Thanks BB for starting this thread, I am sure there will be other questions, and there should be others on here that can respond. One thing that is nice about this hobby, each one of us have different opinions of radios, antennas, talk on different frequencies, even different modes of communication, voice, code, and there are several digital modes including sending pictures direct. We all share a common bond of being able to connect. One of the largest use of Ham Radio is for storm spotting where if there is potential weather, we immediately have a large number of spotters both at their homes and driving in the field that can give live reports back into the National Weather Service offices through a control operator that is stationed there. If someday we do not have access to our internet, cell phones, or landlines, ham radio operators will communicate with each other, locally or world wide. I talked direct to a person in Hawaii I have talked with several times before last night only relying on the radio on my desk and the antenna out my door. He had the same set up on his end. He was a 1/4 mile from the beach and a temp of 85, he had just got through with dinner of a fish he had cought that morning. Might have to visit him someday.