From the National Terror Alert web site:http://www.nationalterroralert.com/communications
The great grandpappy of the two way radio scene is the Amateur Radio service whose operators are known as Hams and who have pioneered radio communications since the first decade of this century. AR is also the most regulated of the non-commercial services, it can end up being the most expensive, but it can also be the most versatile and powerful.
All hams and their stations must be licensed by the FCC, and in order to receive a license, you must pass a written exam. Any license above the entry level also requires a proficiency in Morse Code. There’s no fee for the license (which is good for ten years), no age requirement and operators are allowed to use any frequency for which their license qualifies them.
A nationwide system of repeaters on the 144MHz and 440MHz bands allows nearly seamless communications as hams travel around the country. These repeaters are built, installed and maintained by active and well-populated local amateur radio clubs. Traditional amateur frequencies in the shortwave bands provide excellent coverage for local, regional, national, and even international, communications. Unfortunately, there’s not one radio for all of these capabilities which is why hams typically have three or four separate radios and antennas.
The easiest way into ham radio is via the “Technician” class license which requires a written test based on a text available through many sources. This class allows the user to operate(among others) in the 2 meter band (144MHz). Small handi-talkies for 2 meters are relatively cheap and give a range of 20-50 miles depending on terrain, power and whether or not you’re using a repeater. Many repeaters provide access to 911 services through the handi-talkie.
Expect to pay $200-$500 for 2 meter transceivers depending on features. If you’re planning to use Amateur Radio for your family, each member needs a Technician license and their own handi-talkie.
Stan - KC7CJS
ARES - Pima County, AZ