What really is the best radio for when everything fails?

In Chapter 3, Part 3, I try to answer this question in detail. I would like to expound on this scenario. I have seen so many websites and web pages stating that all you need is a Baofeng UV-5R or equivalent hand held transceiver and you will need no other. I vehemently object to this statement. I will quote from my book The Thinking Prepper: "The Baofeng and similar radios are VHF/UHF portables that have a range of about three miles maximum on a good day. They are minimally satisfactory for close in communications like keeping in touch with your family or reaching out to a neighbor, or for close in security of your perimeter."

You will have a dangerous false sense of security depending on this radio for a real disaster.

Let's say you have a complete failure of power in your home. Nothing electrical works. You grab your radio and try to contact a neighbor with no luck. What do you do? Shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh well. Someone must have hit a power pole and power should come on in a few hours or so". Then you head out to the riding mower and complete mowing your large lawn not knowing you are using precious gasoline that could have been used for your generator.

At dusk you finish and head back to the house just to find it eerily dark, none of the family has come home from work or back from visiting their friends. You stumble into the house and it's dark and quiet. You find a flashlight and make your way to the refrigerator for a glass of ice cold juice. You find the refrigerator is strangely quiet and things don't smell right. The ice cubes seem soft and wet. You try and gather a few ice cubes and pour a glass of juice.

As it gets darker you start to worry that all is not well. You try your little hand held radio again and still no one answers. There's a battery radio in the garage and you stumble out to get it and turn it on. Scanning the dial you hear nothing but noise. Nothing on the FM band and a very weak unintelligible voice on the AM band. Nothing more.

You start to worry a little more. Looking outside you see no other cars or people in your cul-de-sac. Street lights never come on. No noise of any kind. Not even the faint hum of a plane flying over. You tried to start the car but it was dead. Now what?

You remember what all the websites and books say that all you needed was a hand held radio if a disaster strikes. But something's wrong.

Let's stop here and evaluate what the scenario has provided so far: You don't know what happened. You don't know how widespread the power failure reaches. Your radios didn't do the job in letting you know what has happened. Neighbors don't seem to be home. Your wife was working and out visiting friends across town. The kids were off in their car, who-knows-where with friends that afternoon. Again, your communications system failed to give you any information. It's now time to panic! You fumble around looking for something to write on and try and gather your thoughts and what to do next.

If you had a copy of the book The Thinking Prepper you could have been much more prepared and able to determine just what has happened and what you should do next. Again, your little hand held radio let you down. "But everyone said that's the only radio you need should a disaster strike", he remembered.

In The Thinking Prepper book, information of the importance of long range communications like a shortwave radio to at least listen in on what is going on around the nation with the power grid. If you would have taken the advise of the book and obtained a ham radio license, learned Morse code for your little world wide transceiver, or at least a QRP SSB transceiver, and made contact with someone across the country or even on the other side of the earth, you would have a head start preparing for the worst instead of just waiting for the power to come on which may never come back.

Chapter 3 covers just about every question you could have in setting up a good communications system so you can be well prepared to send and receive vital information around the country.

If you were a Thinking Prepper, when the power first went off you'd run into the house, made your way to your study where your ham station is and with the emergency power system described in Chapter 5, Part10, got on the air and made a request for any vital information as to what's going on. Another ham comes right back to you from an adjoining state and said he too was without power and he also got information relayed to him that the whole northeastern part of the country was in a blackout because of a massive grid down software problem and it was estimated that power would slowly come up in a few days.

Coincidentally one of your kids left the car door ajar and ran the battery down. That's why it didn't start. Your kids and wife were across town and the traffic congestion kept them away. Your neighbor was out of town for the weekend so no help there. Because of the widespread outage, most planes were diverted hundreds of miles away. As I stated in the book, most if not all radio stations don't have emergency power to keep the transmitters and studios on the air.

So. Your family finally showed up am 1AM and later the next day the power came back on and it seemed all was close to normal again. You dodged a big bullet. But did you learn anything from this lesson? No?

What if an EMP was detonated in the atmosphere instead of the temporary grid outage? The grid went down hard. Distant explosions were heard towards town. You weren't able to walk to town because of the distance and no vehicles were anywhere in sight. The only ones you saw were stopped in the middle of the street and no one was around. You haven't seen your family in a week. Your meager food supply in the pantry was almost gone. You wasted all your gasoline finishing up a lawn that probably will never be mowed again, so no power for that generator you were saving in an emergency. Your freezer thawed and you broiled what meat was not spoiled on the charcoal grill out back. Your deep well had stopped pumping water so you had to drain the hot water heater for drinkable water.

....to be continued.