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Preventing Failure to Communicate- Part 1, by JMD

Communications failure can be prevented, though it may not be in the form we’re expecting. Ever since the earliest cavemen grunted at each other and painted pictures on their cave walls, humans have been communicating in one form or another. Communications are critical to any multi-person activity. Many people consider having radios and other electronic communications devices a core part of living a prepared lifestyle. Virtually every survival- and preparedness-related forum or blog has one or more sections dedicated to this. Things like shortwave radio communications, protecting your radios from EMP, powering your radios in a grid-down scenario, et cetera.

Unless you’re a lone-wolf, having the ability to communicate effectively with your group, and potentially with other groups, is absolutely critical to maintaining a functioning society. But what about situations where you can’t, or shouldn’t, use wireless electronic communication devices? What if, post-SHTF, there’s a quasi-military marauder group operating in your area that you suspect has functioning radio detection gear? What if the batteries in your radio also die? Perhaps you’re sneaking up on an enemy and are overheard? What if a strong magnetic storm is interfering with radio signals? This article focuses on planning for and using alternate communications methods that don’t involve wireless electronic signals.

Elements of Communication

In order to effectively understand and plan for communications, it helps to first understand the elements involved in any communication:

A single communication may also involve multiple types of each component; for example, a patrol team leader verbally passes a message to the team’s communications guy, with the intended recipient being the group’s security leader back at the compound. The comm guy writes it down, reads it back, and then heads out to find a tall tree or hill from which to signal the compound using the signal lamp. The sentry on duty at the compound sees the message, writes it down, acknowledges it, and then hands the paper to a runner to give to the security leader. There are two different encodings (plain English and signal lamp code), three different mediums (verbal, paper, light), and three different channels (sound, physical paper transport, and light).

Define Your Requirements

Understand What You Need To Accomplish

The first step in defining an alternate communications strategy is understanding what you need to accomplish. This should include the following items:

A Table Is Useful

I’ve found that creating a table that outlines the requirements can be useful. (It’s one of the few times I’ve found that a spreadsheet can actually be useful.) Here’s an example:

Requirements [4]

In the first line, we want our active patrols to be able to communicate their status back to the compound. “Defense State Red” mean there are suspected enemy elements (marauders, et cetera) active in the local area, so we want the patrol to send a status update hourly to make sure they’re okay. Since enemy may be present, we don’t want to give away the patrol’s location or the fact they’re even in the area (“Sensitive” is “Yes”). This means we need to utilize one or more communications mechanisms that can be quickly deployed, work in varying conditions (e.g. day/night), and minimize the risk of detection or interception.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with some options after you’ve thought about your communications requirements.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a five part entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest [9]. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator [10] from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
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  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees [13] in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product [14] from Sunflower Ammo,
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Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
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  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
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  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
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  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses [15].

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
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  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and

Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail [16] us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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Comments Disabled To "Preventing Failure to Communicate- Part 1, by JMD"

#1 Comment By Ready Guy On September 6, 2017 @ 12:45 pm

I am enjoying your article and approach to emergency communications. However, your “A Table is Useful” example image is “useless.” Can you include a larger image in a succeeding article so that we can actually use your example to create our own?

Thanks much, keep posting.

#2 Comment By Hugh James Latimer On September 6, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

@Ready Guy,
Due to the width of the blog and bandwidth constraints, the table and images are first displayed in a small format. You can click on the image and it will give you a full size image that you can save.

#3 Comment By Ready Guy On September 7, 2017 @ 12:51 am

New image is GREAT! Thanks.