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Amateur (ham) radio - The future of grassroots comms

Published in Blog on April 22, 2024 by Jakob Fay

What does the future of communications look like for the Convention of States grassroots movement? A new app? Cutting-edge technology? Groundbreaking AI or VR innovations?


However, contrary to expectations, it seems that technological development may be heading in the opposite direction.

Americans have grown dangerously reliant on technology. Our adversaries understand this vulnerability, realizing they could effectively cripple us simply by targeting our electrical grid. With the emergence of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons and the rise of cyberattacks designed to exploit this vulnerability, many in the U.S. now fear for the security of our power grid.

As the U.S. Air and Space Force’s center for professional military education warned, “A large enough EMP attack could destabilize significant swaths of the U.S. critical infrastructure services (electricity, telecommunications, water supply, etc.) for anywhere up to months at a time, impacting millions of citizens, jeopardizing governments, and causing untold billions in damage.” Additionally, earlier this month, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation cautioned that “U.S. power grids are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, with the number of susceptible points in electrical networks increasing by about 60 per day.”

But what can we do to prepare for such a threat? How can we ensure our readiness?

Well, the 1970s called, and they want their technology back. That is to say, the future of technology and intergrassroots communications very well may evoke images of your grandfather seated in front of a massive box, with a microphone in his hand, chatting away with his buddies.

Convention of States grassroots leader Dale Tipton, state director for Indiana, is spearheading a national coalition of amateur (ham) radio operators, trained and equipped to navigate the organization through a worst-case scenario. Despite being perceived by some as outdated technology, ham radio maintains its popularity and utility across the United States, largely due to the many concerns about the reliability of our power.

“At COS we want everyone to be ready and prepared to help themselves, their families, friends, churches, and communities in times of need,” states the coalition webpage. “Being a licensed ham operator will give you a communications advantage in an emergency. The emergency might be a natural disaster, an enemy attack on the grid, or the government choosing to shut down a communications network for political reasons. Whatever the emergency, you’ll be better prepared… if you’re a licensed and knowledgable ham operator.”

“Basically, it was formed for a couple of reasons,” Dale explained. “Number one was to create an emergency communications network amongst Convention of States supporters and volunteers…. And then, secondly, there [are] 750,000 licensed ham operators in the United States that we would like to introduce to Article V and the Convention of States movement.”

In order to join, Dale says members must have a COS account and pass the ham radio test to receive a license either through a local club or online.

“[Convention of States President] Mark Meckler just passed his first test about a week ago, and he did it online,” he added.

As the threat to our infrastructure continues to escalate, Dale is hopeful that his new initiative to ensure COS activists remain connected to each other in the case of an emergency will gain traction throughout the movement. To learn more, visit the COS amateur ham radio coalition webpage today.

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