Types Of Non-Cellular or Non-Web Radios and Phones
In a natural disaster, civil unrest, or other public emergency, being able to communicate up to 5 miles or more is very important.
When there isn’t a working cellphone system or the internet is unavailable, it can wreak havoc. People that take their phone everywhere, or rely on it for all forms of contact with other people will be at a serious disadvantage. Sadly, as we have seen already in some disasters, these individuals can and will mentally shut down or be unable to function at all.
While many people today take their cell phones and internet access for granted, there are other effective ways to communicate in an emergency. Here are some older ways of communication that you should learn how to use.
Many people today think of radios only in terms of their capacity to receive signals. While this is important for obtaining timely information in a crisis, there are other radios that you can use to transmit information to others that have a compatible receiver.
In a major crisis, there may be times when you will not be able to transmit information using voice and words. Instead, you may have to tap out sounds, or use a series of light flashes to communicate important information. Here are two code systems that will be well worth learning. They can be used with anything from drums to flashlights and mirrors as well as for communication over electronic networks.
Was invented by an American Samuel F.B. Morse, and first used in 1844. It is a relatively simple code that turns letters, numbers, and punctuation into a series of dots, dashes, and spaces.
The most important advantage of Morse Code is it’s ability to be used in almost any circumstance. It works as long as it’s possible to make a signal of some sort. Morse Code is usually transmitted by on-off keying of an information carrying medium such as electric current, radio waves, visible light, sound waves, and signal flags.
Morse Code was used extensively from the Civil War through Vietnam, and was also the standard format for ocean communications until the Global Maritime Distress Safety System replaced it in 1999. Most people will tell you that Morse Code is obsolete, and no longer worth learning. As a prepper, however, you may appreciate the following advantages:
This code was originally used as a way for prisoners of war, penal incaceration, and others to communicate with each other without individuals outside group knowing what is being said. It’s a short range communications system that only travels the length of the medium being sent on.
5 x 5 Tap Code is similar to Morse code in the sense that alphanumetric characters must be translated into a system of taps. The sounds can be made by tapping on anything available such as pipe, metal bars, the walls of a room or cell, or any object that can transmit the tapping. It can also be used with a Morse Code on-off sending key.
The code itself uses a square to make a 5×5 grid of letters in the English alphabet. Since the alphabet has 26 letters, C and K are both located in the top row third column spot to avoid an uneven grid.
In order to interpret the message, a listener must be able to gage the timing of the taps.
To use this system each letter is identified by tapping two numbers.
As an example, to specify the letter “O” tap three times, very short pause, then tap four times, and a little longer pause.
H E L P
2,3 1,5 3,1 3,5
.. … . ….. … . … …..
Aside from instantaneous transmissions, there are also other methods that will take more time. Most of these rely on the use of animals. These methods can be used during or after an EMP as well as other situations where no electricity or electronic transmissions are possible.
These pigeons have been used for centuries to carry messages back to their home cages. Pigeons are good at remembering where they live and figuring out how to get back home even if they are transported a great distance away.
To use homing pigeons, your transmission point will be to a pre-set location that the pigeon has been trained to return to. When you need to send messages, just place the message in the pigeon’s message case and strap it to the pigeon’s leg, then let the pigeon go.
Homing pigeons will go straight back to their cage location. They will not make side trips or divert from the course that will get them home. Surprisingly, a homing pigeon can travel faster than a car over short distances. Unless people are looking for homing pigeons or notice the message case, it is not likely the bird will be intercepted.
Despite their advantages, there are some limitations to using a homing pigeon. First, they can get lost. Predators can also capture and kill them. You may need to send multiple birds with the same message, especially if they are going through a dangerous area.
Today, just about everyone takes text messaging and emails for granted. In a major emergency, you may have to go back to paper letters. Even the post office or other mail carriers may have to rely on animals such as horses and mules to carry mail from one location to another.
Where we use trucks, trains, and planes to carry mail at varying speeds, this type of system might use relays of horses and couriers for express mail. Other mail and packages might be placed on freight wagons and then dispatched to local carriers.
Before the arrival of cell phones and the internet, people were able to communicate with varying levels of speed and efficiency. In time of need, we can use these older systems to transmit and receive vital information. The important thing is to remember how these systems work, how to set them up, and how to use them.
Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones.
Fred refers to himself as a “Southern gentleman” – the last of a dying way. He believes a man’s word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years.
You can send Fred a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.
CB is covered under Part 95 of the FCC rules. A CB radio does not require a license to operate. … For the most part, you can operate a CB radio on all 40 channels and frequencies designated by the FCC for CB, but there are some caveats. First, you can use CB only on those 40 channels and frequencies.
1. Smoke signals
3. Yelling really loud.
5. Two cans attached by a string
6. Horns or Trumpets
7. Large painted signs
8. Fed. Ex.
9. Sky writing
10. Talking to each other face to face
So, you may want to include in your non-emp proof supplies, all of the parts needed to make a chrystal radio, a spool of wire for the antennae and the D cell batteries to power it. You also will want the printed instructions for building it.
Chrystal radios do not use or need batteries. The energy they use comes from the radio station itself. Of course amplifiers that do use batteries or other sources of energy can be added to increase range.
Ctystal radios are receive only – do not transmit – therefore the energy comes from the transmiier and your antenna picks it up– HOW COOL !
You can buy them in kit form online – pretty cool science experimentt for kids of all ages.
Interesting Article, Fred. I Did enjoy reading it – brought back some fond memories.
communicate? with whom?
When an EMP hits, what happens to the antennae that are used to put out the signal coming from the radios?
you will need a new antenna,
If there is a postal service, write a letter or postcard. Write a message on a piece of paper and leave it in a dead drop. Use stones, sticks, branches, or blaze to mark a trail. IEDs are commonly marked with a can, piece of cloth, stones, and so forth. Paint. Chalk mark. Whistle or bell. Three gunshots or whistle blasts. Hand signals. Blinking lights. Blind people use braille. Light or shade pattern in a window. Razor wire means, “keep out!”. Symbols like Christian Cross for church, the crescent moon for Islam and mosque, and 6=pointed star for Jewish Synagogue. In the outdoors, use a string and a can with rocks to announce visitors. Following a disaster, there are standard marks to indicate that a building has been checked.
I wanted to point out that CB Radio does NOT require a license since around 1980, and are limited to 4 watts output power. This means their normal maximum range is just around 5 miles,. Occasionally, the atmospheric conditions will be such that you can talk on what is called “skip”, (because your signal skips, or bounces between the sky and earth) which can increase your range to a few hundred miles,or more! It is illegal to talk further than a few miles on CB, but people still do it, usually with illegal amplifiers and giant antennas.
I started using CB radios back in the mid-70’s, during its heyday. I went to trade school for electronics in 1976, and every student had at least one CB. We challenged each other to see who could get the longest range out of their setup, without breaking the rules (such as using an illegal high-powered transmitter). Hams (Amateur Radio Operators) do the same thing with just ONE watt of power. Using Morse Code instead of voice, it’s possible to communicate over thousands of miles.
True, a CB transceiver (transmitter and receiver combined into a single unit) is limited to “4 watts as measured at the antenna connector on the back of the radio.” However, the range is determined by several factors: terrain (line of sight), weather (clouds), quality of device connections, and especially the antenna (design, height, and connection cable length). A “mobile” antenna (mounted on an automobile) is sized more for convenience than efficiency. A handheld transceiver is even more limited because of its compact antenna. The maximum range can be achieved with a large “beam” antenna mounted on a high tower. This type of antenna is more directional, so it is advantageous to use a rotor to turn the antenna to the desired direction. Best case scenario is upwards of 25 miles, although I’m able to converse with another optimized base (home transceiver) 40 miles away.
Also, an SSB (Single Side Band) transceiver has a power output of 12 watts. Considerably more than the 4 watts of a standard CB. However, it can only communicate with other SSB transceivers in SSB mode.
Types Of Non-Cellular or Non-Web Radios and Phones
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