‘Useless’ amateur radio? No such thing

By Pat McLene

Family service radios

The mailbox

I’m skipping the “Why we prep” section this week. There were so many responses to last week’s column on amateur radio that I needed all available column space to reply.

For example, when I warned that a federally licensed amateur radio operator was fairly easily identified, a poster decided to help prove my point: “Pat’s either using a pseudonym for his writing, or he is unlicensed. One of the two. (I checked the FCC database. …).”

Another commenter took me to task about my contention that crooks could use the FCC license database to plan robberies: “I have never once heard of someone getting their equipment stolen because they were talking on the radio about a vacation. It never ever happens. Do you really think some random thief will spend thousands of dollars on equipment and countless hours learning to use it well, just to try and rip off people who live hundreds of miles away?”


Couple of things here. I can listen to two-meter conversations using SDR (Software Defined Radio) on my computer within a roughly 50-mile radius of where I live for about $25. I’ve heard lots of my neighbors talking to each other about their vacation plans and the brand-new radio gear they just got.

I’m not the only person out there who has expressed a concern about theft. Matt Thomas, managing editor of AmateurRadio.com, would seem to disagree with you as well: “Most of us have a pretty big collection of expensive radio toys. We also have the FCC call sign database pointing every criminal to the exact street address where they can find our expensive toys.”

Finally, making authoritative statements like “It never ever happens,” when there’s no way Click to see the original article