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Modern ham radio has incredible potential including packets and television broadcast via direct satellite link. Packets are information -- think "internet" for radio.

I'm still in the learning phase myself and second the Ham for Dummies book. Great resource. One can listen without license so go for it. I picked up a Baofeng 5a from Amazon for $35, added a better ducky antenna and am learning to tune stations on multiple bands. Used it last night for weather reports. Radio pucks up weather band, plus local storm watchers, plus regular FM radio so makes for a dandy emergency unit.
 
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