Redundant Communication Plans
It is imperative that you have redundant communication plans in place for any event. Your loved ones are interested in hearing from you. The communication methods that have become the default standard in today’s society all have similar problems.
Whether you are talking about a cell phone, text message, or internet based (ie email, twitter, facebook, chat) it is all dependent on power, over-subscription, and government tolerance. This is why when something big happens there are issues.
Have you ever tried to get through to loved ones in the event of a major disaster? During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina cell phone service was not existent or power to utilize the over two. During the recent East Coast earthquake last year the cell towers were over utilized and no one could get through. This same phenomenon is seen at most major sporting events now days.
The reason you can not communicate at major sporting events is the over subscription. Carriers have to make money and they do that by selling more capacity than they have. They hope too many users do not try to utilize the services at any one time. What do you do if you can not communicate?
What happens if you have no power and the traditional media outlets are cut off by the government. We do not see this as often in the United States yet but in many countries the internet is monitored and unacceptable traffic is banned. We have seen that entire countries cell phone and internet has been taken down to dissuade protests. What happens if your loved ones are in that area when it happens.
I think there are three options for these type of events. One of the first and easiest is to procure some FRS/GMRS/Murs walkie talkies. This will allow line of sight communication or a bit further with some repeaters. This will help keep family in contact when they are close.
One more quick option is to get a shortwave radio. This has been the default mechanism since 1927 for getting the news and propaganda out without fear of countries borders and jamming abilities. During the Cold War the VOA and the Russians played daily cat and mouse games in the information war. It will be a key information gathering mechanism for all but the worst catastrophe.
The last option that gives you the most reach is the Ham radio. You of course need to be licensed to operate but this gives you the capability to transmit and receive very far distances. In addition you do not have to worry about over subscription. There is a good reason that when a natural disaster strikes much of the communication is handled by ham radio.
I hope these three options will give you some thought in planning redundant communication plans. Sometimes the older technology is better. A little bit of all of it is the best plan.