Semi-Secure Digital Communications for Civilians, by R.T.D.

In times of emergency, many American citizens have found both amateur radio and FRS/GMRS radios very useful to keeping in touch with friends and family as well as keeping local, state, and federal disaster response agencies up-to-date with the latest information on road conditions and disaster area damages. All of those radio communications are made entirely in the clear as there is no need for encryption, obfuscation, or brevity codes for such work. It’s done as a public service to assist others in times of natural or man-made disasters and just part of being a good neighbor. But just how …




Ham Public Service Communications, by Reltney McFee

Amateur Radio Operators (“hams”) have a tradition of public service. Indeed, the FCC rules, section 97.1 (a) states one of the purposes of Amateur Radio is: “Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.” Commonly, that public service is rather mundane, providing communication support for, by way of examples, the Boston Marathon, Michigan’s Consumer’s Energy AuSable Canoe Marathon, and the annual Marine Corps Marathon which starts and ends in Arlington, Virginia. Commonly, hams interact with other, non-ham folks, as in the AuSable …




Building a EWB/UHF Yagi – Part 1, by Tunnel Rabbit

Introduction The focus in my recent SurvivalBlog articles has been to promote communication methods, means, and technical solutions, that are easy to implement at the community level. The grassroots is where this counts most, and where it is needed most, as we will likely be on our own, and forced to be as self-sufficient as possible. In a worst-case catastrophe that we might anticipate, there will be no disaster relief agencies to assist us. Without communications of some sort, we’ve got nothing. Communications, even if limited, enable those who can to provide assistance, a local barter economy, and can be …




MURS Dakota Alert IR Sensors and Antennas – Part 2, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) a Radio Survey Performing a radio survey of the area first is a necessary step before purchasing or fabricating the appropriate antennas. You might find that no directional antennas will be necessary, the cost reduced, and the remaining budget used to purchase additional sensors.  The range of any transmitter is in the end limited by or enhanced by the surrounding terrain. Given that very low power transmitters are being used, the 1 watt transmitted by these sensors, versus the 5 watts of a handheld transceiver, the challenge is greater. Having favorable terrain …




MURS Dakota Alert IR Sensors and Antennas – Part 1, by Tunnel Rabbit

The case for using directional antennas to contain signals within an area of operations (AO), has hopefully been adequately made in my previous SurvivalBlog articles. Today, I will describe how directional and omnidirectional antennas can be used with MURS Dakota Alert Sensors. With the advent of HF equipment that can now be operated on very low power, there has been a growth in interest among some Amateur radio operators in QRP (low power).  It is a style of HF (High Frequency, a.k.a. shortwave) radio that challenges operators to communicate very long distances using only very low powered transmitters.  This style …




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. Cody Wilson Thwarts Another Attempt To Stop Ghost Guns. o  o  o Reader Doug C. suggested this: Tucker Carlson on Elon Musk’s bid to buy out Twitter. o  o  o Tim J. recommended this video from “southernprepper1”: Night Vision PVS14…Most important combat multiplier for the prepper.




Communications: Bringing People Together – Part 3, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.) Without suitable commo, an extended and layered defense is less possible, or less effective. Lacking the ability to coordinate with a small community diminishes the ability to perform job number one: security. While Ham radio is a good thing when we need to talk far and wide, it is commo with our neighbors will be more important to us. At the very least, buy a Slim Jim (not a j-pole) from KB9VBR, or any omnidirectional antenna that is tuned for GMRS, or 464.500 Mhz. With that, you can for sure talk to …




Communications: Bringing People Together – Part 2, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 1.) Broad-banded antennas are very useful. However, if forced to fabricate an expedient antenna, and we only had an antenna capable of 462 to 463 Mhz, we would be in business as the channels that come in the commercial radios are 1-7, and 15 to 22, are GMRS and are within the 462 Mhz to 463 Mhz range. FRS channels are 8 thru 14 and are between 467 and 468 Mhz. Material requirements are much less for a J-pole, and these antennas can be made to be nearly indestructible. A larger-in-diameter radiator will typically have broader bandwidths. …




The J-Pole and Other VHF/UHF Antennas, by Tunnel Rabbit

Antennas are the underappreciated other half of a transceiver. Back in the day, Hams strove to make their own homemade transceivers. But with the advent of cheap stuff from Asia, we have been spoiled. Now we tend to just buy it. It is time to refresh our skills. While continuing to build antennas for friends and neighbors, and other low-power community radio networks, I’d like to share some of my trade secrets. Secret number one. It is so easy, a guerilla can do it, but only after some trial and error. A cheap radio on a good antenna is a …




Altus Stealth 28 HTBT Earbuds, by Thomas Christianson

I was recently able to test a pre-production prototype of the soon-to-be-released hearing protection Altus Stealth 28 HTBT Earbuds. The earbuds are scheduled to be released in April, 2022. They offer an attractive form factor that is well designed to provide superior comfort and ease of use. The electronics in the prototype unit that I tested were okay, but could be improved upon. Altus promises better performance in production versions of the unit. The Backstory In December of 2021, SurvivalBlog posted my review of the Axil GS Extreme Earbuds. I found them to be excellent earbuds, but a bit pricey, …




Silent, Secure Communication – Part 3, by P.J.

(Continued from Part 3. This concludes the article.) TACTICS FOR DELIVERING A DROP To place a drop without someone noticing that is what you are doing takes practice. You will need to practice like mentioned prior, as sleight of hand skill goes a long way to placing a drop. Gently setting a rolled-up newspaper into a trash can where another person picks it up just walking by might work when everyone’s head is buried in their phones, but certainly will get you found out if someone is observing you. Here are some cardinal rules for prioritizing drop tactics, if you …




Silent, Secure Communication – Part 2, by P.J.

(Continued from Part 1.) Option 4: The live drop: A person-to-person message drop can be performed as well, but it has the highest level of risk for someone to intercept or notice. You have probably seen a live drop in movies where a briefcase changes hands in a crowded terminal or something, very observable for those paying attention and not overly discrete. It is absolutely critical that, if it can be avoided, the two individuals performing a live drop have no discernable connection with each other or readily identifiable groups! If known club member A passes by known club member …




Silent, Secure Communication – Part 1, by P.J.

Today, we see a growing vulnerability of our communications and how they impact our short term, and long-term lives. With hacking on the rise, electronic protection systems growing more and more complex, Social media nannies, and increased reliance on foreign components (that may have embedded spyware) …Americans are starting to wake up to the thought “maybe what I am saying isn’t private anymore”. You would be correct, and this would hint that a total loss of freedoms of speech and of security of your person has occurred or isn’t far away. Our liberties are eroding around us in America, and …




A Scanner for TEOTWAWKI – Part 3, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.) External Antennas, Detecting Potential threats at greater distances When using a scanner to sweep the band, or scan a list of frequencies, the scanner is much more sensitive and hears weak signals as well as strong signals. When using the Close Call feature that also sweeps the band, only strong signals that are very nearby (within 100 to 200 yards), might be detected. Some brands of scanners other than Uniden, may also have a similar Close Call feature, and might have more a sensitive receiver Sofware Defined Radio (SDR) frequency counter or …




A Scanner for TEOTWAWKI – Part 2, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 1.) ‘Sweeping’ a Band If one can afford to buy several scanners, then that would be optimal. We should have at least three, given the old adage: “3 is 2, and 2 is 1, and 1 is none.” We can keep one spare scanner in a Faraday cage, and store it elsewhere. Then use the other two scanners: One to scan from a list, and the other to sweep the band, or particular parts of a band. Each scanner will have an operator’s manual to help. If I could only sweep one band, then it would be …