About 6 months ago, I got my amateur radio operator license. Let me tell you, it's another good tool to have in your box when the SHTF. I find lots of benefits in getting it. I have a General, which gives me access to the High Frequency bands, besides the VHF and UHF (which the Technician class provides). So I can communicate locally with my community when disaster strikes and cell phones are nothing but paperweight, but also long range communication to see what's happening in some other part of the world. I've already done experiments with a battery and a solar panel simulating a power outage; it works fine. Imagine still being able to talk to your loved ones when the grid goes crapola in your area. The FCC exams in the USA are faily easy. Please take a look at this link, since it's from your current area.
Hope you get motivated so I can hear you over the airwaves. I know many fans would love to hear some survavalism rag-chewing in ham frequencies.
It is indeed.For people interested in survival and emergency preparedness the Amateur Radio Emergency Service ARES is a good way to get involved and network. http://www.arrl.org/ares
For those of you that are Technicians, recent changes in rules gave Technicians some new HF privileges. http://www.hamuniverse.com/frequencyallocations.html
Amateur radio is one of those skillsets that has several benefits beyond the obvious one of communications when more traditional methods are down:
*It allows you to link with people that probably share your same interests.
*It’s a good family activity as well, kids usually find it very interesting.
*It can be linked to other fields of knowledge (electricity, general home repairs)
I remember when I was little my old man had a HAM radio. It was the internet’s great granddaddy. I fondly remember the few occasions when we used it to talk with other people. I wish we had used it more back in the day.
Today, you have some pretty impressive rigs available. As this guy suggests, if you are serious about it and you want to get long range HF, better clarity, etc., its better to go for the more complete all band, all modes models. Something like Yaesu is known quality.
Yaesu FT-897D All-Mode HF thru UHF Transceiver AM-FM-CW-USB-LSB
Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W
Yaesu FT-450D 100 Watt , 6 thru 160M HF All-Mode Amateur Ham Radio Transceiver with Built-In Automatic Antenna Tuner & DSP Filtering!
These radios are pretty expensive but are not the same thing as much cheaper VHF, UHF and CB radios. These have a place as well, but the range you can cover with a CB is much shorter. Still, they usually make good additions for staying communicated while on vehicles while on the road:
Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way RadioTip on getting an antenna for next to nothing: Drive around town and when you see an antenna, don’t be shy about asking if they are interested in selling it. Sometimes people move into a house and don’t even know what the thing is there for and are happy to see that ugly antenna go, or even make a couple bucks out of it! Sometimes they simply lost interest. If they are still using it, well you just met another radio operator in your area. Win-win situation if there ever was one.