How will you communicate with your family if cell service and internet go down?

walkie talkie

The cell phone in your hand has more power and capability than an entire room full of computers did 40 years ago. Back then, you’d have to stay home and wait by the phone if you hoped to have a date for the weekend – and if you were a guy, you had to call by Wednesday night, or it was considered in poor taste. My, how far we’ve come!

If you went out, you’d have to stop at a pay phone to check in at home. Unless, of course, you had a CB radio in your car and a base station at home with a huge antenna on the roof. At that time, it was really cool to be able to talk to Dad on his way home from work over the radio. Even though radio is “old technology”, it could be a lifesaver today if cellular and internet services go down.

Have you thought about how you would communicate with those closest to you if this were to happen? Have you become complacent, thinking that since it hasn’t happened yet, it won’t?

Preparing now for a scenario like this will give you peace of mind, knowing that should the communications infrastructure go down, you’ll be ready.

The most basic form of radio communications is the walkie talkie (known as FRS – Family Radio Service). You’ve seen the hand-held radio in bubble packs at Walmart, most likely. They are easy to use, but don’t have much power – which means limited distance.

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) is similar to the simplicity of FRS, but with more power and the ability to communicate over longer distances. GMRS requires a license from the FCC, but no test. The price of a license recently dropped to $35.00 and it covers your entire family for ten years!

For the reasons mentioned above, AmCon recommends that all members obtain a GMRS license, get some radios and learn how to use them. We have resources to help you, including an online course, equipment recommendations and sample communication plans that you can adapt to your situation.

If you have no backup communications for your family, you have to start somewhere. Starting with GMRS makes the most sense for many people.

Get a GMRS license for your family

Follow these steps to get your GMRS license:

Get your FRN

  1. Obtain an FRN (FCC Registration Number)
  2. To get an FRN go to the FCC Universal Licensing System
  3. Click “Register” on the ULS Home page, complete the questionnaire.
  4. You will be assigned an FRN immediately upon completion.

Apply for the GMRS License

  1. Go to the FCC Universal Licensing System
  2. Login with your FRN and password
  3. Select “Apply for New License”
  4. Under the “Select Service” drop down select “ZA- General Mobile Radio (GMRS)”
  5. Complete your application
  6. Certify that you have entered the correct information.
  7. Pay $35 one-time fee

You should receive your call sign in a few days.

Next, we will discuss GMRS equipment recommendations.

Join American Contingency now to get access to our online communications courses.