Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why Amateur Radio?

This is an excerpt from the TRO Signal Bulletin for 02 SEP 12:
As ham radio leaders are fond of reminding us, amateur radio is a hobby.  Most people that become hams do so because they enjoy doing things with radios.  Ham radio offers many opportunities to have fun, as well as chances for education, personal development, and fellowship.  But why should the government continue to allow ham radio to exist?
Much of what we do can be, and is, done by professional technicians and engineers.  If anyone wants to work with radios, they can go to school to get the training or education they need.  
Most of the professionals design, build, and maintain the communications systems used by the military, law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical, emergency management and other government agencies, as well as the broadcast industries that keep the general public informed.  Don't forget those that work to keep both the landline and cellular phone systems going. These systems do work most of the time, and nowdays, we see more and more interoperability incorporated into these systems.  In light of how well these system perform most of the time, someone might question the need for amateur radio.
But what often happens to these systems in major emergencies and disasters?  They fail, due to damage to the equipment, loss of power, or they become overloaded by the amount of traffic they have to handle immediately.
When this happens, the professionals concentrate their efforts on restoring and repairing these systems.  But vital messages still need to be passed.  The professionals don't have the time to handle this traffic.  What is obviously needed is a backup system already in place or easily deployable.  Amateur radio is that system.  That's why, "When All Else Fails...."

Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, recognized this at a recent conference, where he said, "But when you need Amateur Radio, you really need them."

For more about this conference and Fugate's remarks, go to this website:
The TRO Signal Bulletin is a text-only publication that I produce on behalf of the Tulsa Repeater Organization, and I send it out over the club's WA5LVT Yahoogroup.  It focuses on ham radio events and activities in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  To receive the Bulletin, you can sign up at the WA5LVT Yahoogroup here: