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Thursday 6 February 2020

Radio comms in times of emergency and disaster

Being a licensed Amateur and being in the radio hobby itself for a number of years, I have found it to be practical to keep a radio setup active to some degree, whether that be keeping HTs charged up or keeping an active CB station at home and in the car.

I bring this up in light of the scaremongering and fear that is going on because of the recent coronavirus outbreak from China, and the vast majority of people these days use mobile phones and there will probably come a point when the misinformation could lead to a mass panic and bring the mobile phone networks crashing down.

The alternative for the general public has always been CB radio, it's a one-off cost for radio and antenna and all connections, no licence or training is needed and will run off as little as a 12 volt battery, so even if the power goes out you're still in touch with the outside world.

Those of us in the Amateur radio community however have organisations like Raynet in the UK or similar in other countries where we can assist in times of emergency, having done this in the UK since the 1953 North Sea floods.  Where the emergency services radio systems may fail, ours will still continue to work and quicky deployed and put on air to help the emergency services, part of the UK Amateur radio licence terms allows us to pass messages on behalf of emergency services.

So my recommendation to those not licensed is to pick up a CB radio, there's plenty out there and the investment is worth it so when the mobile phone networks stop working due to overload in an emergency or disaster then you will still be in touch with everyone else.

I planned to do a YouTube video on this subject today however my XYL sent me out to the shops despite the current situation of her not living here so it never got filmed, I plan to film it now on Saturday because I work day shift tomorrow.

I don't recommend PMR446 or similar services because they are limited to 500mW and an exceptionally inefficient fixed antenna in a handheld radio and also given the radio spectrum they use the signal doesn't travel far in a built up area.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

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