Ever since my Dad was knee high to a grasshopper he’s been fascinated by radios. From tiny crystal radios to his impressive ham radio set up today where he talks to other Hams the world over. My childhood memories include the dits and dots as my Dad corresponded in Morse code during the early morning hours of each Saturday morning. I’ve never had much interest in Ham Radio until now, when prepping has become such a part of my life..
Ham Radio is a useful hobby that also has the potential of providing important community services. In case of an emergency your cell system will be the first thing to overload and collapse. Combine that with the number of people who have given up their land lines and you have one wave of a perfect storm: lack of an ability to connect to the outside world.
My Dad’s radio tower. We’ve lived places where his radio tower consisted of a wire from our front porch to the basement.
You don’t have to spend a lot to become a Ham Radio Operator. As a matter of fact, the best radio for the beginner is the simple 2 meter handheld. There are those that might disagree with me. However when considering what I’d be using the radio for, and not wanting to spend more than what my needs would be, I think a budget friendly, portable, 2 meter would indeed be my best bet.
I live in Utah where from the Bishop’s Store House to every Stake Center a ham repeater has been set up. As a matter of fact the LDS Church has established repeater systems (think of them kind of as cell towers for the Ham Radio operator) that allow the use of handheld devices to communicate with family and others all over the U.S.
Before you can get on the air you have to become licensed and know the rules to operate legally. At one time you had to know Morse code in order to earn your Technical Class license, however that requirement has now been waived. The process is pretty easy. You study for a written test that is administered by volunteers certain times every week in your area. You can find more information about classes in your area and exam times on ARRL’s website.
My Dad sending Morse Code.
In an emergency, a 2 meter handheld device will have greater coverage and reliability than a CB radio, and most is certainly superior to a cell phone or land line. You can start out simply, or choose to make a splash in to the world of Ham Radio. The most important goal is to be able to communicate during an emergency.
What sort of communication set up do you have? Do you have your Ham Radio License? If so, leave your call sign in the comments below!
Want to know more? Spend some time on the ARRL’s website!