Everyone Should Be A Licensed Amateur Radio Operator

We live in a world that is only a few seconds away from a Medieval civilization.  Events ranging from high level nuclear blasts to Internet attacks on the components of our digitally controlled infrastructure as well as natural disasters could bring our modern society to a halt.

radio_headsetLife on planet earth can be ‘interesting’ at times as witnessed by the plethora of natural disasters that plague mankind.  In seemingly ever increasing frequency, the magnitude of the disasters has increased or at least has had a broader impact on our current society.

Communications are easily lost in the disasters.  Sometimes for days or even weeks.  They aren’t lost if you have a amateur (ham) radio and a license to operate it.

Of course your world doesn’t need to fall apart to have need of radio communication.

Recently, some of our family members hiked to the high peak of a mountain during what was supposed to be a twelve hour hike.  Unfortunately, part of the party had to remain at a lower elevation due to health issues while the remainder continued to the summit.

Several hours after the agreed upon meeting time of the parties had passed, one of the fathers in the group became concerned about the location of his children.  The adult that had lead the hikers to the summit initially took the wrong path and they spent an extra three hours back tracking to complete the summit trail.

Everyone was safe but with the onset of darkness at 11,000 ft. and ten miles of trail ahead of them back to their vehicles, the father at the lower elevation was justifiably worried about his children and the other members of the party.

There was no cell coverage on the mountain and thus the two parties couldn’t communicate.  Had the leader of the lost group had a ham radio, the communication could have easily taken place and the level of worry would have been greatly reduced.

The parties on the mountain weren’t the only one worried when the families didn’t arrive home on time.  The mothers at home started to worry when it became dark and their husband hadn’t called to tell them that everyone was safely on their way home.
Fortunately, the father with a ham license called the local search and rescue group on his radio and asked them to relay a message to the wives to ally their concerns.

The story ends well but a lesson was driven home for all parties in the group.  It is easy to loose communications even in todays connected world, and that the investment in radio equipment and study to get a license to operate it is well worth the time and effort.

Fires, Hurricanes, Earthquakes and numerous other events can easily disrupt communications.  Stuff happens.  If you don’t have a ham radio, emergency communications and requests for assistance will be difficult if not impossible.

Do you want your family in that situation when it can be remedied so easily?

 

Start with a Technician License that will open a fairly broad spectrum of basically line-of-sight radio communication to you.   Equipment isn’t expensive.  Get a handi-talkie for your packs and a mobile radio for your vehicles.

If you want to communicate over greater distances, a little more effort in study will prepare you to obtain a General Class License and the greatly increased number of available frequencies to amateur operators.

if you currently don’t have an amateur radio license, why not?  Having one is just good sense and a lot of fun.  Licensed operators frequently help their communities with communication service at parades, marathons, bike rides, preparedness planning and a multitude of other activities.   Additionally, they can serve their community and the public at large as a member of their local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) group.

Ham operators enjoy an annual “Field Day” where operators test their equipment, skills and share the hobby with community and scouting groups.  Once more, hams find themselves having fun while serving others.

As hams say, “73” (Best Wishes).  We’ll listen for you on the air.

© Article Posted 7 Oct 2014 by Lee R. Drew on Lee Drew’s Views

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Preparedness Tips

We live In an ever changing world.  The earth seems to be in commotion, governmentsearthquake_house make mistakes of varying magnitudes and many groups espouse the actions and words of evil that create destruction and havoc among men.

Stuff happens and in the current condition of the world, it will continue to happen.

Given that knowledge, we need to constantly be prepared for disasters of one type or another.   Here are a few tips that focus on physical preparedness.

    1. Get plastic car keys made at AAA or a locksmith. Carry the card in your wallet or purse.
    2. Sweat pants / shirts are ideal emergency clothing. Cut arms, legs short if used in summer.
    3. Put a dryer sheet in each baggie containing clothes, towels, etc. Stops stale smell.
    4. Put a flat bed sheet sheet in each pack. Use for privacy, shelter, triangular bandage, etc.
    5. Use small plastic bags for inserts in a pillowcase. Blow up, tie off with elastic. Saves space.
    6. Rotate storage water every 6 months. No Clorox® in storage water. Use a few drops in the water you are going to rotate to clean out the container. Swish and dump on flowers. Replacement water is already treated by the city.
    7. DO NOT store water in plastic containers by sitting them on cement or near any household chemical. The chemicals will leach through the plastic and contaminate the water. Store it up on wooden pallets or other similar platforms.
    8. Packaged water keeps for 5 years.
    9. Beef MRE’s are the best tasting. Shelf life in 60-degree temperature is 10 years.
    10. Replace all batteries in your equipment yearly. Write on calendar for the change out date.
    11. DO NOT store water in colored plastic bottles. The color will leach out and contaminate the water.
    12. Make a carrier for liter-sized bottle out of strapping. Loop over shoulder, loop horizontal 6” above bottom of first loop, last loop at 90 degree angle starting on 2nd loop, sewn at bottom of first loop and then ending on the opposite side of 2nd loop. Liter bottle fits inside and can be carried over shoulder.
    13. Keep 2 flashlights in your vehicles. The odds of one failing are very high.
    14. Put a jacket and blanket in your car for each person it will carry.
    15. Keep 6 liters of water in your vehicle in a box. Each bottle should not be more than ¾ full to avoid splitting the bottle if frozen. The box will keep the bottles from rolling around and punctures.
    16. Port-a-potty: Line the 5-gallon bucket with plastic bags. Put a supply of the bags in the bucket along with Purell®, hand wipes, etc. as well as a snap on toilet lid.
    17. Get dry chemicals for the port-a-potty. The chemical foams up and has the consistency of thick soup when reacting to urine and feces.
    18. Keep Band-Aids in your wallet and purse. You never know when you will need one.
    19. Secure the water heater in your home. Get heavy strapping from your appliance store. If the water heater falls over during an earthquake, the gas line will probably break and your home will be destroyed by fire.
    20. Use Quake Wax® to secure your vases, etc. It comes in a jar and the objects and can be moved if needed but will not tip over during a quake.
    21. Use rubber grip liner material under TV’s, microwaves, vases, on the back of pictures, etc.
    22. Use Velcro® behind pictures to secure them to a wall along with earthquake proof hangers.
    23. Use Velcro® under blinds to keep them anchored on the bottom. This will stop most glass from entering if it breaks and will keep you from being hit in the head with the blinds.
    24. Use cords, bungee’s, etc. to keep your food storage items on the shelves. String from post to post at the desired height(s).

Posted 16 Sep 2014 by Lee R. Drew on the Lee Drew’s Views Blog