7.7 Ham Radios

"One great reason to get a ham license, even a 'no-code tech', is that you get a call sign. You only need to read the question-and-answer book by Gordon West. Even if you never own a radio, in the US you can use your local radio club radio. If someone else acts as control operator, you can even do long-distance (longer than 6 meter wavelength bands). Once you are a licensed ham, every other ham in the world is your friend and will do whatever to help you, both on and off the radio. It is great for just talking while stuck in traffic or getting advice on anything, there is always someone out there. If you have an emergency, a ham on the air will stick with you until help arrives or, if necessary, will rescue you themself. Unlike 911 you can generally get through somewhere since there are so many frequencies. In LA there is a frequency I can call and have a sheriff dispatched by someone who monitors the frequencies for traffic disasters and other emergencies. You can generally spot hams in foreign countries by their large array of antennas. The cost of the exam is about $6 and the license is free. Last time I checked the only thing you could get for free was a certificate of death from the consulate if you died abroad. I guess they have not found a way yet to collect if you are dead. Threats are not very effective against dead people, nor is jail time." <Alan Wald>

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