A modern cellphone is a powerful tool, and the modern prepper should not gloss over the potential usefulness of prepper apps. There are a host of things you can do with your smartphone or laptop that will make you a better survivalist.
So why not use the gear you already have to its fullest potential?
Here is the 12 best prepper apps for the survivalist:
- Software Denied Radio
- CCW – Concealed Carry 50 State
- Scanner Radio: Police and Fire
- Cargo Decoder
Let’s look at these prepper apps in more detail…
12 Prepper Apps
This is easily the most popular ham radio programming software out there. Why? Because it works great with the de facto prepper’s radio – the Baofeng UV-5R. While there are most certainly better HT ham radios out there on the market, the fact of the matter is that the UV-5R is the radio you’re most likely to encounter in a post-disaster world.
Figuring out how to program a UV-5R is a beast of a task (read my user manual for dummies). Really, the same could be said for most ham radios out there. CHIRP is relatively easy to use, however, and will save you a lot of time and frustration within the realm of post-disaster communications.
2 – Excel
This is hands-down the most common survivalist software or app out there. You need a checklist, table detailing what you’re low on, or a means of indicating how many people your retreat can likely harbor for two months’ span with 2000 calories/day?
In all of these cases, Microsoft Excel is going to be your primary workhorse. This truly is a versatile piece of software capable of acting like a calculator and doing other heavy math problems with ease when you need it to. If you’re a fan of spreadsheets, you’ll like Excel.
3 – Turpial
Are you into Bitcoin and want to be able to engage in commerce even if the power goes down? One of the easiest ways to do this is with Turpial. Bitcoin can survive an EMP attack and you can hide the “wallet” in your head.
Turpial is a mesh network, meaning it doesn’t need a cellphone tower to get the job done, and will allow you to exchange Bitcoin with other Turpial users for products and services.
Attach the Turpial to your laptop, phone, or other electronic device, and you’re good to go. Attach a larger antenna to that said device, and you have an even broader reach you can engage in commerce with. And all without internet access too. It’s a pretty cool tool that you may want to look into.
4 – Evernote
Perhaps you’re just looking for some way to keep track of the multiple memos you think of while you’re out and about on your daily routine. If that’s the case, pen and paper isn’t handy, or you just don’t like the inevitable mass of sticky notes, you’ll like Evernote.
This makes a great location to store lists of what you need to pick up from the store, reminders of when your appointments are, and the like.
5 – FLDigi
Another ham radio software, FLDigi, will let you create a message, compress it, and then send what was once a several-minute long voice message to your intended recipient via a compressed file a few seconds long.
This is a great tool if you’re concerned about other ham radio users listening in on your conversations, you want to make it harder for your location to be determined when you broadcast, or just for efficiency’s sake.
Easily one of the most exciting updates within the field of ham radio, software defined radio (SDR) is a means to use software as a radio. This means you can in essence turn your laptop into a radio. It’s a pretty cool idea, and there is a wide area of applications with more being discovered on a daily basis.
Determining if there are drones in the area, intel gathering, and good ol’ regular comms is all just some of the possibilities with SDR. You can easily get started in it for all of $50 in equipment:
- Includes 1x RTL-SDR Blog V3 R820T2 RTL2832U 1PPM TCXO HF Bias Tee SMA Dongle and 1x Multipurpose Dipole Antenna Kit
- Great for many applications including general radio, air traffic control, public safety radio, ADSB, ACARS, trunked radio, P25 digital voice, POCSAG, weather balloons, APRS, NOAA APT weather satellites, radio astronomy, meteor scatter monitoring, DAB, classroom learning, or for use as a low cost panadapter with a traditional ham radio.
- Several improvements over other brands including use of the R820T2 tuner, improved component tolerances, a 1 PPM temperature compensated oscillator (TCXO), SMA F connector, aluminium shielded case with thermal pad for passive cooling, activatable bias tee circuit and a much improved antenna set.
If you’re somebody who does quite a bit of traveling and are concerned about the laws for concealed carry of each state that you’re passing through, here’s an app/software that you’ll be interested in. It keeps updated accounts of the laws for each region that you’ll be passing through, allowing you to carry your pistol without having to worry about the consequences of its being accidentally seen.
Perhaps you’re not really into ham radio, but you do see the usefulness of a police scanner. If such is the case, you can easily turn your smartphone into such with this software. It will give you a full range of frequencies to listen to throughout the US and will help you to stay up to date on a riot in New York City – where your daughter may be on a trip – while you sit at home 500 miles away.
9 – RepeaterBook
Another ham radio software that’s worth its weight in gold. This app will use your GPS to determine your location to show all the repeaters that are in range of you. If you’re on a multi-day journey and want to keep track of emergency comms along the way, this is a great means of doing so.
All the offsets, input frequencies, output frequencies – it’s all in here. I highly recommend it.
10 – Cargo Decoder
You ever been driving down the road behind a semi-truck and seen that four-colored diamond with different numbers in each corner? That tells you what kind of cargo the trucker is carrying, and in the event of an accident or WROL situation will let you know what to expect.
Perhaps not the most useful of software out there, but cargo decoder could certainly serve a purpose.
11 – WeatherBug
This is hands down the best weather app out there if you ask me. I’ve yet to find anything as detailed and as user friendly as WeatherBug. Bad weather can easily kill and knowing what you’re up against on any given day can greatly improve your ability to make proper choices.
Whether it’s a blizzard, tornado, hurricane, or thunderstorm, WeatherBug can help you make the right decision.
12 – EchoLink
Did your UV-5R drop and break? EchoLink can serve as a great backup. It’s a voice-over-the-internet-protocol (VOIP) meaning it allows you to use the internet as a ham radio. There are EchoLink repeaters scattered throughout the country as well, meaning your message can truly have an international reach.
Just the other day I used an EchoLink repeater to listen to a ham radio operator in Scotland. I live in the USA. I’m serious, that’s how far the reach can be on these things.
Before Signing Off
Obviously, there are many more prepper apps out there that could be of use to the survivalist – particularly within the realm of ham radio. However, these are some of the best, most common, easiest to use, and most practical ones out there.
If you’re looking at improving your levels of preparedness, I highly recommend looking into each of them.
What are your thoughts though? Is there other software available out there you believe should have made the cut? Have you had any negative experiences with any of the above? Let us know in the comments below!