Day: November 7, 2016

Monday, 7 November 2016- guest post –some thoughts on ham radio

In response to H Combs question the other day, I said I would post links to my previous comments about getting started in ham radio, from a prepper point of view.

Here is the full text of one comment I wrote for another site.  The poster’s question was about the using the Baofang UV5 handy talkie for communicating with his parents in another state, and what would be involved in making that happen.  Following the text is a link to the original comment, and all the other replies.  Many of the replies have a lot of good info too.  [I’ve added comments in square brackets today.]


nick flandrey says:

I own this radio too [Baofang UV-5Rplus+], and like it for an entry level radio. It will give you access to local repeaters, (which will increase your effective range) and let you practice radio use with the entry level license- the Technician Class.

Getting that first license is straightforward and (relatively) easy depending on your knowledge of basic electronics. REALLY basic. Many of the exam questions are things like “what is the symbol for a resister?”

The quickest route to passing the exam is to use one of the online practice exams (free) and just keep taking it until you can consistently pass. You can see the correct answer to the questions and you can just learn those. All of the questions on the exam come from the exact same pool of questions as the practice, so this is a good, fast, way to prepare to pass the exam. While you are practicing, once you can pass the Technician test, start learning the questions for the General test. Depending on your starting knowledge, you can learn the questions and answers in a few days of study. DON’T spend money on this. There are several free services online.

Once you are passing the practice tests consistently, go online and find a local time and place to take the actual test. Most cities have them frequently. There is a small fee for the test. The ARRL website has links to training and testing. When you get to the test site, tell the volunteer examiner that you will be taking the Technician class test, and if you pass, you would also like to take the General class test. It doesn’t cost any more to take the second test after you pass the first, and it will give you a lot of additional frequencies and modes to use that will let you communicate longer distances directly. [this is important!  You will need the General Class to use voice on HF, which is the only way to get out of your immediate area if the grid, and UHF/VHF repeaters are down.]

Please note that this is NOT the traditional route to a license! There are many in the ham “community” that really frown on this approach. It is the quickest way to get on the air and use your radio legally (and you should not use it illegally, unless WROL conditions are likely to exist for a long time.) MANY folks in the prepper and emergency response community take this route because they just want to be able to use their radios and communicate with their teams, and have no interest in joining the larger ham community. I was this way when I started, and I used this method.

The traditional method, and a better way to actually LEARN about radios, ham, and the ham community, is to join a local club and get guidance and help from them. There is a long tradition of mentorship (having a mentor, traditionally called an “Elmer” to help train you and answer your questions, as well as indoctrinate you into the language, techniques, and culture of the amateur community). They would recommend starting with one of the ARRL test prep books, and learning the material vs. just learning the questions so you can pass. The books are well written, easy to follow, FULL of useful information, and can be had cheaply if you can find them second hand. The questions don’t change that often, so the books are good for a while. The info in the books is good even if they are older, just use an online prep site for the actual questions.

I chose to quickly pass the test, get on the air, and then go back and read the books to fill in the HUGE gaps in my knowledge. I’ve found that I like many aspects of the ham hobby and am slowly joining in the hobby, not just using my radio as practice for TEOTWAWKI. The hobby is MASSIVE with an enormous amount of different areas to focus on or learn about. (You can talk to the space station for example.) There is also a long history of public service (it’s one of the reasons amateurs are given use of the otherwise very valuable spectrum for free.) Many in the prepper and emergency response communities will find a lot of crossover with ARES or RACES which are ham organizations that provide communications support in the event of an emergency. There are others as well- Red Cross, Salvation Army, LDS, NOAA all have amateur supported groups.

Also, don’t get frustrated! Like any culture, amateur radio has an established language, history, and procedures. It can take a while to learn those things, and to feel comfortable. A local club will help tremendously with those things. One note, it can be very hard to get a “straight answer” to some questions. The hobby is large, the participants all have their own focuses, and most are reluctant to give limiting, definitive answers without knowing a lot about your particular situation. Some examples are “what radio should I buy? What antenna works best for (this specific thing) I want to do? How do I talk with my aunt in Idaho?” This is another area where having locals who know you can be hugely helpful.

Finally, I found some accessories will really help you use your radio. You will want a better antenna. They are cheap on ebay, less than $10, and will help. Also, a battery eliminator is a good bet, and the extended battery pack is highly recommended. I’d also suggest a mid-price dual band antenna on a magnet mount for your vehicle ($40) Using a handheld inside a vehicle is problematic. If you are worried about stealth use, a headset/earphone will help keep you quiet.

Get your license, get on the air on a local repeater, and practice! Most folks in the community are friendly, welcoming and responsive. When you find someone who is not, just ignore them and move on. You might find that you have added not just a prep, but a new hobby.

good luck,


oh, and to answer your original question. If you and your parents are in states covered by a repeater system, tied to other states, like the Saltgrass Network, or Winsystem, you may be able to use that radio to talk them during normal times when the repeaters and the internet are up. To talk state to state directly you will need radios capable of HF frequencies, a General class license, antennas, and some other stuff. Even buying used gear, you could spend $500 – $1000 at each end. The key in either case, is practice ahead of time.

/end of copy paste





Read the comments: 8 Comments

Monday, 7 November 2016

09:02 – With one day left until the election, we’re settled in here, awaiting developments. Federal authorities have said there’s a heightened likelihood of attacks by muslim scum in Texas, Virginia, and New York today, and there have been other calls by muslim scum leaders to attack tomorrow to disrupt the election. Authorities are also on heightened alert nationwide for attacks by BLM scum, progressive scum, and other scum. Just as an aside, I noticed a possible solution yesterday when I picked up a bottle of household cleaner. Right there on the label it says, “Removes Scum”.

There’s been a lot of talk about how this election has meant the death of the MSM. No one on either side believes them any more. They’re talking to themselves and precious few other people. But this election may also mean the death of political polling organizations, whose results have been all over the map. Many people, again on both sides of the divide, no longer believe anything polling organizations have to say. They perceive, correctly in most cases, that polling is now purely politically motivated and that, rather than accurately forecasting results, the goal of polling organizations is now to provide an advantage to one or the other side. Everything is now political.

Tomorrow is not really the election, as most people think. Tomorrow is the first day of an election that’s likely to be drawn out for weeks. Whichever side “loses” tomorrow is very unlikely to concede and get on with normal business. There are likely to be an ongoing series of appeals, court cases, and possibly violence before this thing is settled. Oh, well. We’re prepared for the aftermath, come what may. We’re living in an area that’s as safe as any, where we can just sit back and watch what happens. Unfortunately, at the end of it all, whatever happens, it’s going be Meet the New Boss, The Same as the Old Boss.

There’s a lot of bad information in prepping literature about long-term food storage, both in terms of methods (no, freezing will not reliably kill insect eggs) and in terms of nutrition. Much of the advice is simply a repetition of something someone read somewhere.

With regard to LTS nutrition, many sources claim that you need to store x amount of various categories, including honey/sugars, fruits, vegetables, and so on. All of that is wrong. One can survive quite comfortably without any of those items. A human requires exactly three macro-nutrients (foods consumed in relatively large quantities) and numerous micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, elements, salt, and other things consumed in relatively small quantities).

Calories are an umbrella measure of overall nutrition. A human needs a certain number of calories per day, which varies according to that person’s basal metabolic rate–how many calories you need for basic body functions, assuming you’re just lying around and not doing any work at all–sex, weight, age, amount of work being done, environmental temperature, and many other factors. A small older woman who is not doing any heavy labor, for example, may need 1,400 calories/day, while a young man who is engaged in heavy physical labor may need 4,000 calories/day or more.

All of the three macro-nutrients contribute to caloric intake. Fat contains about 9 calories/gram, while carbohydrates and protein both contain about 4 cal/g. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences publishes a list of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) that provides the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges by age range. That information is summarized here:

Assume that you’re calculating nutrition needs for an adult who requires 2,000 cal/day. Fats should provide 20% to 35% of those calories (400 to 700 cal/day). Since fats average 9 cal/g, you’d need about 45 g to 78 g of fats per day for that person. Carbohydrates should provide 45% to 65% of those calories (900 to 1,300 cal/day). Since carbohydrates average 4 cal/g, you’d need about 225 g to 325 g of carbohydrates per day for that person. Protein should provide 10% to 35% of those calories (200 to 700 cal/day). Since protein averages 4 cal/g, you’d need about 50 g to 175 g of protein per day for that person.

Unfortunately, you can’t go to the store and buy a container of fats, carbohydrates, or protein. Well, you can, kind of. Vegetable oil, lard, shortening, and so on are essentially 100% fats, sugar is essentially 100% carbohydrates, and eggs or meat is mostly protein. But most of what you can actually buy is a mixture of two or all three, in varying proportions. Flour, for example, is mostly carbohydrates, but has a significant amount of protein and a tiny amount of fats. Most dairy products contain large amounts of fats and lesser amounts of proteins and carbohydrates.

And the amino acid balance of proteins is also important. Because different vegetable proteins have different balances of specific essential amino acids, one can starve to death eating only grains or only beans. Eating some of each provides complete protein. That’s why our ancestors for a million years have been eating a mix of vegetable proteins, such as rice and beans or wheat and beans or corn and beans. Animal proteins are inherently balanced, so if you can store lots of meat and eggs and dairy you needn’t worry about amino acid balance.

Of course, most people don’t want to deal with all these calculations. The simple way to balance things out is to store 30 pounds of grains (flour, rice, oats, pasta, etc.) per person per month, 5 pounds of beans per person per month, and one quart/liter of lipids (oils and fats) per person per month. Add half a pound of iodized salt and 30 multivitamin tablets per person per month to take care of micronutrient (vitamin/mineral/elements) needs, and you’re set for iron rations, at a cost of maybe $30/person-month.

Of course, that diet would get very old very fast, so assuming you have money left over, you can supplement it with things like a lot of canned meats, soups, vegetables, and fruits, a good stock of herbs and spices, cans of powdered eggs and butter and TVP bouillon, cans of powdered milk, and so on. It’s important to be able to continue eating whatever the situation.

Read the comments: 79 Comments
// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- // end of file archive.php // -------------------------------------------------------------------------------