One of the challenges of emergency communication is understanding the technology. Is a one-way radio sufficient to receive updates following a disaster or other emergency, or do I need a scanning device? What is a shortwave radio and why do I need one? Is getting a Ham radio and radio license worth the effort? And then there are those “family” walkie-talkie devices. Those seem like a good idea but are they really?
Shoot, even I get confused by all of the options even though I own all of them. Deciding which one to use, and when, only adds to the dilemma. One thing is for sure: I can’t carry all of my radios at once or I would not have room for anything else in my pack.
Lucky for us, help as arrived in the form of a handbook written by one of the most down to earth, and easy to understand writers in our niche, Jim Cobb. His book, Prepper’s Communication Handbook, succinctly sorts out the various options that are available when it comes to emergency communications and guides you to making the right choices.
In his usual style, Jim writes in a manner that is a breeze to read and also enjoyable. He even mentions the importance of having fun with it, because, after all, there is life after prepping.
Jim and his publisher, Ulysses Press, have set aside five copies of his book in this latest Book Festival giveaway. Enjoy an all-new interview with Jim, and be sure to check in below so that you can enter to win!
An Interview with Jim Cobb, Author of Prepper’s Communication Handbook
This is your seventh Prepper Book Festival so our readers are well accustomed with your work. That said, what topic or topics do you feel are underrepresented in the preparedness and survival genre?
I think far too many books and blogs today take a fairly simplistic approach to preparedness, catering to the folks who are brand new to the idea of prepping.
That’s all well and good but what about the people who have been at it a while now? I think that’s an area worth exploring further.
Has your opinion of “the end of the world as we know it” changed over the years and if so, how?
I grew up in the 70s and 80s, during the Cold War when the big threat was nuclear war with the Soviets. Once that threat sort of faded out, then it was the dreaded Y2K. After that, it was terrorism (domestic and abroad) and pandemics. Today, it seems as though EMP is the reigning threat.
From my perspective, it really doesn’t matter a whole lot what the “disaster of the moment” might be. When you get right down to it, 90% of prepping is focused on how to survive AFTER the initial disaster hits. For example, we’re not too concerned about why the power went out. We’re more concerned with how to survive until it comes back on, whether that’s a matter of hours, days, or years.
Ted Koppel’s book, Lights Out” has introduced the possibility of a cyber-attack as well as preparedness to mainstream Americans. Do you think his book will alter the prepper landscape and if so, how?
I’m hopeful that it will open a few more eyes and bring some more people to the prepper fold. We saw a similar influx of new people after One Second After became so popular. How many people actually stick with it though, rather than fading away as the initial excitement wanes, I can’t even begin to predict.
I’m always happy to see new people embrace the idea of self-reliance and such. Sadly, though, a lot of them drift off once they learn how much work is involved.
What advice do you have from the experienced or advanced prepper that wants to take things to the next level?
Go beyond just stocking up on food and supplies. Focus on learning skills and practicing them, everything from first aid to navigation, firearms to fire starting. Cook over an open fire a couple of times a month. Do drills regularly to find the holes in your plans while you have the time to fix them.
Supplies will only get you so far. Skills trump stuff.
Do you have a personal message you would like to pass on to Backdoor Survival readers?
Prepping is hard work, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. It is a lifestyle, not a hobby. That said, you also need to live your life. Go see a movie. Take a vacation, even if it is only a day trip to the other side of the county.
Live, laugh, love.
Don’t get so caught up in the potential for gloom and doom that you forget to appreciate the sunshine from time to time.
Jim has reserved 5 copies of Prepper’s Communication Handbook for this Book Festival Giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: This giveaway is only open residents of the United States.
The Final Word
I could not agree more with Jim’s assessment of topics that are under-represented in the prepper and survival niche. There are the financial, moral, psychological, and life-planning aspects of prepping that go far beyond the need for food, water, shelter, and supplies. This applies to blog articles as well as to books. Speaking for myself, I often struggle with maintaining the right balance of newbie and advanced topics.
“Live, love, and laugh” is also a theme that needs to be played out more often. It is my hope that over time, we will see survival gurus focusing on this most important aspect of being prepared for uncertain times and an uncertain future.
In closing, I want to mention that Prepper’s Communication Handbook represents the seventh time one of Jim’s books has appeared in a Prepper Book Festival. As far as I am concerned, as long as Jim keeps writing, Backdoor Survival will be here to promote his work. His books belong in everyone’s library.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 11: The Best New Books to Help You Survive.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Prepper’s Communication Handbook: Life-Saving Strategies for Staying in Contact During and After a Disaster
When disaster strikes, calls, texts and emails don’t work. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, cell phones were rendered useless when transmission towers were destroyed and networks became overloaded. Having an alternative way of reaching family and loved ones at these critical moments is essential. With this in-depth guide, you learn the best tips, tricks and expert secrets for surviving when phones and the internet fail.
This comprehensive guide covers everything needed to be fully prepared for when the grid goes down, including the best types of radio for every disaster scenario from HAM radios (used by most search and rescue groups) to walkie talkies (small and easy to use, ideal for children).
And, since survival communication goes beyond the short term, there are also instructions for longer term solutions like hand cranked or solar powered batteries. This is the ultimate guide to acquiring, assembling and utilizing life-saving emergency communication systems.
Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage
No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage. The eBook print version is available.