Used for short-range communication, on an 11-meter band with frequencies between 26.965Mhz and 27.405Mhz, two-way Citizens Band (CB) radio is a perfect way to communicate in the event of a natural disaster or SHTF scenario. When the power goes out and the phones don’t work, communication as we know it changes…unless you have a CB. A simple two-way CB allows you to connect at distances of up to 25 miles, on 40 shared channels. CBs are an awesome tool. But like all tools, knowing how to properly use a CB can make a huge difference. Sure, operating the radio itself is somewhat self-explanatory, but how you identify yourself and how you share information is another story. This is especially true if you are in a true SHTF scenario where your life can be at risk as a result of unfriendly folks around you. Here are 3 quick tips for radio protocol in a worst-case scenario.
Okay, this is rule number one and it is important…no names. While this may seem obvious, it is incredibly important that you commit it to memory. If you are communicating with someone you are close to, such as a family member, it may be second nature to call them by name. By no names, that goes for pronouns too, like “Dad” or “Mom.” In a SHTF scenario where lives can be at stake, any information that your party puts out there can be used to harm you. If you aren’t going to use the NATO phonetic alphabet, try using generic items that each of you is carrying, or the gun caliber you are carrying as your specific call sign.
Short and Sweet
Do not make long transmissions. Take your time to think about what you are going to communicate, but do not under any circumstances make a long transmission. If there are less-than friendly folks around, the longer you are on the air the more of a chance you are giving them to locate you, or learn more about you.
Do not use one channel exclusively for a long period of time. If you find that you need to switch channels, do not do so by stating the channel you will be switching to. Designate a letter of the alphabet, (NATO phonetic or traditional) for several different channels ahead of time with your party. Make sure everyone commits this to memory. This way if you are encountering cross traffic and need to switch from “Alpha” to “Charlie,” your people will know to move from channel 1 to channel 3.