After the Apocalypse
Chapter 30: Ten Minutes To Air
by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue
President Arkwright looked around the room, a room on the top floor of the University's tallest building which had been converted into the nerve center of her radio project. Ham radio sets and computer terminals lined the walls, and a battery of radio enthusiasts would soon be arriving to start the search for any transmissions leaking out from America or the rest of the world.
She was fortunate to have had the assistance of Mitch McCormick, director of the FCC's Honolulu office. Dr. Chen had suggested that his friend Mitch would be the best person on the island to advise her on broadcast matters, as well as the go-to guy for details on amateur radio experts in the area. He had amazed her with his efficiency in tracking down a collection of radio equipment and finding people who were skilled at operating it. Much of the listening work would be in the hands of a computer program which his wife Jodi had written to monitor most of the amateur bands automatically. Nonetheless, there was still ample need for a human crew to be in place in the event of unforeseen difficulties which no computer could solve.
There would, for now, be no broadcasting. That decision had been a controversial one, but the considerable concern that the Russians could be doing the same sort of monitoring in a similar search for survivors, and that to give away their location might invite a second attack targeted at the islands, eventually carried the day. After a two-day debate while the equipment was being assembled and tested, in which the interests of any potential surviving Americans were pitted against the interests of the known survivors, the choice for the time being was not to launch even a limited broadcast effort. The cloud cover over Oahu was steadily increasing as the effects of the nuclear blasts had spread across the globe, so the availability of distant broadcast frequencies was necessarily limited. Once the clouds had cleared-if they ever did-then, said McCormick, would be the time to start some cautious probes on all of the bands.
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