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.

BaoFeng Radios

BaoFeng Radios

BaoFeng radios, people either love them or hate them. On one hand you have an inexpensive radio everyone can afford with features which some of the “Big Three” (Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu) don’t include in the amateur radio transceivers they have on the market. On the other hand the detractors of the Chinese entries (such BaoFeng Radios and Wouxon Radios) claim the radios are “cheap” and won’t last long. How long do you want a radio to last given the pace that the technology changes are coming? Really? The BaoFeng Radios run from the high $20 to mid $90 range and people want to complain about them not lasting.

The BaoFeng Radios are plentiful, inexpensive and hard as dickens to program but they work well when you get them set up the way you want them to be. One of the most attractive features of the BaoFeng handhelds is that you can use them for LEO satellites. Put together a hand-held dual-band antenna and strap the BaoFeng onto it and away you go. At a lot less than you would spend if you went with one of the big 3 manufacturers.

How good are the BaoFeng rigs when it comes to survivalist communications needs? That remains to be seen. Sure, they won’t take to being thrown about like the more durable radios. But again, the price and features are such that they are likely more attractive than those of the big three as long as they are handled properly.

  • Let’s take a quick, and brief, look at one of the most popuBaoFeng radios, the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Hand Held. This feature rich little radio is sellBaoFeng radioing for $27 plus shipping on Amazon as of the date of this posting. The features of the UV-5R are as follows:
  • 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band DTMF CTCSS DCS
  • Output : 4W/1W, Frequency Range: 136.00-174.00 MHz 400.00-480.00MHz
  • Frequency Step Setting, High & Low Power Switch over
  • Battery Saving, VOX Function, Wide/Narrow Band Selection, Auto-Back Light
  • AUTO Keypad Lock, Busy Channel Lock Function, Dual Band, Dual Display and Dual Standby