Communication Items You’ll Want Before TSHTF – Part 2

Radio Receivers

We own a used Grundig Yacht Boy 400 and recommend it highly.  These were made in the 1990s, but are still “state-of-the-art”.  The CCI radio company sells a clone of this model today. Good used Grundigs can be found on ebay in the $50 to $100 range. The YB400 has some great features:

  • AM/FM and Shortwave bands
  • SSB receiver
  • Tuning Scan
  • 40 Channel Memory
  • Light
  • Alarm
  • Sleep Timer
  • Two Time Zones

We consider it the best AM portable receiver made.  At night we can listen Coast to Coast A.M. on stations from Los Angeles CA, San Antonino TX, Omaha NE, or Denver CO and even Detroit MI and Chicago IL at times, all sounding clear from here in New Mexico.

Our Yacht Boy 400 receives from 55 Kilohertz through 30 Megahertz, covering the entire HF (high frequency) band.  In a time of crisis, shortwave may be the only radio signal out there.  It may come in real handy when we can’t depend on the Internet to know what is going on.

WWV is the international time standard hack that can be found on the following shortwave frequencies:

  • 2500 khz
  • 5000 khz
  • 10000 khz
  • 15000 khz
  • 20000 khz

This radio station also allows you to check space weather as well as satellite environment (interference). We can use these frequencies to gauge the effect of solar activities on our radio communications. WWV has a very strong signal.  For most it will be received as a strong S 8 to 10 signal strength.  But in the event of adverse solar activities even these stations can become covered up with static and noise. So if you are trying to receive a certain station and are having difficulties, check WWV to see if their signal is coming though alright, or if it is covered up with static.  In that case, the sun is most likely the cause of your problems or (an EMP blast).

Communications Radios

“Family Radio Service” (FRS)  and “Business Radio Service” (BRS) are the frequencies for the common walkie-talkies you see.  They often say that they have an 8 mile range, however, most of these radios have a hard time transmitting further than 2 miles. Not everyone lives in a laboratory environment.  The 8 mile range estimates take into account “line of sight” factors only. If you can see the other party that you are trying to communicate with, you can talk to them. We don’t live in a flat world without a horizon and without trees, buildings, mountains, etc. Because of this, these radios are over rated and can only be used for close-up communications (typically less than 3 miles at best).

They certainly can be useful if your community uses them in a small area (40 acres or less).

The Business Radio Service does include base radios, which have more power than family radios.  You can add an external antenna on a mast high above the ground to stretch their effectiveness (up to 10 miles).


The I-Com IC-R5 pocket scanner is a handy radio to own. These are available in US models and overseas models. The FCC gave the I-COM company a license to sell this receiver in the U.S. ONLY IF CERTAIN FREQUENCIES WERE BLOCKED OUT!

With this in mind the best place to buy one is on Ebay. There are sellers on ebay from other countries such as Japan who sell UNBLOCKED IC-R5’s and IC-R7’s. These ebay listings will be explicit.  It will say it is a Japanese model and does not have any blocked frequencies. The IC-R5 can scan from 30 kilocycles to 1400 megahertz (1.4 Gigahertz). Within these frequencies are the following things you may find interesting to listen to.

For entertainment purposes only, here are some of the stations you can listen to that are hard to find frequencies:

  • fbi tactical  167.400 fm
  • fema  138.400 fm
  • fema 138.5750 fm
  • fema 139.9500 fm
  • fema 155.340 fm
  • army civil disturbances  34.9000 ssb
  • fema 130.0500 fm
  • fema 139.1000 fm
  • fema 138.2250 fm
  • fema 139.4500 fm
  • fema 140.0250 fm
  • fed disater network  170.2000 fm
  • border patrol  163.6750 fm
  • border patrol 163.7250 fm
  • border patrol 163.7750 fm
  • bp  164.1150 fm
  • bp  165.8500 fm
  • bp  165.9250 fm
  • natl emerg weather svc (news)  173.1875 fm
  • news    167.9750 fm
  • news    169.8750 fm
  • news    167.9250 fm
  • fed disaster net  170.2000 fm
  • fema 5.210 ssb
  • fema 10.493750  ssb
  • fema 4.7250  ssb
  • fema 139.350 fm
  • fema 143.0250 fm
  • fema 143.2500 fm
  • fema 167.9750 fm
  • blm  169.6500 fm
  • forest svc  170.5250 fm
  • omaha sac  11.17500 ssb
  • norad  13.2000 ssb
  • norad  15.0150 ssb
  • omaha sac  4.7250 ssb
  • norad  6.7400 ssb
  • air force bomber eam  4.743750 ssb
  • eams  6.71250  ssb
  • eams  6.7400  ssb
  • eams  8.993750 ssb
  • eams  11.1750  ssb
  • eams  13.2000 ssb
  • eams   15.0150 ssb
  • norad  228.6000 fm
  • norad  228.9000 fm
  • fema 5.2100 ssb
  • fema  16.9500  ssb
  • fed emerg task force  165.23750 fm
  • task force  169.4500 fm
  • fbi tactical  167.21250 fm

To find local frequencies, check out

Emergency Action Messages are the encoded radio traffic between NORAD and SAC with the nuclear bomber fleet, like in the movie Fail Safe)

With Fusion Centers operating, the radio traffic is mostly digitized and scrambled. But you will notice that when they are “working together” the scanner’s frequencies will all seem to light up at the same time. By this I mean you’ll notice you local sheriff/state police/ local cops/ FEMA/DHS/Border Patrol/FBI, etc., all going encrypted and all talking at the same time.

The Fusion Centers work with the local authorities, so when you hear this it usually means that there is a VIPER team closing down some road to perform unwarranted stops and searches under the guise of (take your pick) sobriety check points, looking for seatbelt terrorists, looking for insurance terrorists, etc.

If the local VIPERS are not encrypted, you will hear things like the officer waiting for a “29 check”. This means they are checking to see if there are any outstanding warrants for that driver. When you hear this you will also hear things like “we’re set up at mile maker XX”.  If you don’t want to have to claim your right under the 4th amendment with these VIPER TERRORISTS, then stay away.

Suffice to say that if you hear a lot of cross agency traffic, it’s nearly a sure bet that a VIPER team is out making sure that the country is safe for their brand of freedom.

Creating a Radio Round Robin:  With the right equipment a group of people could create a a “radio round robin”. this is when a group of people has a specific place on the radio to meet on a regular basis. For example, let’s say there are 6  people in your round robin and you all decide to meet on Saturday mornings on CB channel 40, 27.405 Mhtz, LSB (lower side band) (or CW for RTTY – look for an upcoming article on that!) and exchange news with each other. It’s not a question of “IF” TPTB will shut the internet down it’s “WHEN”? The purpose of these articles it to create awareness in becoming independent  of the internet and become your own beacon of news by maintaining contact through the coming difficulties. Having a group of people from diverse  places is also important.  Then one of the round robin group can relay a message from one station who can’t be heard to a station that can and maintain contact with both stations.

Coming up in Part 3 More on RTTY,  Round Robins and Slow-Scan TV.

Dan and Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock.  If you have any specific questions please drop us a line at or visit their  webpage at

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