Actually, that was my plan, but with everything going on the way it is n the world, it’s kind of hard.
Coincidentally, this coming Saturday, 4 October 2014, is the annual SET – Simulated Emergency Test – in which ham operators check out their capability and techniques for providing communications in an emergency. Telephone and cellular systems aren’t designed to handle every user all at once; I’ve been told that they can handle about 1 out of 3 users, which is actually quite a few. However, when something bad happens, everyone tries to use the phone and the system gets overloaded. If you add high wind, snow, flooding, or whatever that knocks cell towers offline, it gets worse.
Police, fire and other public safety radios have their limits as well, so when needed hams help out by providing additional capacity. If the phones are out and people have gone to a Red Cross shelter, hams can help sort out who is at which shelter. This leaves the police and fire systems open to handle their communications needs. We can send messages on the ham bands by voice, computer links over the air, television, APRS – which is like a computerized twitter but it also shows the location of the sender, and yes, even Morse Code.
Of course, if the phones are out, we hams can check in by radio with a family member who’s a ham and make sure that everybody is accounted for.
Today’s blog may not be funny, but at least it’s something positive rather than another dismal, bad-news downer. So as we hams say, “73!” (best wishes).