Why HAM Radio is used in emergency situations
One of the first things that people need in the middle of an emergency is some line of communication. Whether it's a hurricane, earthquake or even a large scale fire, there is always a desperate need to get in contact with someone. It could be to tell a loved one that you are alright, or it could be for even more severe purposes such as contacting the emergency services.
Unfortunately, during most of the above circumstances, it can prove impossible to access the main means of communication. As you may expect, using the internet is probably well and truly out of the question, while mobile phone usage is also going to be unreliable at best. In terms of the latter, this is normally due to the fact that there are so many people trying to access the network that it's just impossible to get through.
Following on from the above, one of the best solutions can be in the form of HAM radios. We’ll now take a look to see just what this form of communication is and how it can help you if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an emergency.
What is HAM radio?
Due to the name that is coined to their communication form, many people are not too sure what HAM radio is. However, if you think of it as amateur radio, you will probably have a better understanding. It can be transmitted by any means you require, whether it’s CW, SSB, ATV, AM or FM. Moreover, in contrast to some Citizens Band radio forms, it is highly regulated meaning that there is little, if any chance, of any bad language being aired.
Why does it fare better than standard radio in an emergency?
The main advantage in association to HAM radio in emergency situations is that it does not depend as much on terrestrial facilities. This is crucially important, as such facilities have a habit of failing or even collapsing when an area is struck by some sort of disaster. HAM radio in contrast uses a slightly more unorthodox method and any person who has the required training can make antennas out of any type of material, while some will utilise a car as a power source. As you can imagine, it's therefore much easier to put together the required equipment for HAM radio systems when the pressure is on in an emergency situation.
When has HAM radio been used in the past?
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the use of HAM radio during disasters isn't simply theatrical but has also been implemented in real-life occurrences. For example, many people turned to this form of communication during the September 11 attacks in 2001, while several years later the technology was used to let weather forecasters know about the forthcoming Hurricane Frances. In some cases HAM radio has been classed as one of the best forms of disaster relief, which highlights just how important it is in modern day emergencies.
A summary on HAM radio
Most people associate HAM or amateur radio with pirate radio stations and therefore don't take it seriously. However, the reality is, as drastic as this may sound, HAM radio can be a life saver. As many disasters over the years have highlighted, HAM radio not only allows people to be made aware of the state of a disaster, but it also helps evacuate individuals. Unfortunately, one has to have the appropriate training in order to put together a HAM radio system, although if you do possess such skills they will be hugely invaluable in such challenging circumstances.
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