“Why not just get a couple of tin cans and a long piece of string? Or better yet, use smoke signals? Baaahahaha!”
That’s the reaction that some people have about ham radio. In a world of cellphones with unlimited long distance, voice over ip (VoIP) that allows you to talk with someone 1/2 way around the world for next to nothing, and Instant Messages for real-time chat sessions, why would someone consider going back to the technological stone ages of communication?
But then again, that’s the way many people react when you mention any kind of prepping. “Why do you need to store food? There’s a grocery store just down the street. Why stockpile water? Just turn on the faucet.”
They fail to see the wisdom of being prepared for times when the grocery store shelves are bare and the water pipes are empty. They can’t fathom a circumstance when help isn’t on the way.
But preparedness minded people, consider these possibilities and take actions to put themselves in better situations should those things occur.
Why I’m Learning Amateur Radio
That why I’m studying for my Amateur Radio License, more commonly known as Ham Radio. What if communications are down or are just unreliable? What will you do then? What if there’s a national emergency? How can you help?
I’ve decided that it would be in my family’s best interest for me to learn how to participate in the community of amateur radio enthusiasts. Why?
Provide Communications During Localized Emergencies
Ham radio operators are notorious for offering and providing assistance during and after emergencies. There are entire networks, such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), that go into action in times of great need. They come to the aid of their communities by offering their equipment and services.
For example, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when cellular networks were down and landlines were completely destroyed, over 500 ham radio operators provided emergency communications services to affected areas throughout the Gulf Coast region. Lives were, in fact, saved due to their efforts. During an event when a lot of thing went wrong, amateur radio operators helped to make things a bit better by providing much needed communications.
Information in a Post-TEOTWAWKI World
We’ve all heard the saying “Information is power.” Those that control the information typically accumulate the power. They hold information close to their vest and disseminate it sparingly to increase their own importance.
There may be a time in the future when mass media is a completely unreliable source, where the “news” is little more than a propaganda machine for the government or for big multi-national companies who seek to influence people’s perceptions and “control the sheeple.” Some may even say that we’ve reached that point already. We know that some newsworthy items don’t seem make the evening news.
With a ham radio, you are not dependent on an top-down organized source for information. You can communicate directly with others over a long distance. You don’t have to rely on reporters or official sources. You can hear from others, just like you, who are close by. And that is empowering.
Earning Your Keep After TEOTWAWKI
In a post-TEOTWAWKI world, some skills will be highly sought after. Medical personnel, organic farmers, and those familiar with operational security and wilderness survival techniques will likely be in great need. I believe those who are knowledgeable in long range communication devices, such a ham radios, will also be able to earn their keep among their peer communities.
Other professionals, including many who currently earn a great deal of money, will have a hard time justifying how they can contribute. I don’t believe ham operators will have that difficulty.
Learning New Skills
Like many worthwhile endeavors, learning ham radio is much more about the journey than it is about the destination. It’s not about getting a license; it’s about learning the electronics, the techniques, and the equipment so that in times of adversity or need, you can help out. It’s about expanding your core knowledge so that you’ll be better prepared should a time arise when the skill is needed.
Are you licensed for Amateur Radio? Have you found it useful?