Day Six

January 15, 2014 @ 10:30 am. 
Today marks the the sixth day of the chemical disaster in the Charleston area. The “blue” area on this map shows the places where it’s supposedly “safe” to drink the water now. Our water situation is still far from being solved. I will spend this afternoon flushing out the water pipes at my fathers home. My Dad is 93 years old and lives by himself in a small town about 15 miles from me. 
The newspaper this morning (click on link) says there’s still 200,000 people without potable water.  
I think of radio often and how it could have been an important part of daily life should this situation have drawn out longer for us. In my younger days, before my back deteriorated, I hiked and camped extensively in the mountains. I always took along a VHF handi-talkie and a “roll up” J-pole antenna made out of twin lead television cable. There’s been many times when, out on the trail, the radio was my only link to the outside world. 
I’m not sure VHF “packet” is still used by many hams today, but when I hiked by myself, I used a Kantronics TNC and a small hand held PDA (personal data assistant) to communicate all over the world. I even dropped a letter in the mailbox of the Russian MIR space station as it passed over the state. I was sitting around a campfire just north of Charleston. 
That technology is still there, to fall back upon, should basic communications have been needed in our current water crisis. 
I’m using several different internet modes currently. In addition to my posts on this blog, my entries also appear on “Amateur Radio.Com”. There’s a link on the right side of my QRP radio blog: N8ZYA’s QRP Radio Blog  Several hams have left their concerns about the water situation on this link. 
I appreciate them all but it’s difficult to respond to everyone. I’m also using “Google +” for cross posting my blog entries. I like it very much and may change permanently to that format in the future. I especially like the comments from those who have made the decision to live “off the grid”. 
Hopefully my future postings, once this potable water situation had calmed down, will again focus more on the ham radio hobby. I’ve missed chasing DX recently. 
John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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