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Urban Survival Tip 4-Communication:

“John has a long mustache”- Red Dawn

Local, Long, and Listen Only are your three basic most basic forms of survival communication, and are easier to use if you consider them as “communication” (the clear concise conveyance of information).  “secure communication”  is hidden or coded.

Local communication ranges from face to face with family or neighborhood groups; out to CB radio range (citizen band radio is less common today). Here are some examples that you can use:

Regular meeting- face to face

Hand signal- predetermined or evident signals, like pointing at your eyes, pointing at a house and holding up 4 fingers (I see 4 people in that house). This is useful when you are too far or can’t talk to the recipient of your information.

Letter- no, not usually in the mail, if things are really bad in your area the postman will probably take the day off.  A letter can be posted in a pre-arranged spot, or even hidden in a pre-arranged spot.

Static signal-  A pre-determined or self-evident signal placed in a location like an arrow made of rocks to indicate a direction, or a letter spray painted on a telephone to indicate that you are at an alternate location (U0330 on the mailbox means meet me at the bridge at 5 am in the next 3 days posted on March 30th).  This differs from a letter in that the recipient doesn’t have to be at the signal point and any bad guy who sees it doesn’t know what it is.

Walkie Talkie- They take up little space, channels help with security, and they are often capable of working with a wide variety of other walkie talkies.

CB radios- Much better range than a walkie talkie, but usually do not communicate with them.  Good for “station to Station”.

                Long Range Communication: This rangesfrom CB to satellite phone and text.

CB radio- this starts pushing into the range of long range com.  When used normally you can get 1-2 miles, if used with a large fixed antenna you can reach 20-25 miles, and in certain weather conditions even farther.

HAM radio- has the ability to both send and receive long range communication. (you need a liscence to be able to send- as HAM is a bit complicated you may want to study it separately or KISS (keep it simple stupid)

AM radio- you can build a send and receive AM radio with a simple electronics kit.  An am radio can transmit vast distances and is a pretty simple piece of gear. This is illegal, But that’s just a guideline really.

Cell Phone- No kidding you probably have one.  Cell phone networks are pretty durable, but during emergencies the networks can get overloaded and you may not get through (hurricane Katrina).  Sometimes when this happens you can try text messaging as it doesn’t take up as much network space they tend to go through when voice doesn’t.  If you have a cell phone with signal but its locked or unpaid you can usually use it to call 911 anyhow- but that’s all.

Internet- That’s right, if it’s still up use it for any of your familiar forms of communicating like e-mail, face book, messenger, twitter, even make your “look I’m eating a cat” tik-tok.

Sat phone- kinda the top of long range communications because you could be on Everest and still call another sat phone, a cell phone, a land line, or in some cases a twitter (has to be a sat linked laptop)

                Listen only communication– Just like it sounds listen only is a type of com you can only listen to (or watch)

TV- not 90 day fiancé, the news

FM radio- frequency modulated radio, like in your car.  This type of radio is most often used as a medium for music and in stereo.  It is frequency modulated and as a result is very high frequency.  An issue with it is that it is a “line or sight” frequency and although it transmits far, it doesn’t transmit that far.  You may notice this when listening to your favorite rock radio station in Chicago you lose it before you get out of the county.  To put it simply, you drove over the horizon and the signal just shoots into space.

AM radio- also in your car.  AM radio is amplitude modulated, and because of this it gets more static, is interrupted more easily by electronic interference, and travels MUCH farther.  AM is used mainly for talk radio, sports, religion, and easy listening as these are less dependent on clarity and stereo.  An example is that you’re in the Artic and you get nothing on the FM band, but you can listen to  KJNP (King Jesus North Pole) all day long (nearly 300 miles away).  AM radio is a lower frequency it can bounce of the ground and sky (keeping it simple) for a very long ways.  You can increase your range by making a wire antenna (just connect to your radio) that takes advantage of the length of the “waves”.  If you’re interested in how let me know and I’ll add it in the comments.


I feel that I should put this in here too.  Practice good communication hygiene. 

Understand your source and verify and reference your source when possible.  Unfortunately this can be hard.  Is CNN telling us a fact? If it’s wrong will they tell us later or will it end up as a tiny byline next week?  Do I have to check everything the President says in addition to everything that people say he said (yes).  Should I believe that letter from the nurse in Kentucky who says that he has to use a bandanna for a mask while intubating two young men because he has no PPE, and then they both crashed and died spilling green foam from their chests?  Yes. Yes you should.  At least don’t forward that crap unless you can at least cite YOUR source.  You use false communication to spread panic in the enemy ranks, not your own. To put it succinctly, in my old job we didn’t say “is” because we all know what “IS” is.  We would say “it appears to be”, “he implied” or “she stated”.  Keep it clear, concise and correct. It was on the radio that the British have now cured the first two AIDs patients. (see how that works)

When you send out information make it concise, clear, and correct.  “This drug will cure it, or not” isn’t clear, but it’s concise.  “He said this drug will cure it” is clear and concise but not correct.  Remember that partially true is not.  Clean that comm like you should your hands- “he said maybe the drug will cure it”.

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