We’ve previously covered non-FCC license dependent communications devices and are wrapping up our examination of FCC license dependent communications options, with special consideration for their use in an emergency. Today, we’ll also begin looking at resources and accessories that help us improve communications.
Almost all of the “base station” VHF/UHF radios are designed as car Ham radios. Because of this, they can be very flexible in usage. Most of these are 25-50 watts, and some are even stronger. With the limited range of VHF/UHF, I think that going over 50 watts is probably not needed. FM is the primary modulation for these kinds of radios, and today it is rare to find one that supports AM/SSB. Some vendors support Echolink, D-Star, DMR, and or APRS. Most of these radios also cover the NOAA stations. These (NOAA) emergency radio stations usually report weather but can … Continue reading
We just took a look at non-FCC License Dependent Communications, including use expectations and purchase considerations. Today, we begin examining FCC license dependent communications devices.
FCC License Dependent Communications
GMRS radios operate on the same frequencies as FRS along with a number of additional channels. They can use up to 50 watts, and the FCC allows for better antennas and repeaters. GMRS will require a license. No test is needed, and the FCC license covers all residents of a household. On last check, the license cost $85 dollars. Pros and cons, along with distance, are similar to FRS, with the exception of additional power, use of repeaters, and better antennas. (See FRS radios for details.)
Amateur Radio – Ham Radio
Ham Radio Overview
Ham radio covers frequencies ranging from 135 kHz to above 275 GHz (as of March 28, 2017). The range of frequencies is … Continue reading
Today, we’re continuing to look at communications devices in this communications overview section of the article. So far, we’ve look at Ham radio/licensed devices, but now we’re moving into non-FCC license dependence communication devices to consider.
Cell Phones – Using During An Emergency and Improving Reception
During an emergency it is very common that the local cell phone towers become saturated. Many people attempt to connect at the same time, resulting in busy signals. In addition, some cell towers have special equipment that restrict public use and dedicate additional bandwidth to emergency services. This section covers how to get a message out, as long as the cell tower is working.
SMS texts (aka messages on an iPhone) use an alternate channel on cell phone towers called a control channel. This control channel is isolated from voice and data channels and is not impacted when too many voice and … Continue reading
Communications Overview and General Guidelines
About This Article
A modern two-way radio combines transmit and receive components together and is known as a transceiver. In this article I will use the terms radio and transceiver interchangeably. I’m also trying to write this to the largest audience possible and for that reason I may sacrifice technical accuracy in order to express the concept.
Not all emergencies will require advanced communications equipment. Common usage technologies, such as email, voice mail, and SMS texting, should not be ignored. The more options you are able to take advantage of, the better your chances of establishing communications.
Radio Communications and Where To Start
When it comes to radios, different frequencies propagate differently and have different send and receive requirements. Some frequencies are great for your neighborhood but will rarely be usable over three miles; others can talk across your neighborhood and international but may have … Continue reading
(Approx 2-3 hours prep time)
I use our 23-qt. canning pot to make a big batch and fill it to the brim, as everyone in our family enjoys this recipe. It usually only lasts two or three days among our family of five, and almost all of the ingredients can be sourced independently (e.g. from your own garden or farm). You can add/subtract a portion of the water, broth, milk, or potatoes to the recipe to suit your needs.
- 1 lb. bacon
- 3 lbs. potatoes (approximately; any variety will do; I prefer fingerlings, as they stay firm in the soup, and it’s what I grow in my garden.)
- 4-6 large leeks, diced (using all of the white portion and a little of the green)
- 2 large yellow onions, diced finely
- 1 qt. heavy cream (can substitute milk, but…mmm… heavy cream!)
- 48 oz. chicken broth … Continue reading
Packing a Get Home Bag
How do you prepare a get home bag when you commute more than 100 miles each day for work? Let’s for a moment presume that you have no idea that some sort of event is about to happen that will render your job irrelevant, your vehicle useless, and your location being close to your office, to which you commute each day, when it occurs. How and what in the world would you consider packing in a go bag and then heading home?
I received a perfect example of your travel day changing due to a recent hurricane. Hurricane Irma forced a mass migration of Floridians to flee the storm and caused all the local roads to be choked. All of my alternative roads were jammed with those trying to get back home to Florida. The entire downtown area was affected because of some folks overloading … Continue reading
I was going to leave a short comment but this deserves wider exposure.
Amen to all that about debt in the Zero Hedge article. Compound interest is not your friend if you are paying it. I bought into leverage for asset acquisition. Robert Kawasaki (intentionally incorrect) has a special place in my heart or is that some place much lower… It is a serious mistake not to take the income sheltered by depreciation and put it toward loan principal reduction. When you hit 50 and want to be out of debt the cold reality hits that profit and income must be earned and taxed to reduce principal. Practically speaking, you have to earn 140% of the principal in order to pay it off because you have run out of depreciation and you are in your prime earning years and therefore in a higher tax bracket.
… Continue reading
I’ve lived through several disasters and learned some thing. The worst events, in my experience, were the World Trade Center attack, Hurricane Sandy in New York City, and then most recently Hurricane Harvey in Beaumont, Texas. South East Texas was hit with life threatening, devastating rain fall, which put entire cities under water, turned towns into islands, and crippled the municipal water system of Beaumont. The following is a list of lessons I learned during this experience.
1. I’m not overly paranoid.
I’ve been freedom oriented and interested in prepping for a while, and many of my family and friends think I’m just being overly paranoid. I was hoping this was the case, but unfortunately it’s not.
2. Every disaster, natural or otherwise, presents its own challenges and obstacles.
One common issue is self defense as well as defense of one’s family and belongings. This was a continual struggle while … Continue reading
Experienced Preppers Fall Short As Great Teachers
There seems to always be that cursed word “but”, where the experienced preppers usually fall just a little short of the mark of a great teacher. They never seem to actually talk much, or show much, about the “how” to actually do these necessary/important stuff. Their road map is kept to themselves.
They never seem to realize that we all live in different worlds of experience with different needs and different financial positions. And we have different and often difficult family responsibilities, et cetera.
How I Researched The Specific Article Illustrated Earlier
So let’s go to how I did the research for the specific article I used as the example in Part 1. In part, it’s based on my experience through 40+ years of sales management, raising four terrific kids, and most importantly being a loving husband of 50 years and nine months.
… Continue reading
Let me get your attention by sharing this fact: “Life expectancy is going up everywhere except in the U.S.” This opening statement is supposed to be the “grabber” and should make the reader want to read the entire article.
Okay! Here we go with your bad news of the day in two parts. The first part is short, simple, and terrifying. It’s the one liner in quotes above. And the second part is worse yet. This part says that the life expectancy news today will be worse tomorrow, and every American is subject to the same bad news. However, there is good news available in the next line.
The quoted one liner above is not quite entirely true.
Dealing With Huge Volume of Information Available
The specific end goal of this article to to help you, the reader, become better able to help yourself deal with the huge volume of … Continue reading
I didn’t have any luck searching for this on your website. May be something you consider for a future article.
How well/poorly do portable generators function using “ethanol gas” (E-10 ‘the normal mix”, and E-15 [or higher] which various lobbies seem to want to foist on us)? How about going all the way to E-85 if you can’t obtain/forage/swap for “the good stuff”? Even with stabilizers, the ethanol is very hygroscopic so goes bad fast, but what about a post-hurricane/tornado/etc. scenario where it hasn’t had to sit long in the tank?
I got to thinking in the post-Maria coverage that I didn’t know how well generators tolerated ethanol? Because it reduces the “energy density” of the fuel, would the power generated make it past the controller? Screw up your system?
Common Sense and Facts About Shooting
Common sense tells us that if you want to be a good shooter, you need to shoot often. Facts tell us, though, that our wallets won’t allow us to shoot as often as we want or need to. While resorting to the .22 caliber firearms is often cited as an acceptable alternative, at some point you need to shoot your primary gun. The answer to buying factory ammo is to reload your own. I started reloading in 1984 when I got my first Colt 1911 .45 auto. Shortly thereafter I received a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver for Christmas, along with my first reloading kit. Mom must have known something, or it was Divine Providence, that led her to get both of those items at the same time, because I found out very quickly how expensive .44 ammo was!
The Prep Prepping
Our prepping to deal with Hurricane Irma was done in a series of steps based on the probability of a strike affecting my area. I wrote about this in a previous article posted on SuvivalBlog. My preps for a Hurricane started two weeks prior when I notice a storm taking a track towards Cuba and local meteorologists saying, “We need to watch this one.” I had recently completed a quick inventory and tested the generator, lanterns, and camping stove. So my two week prior check was done, or so I thought.
Pre-Labor Day Preliminary Prepping
On the Thursday before the Labor weekend, August 31, Irma was tracking towards Cuba and ten days out. It was then that I did the following:
Checked my supplies.
Purchased 30 gallons of fuel in 5-gallon cans for use with the generator and cars. (I added 4oz of Continue reading
Yesterday, I wrote about my experience where I needed night vision while being stalked on the mountain “alone”. I also wrote about the various generation technology advancements of night vision. Let’s proceed to outline the details of night vision technology and what it means.
Understanding Resolution and Signal-to-Noise Specifications
The two most important specifications for any night vision device are resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. In fact one of the main parameters for determining whether a night vision device can be exported is the multiple of these two specifications, also known as “Figure Of Merit”. If the NVD you are considering buying is subject to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), it is a pretty good bet that you are looking at a high quality NVD. Conversely, if there is no restriction attached to the unit you are considering, it is probably a POS.
Much like a television or computer … Continue reading