In An Emergency, What Radio Should I Use?

(Source: Life in Solera, October 2023)  

Many years ago, Solera had a vibrant Emergency Preparedness Program (EPP) with a huge cadre of participants.  A couple of the main challenges identified for program managers were the size of our campus and the ability to coordinate resources. To mitigate the size issue managers curved the community into smaller neighborhood blocks. The communication challenge was met by the use of Family Radio Service (FRS), commonly known as Motorola walkie-talkies.

Why don’t we use cell phones to communicate? For person-to-person conversations, a cell phone could be an adequate tool.  During disaster operations, there is more of a need to convey important information or call for help to a larger group of listeners.  Radios will meet that demand during the chaos of a disaster.  The likelihood of cellular service working in a disaster is highly unlikely.

Part of EPP cadre disaster preparation is to practice their resiliency skills. Members of the EPP participated in drills that incorporated of the Motorola radios.  Unfortunately, the use of the lower power walkie-talkies was problematic. FRS radios were designed to cover only a one-block area. As a result, participants would talk over each other and negate any form of contact.

To resolve the poor radio performance, the Solera Radio Club purchased and installed a $3,000.00 radio system at the clubhouse (funded by the radio club and not by the Solera at Oak Valley Greens HOA). This radio system will allow residents to communicate with the current CERT cadre without the fear of talking over others.

Residents have free access to the Solera Emergency Radio System.  The only item needed is an inexpensive commercial-style UHF radio.  The cost for the radio ranges from $20.00 to $60.00 on Amazon. If you are interested in obtaining the proper radio, please direct your queries to the radio club or the Solera CERT cadre.

The Solera Radio Club ( is the auxiliary communications component of the Solera CERT Cadre ( The radio club meets the second, third, and fourth Friday of each month in the arts & crafts room of the clubhouse at 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.


Question:  What does Ham mean, as in “Ham radio?”

Answer: The word “HAM” as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless station operated by some amateurs of the Harvard Radio Club. They were Albert S. Hyman, Bob Almy, and Poogie Murray. At first, they called their station “HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY”..

TRIVIA QUESTION THIS MONTH (Answered next month)

The portion of the FM dial between 88 and 92 MHz is usually reserved for what type of station?

This article was brought to you by Club Secretary Ray C. Gayton-Jacob (N6KZM)