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Hawaii’s False Alarm Missile Threat Highlights Use of Ham Radio | NBC Left Field

Hawaii’s False Alarm Missile Threat Highlights Use of Ham Radio | NBC Left Field


Radio hobbyists like these guys could
potentially save our lives in the event of a nuclear attack or any disaster,
really. It turns out there’s a lot of them in Hawaii and we went to spend some
time with them. And then this happened. “A missile may impact on land or sea within
minutes. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. If you
are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building.”
Hey, you guys there? “This is not a drill.” There was a false alarm, nuclear missile. It’s insane! Just go turn on the TV, bye! “Joining us now,
MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff. He is at Waikiki Beach.” I have to tell you,
David, we have been here the last couple of days shooting a story. The sirens did
not go off, but it does sound like those push alerts came through to many
people’s phones. And the story we’re actually doing here for NBC Left Field
is, in the case of an electromagnetic pulse from a blast, 90 percent of people may
be without communication and ham radio is actually one of the ways that you’ll
be able to hear what’s happening because, again, I was in that room yesterday,
inside a bunker, inside the Diamond Head Crater here on… Yeah. We were in Hawaii
during that false alarm. So if this or any big emergency actually happens, when
our cellphones don’t work, the internet goes down, and all else fails, these guys
are the communication link. And they assist a lot of major groups, like
Hawaii’s Department of Emergency Management, which isn’t just preparing
for natural disasters anymore. We plan all hazards. After the false
alarm, Miyagi resigned, but his message remains.
Now, this North Korean missile thing is unlikely, but it’s an elephant in the
room, we can’t ignore it. It all goes down in here? It all goes down in here. It’s
only 20 minutes from the time of launch to impact. So, God forbid, the call ever
came in that a nuclear missile is heading this way, it’s gonna come through
this one right here? Yes. Holy mackerel! Yeah, what deja-vu, man, for
those of us who grew up in the Cold War. You have about a minute or two to authenticate
and make a decision to activate the statewide siren system. Hawaii’s been
testing this since late last year, and it was last used during the Cold War. The
models show maybe 10 percent, 20 percent casualties. What about the other 80 percent? Smartphones, and
iPads, and all that–we have to accept the fact that these might not be working
after a disaster. Yeah, I can see, thank you. Ham radio’s capability during an
emergency is critical. And the ultimate irony is, it’s the technology that’s probably been around
the longest. That’s it. Ok, thank you very much for the signal report. AH6QO
clear. Amateur radio works because it’s radio to radio. No middleman. Modern-day technology is extremely complex and it has points of failure. If the cell
phone tower goes down or just the power goes off, there’s no cell phone. All I need is a radio, a power source,
transmission line up to the antenna, and I’m on the air. While this seems like a kind of
antiquated, maybe nerdy thing to do, this is the foundation from which
today’s communication systems stem. So your cell phone? It’s actually got a lot
of radios in it. You just can’t control them. But the thing is, with these, you can.
What we have are what we call directional antennas. So we have a wire right over your head here. From Olomana Gardens you’re gonna hit Chicago, New York. Yeah.
Every night. Last night, we’re talking to London. Without satellite dishes?
Nothing. Nothing but a piece of wire. I’m gonna show you this. Glenn, show me your hat! Tell me if we got the right material
here. So in the event an earthquake in Los Angeles, NBC News supplies us with
these radios. You take this and we plug it into my computer. Yeah. We program all
of our local repeaters. You hit my repeater, you can call California, you can call anywhere in the world. Over a century ago, while radio itself
was emerging as a commercial form of communication, ham or amateur radio was
emerging as a hobby. Amateur comes from “ama” for “the love of.” We do it for love. We
don’t get paid anything by anybody, it is total public service. Being a ham
operator, you’re joining this new extended family. But the FCC license us
and we have rules. It’s not a rubber ducky, no motor caravan kind of thing.
Interest over the decades hasn’t waned. But here’s the key: of all these hams,
there’s a sector that is especially devoted to emergency communications.
It’s called EMCOMM. One minute you can be Clark Kent, so to speak, talking to
somebody around the other side of the world, then bang! When there’s a disaster,
you switch to EMCOMM mode. There’s a whole room at the Department of Emergency
Management for the hams who form our emergency Reserve Corps and emergency.
Carter is a trainer for FEMA and Ron is a coordinator for our state RACES, and
Clem is a former HIEMA employee, as well as an elite amateur.
Every morning and every afternoon, they practice talking to each other.
What we’re really practicing for is society collapsing. That’s a sick feeling, to be
disconnected. Are you worried about an attack from North Korea? Oh yeah! Yeah. So
I got myself a 20-foot mass container. I could run, and jump in, and slam the doors
on it. We’re a curious lot, not only being strange and called geeks etc., and we
understand that. You know, when I’m out with my wife, I try not to wear too many
radios on my belt–otherwise she doesn’t want to walk with me. You get a whole
bunch of guys from around the world talking on the same frequency. Chatting among themselves.
Hello, CQ, anyone copy, over? It doesn’t get much better than that. That’s the thrill
of it. It’s the original social media. Roger that, Frank, thank you very much, we
hope to talk to you again later. 73 is Aloha from Hawaii on the North Shore
with the pounding surf down below. Is there anybody else? You know, you got to
think: you’re a retired person–I’m a retired merchant marine captain–you’re
68 years old living in a farm out in Hawaii.
You kind of get disconnected. And this way keeps you in touch.
It’s a great family out there. The emergency radio thing gives a great
purpose. The radio guy on the Titanic, tapping out as the ship was going down, still
tapping. One little voice can be important. You can help save the world. Watch more Left Field stories, including
this video on how Japan prepares for a missile attack.

67 comments on “Hawaii’s False Alarm Missile Threat Highlights Use of Ham Radio | NBC Left Field

  1. Great piece! One thing to point out: these guys and others that do it practice setting up anywhere with anything at any time. When the you-know-what hits the fan, they can set up temporary stations and be able to communicate with the world in minutes. I passed my ham license exam when I was 15, but don't really use it anymore. But in the back of my head, I know I can help if it's needed.

  2. The amateur radio emergency service works with local emergency managers all over the country.  We help out with everything from community events to major disasters.  For more information http://www.arrl.org/  For information about my organization http://www.aresdec.org/

  3. Jacob Soboroff and Rebecca you guys have done our hobby and service proud.  This video is remarkable and remarkably positive.  Most of the time, we are made out in either a negative light or a ignorant (on the part of the production)light.  Thank you for this and I will be sharing the daylights out of it.

  4. This is probably ham radio's greatest PR video. The last one we had was in the days of Walter Cronkite – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z9136_Nhh4

    We're past due for a remake, and I feel this hits the mark. Astonishingly well done, and thank you for the story!

    73 de N0SSC 🙂

  5. Great short documentary! you guys should hear the story on how in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, it was the amateur radio operators who talked to usa and coordinated FEMA, Red Cross and the local government the supplies and everything needed during the first few weeks. (Sat Phones didn't work 100%). My prof (who was part in charge of the operation) got a humanitarian award from the ARRL of America. Ham radio is really the only way to go in the event of a catastrophe!

  6. The HAM operators in Hawaii are grateful for Sky and, Jacob and Arnee for coming to share our HAM story…great job!

  7. I lived on Oahu at Olomana Gardens with Glenn and Natalie for a stretch as the Farm Electrician . Both are amazing people and give 100% back to the community and the World in so many ways – the HAM / Emergency Communications is just a small part of the amazing stuff they do for others- you are lucky you got to spend some time with their full schedules

  8. It was great to see an SDR (albeit briefly, 4 minutes 9 seconds in) as an a essential tool for any emergency comms set-up. The ability to receive a massive range of frequencies with one box, complements all the dedicated amateur TRX equipment. The visibility you get from an SDR ensures rapid identification of sudden signals is a new dimension versus slower automatic scanning alternatives. There are lots of SDR videos and links on the SDRplay Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

  9. It was not a false alarm. Thousands either saw or felt the intercept explosion and/or saw the flash. BSBB, Bull Shit Baffles Brains abounds as usual. People are so sick and tired of the never ending steaming piles of the tons of deceitful, lying bullshit being forced down their throats and having their intelligence insulted br the deep state. Hang all of these traitorous bullshit artist shot stain ass wipes.

  10. Thanks for a great piece on amateur radio! It's amazing you were there at the right time to see it in action like you did. Ham radio is a fantastic hobby for me.

  11. Great piece thanks. As a documentary photographer and journalist when needed, loved it. As a ham, we can look closer and to a more real case. We just used ham radio to support Puerto Rico after Maria. From NYC i spoke to countless people and assisted in hospital transfers. Brian Machesney – K1LI has been and is helping Dominica the same way.
    But this story definitely helps us explain why we look nuts at times 😉 thanks.

  12. The problem is, there's better than an even change that all of the ham radios in Hawaii won't work after a nuclear detonation if it emits an EMP which it probably would. The only radios that will work are those that are very old, pre-transistor, and radios that are unplugged from an antenna and stored in a good Faraday cage. 

    The military will have radios that will work because they have prepared for an EMP by storing backup radios and other essential electronic gear in Faraday cages.

    Ham radio is great for emergency communication during natural disasters, but at this point in time, very few hams have protected backup radios to use after an EMP.

  13. I'm a ham – in fact that's my call sign here on YouTube. I've had my Amateur Extra license since 1993. I live close to Boston and when the terrorists struck everyone assumed the government shut down the cell network – nope congestion was the cause. Amateur radio would have gotten through. And yes, point to point but for VHF/UHF you can setup generators are repeater sites and extend it to tens of miles range.Oh and I get tagged as a SHTF guy – just because I have radios and guns.

  14. as a amateur radio operator I think everyone should have a VHF/ham radio so that incase of a emergency there would still be communication.

  15. Huhhh??? What??? You! So How Must Can Are That Low lf Why They Had Heen Hecundomlierwaend To Vrius Bomb Nusclear in World??? Omg??? Mah??? d;

  16. Folks, was at FEDX copy place making color copies of a Ham frequency chart and the FEDX guy said "Cool, ham stuff. How much does it cost? (to get a license)" an I was able to tell him $15 Dollars, good for your lifetime ! He was amazed ! And the radio works where cellphones do not work even now, regardless of that "electromagnetic pulse". Infrastrure consists of an old piece of cable from that old CATV system or whatever you can find. Its not expensive. With a new radio just out from india (mounted in a candy box) you can talk with people from Portland to LA and east into Nevada. Currently going for $109. And listen to all shortwave stations all over the world to boot !. Will run on batteries for weeks. And another radio , from China, is possible to carry along the Pacific Crest Trail and works really well ! Starting At $29 ! My dad got his liscence, and I used a similar one in the Trinity Alps to talk to my folks 100 miles away (From Grizzly Lake ) ! The best $15 dollars I've ever spent ! Thanks Mark AA6DX !

  17. Excellent video! Thank you, @NBC, for raising awareness of these amazing and dedicated unpaid professionals who contribute in communities all around the globe! Well done!

  18. I have been saying for years that every city in the US should have a mandatory HAM radio setup, for the same reasons stated in this video.

  19. few ads I don't skip, almost never do I NOT skip a full lenght ad, but this. This is gold, and the close experience you guys got just makes helps have it fresh in the mind.

  20. For a moment I was thinking if IRLP would work – but if everything goes down net services probably would too. So HF it would have to be. Or a 10GHz 1500W signal toward say Los Angeles.

  21. A lot of Hams are retired guys who either have electronics backgrounds or who like to build things. There are more women getting involved as well. Here in the Midwest there's overlap between hams and storm spotters, aka the SKYWARN folk. I'm a Ham, and a spotter. 73s ! WE0IRD

  22. Would like to mention that my aunt (KL7CZU) and uncle (KL7BZO) were "on the air" for many continuous hours as ham operators , serving to relay messages on behalf of survivors of the Alaska Earthquake in 1964. Amateur radio was the only communication link for many days.

  23. Nice work, and well-put-together presentation! Just wish they hadn't said anything about EMP. You're never going to experience any outage due to EMP, unless the Sun sends us a huge (X-Class) CME, which is very, very rare.

  24. One SLIGHT error (Or perhaps more accurately put something that needs clarification) in your reporting however…..

    While certain ARES / RACES (Basically EMCOMM) groups HAVE reserved certain frequencies for EMCOMM operations, an EMERGENCY NET (Short for "Network" BTW) can take place on ANY frequency, ANY mode on ANY band as long as the need is there

    In other words, let's say two people are mountain climbing (This BTW is just an example of what CAN happen & is also an example of my point 🙂 ). One person is a Ham Radio operator & has his portable Ham Radio with him. The other IS NOT a Ham Radio operator. The Ham Radio operator takes a fall & is badly injured. His friend who's not a Ham of course immediately rushes to his aid. Cell phones are USELESS in the area BUT the Ham Radio operator has the prescence to tell his non-Ham buddy to locate his radio, climb to a higher elevation & (If the phone is STILL not usable, GO AHEAD & CALL FOR HELP WHEREVER on the radio he can get it

    The friend does just that. He picks up his injured friend's radio, climbs back to where he was before, finds BOTH phones (His own AND that of his friend (Which he also picked up)), turns on the radio & starts calling for help until he gets a response (Which he gets on a repeater NOT reserved by an EMCOMM group but is frequented by other Hams for general conversation (What we call "Ragchew" 🙂 )

    By the time help arrives, it's been SEVERAL HOURS (Mainly because of the time it takes to gather resources to mount a rescue & the difficulty in locating them in the terrain). ALL THE WHILE, the person who's NOT a Ham but has been using the radio belonging to the Ham to summon help & periodically checking in with the Hams providing the assistance (Who've long since advised him to turn the radio OFF at other times to preseve the battery

    While I should point out this sort of thing is THE EXCEPTION rather than the rule, the point is IT CAN HAPPEN – ANYTIME – ANYWHERE !!

    in short, emergencies don't HAVE to be a "Mass Casulaty" incident

    I know it was LONG & a bit drawn out (I have a tendency to do that in case you haven't noticed by now 🙂 LOL) but thanks for takeing the time to read this 🙂

  25. If I'm not mistaken, if an EM PULSE hits a radio having transistors etc, the radio is kaput. If the radio is a pure tube radio it will still function. Sooo- the radios today need to be protected in a lead- lined or other EMP protected container during a nuculear attack.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong (be nice please). W0DBB

  26. The bit about the titanic is true, there were many people who voluntarily stayed inside the ship knowing they will die just to help as many people they can get topside.

    here's a video of the titanic calling for help:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxRN2nP_9dA
    The saddest parts are that before the iceberg a pleasant conversation was being had, and when the titanic went silent.

  27. That's great But hey wanted to ask , where all those people that were helped by FEMA during the volcano eruption

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