December 4, 2023

This article on Survival Radios is part of the Prepper Conversations Series.

Survival Radio tactical radio iStock-FXQuadro 1181647280.jpg
Survival Radio Types

In the world of survival, communication is as crucial as your firearm and your wits. When the grid goes down, or you’re out in the wild, your fancy smartphone might as well be a brick. That’s where Survival Radios come in – your lifeline in the wilderness and chaos. This guide isn’t just about picking a radio; it’s about choosing a survival tool that keeps you connected when everything else fails.

Survival Radios | Understanding Radio Services and Licenses

FRS (Family Radio Service)

Midland 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio
Midland 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio

For the survivalist who values simplicity and ease of use, then Family Radio Service or FRS is your go-to. These radios are like the rugged, no-nonsense cousin of those playtime walkie-talkies. With FRS, you get up to 2 watts of power, perfect for short-range comms in your bug-out location or while navigating through dense woods. No need to fuss with licenses or exams – grab it, and you’re ready to go. For an FRS radio that won’t let you down, check out the Midland 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio. It’s got the reliability you need with a simplicity that lets you focus on what really matters – survival.

  • Basics: Ideal for short-range, no-nonsense communication. Think of it as a better version of those walkie-talkies you played with as a kid.
  • License: Forget about paperwork; no license is required here.
  • Top Pick: The Midland 36 Channel FRS Two-Way Radio is a solid choice for those who want reliability without the hassle.

MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service)

Radioddity MU-5 MURS Handheld Radio
Radioddity MU-5 MURS Handheld Radio

When your operations demand a step above FRS, Multi-Use Radio Service is where it’s at. With no license needed and a robust 2 watts of power, MURS is ideal for coordinating over larger homesteads or in areas where your signal needs to punch through interference. MURS operates in the VHF band, offering clearer signals under certain conditions. A solid choice for the prepper is the Radioddity MU-5 MURS Handheld Radio. It’s durable, has great battery life, and provides the range you need for effective team communication. Look it up on Amazon to beef up your comms arsenal.

  • Basics: A step up from FRS in terms of range and clarity. Great for coordinating with a team over larger properties or in dense areas.
  • License: Still no license needed. More power, more freedom.
  • Recommended: Radioddity MU-5 MURS Handheld Radio stands out for its ruggedness and battery life.

CB Radio (Citizens Band Radio)

Cobra 29 LTD Professional CB Radio
Cobra 29 LTD Professional CB Radio = Survival Radios

CB Radio is the old guard of survival radio comms – reliable, effective, and without the red tape of licensing. With its 4 watts of AM power (and up to 12 watts in SSB mode), it’s a stalwart companion on the road and in remote areas. CBs have been the backbone of trucker and off-grid communication for decades. A top choice for survivalists is the Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio. It’s a blend of classic CB functionality with modern reliability – a true workhorse in the world of survival communication. You can find it on Amazon for a setup that keeps you connected where cell phones fear to tread.

  • Basics: The old-school choice for truckers and rebels. Not just for chatting on the long road but a real asset when you’re out of cell range.
  • License: License-free, hassle-free.
  • Top Choice: The Cobra 29LTD Professional CB Radio – a classic with modern reliability.

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)

BTECH MURS-V2 200 MURS Two-Way Radio
BTECH MURS-V2 200 MURS Two-Way Radio

General Mobile Radio Service, or GMRS for short, is for the survivalists ready to take their Survival Radio communication up a notch. With up to 50 watts of power and the ability to use repeaters, it vastly extends your communication range. A simple, one-time license covers your whole family, making it a versatile choice for group operations. GMRS operates in the UHF band, ideal for urban environments and open terrain alike. The BTECH MURS-V2 200 MURS Two-Way Radio, available on Amazon, is a popular choice among survivalists. It’s a powerhouse of a radio, offering the range and clarity you need when the situation demands robust communication.

  • Basics: When you need more range and power. Think of it as the big brother of FRS.
  • License: A simple license is needed, but no test. Covering your whole family, it’s worth the paperwork.
  • Best Option: BTECH MURS-V2 200 MURS Two-Way Radio. It is a favorite among survivalists for its versatility and power.

Here’s a list of useful URLs for obtaining a GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) license:

  • FCC GMRS Licensing Information: FCC GMRS License Information
    • The Federal Communications Commission provides official information on GMRS licensing, including application procedures and requirements.
  • FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS): FCC ULS
    • This is the direct link to the FCC’s Universal Licensing System, where you can apply for a GMRS license online.
  • FCC Registration Number (FRN) Registration: FCC CORES
    • Before applying for a GMRS license, individuals need to obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) through the Commission Registration System (CORES).
  • GMRS Licensing FAQ: GMRS Licensing FAQ
    • This page offers frequently asked questions and answers about GMRS licensing, which can be helpful for new applicants.

These resources provide comprehensive information about obtaining a GMRS license, ensuring that you have all the necessary information to legally operate GMRS radios.

Amateur Radio (Ham Radio)

Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF / UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver
Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF / UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver

Ham Radio isn’t just about talking; it’s about mastering the airwaves. It requires a bit of study to get licensed, but the payoff is immense. With the ability to operate across multiple bands and power up to 1500 watts, the world of amateur radio opens up global communication possibilities. It’s not just a tool; it’s a lifeline in emergencies and a gateway to a worldwide community. The Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld is a top pick for hams – reliable, versatile, and ready for whatever you throw at it. It’s available on Amazon and is a worthy addition to any serious survivalist’s gear.

  • Basics: The king of range and versatility. It’s not just a radio; it’s a hobby, a community, and an emergency tool all in one.
  • License: You’ll need to pass a test, but it’s a rite of passage. The world of ham opens up global communication.
  • Top Radio: The Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld. A beast in emergencies and a joy for daily use.

Here are some useful URLs for those interested in obtaining an Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) license:

  • ARRL Licensing Information: ARRL License Information
    • The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is a key resource for amateur radio enthusiasts. This page provides comprehensive information on how to get licensed.
  • FCC Amateur Radio Licenses: FCC Amateur Radio Service
    • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body for amateur radio licenses in the U.S. This page offers official information on different license classes, requirements, and the application process.
  • Ham Radio Licensing Exam Preparation:
    • is a widely recommended site for preparing for the ham radio licensing exam. It offers study guides and practice tests.
  • Find an Amateur Radio License Exam Session: ARRL Find an Exam Session
    • This ARRL tool helps you locate nearby exam sessions based on your zip code, making it easier to plan for taking your licensing exam.

Why Radio Communication is Essential for Survivalists

When SHTF (Stuff Hits The Fan), your ability to receive and transmit information can mean the difference between life and death. Radios can warn you of impending dangers, keep you connected with your group, and help you reach out for help in emergencies. It’s not just about talking; it’s about staying informed and ready.

Choosing the Right Radio for Your Needs

When you’re gearing up for survival, choosing the right radio isn’t as simple as grabbing the biggest gun on the shelf. It’s about strategy, understanding your battleground – the environment – and aligning it with your communication needs. Sure, power is important, but it’s not the only factor.

Take the handheld FRS radios, for instance. These compact warriors are your best bet in the thick of dense forests or when you’re maneuvering through challenging terrain. They’re simple, efficient, and get the job done when you’re operating within a few miles radius. No fuss, no frills, just straight-up communication when you’re navigating through thickets or coordinating a hunt.

But what about when you’re out in the open, where distances stretch, and the landscape plays by different rules? This is where GMRS or ham radios come into play. These aren’t just radios; they’re your scouts, your lookouts. GMRS packs a punch with its higher power and ability to tap into repeater networks, giving you a broader reach. And for the survivalist who treats preparedness like an art form, ham radio is the ultimate tool. With the ability to span across various frequencies and reach out miles beyond, it’s a radio that doesn’t just connect – it empowers.

But remember, with great power comes the responsibility of licensing. It’s a small price to pay for a tool that could be your lifeline in emergencies.

So, when you’re planning your survival radio gear, think beyond the immediate. What’s your theater of operations? Are you prepping for urban chaos, remote wilderness survival, or a bit of both? How far do you need your voice to carry? And crucially, how much time and effort are you willing to invest in mastering these tools? In the world of survival radios, it’s not just about having the best equipment but the right equipment that meshes with your environment, skills, and needs. Choose wisely, for in the silence of a blackout or the chaos of a disaster, your radio isn’t just a tool – it’s your voice when all others are silenced.

The Importance of Legal Compliance in Radio Usage, at Least During Peaceful Times

Staying on the right side of the law is critical. Illegal radio use supposedly leads to hefty fines and legal troubles!? The FCC isn’t just a huge federal bureaucracy; it’s what keeps the airwaves clear for everyone, including emergency services. As Radio Karen’s belive, respect the rules, and they’ll respect your right to communicate.

Besides being another faceless government entity, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the one tasked with keeping radio peace. Think of the FCC as the hall monitor of the airwaves. They ensure that the frequencies are not a Wild West but a structured network where everyone from your fellow survivalists to emergency responders can communicate effectively.

By staying within the bounds of FCC regulations, you’re staying below the radar while contributing to a system that’s there for all of us when things go south. In an emergency, clogged or misused frequencies can mean the difference between getting help and being left in the dark. So, when you’re setting up your radio gear, understand the rules. They ensure your right to communicate doesn’t interfere with someone else’s right to call for help or coordinate a response. In peaceful times, it’s about mutual respect and preparedness.

So, keep your survival radios & communication gear legal, your knowledge sharp, and your operations clean.

Or don’t….

Advanced Tips for Radio Communication

Knowing how to boost your radio’s range, use repeaters, and understanding radio etiquette isn’t just smart; it’s survivalist savvy. Antenna upgrades, solar chargers, and a solid understanding of radio frequencies can turn a simple device into a powerful communication tool. Remember, in a survival situation, knowledge is as crucial as your gear.

Turning your radio from a basic communicator to a lifeline requires more than just knowing how to push the talk button. Here are the top three actionable tips to elevate your radio game:

  1. Maximize Your Range with Antenna Upgrades: The antenna is the unsung hero of your radio. Upgrading from the standard antenna to a higher-gain one can significantly extend your radio’s reach. This is crucial when you’re operating in challenging terrains or need to ensure your signal pierces through obstructions. For GMRS or ham radios, consider a Nagoya or a Diamond antenna – brands known for their superior performance. It’s a small change with a big impact, ensuring your call for help or coordination doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
  2. Harness the Power of Repeaters: Especially for GMRS and ham operators, understanding and utilizing repeaters can mean the difference between being heard over miles versus just blocks. Repeaters are set up to receive a signal on one frequency and transmit it on another, massively extending your communication range. Learn to program these frequencies into your radio, and familiarize yourself with local repeater networks. In survival situations, this knowledge can turn your radio into a beacon that reaches far beyond its standard capacity.
  3. Adopt Solar Charging for Uninterrupted Power: In long-term survival scenarios, power sources become as valuable as water. Integrating solar charging for your radio ensures you’re never left in silence. Portable solar panels or solar battery packs can keep your communication lifeline alive when traditional power sources are gone. It’s about being self-sufficient, ensuring that your call for help or coordination isn’t cut short by a dead battery.

And let’s not forget radio etiquette. Knowing how to communicate effectively and efficiently on the airwaves isn’t just polite; it’s critical in emergency situations. Keep transmissions clear, concise, and wait for your turn to speak. In a crisis, cluttered communication can be as dangerous as no communication at all.

Equip your Survival Radio with these enhancements, and you turn a simple device into a command center that keeps you connected, informed, and ready to face whatever the wilderness throws your way. In the world of survival, your gear is good, but your knowledge and how you apply it? That’s gold.

Radios are more than just gadgets; they’re your lifeline when you’re off the grid or facing chaos.

Whether it’s keeping tabs on your family, coordinating a community response, or calling for help in a disaster, the right radio can be as vital as your firearm or your first-aid kit. Equip yourself with the knowledge, get the right gear, and stay connected. In the world of survival, being prepared means being ready to communicate.

About Tred Law

Tred Law is your everyday patriot with a deep love for this country and a no-compromise approach to the Second Amendment. He does not write articles for Ammoland every week, but when he does write, it is usually about liberals Fing with his right to keep and bear arms.

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