It did not take the advent of the BAOs (the ultra affordable Baofeng UV-5Rs) for survivalists and prepper to consider communications. in the US there are many means (free to use bands) available anyway.
But the Chinese radios being so cheap, tempted more and more people to drop on in to their BugOut Bags with no training and practice for that matter.
And when asked for the purpose of a handheld radio one would give one of the following answers.
– I want to connect with other survivalists.
– I want to listen to the services and keep me informed.
– So that I can ask for help in the HAM band.
To these there is a hard realistic answer that dispels of the myth.
– And where are you to find fellow survivalists and at which frequencies? Even if there were some close by, they may be exercising security practices and not answering.
– How can you trust whatever you hear? You need to know if the source is reliable. Let alone that more and more public services are going into digital a common radio cannot listen to.
– And who exactly is going to trust a stranger to forward his distress message, especially coming from one that he should not be broadcasting in these frequencies in the first time. Do not get what I am saying the wrong way, you have to look at the situation from his end.
But those objections hard as they maybe be can be set aside by building your own Network of contacts Beforehand!
Such netwoks can happen in two ways.
First by contacting fellow survivalists in your area and getting to know them well. Or even by making your own group.
This way one can have a common calling frequency, common practices and maybe a communications plan as good as you worked for.
Secondly by joining a Radio Amateur (HAM) radio club. A club is a meeting place for Skilled individuals that are generally willing to help newcomers with their training and practice. they are also an immense pool of knowledge and people that are serious and work with time tested methods and communication practices.
You will also find that survivalism and prepping are not that far from what the EmComm HAMs do, especially regarding gear. Emergency Communications is basically working your radios and contacting people in austere field conditions. And you can right away pick their setup fr your own use.
But more than this, the two people networks I have mentioned share a common characteristic.
You get to know people the people and judge them for their capability and responsibility.