How important are survival communications? From a prepping budget perspective, I’ve asked that question a lot. And unfortunately, as with many subjects I’ve covered, there is a ton of misinformation out there about the subject. When you buy a “survival radio,” like the ones with the little solar panel and hand crank, you are buying a multi-band receiver, and you’ll pay more depending on how many bands you want.
A basic radio, some even under $20, will be AM/FM, and most of them also have the NOAA weather channel, which is 162.4 mhz and a few other places. Pay a little more and you may get some of the Ham radio bands, but you will seldom hear any traffic on those bands, because the included whip antenna is not made for those frequencies. Police, fire, airplane, and a hots of other frequencies that would be nice to monitor in a survival situation are not in those radios. Getting all of those frequencies, until now, has been very expensive.
This article is about a newer type of radio called “Software Defined Radio,” or RTL-SDR, and it changes everything.
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