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Communication and Intelligence Gathering

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posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 04:08 PM
Communications is among the top five priorities in my household’s emergency plan and should be something carefully considered in yours as well. As a situation grows imminent (or immediately after a sudden event) one of the first protocols in my plan is to make a cut-and-run/shelter-in-place assessment. Communications and Intelligence is critical in order to make that judgment. The very last thing you want to happen is to attempt to bug-out only to find yourself stuck in evacuating hordes or herded into ‘official’ staging/evacuation/refugee areas. In either case whatever planning and stockpiling you’ve done is for naught.

Communication Considerations:

Passive Communications – Every prepared individual should have at least one good wideband receiver that is battery or preferably crank-powered. This radio needs to be able to receive domestic AM and FM stations, Shortwave (international) and Weather stations at a bare minimum. Additional coverage in the TV audio frequencies (at least some since they run from Ch 2 at 59.75MHz all the way up to Ch 10 at 197.75 for just the first nine channels), the Aircraft band (188 – 136MHz AM) and some Public Service bands (155MHz and 453MHz FM vicinities --- there are many others) would be good to have as well. Depending upon the nature of the situation, this will allow you to gather current information that will enable you to plan and to assess not only the seriousness and scope of the situation but how quickly it is evolving and changing. Depending upon the extent and nature of the situation it may be necessary to get this information from quite a distance which will have a significant impact on your ability to plan tactically (i.e., shelter-in-place v. cut-and-run). Make sure that you keep an updated reference of all frequencies you might need (and have the equipment to monitor). This information is widely available on the net. You don’t want to be running the dial looking for news during a crisis.

Active Communications – Most any survivalist scenario involves the collapse of normal services for some period of time. That includes power, cell phones, cable, telephone, internet, and very possibly broadcast radio and TV. This could be caused by infrastructure damage and/or demand overload. In any case, at some point it will become necessary to venture out for repairs, provisioning, security, etc. Having two-way communications with members of your own group or being able to coordinate with neighbors will become important. Portable CB radios (operating AM or SSB at the upper end of the HF band) or FMRS (FM in the UHF band) are the most common choices. Both have ranges limited to a couple miles or so (out of the box). The older CB radios have a slight edge on distance and do have a ‘universal’ emergency calling channel (Ch 9) making them well suited for getting outside your immediate neighborhood. The FMRS handhelds, however, are best suited for ‘tactical’ use (to coordinate security, for example).

Communications Beyond Your Local Neighborhood – Most all of us have family or loved ones at a distance. At some point there is going to be a need or desire to find and coordinate with them. Similarly, it may become necessary to call for assistance. This equipment can be expensive and is somewhat complex to use --- not to mention the licensing requirements to operate. Essentially your choices are military, business/commercial and HAM gear. Obviously, there are legal considerations. As a general rule, the ‘range’, size and power requirements of radio equipment decrease with increasing frequency. So, a UHF handheld may be small, with a stubby antenna and run for several hours on batteries but its range will only be a few miles. Conversely, if you wanted to communicate cross-country (or internationally) you’d need an HF rig which would require a much longer and complex antenna system and a much larger power supply.

HAM radio operators typically have equipment that functions on several bands. Most are prepared for operation during emergencies and have contingencies for power outages. In the case of emergencies, HAM operators all over the world activate radio ‘nets’ to move message traffic and news when commercial stations cannot. Your local HAM operator can get brief messages from you to your loved ones almost anywhere in the world in an emergency. I would encourage serious survivalists to get their HAM licenses. The old requirement of morse code has been eliminated for the VHF bands. In the very least, find out where your local HAM operators are. For more information you can visit this site:

Communications Resources

EMP and Your Communications Plan:

Having communications equipment is great --- but only if it works when you need it. EMP from a nuclear event could destroy your equipment if you don’t plan ahead. There are nuclear weapons that are optimized to create EMP in order to wipe out the targeted country’s communications, command and control. These are detonated high in the atmosphere to maximize the effect. However, any nuclear detonation is going to have an EMP burst. A ground detonation will have much of the EMP blocked and scattered by terrain and obstacles but for most modern electronics it doesn’t take much to fry or disable your equipment.

Long metal structures and grids will act like antennas and concentrate the EMP. Things like the power grid, copper plumbing, steel structures, cables, antennas and the like --- buried or not --- will concentrate the EMP and anything attached will similarly be affected. EMP works somewhat like lightning and will travel over the surface of metal objects. The longer the metal the greater the risk. Your best insurance is to store your survival electronics in a metal box. I use a large aluminum footlocker. For more on EMP go here:

EMP Reference

Intelligence Gathering Considerations:

Your communications capabilities are going to be primarily used to gather intelligence. What’s going on? How widespread is it? How are things developing? Is help coming? When? Are we safe? Are things stabilizing? Depending upon the scope of the situation you may need to gather this information from a number of sources and at considerable distances.

Local intelligence gathering will probably be accomplished by patrolling from your base and reporting back what you find. In addition to communications equipment, you’ll need maps against which to reference the intelligence you collect. Copies of USGS maps of your immediate area (1:25,000 scale) are a good idea. In a pinch, aircraft VFR sectionals (1:50,000 scale) will do and can be purchased at almost any local airport. These provide features and terrain information that can be used as reference points and to chart overland movement if necessary. I’ve also downloaded Google earth images of my home. These provide a birds-eye view that are useful to plan egress and, if necessary, defensive strategies for the immediate area of my home base.

Communications and Intelligence may not be the sexiest part of Survivalist planning but it is, just the same, essential. You‘ll need to know what is going on and where. The human psyche doesn’t function well when it can’t understand its surroundings. Staying calm and making good decisions is largely a function of being informed. No matter how good your prior planning and how extensive your stockpile, one bad decision can cost you and yours everything. Start your planning now.

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 04:56 PM
I just got a radio that can be powered by a hand crank with a light built into it and with weather and TV channels and it can charge up things like cell phones. Very cool.

Great info, btw.

[edit on 12-12-2006 by enjoies05]

posted on Dec, 18 2006 @ 10:13 AM
I thought I'd pass along a very recent update ofr this hugely popular Survival thread.

The FCC on Friday eliminated the morse code requirment for all HAM radio license classes.

News Release

The morse requirement was the biggest stumbling block for people seeking licenses that allowed operating on the (international) HF bands. Now all you need to do is learn the technical requirements associated with each license level. This makes radio operating open-up to alot of people.

[edit on 18-12-2006 by jtma508]

posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 11:20 PM
while have a ham lic is a good idea if you want to talk to others during non emergency times in sit-x al that goes out in an emergency you do not need to be licensed to use a short wave raido(not sure about the actuall wording of the reg) and in a total beyond the thunder dome senero who going to check, still there are many things to know about useing this equipment so agian study the subuect . also the fcc keeps track of who is a lic ham, so...

posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 08:22 AM
wcssar... very true. The thing is, as anyone who has used this equipment knows, it's a bit more complicated than a toaster. Understanding atmospheric changes that affect propagation, knowing how to reach a distant station, what modes to use where and when, all that... Who cares if your licensed? In Sit-X is the FCC going to go gather-up all the comm gear out there? I doubt it. They may know you have a license but not what you own.

I'm just suggesting that as a critical part of surviving Sit-X people consider the need for intelligence gatheriung beyond their neighborhood. ATSers, adequately equipped, would be a major intel asset in Sit-X. Sure, anyone can listen but someone has to collect info and get it out there. We need more collection and distribution points.


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