A Comprehensive Crisis Communications Planning for the Prepper, by Hammer posted on the Survivor Blog:

The subject of radio communications as it relates to Prepping is an often misunderstood topic. Understanding radio communications issues can also be confusing, complicated, and daunting for the newcomer. There is a lot to know about the subject, and speaking as one that has spent a good part of his life experimenting with radio communications, it seems that the more I learn about radio communications, the more I learn how much I have to learn! In this article I would like to share much of the information that I have gleaned about radio communications technology and it’s applications. I will attempt to present this article in a way that the reader can glean real world applications, and in a way that it is easy to understand for the novice.   More……

Amateur Radio

A wealth of  information, educational material and more can be found at the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website.  Founded in 1914, The ARRL  is the national association for Amateur Radio in the USA.  Membership in the ARRL is not required for Amateur Radio operators.

New Amateur Radio licenses, in order of increasing privileges, are the Technician, General and Extra.  No new licenses are being issued for the Novice or Advanced class of license.

Amateur radio has a history of providing communications during many emergencies.  Some Hams routinely train to efficiently handle emergency traffic.  Communication may be point to point, or may be relayed through a repeater (point-repeater-point) for extended range.  Repeaters can be located almost anywhere including a mountain top or earth satellite.   The more elevated the repeater, the greater the range.   Here in central Virginia the 147.075 MHz repeater on Afton mountain provides extensive coverage on both sides of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Small hand held transceivers (HT) and base/mobile radios offer relatively noise free and clear communications on the popular 144 MHz  (2 meters), 220 MHz (1.25 meters) and 440 MHz bands (70 centimeters).  The entry level Technician license grants privileges to operate on these frequency bands and more.   There is no longer a requirement to learn Morse code for any class of license.

Handheld transceivers are popular as first radios for newcomers to Amateur Radio.  The HTs can be used stand  alone, or in a vehicle, or at home.  Connecting an HT to an elevated external antenna can dramatically increase signal strength and range.  Some HTs are designed for use on a single frequency band.  More expensive HTs are designed for use on more than one frequency band.  Kenwood, ICOM, Yaesu and Alinco are top brand names for modern HTs.

Owner reviews of  many HT are here.

The No-Nonsense, Technician Class License Stiudy Guide by Dan Romanchik KB6NU

A question and answer pool is maintained by a group of volunteer examiner coordinators (VEC).   The questions used for the exam are taken from that pool.   A score of 75% is a passing grade.   Practice exams, with questions taken from that Q&A pool, are available at:

Passed the tests?  Find out when you can operate using your new privileges here.

Suggestions of how to prepare and use Amateur Radio during a emergency are available at Emergency Preparedness, Simplex Operations, Procedures and Equipment.