Preparedness Notes for Thursday — March 28, 2019

On this day in 845, a 5,000-man strong fleet of Danish Vikings invaded Frankish lands. They only retreated after besieging Paris and securing a ransom from the Frankish King Charles the Bald. This was part of a series of devastating raids begun by the Vikings in the 790s.

The Vikings were led by a man named “Reginherus” or Ragnar, sometimes linked to the legendary saga figure Ragnar Lodbrok. The Vikings easily overcame defenses set in place by Charlemagne and are known to have attacked the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés just outside the city. Although struck by an outbreak of plague, the Vikings overcame this to return home with their ransom of 7,000 French livres of gold and silver.

An interesting development:  You may have noticed that we now have a new ad for HughesNet Satellite Internet in our right-hand ad bar. We are now earning commissions whenever anyone sees that ad and signs up to get a HughesNet dish installed. We’ve had one of those here at our ranch for more than three years, and it functions flawlessly, even with skies covered by dark storm clouds. The upload speed is quite good and the download speed is amazingly fast! (25 Mbps.) That is fast enough to stream two movies simultaneously. If you live out in the boonies beyond cable Internet or DSL Internet, you can now have an Internet connection that provides faster download than DSL! (Typically DSL provides 1.5 Mbps to 8 Mbps in the boonies and perhaps 16 Mbps in some towns.)  It is compatible with most VPNs, with Skype, with Vonage and with other VOIP phones. You can even use it off grid with no phone line. All you need is stable 120 volt power–such as from a sine wave inverter. Please be sure to mention Tech ID: 0634 when you place your installation order with HughesNet. Many Thanks!

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 81 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator 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 $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  4. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  5. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. 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,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 81 ends on March 28th, so get busy writing and e-mail 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.


  1. Potential subscribers to a satellite internet service should be aware that both Hughes and Wild Blue will limit your monthly data downloads. My experience with both these services was that after 7.5 Gb in a billing cycle they would limit my download speeds to little better than dial-up speeds. A single HD movie in addition to my usual modest surfing (no other video streaming, ever) would be enough to meet their threshold for slowdown.

  2. HughesNet has long been the best. Their history is military and when they started offering civilian satty links they were the most reliable, and apparently still are, if a bit pricey for the data rates, but you pay for quality. When shooting azimuth and elevation, accuracy and signal strength increasingly matter the further north one is from standard orbit zones.

  3. I tried a couple of Sat ISPs several years ago. I got so frustrated with the lag, I gave up on them. It made for a very frustrating process to wade through a lot of ebay listings. The downloads were fine, once they started and back then WildBlue didn’t have data limits. I gave them up and went with a local wireless company, their lowest speed is over 10mb/sec and the cost is much less than the sat systems. It also doesn’t wigg out when the weather gets bad.

  4. I’ve had 10 different ISPs over the years in 4 different states and HughesNet by far was the WORST provider of them all. The service was spotty, the download speeds at night and the weekends were almost as slow as dialup, and there are data caps which you blast through in minutes streaming even YouTube let alone Netflix or Amazon. What we ended up doing after having to use HughesNet for 6 months then pay their ridiculously high contract cancellation fee (yes, a two years contract – I got them down from $500 cancellation to $200 after complaining about the horrible service) was we switched to a local microwave internet company and man is it night an day difference. We have MUCH faster speeds, we can stream 3 Netflix movies at a time in HD, no data caps, no weather issues, and about 50 dollars cheaper per month. They brought a bucket truck and put the antenna 60 feet on a tree after limbing some of the branches. As long as they can get a line of site to their tower, even if it’s 10-20 miles away, you are good to go. I may have them come back and put in a 100ft tower they said they can do, that way I can use it for my ham radio antennas too, and I don’t have to worry about the tree falling or grow more branches.

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