Grid-Down Communication Methods

By James Barton •  Updated: 01/29/19 •  6 min read

If you were to ask me what would be the most important things for a survival situation, my first answer would not be a stockpile of food, water, shelter, and other supplies. Although such items may be crucial a reliable method of communication in a grid-down situation is of more importance.

Many preppers would not want to agree with me, but the truth be told. What would be the need to for stockpiles of food in a disastrous situation if emergency crews cannot learn of your case?

If you can reach your loved ones or the emergency crew, you can easily find the other supplies such as food, shelter, water, and fire making items among others from them.

Furthermore, establishing a reliable communication method in a grid-down situation can provide you with numerous other benefits. You can listen to and monitor the official communication channels to gather news on the emergency.

A suitable communication method is also vital is the emergency separated you from your loved ones. It offers the only way for you to confirm their status and to know how the crisis has affected them. The piece of mind you get you from knowing your loved ones are okay help boost your resolve to survive.

Available Off-Grid Communications Systems

In natural calamity or terrorist attack, the first thing that suffers is electricity supply. Depending on the disaster, restoring power can take several weeks, months and even years.

Anything powered by electricity will die. Therefore, you must devise ingenious ways to establish communication. Here are a few off-grid communications systems at your disposal.

Cell Phones

In an emergency, your cell-phone might still have power, or you may have a backup power bank. Unfortunately, your cell phone may not work because the disaster could have destroyed to cell tower close to you. Even so, some cell towers have backup generators designed to kick in f the grid goes down.

This does not mean you cannot try to establish communication using your cell phone. You might get lucky. A cell-phone should be your priority. It is affordable, portable, convenient, easy to use and can reach any geographical location in the world. Even text messages can go through if calls cannot work.

Land Lines

The old corded landlines may be out of fashion in our homes but not in emergencies. They are vital in an off-grid situation. If you do not know it, landlines get the power they need from the phone lines. This means they can function even of the main electric grid is disrupted.

Reserving a landline phone for off-grid communication is peppers’ golden goose. Unlike cell phones that need cell towers, landline phones use a less complex mechanism. Even more beautiful is the fact that such systems are not prone to congestion as cell phone networks. VOIP phones may look like landline phones, but they cannot work without electricity.

Satellite Phones

An extremely reliable communication system for off-grid is the satellite phones. These unique phones do not use cell towers. Instead of connecting to the terrestrial cell types, satellite phones connect to the orbiting satellites. Although advanced, these phones still provide similar functionality as regular cell phones. You can send SMS, make calls and even access the internet.

So long as the sky is clear or partially cloudy, satphones can reach anywhere in the earth or just specific regions.  These devices operate on a subscription-based model. Therefore, they are most commonly ideal for expeditions to remote locations or professional outdoor guiding.

Nevertheless, some modern models are engineered for more casual use. They let you pay a modest monthly or single-time fee and send SMS out via the satellite. These devices may be expensive but incredibly great for a backup communications system.

Special Off-Grid Communication Devices

The current advancement in technology has led to the production of a few communication devices made with preppers in mind. Here are four such advanced gadgets for off-grid communication:

goTenna Mesh

This device turns terrestrial cell-phones paired with it into a self-sufficient mesh network that can operate free from the bottlenecks of network resources, mobile reception, and power. It offers complete privacy. goTenna Mesh was developed in 2012 following Hurricane Sandy.

Beartooth Smart Walkie Talkie

Another fantastic off-grid communication device is the Beartooth Smart Walkie Talkie. The tool lets you speak with another other people using your cell phone without the need for a signal.

The technology is similar to that of Bluetooth.  As for the range, voice calls can only reach people who are 5 miles away. Text messages have a range of up to 10 miles.

Gotoky Secure Off-Grid Communication Device

Gotoky is another modern off-grid communication device that can prove helpful in a survival situation. The tool allows you to pair your Smartphone with it so that you can send text and voice messages, create a mesh network, group text-based and voice-based messaging.

It also allows for emergency location beacon activation, real-time tracking, and navigation, recording routes as well as sharing GPS locations.  All the messages are entirely encrypted.

Fogo Adventure Off-Grid Device

The Fogo off-grid device allows you to communicate with others without an active signal. You can use it with your Smartphone, but it also comes with a number of great features that make it ideal for off-grid communication.

The most important of these features is the 1200 lumens LED flashlight, a 6800 mAh USB backup battery, a motion sensor, a fitness tracker, a waypoint navigation system, a crash detection system, bike computer, and Bluetooth speaker for communication purposes.


Ability to communicate with others is vital in every survival situation. You have learned about the off-grid communication systems at your disposal. Ensure you obtain one in readiness for any survival situation. You do not know when you will need it. You can back them up with the new technologies we have just mentioned. These latest inventions can allow you to communicate with your loved ones or emergency crew even where the signal is completely lost. However, you might have to part with a few dollars.

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James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.