I'm a fiction writer, writing an apocalyptic novel, and I could use some help re: HAM / amateur radio. The protagonist is a licensed HAM operator. He uses the radio in a few scenes. But I know nothing about amateur radio – I've never seen it operated. The Internet has mostly info on licensing, not the basics that writing a scene requires. May I ask you some questions of the HAM / amateur radio operators? I appreciate the help. Everyone who helps gets an acknowledgement in the Acknowledgements section of the novel. Thank you! The protagonist, Peter, is located in Wilmington, North Carolina. He's calling Walpole, Massachusetts. Would that distance be any especially long distance, requiring any extra license or anything special? Peter lives on a trawler that has a mast. If you were him, where would you put the antenna for the radio? On the mast or on top of the wheelhouse? (I'm envisioning a lot of blowing around if it was on top of the mast; maybe I'm wrong.) Roughly, what size would the antenna be? I don't need specs, only approximations. I'm seeing on the Internet antennas that look like TV antennas – that would be noticeable on top of a boat, so it must be described during the overall description of the exterior of the boat. The callsigns I use are expired and inactive, according to the directories. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the one I've chosen for him, so I'll write it like this W3*RF, removing the middle digit. It's a vanity callsign, from my understanding in my research. To make a general call, it would be: “This is W3*RF, anyone using this frequency?”, “CQ CQ CQ this is W3*RF, is this frequency clear?” Or “Calling CQ CQ CQ.” Things like that? What do you say when making a call to a specific contact? Do you tune to a certain frequency? Generally, how does that process work? I have a scene in which a stranger makes a general broadcast to warn listeners of what's happening in his rural area. How would the stranger start off his call? He wouldn't say “Calling CQ” for such a thing, would he? Cursing is a big no-no, right? Is there any FCC regulations on cursing – fines if you go beyond the "crap" level maybe? What do you say to make an emergency call? How do you know when the other person has stopped talking? You don't say "over" and things like that, right? Can more than one person speak at a time, like a conference call on a phone? Thank you again. I really appreciate any help you can give. K.J.