Modern cell phone and internet services are widely available and very reliable in most places, most of the time. So you might be wondering why anyone would ever need radios to communicate.
Cell Coverage is Spotty or Nonexistent in Some Areas
Cellular service providers have few incentives to build cell towers in sparsely populated rural areas. Cell coverage in Black Moshannon State Park and the surrounding forest is spotty at best. Our GMRS repeater network allows park users to keep in touch with friends and family located anywhere within the coverage area.
Cell Towers Require Electrical Power
When utility power is unavailable, cell towers switch to battery backup power. Service providers do not publish information on battery capacity, but discussions in online forums give the impression that a typical cell tower has enough battery capacity to operate for four to eight hours. Some towers are also equipped with generators that could probably supply power for several days without refueling. During a blizzard, fuel trucks may have difficulty navigating snow-clogged or icy roads to reach cell towers located at the tops of hills or mountains. The MVRN repeaters are not immune to these issues, but our volunteer members have generators and four-wheel drive vehicles, and our network is our top priority.
Cell Towers Have Limited Capacity
In the hours and days following a major event such as an earthquake or a terrorist attack, the number of phone calls being attempted can exceed the capacity of cell towers, preventing you from getting a connection.
Land Line Phone Service is in Decline
In recent years, as cell phones have become more popular, increasing numbers of people are eliminating their land line phones. Some land line phone service providers may cut back on preventative maintenance such as tree trimming due to limited funds. This leaves phone lines susceptible to weather events such as ice storms.
Bundling of Internet, Phone, and TV Increases Vulnerability
Cable companies and cell service providers frequently offer significant discounts to customers who bundle multiple services such as internet, phone, and TV. If all of your services are provided by a single company, the data probably flows through a single communication channel such as a TV cable, a satellite link, or a cellular link. In that case, none of your services can be used as a backup to the others, because they all depend upon the same infrastructure. If you lose one, you lose them all.
Peace of Mind
FRS and GMRS radios can help you to keep in touch with friends and family when you’re having fun. But even if you have no need for them in good times, imagine what you would do during a lengthy communications blackout. Buying a radio is like buying a fire extinguisher. You hope you never need it, but if you ever do, you’ll be glad that you were prepared.