I have a long time friend, Jim Fitton, W1FMR, who recently sent me an e-mail with an attachment that really got me thinking about my personal security in general and our radio hobby in particular. I've known Jimmy for over 40 years. We are both QRPers (low power under 5W) radio amateurs, experienced homebrewers, and members of the QRP Amateur Radio Club International. Since I am an only child I don't have a brother. If I could place an order for a brother I'd want Jimmy to apply for the job!
Initially I started this blog in the belief that the information contained in the e-mail Jim sent me was valid. However, shortly after posting this blog I had second thoughts and pulled it from the site. These feelings prompted me to Google on Juval Aviv and I found a number of incongruities that impacted his credentials.
Having pulled the original text I will go ahead and quote one portion of the e-mail allegedly credited to Aviv regarding our inadequacy as American citizens in the war on terror and what could possibly happen during the next major terror event. Even if the quote is bogus, it points out a few things that need to be addressed regarding our personal security and the security of our loved ones.
Allegedly Aviv was the Israeli Mossad Agent upon whom the movie "Munich" was based. This docu-drama outlined the hunt for the Palestinian terrorists that killed the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, W. Germany. Although it is questionalble that Aviv was ever a Mossad agent he boasts credentials that are impressive. Allegedly he is a security and counter-terrorism consultant for Congress.
Personal Note: Those of us who have served overseas whether it be in the U.S. military, Foreign Service or as commercial contractors, have had a bit of psychological conditioning that the normal American citizen hasn't. Namely we have been cautioned to be alert and aware of your current situation and surroundings. To be vigilant especially for bags, brief cases, suit cases, and backpacks left unattended in populated areas. These are one of the most common methods used by terrorists to deliver bombs. An unattended bag is suspect and should be reported immediately to police, security personnel or EMS personnel. Do not hesitate: DO IT, NOW!!!
The one thing that really caught my attention in this e-mail was the following quote allegedly attributed to Aviv:
That is a chilling thought if, in fact, it is true. If the U.S. Government restricts cell phone access to the general public, there would be no way to contact loved ones, family members, etc. One of the first things I would want to do is contact my wife, Pat, KB3MCT, and our kids to let them know I was OK. Since cell phones are the prefered means of communications for everyone, being denied this communications medium would definitely pose a problem.
Enter Ham Radio! That's right....good old Ham Radio...."When all else fails......." and all that. There is a wide selection of small handheld transceivers (HTs) on the market today that offer dual band (VHF & UHF) ham band coverage in addition to FM commercial outlets, EMS and FIRE frequencies (for those places that are not on a digital trunked system) along with FRS/GMRS channels, and VHF air-band. The cost: $40 and up! That's right....thanks to our Chinese friends you can pick up an FCC type approved dual band HT for around $40 or so. These marvels of miniaturized communications offer several hundred memory channels and can be programmed with all sorts of frequencies in addition to the local repeater splits in your area. They are smaller than a pack of cigarettes and have a good battery life. Slip one of these little babies in your pocket and you will have instant back up comm in the event you are caught without cellphone coverage.