During some recent web surfing I came across an article about someone I know personally caught up in the recent earthquake/tsunami situation. Dr. Charles Harpole is a professor of film (his students did “Blair Witch”) at the University of Central Florida (my alma mater) and an amateur (ham) radio operator(like myself and the reason I know him). Charly was just off the coast of India when the earthquake and later tsunami hit. At a high enough elevation to avoid the waves after living thru the ~9.0 earthquake, he immediately redirected all his efforts toward emergency radio communications. One of the points of pride among “hams” is the ability to assist with passing information when all other forms of communications fail and much of amateur radio is geared toward that purpose. (ARES-AmateurRadioEmergencySystem/NTS-NationalTrafficSystem) Settling in to help it turns out that so many incoming requests were received inquiring about the health and status of friends/loved ones, it began to overload the radio operators so they requested that it cease so they could just concentrate on outbound messages from people who were OK or wanted to pass messages to the outside world. Turns out this was a bad move in the minds of many hams. Instead of trying to cope with with the aftermath of the disaster, a large segment of hams are now bickering about how effective their efforts would be in case of a “real” emergency.
It’s always about “us” and never about helping anyone else.
(searching on K4VUD and tsunami will tell you about Charly)