Communication is one of the three legs of the tactical tripod, Shoot, move and communicate. I can’t remember if it was Jeff Cooper or Chuck Taylor (now that I wrote that, some armchair expert will set me straight) that brought that term to the masses in the early days of civilian and law enforcement tactical training. No matter who said it, they were exactly right. We all know that no tripod can remain standing without the all three legs. Communications is vital in good times and in bad. Calling for help when someone is injured or catching up on family gossip is something most people just could not live without.

However, in a natural or manmade disaster the ability to communicate becomes a true necessity. When infrastructure breaks down you may be affected by food shortages, fuel shortages, medical emergencies, power outages and so much more. It is likely that the normal channels of communications will be lost at least temporarily. No cell towers, land line telephone, television, cable or satellite. With no Internet and the limitations of AM and FM radio, where will you get your news, weather and emergency assistance information?

Ham radio is the answer.

Amateur Radio operators set up and operate organized communication networks locally for governmental and emergency officials, as well as non-commercial communication for private citizens affected by disasters. Amateur Radio operators are most likely to be active after disasters that damage regular lines of communications due to power outages and destruction of telephone, cellular and other infrastructure-dependent systems.

Many radio amateurs are active as communications volunteers with local public safety organizations. In addition, in some disasters, radio frequencies are not coordinated among relief officials and Amateur Radio operators step in to coordinate communication when radio towers and other elements in the communications infrastructure are damaged. There are many online resources for learning about Ham radio operations and licensing.

One of the most important and active is the National Association for Amateur Radio and can be found at their website http://www.arrl.org/ Founded in 1914, the American Radio Relay League is the national association for amateur radio in the USA. Today, with more than 160,000 members, the ARRL is the largest organization of radio amateurs in the world. The ARRL’s mission is based on five core areas or “pillars”: Public Service, Advocacy, Education, Technology, and Membership. For all things Ham, this is a great place to start.

We will also review and give tips here on all of our regular forms of communication to include; internet, cellular, landline, CB, FRS, GMRS and all the gadgets, accessories, applications, software and hardware to go with them. Tricks and tips on security and privacy will be found here and we hope you will offer your own ideas and knowledge to other SPIKE readers. SPIKE is all about sharing ideas and helping out those in our community.