By Flea - Be A Survivor
Yes, pork fucking communication, a.k.a. ham radio, a.k.a. amateur radio, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. I am a ham, have been for years, started as a technician and than after about 6 or 7 years I finally upgraded to general after they dropped the dopey morse code requirement. Yeah that's right, I called it dopey, the crusty fucks won't appreciate that, and therein lies the problem with ham radio.
There are some crusty old crypt keeper bitches that have been licensed since the days of the pony express and they are more than happy to tell you how much you suck and are ruining the hobby. "Back in the day...I had to copy 150 words a minute in morse code using the one ear I have that still works while writing in blood from my finger because we couldn't afford pencils" (sound familiar?). The good news is that for every one of those assholes there are 5 people who are more than happy to teach you or help you in any way.
When I became a general and I got privileges on HF, I had questions about what radio to buy (and they can be expensive so you don't want to make a mistake) and what antenna to use. I live in a community with an HOA so I couldn't put an antenna outside, what I did was I got a tri-band dipole, which is nothing more than wires in a specific configuration, and put it in my attic. I have talked to people as far away as Japan with that antenna, so it can be done. I had two gentleman from a local ham radio club who helped me tremendously, it was only with their sage advice that I make the choice on the antenna, and the radio (Kenwood TS-590 - great radio) I purchased. The decisions have been good ones and I make contacts on a regular basis all over the world.
You can buy books on Amazon to study for the test. I recommend cutting your teeth on the technician test and radio equipment for a bit before trying to take the general. If you pass the technician test you can take the general at the same sitting for free - up to you, but I would focus on the technician test and worry about the general later. A good radio to start with is the Yeasu VX-8R, you can read my review of it but it will get you on 4 bands out of the box with your technician license.
The test isn't too bad and the actual questions and answers are published. The website QRZ.com has some really solid practice tests you can take. I would keep taking those until you are consistently getting in the 90% range. Once you are, you can go to ARRL.org and search for testing sessions near you. I highly recommend getting a license and getting some radio equipment because when the SHTF this type of communication is a proven commodity.
If anyone needs any help with this let me know I will do my best to get you the information you need to get licensed.
That is all...