Letter: Ham Radio Classes

Hello James, and Hugh, and readers

I just finished teaching my second Ham radio class for this year, with four licensees in each– two general and two tech. I teach general and tech at the same time, with emphasis on tech, and I encourage extra study on the general with questions and instruction for each being answered for each class. My classes usually go for 10 or 12 Saturday mornings 0900-1200 or until we exhaust the teacher, whichever comes first. I just found out last Tuesday that I have seven more students who want me to teach another class. Whew! I’m getting tuckered out. Fortunately, I do have a few buddies to take up some of the slack and help out.

Now with the new general book coming out, there goes another $38 or so. However, the reward is far greater. I am finding that most of the students are middle age and senior, and they all seem to be in some form of prepper activity and know that the SHTF situation is coming soon.

It is definately true that having short wave, HF/VHF, et cetera is an excellent way to communicate for SHTF communications, but I tell my students that the real learning occurs after the license is obtained. It is an absolute must for them to not only obtain operational gear but to get on the air and get acquainted with their new friends. I also tell them that not every Ham is a prepper or think right like most preppers, so you should also learn who your enemies are and be very careful what you may say to them. It’s also important to remember that there is always someone listening wheather they answer to a call or CQ or not.

So I guess what I really want to say here is by all means make new friends on the air, keep learning about your new skills, and learn all you can. If you find a particular niche, then go for it. Learn who you can trust and who you must at all costs avoid. Another thing is when you find new like-minded friends find a good simplex frequency to meet them on if possible, or a good HF net of like-minded folks, or maybe even join in on AMRON, which is listed in the side bar on SurvivalBlog. They have some great nets to get involved with and even better training. However, you must get on the air and practice! A radio locked up inside the EMP box will be absolutely useless if you have no friends or groups to associate with after an event is over. Get involved with your local ARES, MARS, or NTS– the national traffic system. Learn to pass messages; without practice and learning your gear, it is useless. Be encouraged. All of us old timers, including this one of 54 years as a Ham, had our first time at the key or mic, and the first time passes fast into becoming a regular rag-chewer. Old timers love to get on with the new folks and encourage them. Often we will help you build antennas or give you parts for something you want to build, or we may just have what you need sitting around our shack collecting cobwebs or dust. I hesitate to think of how much gear I have given to new and old hams, including new gear for the less fortunate just to help them along. We old timers, well almost all of us, are getting long in the tooth, and we really need to start down-sizing anyway. What better way than to help a new Ham along the path by encouraging them to become generous, loving, kind, and thoughtful. We owe it to ourselves to teach, encourage, and kindly help our new friends.