Has Reality Come to Stay?

The world is in a terrible mess, we all know that, but has the reality of TEOTWAWKI set in yet? Really set in?

This has been a recurring thought and conversation in our house for a while now. I know I’ve said this before, talked about it before, and written about it before. You may be thinking, “All right already, you’ve told us, now get on with showing us your greenhouse and stuff.” If you are thinking this, you’re right, I have. But when your mother taught you to look both ways before you cross the street, for your safety and well-being, did she only tell you once, or twice, or twenty, or a hundred times?

We’ve had several conversations with friends lately about a number of situations that have stuck with me. These are the kinds of conversations that make me ponder, think, and think some more, that’s why I bring them to you. Tell us what you think, and it will give us even more to ponder and think about. Mental preparation is the most important aspect of preparedness and survival. 

First situation. How are you going to deal with not knowing what is happening in the world when the power goes off, really goes off? Even if it is intermittent for a while, it’s doubtful commercial radio, TV or the internet will function normally, and what news is out

there may be spotty at best. Will that drive you crazy? Let’s face it, we are used to instant communications via cell phones and the internet, along with the utopian ‘reality’ television provides. How will you deal with not knowing what is happening around the world, around the country, in your region, or right down the road? One mile from your house is a very long way if you’re on foot. A half mile away from your house could be deadly depending on the environment you live in. If there were gun shots a mile from your house would you hear them? Would you wonder if someone was out hunting or being attacked? What would you do? How would you cope? 

This is the reason for our new antenna towers. There are many ham radio operators that are in it for the hobby. You would probably be surprised at how little Frank talks on the radio. He listens, he monitors, and he tests his equipment to make sure it is working. Yes, Frank has started the Survival Radio Relay Net in our area, trying to bring together some local folks so we will know what is happening down the road. The way we look at it, any 

warning is better than nothing. If there were gunshots a mile down the road, we may not be able to find out what is happening, but we would be able to contact some of the folks in our network, let them know what we hear, and find out if anything is happening in their area. This is just one example of how radio communications can help save your life or the lives of your neighbors. Frank knows that many folks don’t have ham radios. He firmly believes, once things go down, that the humble CB radio will be the main form of communication. Folks that have them in their trucks or stuck out in the garage, will get them out, dust them off, and fire them up in an attempt to find out what is happening. 

There are folks that are planning on relocating when things get dicey or the collapse is imminent. Unfortunately, not everyone can live on a homestead, retreat or in their bug out location. Even more unfortunate is the reality that most people won’t make it out of the major metropolitan areas. There are 

just too many people to deal with, on the interstates, on the streets, causing disruptions, rioting, looting, chaos. I really fear for those that need to relocate. If only there was a crystal ball that would give an accurate indication of the time to go, and go safely. If things get really dangerous, it will not be any safer for you to go get someone any more than it will be safe for them to come to you. We’ve read of family members that plan to gather when the time comes. We have family members in other locations, and the thought I have is that I will never see them again. Hard? Absolutely. Will I always wonder what became of them? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? No. 

During this time in the history of our world, we have all made choices to be where we are, live the lives that we have, and to prepare or not. Many of you have commented on family and friends that just don’t see what

is coming. Some may see, but refuse to prepare. Some play a little at preparing, but don’t really believe anything beyond a temporary disruption from a natural disaster may occur, but they do believe the legendary THEY will come save us. It will all be okay, you’ll see. I’ve been told I always think the worst. That’s okay with me. If it helps me be prepared and live to fight another day, so be it. This reminds me of a scripture we added to the right hand column of the blog the other day. Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Let’s say you are at your survival location, you have your preparations, the initial violent phase of the collapse has past, and you’re wondering how folks ‘down the road’ fared, or you wonder if there is anyone out there you can barter with since there were things you overlooked in your preparations. How are you going to find out? Safely? Let’s say you 

can’t drive anywhere, because even if you stored some fuel, it’s gone. Do you have horses? If you do, can you feed and care for them for the long haul, or will they end up on your dinner table? Do you have a bicycle with extra tires, tubes, patching kits, pump, etc? And how much can you haul with it? Do you have a wagon that your horses can pull? Are they trained? Do you have tack with a harness and everything you need? Have you practiced? If not, can you manufacture a wagon, harness, etc? If not, who can? If you leave your home, who will guard it? If you leave your home, who will guard you? If the person you depend upon for your safety leaves to find out information or barter, and never returns, will you manage without them? 

There are so many what if’s I could write about them for hours. The bottom line is realistic expectations. We have to be hard, realistic, no wishful thinking, and no holds bared about what is to come. Wishing never made it so, wanting to know what is happening won’t make it so, and even the best laid plans can come to naught when the unexpected or unplanned

happens. I challenge you to take a long, hard look at the realities that are coming upon us. It’s a very scary proposition. I think the hardest part right now is not knowing what quarter the collapse will come from. There are so many possible scenarios, some I would choose over others, but I don’t get to choose, I only get to experience. What I do get to choose is who I am, how I will prepare, and what I will do when the time comes. We practice this mentally everyday, all day long. There will come a day when I no longer sign off using ‘until next time’ because there won’t be a next time.

You know that feeling, like something is breathing down the back of your neck, and is about to pounce? Be ready.

Until next time – Fern

Rebuilding Community

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

This morning I was reading SurvivalBlog, as I do daily, and the main post there caught my eye. I’d like to share it with you and encourage you to also read it. The basic premise is how to reorganize, on a community level,

after a collapse. Is it a perfect article? Probably not. Do I agree with everything in it down to the letter? No. I’ve been married for 30+ years. Do I agree with everything my long-term spouse says or does? Well, that answer is obvious. So, if you’re looking for a perfect world, you’re not going to find it here on earth. Nobody is perfect and no plans are perfect, and if you are in touch with reality, then there is no perfect solution. Now, let’s get past this perfect thing.

If you want to be part of a solution after a collapse, then you, me and everybody else are going to have to accept the differences in people. We can either help or we can hinder. There’s no room for those that won’t help. I hope you get my drift here.

I hope you enjoy this first article, it was published today, Saturday, October 24, 2015 on SurvivalBlog

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Howdy Folks, and Welcome to Our Neighborhood!,                                by ShepardFarmerGeek

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The second article is by the same author. It was written a little while back. It’s the same general theme, but it deals with how to set up structure and organization immediately after a collapse, or natural disaster, or whatever the setting is. This second article, follow me here, is the first link in the first article, but you have the link right here.

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A Community Action Plan, by ShepardFarmerGeek

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all strongly aware that some type of catastrophe is coming. Let’s take our blinders off and look around our world. I’m not going to go into details here about possible scenarios or black swan events, and I’m not going to try to reference this as being an apocalyptic type event, but it’s coming. 

I think you’ll like both of these articles. The first one caused me to think. It’s well done, and it’s worth the read. Please share your comments afterwards. Every chance you get, read SurvivalBlog, it’s worth the read, too. Take care.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

The Community Trading Post

Sometime, a few weeks back or so, Frank and I came upon the idea of a kind of farmer’s market trading post thing. We’ve heard about them, read about them, and recently someone left a comment about how they’re doing this very thing in their area on the article, Homestead News, Volume 14.

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“You two lit a fire under me – yesterday Bruce (66) and I (65) drove 600 miles to pick up two AGH [American Guinea Hogs]/ Kune Kune six week old barrows. Hopefully the gilt and boar will come later. What cute tubby little guys. As I look off my back deck at the fences patched with baling twine (chuckle). I am grateful for all we have and will have to offer. 

The small community that is ours – boasts 180 souls. Some of us ladies of this burg started a small farmers market this past summer – small, social and we think needed. Those of us with incubators have shared eggs and hatched many chicks for those wishing to start flocks – all sage advice, good and bad, shared with humor. Our volunteer fire department – always in need of funding, will receive all the $ from our local chestnut harvest sold at the market. Time is short – Please keep blogging. Nurse Claudia”

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She’s right, things like this are needed all around the country in many shapes and sizes, with formats to meet the needs of the

surrounding communities. It really struck me how simple something like this can be. I’ve also thought it doesn’t have to be only a farmer’s market with vegetables, eggs and the occasional rabbits or chicks. It could be anything someone wanted to sell, or trade or barter. Not a flea market, per se, but the time is coming that what you have is what you have, and if you need something, trading or bartering may be the only way to get it.

We’ve told you about Emmet digging ditches for us. This week he had worked enough hours that he went home with two radios. That is what we bartered for. We needed the help, he wanted some radios. Good trade.


Our questions for you are:

  1. Are you or have you participated in a trading post before?
  2. How did it go?
  3. What recommendations do you have?
  4. What didn’t work?
  5. Are there any draw backs or problems?
  6. Or anything else I forgot to ask

Frank and I aren’t looking to start a trading post, but the idea is there. Our small communities have places that could be utilized, so that could be worked out if there was interest. People could bring their own tables or use the tailgate of their truck to ply their wares. There is a possibility that tables and chairs could be used from a community center building.


One of the reasons this idea has great appeal to us is not to bolster the trading, bartering, buying or selling between people in our communities, but to bring people together, get people talking and possibly helping each other. We need to know each other better. This will familiarize people, not only with their neighbors, but with their neighbors abilities, or lack thereof. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it could showcase those who are the workers, the takers, the loafers and the givers. There is always someone looking for a handout, but there could also be people looking for a hand up.

Right now, Frank and I are just in the thinking, pondering, brainstorming stage. There are folks around we will start talking to about this idea and see what they think. We know the two of us can’t be an island in the coming storm. It’s time we take a more active role with our small communities. We all know that sometimes with just a little encouragement, someone will step up to the plate and help organize and support an idea like this. 


So this article is a little different. We would appreciate all of the input you can give us. And like Nurse Claudia said, “all sage advice, good and bad, shared with humor” can help make this possible venture more successful, not only for us, but maybe for a number of people and communities. We look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time – Fern

Survival Radio Net #1

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

If you recall back a few weeks, our little community started and completed a Survival Radio Class. This class included preparation for those seeking their ham radio license, which ended up being about nine Technicians and three Generals. Pretty good turn out. Also, for the record, all of the students that took the test, passed. In most circles that is considered to be 100%.

But, back to the main gist. Besides the folks pursuing their ham radio ticket, the class was geared for those that wanted to learn to communicate by other means. Those means being scanner for listening, and folks listening is CRITICAL, also CB, GMRS/FRS,

MURS, shortwave and smoke signals. Just wanted to see if you’re paying attention. We had a handful of people in the class that this was their goal. Well, you say, this is all redundant information, and it is, but when I was a child and I went to cross the street, my daddy told me to look both ways every time I crossed that street. Just because somebody hears something once, doesn’t mean it’s going to penetrate or settle. Some folks, myself included, need to hear things more than once.

I know lots of you had CBs when you were kids. It was real popular. It was a form of freedom, able to get out. Pitch in four wheel mobility and life is good, till you have to start paying your own bills. 

GMRS came along later, new technology, FM not AM, higher frequency. For those not familiar with the term GMRS, these are the little handheld radios you can buy at any sporting goods store, and they work real well. Hunters use them, kids playing hide and seek, it’s a handy tool, and some businesses use them. Fern and I have used them for years.

MURS is also a free group of frequencies that is for citizens use. It is rarely, rarely used, a great way to communicate, FM, higher frequency than CB, lower than GMRS. It’s in about the same frequency range as most small and medium size towns’ police and fire departments. 

Let’s not forget the scanner. Most, if not all, scanners can receive the VHF/UHF ham bands, GMRS and MURS. Some scanners, but not all, can receive the CB frequencies. Remember, listening or being able to hear is CRITICAL

But again, you say, this is all redundant information. Go back and read the explanation of redundant above. Some of us need to hear something more than once before it soaks in. Does that need repeating again?

Let’s not forget shortwave. Everything we talked about above is pretty much short distance, line of sight, sometimes one mile, sometimes 40 miles depending on the terrain. Shortwave is the ability to listen to long distance signals. It lost popularity with the introduction of the internet, but there is still traffic out there to be heard. That means that there are things out there to be heard around the globe. Many shortwave radios will also receive the lower ham radio frequencies, because that is where shortwave is located. So if you have a scanner and a decent shortwave radio and the appropriate antenna, you can hear local and long distance. Remember, being able to hear and receive is CRITICAL.

So, one more time, where is this going? It’s going right here. Last Tuesday night we attempted our first ever Survival Radio Net. Now you’re going to have to follow me here because we did a lot of things in a short period of time. Most of the participants of this net were from the radio class with a few additions. I sent out an email to the folks that were in the class letting them know about what we were going to try to do. This email had time, date, place and purpose.

  • Time was 20:00 (8:00pm)
  • Date was Tuesday night.
  • Beginning place was our local ham radio repeater.

You say there’s a problem here. The CB, GMRS and MURS crowd can’t communicate with the repeater. Well, that is only half right. If they have a scanner, or a handheld that will receive the repeater, then they can listen to and follow instructions. 


A side note here. I got permission from our local emergency management director to use this repeater at that time for this purpose. He was more than happy to accommodate. 

The email included some instructions about what we were going to try to do, which are as follows.

  1. We would start at 8:00pm.
  2. I was the net control operator.
  3. We started off with basic introductions, took care of the legal things, and then started taking ham radio check ins.
  4. After the check ins, those of us that had CB capabilities, did the same activity, except on a local basis. Not everybody could hear everybody, but some could hear and others would relay.
  5. During this time, which took about 10 minutes, we asked those that could hear, who they could receive, and then we continued this process. Who hears who, their location, their name or call sign or handle. Now, get this, we had folks that could hear CB reception from 40 miles away. Okay, one guy lives on the side of a tall hill, and another man could hear him 40 miles away.   You see, this contact is what this net is all about. Hearing, listening, receiving. It is CRITICAL. 
  6. Next, we went back to the repeater, which was our base and we had a discussion, those that could talk on the repeater, about some of the contacts we had just made.
  7.  Then we proceeded with GMRS and MURS with the same activities.

Due to the characteristics of the different frequencies, CB, GMRS and MURS, different people at different locations could receive different transmissions. Like I said above, follow me here. Example. Two guys, 20 miles apart might be able to hear each other on MURS, but not CB. One of them may be able to transmit on CB to somebody else that can’t hear MURS.

A side note here. The big ham radio group in this country that has been around for a long, long time, is called the ARRL. Amateur Radio RELAY League. That second ‘R’ is what radio used to be, Relay. That’s what it’s going to be again in the future. RELAY.

This was a first time experiment and most of the participants would agree that it sharply exceeded their expectations. We’re going to do it again very soon, and we’re going to try to do it the first and third Tuesdays of each month. I was surprised at the number of people that eagerly participated in our net. But then it dawned on me that they also see an urgent need for communications. 

The reason I am telling YOU this, is that this same activity can be duplicated in your area. We need a time to communicate. Let’s pick 8:00 at night. Well, we need a frequency to communicate on. How about CB channel 22, which is 27.225 MHz? That’s a good start. How about GMRS channel 22, which is 462.725 MHz? How about MURS #2, which is 151.880 MHz? This is something that you can do. Anything that I can do, you can do better. Talk to your local emergency management director, these guys like public attention, remember that. Always say please and thank you. You could even talk to your local ARRL branch. Some of them will be helpful, some won’t. This is doable. Now do it.

Another side note. We developed a simple form, 20 lines, about 5 columns. First column was call sign or handle, next name, then location, then mode of communication (e.g. CB, GMRS, etc), lastly we left a column for comments, which could include people contacted or relays made.


Ladies and Gentlemen, most of you know we have perilous times right around the corner. But even if we don’t, how about a natural disaster, or a man made disaster? We need to be able to communicate. I’m going to leave these thoughts with you. Knowing what is happening in your area is of CRITICAL importance. You never know what a man made or natural disaster could look like, and you might want to know what is coming down the road. Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t get on the bus. 

We’ll talk more later, Frank

Ham Radio & Survival Communication Class, Volume 1

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Well, Folks, I did something last night I haven’t done in four years. I actually taught a class. Except this time, it was a group of adults, and this time, my clientele was not a group of teenage prisoners. They weren’t high school, public school kids. You know, prisoners. This group extended from probably about 19 to, I’m going to say, 65 years of age. We had some laughs, which remember, Humor is the Essence of survival. 

Our local emergency management director spoke for a little while at the beginning. I invited him, I wanted to thank him for providing us with the materials that we used. This also provided him the opportunity to address some of the needs of the local folks where they live.

We started off by using the Romanchik, KB6NU, new Technician’s manual, which is a great way to help get the Technician’s license. We got into the very basics of it, the first few pages of the manual. This deals with E = I x R and P = I x E. You see folks seem to think that you have to learn a lot of formulas, but you really don’t. I showed them a couple of shortcuts that actually work.

Wouxun
Wouxun & Baofeng

Then we did a little show and tell. I showed a handheld, which in the ham world called an HT, which is a handy talky, and the non-ham world is called a walky talky. 

 

I took the radio apart, which means I took the battery and the antenna off, and showed them the three basic components of the radio system. These are the basic components of any radio system, which are the battery/power supply, radio and antenna. For demonstration purposes here, I am using a Wouxun radio, which is a $120.00 radio. The Baofeng radio above is the $35.00 radio.
 

 

Then I showed them how you could eliminate the battery, with a gizmo called a battery eliminator. It plugs in where the battery would normally go, and has a coiled cord coming out the back that connects to your lighter plug/power port. Now you can connect to that big battery in the car. 

 

Then I connected a magnet mount type antenna that attaches to the roof of your car and with an adapter plug, connected it to the port where the removable antenna was. 

Wa-la! Now you have a radio that has an external antenna with a much greater distance, and a much bigger power supply that is renewable as long as you have fuel for your car. 

 

Then I connected a hand microphone to the radio, so now there is a full functioning 5 watt, dual band radio. This can be used for GMRS, MURS, ham radio, police, and fire frequencies. This is a very capable little radio. The cool part is the Baofeng radio itself costs about $35.00. The external antenna is about $20.00. The battery eliminator is about $10.00, and the antenna adapter is about $10.00. You do the math. You can have a full functioning, UHF/VHF system for under $100.00. That includes the microphone, too. If you don’t need all the stuff for your automobile, for $35.00 you can have a fully capable, handheld, UHF/VHF radio. Folks, you just cannot beat a deal like that. You can also listen to the weather on it. You can even listen to the railroad frequencies on it. You can listen and communicate on the marine band frequencies, if necessary. And you can also listen to FM commercial radio. An unbelievable deal.

In an emergency, like a natural disaster, you can talk to your neighbors down the road. If you can talk to your neighbors down the road, then you can also know when the bus is coming to round people up for free rides to the FEMA camp. You know, where the government will take care of you.

These little radios will also provide you with communication while your children are outside playing. If you’re interested in getting your ham radio license, which is real easy, and you’re carrying one of these $35.00 radios, and you get real lost while you’re out deer hunting, there are few places in this country that you cannot reach a ham radio repeater. Just food for thought.

Overall the class went well, had a real good turn out of about 25 people. Some there are not interested in getting their ham radio license, and that’s great. Some folks there just wanted to improve their communication skills. Well, folks, I know most of you don’t live in my neighborhood, but I encourage you all to give serious thought to improving your communication skills, because, just look around, seriously look around, there are hard times just right around the corner. We are going to need to communicate, local and long distance, but it starts local. Every community has some type of ARRL radio club. Go on their website and find a local club. Learn how to communicate using radio. $35.00 is a real inexpensive insurance policy.

We are going to meet five or six more times, and the whole purpose of this class is to eventually get people communicating, because that day is coming, maybe real soon. I’m not going to play head games with you, like there are biker zombies coming. But, for whatever reason, if we need to shut down our community, and people have even 10 minutes notice that there is something bad coming down their road, then they can at least be out of their house and away from the carnage that could be coming. This is the purpose for this class. The whole purpose for this class is to help save my life, and then my family’s lives, and then there is the domino effect. It will spread. We have got to be able to communicate. Please wake up.

We’ll talk more later, Frank