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.

Kenwood Radios

Kenwood Radios

Kenwood Radios is a huge electronics corporation that creates not only communications equipment but entertainment gear as well. Naturally we will be delving into only the communications equipment for this web site. Specifically we will take a look at radio gear that can be used in SHTF, prepper, or survivalist situations. Of course the previous three scenarios could also include portable amateur radio operations but that isn’t what is all about.
The Kenwood line of communications equipment consists of 3 separate areas:

Of course for the sake of discussion we will only be discussing Kenwood equipment made for the amateur radio market.
To start off with let’s take a short peek at the HF offerings that Kenwood has. Kenwood is well known in the amateur radio community as a leader when it comes to DXing and contesting. But neither of those have anything to do with the needs of a survivalist, a prepper, or any similar situation. In fact Kenwood’s three main HF radios can only be used as base stations solely because of the size. Actually Kenwood’s so called “flagship” radio is too large for many average size operating desks. The only amateur radio, for the HF bands, that Kenwood offers that can be used in either mobile or other portable operations is the TS-480HX. Size alone is what makes this radio attractive to preppers and/or survivalists.

When it comes to mobile radio gear Kenwood offers only three choices of radios all of which fall in the VHF and UHF bands. Not that this is a bad thing but they focus most of their attention on their HF radios. As of the date of this posting they offer two 144/440 MHz radios and one 144 MHz radio for mobile operation. Of course any mobile radio can also be used as a base station with a power supply and a base station antenna.

Kenwood has similar offerings in the handheld radio department. As with their mobile selection they offer only three handheld radios. Two of them are 144/440 MHz radios and one 144 MHz radio.

To say that Kenwood would not be a good choice for SHTF scenarios might be true judging by their meager offerings in the mobile and handheld radios department. Combine that with only one HF radio and you will see they are less than attractive for the prepper/survivalist market.