Lets just suppose.........
You are out somewhere in your car and it decides that this is a good day to go on strike. You whip out your cell phone and call home----- no answer. That's okay, cause your folks are always around, so you call them and you remember that they went to Wisconsin for the weekend. HMMMM?!?!? Try your best friend.... You get a machine, "leave a message." Try another friend.... if you can remember all those numbers. NOW WHAT?- well, let me tell you an experience I had .
As I was on my way home from work in another county, my wife paged me 911. Since it was going to be half an hour before I got home, I called her on the autopatch ( an autopatch makes your ham radio like a mobile telephone without the per minute charges,) and she tells me she was supposed to go pick up the kids, but her car wouldn't start. So I told her to have one of the other mothers pick up the kids and I would be home soon.
After we ended our telephone patch conversation, one by one, 3 other hams in the area offered to help me work on the car after I got home if I needed it. I thanked them in turn and kept this in mind. But the stunner was as I pulled down the street about 15 minutes later, in my driveway was another ham/friend who had come over to our house and had his car hooked to my wife's car with jumper cables trying to get it going. This gentleman never said a word on the air. He just came over and proceeded to work on the car.These four people only knew us because of Ham Radio. And some had never met my wife.
You don't find friends like that on a cell phone or the internet!
Do you have several family members who are constantly going here and going there like ships in the night? Instead of wondering if they are ready to be picked up or doing the "2 rings and hang up pay- phone secret sign" (If you haven't noticed, pay phones are getting scarce) they can just call you on the old pocket radio and say "Mom, I'll be done here in about 10 minutes, oh, by the way, can you bring my team shirt? I forgot to put it in my gym bag this morning." (sound familiar?)
Kids in schools around the USA regularly talk to the Astronauts on the International Space Station. And no long distance bill!!! Helps to spur their interest in science. Many schools are developing Ham Radio programs in connection with there science departments. The ARRL is helping to promote this effort
Hams do lots of behind the scenes stuff that benefit the public, and most people are not aware of it. Teams of Amateur Radio Operators from several states were in New York for communications support for the WTC disaster, and stand ready for possible future needs.
Most of the Weather Spotters that help the National Weather Service pinpoint potential tornados and track hurricanes in YOUR community are Amateur Radio Operators. They also help in the relief efforts after catastrophes strike. When power lines and telephones and cell phones go out due to an event of this nature, Hams lend their time to help Police, Fire and the Red Cross communicate because amateur radio equipment is flexible enough and the operators are trained to get around the loss of normal communications systems. And communications is crucial at a time like this.
They also have just plain old fun talking with new friends and old, around the country and around the world.
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