July 13, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

California

No cellphone? No problem! The vintage radio enthusiasts prepping for disaster (California)

There’s an ancient fable that Glenn Morrison, a pony-tailed, 75-year-old who lives in the California desert, likes to tell to prove a point. As the lesson goes, one industrious ant readies for winter by stocking up on food and supplies, while an aimless grasshopper wastes time and doesn’t plan ahead. When the cold weather finally arrives, the ant is “fat and happy”, but the grasshopper starves.

In this telling, Morrison is the ant, and those who don’t brace themselves for future emergencies – they’re the grasshoppers.

Morrison is in the business of being prepared. He’s the president of the Desert Rats (or the Radio Amateur Transmitting Society), a club based in Palm Springs that’s dedicated to everything ham radio.

The old-school technology has been around for more than a century. In lieu of smartphones and laptops, ham radio operators use handheld or larger “base station” radios to communicate over radio frequencies. The retro devices can range from the size of a walkie-talkie to the heft of a boxy, 20th-century VCR.

Generations after its invention, one of ham radio’s biggest draws for hobbyists is its usefulness in an emergency – think wildfires, earthquakes or another pandemic. If disaster strikes and internet or cellular networks fail, radio operators could spring into action and help with emergency response communications, and be able to keep in contact with their own networks.

Read more – Guardian: