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Get Prepped Newsletter: March 23, 2012

Get Prepped is Ready Nutrition’s weekly newsletter that helps you get ready for life’s unexpected emergencies. This week, the subject of emergency communication devices is discussed.



Hello Everyone,

With 14 weeks left in this series, it is my hope that you have built a solid preparedness foundation and feel confident enough that you will thrive with your supplies. Over the last 38 weeks, we started creating a short-term supply and then moved into longer-term preparations. For the next 14 weeks, we will begin discussing ways to change our lifestyle into a more self-reliant one.

That being said, one of my largest concerns with a long-term emergency is if it is severe enough, the generators will run out and we will be left in the dark – no lights, no news, no communication. In our 38th week of this series,we will be discussing the crucial component of emergency communication. We’ll discuss some important SHTF communication devices, as well as some of the more popular brands of these items. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have emergency communication devices to not only help you learn what is going on around you, but to help you connect and communicate with others. This is why having a preparedness community is so important!

Speaking of having a community, we would love to hear your preparedness stories at Ready Nutrition. It only takes 60 seconds to make a difference and help our community become more resourceful and ultimately, more prepared. So, get those stories together – we can’t wait to hear from you!

We want to help get you and your family on the right track to preparedness. Using a food storage calculator, like the one at Ready Nutrition, can help you learn how much food you need stored for an emergency. Moreover, help out a friend and send the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series.

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I love to interact with the preparedness community, because after all, we are all in this together!

Best Wishes,

Tess Pennington

Be the change you wish to see in the world.




Week 38 of 52: Emergency Communication

Consider, for a moment, how drastically your life would change without the continuous flow of energy the grid delivers. With the increase of natural and man-made disasters paired with an aging infrastructure, experts from the private and public sector warn that we are just one major catastrophic event away from an incident that could take down the grid….causing a complete meltdown of life in America as we know it today.

According to James Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, most radio and TV stations have enough fuel to run their backup generators for only a few days. Ditto for the telephone company central offices (COs).  If that is the case, then what will happen when those generators run out of power? As he points out, “there will be an acute information vacuum.”

The best way to to prepare for this serious situation is to equip yourself with the knowledge and with the tools for communication. Communication in a grid down scenario is going to be vital in order to listen to events unfolding around you, talk with loved ones, and protect and keep order in your community or surrounding area. Because many of us are not familiar with the vast array of emergency communication devices, the following list is recommended in How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, (p.193-198) as well as a brief description of how they operate:

 Shortwave Receiver

Shortwave radio is a type of long-range radio transmission that bounces signals off a layer of the atmosphere (the ionosphere) to be received in another part of the world. Unlike AM and FM radio, shortwave radio frequencies can bounce off of the ionosphere and be heard many thousands of miles away.

Rawles suggests that your receiver be a compact, portable general coverage AM/FM/weather band/CB/shortwave receiver.

Popular brands are Grundig, Sangean, Eton, Kaito, Sony


A transceiver or transmitter/receiver is a device that combines transmission and reception capability on shared circuitry. In regions where digital coverage is spotty, a transceiver may be equipped for analog to ensure that there will be no loss of signal. Transceivers can handle analog or digital signals, and in some cases, both.

Ham radio transceivers, for example can broadcast and receive transmissions for over 50 miles, and some can let you talk with people from the other side of the planet. Conversations on a ham radio are not secure or private, so ensure that you do not broadcast any personal information over the airwaves.

The top brands include MURS (Multi Use Radio Service), Yaesu VX-3R VHF/UHF, Handheld VHF 2 Meter Amateur Radio Tranceiver 5watt, TYT TH-F5 

CB Radio

CB radio or Citizens’ band (CB) radio is a communication device that allows people to talk to each other using a radio frequency. The CB radio user has 40 channels to choose from and uses an 11 meter band or 27 MHz. CB radio was originally intended for use by government divisions such as the military, and in the 1960s, it was mainly used by taxi firms and tradesmen.

Top brands include an Cobra 148GTL, Midland 1001Z, Cobra 75 WX ST

Field Telephones

Field telephones are mobile telephones designed for military use, and have the capability to withstand wartime conditions. They can draw power from their own battery, from a telephone exchange (via a central battery known as CB), or from an external power source. There are some that are sound-powered telephones, and do not require a battery. James Wesley Rawles believes that having reliable field telephones is essential to coordinate retreat security in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

For semi-permanent installation, ensure that you buy cable that is rated for underground burial (UB), to conceal and protect all of your lines. Burying your lines will also prevent both intentional and unintentional lines cuts and breaks. He goes on to further suggest buying extra field phones, so that you can run communication wire to your neighbors and coordinate with them as well. To purchase field telephones, look on eBay, at Army surplus stores, or emergency supply stores.

Top brands are TA-1042 DNVT, TA 838, TA-312

Table Radio

Essentially table radios are contained radio receivers and can mostly be found on eBay. Many can run on battery power, thus making them useful as emergency radios. Because some table radios still use the vacuum-tube technology, they are virtually EMP proof. Rawles suggests finding a radio with shortwave bands, such as a Zenith TransOceanic H500 and to purchase a redundant comm gear (headsets, antennas, etc).

Top suggested brands include: Zenith TransOceanic H500, Drake R8B

To learn more about how having emergency communication devices is vital in a post-emergency situation at Ready Nutrition, click here.

During emergencies, our total dependence on communications becomes all too clear. If the emergency is severe enough, the communication could be limited, if not non-existent for an extended amount of time. We have all read enough survival books to know that the “comm down” scenario is a very real threat, and happens more often than not. So, when we are on our own, will you have your own communication devices set up to communicate with others or will you take a gamble and stay in the dark?

  Preps to Buy:

  • Short wave radio that is compact, portable, general coverage AM/FM/weather band/CB/shortwave receiver
  • Transceivers  such as a Ham Radio and MURS walkie talkies
  • CB radio with SSB capability
  • Field telephones with extra communication wire
  • Table radio with shortwave bands
  • Extra communication gear (i.e., headsets, antennas, etc.)
  • Extra batteries

Action Items:

  1.  Read the full instructions on your emergency communication device.
  2. Determine whether you need licensing to operate your emergency communication device.
  3. Learn alternative emergency communication sources, such as Morse code.
  4. Practice using your emergency communication device regularly in order to feel comfortable using it.


In the Home:

This week has flown by so fast for me. I took a break from Spring cleaning and concentrated on working on Ready Nutrition more. Boy, do I have some surprises in store for you guys. But, you’ll have to wait until I’m ready to reveal them. Trust me, there going to be amazing.

Family Preps:

We found a monocular that we liked. Thanks to all of you who sent in recommendations! We finally went with a Brunton Echo Zoom 10-30x21mm Monocular for about $30. It’s so small that it literally fits in the palm of my hand! It can zoom to 30X, considering most binoculars are 10X or 12X you get a lot of bang for your buck. We are really happy with our purchase. I’ve already got it packed in my bug out bag.

 In the Garden:

The storm that blew through Houston earlier this week did some damage to my little salsa garden that I planted. Some of the tomato plants couldn’t take the harsh wind and rain. But, most of them made it through unscathed.


Fresh Farm Cheese in 4 Easy Steps

Prepping to Survive: The Nautical Series Pt. 6: When the SHTF – Gardening Afloat


166 years later, Morse Code is still used today – mainly by ham radio operators. It can also be useful for emergency communications. The advantage or Morse code to a radio ham is that a weak Morse signal will cut through the static more easily than any other signal. Radio hams can use Morse to bounce weak signals off the moon, with other hams receiving the tiny signal reflected from the moon’s surface.




Do you have a preparedness question? One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses comfort items:

Hello Tess,

My family and I are new to prepping and I heard that comfort items were important to have in an emergency. I have two kids whose ages are 6 and 10. Can you list some comfort suggestions for these age groups?


Sharon B.


Hi Sharon,

Comfort items are great to have on hand because they provide a bit of normalcy in a chaotic situation. Not only does it provide some comfort to the kids, but it keeps their mind on something other than being in an emergency. This also provides some sanity for the parents as well. Find a few items that provide an activity that the whole family can do together. This is a great way of spending some precious family time together. Don’t neglect to stock up on some comfort items for you and your husband as well. You guys may also want to get your mind off being in the middle of an emergency! Here are some suggested items:

  • Have some comfort food items such as popcorn, sweet cereals, hard candy, juice boxes, pickles, applesauce, pudding, cookies.
  • Books
  • Coloring books with crayons or markers
  • Small toys
  • Board games
  • Playing cards
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Puzzles

I hope this helps! Thanks for your great question.

Best Wishes,


Tess Pennington

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on March 23rd, 2012

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