EMP attack is often considered the most rigorous of survivalist situations, due to the likely complete loss of electrical grid, many vehicles, and many transistorized/computerized products. Our group worked to provide post-EMP communications that would allow effective communications post-event. We had two major requirements:
- Short Range Communications. Two, separate, defense-hardened homes that were approximately 30 miles apart had to be able to communicate across a medium-sized city, and
- Long Range Communications. Both homes had to be able to receive news from in-state and out-of-state sources. These were considered necessary to receive adequate advance warning of defense issues, such as advancing bandits or armies.
This article describes how we accomplished these goals.
Three of our group possessed or obtained Ham radio licenses of varying levels. Passing the Technician license requires only a few hours of study, allowing voice communications in the VHF bands and limited communications in the high frequency (HF) bands. While long-range (>500 miles) communications can usually be easily accomplished by Ham radio communications in the high frequency bands capable of “skip” communication, survival of that equipment through an EMP attack had to be assured. Cross-city communications initially proved to be more difficult, because of the rolling terrain over the 30 miles between the homes. In fact, using hand-held VHF transceivers, we found it impossible even to achieve direct communications across a 6-mile range that included 200-foot hills.
We assumed that it is unlikely that established VHF repeaters will remain functional after one or more EMP attacks. Therefore, direct radio communications had to be achieved. While we could conceivably place our own repeaters, they would likely be destroyed by subsequent attacks. Thus, everyday 2-meter Ham radio contact via repeater stations does not solve either of our goals. High frequency (HF) communications became the ticket to success.
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