Be Ready for What ever Happens
Current issues and topics that are relevant to the classes we teach
Why do you want to talk to someone?
Seriously, that is the first question you have to answer. It will dictate if or how much money you want to spend on communication gear. There are a few possible answers:
1) You want to call for help
2) You want to stay in touch with friends and family and post cool pictures on Facebook while trekking in the wild.
3) You want to be able to communicate with someone in the event of a major natural disaster.
4) You want to see if there are any other survivors of the zombie apocalypse.
I think those (or some variation of those) basically cover it.
For the first, calling for help, could be something as simple as a signal mirror or as high tech as an emergency satellite transponder, like Spot. I will stick with the lower tech and free ideas here. A signal mirror is the classic pocket emergency communications system. It is easy to use, small, light weight and you can use it for a few other things around the campsite if needed. The down side is it only works in daytime and someone has to be looking for you and be in some type of line of sight of your position.
For hikers who generally stay in cell service range, a free app I like is called “Send Help”. It is an easy to use push button app, that sends a text message to whomever you pre-program it for. A great feature is that it sends a map and coordinates for your position. If you are injured or lost, you may not know how to tell someone where you are. The down side is you have to have at least one bar of cell service where you are. Still, it is far better than nothing.
For the second, some of the personal satellite transponders also allow internet link ups so that you can send messages to family telling them you are ok, and post those selfies to everyone will know how cool you are. A web search will give you several brands and theirs costs. They work anywhere on the planet.
For numbers three and four, the equipment is the same. You first need to decide how far away you want to communicate. If you are thinking more locally, then an FMRS radio or a CB walkie-talkie may be right for you. These generally have a range of ½ to 5 miles depending on their power output and local terrain. They are inexpensive, do not always require an FCC license and you can have one for each family member. You could choose to power them with rechargeable batteries and but a small solar battery charger to ensure you could always stay in touch with friends or family.
For longer range communication, you may want to look into amateur (Ham) radio. There are more expensive, require a large antenna for distance (and that antenna signals people that you have something they may want in your house) and require an FCC license. But remember that in a major national or world disaster, randomly broadcasting your location may bring in types of people you do not want around your neighborhood and family.
This is a very brief overview of a large topic. I hope it starts you thinking and planning for your safety and survival.
Until next time.