The SHTF Scenario Happened!
Last night the unthinkable happened. I woke up in the middle of the night and grabbed my computer to catch up on the news and amuse myself. To my surprise the internet was down. Thanks Optimum! No problem. I’ll just use my cell phone for a hotspot. I went and found my phone and the network reported “SOS” instead of “5G” or “LTE”. My first thought was that the SHTF, finally. Where to turn now to see what is going on?
AM Radio For SHTF
So I crept upstairs to my hobby room and turned on an AM radio. I love AM radio. At night the signal propagates for hundreds of miles. I can generally hear high power Clear Channels (10,000 watts) from New York to Nashville and all points in-between. I had expected to hear breaking news about a giant telecom hack or a nuclear weapon popping off somewhere. What I heard was George Noory doing Coast to Coast AM. I heard a sports talk channel, and I heard them talking about City problems in Cleveland. Normal behavior up and down the band. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
So I want to be clear here. When the SHTF probably your best source of information is going to be a good old AM radio. Especially at night. Recently Ford Motor Company took AM radio out of their new cars. This prompted others to follow. There is a good article on the subject here.
By their (whoever “their” is) estimation, AM radio is a dying breed. I am a licensed HAM radio operator and have been listening to short wave radio since I was a kid. It is a slowly dying format. People still use it, but not much. So it is going with AM radio as well.
So let me pose this question to you? The internet is down. Your cell phone network is down. Don’t tell me it can’t happen because it is happening to me as I type this.
What will you do? Where will you get your information from?
Removing AM radio is a bad idea. A real bad idea. You might think it is antiquated. And you may not ever listen to it. You might not even own one, except in your car. But when the streamer stops streaming you are locked out of all your information sources. The FireStick won’t fire stick. Tik Tok won’t tock. You’re completely in the dark.
SHTF Information Sources
Right off the bat I can think of three good sources:
- Over The Air Broadcast Television (old school with an antenna)
- Police Scanner
I also have police scanners and I turned one on after I grabbed my radio. The police were doing normal police stuff, and I could hear nothing that led me to believe the shit actually hit the fan.
Ditto with television. While I have a network TV tuner that is internet controlled, I can unplug that tuner and screw the coax into the back of an actual TV (hmmmm……I need to install a splitter and set that up permanently) and watch the local news.
I’m a Ham, but a sorry Ham. I only have a couple of walkie talkies that will barely reach the local repeater. But, that is enough to reach out in a real SHTF scenario and talk to others. When the shit really hits the fan the Ham radio guys will be cool again.
Alas, my walkie talkies were not charged up which was really stupid on my part. One is on the charger now.
What Did We/I Learn Here?
I wasn’t as ready for SHTF as I thought. We still had power which was fortunate. If you learned nothing else from my story you should be asking yourself what you would do if the phones stopped working and the internet stopped working.
Do you own an AM radio? How about a weather radio? Do you have a police scanner? Do you have an antenna to pull in local television.
Here’s a thought as well. You can buy USB TV tuners and you can turn a laptop into a TV. That might even be better if the power goes out. I like the Hauppauge ones although I don’t own the one I just linked. Mine are older ones.
I would also suggest that you write your representative and tell them to not kill off AM radio.