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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Sunday, February 16, 2003
12:56 PM

Dug out my old CB radio as part of my emergency preparedness, and I'm listening to a local snow-plow crew. God bless them. It's the snowstorm version of those old World War 2 movies. Judging from the accents, there's a generic white guy, a black guy, a couple of beautiful southern drawls...all we're missing is a smart-aleck from the Bronx and we'll be ready to bomb Berlin. Should that prove to be necessary...

It looks tough out there, and this is the biggest storm we've had in years. In the words of one of the snowplow operators a few minutes ago, "I can't see sh**.

As I said a month or so ago, I'm thinking of getting a ham radio license to improve my ability to communicate in an emergency. But CBs are a good, cheap, fast option. Despite the well-earned reputation of the CB band as a chaotic and sometimes foul neighborhood, the fact is there are still a ton of operators out there (and you don't need a license, which helps explain the "chaotic and foul" ambiance). In a pinch, if the phone lines are jammed (as they were after 9/11), you could call for help if you needed it and there's a very good chance someone would hear you and relay aid. And even if you don't need help, you'd pick up some chatter about whatever the current emergency is.

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