If your group is that dedicated, awesome.

But, if you're the only guy with a HAM radio, it's not going to do you a lot of good for communicating within your group.

For simple communications in your immediate area, something that is affordable, readily available and with a low learning curve is often your best bet.

Along those lines, you've got the FRS/GMRS walkie talkies that we've all seen sold pretty much everywhere.

FRS/GMRS walkies are totally adequate for short range, around-the-homestead communications. You'll typically get a 1/2 miles to 1 mile range, at most, which is typically fine for communications between group members in one area.

Most folks have a couple FRS/GMRS walkie talkies floating around their home. If not, a set with two radios, battery packs, charger and other accessories can be picked up for $50 to $100.

For a specific recommendation, we have these Midlands and have been pleased with them so far. A pretty good value--lots of features for the price.

There are a bunch of these little walkies out there, so I'd pick a quality brand, read some reviews and get some.

If the 1/2 to 1 mile range doesn't cover the area your group needs to operate in, or you're looking at caravan type operations, CB radio becomes the next easy choice. CB radios are bigger and more power hungry, but will usually get better range, especially with an external antenna.

With a CB, you're still not going to get particularly far, but you should get a mile or three further than a run of the mill FRS/GMRS radio. The radios are usually designed to operate out of vehicles and off a 12v battery, so not particularly helpful for dismounted/on foot operations.

MURS radios are another option, though folks are unlikely to have a MURS radio unless they've purchased them specifically for survivalist-type purposes. MURS has some advantages over FRS/GMRS radios--more power without a license, can use external antennas, lower likelihood of interference or eavesdropping. Walkie talkie range may be a little bit better.

Yup, pretty basic stuff, but we're talking about short range communications between group members, so you don't need to go too crazy. HossUSMC agrees with me, too. 

None of these comms methods are ideal, but they serve the need for not a lot of money and time dedicated.

What kind of comms gear do you use to communicate with your crap hit the fan friends?