The bottom line is that during and after a hurricane (or zombie apocalypse) when communications are down, it is critical to stay “in the know” about where stuff is available like gasoline, food, and water. Additionally, you may want to check in with loved-ones, especially the elderly, to make sure they are okay.
Immediately after Hurricane Irma, I had to caravan back to Naples, Florida from Delray Beach, FL with my mom to make sure her house was okay. For the first time since the early 90s, I remembered what it was like before working cell phones. Cell towers were down all across Alligator Alley, so I drove for nearly two hours straight with absolutely no service. When we got there, I learned that only one gas station was pumping in all of Naples, but without GPS, I had no idea where this gas station even was.
The whole experience shook me a little. I didn’t like the feeling of relying on information word-of-mouth or being unable to communicate with my wife (who stayed behind in Delray).
As a quick disclaimer, I will state that I am not an electronics expert and comments from those with expertise in this area are truly welcome in the comment section below.
HappyWrench is a website about motorcycle repair. That said, the perfect hurricane motorcycle would obviously be equipped with a power inverter, allowing the powering of a variety of electronic devices – and one of those electronic devices absolutely needs to be a piece of communications equipment. The below information is based on some cursory research around the web.
The primary value in this post is drawing your attention to the need for communications equipment as part of your post disaster machine.
After reading about a dozen websites, it has become clear to me that the Amateur or “Ham” radio is the communications equipment of choice for the post-disaster vagabond. They are a good way to get information (news) and obviously, if everyone in your family has one, they are a great way to communicate over longer distances (theoretically, around the world if repeaters are working). They have historically been used during emergency situations, but do require training and a license to operate (including passing a short test). You can typically take a night class at your local community college and get licensed (been looking into it for myself and my wife).
A CB radio, which apparently no longer requires a license in most countries (please confirm yourself), is probably your second best choice after a “Ham” radio. It has the capability to communicate over medium distances depending on line-of-sight. So-called, “Survival Radios,” which include the remaining unlicensed frequencies are really only good for very short distances.
Finally, satellite phones are expensive and do not deliver critical news like safe spots, etc. (only really good for calling other satellite phones).
Therefore, my recommendation and what I will be looking into further are the “Ham” or CB radios as the communications equipment on my hurricane motorcycle.
If you missed the first three parts of my series of the perfect hurricane motorcycle, you can get to them here.
Come back for more related posts in the weeks to come. Also, please forgive any typos, I wrote a good portion of this post from my phone.
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