During a camping trip, a simple way of communication between the members of a bug-out team could prove vital. In some extreme cases, it may be a difference between a life and death situation. Members of a group could be wounded or separated while away from their base camp or they may require a quick way of communication when organizing defensive and offensive maneuvers.
Tips to help you choose a two-way communication device
- Type of radio
The first consideration here should be the range as well as the type of radio. Remember that most advertised ranges of about 10 to 30 miles for General Mobile Radio Service band radios are under perfect conditions, and such conditions rarely ever exist in reality. Actual range is much less.
Also, the average output for a hand-held General Mobile Radio Service band radio is approximately 1-2 watts. It isn’t clear this one can be modified or if it’s a fixed wattage which was set by the manufacturer.
Legally, to use a radio using the GMRS channels 1-7 as well as 15-22, you will need to acquire a license, which is issued solely by the FCC, even though you don’t need a license before buying any GMRS-capable two-way radio.
Family Radio Service or FRS models are lesser power units which operate with only half watt of power. The devices can transmit on both seven FRS channels and seven shared FRS/GMRS channels for a total of about 14 channels. A license is not required to operate this kind of radio – the disadvantage is its limited range when matched with the GMSR.
- Variable power
Variable power is also a good option if you’re talking a few yards, and you do not want to waste any batteries by broadcasting at the full capacity every time. Any radio—even though it has two watts of power—automatically changes to half a watt when operating on 7 FRS-specific channels.
The variable power option allows the user to adjust the output depending on the particular situation, saving power as well as lowering the possibility of any communications being tracked by a third or possible hostile party.
During a lengthy emergency, having some charged batteries will be a concern (it is also an ideal barter item). Lots of two-way radios work on the standard AA batteries; these are light, small, and cheap – excellent for building the cache.
As you stock up on batteries, it is best to keep that one-size-fits-all notion in mind when possible. In other words, standardize your lights, two-way radios, AM/FM/ shortwave, and other devices so that they’ll use just one battery size and it will preferably be AA.
Rechargeable, as well as compatible solar chargers, must be considered. These will come in handy after the batteries give out.