Destruction Aftermath, Book 3
Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy
This area had been explored to some extent by George and his brothers on the outbound trip of the Rose. For that reason, we did not plan to explore or stop much but make our run without pause operating on a round the clock basis. It worked but was tiring for us all. We had to go south to avoid Louisiana and then come back up to the Texas coast.
We continued to coast the shore of Texas passing the site of Houston and the city of Galveston. In early afternoon, we saw our first fishing boat which George recognized and hailed. They were glad to hear from George and soon the marine radios were crackling with excitement at our impending arrival. We entered the Matagorda Bay and then further in to the Lavaca Bay and their home.
We pulled up at a pier following radioed instructions and tied up. As soon as the gangway was set, a flood of people came on board including the brothers' parents. Their wives' parents were right behind them and everyone was hugged. We were introduced and treated like long lost sons and daughters.
A grand feast was planned for the evening which had been laid on as soon as the radios had told of our impending arrival. We were given a bare chance to clean up and change clothes. Jen, Janice, and Kim were all concerned that they had brought no fancy clothes until Lois, Margie and their mothers and friends came with clothes for everyone.
The feast was a great success. We all ate too much and shared our stories and the information of our community which made the trip worthwhile. The Lavacans had wanted to find other communities and were thrilled to find another, different community that was thriving.
The Mayor of Port Lavaca and the council invited the four of us from Preservation to meet with them the next day to talk about cementing relations between the communities. They had heard about our radios and wanted more information about them.
We demonstrated our radio by calling Preservation and then talking to England where Belinda happened to be listening and responded. Just using a wire dipole resulted in receiving and sending a good signal half way around the world.
I suggested that Port Lavaca set up a central station with antennas and power to make contacts. I went over the history of Preservation and radio explaining that my parents had both been hams before the Day. When I ran down, Jen picked up the narrative telling of her father who traveled across the country twice before settling in Preservation. His exploits and his use of ham radio to help other people connect and to help himself in an emergency made an impression on the council. George had come with us and told the story of our time in England and how the radios helped. He then told about my Dad and my father in-law working the radio to keep us informed about the hurricane which ravaged Florida and the east coast.
We were asked how to find radios and to set up a radio school for Port Lavaca. Houston was close and there had to be many hams in the area before the Day. It would be a matter of searching out the locations since the internet was long gone along with most web sites. Janice interrupted at that point saying that she thought the entire amateur radio database from before the Day had been downloaded at some point. She went over to the radio and called Preservation. My mother was listening and responded.
"Mom," she said, "Don't we have the database for amateur radio downloaded?"
"Janice, :" Mom answered, "I believe we do. I will look and get back to you."
"Great, if you do. We need hams around the Houston, Texas, area. The people here are going to go radio and need the radios to do it with."
"Roger, If you will stand by, I will check and call you shortly."
While we waited, we discussed the possibilities of using amateur radio for longer range communications and continuing to use the marine radios for the boats when close in. I could see some holes in that plan but realized the council members were attached to their marine radios. If their boats were equipped with both, it would work out in time.
Janice had remained seated at the radio console. We could hear someone key down and Mom's voice said, "Janice, are you there?"
"Yes, Mom," she responded. "What did you find?"
"You were right. We did download the entire database. I have searched it for Houston, Texas, and found plenty of hams in the area. Are you ready to copy?"
"Stand by," she said. "Guys, I will need someone who can take down a lot of information and I need them right now."
They were startled. Janice could be powerful when she thought she should be. This was one of those times. Quickly, some people with paper and pens were gathered.
"Okay, Mom, we are ready to copy."
Mom proceeded to read off the names and addresses of hams in the Houston area. It took a while and she had to be spelled by one of Jen's mothers. Finally, it was finished. We had a big list of hams.
The ladies and one man who took the list did one thing better than I had thought. They took a street map of Houston and mapped the locations of all hams who were south of downtown Houston and therefore close to Port Lavaca. The mappers were told to prepare a search party for tomorrow and that at least one of us would accompany that group to show them what to take.
They wound up with two parties and had Jen and I for one and Janice and Bennie for the other as guides. We went out the next day with about twenty addresses each to review. What a haul! We picked up plenty of HF radios along with peripheral equipment and antennas. There were two meter radios and a bunch of HT's. Each group had a large horse drawn wagon and filled it.
Our wagon and the other returned within moments of each other. A room had been cleared and tables put in it for us to lay out the radios. There were so many that we grouped them by brand and model. Jan looked at the mess and said, "I think we need to group these by type more than brand. Let's put the HF's on one table. The all band radios on another. The pure two meter on one more with the dual banders and pure UHF on two others. We finished with two tables of HF's and two tables of two meter units. We had twenty or so HF verticals and plenty of wire and coax to make dipoles. The two meter and UHF antennas were in a big stack to one side.
The council members came in along with George and his brothers joining the two search parties. I found it interesting that the council was more polite and less strident in their questions to us as visitors when some "regular" citizens were present. This was different from how Dad handled things and treated people. I made a mental note to be aware of their manner of handling people.
There was a lot of discussion about how and where to set up a station. Finally, I said, "People, there's plenty of radios and many stations can be put together in locations that are convenient to the users. I would want one in my boat if I had a boat."
That started another discussion because now it was obvious to me that the council wanted to control access to the radios and the people weren't buying into it. A couple of members of the search party came over to Bennie and asked which radios would be best for them. He quietly told them what to grab. They loaded up and left the room and, I presume, the building. They came back later empty handed.