Hey Preppers: Ham Radio requires a license (whether your magazine says so or not)
Tue, May 23, 2017 at 10:24AM
David Coursey, N5FDL in Go-Kit Items, Licensing, Survival, american survival guide, gear guide, prepper

While I am not an outdoorsman, I enjoy thumbing through Backpacker and Outside magazines, mostly for the product reviews. Likewise, I look at an occasional “prepper” magazine, aimed at those who someday expect to be fighting off US Marshals and Navy Seals about to do, well, what?

Most preppers are more normal folks and, if we are honest, emergency-oriented hams share many of the same interests. In fact, we have had a number of preppers and suspect preppers in our HamCram licensing events. 

That interest explains how I ended up paying $10 for a copy of American Survival Guide’s Gear Guide. I found it quite interesting and as a result there are several items I now cannot live without.

But I have a real problem with their communications product section. It is written by a “Jim Jeffries” whom I pray is not one of the three “James Jeffries” listed with amateur call signs on QRZ.com.

My concern is the magazine shows several pieces of amateur gear — Yaesu and Icom — as well as some GMRS radios, but never mentions the requirement for operators to be licensed. Or if it did, I totally missed it.

I understand that in a prepper nirvana scenario nobody will be paying much attention to legalities, but until then, operating on amateuir frequencies sans license is a good way to meet the local ham community under unfortunate circumstances.

Likewise, GMRS, a service whose rules are now in discussion following a major rewrite, also requires a license. No test, but it costs $80 and is good for you and all your relatives.

Truth is, if it’s obvious to me that you are a serious prepper (not merely LDS), I am probably not too thrilled about your choice of amateiur radio as an adjunct. But, if I don’t have to know what you are doing in your home security basement — and you have room for me, the YL, and some animals during an emergency, all I can say is, “Welcome to Ham Radio!” 

Article originally appeared on N5FDL Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications (http://www.n5fdl.com/).
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