by Anonymous 411, The Organic Prepper:
In the role of Information Specialist of a prepper group you may or may not also be the Communications Specialist (radio operator) of the group. Either way, you will likely have input as to the tools and information should be gathered for emergency communications means.
During a disaster, you need to stay abreast of the events going on around you. In a weather emergency, such as a hurricane, tornado watch or warning, or winter storm, you need an NOAA weather radio or a radio capable of receiving NOAA weather broadcasts.
In addition, you should have an AM and FM radio to pick up local stations for news and additional weather reports. You may also need a radio to communicate your need for help. In an SHTF situation, you could need two-way radios for self-protection against possible bands of looters in your area. In this scenario, you would use two-way radios for tactical communications to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors. In addition, you will need to know what is going on in the rest of the country and world. You need to know if and/or when help is coming.
Your local radio and TV stations may or may not be operating. Your satellite receiver may not be working or the satellite itself may not be working, buy you need to be prepared in case they are working. If your power is out, which it likely will be in a SHTF situation, you will need batteries charged by solar power.
Many amateur radios and all short wave radios can listen to short wave broadcasts from both the U. S. and the world. Here is a List of Short Wave Radio Broadcasters.
Why listen for news?
You need to know exactly what disaster has happened, just how bad is it, how extensive the damage is, and whether danger coming toward you or not. Will there be additional disasters and if so what kind and when? Do you need to evacuate, when and why and what will you need most?
Once you buy a radio you need to set it up with the correct type of antenna and use it. You need to learn what all the buttons, switches and dials are for. Operating your radio is a skill just like all other disaster preparedness skills, and you need to practice.
You need to know what stations on what frequencies and what time of day (in your time zone) the stations will be operating and when news broadcasts will be. This includes AM stations, FM stations, and shortwave stations. As enjoyable as music is you really can’t afford to use up your battery power listening to music.
You need the news. You should also learn to discern the difference between honest news and fake news i.e. political propaganda. Propaganda may help your morale but it won’t tell you when you personally are in physical danger and that is what you most need to know. If you are part of a group you have a responsibility to provide honest news to the group leaders and members.
Your communications for information options include the AM and FM broadcast radio stations, TV local broadcast and satellite channels, shortwave radio listening, amateur radio, and print media such as newspapers, if any and satellite internet.
Your scouting patrols may choose to question refugees about what they have seen regarding damage, roadblocks, forces (military, police, mobs, warlords/brigands, etc.) It’s a good idea to mark those locations on an erasable map.
Radios come in two types. We’ll discuss them below.
Receivers for Emergency Communications
These radios only receive information, like the radio in your car.
AM and FM Radios
These radios are typically battery powered and the best option is solar charged batteries. While I don’t have any specific recommendations, radios by Grundig are well made and have a good track record.
Solar Power Radios and Hand Crank Radios
Emergency radios are available that operate on solar power and by a hand crank. Solar power radios work by charging the radios internal batteries. Hand crank radios store the hand crank energy in an internal flywheel, which powers an internal generator. These hand cranked radios only operate a few minutes between cranking.