Letter: Russian Takeover in Ukraine

Dear Hugh,

I am surprised that you did not touch on the tactics used by the Russians in the recent annex of Crimea. One of the first things the Russians shut down was the local Internet and cell phone communication. They were able to isolate the area from communications in and out. I thought CB and Ham radios were a thing of the past, but after seeing what happened in the Ukraine I am looking to set up a base CB in my home and a mobile in my Jeep. For Jeep owners, there are numerous after-market CB kits available specifically for Jeeps. My long-term goal is to get a Ham license and a digital police scanner. All the best – PJW

HJL Replies: You hit the nail on the head right there. The same rules apply for communications that apply for your PMs. If you cannot hold the total product in your possession, you don’t really own it. I spent a year as a system administrator, working with a team to install one of the first digital phones systems in the U.S. I was quite surprised to find that all phone systems have the capability and the requirement from the government to be co-opted when so demanded. Your cell phone is only good as long as the company and/or government allow you to use it. With Ham/CB/FRS/GRMS you have the total capability in your possession and cannot be effectively blocked. Those with Ham licenses are often the only ones to get information in or out of a country that is in upheaval. A lesson that we should all heed.