During this past week with the devastating fires that have occurred throughout Australia many people have been left cut off from loved ones with roads being blocked and widespread extreme fire danger.

During natural disasters, conditions can change in a second, a simple thing like a switch in the wind direction can change everything.

Remaining in contact with Safety officials about evacuation or weather updates is crucial

Holiday makers fleeing vast “tourist leave zones” have found themselves stranded without power and water. Whole communities have been forced to flee their homes. 

Here’s our guide on the best ways to communicate during times of emergency including if you have lost power and internet.

This guide relates to use around Australia but also to communicate with people/ family overseas.

By using communication methods both online and offline and educating yourself on options for all situations including loss of power. You can ensure you are prepared at a time you may need it most.

  1. Emergency Radios: We are starting here because unfortunately during major bush fires, people can be in very remote areas and experience power and network outages. Emergency Radio is the only way you will be able to hear crucial safety messages. These compact units are essential to any emergency kit. Battery operated Emergency Radios capable of receiving broadcasts in the AM, FM, and Shortwave frequency bands provide a long range and simple method of keeping up to date with the latest emergency information. Traditional radio broadcasts cover a much wider area than mobile phone towers allowing signals to be received from much further away mitigating against local power and mobile phone outages.
  2. Apps: Downloads of the “Fires near me “App surged to over 750,000 in November when NSW was declared a state of emergency. Being able to open an app and see in real time where the fires were burning and what category they were was extremely helpful to people in fire affected areas and for those with family and friends in fire effected areas.
  3. Text Messages and Text Alerts: During a fire you may receive warnings on your mobile phone. With warnings and instructions on what to do. You however will not receive the message if the network is down or if your phone is switched off.
  4. Phone Calls: Phone lines can become over run during times of emergency, so the advice given is to keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information. emergency services may contact you with a recorded warning for your area. In many emergencies power and communications can be interrupted so Try to conserve the power on your phone by doing the following. Disconnect the phone battery and only plug it in at intervals to avoid draining it. Close all web pages and unnecessary apps. This should ensure you get the most life out of your battery because you just don’t know how long you may be without power.
  5. Social Media: Using Facebook or Instagram allows users to tell their friends and family that they are safe and live report what is happening. Social media has proven to help improve people’s awareness and preparedness for natural disasters.

Additionally, radio is a broadcast medium of communication meaning that many people receive the same message simultaneously so if you miss an update your friends and neighbours in the local area can hear the same message and relay it to you. 

The ABC is the designated Emergency Broadcaster and will provide updates on local AM and FM stations in times of imminent danger. Additionally, the Bureau of Meteorology broadcast two weather services in the Shortwave Radio bands for Australia on the East and West Coasts. Both services broadcast bulletins and warnings on the hour.

In addition to this some radios on the market like the Degen CY-1 Emergency Radio includes some additional features like a white Led torch. A red flashing distress Led designed as a personal locator and a loud distress siren. In addition to this the radio has a 5V USB output to charge mobile phones. These compact radios are built for situations where there is no power and utilise both solar and hand cranked power sources.

It’s important to make your own evacuation plan and be prepared for the worst. Natural disasters often occur without much warning so planning before hand will pay off when you need it most.

If you are interested in equipping yourself with an emergency radio, we have some great radios that are small enough to simply click on your belt, right through to larger versions with multiple capabilities. 

Here are some of our most popular emergency radios.


Image Via Northern Daily Leader.


There are a number of radio position schedules on the 628 nautical mile voyage between Sydney and Hobart.

To ensure good communications throughout the voyage, radio relay vessel “JBW” maintains a continuous listening watch on VHF Channel 16 and 4483 KHz.

Daily position reports (AEST):

December 26 1905 AEST on 6516KHz

December 27 and until race end, daily: 0005 AEST on 4483KHz, 0735 AEST on 6516 KHz, 1705 AEST on 6516 KHz.

In addition the Bureau of Meterorology will broadcast relevant marine weather information from VMC as follows:

The Charleville transmitters (VMC – Australia Weather East) broadcast weather information for Australia’s eastern waters. The VMC voice schedule is as follows: Weather bulletin EST* CST* WST UTC Frequencies (kHz) Coastal Waters forecasts for Queensland 0730 0700 0530 2130 4426 8176 12365 16546 1130 1100 0930 0130 1530 1500 1330 0530 1930 1900 1730 0930 2201 6507 8176 12365 2330 2300 2130 1330 0330 0300 0130 1730 Coastal Waters forecasts for New South Wales and Victoria 0930 0900 0730 2330 4426 8176 12365 16546 1330 1300 1130 0330 1730 1700 1530 0730 2130 2100 1930 1130 2201 6507 8176 12365 0130 0100 2330 1530 0530 0500 0330 1930 Coastal Waters forecasts for Tasmania 1030 1000 0830 0030 4426 8176 12365 16546 1430 1400 1230 0430 1830 1800 1630 0830 2201 6507 8176 12365 2230 2200 2030 1230 0230 0200 0030 1630 0630 0600 0430 2030 High Seas forecasts for Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern, and Southern areas 0830 0800 0630 2230 4426 8176 12365 16546 1230 1200 1030 0230 1630 1600 1430 0630 2030 2000 1830 1030 2201 6507 8176 12365 0030 0000 2230 1430 0430 0400 0230 1830 Marine weather warnings are broadcast on the hour (on the half-hour in CST) for NT, Qld, NSW, Vic, SA, and Tas coastal waters zones and for all high seas areas. Navigation maritime safety information notices are broadcast at 25 past each hour. Notes • Coastal Waters forecasts are for areas within 60 nautical miles of the coast. • EST = Australian Eastern Standard Time WST = Australian Western Standard Time • CST = Australian Central Standard Time UTC = Coordinated Universal Time * During daylight saving time, add 1 hour to EST and CST to obtain AEDT and ACDT equivalent.

Happy listening. If you do not have access to a shortwave receiver, use the Tecsun SDR at: http://www.tecsunradios.com.au/store/tecsun-sw-radio-online/

Over the past eight weeks we have been running a competition to win a Tecsun PL880 radio. The purpose of the competition was to generate excitement around the capabilities of shortwave and promote Radiogram to budding amateur radio enthusiasts.

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