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A Portable Shortwave Radio To Discover What Happened After SHTF

A Portable Shortwave Radio To Discover What Happened After SHTF

March 2, 2017, by Ken Jorgustin

Regarding a hypothetical nationwide ‘grid-down’ SHTF event while being 1000 miles away from home in your vehicle, I wrote,

My very first action would be to deeply asses the situation as best I can, because further decisions will hinge greatly on that assessment, so it better be right (or close to right).

“This involves verifying the extent of the grid-down and other things that may have occurred as a result. One way will be to listen to AM radio (preferably at night due to MUCH better propagation beyond the local area). Some distant stations may still be on generator and broadcasting info regarding the situation. Finding someone with a portable shortwave receiver (or HAM radio) will reach out much further while discovering what has happened.”

A subsequent blog comment from ‘McGyver’ indicated that this is precisely what he did on the morning of the Northridge earthquake. He tuned in the nearest clear channel AM station, but their power fell back to 5kw from the normal 50kw on generator power. He noted that many AM stations operate under conditional FCC permit which requires them to scale back broadcast power between dusk and dawn, exactly to restrict enhanced nighttime signal propagation, so they don’t step on adjacent broadcasters.

He said, “SW (shortwave radio) is an excellent idea, especially at night due to ionospheric skip. Especially in the Internet age where BBC or VoA will have almost instant access to the news.”

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