Assembling a Stealth Prepper Group – Part 1, by PrepperDoc

On the wonderful pages of SurvivalBlog, I have read article after article about hardy souls setting up individual homesteads and gaining hard-won knowledge at significant cost. But also, of course, of people bemoaning the out-sized risks of “loners” in a truly desperate time, and the need to find some way to establish a like-minded group. That adventure is fraught with risks, as leadership, membership, and governance are sticky but important issues.

I wish I were young enough and strong enough to have my own homestead, but that was not my path in life. (Someone has to be the doctor, engineer, manufacturer, right?) Nevertheless, I have succeeded in building a group and this article will explain how. For some readers, this may be a solution, and for many, it may lead to analogous solutions in their areas of expertise.

A side story: I have tried to add some attention to the response/rebuilding phase of a disaster. Pointing out the vast numbers of highly trained and efficient commercial operations that are so important to maintaining a quality of life beyond that of medieval times. Allowing the ability to get a child’s inflamed appendix removed rather than facing a significant risk of death. Providing anesthesia for the child, and sterile instruments, gloves, gowns for the operating room staff. Treatment of Neisseria meningitidus meningitis, which can kill in hours. (Initial broader spectrum therapy can be reduced to third-generation cephalosporin after culture confirmation; there are several alternatives as well–but all have to be manufactured.) Diagnosis and treatment of sudden onset childhood or elderly blood cancers — can happen to anyone. A shattered femur rodded for mending. A cut tendon (sharp-edge accident) sutured back together under highly sterile conditions, and therapy to make it glide again in its sheath. You or your family, sooner, or later, will need these resources at this level.

This can be summarized as:
Advanced Societal Division of Labor –> Far greater survival and quality of life for survivors

Current Events Prove It Is Not Impossible

Even in desperate times, some semblance of advanced society can be regionally maintained. Even a nation like Ukraine — literally at war with one of the world’s major nuclear-armed superpowers — manages to maintain an economy, and even design, advance, and export highly technical electronic and software systems. They still have working police forces to deal with the ordinary criminals of life.

So, in most current disasters, and even in war against an invading nuclear power, some form of division of labor can be maintained, even if not right in the war zone. Maintaining that advanced societal structure saves many, many lives. This point cannot be overemphasized.


Security is important to the survival of such a society structure, and thus to the survival of a large fraction of our population, a part of maintaining medical care, cancer care, pediatric care, trauma care.. Trying to think beyond our own selves and for the survival of some form of “community” in our areas, it is extremely crucial– and very valuable to our own families — to find some way to keep some semblance of security going even in very difficult times. In large portions of Ukraine this is happening (and not in some sections of France, a nation supposedly at peace, an exquisite irony!). A major (but not sufficient) component of maintaining security is simply keeping law enforcement functioning. Vulnerable survivors will not continue in the workforce if crime is completely rampant due to total loss of security systems. They will stay home, just like the police.

This can be summarized as:
Working security systems —>
Advanced Societal Division of Labor –>
Far greater survival and quality of life for survivors

This article presents a solid option for you to succeed in helping to maintain some semblance of security, and in the process, building a form of a prepper group with trusted individuals. For OPSEC reasons, I can’t give details, but this is not merely theory. This is drawn from solid personal experience over more than five year period. It literally built a group out of next to nothing in our town. This technique allows you to be part of building a prepper group “hidden in plain sight” and at the same time, be part of incredibly important resiliency assets that might stave off complete collapse of your local community–by helping keep law enforcement functioning. Complete collapse has dire consequences even for the young, hardy, and well-prepared.

The key is Communications

Without communications, much of the fabric of advanced societies is quickly torn apart. Everyone including prepper-minded citizens, eventually recognizes the extreme importance of COMMUNICATIONS. It has been a favorite topic among survivalists and for good reason! The record of the Katrina disaster shows what happens to a city that loses communications. The remaining residents of New Orleans were far, far worse off than Ukraine! Security systems completely folded. Not much of a surprise: individual police were on their own — no backup! No orders, no schedules, nothing Many therefore chose to head home and protect their own families. Others made incorrect assumptions in tense situations, with deadly results, even for innocents. Weak-minded (or simply evil) leaders began to attack the civil rights of innocent citizens, leaving them even more defenseless in misguided left-wing authoritarianism. Lack of communications took a thriving advanced society in a modern big city, and brought it almost back to Civil War type security situations (or worse!) — while a nation under attack by a nuclear power keeps communities going in many areas. Communications is key.

If your local sheriff’s department loses communications, you can forget community security. You — and any you can round up — are going to be on your own. Enter anarchy. And now, you lose almost all of the survival advantages of complex division of labor. The docs, nurses, lab workers, manufacturers — all will stop work.

This can be summarized as:

Functioning Communications —>
Working security systems —>
Advanced Societal Division of Labor –>
Far greater survival and quality of life for survivors

See how important merely keeping some systems of communications going, can turn out to be for the survival of not just your family, but your larger community?

The Opportunity

How can you help prevent this, should a disaster befall your area, and at the same time build a stealth prepper group composed of trained people with whom you’ve worked for years at strenuous and useful exercises, learning each others’ strengths, weaknesses, and foibles? Learning how to get along, and finding the niches for natural leaders? How people respond in stressful times and who has what skills and roughly what assets?

The answer is right in front of you: build a volunteer communications group to provide backup support for your community.

You will reap many, many benefits over the course of the time that it will take you to build a strong group in your community — and in the process you will be at the same time forming relationships that will be the key group for you….if things really fall apart.

Admittedly Not For Everyone

Now, this solution may not be applicable to everyone.
If you have badly deficient leadership skills; cannot abide by people with even slightly different viewpoints or theological beliefs; are quick-tempered, and unwilling to study and learn, then you might not be the person for this kind of leadership.

Or, if you live in an extremely “blue” community where local leadership is completely saturated with left-wing progressiveness….it may be impossible for you to gain a foothold in providing helpful backup systems.
If local leadership in your community arrogantly believe they alone can handle all disasters and have no need of volunteer citizen help, again, this may not work in your area.

But most of us probably are not in those distressing situations. And therefore, reading further is worth your while.

You’re going to have learn

First, you’re going to have to really learn about communications. A lot! Not only really simple communications like voice frequency modulation over $25 Chinese Baofeng radios that can be easily intercepted (eavesdropped). You’re going to need to learn how to help yourself and others pass FCC multiple-choice license tests. One after another. Start with the entry-level Technician license. That is going to teach you a very entry-level understanding of how our nation regulates transmitters; how electricity and electrical components and simple circuits work; how antennas are constructed to perform efficiently; and how to stay safe in the mix with electricity of all types, and radio energy as well. This is just the beginning. Start teaching others!

Data Communications

In the process you’re going to get exposed to data communications, which are a huge step above simple voice comms. They can be much, much faster, more precise, and include error correction. They allow for much simpler “repeater” type systems as well (more properly called “digipeaters”). There are two major flavors of those right now, legacy AX.25 and new-on-the-block VARA-FM. Each as advantages — but both make your communications much more difficult to eavesdrop, a factor whose benefit you should easily see.

Attractiveness: “Getting Along”

Next. you are going to need to become “respectable, acceptable and attractive” to the people in your community who will be “in charge” (at least initially) in minor or major disasters short of the apocalypse — the Emergency Manager in most USA counties. An easy way for you to make that relationship blossom is to take home study courses in how our nation actually deals with “normal” emergencies, by studying Independent Study courses IS-100, -200, -700 and -800. The American Radio Relay League (a national organization of hobbyists that is well respected and will provide you with huge resources and also “cover”) has a great ready-made organization, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES (R) ) that you can easily become part of, giving you an “explanation” for your interests and abilities.

If there isn’t an active group in your county — start one! They also have a “taskbook” full of great projects for you to tackle to develop real and varied communications skills and learn how to use all kinds of radio tools that would be very important in an apocalypse — because many of them do NOT require a centralized system. (See this ARES PDF.) And some of those systems can also be configured to be community-specific, or group-specific!

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)