Who, What, When, Where and Why.
This is NOT an end all be all post, but I think I'm building a small habit of long posts. Whether or not you're already familiar with radio or not even sure that you want to it's important for a member of the family, team, unit to know how to ascertain and deseminate information. What information? All Available, as the old saying goes, the more you know! Or my favorite from morning cartoons, KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE.
The five W questions are just that, they're questions, they should be answered.
WHO, do you listen to/for. Public emergency services, ham radio operations, broadcasters, Citizen radio networks, etcetera.
WHAT, what are you listening to/for local information, regional situations, entertainment, world response, what are the group members doing?
WHEN, do you monitor in the morning, day, afternoon, evening, night. Do you listen at scheduled times for a particular thing like radio nets, or some other reason maybe your power is limited so keeping radios on all the time is not feasible for you.
WHERE? do you listen for the information. A shortwave radio will not pickup local police departments.
WHY, are you listening to police, or ham radio operations, is it a valuable use of power and time?
Now for the main dish, red meat and red potatoes. One of the more difficult is the WHERE answer. You cannot find information until you know where to start looking for it. The radio world is a vast, cavernous place and stumbling around it you'll surely find your way around but it's much better to have a flashlight and or a map. Enter the Radio Spectrum allocation and band plans.
Allocation of frequencies means there's certain sections of the radio spectrum where certain activities take place based on the properties and characteristics of the particular part of the spectrum and consideration for the intended use of it. Low frequencies such as AM broadcast frequencies and many ham and military units use low frequencies for wide areas state, regional, or international Communications. These can range from 1.3MHz to 30Mhz
From 30Mhz to 300Mhz you'll find local radio services such as FM radio stations and the Top 40 Countdown amateur radio stations, MURS radio service, police fire ems, the VHF AM airband, and more.
From 300Mhz to 3000MHz you'll find a trail mix of radio from businesses, FRS/GMRS, amature radio, trunked police systems, cellular phone signals (Civilian scanners have these blocked) security wireless systems, WiFi networks, data point to point . Below is an image of the Amateur Radio band plan and frequency allocations for the United States. If you have ANY questions, comments, additional information don't hesitate to post it.