May 10, 2017

It's all about self-reliance.

Amateur Radio is about self-reliance, the ultimate and purest form of preparedness.  It starts like this: You are concerned about fake news and establishment mass media censorship.  You are concerned about the lack of reliability and .gov control of telecommunications and Internet systems.  You seek alternatives.  You get a shortwave receiver and police scanner so you can get information directly from the sources, get alternative viewpoints that aren't readily available elsewhere, and be able to get it when the establishment-controlled systems go down.  Now you have a broader and better idea of what's going on, especially in your locale and region, because that's what matters most. Now maybe you get some CBs or a ham license and 2 Meter radios so you can talk locally with your tribe if the phone and Internet systems go down.  You have just achieved a level of self-reliance that most people don't have, and you are better prepared as a result.

It gets better from there!  You conclude that modern radios, with their tight, cramped, surface-mount component construction are practically impossible to repair. So you start researching and looking into radios that you can fix, and learning the skills needed to fix them. You find a couple of 1970s or 1980s vintage solid state radios with discrete components and thru-hole PCB construction, and a similar vintage ARRL Handbook. You start learning about electronics.  Or perhaps EMP is a concern of yours and you go back to tube gear.  Either way, you now have radios that can be fixed, and you are well on the way to getting the skills to do so.  More self-reliance. After reading a few old 73 Magazine and QST articles, maybe even being inspired by AB5L(SK)'s story, you decide that you can go even further and build your own radios.

"Nobody builds or fixes things any more."
"I do."
"...he realized the enormity that IT ALL was waiting
for his command, and that NO ONE or NO THING was standing
between him and the capability to create whatever at

You discover that electronics knowledge has applications outside your radio hobby.  You are concerned about the electric power grid, and either have the ability to put together your own basic off-grid power systems or have a good idea of how to learn what you need to know.  You start looking at things with a more critical and educated eye.  You are a much higher level of self-reliance and preparedness than you started with.

Building antennas and tinkering with that old generator you picked up for a song at the local auction entails mechanical knowledge, so your skillset starts expanding that way.  The ham radio operators of old even assembled their own chassis units for their radios, and consequently had a basic mechanical shop along with their electronics lab.  More self-reliance and preparedness. By the way that old generator is a diesel, and the owner of the bar and grill down the road that you've been having dinner at once a week for the past few years would be more than happy for you to take all his used cooking oil, so he doesn't have to pay for its disposal.  That's OK.  You got a line on an old Ford F-250 with an NDI 7.3l International V-8 under the hood...

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