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  1. This would have to be one of the most useful and enlightening series of articles I have read. I am in Australia and a lot Prepper articles don’t apply here this one was very informative and although I am a technologist by profession I gained a lot of very useful information from this article. Many Thanks

  2. Outstanding article J.M. Lots to think about and investigate. Obviously real world results will vary so a solid scratching of the surface of the many options available is greatly appreciated.

    I once read (ok 5 times now but whose counting) a really incredible series of novels by a guy named…. J.. Jams no no it was James somebodyoranother. It doesn’t matter, they included a great deal of information on using a combination of High and Low Tech solutions by a whole bunch of interesting people

    I forget the exact titles but I think they were: Pickles, Souvenirs, Librarians, ExtraCredit, and Flounder. 😉 I could be off on these, you better check

  3. This is a well done, quick overview article of available technologies. It has my gears turning to see what I might could do/use to improve my prepping. I really appreciate the many links that a lot of articles are lacking. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. Hi J.M., this was a very informative series. It took 90 minutes to get through each day’s section due to clicking on all the links to check out the possibilities. That was an education in itself. And I finally got off my keister and got some rechargeable batteries ordered and put the electronic lighter on my next-month list while I’m digesting the rest.

    How good is the resolution on the magnifying app? I currently just use the camera on my phone, take a pic and then zoom in so I’m wondering how much better the app is. Even with glasses on, I can’t read some of the super-fine print on very small electronics like the 12 v cigarette lighter charger in my truck so I take a pic and zoom in. Ditto for those yellow shelf stickers at the store when you’re trying to read the finer print or it’s too low to the floor to see without laying down in the aisle. Someone’s liable to start CPR if I do that.

    Thanks again for all the time put into writing this article and all the useful info!

  5. St. Funogas – Thank you. Re: the magnifying app – it’s OK, but how well it works depends a lot on your mobile device’s camera, lighting, etc. I’d recommend downloading a couple of different apps and trying them out to see which one works best for your device.

  6. Hi guys, seen your traffic on the DIY wideband antenna into our Apollo-NG wiki. I’m also very focused on post SHTF networking and currently working on some prototypes for LoRa mesh based communication, where we have little devices bootstrapping a LoRa Mesh and offer BT LE interface for a smartphone app. Completely grid/cell infrastructure independent.

  7. Here is a problem that no one can explain: I travel and hike and when I’m at the Grand canyon my cell phone get’s no service. I complained to AT&T because I could see other people using their cell phone. AT&T claimed that my service was not blocked or limited in any way. So I changed providers and now I can get cell phone service (same physical phone) at certain places on the South Rim. But yet I have seen people walking a mile down the trail from the rim carrying on a conversation on a cell phone where there is zero service. Is it the phone, the carrier, extra cost service, what? This is a common problem in a lot of remote places but in the Grand Canyon there are a couple thousand people around and you are far more likely because of that to actually see the difference. That is where you phone gets zero service and others have normal service. I have had the same thing happen to me on the Pacific Crest trail, for example, where suddenly my cell phone starts working where it wasn’t for the last 20 miles or so. The difference I see no one else on the trail so I don’t know what others experience is. But the Grand Canyon experience exposes the problem clearly. So what is the answer? I partially fixed it by changing providers but others are still getting normal service in truly remote areas. Why?

  8. OneGuy – there are dozens of factors that can impact the quality of your cell signal – the terrain between you and the closest cell tower, weather, signal interference, the radio implementation in your phone, etc. There’s a web site call cellmapper.net that will show you where towers are located for each provider, along with some signal strength values for various areas. There are also apps like ‘Network Signal Info Pro’ that will provide a ton of cell signal info directly on your phone. With these you can start to get a better idea of what’s actually happening in terms of your phone signal.

    1. And I do understand what you are saying. But with AT&T we could stand beside someone using their cell phone and our’s showed no service. Then when we changed to Verizon we could stand in the same spot as before and using the same phone and get service. AT&T was blocking our service. Also, the strange case of the man walking into the Grand Canyon a thousand feet below the rim talking like he was downtown. NO ONE get’s service over the rim. My point isn’t to simply complain, what I’m saying is something is going on that isn’t being revealed to us. There are two factors in play: 1 is that even when there is sufficient service your provider may block you. Why? I have no clue. 2. In some places, like over the rim, you aren’t in line of sight to a cell phone tower, “no one” gets service down there, except some people do. I should have stopped the guy and asked him who his provider was or what kind of phone he used or some explanation for why he got service. This is a tech thing, someone knows the answer.

    1. In the case of the man below the rim it was clear to me he was talking to his work. He was getting briefed on problems and telling them what to do. I suspect he was from L.A. or Phoenix on vacation. Most of the other examples, those above the rim but in areas we did not get service, were woman just chatting and it did not appear to be walkie-talkie.

      If we had never changed providers and then got service in these areas I would still be believing my AT&T rep who swore that there was simply no cell phone service there and it had nothing to do with any corporate decision. My best guess is that AT&T does not own the nearest tower and prefer to show “no service” on their phones rather than pay the tower owners for the use of their equipment. My second guess is that is we had purchased their most expensive plan that magically cell service would appear in the same location.

      One twist in this story is that my wife changed her provider from AT&T I did not. We did that for a reason. She likes to use the phone and gets and makes calls all the time. I rarely use my phone but when we travel I use it to ‘tether’ wifi for my laptop and my AT&T service is unlimited so I can connect as much as I want to (except at Grand Canyon).

  9. @J.M.- Muchas Garcias ! (LOL) Very useful articles. I have archived them for future reference. And thanks to James or whoever at SB who recognized their worth and posted them.

  10. Thanks, James, for the heads up on the Enfield book. I must have it.
    In 1974, while attending New Mexico Military Institute, I spied an obscure door in the mess hall, which doubled as a study hall. No one ever used that door. So I did.
    it revealed a spiral, stone staircase leading deep down into a dungeon. In the vast dungeon, were rows and rows and rows of bookshelves, with a huge, clear light bulb every 100 feet. Holy cats! New Mexico’s Smithsonian, thought I. I found this huge, thick, dusty book about the history of the SMLE rifle. Like, Chicago white pages thick. Ancient drawings, specs, history of the development and evolution of this fantastic rifle.
    History of notable deployments and huge battles on the Dark Continent. Of battles between 6,000 British troops, armed with the new rifle but using the old black powder, 215 grain round nose load, at ranges to 2,000 yards in volley fire as tens of thousands of warriors stormed down a vast slope. Three ranks, 1,000 riflemen each, rained 20,000 rounds per minute in on the charging mass, starting at 2,000 yd. By the time they reached 700 yards, the carnage was obvious and the enemy ran back up the hill, sustaining horrible casualties during withdrawal.
    Since I owned a Number 1 MK 4 at the time, I read this huge book for weeks, which may explain my lackluster math grade.
    But make no mistake, the most under-rated battle rifle in gun stores is the SMLE, .303. A few FTRs (Factory Thorough Repair) are seen now and then. I bought two in the 1990s for $125.00 EACH. Brand new barrels. Very good stocks. Shiny, thick, brass butt plates. Long Branch arsenal. Ladder rear aperture sight graduated to 2,000 yards.
    I have often regretted not procuring that book back in the day. Probably wound up in a landfill.
    And so, when you see those Mausers and other early modern battle rifles with those large yardage figures stamped on the rear sights, you know what that’s for. Massed, volley fire.
    For those out there with .303s, plain vanilla .308″ bullets shoot just fine in them. You might use a .308″ expander ball on your resizing die, or remove it all together and the neck tension will work fine. I’ve shot some very nice groups with .308″ bullets in an SMLE, which is supposed to get .311″ bullets. Sierra makes a dandy 174 grain match bullet for it.
    If I recall, 42.0 grains of H4895 and a Remington 9 1/2 primer using a 165 grain .308″ bullet works peachy. But please check your manuals. It’s been a while since I loaded for .303.
    While in Canada for a time, I quizzed Canadian gun people about calibers they preferred for moose, elk. “You Americans. .30-30 Win, .30-40 Krag, .303 British… works FINE. BANG. Moose tips over. We go home.”
    I once shot a whole case of 1926 Mk VII surplus ammo through an SMLE. Every single round went off, and every single round split the case neck due to embrittlement. Sometimes, though, old Cordite propellant can absorb moisture, and produce long wait times on hang-fires. Like, two seconds. I have a case lot of Egyptian Mk VII that does this. So I’m just pulling the bullets, replacing the propellant, and reseating the bullets.

  11. Loved the direction of the article. I’ve been playing around with some motion sensors, and I would like build them to broadcast a unique tone on FM to signal traps. I’ll be publishing the diagrams once they are done and offering them for sale.

  12. Thanks for this series of articles. I’m an electronics engineer and ham radio operator, but there were so many interesting things in this series that I’d never seen or heard of. Thanks so much.

    On texting with phones– There are small battery-operated Bluetooth TNCs that can be used with an APRS app on the phone, and plugged into a handheld radio like a Baofeng. This is another off-grid texting solution/ If you’re a ham radio operator, you can use the standard 144.390 APRS frequency, but if not, perhaps a MURS channel would work.

  13. I’ve been wanting a tech gadget that none of my tinkering friends seems to want to tackle. I’d like a solar powered motion detector that triggers an inside device that plays a barking dog. The Cadillac version would have more than one detector and the barking dog would sound like he was moving from room to room.
    Yeah, I know that’s letting the peeps get close to the house, but I live in suburbia and don’t have much choice right now.

  14. Nurse kim – The WiFi motion sensor that I mention in the article could be rigged for solar power (it uses 3 x AA batteries), and it works with IFTTT so you could rig something that triggers a dog barking sound.

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