Five Things Women Need, by J.W.

My wife has a love-hate relationship with all this personal defense stuff.  She hates the idea of needing to be prepared and can’t stand that her day-to-day life is affected by potential or perceived and often unseen threats of violence, bUT she loves me.  So that means she agrees to all my training, prepping, security protocols, and most of my gear purchases.  Most? Okay, many of them. Many? Okay, fine. I just buy what I want. She gets mad for awhile and then eventually forgives me!

The point of this article is to give you five things that we think a woman needs for personal and family security when kids are involved and she finds herself in a dangerous or disastrous situation. These are a 24-hour get home bag, an exfiltration plan, communication resources, personal defense tools, and a proper mindset.

Twenty-four Hour Get Home Pack

My wife’s 24-hour pack … Continue reading

Letter: Using Military Ammo Cans for Faraday Shielding

Dear JWR:
The use of military surplus ammo boxes as Faraday shields was recently mentioned again in SurvivalBlog.  But readers should be reminded that these cans will not work in the configuration where they are normally purchased.  This is because the boxes have a rubber gasket to seal the lid from water and that makes the lid not in [electrical] contact with the body of the can, thereby losing the [EMP] shield effect.  Regards, – Dave X.

JWR Replies:  You are correct.  As mentioned previously in SurvivalBlog, the best approach is to remove the rubber gasket,  rough up the metal on both the top edge of the can lip and in the gasket groove (with sandpaper, a wire brush wheel, or a Dremel tool rotary stone) and replace the thickness of the gasket with stainless steel wool which is tacked in place with small globs of epoxy … Continue reading

Letter: Circling Back on My Preps

Dear Editor,
My preps are in five areas, per the “group think” of SurvivalBlog. I have worked from area to area starting with what is easiest and cheapest up the ladder in each area. As I circle back I am working my way up but also looking back and questioning myself: Where did I store the extra ammo? Exactly what is in that unmarked box on my closet shelf and how might I better package to grab and go should we have to hastily migrate?

Electrical items are on the agenda today. It started up with recharging the AAA-size batteries for some of my flashlights. I noticed that many of my stock of batteries have been raided by my children seeking to power different toys. Next, I checked my inventory of batteries and chargers. I learned: “So that is what the stray seemingly orphaned wall wart goes to!” … Continue reading

Quick Reference Manual Regarding Disaster Survival and Recovery on the Road- Part 2, by J.P.R.


Identify Level of Failure

  • The power grid is down
  • Your cell phone is dead
  • Your land line may not work
  • Most electronic devices do not work or are impaired
  • Your car will not start or stopped running
  • Airplanes are falling from the sky
  • Small fires or explosions may be observed

This is a different event than a regular power failure. In this case, the power grid and many electronic devices have been permanently damaged. This is more serious than a power grid failure, depending on whether it is in a small or large area. If this is in a large region, say a prayer and know that your way of life is going to change for a very long time to come. You need to begin thinking in terms of surviving in a world of extremely limited resources, #1 of … Continue reading

Guest Article: SHTF Intelligence – Getting Started- Part Three, by Samuel Culper

Electronic Security

This is the third article in a series about using intelligence for preparedness. I’m starting from square zero in order to introduce a new crop of Americans to the concept of using intelligence, to prove that there’s a need for intelligence and to get readers quickly up to speed on how to incorporate it into their security planning. For a better foundation, be sure to read Part One and Part Two and check out the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide, too.

Brief Recap

In the first article, we established that prepared communities need intelligence because they’re going to have blind spots during an emergency or disaster. I recommended writing out a list called Intelligence Requirements. Before we build a house, we need to be organized with the right tools and materials. The same is true of intelligence, and our requirements prepare for … Continue reading

Guest Article: SHTF Intelligence – Getting Started- Part 2, by Samuel Culper

This is the second article in a series about using intelligence for preparedness. I’m starting from square zero, in order to introduce a new crop of Americans to the concept of using intelligence, to prove that there’s a need for intelligence, and to get readers quickly up to speed on how to incorporate it into their security planning. After getting caught up to speed, if you’d like to gain a deeper knowledge and put theory into practice, a book entitled *SHTF Intelligence will show you the way forward. You can find a small homework exercise here.

In the first article, we covered why we need intelligence and an introduction to the Intelligence Cycle. We use this cycle in order to produce early warning intelligence and threat intelligence; those are the top two priorities for the Analysis & Control Element (ACE) in a SHTF situation. … Continue reading

Letter Re: Wifi At a Discrete Distance

It’s better to find an adapter with antenna port. This is a high-powered single-band adapter or a dual band (I’d recommend the 5Ghz band if possible, but it is still a bit rare) with RP-SMA connection. Then add a good antenna; the omni is probably equal to the Yagi. If there isn’t interference and is dual band but this Yagi will pull in from a longer distance. If you can get two and get a connector, you can put it “in the middle” like in a tree and point one at the source and one where you are using it, and it will be a very narrow beam. And, yes, I’ve used such. There are other adapters, antennas, and amplifiers (which I won’t go into) when I didn’t want to go through the problem of installing cable for … Continue reading

Mesh Networks, Digital Radio, EMP, and Metal Buildings, Oh My!, by R.V.

We are working on a grass roots Internet style network at my radio club. As I am a very curious fellow, I am currently reading Wireless Networking in the Developing World, which is a free ebook. This book, of which I am 1/3 of the way through reading, seems to exercise every possibility in connecting these wireless routers. The pros and cons of various management strategies and switching tactics are exhaustively discussed. Sources and software are named, making it a great reference. What got me started is the Ham Radio version of this, which is described online, which is a project of my ARRL club. My interest was aroused by a presentation on digital radio at a club meeting.

Interestingly enough government emergency management money is being allocated to replace repeaters in Georgia with DSTAR units, which are the ICOM … Continue reading

Letter Re: Heathkit Radios


I disagree with the letter regarding the unsuitability of Heathkit (vacuum) tube radios for EMP protection. Let me elaborate:

  • Lethal voltages: While you really don’t want to tangle with +700 VDC, the most lethal voltage in any radio is that which comes from the wall outlet: 120 VAC. AC fibrillates hearts (we use it for that purpose in cardiac surgery); DC defibrillates hearts (done that many times).
  • Requires 120 Volts AC: Unless you get the 12 volt power supply (I have two). Or solar power / inverters.…right?
  • No cooling fan: Well, they rarely need it! My primary rig is more than 40 years old and going strong! Digital modes do indeed have high duty cycle (though actually not 100%), so turn down that mic gain appropriately. Watch the specs on solid state rigs also; they may not be spec’d for high duty cycle either! Tubes show … Continue reading

  • Letter Re: Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio


    I strongly recommend against using any Heathkit rig for an emergency radio. There was one solid state Heathkit but it was a rebadged, factory assembled Yaesu. All others were built by an individual, whose attention to detail you most likely have no idea about. They are known in the hobby as “GRIEF kits” for a GOOD reason. They fail – early, and often. They have too many disadvantages for the emergency backup purpose. Besides all the ones mentioned by the original author:

    • They have high (LETHAL) voltages inside.
    • They require 120V AC power.
    • They have no cooling fan on radio, nor power supply, and these digital modes are 100% duty cycle on transmit.
    • They have no easy way to “turn down the output power”, and hence avoid detection (OPSEC), and save precious (AC) power.
    • They are old, and WILL fail. (Did I mention that before?). Tubes are fragile, … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Comms Using Photos – Would This Work?

    Hi Hugh and James,

    I just finished reading The Religion War by Scott Adams. It’s a short, very good book about Christianity vs. Islam in the future as both sides prepare for war. In it, he wrote something that made me curious if it would work. In order to defeat the use of computers scanning emails to find key words or phrases, his characters do something I’ve never thought of. “Cruz’s intelligence forces electronically searched every message that crossed the Internet, but their sniffing programs were looking for text, keywords, key phrases, and encrypted files. (His people) thwarted the filters by simply handwriting their messages on photographs of landscapes, scanning in the entire pictures, and sending them as email attachments. A human could easily read the handwritten message on the photo, but a computer wouldn’t find enough regularity or structure to identify where a tree ended and … Continue reading

    Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio to Send/Receive E-Mail During Nationwide Outage- Part 2, by PrepperDoc

    Transmit-Receive Frequency Offset

    This should be zero. Synthesized digital radios have no problem accomplishing this; however, vacuum tube rigs may struggle. Surprisingly, the less expensive HW-series transceivers and the SB’s with the vacuum tube based LMO (VFO), in my experience, have little shift between transmit and receive. Later SB-series transceivers with the solid-state VFO may have an offset. If this offset is > 100 Hz, you’ll notice it during SSB conversations (“leapfrogging” as you chase the fellow you’re talking to), and you’ll want to fix that for digital communications. Happily, the solid state LMO includes a FSK (frequency shift keying) terminal where a small trimmer variable resistor of (say, 25K or 47K) from “FSK” to chassis ground will easily adjust the frequency a few hundred Hertz. To make this automatically switch in and out for transmit/receive, add a small transistor switch (2N3904) between this resistor and chassis … Continue reading

    Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio to Send/Receive E-Mail During Nationwide Outage- Part 1, by PrepperDoc

    There are multiple possible scenarios that may result in a regional an/or national combined loss of Internet connectivity and cell/telephone service, during which you would probably wish to maintain communications to loved ones and others. EMP may destroy routers, cell towers, and power sources; solar coronal mass ejection (CME) may remove power from all communications systems; cyber warfare may have similar outcomes. Travel in some of these circumstances will be difficult, or dangerous to impossible.

    Ham radio VHF/UHF repeaters may go down, due to power outages or EMP. Direct, point to point simplex VHF Ham radio will still work (even after an EMP, if hand-held radios were at all hardened or protected) over modest distances. Long range HF direct Ham radio communications will work (possibly after a delay of any EMP), presuming you had protection (if EMP) and have your own power. However, they will be of less usefulness … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Grid Down Digital Library



    Downloading YouTube on Android. Remember micro-SD cards are interchangeable and inexpensive, so get a phone with a slot and make backups (and put them around various places). Often large (128Gb+, often U3 for GoPro) capacity cards will go on sale at least once a month, so I look for them and stock up. I’ve seen these as low as $15, limit 2. Sometimes there are excess stock or closeouts on prepaid, and I didn’t have to activate them though there was a trick to bypassing that screen. Most can be rooted. I have several, so it pays to look through the online bargain bin, particularly the refurbished section for things like tablets. One app to get is; they have OFFLINE maps (even if the Internet or GPS goes down, it works though it won’t track). It’s detailed and of … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Learning Morse Code


    You may find a quick blurb about the following site gets quite a good reader reaction. As a Ham of just under five years, the best site and aid I’ve found to learn Morse code is at They focus on the Koch method and have several types of training courses. In just a few weeks of daily training, you’ll find that your comprehension will pick up quickly enough to start picking up operators on the air. – A Ham in Colorado