How to Stay Connected When SHTF

How to Stay Connected When SHTF

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Today, it’s all about how to stay connected when SHTF! Prepping for an emergency goes well beyond simply stocking up on enough food and water to cover each of your family member’s needs. That’s right. Staying connected with family and friends, along with hearing information on what’s going on in your region would be very important after an emergency has taken place. In case you missed this post, Parent Emergency Essentials Every Parent Needs

Stay Connected When SHTF

Just because you’re left in the dark information-wise immediately following a major disaster, it doesn’t mean that you have to be when it comes to staying connected with the outside world. Failing to have any form of communication could prevent you from hearing vital information on more of the dangers that may be headed your way.

Not to be overdramatic, but being blindsided could very well cost you and your family their lives. Having several communication methods among our emergency supplies is essential for every prepper. Here are a number of different ways how to stay connected when SHTF.

How to Stay Connected When SHTF

Weather Radio 

A battery-operated weather radio will keep you informed of any news and updates that are happening in your area, but what are you going to do if that SHTF situation is long-term? Your battery supply will quickly dwindle down to nothing.

That’s why I’d encourage you to get a hand-crank weather radio that doesn’t require batteries, it’s relatively low in cost, and will keep you informed about your area’s current situation. All you have to do is crank and listen.   

Cell Phones

What’s nice about this communication device is that most people have one these days. They’re incredibly handy if you’re dealing with a personal emergency, whether someone you know is experiencing chest pains, or you were involved in a serious accident. Help can be reached and ready to assist you within a matter of minutes. 

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However, when it comes to a wide-range emergency, cell phones are about the worst communication option there is. That’s because everyone around you is experiencing the same situation and may be calling for emergency assistance, or are checking in on their loved ones at the same time that you are. This can cause a network jam and you won’t be able to have outgoing or any incoming calls. 

One thing you can try is to send text messages to those that you are trying to reach. For some reason, text messages are less affected and you will have an easier time getting through than trying to call someone.

Due to how unreliable cell phones are during an emergency, this is why they should never be your only form of communication.     

Hand-Held Walkie Talkies 

Hand-held walkie-talkies are great for short-range communication, especially if you have friends or family that live close by in your community. 2-way radios would also be an ideal option if you have a neighborhood survival coalition that’s on the same page as you when it comes to an SHTF situation. Having a method for properly communicating with one another will make your coalition that much faster and stronger and without miscommunication.    

Keep in mind that every walkie-talkie manufacturer and model is different, and they will only cover a certain range from each of them. Trees, buildings, hills, and other obstacles can cause interference, also limiting your range. It’s in your best interest that you don’t wait until an emergency has taken place to find out how well they work. You should discover what those range limitations are beforehand by testing them out and making any necessary adjustments, if possible.  

CB Radio 

The Citizens Band Radio was a highly sought-after form of communication during the 70s and 80s, but not nearly as much today. What was nice about them is that they didn’t require you to get a license, or take a test in order to operate one as the HAM radio did. The CB radio also has a much further range than what you get from a walkie-talkie. 

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While a CB radio is capable of covering much further distances, they do have their drawbacks as well. Unless you’re a truck driver, this communication device is generally kept stationary in a particular location in your home. Not only are you unable to move around easily with it like you do with walkie-talkies, but it also experiences interference, especially if you’re living in an urban area. CB radios can still be purchased today and at a reasonable price.   

HAM Radio 

When it comes to communicating with others over a great distance, the HAM radio is probably your best and most reliable communication option. What’s also nice is that you don’t have to rely on cell phone towers to reach those greater distances.    

Unlike the CB radio, there is an equipment and license cost, as well as training that you will have to take so that you know how to properly use it. At the end of all this, there’s a test with a small fee and then you will be good to go. That way you’re not doing something illegal, but if you’re only using a HAM radio to listen in on, there is no license that is required.

This may sound like too much of a process, but don’t let any of this deter you from being a licensed operator because it’s a great communication device to have following an emergency. Another thing to keep in mind is that these rules and regulations will mean absolutely nothing following an emergency situation.

This is one of the most important ways to stay connected in any emergency situation.

How to Stay Connected When SHTF

Final Word

When it pertains to your family’s survival, having good listening and communication devices could possibly end up being the difference-maker. Following a SHTF scenario, you will need to be able to communicate not only with other people locally, but also with those that live a greater distance away.

That way you can reach out to other preppers and survivalists out there to help you stay better informed. Also, knowing what’s going on in your area would be incredibly important as well.  How do plan to stay connected when SHTF? May God Bless this world, Linda.

Copyright Images: Walkie Talkie AdobeStock_87481981 by zhu difeng

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  1. We use the Zello app on the phones during tornadoes etc when the lines become clogged from texting and calls of people trying to contact their loved ones. Texts often slow down to 2-3hr waits. It uses internet signal rather than cell signal.

    The radios are perfect during ice storms etc.

    I’m not a huge fan of HAM not because of the radio but because of the people and the government involvement.

    The CB is now again a viable option as most truck drivers are no longer blasting away on it as they were in the 80s when it was almost impossible to talk because of traffic and the language. Some still have it but they use phones for their main commo. I keep mine on and when I start hearing a lot of chatter in the distance I know I’m coming up on a traffic jam and can prepare accordingly for a reroute.

    1. I looked at the Zello app, and I see there are free and a10dollar version. the latest reviewer gave it 5 stars, as opposed to 2 other reviewers who gave it one star. They all used language I don’t know in describing why they liked or disliked it. Can you clear this up please and is it possible to read a primer somewhere on both the Zello app and on long range walkie-talkies in general?

      1. Well the best thing I can tell you is try the free version. If you like it keep it. If you don’t delete it and you’ve lost nothing.
        It’s simple. You add the person in you want to talk to them push the button to talk and just listen to them talk

  2. BTW even children’s radios are programmed for FRS 1 so your Baoefung or midland hunting radio can talk to them for a short distance. I talk with my granddaughters all the time on their snow princesses radios.

    1. Hi Matt, oh my gosh, this is awesome to know. I need to invest in the Baoefung deal. The snow princesses radios!! Best comment ever! GP Matt is the best! Linda

  3. I’m a ham radio operator and feel that anyone interested in the hobby should get licensed. The technician license is easy to pass. All I did was read the questions, and answers, and went to take the test. Passed easily. Here’s a link to the question/answer pool. However, in emergency situations, the FCC allows anyone to use the ham frequencies regardless of having a license or not. This would be especially true in a SHTF situation. I like all forms of communications mentioned above, but if you need to communicate over long distances, nothing beats ham radio,

  4. Sorry about that. Here it is. (www)

    This will take you to the Technician question pool. They give you the questions and 4 to 5 possible answers. The great thing is that you tell you which answer is the correct one. One thing to remember is that when you go to take the test, the possible answers will not be in the same sequence as you will see them in the question pool. So, print the question pool out and highlight the correct answer. Then study the pool and try to remember as many correct answers as you can.

    There are 423 questions in the current Technician question pool. However, you will only have to answer 35 questions and answer a minimum of 26 correctly to pass. Unfortunately, you won’t know which questions you will have to answer. And, the person next to you will get a different set of questions. Bummer. I am currently studying for the Extra Class exam.

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