Emergency Preparedness Radio: Tips on Making the Most of Your EPR
Today might not seem like the day to have an emergency preparedness radio. But the question remains, how will you know when you will need one? And, when the time comes for one, will you still be able to get your hands on one? Today will always be the best day to get an EPR for yourself or your home.
How do EPRs work?
EPRs or emergency preparedness radios, also known as emergency shortwave radios, work by beaming signals into the atmosphere from the point of broadcast. The signal then bounces off the ionosphere and returns to Earth hundreds and even thousands of miles away from the original point of broadcast.
This is one of the reasons why a shortwave radio is very essential. When signals are down in your own location, you can still receive news and updates from places even halfway around the world, especially if the signal is very strong.
What skills do you need for your emergency preparedness radio?
You might think that buying an EPR may not be right for you since you don’t even know how to use one. In reality, one look at a portable emergency preparedness radio and you’ll know you won’t need any extra skills to be able to function one.
What you will need is the willingness to tinker with your radio and the willingness to learn more about it so you can make the most of it. In fact, there are people who use EPRs simply for entertainment.
How to make the most of your EPR
When you have an emergency shortwave radio, it’s best to familiarize yourself with it, especially when it’s not even time for an emergency. Here are some tips that can help you use your EPR to its maximum potential.
Read the instruction manual
Radios will be unique from one brand to another and one model to the next. The best way to learn the different parts of your radio and how to use them, or even troubleshoot them, lies within the pages of the instruction manual. Don’t set this little booklet aside. Keep it, but more than that, read it.
Pay attention to the time
Signals bounce off in different strengths depending on the time of day. Generally, however signals are stronger at night because it is during this time that the ionospheric conditions are at an ideal.
Frequencies above 10 MHz are easier to pick up and listen to during the day. Signals lower than 10 MHz are clearer to listen to at night. This isn’t the only factor that affects signal strength. There are also others, but the time is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Play around with location
Just like your Internet signal varies the nearer you are to the router, your EPR will also have varying effects depending on location. A good rule to follow is to place your radio near a window.
You can also play around with the direction of the antenna. If these two don’t help, try using an external antenna to help increase your range.
Familiarize yourself with UTC
UTC stands for coordinated universal time. Most of the shortwave broadcast signals schedule their programs using UTC.
When you familiarize yourself with this time zone, you’ll be able to track your desired program much more easily. If you have a built-in clock in your radio, set it to UTC to make things easier for you.
Check shortwave schedules
You can actually go online to check the schedules of the programs you want to follow. Sites such as shortwaveschedule.com, primetimeshortwave.com, and hfradio.org will be able to help you find your desired programming.
You can always wander aimlessly through the shortwave bands and find random broadcasts, which is also quite fun.
Record your findings
Using your shortwave radio can be fun, but it’s also a lot like experimenting. It’s best to record your findings so you can always go back to it and improve.
Things to record would include the time of day you were able to get a specific signal, or which signals you locked onto while randomly going through shortwave bands.
Recognize the need to learn
It’s not that easy to learn to use a shortwave radio to its maximum potential. Don’t wait for an emergency to begin tinkering with your radio only to find out you need more time to learn it. Start learning how to operate it on the very day you get it.
There are a lot of shortwave radio enthusiasts out there, and you can even search for them online. Don’t be afraid to ask. Many will be willing to help you get over that learning curve so you can use your emergency preparedness radio well.
When you are preparing for an emergency, make sure you prepare yourself with radio know-how as well. List down emergency frequencies, keep extra sets of batteries, and above all else, be prepared.