On a recent trip it became clear to me just how limited GMRS radios are in the back country. As soon as we were out of visual range of our friend Greg’s truck, and around a bend or two, we couldn’t communicate. I haven’t bothered with CB because, from what I’ve experienced, it’s just as bad.

For serious off-road communication, HAM is the way to go. Even if you’re out of radio-to-radio range (known as simplex communication), odds are you’ll still be able to communicate through a local repeater. To find a repeater near you, check this map. Radios can be handheld or truck-mounted. And high-end units can even offer GPS functionality.

To get started you’ll need a HAM radio license, something I still need to do. If you’re like me though, and want to get started, check out this excellent beginners guide to HAM radio that Chazz Layne, from Overland Journal, posted on Expedition Portal.