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Communications

CommunicationsCanada is the second largest country in the world with a small and scattered population. Because of this Canadians have always been obsessed with communications which has lead to a disproportionate amount of firsts for this country in this field. Starting with the first Transatlantic transmission received by Guglielmo Marconi at Signal Hill in St. John’s Newfoundland. Then Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone in Brantford, Ontario. Canada deployed the world’s first domestic digital data network, as well as launched the worlds first geosynchronous satellite. The smart phones that everybody has today would not be possible if it were not for Research in Motion’s introduction of the Blackberry in the early 1990’s.

Today Canada has the world’s most extensive fibre optic network and Canadians enjoy wider and fuller access to television, cellular service and the internet than any other country on the planet. Canadians are more wired than almost any other people in the world. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a group of teens sitting around a table not talking to each other (like I used to with my friends) but instead they are texting, playing a game, or surfing the web. Canadians are addicted to their communications which may be a major downfall for many of us when TSHTF.

Having the ability to communicate in a disaster situation is vitally important to your survival. If you can’t talk to the outside world then you are all but dead. To this end I had a meeting with one of my group members this past weekend to discuss how we can keep in touch and coordinate our efforts when the time comes. We agreed that cell phones and the internet will not be an option as they will be overloaded very quickly becoming useless. After some debate and discussion we came up with what we think are three viable options. These are listed below with brief descriptions and links to more information on them where possible.

#1 Land lines: That’s right the old school tied to the wall telephone. This system is tried and tested. It is robust and telephones do not require an outside power source. You can find one in almost every home and office in the country. Most of the lines for this system are now buried so they are not subject to damage from the chaos that will result when hordes of undead begin flooding the streets. Until the switches loose power or are destroyed this system will continue to function.

#2 CB Radio: Citizens Band Radio or General Service Radio as it is known in Canada is a relatively cheap and effective option. Although a CB radio does not have the range of other options they are portable and require very little power to operate. They can also be found in any truck, emergency vehicle or boat. Base stations for CB’s are also available that have a longer range but are not really portable. For more information on CB radios you can go to Industry Canada’s website here or If you are thinking of purchasing one they are available online here or at various dealers across the country.

#3 SW Radio: Shortwave, Amateur or Ham radio is the most likely form of communication once TSHTF. There are literally 1000’s of operators across the country on this network. Repeaters allow users to communicate with people across the country and even without repeaters the signal can skip off the atmosphere and reach much farther than would be expected. However there are several draw backs to a SW set. First of all is cost, a basic setup can run well above $5000. They are not portable and there is a steep learning curve as well as good amount of maintenance involved with these systems. Then there is the federal licensing issue. Its not overly difficult to obtain a license to operate an amateur radio but one is required by Industry Canada. For more information visit their site here. All of that being said I would say these are the best bet for a long term communications solution if you already have one set up and running or have the resources to get one set up and running. You can check out SW radio sets online here, or any of the many retailers across the country.

I think this is one of the most critical issues that has been addressed in the ZPOC blog. I would really like to hear all members opinions or any other solutions ZPOC members have. I want to know ZPOC members where communications are concerned… Are you prepared?

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