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 & 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

When You’re Sick & Down

What are you going to do when you’re sick and down and out? Who is going to do your work for you if you’re so sick you can’t? My first thought is, well, I just can’t be that sick. But I don’t think we will always have control over that, will we? Or the weather, or the economy, or the actions of others, or bugs in the garden, or…or….or….

We were amazed by the pictures and stories of everyone trapped out on the highways and in stores and schools during the severe weather in the south. It really warmed my heart to see businesses open their doors to these stranded folks. It reminds us how important it is to have some things prepared and with us all the time. Mom With a Prep just did a post about her husband’s emergency pack that he keeps in his vehicle, so that if something happens, he can get home. I keep my vehicle emergency pack with me wherever I go. I work 25 miles from home and want to be able to get home if some type of disaster or collapse happens, or if my car breaks down. I wonder how many stranded people had

emergency supplies with them. I also wonder how many people will

now start carrying emergency supplies with them because of this weather event. Maybe God is sending out a few more messages trying to get a few more people to see how important it is to be ready, to be even a little prepared. The people in the south had a few days to prepare for this storm. They knew it was coming. We all know a storm is coming. Are we going to be prepared when it comes? We all have storms in our lives of one type or another. Sometimes it’s a tornado, sometimes it’s a hurricane, sometimes it’s the flu or, heaven forbid, the death of the family bread winner. We all have storms.

And speaking of weather. We have all been the recipients of wave after wave of unusually cold weather this winter. There are many people, businesses and organizations that can’t get the propane or heating fuel they need. There is a major drought in the west affecting the farmers ability to grow the crops we have all come to depend upon for part of our daily bread. Frank and I were talking about it the other day and also wondered how this severe cold will affect the ‘bread basket’ states and the winter wheat crops. There are many things occurring now that may have a devastating impact upon our food supply in the near future. 

You know what else I noticed yesterday? The ‘brick’ of tissue we buy at the warehouse market that holds about 10 boxes now gives us about 160 less pieces of tissue. Just another way of buying smaller packages of things for the same amount of money. It really bugs me that we are being tricked into thinking things aren’t so bad, when we are getting less and less product for the same amount of money. But we are told, there is no inflation and things are getting better everyday. Just wait and see.

Frank has been sick for a week and will be for a while yet. I have been down for a few days. It really makes us stop and think about how we might manage if we were on our own. Do we have what we need for daily sustenance? Yes. Can we do our chores and take care of the animals? Yes. We’re not that sick. But what if we were? We have been able to get the medical attention we need, for now. What if we couldn’t? Then what? It really gives us food for thought.

So, now we challenge you to put yourself in the shoes of the folks that were caught in this recent storm. How would you do in that situation? Now put yourself in the shoes of the folks that can’t get enough propane to heat their house or cook. How would you manage? Or even if the propane was available, what if the prices had doubled or tripled and you just couldn’t afford it, then what? What if you or your family member was really sick and you couldn’t get any medical attention? Then what?

Don’t be fooled by what you are fed by the mainstream media. Really take a good look at what is happening around you. Did you know that more and more big banks, you know, too big to fail, are limiting how much money you can withdraw from your bank account? Some of them are even requiring a reason for the withdrawal, and if it doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to them, they are denying access to the account. I find this to be unbelievable. But it is just one example of many. Don’t be fooled into thinking, “All is well.” It is not.

Sometimes when you are sick things look a little more gloomy than they really are, and Frank and I have been sick. But this is one instance that our illnesses are not the reason for our outlook on what is happening in our country. It has just given us more time to ponder. We hope that you will do the same. What can you do for yourself or your family today, not tomorrow or the next day, that will prepare them for the challenges of the near future? Think about it. Then get to work. Time is short.

Until next time – Fern

P.S. A family asked if we would provide this link for you to view.