The following article's author, Alan Halcon, published it on February 28, 2011. We are re-posting it with his permission. You may also visit his website: Dirttime.com for other great articles by Alan & his colleagues. Click Here for the original.
We often take for granted things that have become part of our daily lives. But, once those things that we come to rely on so much are stripped from us, do we realize how vulnerable we are.
As part of preparation for disasters, we spend an insurmountable amount of time and money putting together the perfect kit with the right amount of gear. We lay in wait, hoping for a disaster to occur, only so we can spring into action and prove to everyone that all those years and hundreds of dollars we spent were actually for a good reason, and that we weren’t wackos after all.
It is a sad fact, however, many of the preppers I’ve had the opportunity to sit with and discuss preparedness come up short in one area, communications.
The internet, cellphones, and so many other methods of communications have become so embedded into our culture that we just accept them as life and can’t imagine, let alone consider, they won’t be there when we need them.
There are countless examples of failed communications during times of disasters:
September 11, 2001
After the attacks, Cell sites were overloaded causing communication malfunction
Interoperability between agencies was a major issue and is said to be a cause for why so many firefighters died
Katrina, August 2005
toppling of communication towers during the storm, which disrupted cellular telephone lines and other civilian communication infrastructure employed by many emergency responders.
Northeast Blackouts, 2003
Telephone Systems were overloaded
Cell phone systems were overloaded
internet was knocked down in many areas
In all of these cases, there was one reliable system that really help coordinate relief and rescue efforts… Amateur Radio!
As part of my emergency plan, I am a licensed Ham Radio operator. It takes very little effort for me to erect an improvised antenna and communicate with folks in other parts of the world.
Not long ago, on my little Yaseu VX-6R, with nothing more than the stock rubber duck antenna that comes with this unit, I was able to communicate with someone in Alaska and another person in Okinawa. Keep in mind, I live in California.
There are many emergency radio plans that can be designed and used with a ham radio, but the biggest benefit is it’s ability to work when all other systems have failed.
ARRL.ORG is a great resource to helping you get started on what can be a life-saving investment.
By Alan Halcon, on February 28th, 2011
To find a local Ham Radio Club, Click Here.