In a recent article, I wrote about grid down communications and focused on moving away from 2-way radio in many cases. This time, I am going to talk about using 2-way radios, specifically HAM radio, for a variety of comms needs, including grid down.
What is HAM radio?
HAM radio is a form of amateur radio that is open to anyone. You do need to be licensed to transmit over the bandwidth that HAM covers, but anyone can obtain the needed license with little effort. This level of two way radio communications can be portable or stationary and affords a much greater range than CB radio or the 2-way radios that can be purchased a sporting goods store.
Before the grid goes down, HAM radio can be used as a hobby, or a way to stay in touch with other preppers around the country. By doing this, you will learn what channels are popular, how to use the equipment effectively, and build relationships with other radio operators. If you really get into HAM radio, you will learn how small electronics and radio frequencies work, allowing you to build or modify radio equipment in a SHTF world.
Grid down HAMMING
When the grid goes down, if you can maintain a power source for your radio, you can have long-range communications. In the grid down comms article, I cautioned against using radios if there was any threat that could use your radio traffic against you. But what if you have no choice but to use radio communications?
If the threat is not within range to attack you, there is little to worry about. A radio can only be located if it transmits, so threats not close to the group can only listen in. As long as you do not transmit anything that gives up group locations, you will be fine. At this point however, you must assume that your location is compromised and you must pack up shop if there is any chance the threat can move into attacking range.
You can reduce the chances of having radio traffic noticed if you use a directional antenna. This will focus your transmission in one general direction. If a threat is in that direction, or if there is any signal leak from the antenna, you can still be spotted, but the odds are reduced.
If you are more concerned about a threat knowing what you are saying, versus locating the transmission source, it is possible to encrypt HAM radio. You can also combine other communication methods with HAM, such as one-time-pads. Once all comms stations have a one-time-pad, you can write out a message, encrypted by the one-time-pad, and send it out to be decoded by several stations at once, which will then destroy the used sheet from the one-time-pad. By doing this, several locations can get the same message and only one location has to risk being located, as all other locations only need to listen.
No matter how you choose to use HAM radio, by tuning in now and getting into the game, you can build valuable skills for the future by having a fun hobby to share with the family, all while showing up CB radio users.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.