We would recommend getting your Foundation HAM radio license but contacting a local amateur radio group. They will help you learn the basics and complete the tests to gain your license. Once you have the license you will be able to transmit on any frequency within the limits of your license.
There are many radio types to suit all budgets, commonly used radios are like the Baofeng UV5r or Baofeng GT3 - these are small portable HAM radios (you need a foundation license to transmit on these). These can be purchased from Amazon from £20 to £30 and are a solid investment for your survival plan.
Other Radios types are available that dont need a license, these PMR radios dont need a license and use specific channels preset into the radios. These can be used by anyone so in an incident they could be used to contact others. The restrictions with these is typically the range and strength of the signal. Often limited to no more than 100 metres in urban area's these often lack the power to reach longer distances.
Our recommendation is you look to study for you HAM foundation license. This will give you the ability to learn the protocols, gain understanding and be able to use your radio to its full effect legally.
During Emergencies we would recommend using the 3-3-3 radio plan - The 3-3-3 Radio plan is something we do recommend to maximise the battery life of your radio - this is a widely understood system and is used by multiple groups in multiple countries - this is very easy to put into practice and can be done with any level of radio, HAM, CB, PMR, Marine Band etc.
3-3-3 Radio Plan
ABOUT THE 3-3-3 RADIO PLAN
Here’s how the 3-3-3 Radio Plan works:
Turn on your radio. Every 3 hours. For 3 minutes. Channel 3.
EVERY 3 HOURS
Always use your Local Time for local area communications with the 3-3-3 Radio Plan. At the “top of the hour”, every 3 hours:
3am, 6am, 9am, Noon
3pm, 6pm, 9pm, Midnight
FOR 3 MINUTES
At the top of every 3rd hour, turn on your radio. Even if you don’t need to make a call yourself, always turn on your radio and listen for calls for at least 3 minutes. This is because you never know if someone may be trying to reach you, or may need help. If you need to check in, make a short transmission at this time. Say “This is me, just checking in.” If you have sufficient battery power, or if you have not connected in for a while, then you should listen for 15 minutes. Synchronize your watch with others whenever possible. If you doubt your watch accuracy, compensate by keeping your radio on for a longer duration, before and after every 3rd hour. If you don’t have a watch, try listening to an AM broadcast radio station, they always identify their call letters at the top of each hour.
ON CHANNEL 3
Channel 3 usually applies to CB, FRS, or MURS. These are the most common types of radios used by preppers. If your group has a different designated SHTF channel or Prepper SHTF HAM frequency, you should use it instead of Channel 3. The rest of the 3-3-3 Radio Plan remains the same. Keep it simple.
FEATURES OF THE 3-3-3 RADIO PLAN
1. Easy for everyone to remember the “Rule of Three”.
2. Conserves precious battery life for walkie-talkies.
3. Gets everyone on the air at the same time.
4. Sets a schedule of 8 times per day to call each other.
5. Avoids impractical hourly schedules.
6. Enables the use of short transmissions for optimum success and security.
7. Three hours is enough time to rest in a survival situation.
8. A person can walk 8 miles in 3 hours, the practical distance limit of handheld radios over average terrain.
Credit for 3-3-3 radio plan goes to https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/