Well, it happened again: another major cellular network went down for over 11 hours. You might ask yourself, is this just an outage, a planned maintenance, or something more malicious like a cyber-attack on the company? Whatever the reason, I, for one, have started becoming a little more prepared for when and if cellular phones go down. I am in a situation where my tight family group communicates daily on a variety of issues, from the dog digging in the yard to a medical emergency or passing along that the station has voted, and I’m no longer allowed to have beans for lunch. Communication with the ones you love and who are important to you is something you never want to lose in case of something bad. 

A few years back, I started down the rabbit hole of addressing a backup communication system, and we settled on dual-band radios. Is this right for you? This article is here to help you find out. 


Getty Canva


Dual-Band Radio: An Affordable Backup 

Now, I use Baofeng radios for their price point. You can get a good-quality set for under $50. The Baofeng UV-5R is a handheld radio manufactured by the Chinese company Baofeng. This model was the first globally successful distributed dual-band radio (VHF/UHF). 



In disasters, dual-band two-way radios prove reliable and resilient compared to phones. Essential during catastrophic events like hurricanes or earthquakes, they enable coordination in compromised infrastructure and power outages. Even if not carried while camping, having one at home enhances preparedness. For family outdoor activities lasting over a day or in areas with poor cell signals, these radios are crucial. Coordinating channels beforehand ensures efficient communication, preventing worrisome situations through ongoing updates. 


610 KONA logo
Get our free mobile app
CB Radio
Getty Canva

attachment-CB Radio

CB Radio: On-the-Go Communication 

CB radios, with 40 shared channels, offer local communication without needing a license. They have a range of about 155.3 miles, but atmospheric conditions may extend this. Operating in AM or Single SideBand (SSB) mode, SSB provides less noise. Quality antennas are crucial, and popular brands include Cobra, Galaxy, Uniden, and Midland. Mobile CB radios for vehicles cost around $120, while handheld options are about $100. They can be powered by the vehicle's battery or using adapters. Home-based CB radios use a base unit battery or a 12-volt power supply, with solar-powered chargers for backup during power outages. 


Satellite Phones
Getty Canva

attachment-Satellite Phones

Satellite Phones: Global Connectivity in Emergencies 

A satellite phone is beneficial for emergencies due to its global coverage, reliability during disasters, independence from local infrastructure, emergency services access, and use in remote or underdeveloped areas. It operates independently of cellular networks, making it valuable in situations where local networks are compromised. Despite advantages, potential downsides include higher costs, bulkier devices, and lower call quality compared to traditional mobile phones. Deciding to invest depends on individual needs, travel patterns, and the likelihood of encountering areas with limited communication infrastructure. 


Getty Canva


Walkie-Talkies: Simple and Reliable  

My advice? Just get yourselves a simple set of walkie-talkies.
Walkie-talkies, often deemed old-fashioned, provide a communication option independent of the power grid. Capable of reaching up to 30 miles, they are vital for obtaining local information. Operating without the need for a service or signal, walkie-talkies are user-friendly and reliable, contingent on charged batteries and attentive listeners. Topography knowledge improves reception, and they are adaptable for families within the 30-mile range. Powered by rechargeable batteries, a solar charging option is advisable during power grid outages to ensure readiness. 

It's always better to prepare for the unknown than let the unforeseen catch you off guard. 

The 8 Worst Possible Disasters in Washington State

Gallery Credit: AJ Brewster


Washington Winter Emergency Car Kit

These items make a great Christmas gift idea for loved ones living in Washington State.

Gallery Credit: AJ Brewster

."}" data-sheets-userformat="{"2":33554688,"11":4,"28":1}">

CHECK IT OUT: How To Unlock Your iPhone With Your Voice



More From 610 KONA