Communication Checklist

Doomsday has happened. You have food, water, clothing and your family is safe. Now, you want to know what is going on and what you should do to prepare for whatever is coming.

This is where radio comes in. You can stock batteries if you like. They will help for short- term but when cellular networks cease to function and the news anchors no longer show up for work, there is a relatively robust method of communication that will very likely be the reliable standby fallback. Radio. Not just any radio, but amateur radio or ham radio.

At a minimum, in localized disasters, you can rely on radio for emergency instructions, weather alerts and traffic reports. In extreme situations, you can rely on your radio to get in contact with other like-minded individuals or groups to coordinate for safety or other group action.

Consider communication at three different levels.

Group Communication

This would be for coordination with your group. You might justify battery storage or even getting a solar charging kit for this. For short term disasters, having a solution for intra-group communication when out of direct sight but still close by could be invaluable.


This is the most critical application and fortunately, it is the area that is most addressed by available products. There are a large number of crank/solar chargable radios available on the market that support AM/FM, weather, emergency alert, long-wave and short-wave bands. The more bands supported, the more robust the radio, the more expensive, but this is an area you might appreciate having money outlay.

Ham Radio

This is a radio at a different level. Assuming the worst types of doomsday scenarios, it is likely and even possible that the only communication mechanisms that function will be amateur radio. If you want to pursue this route, you have some work to do. Obtain a copy of the ARRL Ham License Manual [link:] and start doing your homework. If you put the effort in, you’ll be well prepared and have a skillset that will be in demand at a time when most other skillsets will seem silly.