What brand of gear and type for local communication. I have read the HAM radio and CB, however a base CB and then handhelds seem too much, bulk and weight being the primary.
What about for local communication when traveling together such as the Midland and Motorola radios. What brand and models have worked for you. House, block to block or across small town USA.
I have friends that are part of the Missouri 4/8 and the went on a joint training exercise (JTX) in July and borrowed gear that "sucked" but none of them remember the brand or models.
VOX would be a must. I thought about the Midland Base Camp Radio and then the 34 or 36 mile ones.
Yes, I understand the mileage is really a farce (I live in the Ozarks with foot hills blocking every mile) but I was wondering about overall signal stregnth. clarity, battery use...
I would suggest that you invest in an amateur ticket and purchase a 2meter handheld....backup would be FRS, MOTROLA or some "brandname rig". Being in your AO, comms are going to be basically line of sight...probably no more than a mile...FRS does not work well in buildings...and in a vehicle about 1/4 of a mile...that's not too far if your in a group traveling...I would also suggest picking up the book SURVIVAL COMMUNICATIONS, (Micheal Chesbro, (sp)...this has real time suggestions and great reference material...Most of all get that ham ticket...If I can do it, anyone can!
The Family Radio Service (FRS) voice-only UHF sets are a fraction of a watt and must use the built-in antennas. Many retail stores are illegally using them, so interference in built-up areas will be high. The "privacy codes" only shut off your speaker if someone is on another code, they do not prevent people from listening nor let you talk through interference stronger than you. FRS requires no license.
The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) has 8 high-power voice-only UHF channel pairs that let you install or share repeaters. Repeaters extend the unit-to-unit distance. If both parties can reach the repeater, they can communicate, even if they can't reach each other directly. You must pay the FCC for a GMRS license. The 14 FRS channels are taken from in between the 8 base-to-mobile and mobile-to-base GMRS channels. A GMRS license will allow 5-watt mobiles and "small bases" on 7 of the FRS channels, in addition to using the high power channels. You can use detachable antennas.
Because of the 5-watt "small station/small mobile" rule, you can mix GMRS with others who only have FRS handsets.
UHF can exit buildings and ricochet off of rocks better than lower frequencies, but will be absorbed by foliage. A standard antenna is 6 inches tall over a 6-inch ground, a gain antenna is about 14 inches.
Multi-Use-Radio Service (MURS) uses 2-watt radios for voice or data. The five VHF-High Band channels cannot be repeated. Detachable antennas and gain antennas are permitted. VHF will penetrate foliage better than UHF, and personal experience is that it will penetrate underground better than UHF as well. A standard antenna is about 17 inches tall over a 17-inch ground, a gain antenna about 43 inches. The short "Rubber Duck" antennas do not perform as well as a 17-inch whip, but in most cases are an adequate trade-off for convenience. This band is better for woodland or field work, and is recommended for hunters and by many preppers. MURS requires no license.
CB is near the very top of "short wave" channels. With proper antennas it should go much further than VHF, but it has a high background noise level due to all the users' activity across the country. It is supposed to be 4 watts, but many "bootleggers" run high-power amplifiers, raising the noise level even further. Under some conditions, "skip" from distant stations will add to the congestion. Lower frequency radios are also more prone to receiving interference from computers and other devices with electronic switching. A CB antenna is 9 feet tall over a 9-foot ground, a gain antenna is 21 feet. "Rubber Duck" antennas on CB handhelds are a joke, nowhere near the required power transfer to the sky takes place from the shortened antennas. CB requires no license.
Ham radio has multiple bands. There is a medium-wave band just above AM radio that requires giant antennas. There are several short-wave bands, including a quiet one just above CB. There is a VHF High Band below MURS, another one above TV channel 13, as well as a VHF Low Band below TV channel 2. There is a UHF band below GMRS, two above cellular, and one that overlaps WiFi. There are also several microwave bands. Antenna size depends on frequency, the higher the frequency, the smaller the antenna. Power in most cases is 1500 watts peak, which relates to about 1000 watts. There are some specific lower power restrictions. Ham radio requires that a person who has an operator's license be present and responsible for all transmissions. Non-hams can talk, except when communicating with some foreign countries. Hams can use repeaters and links, and can use non-voice transmissions such as data or images. Ham radio prohibits secret codes, so if government is still functioning, OPSEC abbreviations would be trouble.
The more important question is not what radio should I use, but who am I going to talk to? You should be assembling a community of like-minded people, and use whatever they use. Maybe the above will help in making group decisions. Just picking up a mike on any radio after TSHTF and saying, "Hi! I have guns and food. Who else is out there?" is more likely to find you talking to "bad guys" than "good guys."
I don't know if you can still get crystals these days.... but 25 years ago you use to be able to buy CB hand held walkies talkies that you put crystals in.... and base stations too....
There were crystals with frequencies for radio controlled planes .... you weren't "supposed" to transmit voice on these frequencies, BUT some people did... chances of getting caught were small back then too because the FCC didn't monitor those frequencies much, if at all....
The thing was that using those frequencies you just about had your own private channel .... and because they were CB's you got the same distance as a CB radio....
I haven't kept up with this, but if you could find a supplier for some of this old style equipment.... bet you could rig something up....
I have "my people" but they are scattered over 5 counties. Sorry so far I have failed to have "guaranteed personel" in my county, many "uh sure" people but none I would count my life on. I want to be able to communicate with my friends around to see if water is running, gas is flowing or zombie hords are moving any any particular direction.
Two of my friends have taken shortwave and two others are signed up for some sort of course. That means 2 out of 15 are "certified" and the balance are not ready in this one area.
I should have my comm guys check into this, I totally forgot about crystals in the CB's. I remember a neighbor doing that in Texas, he blew out everyones TV signal every time he talked. I am sure he had more amped up on his CB too.