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If something bad goes down (state-wide or nationwide), what frequencies should I be tuning into?

I did see this answer, but I have a BaoFeng UV-82HP which cannot do HF at all, so what are my options?

Related question: if I wanted to hop on the radio and get in touch with someone during an emergency, what frequencies should I be aware of?

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If something bad goes down (state-wide or nationwide), what frequencies should I be tuning into?

Broadcast radio! Obviously, if your emergency services tried to let a lot of people know something is wrong, they'd do that on a frequency that most people actually have a receiver for.

For emergency communications (i.e. you want to actually transmit), things are a bit different:

  1. It's usually a good idea to keep the spectrum clean while distress communications are going on
  2. If you're on a maritime vessel, 156.8 MHz would be where you listen or set off distress/urgency signals
  3. I think in most countries channels designated as Simplex communications channel used in the default mode for that band are the optimal choice.
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The most important frequencies to have programmed into your VHF/UHF radio would be the VHF simplex calling frequency, and the frequencies of the more important local repeaters, especially the ones that have emergency power such as solar panels. BaoFeng radios are notoriously difficult to program channels into using the front panel buttons. There is software available, CHIRP being the most notable example, that can make programming the radio much easier. Your local ham club can help you program the radio.

If you don't have a ham license, then I can't recommend enough that you get your license and get on the radio and make contacts, enough that you are familiar with the radio and its features, and how to use a repeater or simplex frequency efficiently, and how to make a contact in an emergency situation (on both the end needing help, and the end rendering assistance).

In the last decade or so, inexpensive ham radio HTs ("handheld transceivers", aka walkie-talkies) have been available online from sites that don't worry about whether or not the customer has a license. Millions of such radios have been bought by non-hams and people who got their licenses but never practiced using the radios. The problem is that in a big emergency, big enough that the telephone network and the internet are down, then repeaters and the usual simplex frequencies could be swamped by panicky people who don't know what they're doing. When that happens, the repeaters handling emergency traffic will probably be forced to switch frequencies, CTCSS tones, or DCS codes, and those not knowing how to reprogram their radios will be ignored.

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