The use of ham radio is on the rise! But why? Amateur Radio or “Ham Radio” began in the late 19th century and as with radio in general, amateur radio was associated with various amateur experimenters and hobbyists. Amateur radio enthusiasts have significantly contributed to science, engineering, industry, and social services. Research by amateur operators has founded new industries,built economies,empowered nations, and saved lives in times of emergency. Saved lives? How has ham radio saved lives? We have cell phones than can talk around the world and the internet which does the same. We have 911 for goodness sakes….What’s up with what seems like some nostalgic and archaic form of communication? Because…our most ubiquitous form of communication (which are amazing) are also the most fragile forms of communication now on the planet. In the event of an emergency, these forms of communication will be the first to fail. History has proven this. All it takes is a large enough event and these systems not only get overwhelmed but completely fail. Whether it be the earthquakes in Nepal or Haiti, or the hurricanes from Sandy or Katrina, it’s the ham radio operators that set up their radios and antennas and transmit emergency traffic….and saved lives. Ham radio operators work completely independent of any telecommunications system. We are literally sending transmissions through the atmosphere to communicate with people around the country and around the globe. Though an “amateur hobby” ham radio operators are some of the most professional communicators on the planet. My challenge to you is…join us! Families and friends can stay in contact over long distances and check in with other operators when standard communications are down. But yes, you do need a license… But why? Because like driving a car you need to know what you are doing and know the rules of the road. This is not like picking up a little walky-talky at a store. This is an endeavor that if you don’t know what you are doing can cause interference on emergency frequencies or damage your own equipment. So a license from the FCC is required. But, if you are committed, is not hard to get. You just need to study and then take a test at a local testing site. The best place I have found to study (and how I got my licenses) is at hamtestonline.com. Are you in? Join the ham radio army….