Tag Archives: emergency communication

Will your cell phone work?

Our cell phone service (Verizon) is pretty good but not always within reach of a cell phone tower. We have an air card and cell phone which work well in 75% of our locations. The other 25 percent of the time we get no phone service and no email either. One must be careful where he has an emergency, right? T’would be very sad to break down in a location unreachable by any communication means.

And there are other reasons a cell phone won’t work for communications. Obviously we must be within five or ten miles of a cell phone tower to use our phone. Disasters throughout the world have also shown cellular telephones can be a very unreliable means of communication. Towers fall or emergency power is lost or the cellular band is lost to an overwhelming number of calls. Enter, amateur radio.

We began in the hobby of amateur radio from an interest in reliable continent-wide communications. Our full-time mobile lifestyle, towing and living in a travel trailer all about North America, means we aren’t “connected” to land lines or other utilities and sometimes cannot use the cell phone either.

our radio station

The amateur radio bands are always alive with hams listening and talking. We can reach many regional networks at scheduled times each day. Our amateur radio equipment and licenses allow us to take advantage of many regional ham radio nets. These nets provide us familiarity with the net processes and reassurance we can reach them with our radio equipment.

When all else fails, amateur radio

Our cellphone and laptop email otherwise would be our only means of emergency communication. What would we do for communications if cellphone service went down? And for many people the cell phone is their only telephone. We enjoy amateur radio as a hobby, but also enjoy great peace of mind having such a robust communications back-up.

This, in an article about a most recent earthquake in Chile:

” . . . but in the capital of Santiago, 95 miles north of the epicenters, windows rattled, buildings trembled and cell phone service went down.” [NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/world/americas/12chile.html, March 12, 2010]

What can we do if our cell phone service is interrupted? We can resort to our very convenient and reliable means of communication, amateur radio. Learn more here and here.

N5RTG Jim and N4RTG Debbie
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