|Yaesu FT-1802, one of the best 2 Meter rigs money can buy.|
|Yaesu FT-890AT, my favorite HF radio ever made.|
Something I have noticed is the misunderstanding of HAM radio. People seem to think the hobby is for mouth breathing nerds who think they're radio DJ's with no life. While, sadly, this is half true for most of the HAM radio community, it's also a service to the community.
Many HAM radio operators are the first to respond in times of emergency and disaster. Radio waves are not dependent on existing infrastructure such as phone lines and cell towers. In the event of major power outages. HAM radios are easily converted to battery power. I can have my radios running on car batteries in 5 minutes with no preparation. In major disasters such as Haiti, entire portions of the HF bands were reserved for emergency radio traffic. Many operators within the US act as middle men, forwarding messages to stations that were otherwise unreachable by the original station. Organizations such as REACT often perform drills and volunteer for local events such as parades, festivals, and other major events and also act as communications and support in the event of a major disaster.
With that said, in the event of a major natural disaster in your hometown, look for the HAMs! They can still talk to the outside world.