As I learned from working in the areas ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and several others, cell phones and land-line telephones are basically useless. It became obvious very quickly that I could not call home from most areas due to the telephone lines and cell towers being “down” or busy. Fortunately, I was prepared by having a 2-meter, a 10-meter (both now replaced with a HF/VHF/UHF all band radio), a Citizens Band (CB) radio, and a Uniden Bearcat Scanner which all were mounted in my truck! The scanner allowed me to hear law enforcement and other agencies that were responding to and working the disaster.
The 2-Meter radio allowed me to contact local authorities and also to monitor rescue and recovery efforts and to plan which routes and areas to work in due to massive damage and debris everywhere. The CB allowed me to contact truckers and their fantastic network of highway/roadway information! With the 10-Meter radio I was able to make contacts that could get in touch with my family which were several hundred miles away and safely at home!
I use frequencies from five (5) different areas of the radio spectrum to aid in my travels, for safety, obtaining information, and in communication with others. The areas were: NOAA Weather Radio, CB (both AM and SSB), FRS/GMRS, VHF Maritime, and most importantly Amateur Radio (Ham Radio).
You do not need a license to monitor or listen to any of the frequencies provided in this article. However, you will need a license to talk on some of the frequencies listed. I will start with “free-talk” frequencies or the ones where no license is needed.