I’m thinking about the various electronic devices that may be helpful in one way or another for general preparedness. Yes, I know, water and food are more important, etc.. I also know that EMP or CME could damage this stuff. However with that aside, lets brain-storm survival electronics.
We sometimes talk about the preparedness basics such as water, water filters, food storage, etc.., but this time lets consider the electronic ‘gadgets’ or electronic systems that may be beneficial towards preparedness.
Note: If you’re concerned about the potential effects of EMP on electronics, you might consider keeping some backups in a Faraday Cage.
[ Read: List of articles on EMP topic ]
Survival Electronics for Preparedness
This is not a complete list. It’s just intended to get you thinking about it. To present some ideas. Add your own recommendations below in the comments.
Alternative Energy – Solar Power
The first thing that comes to mind for me when thinking about survival electronics… Alternative energy systems (alternative from that of the ‘grid’). A solar powered alternative energy source. It’s the very first project I did after moving to my present location.
I live in a very rural area, well off the main road. Although I have electric grid utility here, I put together a solar power system (and battery bank) for peace-of-mind. And for a bit of self-reliance. The system itself is comprised of many survival electronics, so to speak.
- Solar Panels (converts solar to DC voltage/current)
- Charge Controller (utilizes solar DC power to charge batteries)
- Inverter (coverts DC to AC household voltage)
- Battery Bank (stores energy for overnight, etc..)
[ Read: Alternative Energy Topic on MSB ]
Alternative Energy – Generator
A portable generator. It’s an excellent temporary power source. Keep your refrigerator, freezer, and other such things running during a relatively short-term emergency. Some people go so far as to integrate a transfer switch into the electrical panel, choosing specific circuits for the generator to feed. Others will run an extension cord and feed appliances that way.
[ Read: Extension Cords For Generators ]
You can buy inexpensive generators with basic functionality. Or you might choose a generator/inverter that puts out smooth pure power (pure sine wave) which is better for electronic devices. They do cost a bit more.
Some generators are also designed to be extra quiet (costs more). My generators are this way. Very quiet (and pure sine wave). I was willing to spend the money for these attributes.
Handheld 2-Way Radio Communications (FRS/GMRS)
Portable handheld 2-way radios are great for emergency preparedness. We use these all the time around the property here. I can think of many practical uses for them among the list of survival electronics. One very useful function would be security during a time of “concern”. But in general, they’re nice for relatively short range comms. Up to several miles, depending.
There are all sorts of these radios. Some operate on “free” bands while others require a license. I own a variety of these radios. Though a “HAM” operator may scoff at the Baofeng, they’re inexpensive and function well. I own a number of them. I also have a number of Midland FRS/GMRS handheld radios (my first purchase many years ago).
[ Read: Best BaoFeng Upgrade ]
Ham Radio (Amateur Radio Communications)
There are a variety of radios for general communications. Ham radios are integral to survival electronics. Some involve knowledge and expertise to operate. ‘Ham Radio’ requires licensed operation (to transmit). It’s fairly easy to study and pass the exam for a “Technician” class license to get you started.
There are MANY bands for Amateur Radio operators. Each with their own characteristics for communications. Great distances can also be achieved via HAM Radios (depending on frequency, atmospheric conditions, antennas, and other factors).
It is a subject unto itself…
[ Read: HAM Radio – A Quick Primer ]
I added the CB Radio as its own unique communications device. Why? Because it’s generally good for local communications compared to some limitations with FRS/GMRS/MURS (all radios have pros and cons). Operating a CB radio requires no license.
For one thing, the frequency of CB (~ 27 Mhz) “hugs” the ground better than the aforementioned radio bands (462 Mhz). Therefore a pair of base stations with good antennas may communicate at greater distances.
There are many factors affecting ALL radios and their communication distance. They include frequency, antenna, elevation, location and environment, power, and others. However a good CB base station may reach out locally 15 – 50 miles.
I have this one in the truck: Handheld 40 Channel CB Radio
You might use the infamous Cobra 29 for a base station.
Weather Alert Radio
Especially if you live in an area where a tornado might spin up, or any other type of severe weather, you should really have a weather alert radio. The following is the most popular right now…
Battery Operated Portable AM/FM/Shortwave Receiver
A general purpose radio to receive information about what may be going on during an emergency situation. Local AM will be broadcasting information (if able) and you may gain more information while listening on shortwave/HAM bands.
Solar/Crank AM/FM Radio
A simple AM/FM/Weather radio with the ability to recharge via solar power or crank (wind up) will assure reception without the grid…
There are literally countless makes and models of flashlights! Every time that I look, I find another one that ‘I want’ ;)
Consider several types for varying purposes. Pocket / keychain / E-kit / headlamp / vehicle / general home use / a super bright one / etc…
[ Read: Headlamp or Flashlight? ]
There’s no substitute for a hand’s-free flashlight – a headlamp. This one also has an additional red LED for night reading while maintaining your night vision:
The most common size battery, the ‘AA’ size, is available as a rechargeable battery. I wrote about what I consider to be one of the best rechargeable batteries:
[ Read: Best Rechargeable Batteries ]
You can’t use rechargeable batteries without a battery charger!
Okay, those were a few of the survival electronics to get you thinking…
What other electronic gadgets or electronic systems might be good for preparedness?