Category: radio

Sat. Mar. 9, 2024 – non-prepping hobby today, then heading to BOL

Warm and moist, probably grey and overcast. Like yesterday. It was pretty grey most of the day. Some brief periods of sunshine, depending on where you were in town… and I got a couple. Still, no real rain either.

Did my auction stuff in the morning, then started on the errands. First was picking up the ham gear I won in an estate sale. I got a nice all modes, all bands portable radio. It’s 20 years old but still pretty desirable. Yaesu FT-817, with an antenna tuner, and an external speaker. My current plan is to use it at the BOL as a portable, from the dock. I’ve got to get a battery or 13vDC power supply set up, and some sort of antenna, but then I’ll be able to actually take advantage of the nice radio quiet environment, without having to wait until I can build out a whole shack. One of my non-prepping buddies gave me an old cushcraft R4 or R6 multiband vertical antenna, and I can mount that at the dock or on the dockhouse. I can run a wire dipole or inverted v or sloper for lower bands. I’m itching to get on the air up there, so the ham project might jump the queue.

I found an entry door at Habitat reStore for the BOL. That will get me through all but one of my door replacement projects.

I got a costco run in, although most of the stuff I buy wasn’t on sale this cycle. I did manage some OTC meds, and about 40 pounds of beef.

Seems like beef is cheap the last couple of weeks, so I’m a buyer. Australian lamb is cheap too. The price at costco hasn’t fluctuated much over the last 10 years, but it’s actually down a little bit at the moment. Great quality for the money, and a nice change of pace from chicken, beef, and pork. The boneless leg roasts are economical, tasty, and easy to cook. Modern lamb has a lot less of the “gamey” flavor lamb used to have, so if you haven’t tried it in a decade or more, you might be surprised. Chops and rib chops are awesome too.

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting, where I’ll share with the board the work I’ve done so far on the website redesign and hosting move. They should be pleased, and if not, they can volunteer instead. Meatspace is important. Community is important. Getting out of the house and talking with real people is important. There are costs though, even if they are minimal. It’s worth it in my estimation to do some volunteering, to be known as a good guy, and one who is willing to help. You get a lot more help if you are known to help others. I might never need it, but I’ve already been introduced to a local group of hams, and met some good folks, sold stuff to them, and gotten a free antenna… nevermind that I’ve had the pleasure of the company of people who share many of my interests for these last few years.

Get out and join a community of interest to you. You never know where it will lead, and it will probably enrich your life.

Stack some friends and acquaintances…


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Fri. Feb. 3, 2023 – 02032023 – silly old bear…

Well it’s cold and wet again.  Supposed to clear up and warm up a bit later, but we’re starting in the same place.  Misty drizzle most of yesterday, although the overcast was brighter.   Seemed plenty cold to me, maybe mid 40s…

I ended up spending the day indoors, clearing out room for the Girl Scout cookies.   In the process I did some other cleaning, some auction stuff, and some ebay.   The single biggest thing was getting 20 or more pounds of lego into 1 pound bags.  That’s not all the lego I have, it’s just the lego that was in the foyer.   I’ll drop it at the auctioneer’s when I pick up a couple of lots.   I won some books about maintaining some things…

I also won another telescope.   Bloody hell.   It’s a 10 inch dob, and is the LAST scope I’m buying this year.   Pinky swear.   It was cheap without a mounting base.   The base often shows up in the auctions as they ship the stupid thing in two boxes and the shippers can’t keep track of both.  Worst case, I’ll slap a base together from plywood.   I’m not in a hurry though, so I’ll let the universe have a few weeks to solve my problem.   There weren’t any on ebay yesterday, which is a bit of a surprise.   I’ve seen them for months as I watched other lots go by.   This time, my lowball bid of $175 won.   With tax and fees, I’ll be around $220.  That leaves a lot of room to buy a base or make one.   It should let us both look at the sky together, and that should be more fun than swapping off.

Some of my day got eaten by the scanner and what was going on at a Houston school.   It was a bit harrowing to just listen without knowing where they were or what exactly they were facing.  Details are in yesterday’s comments.   Especially coming on the heals of me reading the Uvalde report, it was gratifying that they seemed to be aware, motivated, and in command, and got the guy out of the school without issues.   Hopefully they’ll do an AAR and learn from the event.   And hopefully the school will figure their security situation so an armed man can’t run in and hide from cops.  FFS.

Having the scanner on and running all the time in the office has clued me into a number of breaking news type stories, as well as ordinary law enforcement activity in the city and my neighborhood.   Knowing what goes on around you is valuable.  Knowing what’s normal, let’s you key into when something is not.   Takes practice, like anything.

Today I’ve got stuff to pick up.   No plan to go to the BOL this weekend, but that could change.  If not, there is still a huge list here, and it just keeps getting longer.    Clear weather will certainly help.

Work your list, always be improving your situation, and stack the things!


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Thur. Sept. 8, 2022 – “I got the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu..”

Day starts nice and cool, but still gets up near 100F in the afternoon.   Maybe some spotty rain.  Maybe not.  We did get a few drops yesterday and the sky turned black for a couple minutes but it blew right past us.

We got a lot done yesterday.   Tanks are placed, inspected, and wiring and plumbing are underway.  Hopefully today we’ll get the stuff that was never properly connected to the system plumbed in, and the electrical done.   If we get lucky, drip line will go in too.   This guy is good, conscientious, but he works alone, so it does take a bit longer.   To be fair, the additional plumbing was a surprise, as was the giant root ball, and the crazy thickness of the concrete.   Just getting the hole dug, and the lines trenched in was more difficult than it should have been.  Still, progress is being made.   The pace has slowed a bit as we are both getting worn out by the additional effort required.

I did not get gas lines in, because I was prepping for the additional plumbing.   Lots of poor choices were made decades ago, and I’m paying for them now.

Spent some time spinning the dial on the shortwave, which is where today’s title came from.   WTWW on 5.085mhz plays a lot of good music at night, and it’s  a WIDE variety.   Lots of stuff I haven’t heard in years.  If you are looking to get familiar with shortwave listening, that’s one freq to check along with the national time signals.

Prepping involves testing gear and assumptions.  Get your radio out and see what you can hear, and if you can actually tune to anything.   Shortwave is an entertaining way to get a feel for propagation, without firing up your ham rig.

And as always, stack some things.


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Sun. Oct. 3, 2021 – maybe today will be a busy day

Humid. Very humid. Slightly less hot than summer, but humid. I don’t think it got above 80F yesterday but it was so humid I was dripping sweat just standing in the garage.

I slept late. I actually got up early but my back hurt, and I’d been up way too late, so I thought I’d lie down for another hour. Two hours later, I got up again. Back pain is weird, it’s more spread out than normal, is closer to the skin in some way, and sharper. Usually it’s very much down in the bones, and the tissues close to them. Weird.

Fed the kids breakfast (hash browns fried in bacon fat) and spent the day doing things that needed doing, but not getting out or to my secondary to work there. I’ll try again today. The auction pickups that would normally get me out the door didn’t happen because the auction host company has been down for 2 days so far as victim of a ransomware attack. All of their auction customers nationwide are affected, and so are THEIR customers. Lots of disruption to what are usually small, local businesses.

Cut the grass, restocked the house, did some ebay and auction stuff. Poked at the computer and kibitzed about the changes here as our unsung hero Rick bangs on the machinery trying to bend it to his will. He’s had some successes. The goal is increased reliability, which is worth some disruption. Chasing the internal server 500 errors was getting to be a big frustration for him and all of the commentors alike. We will likely continue seeing tweaks and changes for a while. Be kind. Assume positive intent. Remember it’s an unpaid and unloved job that he’s doing, and it’s not one I’m competent to do, nor do I have any desire to do it. It would be nice to have some backup for Rick so if you have the skills or interest, leave a note.

It would be nice to have some backup for ME, so if you have a comment that is going to be long and self contained, consider emailing it to me for use as a guest post. No promises, guarantees, warranties, or predictions, at my sole discretion. If I don’t want to use it as a separate post, you can still post the comment… and if you have something to say or contribute but would rather not say it yourself, email me and I’ll use it like Bob did when one of the prepper couples would email him. I’d love an update from anyone Bob featured that way too. Email is my first name at aol dot com.

Comms, networks, information, all important, and all bear some additional thought. Might be that dial up BBSs come back in vogue. Takes more legally to mess with actual phone lines… but of course WROL that’s not much of a consideration. Might be worth looking at data over ham radio to mailing lists or BBSs… possibly some combination with the ip based linking and conference repeaters…hmm. Shortwave with a data stream embedded? Weather fax single sheets like the broadsheets of old? SSTV on ham freqs? Time, probably past time, to start thinking about long term and worst cases, at least as thought experiments. Alex Jones is certainly glad he has his show on shortwave radio, after being shut out of all other media. Just saying.

In the absence of orders, keep stacking.


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Wed. June 30, 2021 – summer is flying by

Hot and humid, chance of rain. We did get rain yesterday, and sun, and heat (but not terrible heat). Today should be more of the same.

Spent the day mostly indoors, doing a bunch of stuff I’ve put off too long. Paid my toll invoices for driving around without toll tags in my new truck. Put the toll tag in the truck. Did a bunch of other paperwork stuff. Played with the puppy.

Today should be a bit more active. I have to do an auction pickup, and take both kids for their Girl Scout Camp physicals. I’ve got other auction stuff to do too. I was sorting through some stuff to sell in one of the local auctions last night. She’s got a guy who buys all of one particular item that she lists, and I’ve got a bunch of them. She’s waved me off on general items since she has a huge listing backlog, but maybe I can squeeze a dozen of these in. While going through that box of stuff, I might also have found a really good score. I’ll share with the guy who gave me the box though, I’d feel bad taking it all, it’s that good a score, and there were other things in the box that should bring good money on their own.

Part of the fun of thrifting/estate/garage/yard sale hunting is the treasure hunt aspect. You literally don’t know what you will find, and sometimes you do find the treasure.


Got my FCC license for GMRS about 10 hours after I applied. It’s a “pay the fee and get the license” application, and the license covers your whole family. The FCC isn’t issuing actual hard copies anymore, they just send a link to a pdf. I guess there is very little intrinsic value in the paper, that would make it worth forging. In any case, I’m current for GMRS again. FWIW, I got a new license rather than renew my lapsed one. There were two additional hoops to jump through and a huge fee ($210) to bring my old one current, so I just got a new one ($70 for 5 years) instead.


There are a lot of people that would make arguments against paying for the GMRS license, working from at least 3 different points of view. Don’t care. I don’t want to give them (.gov) that handle to use against me.


There are a lot of lists out there. My radio stuff puts me on one or more. My CERT training put me on another. My previous work clients put me on yet more lists. I’m a blogger, which probably puts me on a list. I am on lists with HPD and our Constable’s office, and the associated alumni groups. Purchasing certain items with background checks put me on a list. Visa and Mastercard probably maintain lists based on my purchase history. Amazon certainly does, and likely collaborates with .gov by compiling and selling lists. My school district has me on at least 4 lists. I’ve been to China twice so I’m on lists there, and I’m certain the US State Dept. has me on lists because of my travel to the middle east and the middle kingdom. I’m on a list in Canada, I had a work permit there for several years. I was working on a project subject to ITAR and had to go through that paperwork – that’s another list. At one point in my miss-spent youth, I’m sure I was on some other agencies’ lists as a “known associate”. There may even be criminal enterprises that have me on a list, if they do that sort of thing.

Don’t let the fact that you’ll end up on a list keep you from doing something. There are lots of us on lists, and the more there are, the more noise there is to get lost in. Use the lists to your advantage. I have access to more training activities now that I’m on a vetted list with HPD and the Constable’s Office. The CERT training is very broad based, and definitely worth trading for a spot on a list. So is ham radio. Medical training likewise.

If everyone’s the ‘biggest risk to the US’ then no one is.

Of course, be aware of when you really DON’T want to be on the list, and try to conduct at least part of your life so you don’t get on lists. Especially when it comes to stacking, you don’t want to be on the list of resources to be plundered. And since local is the new hotness, be very careful about getting on your neighbors’ lists… and consider making a few of your own.

You can think of the lists while you’re stacking.


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Mon. Mar. 22, 2021 – back to school, HAH HAH! /muntz voice

Cooler but also possibly wet.  National forecast has us on the edge of a system, and we usually don’t get the rain in that case, but I guess we could.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful.   I got a sunburn on my neck while working in the yard.

And yes, the yard is very bright now that we removed the pecan tree in the middle.  On the plus side, my one garden bed should get much more light too.

Spent a couple hours in the yard playing with the wife and kids.  Did some archery.  Did some hitting of the heavy bag.  My 11yo mentioned some time ago that she was interested in learning more about fighting.  I had a kid sized heavy bag show up in the auctions, so I got it.  Took down the trapeze from the ‘play structure’ and hung up the bag today.   Funny how different girls are when throwing a ball or a punch.  I have to constantly remind her to straighten her wrists, but she’s getting it.  We’re going to be doing a lot of palm and elbow strikes and less punching once she gets comfortable.   The goal is to surprise any attacker and open up space to get away, not to win cage matches.

The younger child wanted to hit stuff too, but once she got started all she wanted to do was pester me with ‘what ifs’ and ‘but I want to turn my hand while punching’ and ‘ow that kinda hurts.’  It’s gonna be a bit more of a struggle with that one.  She’s a barracks lawyer in training and her brain goes a thousand miles an hour.

Part of ‘getting through this, whatever this is’ means getting the kids ready to make their way in the world.  They need some physical skills as well as mental, so I’m doing my best to head that way.  There’s always something more to do.

Changing subjects entirely, for the last couple of nights I spun the dial on the shortwave to see what the bands sounded like.   We’re supposed to get increased sunspot activity which improves ham and shortwave radio propagation, so I want to pay attention and see what the baseline is.   Well, nothing spectacular so far.  (and not expected either)   I did get a night with late evening great signal from Tennessee and Cuba, but it faded as it got later.   Usually 5mhz is better later, so that was a bit odd.  Otherwise, it’s been noisy and variable for several days.   Having a shortwave radio is kind of a prepper cliche’, but after years of tuning around and dozens of radios I was pretty sure that in anything short of the zombie apocalypse there wasn’t going to be much point in shortwave listening.

Most of the stations that are readily receivable are fringe religious broadcasters or state propaganda outlets.   Still, the religious stations have news and opinion programming, and even propaganda can give you some information, and tuning the bands to get a rough idea of band conditions is easier with shortwave, so I still recommended people have a good shortwave radio.   The recent increase in ‘cancelling’ conservative voices has changed my mind.   Alex Jones was one of the very first to be cancelled, and he is still on the air, on shortwave radio, getting his message out.  You may think little of his message, but he IS being heard.  The religious broadcasters are almost all VERY conservative when you can tell anything about them, and so some other conservative voices are showing up on their news segments, and in their editorial content.

If things online get worse, the only place you might find a conservative voice is on shortwave.  Hopefully, more people will take advantage of radio, and more of the existing broadcasters will leverage their platform so that there is an increase of opinions and news available.  Shortwave could see a renaissance.   One very good thing about shortwave, no one is tracking the listeners.  (yes, there are ways to confirm someone is listening but you have to know who they are first, generally, to target them.  Not so with online media.)  Get a radio and string up a wire, and get some practice in tuning around the dial.

I’ve talked about radios and what you might hear before.  So did RBT.  Use the keywords for amateur radio and radio and do some reading… especially in the comments.

Today should be spent doing all the stuff I didn’t do this weekend, especially getting more stuff out to auctions for sale.  Weather will determine which stuff moves up and down the list.  Getting the kids up and out the door will be the first challenge…

Back to normal life.  Stack it high!



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Sun. Feb. 21, 2021 – 02212021 – I guess I just never noticed the weird date numbers before

Cool but not cold.  Sunny and windy.   I think.

Yesterday got up into the 60s and it was chilly shirtsleeves temps out in the sun.  And I took the day off.  Did some cleaning and putting away, but mostly wasted time on the internet with my friends.   Checked on a couple of friends.  Mostly though, had a down day to recover.

Now the actual recovery will commence.   Stuff needs to be cleaned, restocked, and put away.  Damage from freezing needs to be assessed and accounted for.   Then all the normal spring stuff needs to happen too.    I’ve got a tree coming down on Friday, and I need to clear a path, and set up a spot for the wood we’re keeping.  Eventually a plumber will install our instant hot water heater.  That was supposed to be this week but I wouldn’t pull him away from emergency calls even if I could.  I’ve got stuff to get to auction, and delayed pickups to make.  LOTS of organizing to do too.  And gardening…

Some other notes before I forget…

–those one pound bottles of propane are supposed to be removable and re-install-able, but I have about 1 in 3 leak slowly when removed.  That’s one reason not to store them indoors.  Squirt the top with soapy water and watch for bubbles.  Bubbles = leaking.

–the lithium jumper packs from Costco, with S in the name might not be great for jumping cars but they are excellent as power packs to recharge anything with a 5v USB charger.

–buckets rock.  You should have a bunch of empty food grade 5 gallon buckets and lids in storage.

–black plastic sheeting.  Clear plastic sheeting.  BOTH kinds of plastic sheeting.   You need at least one roll in storage.

–space heaters of various types could save the day, even if you wouldn’t ordinarily use them for anything.

— the traditional advice, “storm coming, fill the bathtub with water” is excellent advice.

–a working whole house generator would have made this whole thing almost a non-issue.  Water would have been my only concern.

–check your water.  check your preps.

— the traditional advice, “storm coming, fill your vehicle gas tanks” is excellent advice.

–get some CO monitors.  Then get a couple more.  You’ll sleep better with them than without them.

–I was too busy or too tired to run any radios.  I left the scanner off.   I didn’t need any info we weren’t getting from the neighborhood through texts or groups on FB.   I did notice the local 440mhz repeater that covers the whole city was offline.   I didn’t even try any HF.  Longer event and I probably would have started firing up radios, but my concerns were local local local, and tribe.

–cell coverage went down and stayed down for more than a day.  Voice coverage and data were spotty before and after.   Texts came through, but could be delayed.

–the Middle Earth version of Risk takes two days.  Like the regular version of Risk.  Two very long and frustrating days.  Like regular Risk.  It did keep the wife and kids out of the way– for two long days.  Puzzles have a LOT less angst and conflict.

–hot chocolate is a comfort food.  And we ran out.  Prepper fail.

–bad stuff can happen any time.   Worse stuff can happen during bad stuff.

–having extras to hand to people means you can help others without involving yourself intimately.    That’s good for them and you too.

–there are knock on effects too, ie. second and third and fourth order effects.  Pipes freeze and break.   EVERYONE needs a plumber.  No plumbers are available so everyone heads to the store to try and DIY.  No plumbing supplies are left in the stores.  Pipes break and flood (why?  Because people don’t know or think to turn off the water and NOT turn it back on without watching).   Flooring, walls and ceilings are ruined.   Houstonians know how to deal with wet stuff, you rip it out.  But that means no dumpsters are available.   No dumpsters means piles of debris in front of the house.  I’m going to buy a dumpster bag and add it to my preps.  When one becomes available…

–stuff and systems fail at the worst possible time, because that’s when they are stressed the most.   People too.

–it’s always something.


All good reasons to KEEP STACKING.


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Sun. Feb. 7, 2021 – the post titles rarely match the content

Cool but clear after some misty drizzle and locally spotty rain.

As I drove around yesterday I did hit some pockets of very light drizzle and I could see that some areas were getting heavier rain.    But it was mostly dry for most of Houston.

Got my errands run, did a bit of work at my secondary, but weather and exertion took their toll, and my back was killing me.  When it sends various jabs and pokes, and generally feels like a bundle of glass rods with some cracks and breaks, it’s time to take it a bit easier before I really hurt myself.  Getting old and decrepit is a b!tch.

As a note about how my life works, one of my pickups was three spools of filament for my uPrint 3D printer.  Gnu only knows why, but the proprietary support material, and the ABS filament in the original (chipped) cassettes showed up in an auction.  ~$15 each, when they sell for over $100 on ebay.  Since it’s an old machine, it requires the cassettes and the proprietary filament, which hasn’t been made or sold new in years.  It was really great to get some so cheap.

Plan for today is more stuff around the house, to include prep of the garden beds, but likely NOT planting.  Seems we’re going to get a bit more winter before we really get spring, so I’ll keep the little plants where they won’t freeze until the danger passes.  I guess my laziness busy-ness worked in my favor this time.

Played the Harry Potter version of Clue for family game night.  Really liked it.  It solves some of the problems inherent in the game play of the original, and has a couple of neat additions.   If you like Clue, and are at all fond of Harry Potter, you’ll probably like it.

My ‘rip all the DVDs’ project is continuing apace.  27 discs so far.  Maybe it won’t be next year before I’m done after all.  Next choice is whether to use Plex or something built into windows to serve the streams to appropriate devices…   No hurry on that though.

Listening to the scanner while I’m in my office doing other things and it continues to reveal the techniques, tools, and limitations that the police and other agencies are working with.   It also gives me a lot more information about what is going on around my area.  By no means is it telling me all that is happening, but it reveals stuff you won’t hear from your neighbors.  Listening regularly gives me a baseline too- a sense of operational pace.  Definitely recommended.

Information, skills, people, and stuff.  You need them all.  Get to stacking.



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Sat. Jan. 23, 2021 – busy day, making progress though

Cool and clear, I hope.   National map has us on the edge of a rainy area.  Usually the edge misses us.  I would like to get stuff done without getting rained on.

I spent some more time at my secondary  location doing clean up and throwing out stuff.   One of the things I un-buried was a shelving unit for my nearby storage unit.  I’ll be setting that up today if the rain holds off.  That will get some of my ebay stuff out of the house, without it being very far away.  Farther than I’d prefer, but keeping it here is not an option at this time.  Room needs to be made for GS cookies.

Yep, cookie season is almost here.  We thought it would be fully online this year, but I guess not.  Soon I’ll have hundreds of boxes of cookies in my foyer and living room.  Few of them for me, though.

My auction pickup yesterday was two ham radios.  Early 80s, solid units.   One was bringing crazy money on ebay.   I’ve got some work to do cleaning them up a bit and hopefully doing a little bit of testing.  Even as just a ‘parts’ machine, it should bring >$1100, which is nuts.  I am selling it, and not keeping it.   Need the money, have radios…   In fact, I’m toying with the idea of doing an auction in March of all the stuff I’d normally take to the hamfest.  I’ll talk to my local auctioneer and see what he thinks.

I’ve got a pickup in Conroe today, it’s stuff for building antennas.  I’m hoping to leverage some collapsible flagpoles into decent antennas.   They are always in that particular auction and go relatively cheaply.

There has been some discussion in various places regarding alternate comms and news sources.   Alex Jones led the way by having his show on shortwave for years.  Say what you will about him, a few of his darts have hit the board, and he was deplatformed before it was even a word.   He’s still around though.  I’m sure his shortwave show contributes to that.   In general, I thought the standard prepper recommendation to own a shortwave radio was not particularly useful.   The main broadcasters are religious based or state propaganda organs.  That said, many of the church people do news and talk too, and it’s possible to learn stuff from propaganda.   Given the crackdown on free speech in the US, I’m moving shortwave radio up the list a couple of notches.  Lots of good info about shortwave radios and listening on youtube.  (yes, evil youtube.  support the content creators that are making a living or living their dream on the platform.   Use patreon or whatever the creators like, and run adblockers to starve the beast.)

Compromise (or at least the appearance of ‘going along to get along’) is going to be the word-o-the day for a long time.  We need to maintain our ability to act, to support those that need support, and we need to get THROUGH this and out the other side, to wherever that may be.  There are times when that is not going to look very pretty.  I’m sure my tolerance for the necessary levels of compromise will vary and there may come a point where I can’t do it.  But given what that would cost  me, the current plan is pull back, pull in, and abide.    You may evaluate the situation and come to a different conclusion.   I may come to a different conclusion at some point too.  But I intend to survive this as intact as possible, and I’m PLANNING and provisioning to do that.

Stack it high.  Stack it in a bunch of small piles scattered all over.  Stack it wherever you can.  But STACK up some resources, friends, and knowledge.



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Mon. Jan. 11, 2021 – so much happening so fast, where to start?

Cold.  Wet.  Wet.  Cold.

Yesterday was low 40s and mid 30s with non-stop drizzle or worse.  It was 35F when I went to sleep.

Didn’t get anything at all done yesterday.  Really somewhat overwhelmed by the pace of things happening in the world.  Still, gotta keep moving forward.  So.

We’re 11 days into the New Year, and consider how much things have changed, just since Christmas.  Holy cr@p sandwich Batman…  what can a person do?

Well, it’s not too late to do something but by starting late everything will be harder and cost more.   If, that is, you think time is getting short.   If everything is fine, then why do you feel like you might want a gun, or some extra food in the house “just in case?”  Those sorts of feelings are your brain trying to tell you something is wrong with the world around you.  People who pay attention and do something about it are called “preppers” nowadays, but used to be called other things including “prudent”.

Most of the folks here at Daynotes have been preppers or at least have been prepping for a while now, or I hope they have been to SOME extent.   This post is more along the lines of something you can point the ‘new kid’ toward when they ask about what they should do.

First off, prepping is NOT a fringe activity.  Millions of people in the US and elsewhere prep to varying degrees.   It is the official policy of the US Government, promulgated by FEMA, that the citizens should prepare themselves for dealing with emergencies on their own.  There is a lot of information available from ‘official’ sources, but most of it is watered down, ‘lowest common denominator’ stuff.  Officially, FEMA says that in the event of an emergency, you should have enough stuff to take care of your needs for 72 hours, that being their minimum response time to a major incident.  Note the word ‘minimum’.   After several recent drills, for some people in some places, the recommended time was increased to 2 weeks.   Most people who consider themselves to be preppers can easily meet the 72 hours goal, and rapidly move on to the next level goal, and when they’ve reached that, move to the next.   That assumes they actually START, and that there is time for that approach to work.   There are other approaches we’ll talk about later.

There are as many approaches to prepping as there are preppers and there is an overwhelming amount of data online.   Somehow it became fashionable to put up prepping guides a couple of years ago, that were little more than fluff and had very little actual information in them and often had really bad advice to boot.  Because the internet is forever, a whole lot of those clickbait articles will show up when you start looking into prepping.

Before letting yourself be overwhelmed though, it’s important to realize a couple of things.   Prepping is a journey, not a destination.  Everyone’s journey is different, and as the Chinese and other’s have noted, the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.   So take that first step.

The first step is a question.  What are you prepping FOR?  The answer to that will shape your journey, but doesn’t necessarily define it.  The beauty of prepping is that each step builds upon the next and by prepping for the big things, you should automatically have the littler things covered along the way.  In normal times the answers range from a localized or regional “ordinary” disaster, like a flood, hurricane, winter storm, train derailment, or some other thing that is a likely and real hazard in your area; to a big thing, like global societal and economic collapse, a worldwide pandemic, or the fictional combination of the two- the zombie apocalypse.  A quick side note, for people new to prepping the idea of zombies and a zombie apocalypse can seem crazy, foolish, bizarre, or off-putting, but it’s really just a sort of shorthand for ‘everything goes nuts, nothing works like it should, and you are on your own.’    If you prep towards surviving that, you should have everything else covered.

So what are you prepping for?  If you are just starting,  you are likely concerned by the recent riots and destruction in our cities.  You have of course been affected by the current worldwide pandemic, and the restrictions related to covid-19 to some degree or another.  You might have been caught short in the beginning and wish to avoid that happening again if the wuflu does get worse.*  Or it might just be the REACTION to wuflu that concerns you.   You might be concerned by the political polarization in America.  Believe me, people on both sides are fully convinced that people on the other side are just a hair’s breadth away from exploding into violence.   That tells me that it’s coming for sure.   I don’t care which side you are on, and my politics are evident in other posts, but shouldn’t put you off.  I’ll try to be non-partisan in the body of these posts about prepping.  Maybe you see an economic collapse in the future.  Or you just see hurricane season starting up in a few months and you just want to get a jump on it…   I’ll tell you a secret.  Unless you live in a hazard zone, the most common disasters to befall people are much more personal – the loss of a job followed by long term unemployment, or serious illness/death of a loved one.  Prepping will help tremendously with those too.

One last thing before getting started.   This is going to be based on my approach, and my beliefs.    This website was Robert Bruce Thompson’s and he spent a lot of time talking about prepping issues, and his ideas shaped my own prepping journey.    He was a published author, a scientist, and a really smart guy who was very detail oriented and thorough.  I encourage anyone at any stage of their prepping journey to use the keywords at the right and read what Bob (RBT) said in his own words, as well as the discussion it engendered.  I’ll talk about his approach and link where appropriate.   I am not Bob, I’m not writing a book to serve as a reference manual, and I don’t think there is a lot of time to get YOU up to speed and taking the first step.   My approach is very quick and dirty compared to Bob’s well researched approach.  I usually go with the first thing that mostly works, rather than search for the perfect or complete solution.  I feel VERY STRONGLY that you should DO SOMETHING.  Preferably with guidance, and consideration, but I’d choose action over inaction in most cases.  Paralysis by analysis, or ‘overthinking’ is a real risk in prepping as in most complex endeavors.   The imperfect preps you actually have are infinitely better than the ‘perfect’ preps you DON’T have.

Ok, one more last thing.  I’m just a guy on the internet.  If something I suggest or advocate doesn’t seem right to you, do some more research.  There are as many different approaches and attitudes as there are people.  There are a LOT of good people out there writing about prepping and related subjects.   I’ll refer to them where I can.  I won’t generally be linking or footnoting everything.  You are sitting at a computer, connected to the internet- use that to your advantage if you need to see a reference or a link.  Consider too that my approach might not be a good fit for you, but you can hopefully still benefit from what I write, even if just by the negative example.   There are lots of people here to help me and to help you too, by keeping a sharp eye on me and what I’m writing.

So, today’s question.  What are you prepping for?  That will determine the extent of your preps, and your timeline, but mostly under my approach, it will determine when you STOP.  If you don’t know what you’re prepping for, just do what preppers do and say “zombie apocalypse.”

Today’s lesson, to get started, just do a little bit more than you usually do.  Buy more food that you normally buy.  Buy an extra of whatever home repair item you are buying.  Do a bit more cleaning.  A bit more exercise.  Fill your gas tank sooner than you might normally.  Get something fixed before it breaks more.  Along with that, go through your home and look at what resources you already have.   Look for things that aren’t going to help, that you no longer use/need/want.  Look for stuff that could be sold or traded or given to someone so that you can improve your situation, or theirs.

Figure out where you are starting from, so you know what you can build on.  Do you have tools?  A garden?  Generator?  Food in the pantry?  Camping equipment?  Medical knowledge but no supplies?  Any reference library?  What skills do you have?  If it helps you, make a list.

My approach is modular, builds off the previous level, and is a bit opportunistic.   Be open to things happening out of sequence.  Be prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves.

First goal- be able to stay in your home completely isolated, without changing your lifestyle or routine significantly, for 72 hours- 3 days.  And at the end of those days, you are not desperate or in need of aid, but you can continue your normal life, and replace what got used up.

We’ll talk about how to get there, and the next step later.

*I’ve been calling it wuflu from the beginning.  I know it’s not a ‘flu’ but it rolls off the tongue and is intended to remind the reader that this virus originated in Wuhan China.


What do you guys think?  Is it worthwhile for me to continue with this idea for a while?  Not every day, but at least a couple of times a week?  Maybe on a separate page?  Too chatty?  Too presumptuous?  Too general?  Already been done?  Too ambitious?  Unnecessary?

Let me know what you think, and in your own lives, keep stacking.



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