Radio is the answer to one of the issues for a community staying aware of happenings in your local area in case of a disaster that includes a grid failure.
I wrote an article for Redoubt News about a project I have initiated that is quite promising, but time will tell if it will do what we hope it will accomplish: allow reliable local communications in an emergency – not for the government and law enforcement (they already have their emergency networks set up), but for the average joe prepper who wants to know what is going on locally from sources other than official ones, and is not technically oriented enough to get an advanced license nor able to shell out the cash for a full bore amateur radio setup. News from afar can be had via all band radio receivers, of which plenty are available at low prices, but local news – within a few hundred miles for example, can be very hard to acquire. Of course many amateur radio operators are also interested in the project because it is a new way to use the radio bands to communicate, and is “QRP” or low power.
Of course – almost went without saying – potential users also want to interact – two way communications – something you can’t get our of a all band receiver. Two-way communications allows for a way to offer or call for help, for barter, and just for the ability to talk with another person or to share warmings.
Anyway, being a long-time prepper, I decided that a solution was needed. What the various prepper groups have settled on as a solution IMHO is a bad choice. But fully understandable, considering that there IS no other choice at the moment, unless you are willing to spend lots of money and “get technical.” Both of those requirements lose most people.
The initial effort of course will require some amount of technical skill – hopefully learned during the project. Thus, a willingness to learn some technical skills is required. If the project succeeds, then we will build units for sale that will not require technical expertise to operate. The hard goal is under $100, the soft goal is $50. And a simple graphics user interface…
The interesting thing about this article is that it has aroused interest from many different locations around the country. I guess we hit a nerve. So, we are opening up the project to “out of town-ers” who can’t come to meetings, and can’t come to the lab to get help getting their prototype up and running, if they run into trouble. We of course will try to help via email, but sometimes being there is the only solution.
Check out the article! If you want to get involved, let me know in the comments below.