Assembling a Stealth Prepper Group – Part 2, by PrepperDoc

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article)

Developing your leadership skills

If you work at this, you’ll gain many skills in the areas of operational communications, and in logistics as well. You’ll find the Professional Development Series will help your skillset for leading a volunteer group– whether a prepper group or an ARES group. You’ll be well accepted by the local Emergency Management folks for your willingness to help forestall the onset of anarchy in your community. Most emergency managers realize that communications is a weak spot in their own knowledge base, and if you come across as likable, knowledgeable and professional — they are likely to be very interesed in helping you grow a volunteer group.

Leading Volunteers

But this still won’t be easy. Volunteers are the very hardest group to lead. You aren’t paying them; their allegiance is always subject to change. But the same thing is true of prepper groups. If you can’t build a solid group in “blue sky days,” don’t kid yourself that you will remain anything but a lone wolf in “black sky” times. Emergency managers have one extreme dislike in common: they don’t want “drama.” Ham radio groups are well known for drama. It is deadly to a group. And deadly to a prepper organization, too! You’ll be shown the door quickly if you allow “drama.” So do everything possible to get along.

Secondly, you must recognize that you’re only volunteers. You’re not professionals at emergency management. The county or city authorities may have years of dealing with large and small emergencies and you’re not there to try and tell them how to do their job. You may be amazed at some of the communications gear they already have! (We were amazed. Our professionals handed us radios that they didn’t know how to use, and we recognized them as $10,000 pieces of gear and soon we had them working. This will obviously be important intel to you as well.) Go in with a humble attitude, “What can I do to help?” and listen to what they want and do it immediately. Our group was “tested” a few times, and we passed with flying colors and are extremely appreciated. We know our place, our role. We stay there But in the process, we gain extremely valuable insight into the capabilities and responses of our local communities, which we can then extrapolate to likely responses to truly major disasters….

Now back to our central thesis: this is a way to build a stealth prepper group that will WORK.

Your stealth group

Guess what kind of person tends to join ARES groups? Yep, you guessed it, preppers. And semi-preppers. They are drawn like insects to the light. In the typical ARES group, 1/3 or more are closet preppers. You’ll quickly spot them and develop special relationships with those key people. You would be amazed at the skillsets you may encounter. Many of them will have military experience. Some may even be retired SWAT team members. Others will have medical or legal or entrepreneurial skills, perhaps teachers or farmers or ranchers. Are those useful skills to have in your core group? You betcha!!


Back to your own development, radios require electricity. In the process of developing and training your group, and advancing to higher-class FCC licenses, you’re going to have to actually learn much more about electricity and backup power systems. Things like watts, amps, amp-hours, resistance, fuses, current limiters, MPPT versus PWM — all of this is going to be important to you, both as a community leader and as a survivalist. Solar power systems are part-and-parcel of many Field Day exercises, and pretty soon many in your group will have modest or better systems. It is going to move from interesting articles in prepper blogs, to functional equipment in your garage.

Generators are also key: and you’ll quickly learn about “radio frequency interference” from those generators, something that many preppers don’t quite grasp. You’ll learn about ways to reduce interference with ferrite-based common-mode and differential-mode filters. You can purchase them, or even build them yourself! And you’ll learn about the advantages of diesel generators and their fuel-sipping ways and zero radio interference….and you might even acquire one. Simple diesel generators are often based on small Yanmar diesel engines and clones could even be constructed that would be a huge help to your own personal preparedness!

You’re going to learn a lot about AC wiring, and GFCI protection and measurements in the process. All of that is important for your personal preparedness, also, of course.


There have been some great introductory articles about antennas in survivalist literature, and some that have gone far into working systems. But you’re going to want, and need, to move from reading to building and owning those advanced systems. Antennas for just about every conceivable frequency are going to become second nature to you, and gain antennas that reduce surveillance risk by narrowing the beam, also. These skills, such as impedance matching and efficiency concerns, aren’t learned overnight, so this will take some time. but with a GROUP, you may be able to subdivide the efforts.


If your emergency management government department is top notch, they will have completed an analysis of the top threats to your community, something called a THIRA analysis. You can read free knowledge about this intensely-prepper-compatible analysis here. You can do the same thing from a communications perspective. More and more, civil unrest is a distinct risk to communications, as I’ll describe below. Depending on your area, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, storms, derechoes — all of these might be in the risk matrix for your location. And nothing at all prevents you from putting EMP/CME or financial distress right in that list! Remember, if the police loose comms from any of these for longer than a few hours….your worst days are coming. Your mission, if you’re willing, is to push that off by providing alternative comms for situations they may never have even considered. That may involve backup radios, backup repeaters for them, or even more exotic solutions. This may be beyond where your professionals have even thought about, so you may have to have some of those plans quietly “in waiting.”

Many perhaps now most, police and fire systems are dependent on complex computer-operated “trunked” radio systems. You’re going to learn about those in both amateur training as you advance, and also in your training in the national response systems. Those are huge vulnerabilities for communications. A smart person who knows their network topology may be able to take down some or all of the whole system either physically (with a diagonal cutter) or via software. An EMP will very likely do it also. It would be much, much better for your community if you quietly think through some simple alternatives using your new-found skills and your group’s radio assets. Don’t be outspoken about these; people may wonder why you are so concerned.

It is even possible that as your group grows, gets higher licenses, develops high frequency (HF) (“shortwave”) skills and long-distance abilities, that you may get the chance to learn more about federal response systems that can help your local county stay afloat and “in touch.” Some of those systems are antiquated and slowly being replaced; others are very impressive and your group can volunteer to help your county with Automatic Link Establishment systems popular to keep counties and cities connected to State resources.

Be the Gray Man

Obviously, you’re going to want to be very careful about exactly how much you reveal about your own preparations and knowledge. But your integration into your local authority’s defensive systems will give you unique insight into likely responses and most likely risks. Here you can learn things that the average citizen will never know. Be circumspect about how you deal with that kind of knowledge; you have a duty to your neighbors and your community to look out for all their interests. And no doubt about it, you can be a huge resource to your community and likely forestall the descent into anarchy from a communications disaster. That has huge benefits for you and your family, as well as for your group. In quietness, have discreet conversations with key persons about what might happen if your group is unable to prevent total loss of comms…..and what some options for shared community in those times might be. You already know each other well, by now.

Organized Growth in Assets & Skills

As your group gains more and more skills, you may move to developing your own Integrated Preparedness Plan as a result of your THIRA analysis of the communications threats to your area. Here you will gain many more abilities to develop real prepper type skills and assets in your group. The government has finally realized that three days of supplies is inadequate; you can help your group develop “sustainability” and help most of all of them develop weeks to months of food supplies. And of course, your key members are working toward far greater “sustainability” in terms of food, water, security supplies, medical supplies, and knowledge. You’ll easily be able to sort out which ones are going the extra mile and will be solid partners if things advance far beyond repair.


As a result of your helpful collaboration with leadership in your county, you’re going to learn a lot more about the resources for disaster management in your county, including medical resources. That is going to be very useful to you if the Big One happens and you need those kinds of resources for injured team members. Unless you really thing you can make it as a lone ranger, what you want are friends in your community. And even better if those friends come with ready-made medical resources, access to operating rooms for emergency surgery to save a life of an injured team member, and access to and skill with firearms of all types.

Friends versus Risks

Friends. That is the key. Sure, there is a risk to creating such a group. You are both going to create a circle of incredibly powerful friends — and become “known” as one of the key players working to keep your community in one piece. But in “normal” disasters you’ll be a well-appreciated resource that is lauded by community leaders. Your group’s efforts will have a very surprising financial impact on your community: your volunteer hours in a declared disaster count, and they count in a big way. Every volunteer hour from trained members of your group may be worth about $20. And they count as local community “match” to federal aid in a ratio that can be very high, perhaps as high as 8:1. That means 8 of your group serving for 48 hours in a weather- or other disaster can rack up $7,680 in volunteer match, and allow your community to lay claim to over $60,000 in federal disaster funds. Yes, you’ll be very appreciated when your stealth prepper group is showing the love of Christ in such profitable ways.

If the situation spirals downward to the point that even with your group’s help, the police / deputies “go home” and every man is for themselves, you will still be reaping huge benefits. You’ll be recognized by those who were in power, as one of the “good guys” and that can go a long long way when there are attacks on your group and you have to defend family and friends. Members of your group will likely gather in recognized “safety-homes” based on your pre-recognition of who has the most survivable locations. Having worked together with each other for years, you’ll have a huge lead on how to organize leadership in your group. Everyone already has worked together in stressful situations and your people will “forebear” with each other much better.

Conclusion: Be a Blessing to Others

All of this means you will have been a huge blessing to your community and if really bad times come, you’ll already have a huge advantage over the lone prepper who is all alone and may not have had the “iron sharpens iron” advantage of working together with other volunteers for years. In my view, this is something that a follower of the Carpenter can do to help their community, for as long as possible, and if it fails, then you still have favorable options that one who has not invested in others, won’t have.