Prepper Communication – How Well Do You Know Your Options?

Hey, can we talk?

We’d better know how if we’re going to survive.

Perhaps that sounds like silly hyperbole, but how well do you know your prepper communication options? Talking with one another is just one of them.

Jim Cobb joined me on DestinySurvival Radio to talk about communication options for preppers. His latest book, Prepper’s Communication Handbook, covers old and new technologies and includes chapters on interpersonal communication–a vital element often overlooked.


The Author of the Message

If you’ve listened much to DestinySurvival Radio, you’ve probably heard me visit with Jim Cobb because he’s been on a number of times before. But in case you’re not familiar with who he is…


Jim Cobb is the author of several books focused on disaster readiness, such as Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, Countdown to Preparedness, Prepper’s Financial Guide, and the Number One Amazon bestselling Prepper’s Home Defense. He has been a student of survivalism and prepping for about thirty years. He is the owner of, a rather popular disaster readiness resource.

Jim and his family reside in the upper Midwest and he is currently working on several more books.


The Vehicle for the Message


Prepper's Communication Handbook


To give you an overview of Jim’s book, here’s the publisher’s description, slightly edited.


Stay connected when the grid goes down. When disaster strikes, your calls, texts and emails will not work. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, cell phones were rendered useless when transmission towers were destroyed and networks became overloaded. Having an alternative way to reach family and loved ones at these critical moments is essential.

With Prepper’s Communication Handbook, you learn the best tips, tricks and expert secrets for surviving when phones and the Internet fail. Exploring the best options for every disaster scenario, this hands-on guide features in-depth coverage on a wide variety of life-saving emergency communication systems, including:

  • Satellite Radio
  • Shortwave
  • NOAA [Weather] Reciever
  • GMRS and FRS Radios
  • Citizen’s Band
  • Ham Radio
  • [Police] Radio Scanner
  • MURS Radio
And there’s more. In the last few chapters Jim addresses aspects of interpersonal communications or people skills.

Like his other books, this one is easy to read. You won’t be bombarded by a lot of high tech jargon. Topics covered include…

  • One-Way Radio: Receivers
  • Two-Way Radio
  • Amateur Radio
  • Online Communication
  • Putting a Plan Together
  • Emergency Business Communications Planning
  • Codes and Ciphers
  • Essentials for Effective Communication
  • Body Language
  • Conflict Resolution


The Highlights of the Message

What it is and isn’t – Jim wants readers to be clear that his book provides us with communication options. It’s a good overview, and it’s worth having if you’re new to the subject. But if you’re looking for a catalog of the latest and greatest radios and electronics gadgets, you’ll be disappointed because this isn’t it.

Options – The more options we have in the event of an emergency or disaster, the better off we are. It’s up to us to choose the best options in the time of need.

Prepper’s Communication Handbook is meant to show you and I the communications tools and techniques available to us. It’s not a “how to” book. Follow up with the resources given in the book for that.

Planning – Many books on preparedness discuss planning right away. When I asked Jim why his chapters on planning came later in the book, he said it’s so he could present options first. Then, as you’re planning, you’ll know what options you can incorporate into your plans.

Not only do we need to plan as individuals, but businesses also need to plan how they will communicate. Jim touches on this as well.

Know your tools – After expressing my preference for older, simpler radios in our conversation, we talked briefly about radios with the capability to receive NOAA weather stations. This brought us around to the changing nature of the broadcast media.

Here’s what it comes down to. Know the communication tools at your disposal. Then get familiar with how you can best use those tools.

Look at it this way. If listening to area radio stations for news and weather is part of your communication strategy, it doesn’t matter whether you listen on a pocket transistor radio or a smart phone app. The key thing is, while you seek to acquire information, understand what it is your local stations have to offer–and what they don’t.

Another important point is that every source of news and information has its own bias or spin. Recognize this and compensate accordingly. Get information from as many sources as you can so you’ll be the wiser for formulating opinions and making decisions.

To take this a step further, remember that your brain is the most significant tool at your disposal.

Power tip – One of the clever tips Jim gives when discussing alternative power sources is to use solar yard lights to charge rechargeable batteries. I’d suggest having a simple battery tester on hand to be sure your batteries received a good charge.

Ham radio – I’m glad to see Jim is a proponent of amateur or ham radio, and we talked about it in our conversation. He noted how friendly and helpful ham radio operators are. A number of them practice preparedness as well. That only makes sense, since many hams provide communications assistance for disasters.

Ham radio has something to offer for everyone. It has become very high tech. It’s not like the old days with boat anchor radios. Those are still around, but computers play a big part in ham communications. Software defined radios and new digital modes are part of the advances in recent years.

Online communication – Yes, what we take for granted everey day with our computers and smart phones may still be around when disaster strikes. Of course, in the wake of a disaster, who knows what the status of the Internet and cell towers will be? Thus, the need for preparedness options of all kinds.

Can social media be trusted as a reliable source of information? Jim gives tips on making sure we know how to sort out that which is credible.

Remember, if you’re online, be aware of the need for privacy and security.

Again, put your brain in gear.

Person to person – I’m delighted Jim spends the last few chapters on interpersonal communication. But why did he do that?

Because, no matter what technology we use to receive or transmit information, human beings are on both ends of the message. The better our people skills–especially in times of stress–the better our chances for survival.

If you’re part of a prepper community, or if you have plans to be part of one, conflict resolution will be a crucial skill. No matter how much you have it together with food, water, etc., the people element of the equation could be the most challenging.


The Ways to Explore the Message

Hear my conversation with Jim Cobb by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 10, 2016. (Right click to download.) If you miss our chat, you won’t hear the banter about a favorite resource Jim and I both like. It’s not strictly related to communication, but every prepper should know about it.

Get Prepper’s Communication Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. You’ll be taken to the page where it’s featured.

As with other survival skills, now’s the time to know and practice your communication options.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.