SurvivalBlog Readers’ & Editors’ Snippets

This weekly column is a collection of short snippets: responses to posted articles, practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. We may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.

First and foremost is the great news that Georgia will become America’s 25th Constitutional Carry state: Gov. Brian Kemp: Georgians’ ‘Carry Permit Is the 2nd Amendment’. Here is a quote:

Kemp tweeted, “For law-abiding Georgians, their carry permit is the 2nd Amendment.”

JWR’s Comments:  I’m glad to hear that Governor Kemp agrees with me. In a 2009 interview on FoxBusiness, I was asked by an incredulous interviewer: “Shouldn’t someone be required have a permit to carry a gun in public?” My immediate and forthright reply was: “We have a permit. It’s called The Second Amendment.”

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Peter pointed us to this CNN news piece: Severe drought and mandatory water cuts are pitting communities against each other in Arizona.

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Reader Skip W. recommended a video interview with former Lieutenant Colonel Jay Block. From the description:

‘Lieutenant Colonel Jay Blockhas played an essential role in the management and administration of the USA’s nuclear forces. He is now running for governor of New Mexico. We discuss the prospect for a global conflict, how it would unfold, what the belligerents capabilities are and what we need to do to prevent, endure and survive such an event.’

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Tunnel Rabbit sent this quite useful advice:

A $25 Moxon for Hams: There is an affordable directional antenna called the Moxon. It is designed for the Amateur 420 to 450 MHz band, and has a center frequency of 433 MHz for satellite work. See the analyzer results in the photo at the eBay page.  Made from carbon fiber, it is very lightweight and compact and would easily fit on or into a pack.  However, this may not be as durable as a rugged homemade version, but it is still a bargain, and could easily be mounted in an attic if it is not designed for prolonged exposure to wind and weather.

The manufacturer states that it will have a +/- 10 Megahertz range either side of the center frequency with a low SWR, and claims it will work the entire band, however, I doubt it will work the repeaters in the U.S.. Yet, at $25, it is the least expensive directional antenna I’ve seen on the market.  It is designed primarily for portable use, and the connector is the Male SMA type for connection to certain handhelds, but there are many adapters made to convert this connector to SMA F.  For Baofeng and Wouxan handhelds, use SMA F to UHF (SO 239) that are one of these that include no cable, or long lengths for a station installation.  For mobiles use this one.
Ask the manufacturer how much power this antenna can handle before using it with a mobile.   The gain should be typically around 5.75 dBi. With 5 watts from a handheld radio, it would have an ERP of around 11.5 watts if connected directly to the antenna without a cable. This is plenty of power to cover a 10 to 20 mile in diameter AO. The ERP, if 40 feet of RG8x is used, would be only 4.75 watts, so use the equivalent of LMR 400 cable if possible.

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Paul G. wrote:

“I just wanted to send a thumbs up and thank you for the recent slingshot [article] series. My favorite thing as a kid was shooting the slingshots that my grandpa made up for me. I have a Simpleshot Scout Hunter now. Your series has encouraged me to dive deeper into its use and utility. I appreciate all of your hard work and those that contribute to SurvivalBlog. I especially look forward to the weekly updates from you and Miss Lily. Thanks again for your dedication and commitment to your readers. I pray for y’all and those of us that will soon face the harshest and most difficult times we have ever seen in our lives. God bless and keep you all.”

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I recently received this letter from an anonymous reader in Canada:

Dear Jim,
I wish I could say things have improved here in Canada since the last time I corresponded with you – unfortunately that is not so. On the contrary it would seem we are accelerating our decline into a fascist state. I do however want you (and your readers) to be aware of something going on here in Canada and very likely in the USA – which has affected me profoundly.

No doubt you are familiar with the freedom convoy protests here in Canada back in February & March of this year. I had donated to the freedom convoy fundraiser on GoFundMe before GoFundMe capitulated to the demands of the Canadian government and canceled it. The freedom convoy protest then created a fundraiser with GiveSendGo which I donated to. As you may know leftist hackers then hacked GiveSendGo and disseminated the donors private information (name, mailing address, email address, etc) to various actors including the Canadian government. The Canadian government retaliated by invoking the draconian and never-before-used Emergencies Act and started freezing bank accounts of those whom were identified with the freedom convoy protests (fortunately my bank account was never frozen). For my part – as soon as I was made aware of the GiveSendGo security breach I deactivated my email address I had used for GiveSendGo and paid off my credit card with the purposes of deactivating that as well. Unfortunately, all my attempts to obtain another credit card have been unsuccessful.

I’ve tried obtaining a credit card from four different institutions (1 bank, 1 credit union, and 2 big-box stores). The bank told me the credit side of the application was fine however ‘they could not authenticate me” – whatever that means as they have access to all my personal information including credit. A representative of a big-box store was a little more forthright regarding my declined credit application by informing me I was denied because my overall credit profile is handled by two credit bureaus (TransUnion & Equifax) “which take into consideration factors besides credit worthiness”. The credit union and other big-box store who also declined my credit application promised correspondence via mail but nothing every turned up. I’ve contacted Equifax and I have an excellent credit score. (For the record I have no debt of any kind, own my home & property free and clear, never missed a payment in the 25 years I’ve had credit, etc.)

So… riddle me this: I have excellent credit rating but unable to get another credit card or any kind of credit (vehicle loan for example). Something is going on! It would appear there is also a social credit scoring system in existence and I’ve been blacklisted in that system as an undesirable. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing I can do about this conundrum as the existence of a social credit system is denied by these credit bureaus. So take it from me… if you ever donate to a cause the left or political class might not like, then buy a prepaid credit card and make your donation online that way. And use fake names, addresses, etc if at all possible.

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Tunnel Rabbit also sent this primer, which was too short to run as a feature article:

“A Short List of Rules for improved COMSEC (Communications Security).
Rule #1
Always use the lowest power setting available that make communication reliable.
Do not use an external antenna if using a handheld can accomplish the task. We can also transmit using a handheld, and use an external antenna to listen to the response from the receiving station when the reception by either station is on the edge of being unintelligible.  If this method is not effective, use only one watt of power thru an external antenna.  If more power is required, use  4-5 watts and a horizontally polarized antenna, and if more power yet is required, use a horizontally polarized directional antenna such as a Moxon or yagi.
If a high gain directional antenna is required on a regular basis to communicate to fixed stations, using a 5 element yagi at both stations, and the lowest power setting that make communication reliable.  In a nonpermissive environment when the threat condition is highest, communications at a distance of many miles that require more than 5 watts through an omnidirectional antenna, would require a  portable (handheld), or mobile radio to be used,  transmit only when at least 500 meters, or best, up to 5 miles away from the base station.   Directional antenna greatly reduce the risk and the distance a portable transceiver must be from a base station, but does not eliminate all threats.  If possible, use HF and short skip propagation techniques when possible.  If the traffic is very sensitive, then use a One Time Pad (OTP).

Rule #2
Keep your transmission between 3 and 5 seconds, say ”break”, and then pause by releasing the PTT, the push to talk key, and then continue with the message for another 3 to 5 seconds, and then say ”break”, and pause again.  Use this method throughout the transmission. This makes it difficult for scanners to intercept any, some, or all of the message. It also makes it difficult for those attempting to get a rough bearing on your location(s).

Rule #3
For routine traffic, use a brevity code that is a substitute name or number, for frequently used place names, an activity or function, and locations.
Brevity codes should be incorporated to obscure and reduce that odds that allows a receiver to glean a possible meaning, but also to decrease the length of the message, and transmission time to send a message. A brevity code that can be of your own invention is best, namely, the most secure and familiar.

For example, one can use the term ‘phase line’. ahead of an assigned number, as a substitute for all roadways, and foot paths or trails. Any method that shortens the time require to transmit, is another layer that goes to improving COMSEC.  We could also use innocuous phrases, and other inventions.  We might also signal that a dead drop is ready for pick up.  Or we can use key clicks, or even our simplified form of a Morse Code by using the ‘band’ key if the Boafeng if it is enabled for audible tones from the key pad.  Normally I would disable this feature so I would use a dedicated handheld assigned to a base station for this method. the hand held should be clearly marked so that is remains in the base station.
Rule #4
If necessary, compose the script to be transmitted in writing with the intention of being as concise and clear as possible prior to transmission.  Be sure the transmission time is kept to a minimum and Rule #2 is used.  Write into the script the term ” break ” when the transmission time might exceed 3 to 5 seconds.  Practice it and time it, adding the word ‘break’ in the message at the appropriate point in the message.  It is best to use normal speech pattern, and rates of speech, so that the receiver will make no mistake about the content of the message sent.
Prior to initiating the transmission, a ‘com’ check might be performed if necessary to confirm that the receiver can copy the sender clearly.  “Are we 10-2?” Or, “QRK?”  We then might avoid having to correct or send the message twice. If reception is poor, the receiver might need to verify the message has been received accurate by repeating key codes, or repeat the entire message back to the sender.  It is best to avoid repeating the entire message as a part of a routine, yet it would be essential if there is any question about the message content.  And if necessary, we should ask the receiver for his authentication code to verify their identity prior to sending the message.
If the transmission is not clearly understood by the receiver, prepare to correct or clarify using a phonetic alphabet instead of speaking alphabet letters. For example, the letter B could be confused with the letter V.  Substitute the words Bravo, or Boy for the letter B, and Victor for V. Standardized forms of phonetic alphabets are best, yet are not necessary.  We could develop our own, or base it upon standardized forms such as what is used by Amateur Radio Operators, or the military.”

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Reader M.J. sent this snippet:

“This was a big week at my suburban homestead. On Thursday I took the morning off work to rent a truck to bring about 1.5 tons of compost from the county compost facility to my house. I had to frantically shovel all that off the truck onto the side of my driveway and then return the truck before being charged for a whole day instead of a half-day.

I also promised my neighbors that they could have all the gravel on my front yard. They came over on Saturday to start work. We had our shovels and our wheelbarrows and put in a few hours of work. It was a good way to get to know them better.
My next project is to remove all the tired old topsoil from the beds I laid out in the yard so that I can bring in the compost.  Then I can plant some corn. I planted some salad stuff today in the backyard.  I’d like to plant wheat and maybe a nut tree in the front yard, but that will have to wait until I can call for a stump removal service and until all that gravel is gone.
All of this is a workout without a gym! Let’s hear it for sweat equity!
I’d like to also suggest this article: Food shortages may be coming soon.”

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And, lastly, SaraSue sent this update:

“The almost 1/4 acre garden was fenced in, area plowed, potatoes, and frost-hardy seeds planted.  I have a schedule of what seeds to plant and a diagram of where things should go, so hoping for the best.  The stanchion was built and the dairy cow is coming along with training as I become more confident in handling her.  She could calve any time now.  Regarding preps: purchased 200’ of laundry line rope and clothespins, 5 gallon water jugs with spouts, more canning jars, purchased the beginnings of a breeding program for meat rabbits from a genetically sound line, and more items on the long list now that food is secured.  Having a hard time finding several year old fruit trees and may have to buy younger ones.  I’m behind on my Bible study and haven’t finished Leviticus, but I’ll catch up.  I talk to the Lord all day long.  It’s been a whirlwind of activity the past 8 months and I’m bone-tired just as Spring arrives, but I’m thankful and grateful for this opportunity.  The economic collapse may be imminent.”

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