Many people would say that the CB radio craze of the 1970s and Ham radio became obsolete when mobile cell phones became commonplace in homes and cars throughout North America. Many hams figured their hobby would slowly fade on the 2 metre and 70cm bands as technology advanced. The airways would become silent as more and more people started relying on their iPhone as their number one mobile communication device. Ultimately resulted in a false sense of security, especially during an emergency or critical event as people increasingly relied on their cellular networks. This trend would continue with little change as mobile technology increased and cell phones grew in popularity, sadly at a great cost to citizens when they needed them the most.
The iPhone is not the crisis tool we hoped it would be
The problem with iPhones and other smart devices is that they are not the answer in an emergency. In times of crisis, they were not the tool they people hoped they would be. When the students in the 1999 Columbine school shooting, used their mobile phones in one of the first times this new technology was used in a major emergency. They become problematic for first responders. Students shared misinformation with news reporters, 911 dispatchers couldn’t keep up with the calls, which delayed critical information being tasked with responding to the incident.
As time passed the problem has only gotten worse as more and more people have access to mobile phones than ever before. From the September 11th attacks to Hurricane Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombing, or the 2020 Portapique shootings. In all these critical events, cellular networks either slowed down dramatically or intermittently stopped working altogether. Leaving people unable to share information or stay informed as the event progressed. For all the reliance we place on cell phones, they have failed repeatedly when critical events or disasters are happening.
Two-way radio for emergency communication continue to work when all else has failed
Where cellular networks and smartphones have failed us, two-way radios have excelled and have proven themselves with the test of time. They have a dedicated bandwidth and a limited number of users. Despite all the advancements in two-way radios, their price remains within the reach of most citizens. Especially with the release of the Baofeng GT-5R or the Yaesu Ft-65R, these radio are designed for emergency communications.
These handheld devices remain easy to use and simple enough for even a small child to operate. In the modern amateur radio world with the addition of bi-directional amplifiers, distributed antennas, analog and digital repeaters. The two-way radio is reliable and consistent in many areas where cell phone signals cannot reach and have consistently failed their users during an emergency.
Thankfully emergency management groups have moved away from cellular networks in their disaster plans. These organizations are placing their priority on two-way radios for emergency communications with disaster strikes.
Communication is Essential During a Crisis
Families, communities and volunteer groups with a little planning and preparation can take advantage of the benefits of Two-way radio during critical events. These handhelds can help manage appropriate emergency response, connect with first responders and ultimately save lives. These simple modern radio devices will ensure that any users will be ready for a community disaster or an unfortunate crisis.
Two-Way Radio Communication was Ed’s lifeline
It was While Ed W4EMB, was still station in Iraq, he studied Ham radio while he could, between missions. Little did he know that when he got back and wrote his amateur radio exam. That the skills and experience he used in Iraq would help him on his first emergency communication activation during major flooding in Tennessee.
Visit Ed W4EMB on his YouTube Channel. Retired from the Army looking for hobbies to keep him busy. He likes to live stream for fun.