CQ Doomsday

“You got food?” — “Nope, we’re starving here too”

Since opining that an impressive number of new licensees hasn’t resulted in a noticeable spike in on-air activity, I’ve received several notes from those convinced that our recent growth has been fueled by the prepper movement. The notion being that these new licensees value the benefits of two-way communication capability without interest in typical ham radio activities.

This isn’t the first time I’ve considered such a thing, but it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Why not just stockpile two-way radio equipment and use it without a license? I don’t ever recall anyone in the Thunderdome being overly concerned about government rules. Especially considering the budget cuts that have reduced FCC enforcement to two guys and a truck. Besides, the intrinsic value of ham radio during a natural disaster is its ability to contact someone who can arrange to send help from outside the area.

Robust radio communication from an area devastated by hurricane or earthquake is invaluable because that area is likely cut-off from the rest of the world. In that scenario, sending messages to those in unaffected areas to SEND HELP makes perfect sense.

But in a post-apocalyptic world where the entire system has melted down, who you gonna call?

In that case, the ability to make contact with someone far away might help mend a lonely heart, but I imagine the actual conversation might go something like this:

“Are you guys as screwed as us?”
“Yeah, we’re totally screwed”
“You got food?”
“Nope, we’re starving here too”
“Okay, talk to you tomorrow if we don’t all die tonight”
“73 and good luck”

Silly me, it just seemed unlikely that preppers would embrace amateur radio in any significant numbers. And I was comfortable believing that until a photo appeared this week of an Oregon Militia member carrying what looks like a Chinese, dual-band amateur radio transceiver… I guess I could be wrong?

Author: Jeff Davis


3 thoughts on “CQ Doomsday”

  1. Good morning Jeff….
    Great post… Although up here in the Great White North (VELand) we don’t have an issue with preppers (as far as I can tell) although we do have lots of new hams using amateur radio as a tool in their hobby rather than as their hobby…
    SAR Groups…. Car Rally Groups… Adventure Racers and the likes are now operating on the repeaters doing public service work… and for the most part doing it quite well… We hear them on the repeaters during events… They might be new to ham radio but they are excellent at the service they provide their hobby… We don’t usually see them at club meeting or hear them at other times… although some do join the clubs but don’t participate …

    Hopefully they will see our hobby as more than a tool in their hobby and we will see more daily activity rather than just when they do their events


  2. HI All, I agree. I got my ham Technician license just over a year ago, mostly to use for hiking, kyaking, “foxhunts:, and other remote outdoor hobbies, like 73Bob said. I also hoped to join the local emergency radio club so I could participate/help as needed. However, there are other barriers, as well. When it came time to get equipment, I was deterred. I rent an apartment in the middle of town, so setting up a huge antennae is out of the question. I work on two jobs and one of them is a steady Sat/Sun gig, so weekend events are out. Also, even though every ham I have met is friendly and welcoming, I am a little shy about turning on my radio and making small talk (as well as being on right frequencies and using right lingo). I believed many newly licensed hams can relate. My new yaesu 8xdr gets here tomorrow. Looking forward to getting my feet wet and working past my barriers, so I can learn to “chew the fat”.

  3. Hey Jeff. To some extent, I am a prepper. I have a decent supply of emergency food, and water, etc. in my basement. We stock up on supplies that might be needed in an emergency situation. We don’t have a “bug out” location or anything like that, nor do we have an arsenal of AR-15s like the pick above, but we have taken some of the basic precautions. I got my ham license within the last 3 months, and a yaesu radio. I have learned how to use the device, and I have programmed the local repeaters in, but to be honest, I have yet to do a transmission. When I turn on my radio and listen, most of the conversations seem to revolve around radios and equipment. Being a beginner, I have very little to say about this topic. I’m sure nobody would mind talking to me per se, but being the rather introverted person I am, being quiet is very easy. That said, if an emergency were to happen, I might wonder how my parents are doing who live 30 minutes away. My siblings nearly all live within an hour’s driving time. None of them have licenses or radios, but there are lots of radios in this community, and I’m sure I could get a message out to them, and they to me if need be. And if somebody’s house was demolished, I might invite them to mine if it were still safe. And for what its worth, I’ll encourage my family to get their ham license as well, and that would make it even easier if they do.

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