One of my hobbies includes radio communications. I started out with Zello, which isn't exactly 2-way radio. However, in many ways it works like radio. Zello is an app that allows you to communicate with groups of people like you would on amateur radio. The image above is my network radio, which is a mobile phone disguised to look like a radio, including a push-to-talk (PTT) button on the side.
From Zello, I decided to get my GMRS license. That license also covers my family under the same call sign. The purpose of GMRS was so that we could use radios in the event of an emergency should phone service go down. It is something I hope to never need to use. Otherwise, it is good for recreation purposes.
After GMRS, I got my amateur radio license. That license required some studying and taking an examination. Amateur radio is a bit more involved and can get expensive. It is normal for radio operators to tinker with all sorts of radio projects. I do get caught up sometimes. For now, I'm letting my wallet cool off before undertaking more projects.
Still, I keep going back to Zello. I have friends on Zello with whom I communicate regularly. We have weekly nets, which are something like a roll call. This is so that we are all familiar with each other and can form a network to pass along emergency communications. Again, this is in case phone service goes down. Ironically, Zello relies on phone service, or at lease Internet.
Zello is very much a social medium, except that it is better in many ways. There is so much nuance you can hear in a voice that tells you more than the words you hear. For the most part, we talk about radio projects, the weather, and how our families are doing. Lately, we have been discussing COVID-19 in our areas. Our channel includes people from Texas, Colorado, New Jersey, Hawaii, and the Chicago area. We are very much informed on local news from different parts of the country.
If you're ever curious, feel free to stop by our Delta GMRS channel. Despite the name, you don't need a GMRS license to join. Delta GMRS is for people who are interested in getting a license. It's a nice hangout. Most of us are older adults with young families. Here is the link: https://zello.com/channels/k/g8Hjf