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.

Ham Radio For Survivalists & Preppers

Ham Radio For Survivalists & Preppers

Ham radio, or amateur radio a it is called by the FCC, is one of the most attractive means of communications available for survivalists and preppers alike. True, you need an FCC license to use ham radio in the United Stated but it isn’t all that hard to get licensed in the Technician class. To be frank about it a
Technician’s class license is only half of what a survival situation will require. Tech’s seem to be grateful to get on 10 meter voice but they don’t realize how absolutely flaky the 10 meter band can be. If it isn’t the atmospheric problems it’s the way the band can disappear in the middle of a conversation. Since 10 is the only band a Tech can use voice on they will need a General Class license to work the other bands on voice. Two of the better bands to be on in
SHTF scenarios is 20 meters and 40 meters. The 20 meter band is good for day or night communications and is also suited for long distance communications, known as “DXing” in the ham community. The 40 meter band is an excellent night time band, also good for DXing, and can also be used for short-range communications in the daytime.

ham radios

Icom Radios

Icom Radios

Icom radio makes a lot of communications equipment such as avionics communications, marine communications, communications receivers, and of course amateur radio equipment. Icom is considered to be one of the big three of amateur radio communications equipment suppliers. In regards to the needs of preppers and survivalists the equipment Icom makes for avionics and marine use will not be covered on this page.

Icom radio manufactures HF communications gear, mobile and handheld communications gear, satellite communications gear, D-STAR communications gear, as well as amplifiers for the ham bands. Granted not all of the equipment that Icom makes will appeal to that of emergency communications such as when the SHTF. The items discussed below have far too much information available for us include on this page. Therefore you are encouraged to visit their website at for more information.

Icom has such a large selection of HF equipment available. So we will only look at HF transceivers that will appeal to the needs of those needing it for prepping and or survivalist situations. There are really only two models of Icom’s HF transceivers that would be good for portable operations. Really and truly there’s only one HF transceiver suitable for this type of work. The IC-7100 is a good unit for communications such as mobile or portable work. It is also good for the base unit. But its price would make it rather unattractive when it comes to SHTF equipment. Now the IC-718 is a good choice for these kinds of scenarios.

Don’t let anyone kid you; the IC-718 is a versatile, tough little transceiver. They sell brand new for less than $600, used you can find them around $350. As with most modern day ham radio equipment, the HF bands that is, the IC-718 (or just 718 as is known by) has a built in general coverage receiver. The 718 covers all of the HF bands from 160 m to 10 m. You can modify the 718 to work on 60 m as well. The rig puts out of to 100 W, 30 W on AM. It runs on 12 volts so you can run it off of a battery, a nearby vehicle, or from a power supply. Or you could run it off of a solar power source but that is also a bit of overkill for survivalists. The 718 operates on sideband, CW, AM, and RTTY modes. The 718 is a great rig for running on the digital modes, such as PSK/HELL/HELL/OLIVIA which would help when propagation is poor. The additional benefit of the 718 is its small size, the last thing you need is a radio that’s too large.

The IC-718 is a radio currently in production that would be suitable for portable radio communications. There are some detractors to using the IC-718 due it being billed as an “entry level” radio. All that is needed in portable communications is a good receiver and features that the operator needs and nothing more. The IC-718 is small in form, compared to the rest of the current line of Icom transceivers. There are two popular Icom transceivers that are very suitable for portable communications but they are no longer in production. They are the IC-703 and the IC-706, they are available for purchase used in hamfests, eBay, and other sources. One should be careful when buying used amateur radio transceivers because you never know the abuse people submit those radios to.

Read a short article about the Icom IC-703 radio.

Icom 718