I see posts on lots of boards from people who think they have no need of a HAM license because when the SHTF they can go on the air without worry about licenses. It isn't that simple.
Others worry that getting a license will make them a target for thieves who use the publicly available license information to figure out who has valuable radio equipment to steal. Perhaps they worry that the government will use the license list to confiscate the radio equipment once martial law is imposed.
If you think not having a license "hides" you somehow from government notice, I think you are dreaming.  The government would have a great deal of difficulty confiscating all the transmitter equipment from licensed hams in the country, even Russia has hams now.  An experienced ham can cobble together a transmitter from a few parts that fits in an Altoids can and will reach anywhere in the world.  Therefore, I doubt the government would even try.  Transmitting during a situation where the government has suspended the right to transmit would require some special consideration that licensed ham operators would be far more likely to know and get away with than someone who just bought a radio and wrapped it in tinfoil expecting to use it post SHTF.
Three Categories of SHTF Radio Needs
|1  ||Tactical communications.  This is information for the next hour or day and can likely be accomplished with handheld or mobile FM radios in the 2 meter/70 centimeter range.  On the suface, there isn't as much to learn about this mode since it takes place within your current horizon (around 5 miles or less for handheld units).  Getting a license and some experience can help you learn how to tweak antenna systems to get more mileage and set up ad-hoc repeater systems to extend your range.|
|2  ||Strategic communications (2 way).  To plan your next week or month, you need to be in touch with people within a few hundred miles of yourself.  For this you need HF radios using Single Side Band (SSB) and Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS).  The band selection for this is critical and depends on time of day, solar activity and other conditions that you have no hope of understanding without both studying the licensing materials and practicing.  For an amateur, even one with limited experience, this is not such an obstacle even though the equipment required is rather simple and the antenna system can just be a piece of wire, placement of that wire becomes critical for NVIS operation.|
|3  ||Strategic news gathering (shortwave listening) can be accomplished by anyone with a broadband receiver and some wire, although the right eqiupment can make it more successful.  This requires neither license, training or very much experience at all.  While this type of radio use will likely be very important, rebuilding our nation will have to start from the local communities outward and without two-way communications, there is little chance of forming alliances with anyone beyond shouting distance.|
If your goal is tactical communications with your next door neighbors, then get a blister pack radio from the neighborhood sporting goods store.
If your goal is to listen to the stronger shortwave stations in the world, then get a shortwave receiver which is available all over the place.
I recommend you build a strategy based upon what your personal goals are.  My goals are not for everyone, but increasing the number of people equipped to communicate effectively both strategically and tactically is a big part of my planning.