The Prepper’s Smartphone, by Aden Tate

It seems as if pretty much everybody has a smartphone of some sort today. Considering such, and that a phone is something that people tend to have on their person virtually 24/7 in today’s society, it makes sense to make one’s phone as versatile of a tool as possible. If it’s going to be in your EDC to begin with, why not have it work for you as hard as it is capable of? Do cell phones die? Yes. But at least in the beginning stages of a disaster, there’s a very good chance that your phone will both have …




Elements of a Security System – Part 4, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 3.) The second type of alerting – remote signal back to a centralized alarm console with a wired or wireless connection when the tripwire is tripped – can be a bit more complicated. In either case you can use something as simple as the clothespin switch to connect two wires to close the circuit, or to ‘press’ the button on a remote transmitter to trigger a relay that set off a light/buzzer. Regardless of the use of local versus remote alerting, if there are any electronics or other components that could degrade when exposed to the elements …




Elements of a Security System – Part 3, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 2.) There’s another potential option for alerting that could be categorized as ‘mobile centralized’ – it’s possible to set up a radio transmitter connected to a centralized console that would transmit a pre-recorded voice alert (e.g. ‘Alert in zone 3 North’) to a radio that you carry around with you. Some of the sensors I’ll be discussing later have this capability built-in, but you could implement a similar function using a Raspberry PI computer to monitor the sensors, connected to a RTL-SDR software-defined radio to transmit pre-recorded audio alerts. Implementing this would be moderately complicated and is …




Rounding-Out Your Baofeng UV-5Rs

Final implementation of the dual-band UV-5R importation and sales ban (previously detailed in SurvivalBlog) is now just one month away. I’m confident that the majority of SurvivalBlog readers in the U.S. were cognizant of this and have stocked up on these radios, in quantity. But now I must ask: Are you ready to operate them, practically, long-term? This will surely require a few spares and accessories. The good news is that the accessories fully interchange, and most of them are quite inexpensive. By the way, this runs contrary to a SurvivalBlog aphorism: “Life is cheap, but the accessories will kill …




The Other Transceiver Import Ban: Hytera

You’ll probably recall that last week I mentioned the upcoming import ban on Baofeng UV-5 series handi-talkies. This was because of a 2018 FCC ruling that banned sales of transceivers that can transmit in both the FRS band and in ham bands. That ban goes into effect on September 30th. But you may not have heard about the other transceiver import ban: This one is on Hytera brand encrypted Digital Mobile Radios (DMRs). DMR is an open digital radio standard that combines voice and data together–often with 128-bit or 256-bit encryption features. The reason for the import ban? Some of …




The Baofeng Sales Ban Countdown Continues

Here is a reminder on an upcoming rule change by the FCC:  On September 30, 2019, it will become illegal to sell or “offer for sale” (advertise) radios like the popular Baofeng UV-5R that can operate in the FRS radio band (462.5625 – 462.7250 MHz) and any other licensed band in a single device. Manufacturers will have to either quit selling them or block out the FRS bands–like they already do for the current cellular bands. This is the relevant verbiage: § 95.591 Sales of FRS combination radios prohibited. Effective September 30, 2019, no person shall sell or offer for sale …




Prepper Complacency, by Wood Tamer

In this writing I will be referencing Hurricane Michael. This is not just a narrative about my experiences with this hurricane but rather a reflection on my life experiences as a prepared individual, family, and neighborhood. Throughout my life I could probably be defined as an individual more prepared for unexpected events than most others. That was not necessarily by design but rather necessity and lifestyle. I was raised in a large family and we always needed to make ends meet. As an adult I have been blessed with an abundant life without much adversity or concern until I heard …




Displacement Planning – Part 3, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article series.) Regardless of how you plan on loading equipment and supplies, it is critical that you document a loading plan. This should define what gets loaded in what order and where it’s loaded. How detailed this needs to be depends on your requirements – if you’re planning on walking from your location to a well-stocked bug-out compound, keeping a simple bug-out bag packed will probably meet your needs,  since you won’t need to pack much to get going. However, if any significant amount of packing or loading will be required prior to …




Phase Three of the Internet Censorship War

Back in October of 2017, I wrote this article: Internet Censorship is Now Rampant — It is High Time to Bookmark Your Alternatives.  That was back in what I now refer to as Phase One of the Internet censorship war. I didn’t know it then, but that was back when the censorship campaign was still fairly mild and relatively subtle. Then, in early August of 2018, Alex Jones was systematically banned by more than 10 social media services and sites. Eventually, even Twitter jumped on the “Ban Alex” Band Wagon. When the Alex Jones mass banning was reported in the …




Using Mesh Networking, by Aden Tate

Editor’s Introductory Note:  The following primer introduces mesh networking.  As a survivalist, I see the biggest limitations of present-day mesh networks are that: A.) Most are urban, and B.) Most are dependent on  the continuity of grid power.  But one implementation of mesh networking that overcomes both of those limitations is sold under the trade name GoTenna. A competing brand is called Radacat. Either of these will enable your existing Android or iOS phones to become Mesh devices that will continue to work in text mode even if the power grid and cellular networks go down. They both also have …




Selecting a Portable Handheld Two-Way Radio, by R.

Recently I purchased a good two-way HT (slang for a hand-held Ham radio), and I thought I would share my thinking process behind picking it. General Points Here are a few general points. (Later I will get into the specific details.) Conditions and Reasons May Differ First off, I want to say that these are the conditions and reasons I used to make my choice. Yours may be different. I have a Ham radio license. This means I can operate within a wider frequency range than those frequencies covered by an off-the-shelf radio (FRS/GMRS). If you just don’t want to …




Letter Re: EMP Computer Question

Guys, What laptop would you recommend for storing in an EMP proof environment, to be used after an event to retrieve electronic files such as Survivalblog/Mother Earth News archives? There are so many options, and choosing the wrong one could be frustrating to say the least. I have hard copies of some essential books, but there are just too many helpful things in electronic format to ignore if it would be possible to retrieve. Thanks for all you do! – P.H. HJL Replies: If the device is to be stored in an EMP resistant container, there are no special considerations …




Radio Communication Methods During Emergencies- Part 5, by R. in NC

So far, you’ve learned about the FCC and non-FCC license communications devices and equipment that is used with them. I touched on the use of Ham devices in an emergency, if you don’t yet have your Ham license. Now, let’s wrap up by learning how you can obtain your Ham license and move on to establishing and planning your communications. Getting Your License Ham radio licenses come in three levels, increasing in complexity of test and allowable frequencies. The FCC does not charge for the license, but your local Ham radio club usually has a $14 fee for giving the …




Radio Communication Methods During Emergencies- Part 4, by R. in NC

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. VHF/UHF Radios 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 …




Radio Communication Methods During Emergencies- Part 3, by R. in NC

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 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 …