With smart phones, computers, and even landline telephones relying more and more on the Internet, what happens in a disaster that damages cell towers and other infrastructure?

Amateur radio operators spring into action. A method of communication--once thought to be dying off due to the increasing speed and popularity of the World Wide Web--is gaining new respect and unprecedented growth, especially in situations where the only available means of emergency communications is good "old-fashioned" ham radio.

Check out what was reported recently at Fox News.com by Jonathan Serrie:

Published May 19, 2014

ATLANTA – Seeking reliable backup communication in a crisis, emergency managers are finding new solutions in an old technology: ham radio.


“It’s just another avenue, another opportunity for us to be able to communicate,” said Herb Schraufnagel, public safety captain with Emory University Hospital Midtown.


As I've mentioned many times here on my blog, I am a licensed ham operator, holding a General class license with the call sign N5ASH. My wife, Sweetie has a Technician class license, and is known on the amateur airwaves as KF5KRN. FYI--my call sign is what is known as a "vanity" call, similar to vanity license plates; my wife's call sign is the one issued to her by the FCC after she passed her Technician exam. There are three levels of amateur radio licenses available in the U.S., with Technician being the entry-level, General is mid-level, and Extra is the "top" license. With each advancement in license class, more frequencies and other operating privileges become available to the licensee.

While this Fox News report--which can be seen in full, including video, by clicking the link below--highlights the very serious aspect of ham radio in emergency communications (or "EM COMM" in ham-speak), ham radio is a fun and fascinating hobby. It allows you to literally "talk to the world" with just some modest equipment, and a little know-how. Unlike Citizens Band (CB) radio, you must pass a test and be issued a license by the FCC before you can legally operate on the ham frequencies. If you are interested in learning more about the fascinating (and fun!) hobby and service of amateur radio, go to http://www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

And maybe I'll talk with you soon on the airwaves!

(via Ham radio: Old technology gets new respect | Fox News.)