You hear it especially from the ham radio detractors, who always think they will buy a piece of gear and save it for doomsday. The minute they open their 'wonder radio' from the box it will magically bestow upon them all the technical knowledge and skills it take to operate them and allow them to call for help just in the nick of time!!!
I say BULLCRAP!!! Those same people are usually too lazy to study a simple book on ham radio, and are always worried that once you get into the 'federal database' they will come hunt you down because you are on a list! It is just an excuse to prevent them from learning a valuable skill and actually practicing it BEFORE YOUR ARSE is on the line!!!
Ham radio is not expensive, but like most hobbies it can cost a little or alot. However it is not EXPENSIVE to get some great gear!
If you are on the internet and you read prep minded sites you may already be on a list. Who cares??? This is still America the land of the free, and that makes me free to say, "get off of your lazy butts and quit making up excuses so you don't have to read a simple book!"
I honestly can not take folks seriously who profess to be prep minded and can not read a book and pass a simple test...
So get the skills before you get the gear. That wonder ham radio is not like those blister pack FRS/GMRS radios that you turn on, adjust the volume, turn the channel and hit the talk button. You have to know how to talk, what frequencies to talk on, frequency shift and so on...