Infections like Coronavirus and Ham Radio

The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak is an opportunity to help the social fabric with ham radio.

I’m not going to cover what the virus is, or your best preventative methods (check the CDC at for the latest information), rather how you with ham radio can help.

During historic periods of mass infections, communities that better remain isolated had better results.  During the Black Death plagues areas like what now is Poland that forcefully isolated themselves, and walled/island communities who survived in a self-disciplined quarantine had majorly better outcomes.

The CDC is presently suggesting a quarantine period may play a significant role in achieving a better outcome.

Most sources are suggesting two-weeks or more as the time period.  Looking at what the airlines are doing that may be too short, and a quarantine several times the two week period may be needed.

During this period people do need to communicate.

Hopefully the usual systems of phones, cellphones and internet remain viable, though we know they are subject to varying levels of control and monitoring.

Ham radio may play a role – a way to access people outside of the controlled & monitored methods, and one that may be asked to fill in if any of the main infrastructure is inoperable.

It may also serve as a back-channel to verify or refute what does get around by official channels, and as a different form of social interaction if you are caught up in a quarantine.  That could be especially useful if your quarantine involves separation from your normal QTH.

Might be a good time to check your go-kit and perhaps proposition some extra gear.

Needless to say it is time to make sure you have that minimal three-weeks of food and supplies on hand, including any medicines.

Personally I wouldn’t go crazy, but just make sure you have enough can goods, basics like TP and medicines, to hunker down if requested to do so – or if you became ill and had to. I also recommend getting at least an HT into your go-bag, maybe some other gear too, and perhaps checking them out as functional. And I would get a few good books or movies ready if you have some down time.



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