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Communications Requirements

I’ve been having a email discussion with Lightspeed regarding survival comms. He has a great deal of knowledge about the subject being a radio ham and we can learn a lot that could help us if only we ask the right questions.

So that we were clear I listed my specific requirements which I would guess would be similar to other preppers. Let us know if these is something else you think should be included.

1 – I want day to day comms within our team/group/community

I see this being the backbone of our community communications. Used for security, work, hunting and general coordination.

2 – I want regular contact with neighbours an a needs basis for protection and business viewpoint

In a similar way as above but for a wider area. Enabling a larger community to band together for protection, aid and trade.

3 – I want regular contact with friends across the UK

More for social interaction, making arrangements and keeping up with what is going on in the outside world.

4 – I want sporadic contact with potential friends, other preppers

This is again more social in nature. I want to know what is going on from a preppers point of view and perhaps make arrangements for visits or trade. I’m much more likely to meet someone outside the are whom I have met or discussed issues with. Having a relationship, even one that is solely verbal builds up a level of trust. Not enough to hand out the keys but enough to understand their nature a little better.

5 – I want to be able to contact people coming into the area

This is more for security and safety. If you are in communication you can discuss what their intentions are. You can route them around you or to you and watch what they do. If you have set up protocols for other preppers you can identify them via that and if you have preppers you have relationships with then they can ensure that they are who they say they are.

6 – I want to receive news from outside

General reciept of news from outside. Government emergency and news channels. Normal news type radio as well as ham transmitters and longer range equipment for foreign news. A wide range of frequencies is required.


Lightspeed has identified several items of equipment in his previous discussions. Most of those are of interest to me and will make up my communications packages.

PMR446 or CB radio

I see these being of use for 1, 2, 5. Several sets with earpieces for covert use. Number depending on how many people you have as sentries and how many groups you need to keep in touch. I already have several PMR units in my stores.

CB radio with SSB

These could be of use for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. CB as previous with SSB depending on range and atmospheric conditions. I already have one of these in my stores.

HF radio

I see these mainly for use for 3, 4, 5, 6. The longer range allows international communications and obviously news from outside. I think that for your further away relatives and friends this will be the only solution. Personally, I don’t want a ham license but I want the unit set up for emergency use so that when the phones go I can just switch it on. This means it needs to be set up by a ham now.

Marine band

Again of use for 4, 5. I live near the coast so there is the opportunity for communications there. I don’t want to have any specialist equipment for this as it is just in case.


General radio receivers as we use normally.


I’ve thought about my needs here. I’m looking at a small family group but with expansion capabilities. I want to have enough to equip a small security detail whilst having the long range equipment and news radios at home where they can be monitored as needed and as scheduled.

Thus the equipment I want is;

  • A mixture of PMR446 and CB radio. Approx 5 of each.
  • Two CB radios with SSB.
  • Two base station HF radios.
  • Two portable HF radios.
  • Two Marine band radios.
  • Several standard radios covering a wide range of frequencies. Several wind up and solar versions.

Lightspeed has recommended the UV3R for the smaller HF setups as it will receive and transmit on those bands. In addition it can receive and tranmit PMR446 and on the Marine bands as well as having the capability of working on other frequencies. several birds with one stone.


I’m currently thining about protocols as well. Processes use in communication for all of these different requirements so that;

  • We can be sure that we am talking to the right person
  • That we maintain OPSEC
  • So we all know what to do

For remote users it means I have to communicate with them before any event so they have a copy as well. Including any codewords and handles that are going to be in use. More on protocols later.

Your input

Anything you think is missing from this? Let us know.

3 comments to Communications Requirements

  • moosedog

    An HF receiver could provide valuable post event intel without the need for a specialised antenna. It can also give you a fascinating hobby to enjoy now and into the pre event future which will hopefully be a long time, if not the rest of our lives. There are plenty of second hand receivers available to see if it’s a hobby you’d enjoy without breaking the bank. You want, preferably, one with a digital frequency readout and, importantly, able to receive sidebands (USB & LSB) which will give you access to a lot more “things” to listen to, though like air band receivers you’re not really supposed to do this. I only have experience of a few receivers so can’t advise readers on what to buy but there is much information available online through search engines. If you buy through a reputable dealer you’ll get a guarantee, which is preferable to certain auction sites: remember, you get what you pay for.

  • james jackson

    Midland GXT1000VP4 5 Watts Walkie Talkie Water Proof Radio Value Pack with Car Charger, Desktop Charger, Rechargeable Batteries and Headsets this is the longest ranger PMR446 set i can seem to find at 36 miles, does anybody know any better ones?

  • martin hs

    The uv3r is a great little radio, it cover PMR and marine as well as the ham bands. Power is low (2w) but much better than a bog standard pmr446 handset (0.5w), best of all it is amazingly cheap so should be within the budget of most preppers.

    For something a bit more powerful take a look at the puxing 888 (single band so vhf and uhf sets needed) or wouxun kg-uvd1p (dual band) which have 5w output. Both are great sets.

    A decent 2nd hand SSB CB set is going to cost about £80 to £120 while a basic fm CB set can be as cheap as £10 on ebay.

    If you are looking at going for a hf ham set avoid the older valve based units unless you have the knowledge to use them as they need a lot more ‘nursing’ than transistorised sets. You are looking at £250 upwards for anything half decent.

    I’ve been looking at the ex mod hf sets but the supply seems to have largely dried up now unless you are prepared to pay serious money.

    An antenna for a CB set can be made out of a length of coaxial cable terminating in a bit of connecting block and then out to a couple of 8’6″ lengths of ordinary electrical cable to make a simple dipole – simple but effective! Tie nylon rope to each end and hang it between a couple of trees, the higher the better.

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