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Hi walrus01, thanks for the reality check, and the detailing into the various present-day approaches for comms. I certainly have a lot of reading to do now :)

I do believe there are many situations where Amateur Radio can help during disaster scenarios since not all places have these IP networks that you're pointing us to. There are lots of real stories, as recent as last year, where HAMs went out of their way to help during local crisis. See the Chennai floods last year, for instance. I have many more such stories from India at least.

Amateur Radio is within the reach of the average citizen. One doesn't need expensive equipment, or connections with the Defense, or lots of money. I've attended camps where we learned to put together antennae for under a dollar, which gave us a range of about 300 kms. I've seen simple radios put together which permitted VHF and UHF communications. I don't have a license in the part of the world I'm in at the moment, but in the US, I've spent time with HAMs who are active on CW - transmitting Morse code all over.

While it is certainly true that ISPs would have lots of fuel, and that most repeaters are powered from the regular electrical grid, I believe these are opportunities for like-minded HAMs to put together something that is independent of regular power grids. e.g. Solar and wind powered Repeater stations, spare equipment wrapped up in Faraday Cages, and lots of people getting licenses to become Amateur Radio operators.

There's also a lot to be said for having the gear to be able to coordinate with friends/family until normal comms are restored for non-responders.

Just because you aren't coordinate the "real" help doesn't mean having your own communications in the short term won't be handy.

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