Mobile Radios

Mobile Radios

Mobile Radios have a distinct advantage over fixed base radios in that they are smaller (easier to conceal), they have almost the same features and options as fixed base radios, and they can be used as fixed base radios simply by connecting them to readily available 12 volt power supplies. Mobile radios and even fixed base radios can readily be used for portable operations.

Mobile radios will generally operate in the VHF/UHV1 range and are best for localized operations. Depending on the gain of the antenna used in mobile operations the area of coverage for mobile radios can be anywhere from 1 to 5 miles. Should a survivalist incorporate HF or High Frequency radio in their communications gear then they can expect to dramatically expand their area of coverage.

Of particular interest to those who want a comprehensive communications system is the fact that quite a few amateur (ham) radios incorporate HF & VHF. For instance, the Icom model IC-746PRO covers the amateur bands between 1.8 and 29.7 megahertz. Along with these frequencies theIcom IC746PRO HF/VHF/UHF IC-746PRO has a general coverage receiver which encompasses the frequencies between 0.030 and 60 megahertz. An additional receive only band of 108 to 174 megahertz also comes standard in the IC-746PRO. One more attractive feature of the IC-746PRO is that in contains an onboard antenna tuner. An antenna tuner’s function is to insure the antenna connected to the IC-746PRO is matched (tuned) to its optimum. Antenna tuners protect the transmitter of radios as well as improve the received signals. Even though the IC-746PRO is considered to be a fixed base radio, it is well suited for mobile and/or portable operation.

Portable Operations

We touched briefly on using mobile radios and base station radios in portable operations. One might wonder about the differences between that of mobile radios and portable radios. The radios themselves are no different when it comes to portable operations. It is the surroundings that differentiate between fixed base, mobile, and portable operations. Portable operations generally use a large and/or more permanent antenna system than a mobile radio would require. Portable operations generally are running on either generator or solar energy as the power source for the communications equipment. The antennas used in portable operation tend to be either verticals stuck on a pole or a series of tuned wire antennas strung between structures such as trees.

No matter what radio gear a survivalist chooses they need to consider the probability that they will be using mobile or portable radio setups at one time or another.


1VHF/UHF indicates the radio equipment operates in the VHF, Very High Frequency, or UHF, Ultra High Frequency, ranges.

Fixed Base Radios

Fixed Base Radios

Fixed base radios and their usefulness to the survivalist will be the topic covered on this page. Many times communications between like-minded survivalists, or survivalist camps, are needed and this is where fixed base radios come into play. The term “fixed base” is a bit of a misnomer when referring to modern day 2-way and shortwave communications equipment. The vast majority of so-called base station radios run off of 12 volt power supplies making them very adaptable for mobile or portable use.

Best Type Of Fixed Base Equipment

As with other issues this depends upon what is expected of the equipment. A suggestion for those contemplating fixed base radio systems is to purchase radio gear that can be readily pressed into service as a mobile radio or for portable use. That being the case you will want to look at some of the major amateur radio manufacturers (Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu) for radios that run on 12 volts. Why? Simple, your vehicles run on 12 volts and you would need nothing more than a mobile antenna to run these base station radios in a vehicle. Shortwave radios make excellent base station radios as they pickup any and all shortwave frequencies and do it without the possibility of raising suspicions about licensing and so forth.

Fixed base radios do not need to be elaborate to work efficiently for you! Some of the gear (new and used) on the market nowadays is based on simplicity of use while maintaining advanced features. Many of the radios made for amateur radio use will amaze you when you examine their size and then compare the features contained within them.

Should I Buy 2-Way or Shortwave?

2-way radio naturally gives you the ability to talk back to anyone that you may be listening to. Admittedly this requires some sort of a license but this may not be such a drawback for a survivalist. The availability of new, or good used, 2-way equipment may be a better choice for you in the area you live. Shortwave radios are available though and all one needs to do is search diligently for them.

base radios