All posts tagged Communication

talking to families with communications are down By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

ReadyNutrition Readers, this piece is designed to give to you some methods that work that will make your daily travel more secure.  To and from work, school, or running errands, it is important for you and your family to know where each one is, what you’re doing, and when you’re due back home.  Rest assured, it is designed to give you a format so that you can look out for one another on a daily basis or when the world takes a nosedive.

By performing these steps on a daily basis, you will be practicing for an emergency, whether temporary or apocalyptic in nature.  I’m not advising you to do anything that I do not have in place.  It does take for granted that you and your family members get along, or even if you do not, that you care for one another enough to set aside your differences when it all goes down.  Should that not be the case, this is something you will need to address on your own and it runs beyond the scope of this article.

Communication is Key

So, what does this mean?  From a practical perspective, keep in mind that my wife and I live in Montana, which is different in terms of geography and climate from many areas.  You must take these suggestions and tailor them to fit your locale.  In Montana, especially during the winter time, if you do not take certain precautions just driving to and from work (when you’re out in the boonies, as we are) and the vehicle breaks down?  You can die.  Cell phones (if you use them, and we do not) have a limited range, and can prove unreliable in a catastrophe.  Regarding vehicles, Triple-A will not go out when a snowstorm is dumping 2 feet on you.  The temperatures here can go from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to below zero in no time.

Take it seriously if your loved one is late checking in.

First things first.  When my wife goes off to work, and I’m home, I have her call me when she gets in.  We know the exact time that it takes for her or me to cover the distance.  If she’s late, I give it ½ hour, and then I call.  If she hasn’t arrived, I suit up and prep my vehicle, and give it another ½ hour.  I then call again, and if she’s not there, I’m on the road at about 10 mph, all the way in, scanning both sides of the road for her.

Have multiple forms of communication on hand.

We also have radios, and even with interrupted line of sight, they have a range of about 50 miles.  I have recommended the Yaesu models in previous articles, as they can be used either as a ham radio or as a long-range handheld during emergencies.  Yes, in an EMP (to address the observant concerns), the radios would be paperweights.  JJ, however, has two sets: one for use, and the other set in Faraday cages.  We’ll see what happens, but it follows my personal EMP posture: you need two of each electronic item, and one has to go into a cage.  You can use Motorola’s and CB radios, but the range is limited due to line-of-sight limitations.  If you all live together, a good base radio for the house is worth its weight in gold.

Be ready to bug out on the fly.

We have all covered enough info on “go” bags/Bug-Out bags (I call them “A” bags) to know there must be one in each vehicle with the basics: food, ammo, fire-starting equipment and materials, spare clothing, first-aid supplies, flashlight, a good knife, and a weapon of some kind.  This is a good list to go by. During the winter, we each have a military issue extreme cold weather bag with Gore-Tex cover packed away in a compression bag and then an Army-issue wet weather bag.

For signaling, I highly recommend several road flares for the vehicle.  They also make excellent fire starting devices when needed.  Supplement these with light sticks powered by batteries.  Obtain the ones that do multiple colors.  We’ll get to the reason shortly.  Supplement the light sticks with cyalume sticks/chem-lights to give you an edge if the batteries die.  For wintertime: stainless steel water bottles are the way to go, supplemented with an empty one-quart canteen and an Army issue canteen cup with “elephant ear” handles that fold in on itself.  The stainless steel bottles fill up ¾ of the way to allow for expansion if it freezes.  Then just place it over or near a fire, and the ice will melt to give you drinking water.  With the canteen cup, you can melt snow or ice to pack it in the one-quart for immediate use…not long-term, or it’ll freeze.

Keep your immediate needs in mind.

When it’s really cold here (-10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit) we go out with Aladdin thermos bottles filled with hot water.  We wrap ‘em up in thick quilted towels and blankets and stick them in cardboard boxes filled with shredded newspaper that can double as fire starting material if need be.  The towels and newspaper further insulate the thermoses.  You’d be amazed at how good it is to have hot water if you need it immediately.  Another “goodie” are packets of food in thick Mylar that are ready to eat, or MRE’s if you do prefer them.  You can stuff these inside of your shirt and partially warm them up with your body heat, then crack them open and eat as you need them.

When Mrs. Johnson comes home, I’m there waiting to meet her, suited up and ready to hit the road if need be.  She calls me when she leaves work, and once again, we know the distance and time.  If the weather is pretty rough, the radios are on the whole way, and she gives me a position every couple of minutes, as well as a situation report…weather, traffic, obstacles.  When she makes her final approach, I use the light stick, as I ask her on the radio what color she sees and she tells me.  This lets her know that it’s me, and lets me know those headlights I see are hers.

It All comes Down to These Points

We also have prearranged signals in the event there is trouble.  Use your imagination and find what works best for you and your family.  There are just the two of us, so it’s a bit easier.  When there are many family members, it can become tough to juggle.  Bottom line: it’s all going to depend on how important it is to you.  Let’s summarize some of our main points and review.

  1. Travel with all of the supplies and equipment you need to match the locale and the season
  2. Have good radios and communication sets, and do not rely only on cell phones
  3. Signaling devices for nighttime use: flares, light sticks, chem lights, and flashlights
  4. Coordinate your movements: Who is leaving, and when, for what distance, to arrive when? Who is monitoring the travel and meeting them?
  5. Quick Response: When the family member runs into trouble, someone has to go out and get them.

Doing these simple things can help with your team-building skills as a family, and teach you how to coordinate such movements together.  It is a matter of individual and team discipline, and its success is going to depend on how dedicated you are to following the organizational framework and procedures that you put in place.  Get in some good practice now, while the time is right.  You will find that all of these things fall into place naturally when a true emergency surfaces.  This type of planning is just as important as garnering supplies, and it is a skill that requires practice, as it can become perishable when not used.  Keep up the good work, and help one another day by day.  That’s what it’s all about.  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: 5 Essential Emergency Protocols For Family Members Who Are Apart

About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.



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By  Nicholas O. – Off The Grid News

When there’s a disaster or a long-term power outage, you need backup communication.

During Hurricane Katrina, more than 70 percent of cell towers went down — and stayed down for weeks. The truth is that cell phone communication is very vulnerable, and if you’re currently relying on cell phones as your primary communication device in the event of that kind of a situation, you need to reconsider.

Cell towers need AC power to operate, and most don’t have an automatic backup system. Even those that have emergency generators are only on during short-term emergencies. Many cell towers are also easily susceptible to physical attack beyond storms.

So, what are your options for backup emergency communication devices? Here are four, all of which are available in battery powered handheld devices:

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 4 Life-Saving Ways To Communicate When The Power Is Out

communication crisis disaster

By Tara Dodrill

Editor’s note: Read our previous story on this subject here. 

Sending your teenage a text to find out if they are almost home, or calling your spouse’s cell phone to tell him you are heading to a specific location will not be possible if the power grid goes down.

We have all become accustomed to the convenience and immediate nature of communicating with our loved ones. While it is handy, we surely should not count on being able to reach those we care about via conventional means during a disaster scenario.

During 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, separated family members were unable to reach those in the disaster zone for days, and weeks in some cases. Folks were reduced to posting photographs at Red Cross and FEMA stations and sit anxiously while awaiting word of their loved one’s fate. It would be wonderful if we were all safely huddled inside our homes with our family when disaster strikes, but such a scenario is not very realistic.

Preparedness planning and practicing exit routes and having maps handy are just a few of the keys to successful survival relocation during a crisis. Leaving unconventional notes or wordless messages to loved ones to make them aware of your whereabouts should become an integral part of your preparedness plan.

If you had to suddenly flee your home with a few of your children and without your spouse, do you really want to rely on a sticky noted placed on the fridge?

An Amazing Breakthrough In Compact Portable Backup Power!

Here are a few ideas on how to communicate in such a situation.

Here’s Your Sign

Cotton bandanas are cheap and make excellent non-verbal, non-written communication tools during a time of crisis. Also, cut-off portions of cheap tablecloths or sheets found at yard sales can be used for message threads.

Make a color-coded key which corresponds to what each piece of cloth kept in the bug-out or get-me-home bag means. All the family members should become familiar with the spots around the home where the message threads would be tied. You should choose more than one in case the evacuation of the property was prompted by fire, flooding or other danger which could constrict movement of those who come home after you have left.

A specific color or patterned cloth could also be assigned to each family member to tie in a specific spot to alert others that they safely evacuated the area. A parent will not want to flee if a child that was playing outside cannot be located. That would endanger themselves and other children during a frantic search for the missing loved one.

A blue message thread could correspond with a specific exit route, meeting location, etc. Devise a message thread plan which is basic, easy to remember, and fits your specific needs. The cloth ties could also be used along the escape route, especially if it had to be altered, so those left behind can rejoin the group. Walking the alternate escape routes and selecting message poles and trees with the entire family in advance will help folks find them when rushing away from danger in a frightened state.

Doomsday Graffiti

A can of spray paint could also easily and safely relay a message. Once again, devise a key with symbols that only makes sense to the family and make a friendly competition type game out of your practice remembrance sessions. Words can be used as well, but “Mom I ran this way,” could likely alert unwelcome guests along your escape route. Spray the symbols or phrases which make sense only to the family on either designated spots or easy-to-see locations. A husband likely knows his wife’s route home from work, and her alternate route, but she might have to kick off her hills and hike home through a wooded area to avert danger or the elements. Spraying a symbol or private directional message onto the roadway or vehicle will help the couple unite and not waste time or face additional harm during a senseless search.

Emergency Caches

Burying emergency caches near the home and on all the routes to and from school and work also can provide a message exchange opportunity and meeting point. Even if the school or place of business is within a five- or 10-mile radius, maneuvering such a distance will take quite a while on foot and during a disaster scenario. Placing pen and paper and additional message threads and cans of spray paint inside the caches will alert family members following your trail to any change in plan. A short personal note can make a big difference to the mental and emotional state of the loved one who has been separated, afraid, tired, hungry and thirsty. A map of the caches should be placed in all of the bug-out bags, get-me-home bags, and especially in the children’s backpacks. If an evildoer removes the message threads or covers up the spray paint messages, the emergency caches would serve as the final avenue of regaining communications and reuniting with loved ones.

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This article first appeared at Off The Grid News: Three Off-Grid Ways To Communicate If The Power’s Out

Ham Radios

Guest Post Mark S.

Why communicate at all?

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

For our safety, edification, and survival we need to know what is happening and what to do about it. As the plethora of prepper blogs and forums reveal, preppers have a lot to say—much of it informative, enlightening, and insightful and some of it disinformation, illogical, unmitigated drivel, and even evil. We need to screen the nuggets from the waste. Logic, critical analysis, and a well-formed conscience help us do that.

Even now, before events have hit nadir, we avoid controlled media. At best, mass media is useless; at worst, it is destructive to mind, body, and soul. What mass media provides is not news or information, but diversions, disinformation, outright lies, smut, and hasbara. Thinking people have come to depend upon the “alternative media” of the internet, but, when times get worse, the internet “kill switch” will deprive us of that source. We will be “in the dark” unless we build alternative means and networks. Better to build now than during a crisis. Amateur radio, “ham radio,” is one way to build friendships and networks now, before catastrophe peaks.

While preppers lean towards individualism, no single man, no single family can acquire all the necessary skills to thrive or even survive long term. No single man, no single family can rebuild a decent society. Very few amongst us can afford to acquire in advance all the “stuff” needed to thrive and survive. When times get worse how are the decent people to share their resources, offer their skills, communicate their needs, barter for resources that are not locally available, provide real time eyewitness news, and coordinate their good works? Want to reach a loved one when the cell system is overloaded or shut down? Use a ham radio.

Community and hence communication are essential to the good task before us. We cannot replace the diabolical command and control structure or drain the “elite’s” global cesspool unless we communicate with each other to build a decent and just society. You can be sure that our self-appointed “Masters” and their puppets and enforcers will do their worst to oppose us. We need a leg up on them.

Amateur radio is one communication tool available to us all. My intent here is only to introduce the most basic information about ham radio to the uninitiated. This brief column is not intended to provide a comprehensive compendium of technical definitions, formulae, physics, esoterica, ham slang, procedures, equipment choices, or to delineate the astonishing variety of amateur radio disciplines and niches, but only to motivate you if you are not yet a ‘ham.’

Simple foundational concepts

Amateur radio always involves some mention of wavelength and frequency, but these concepts are easy to visualize. For our purposes here, think of radio waves as ocean waves. The distance from wave peak to wave peak (or trough to trough) is “wavelength.” The longer the wavelength, the fewer waves touch the beach per minute (or second). The longer the wavelength, the lower the frequency; The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency—the first key concept.

Ham Radios

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In the radio spectrum, longer wavelengths (lower frequencies) “bounce” better than shorter wavelengths (higher frequencies). These longer wavelengths can be bounced off the ground, off layers of the atmosphere, or even off the moon. The ever-changing activity of the sun (day, night, sunspots) makes an enormous difference in the electrical charges in the ionosphere and so significantly affects how well the longer wavelengths “bounce,” “propagate,” how far they “go.” Shorter wavelengths (higher frequency) do not “bounce” so well and so are limited to line-of-sight propagation. Since those longer wavelengths can bounce farther than you can see, those longer wavelengths communicate farther than line-of-sight—the second key concept.

Ham Radios

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For our purposes here, we refer to the longer “bouncy” wavelengths as high frequency (HF) and the “line-of sight” shorter wavelengths as very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF). Radio wavelengths are usually expressed in meters or fractions of meters. Radio frequencies are usually expressed in “per second” or “Hertz” (abbreviated “Hz”) or “millions per second” (megahertz, MHz) or even “billions per second” (gigahertz, GHz). So, the ham radio spectrum looks like this:

HF 3 to 30 MHz

VHF 30 MHz to 300 MHz

UHF 300 MHz to 3,000 MHz (3 GHz).

All this means is that 3.750 MHz in the 80 meter HF band “bounces” better than 144.500 MHz in the 2 meter VHF band. You’ll get used to it. These concepts will quickly become second nature for you. Suffice it to say, if you want to communicate over long distances, you will want access to those “bouncy” HF bands.

Why Get Licensed?

Why? To get connected with good people of like mind. To legally operate an amateur radio now, you must be tested, licensed and you must provide an address; a private mailbox or PO Box suffices. Though such government-imposed requirements are repugnant to many, here is why you should start now—to practice important skills that will be very useful later. If you only want to talk to your buddy a few miles away, it is almost as easy to use an amateur radio as a CB radio, but to succeed in regional, transcontinental, or worldwide radio communication requires skills born of practice. If you think you can simply turn on a ham radio and send or receive real time news regionally or globally, you are sorely mistaken. There are tools today that allow a novice to very easily use an inexpensive handheld radio to talk to other hams around the world, but this capability depends on internet digital linking. When the internet kill switch is used, there will be no more D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) or IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project). When the chips are down, you will have only: (1) the short-range line-of-sight capability of VHF and UHF radio and (2) the long-range “bounce” of HF radio. While those short-range line-of-sight VHF/UHF skills are easily acquired, be sure that “DXing,” slang for making long-range contacts, requires special HF radios, more skill, more power, better antennas, and practice. More than local news will be necessary for you to get “the big picture,” so I urge you to get your license and equipment now and start practicing. You cannot be an effective sniper with your first round and you cannot be an effective DXer with your first “QSO,” slang for “radio contact.”

Currently there are three levels of ham licenses being issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): from low to high, Technician, General, and Extra. Each higher level allows more access to bandwidth, more frequencies to use. Morse code is NOT required for any class of ham license. The Technician license exam is very easy. A Technician license gives access to the relatively short-range VHF and UHF bands, but gives none of the HF access necessary for long-range communication. The General license exam is easy, only slightly more difficult than the Technician exam, and a General license allows you to legally enter the long distance world of DXing on HF. A General license is well worth the small increment of effort. The Extra licensing exam is difficult for most, but the Extra license gives access to all the frequencies legally allowed to hams.

Indeed there are many laws currently regulating ham radio usage and I urge you to learn and obey them. Practice, practice, practice… ahem… legally. Let us not review how resistance movements have used clandestine radios against the control grid. There are two styles of study for the exams. One may simply study to pass the exam or one may study to master the information. You may choose to do both. Gordon West has a series of books seemingly aimed at passing the exams. The first in the series is Technician Class 2010-2014.

ARRL, the American Radio Relay League, has a series of books and webpages seemingly aimed at mastering the material. The first in the series is Ham Radio License Manual Revised 2nd Edition. In far more detail than I can do here, the ARRL website provides an overview and resources for many aspects and specialty niches of ham radio, niches like “fast scan amateur TV” mentioned below. With little effort on the ARRL website’s Find A Club page, you can find a local ham club. Most clubs have training classes and members willing to be your personal ham radio mentor, in ham slang, your “Elmer.”

There are even websites dedicated to helping children obtain their licenses. For example: Licenses –Self Study Program

Some Facts, Some Gear Radio “bands” are named by their wavelength or frequency, so because of the relationship between wavelength (abbreviated by the Greek lower case lambda, λ) and frequency (abbreviated by the Greek lower case nu, ν), the “40 meter band” is the same as the “7 MHz band.” As I hinted above, the reciprocal mathematical relationship of wavelength and frequency is quite simple: wavelength (λ) = speed of light (c)/frequency (ν).

Check out this graphic here to get an idea.

The allocation of frequencies to bureaucratic, military, commercial, and amateur users is agreed through international treaties that are enforced by national agencies. The “band plan” for US amateurs includes access to band segments from 160 meters (1.8-2.0 MHz) to 33 centimeters (902-928 MHz), covering quite an enormous expanse of the electromagnetic spectrum. Perhaps the amateur frequency allocations are best appreciated graphically.

Ham Radios

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Ham “transceivers” both transmit and receive various radio bands. Radios range in price and functionality from utilitarian $100 handhelds to do-everything desktop behemoths costing thousands of dollars. Amplifiers and ancillary equipment increase range and functionality as they also add cost. You decide your budget. A small hand held transceiver, called “HT” for short, will commonly allow transmission and reception on VHF and UHF bands. Many ham HT’s also receive, but do not transmit HF, aviation bands, marine bands, and commercial AM and FM stations.

Opinions vary and tastes differ and there are certainly less expensive options, but I recommend the full feature Yaesu VX-8DR and ICOM ID-51A radios. Do not be perplexed or overwhelmed by product specifications as listed in brochures and reviews. The meaning of these specifications will become crystal clear as you study for your exam and use your own radio. Computer software and cables are available that allow you to program and clone the memories and setting of such radios more easily than tapping every memory and setting into the radio using the radios’ tiny buttons. RT Systems is among the most respected purveyors of such software. That Yaesu model has broader band access than that ICOM model, but does not have D-STAR or built-in GPS. The ICOM does have both D-STAR and built-in GPS (Global Positioning System), hence easy global access now using VHF/UHF (no HF), but, as I mentioned above, those global VHF/UHF capabilities are easily shutdown at the whim of “our” police state.

Also, there may be circumstances where you might not want to automatically report your GPS location, so you might deactivate or not install such options. The ICOM ID-51A’s automatic GPS does allow automatic connection to nearby repeaters and reflectors (see below), a convenience, but you may choose instead to manually enter such information if needed. The line-of-sight range of these tiny 5 watt HT’s can be markedly improved, even to 50 miles, by connecting through suitable coaxial cable to a simple, inexpensive, and unobtrusive magnet mount antenna at home or on your vehicle. To help protect against EMP damage, our family keeps our HT radios in Faraday bags. Ham Radios

ID51A VHF / UHF Dual Band Transceiver – Features Icom America

Vehicle mounted mobile transceivers markedly expand your range and bandwidth. 100-Watt mobile transceivers are common and many add HF capabilities to VHF and UHF. The very newest mobile radios, such as the touchscreen ICOM 7100, reviewed here at, include both HF and D-STAR as well as GPS capabilities if you activate it. 1,500-Watt amplifiers are optional and refined tunable antennas are available. Such units give you the best of local and worldwide digital radio now and analog radio when the internet has been killed. Ham-Radios What to Buy

IC-7100 HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver – Features – Icom America

For the dedicated, practiced, and affluent ham with a “ham shack,” a 1,500-Watt desktop behemoth (for example, an amplified Kenwood TS-990S) carefully grounded and coupled to a skyful of specialized antennas is the pinnacle of amateur radio capabilities, but is far from portable. There are, of course, competing models such as the ICOM 9100, reviewed here at QST, a ham website and magazine, and here at At about a third of the Kenwood TS-990S’s price, expect fewer features and slightly less capability. Your shopping philosophy may differ, but for firearms, optics, and tech gear, I believe, “Buy once, cry once.” Ham Radios


Whatever you choose, be sure to consider and purchase backup power sources for your radios—rechargeable batteries, solar chargers, generators, and even your vehicles’ batteries. Ham Radio Outlet is one of the better-known suppliers of new and used equipment, but local and regional “hamfests” usually have swap meets. Experienced hams looking to upgrade their equipment often offer a variety of excellent used equipment at great prices though usually without warranties. It is possible—and legal for licensed hams—to communicate through repeaters linked to a home computer without using any radio at all, even using a computer with a “dongle,” a device that allows access to D-STAR—but why? My purpose here is to motivate readers to have radio capability when the banksters’ police state murders the internet. How It Works Hams may communicate from radio to radio using “simplex,” taking turns to transmit and receive on the same frequency, but most VHF and UHF communication currently uses “duplex,” using two different frequencies “offset” for transmitting and receiving and often activated by subaudible “tones” through “repeaters.” Repeaters are powerful radios that, because of their prominent placement on moutaintops or tall buildings facilitate wider range communication than would be allowed by less powerful radios at ground level that are more easily blocked from line-of-sight by terrain or other obstructions. Small 5 watt HTs, may only have a useful range of 2-5 miles when communicating to another ground-level HT, but can have a useful range of 50 miles or more when using a 1,500-watt repeater on a mountaintop to relay the signal. HF and D-STAR communication always use simplex. D-STAR “reflectors” link by the internet to other reflectors around the world allowing 5 watt HTs to talk to people around the world. Reflectors and repeaters can be selectively linked for user-defined networks, but repeaters, reflectors, and linking will likely be unavailable when the internet is down.

Groups of hams with common interests meet on air for scheduled chats, called “nets.” You can form a “net” to meet others who share your particular interests. You can share computer files, photos, videos, and location information—locally or globally.

Ham Radios

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Who has privacy? It is illegal to encrypt or encode amateur radio transmissions (business and government users may encrypt transmissions) and openly broadcasting allows anyone and everyone with a receiver to hear what you say. That is the diametric opposite of privacy—or is it? The amateur bands range from 1.8 to 3,000 MHz. That is a lot of territory available to “hide in plain sight.” Be sure too that there will be times when you want everyone to hear what you have to say.

I urge you to remain lawful and to abide by the millions of laws that control us, but do note this reality, presented here only as points of information, NOT encouragement—Besides the paid enforcers, there are obnoxious unpaid busybodies (as pathologically intrusive as Homeowner Association busybodies) who snoop the airwaves to detect and report even innocent regulation violations to the FCC, but it takes considerable dedication of expensive resources to DF (Direction Find) locate an offender, especially a mobile freedom fighter who illegally does not use his unique call sign and who uses brief simplex (transmit and receive on the same frequency) burst transmissions. Encrypted transmissions sound like static and technologies like spread spectrum are hard to detect and track, explaining in part why the military and the police state use such technologies themselves. Every radio has unique electrical idiosyncrasies that are an unavoidable electronic “signature.” Just like firing pin, chamber, and barrel impressions on a primer, case, or bullet “fingerprints” a firearm, your radio’s electronic signature “fingerprints” every transmission from your radio, but such identification takes sophisticated equipment, trained analysts, the time and will power to dedicate the necessary resources to catch offenders, and the authorities must have your radio in hand to match the on-air fingerprint to you and your radio. Simply because those difficulties exist, do NOT abuse your license privileges. I reiterate, remain courteous and legal.

A Last Word

A loved one is dying, you are injured, your children are starving, and your home is under attack. Who are you going to call? HOW are you going to call? A last word, food for thought. One niche in ham radio is analog TV. Yes, you can send your own amateur analog videos by ham radio, fast scan Amateur Television (ATV). The world had little knowledge of and less sympathy for the genocide of the Palestinian people until photos and video showed the horrifying tortures heaped on innocent Palestinian men, women, and children by perpetrators who perennially pose as victims. Images opened the eyes of the world, even here in the USA where the perpetrators and their accomplices control the media and own “our” legislators.

In the same vein, do you remember how the American KGB kept reporters miles away from the Branch Davidians? Imagine how different the outcome at Waco if the Branch Davidians had transmitted to the world video footage of the attacks and tortures heaped upon them by the uniformed psychopaths. Imagine if the world had seen in real time what the FBI’s own FLIR footage documented, arson and murder under color of authority revealed too late in the documentary Waco: A New Revelation—that psychopaths dismounted from an Army tank to set fire to the Davidians’ home and then machine-gunned men, women, and children as they attempted to flee the government arsonists. Yes, imagine what the world will do to such perpetrators when evidentiary video escapes the control of the gatekeepers. Document and distribute what you see. Talk to each other, my friends.

Nuremberg 2—Punish ALL the guilty; leave the innocent alone. Help it happen.

See more at Why Ham Radios?



For many preppers, gear is the name of the game when it comes to disaster survival.  While we here at Survivopedia like to advocate skill building over the collection of supplies, there are certain tools and equipment that can be live saving when SHTF.

You’re probably already familiar with the term bug out bag and you may already have one (or more) of your own.  Everyone has his or her own idea of what a bug out bag should look like, but there is no such thing as the perfect set up.

But a bug out bag isn’t just only intended for those individuals intent on getting out of dodge as soon as disaster strikes.  Furthermore, bugging out may not always be a viable option.  The survival essentials that you’d want to have in a wilderness or on-the-road survival situation are the same items you’d want on hand at home when SHTF.

With that in mind, we’ll introduce you to some essential tools to keep in your home to give you a much better chance at surviving a disaster.

Since we’re assuming you’ll be using your home as a shelter, we won’t discuss tools associated with shelter building.  We will focus on the other crucial components for survival including:

  • Water procurement
  • Fire-making
  • Cooking
  • First Aid
  • Communication
  • Security

Water procurement

Water is the single most important element you need to survive.  It’s a great idea to store large quantities of water in your home in case of emergencies, but keep in mind even bottled water has a shelf life and requires rotation.  When the pipes run dry and your stores run out, you’ll need a way to procure water on your own. In a survival situation you should aim to drink at least 1-liter of water each day.

Keep in mind that you’ll not only need water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning, and hygienic purposes as well.

Boiling rainwater and making a homemade still are options, but when it comes to water-procuring tools a purifying straw can be a great device to own.  The LifeStraw is an award-winning polifestraw-personal-water-filterrtable filtration device that allows you to drink directly from any fresh water source, contaminated or not.

Its basically a big, plastic tube that allows you to suck water through a series of hollow fibers in a process called microfiltration–this frees the water you drink from 99.9% of bacteria and parasites.

A single personal LifeStraw can filter up to 1,000 liters of water and has a 3-year shelf life.


Fire is essential for keeping warm, disinfecting water, cooking, and overall morale.  If you already have a wood-burning fireplace in your home you’re off to a good start, as those powered by gas and electricity will be quick to fail when SHTF.

Whether hunkering down or bugging out, it’s recommended you always carry at least 3 tools for starting a fire.  This could be your basic plastic lighter, a box of waterproof matches, a magnesium rod and striker, or emergency flares.  Regardless of you’re preferred choice, always have a backup to your backup.

In addition to actually starting a fire, you’ll need tools capable of providing you with a sustainable supply of fuel, most often in the form of wood.  The best tools for gathering wood are wood-splitting mauls (somewhere in the 6 to 8 pound range), crosscut saws, and sledgehammers and wedges.


Many home preppers are advocates of stockpiling as much shelf-stable, dehydrated, and non-perishable food items as your space and budget can afford.  Whether or not this is your route, you’ll still need a handful of basic tools and utensils to make meal preparation and cooking much easier.

  • Basic utensil set (fork, knife, spoon) or spork
  • Can opener
  • Plate set
  • Enamelware camp mug
  • Single burner stove (with extra fuel canisters)
  • Homemade alcohol stove
  • Metal pot

First Aid

Hopefully you already have a sense of what should go into a basic survival first aid kit.  Things like gauze, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial ointment, bandages, and scissors are all basics that you should have on hand.

Some other essential first aid tools and instruments to consider include:dreamstime_s_27991494

  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Suture kit
  • Razor blades
  • Tampons
  • Surgical tubing


In an earlier post, we went into some detail about the importance of familiarizing yourself with various communications systems and devices.  When disaster strikes, power lines and cell towers are sure to be affected and leave you without information pertaining to your surroundings.

In a disaster situation, knowledge is the key to your survival.  That begs the importance of having a backup radio (or two or three) on hand to make receiving and transmitting pertinent information to others a possibility.  Beyond the radio itself you probably won’t need many tools to keep it operating aside from a power source and antenna.

See the post on communications or its follow up on some less-conventional techniques for more information on this topic.


In a hunker-down, home survival scenario, you must think about what measures you are willing to take to protect your family and property.

No bug out bag or home of a self-respecting prepper should be without some form of weapon to be used for self-defense and security purposes.  Firearms should be your first option if available to you, as they are the most effective and powerful of self-defense weapons.  Not to mention they have the ability to put food on the table if used for hunting.

Other self-defense tools/items include:

  • Pepper spray
  • Gun cleaning kit
  • Gun oil/lubrication

If a gun isn’t available to you, you may consider using one of the multi-purpose tools listed in the next category, as some of them can be adapted to be used for security in addition to their intended practicality.

Misc. Tools

The equipment listed below may not fall specifically into the categories above but are commonly found in bug out bags and home preparedness kits alike because of their versatility.

  • Crowbar
  • Fixed-blade knife
  • Paracord
  • Siphon/hand pump
  • Hatchet
  • Heavy-duty flashlight (Maglite works best)
  • Multi-tool/Swiss Army knife
  • Duct tape
  • Garden wire

Keep in mind that every prepper is different and has his/her own ideas of what tools, equipment, and supplies you should have on hand when SHTF. Arguably, you’ll have a much better chance surviving a disaster scenario if you stay in your home and use the resources you already have to foster the survival of your family.

The categories mentioned above and their associated tools are commonly considered the most important components and essential equipment for surviving any adverse scenario.

Check out our other posts for more in-depth discussion of these categories and to help get a better sense of what tools you should have on hand.

This article first appeared at Survivopedia: Essential Tools for Home Survival

Find out more about surviving after disaster on The Prepper’s Blueprint.

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3,

body language signs

By Adam C

Situational awareness is an important tool in your survival arsenal. Most of the time, simply seeing the danger that lies ahead can give you a leg up on most people who drift through life oblivious of any dangers. The key to situational awareness is keen observation – observation of situations, things and even people. And it’s the people subset of situational awareness that comprises the study of body language – the study of those around you.

Body language is something we all give off, mostly unconsciously. It manifests itself in subconscious postures, facial expressions and hand positions. The way we carry ourselves speaks volumes to those who can discern what the signs mean; most amateurs look only at the face, but there is much more to observe. Before we delve into what to look for, a fundamental question must be answered: why even bother observing body language? There are three primary reasons:

  • Body language gives us advance warning about the actions that a person or group of people are about to undertake.
  • Body language gives us a window into the person’s mind, telling us what their current emotional state is.
  • Body language is an early warning device built into every single human being.

In short, the way a person carries themselves at a particular instant in time gives us a valuable insight as to whether they represent a threat to us or not. Here’s what to look for:

How To Defend Yourself And Your Family Against The New Breed Of Lowlife Criminal Scum

1. The Face: The face is on one hand the most expressive body part we posses, and on the other hand, the most easily manipulated. Experts are able to meticulously control their facial expressions so as to be unreadable (eg. the poker face) while amateurs will crack nervous grins and will sport numerous facial twitches. Ignore the signs that can be controlled and thus manipulated, and focus on those that cannot:

  • Pupil dilation: The human fight or flight reaction is something few people can control; the brain signals the body to dump adrenaline into the bloodstream raising the heart rate and dilating the pupils (making them larger). As the pupils dilate, the peripheral vision narrows – it is a mechanism designed to have us face the threat directly. People about to act aggressively or perform a violent act will usually have their pupils dilated the size of pie plates.
  • Pulse: As aggression or impulse builds, the heart rate increases as does blood pressure. The net result of this is a pounding pulse which is visible in the neck and temples. Again, this is difficult or impossible for most people to control.
  • Sweat: An increased heart rate causes involuntary perspiration, which again, not even professionals can adequately control.
  • Mouth: Besides obvious expressions, an open mouth often occurs when a person can’t get enough air from just their nose and is breathing rapidly.

2. Upper Torso: The upper torso reveals two important clues to those keen enough to observe them. The first clue is the shoulders – are the shoulders hanging naturally in a relaxed pose, or are they tight and raised? A person who is about to strike or move will often telegraph this intention by the way he carries his shoulders. The second clue is the upper chest area, where it pertains to respiration. Normally, men are stomach breathers while women are chest breathers, but when the action amps up, both sexes tend to breathe in a shallow manner from their chest. Look for the rapid rise and fall of the chest as evidence of breathing hard.

3. Hands and Arms: As one astute police officer said – feet never killed anyone. The reference was to the fact that overwhelmingly, hands hovering around the waistband represent a threat. At any moment, the person could produce a weapon, and so it’s important to watch the hands closely at all times. While things like balled fists are an obvious sign of aggression, keep in mind that many attacks come from the position of crossed arms, or hands in pockets.

4. Legs and Feet: Primarily, what we are looking for here is stance. As often happens subconsciously, people will tend to blade themselves towards a perceived threat. Blading refers to a combat style stance, where the dominant foot is behind the non-dominant foot and about shoulder width apart. Blading also serves as a dual clue – most people carrying a concealed weapon will subconsciously blade the weapon side away from the threat, both to protect it and to conceal it.

5. The Whole Package: Lastly, look for movement warning signs, nervous twitches that signal that the person is about to act. Two common signs of impending action are pacing and standing on the balls of their feet. Many attacks begin with a person pacing back and forth and then launching an attack at about the midpoint; many flights or escapes begin with the person getting up on the balls of their feet, much as a runner would before the starting gun goes off.

Your ability to recognize the above early warning signs could give you valuable seconds in which to act, potentially saving yourself or averting disaster. – Off The Grid News



In any type of disaster, your normal means of communication will likely be limited or severed completely. This applies during a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or other large-scale natural disaster. It also applies during a terrorist attack, EMP strike, or nuclear war scenario.

Cell phones, landlines, Internet, and power will be shut down. You will no longer have the luxury of picking up the phone to call for help or scanning the Web for information.

When such a crisis happenes and the systems in place no longer function, you must be prepared to fend for yourself. If you don’t already have a backup communication plan in place, there is no time like the present to start.

A reliable communication system should be equal in importance to your guns, ammo, food, and other material preps. While these are essential to sustain your life, the ability to communicate could actually save your life during a disaster.

Below we will discuss a few of the most common communications systems available for civilian use and how they can help you in a survival situation.


The following devices will only allow you to receive information from outside sources. They are most effective as a means to alert you prior to a disaster, and keep you updated in its aftermath.

scannerScanners – Most handheld scanners have between 8 and 20 channels. These channels operate on a frequency between 30 and 512 megahertz. Handheld scanners can pick up police, fire, and ambulance traffic and allow you to monitor updates regarding the events in your area.

AM/FM Radio – Depending on the scale of the disaster, traditional AM/FM radio may still work after the kick. These stations broadcast using shortwave radio waves that can transmit across long distances. The range of the radio depends on the size of the antenna, power of the signal, and terrain of the area.

Weather Alert Radio – Weather alert radios are designed to automatically power on and emit an alert signal prior to a weather emergency. They act much like a fire alarm in that they only come on if a severe weather warning is issued. People living in areas commonly hit by tornadoes, hurricanes, or other localized storms should always have a weather alert radio on hand.


Transceiver radios can receive AND transmit information. They will be most important after a disaster to coordinate rescue efforts and signal for help. The devices below range in their effectiveness, but each should be considered as part of a well-rounded communications plan.

marine-intercom-old-as-used-old-war-ship-submarine-image33247788Family Radio Service – The Family Radio Service (FRS) is what you use with everyday, consumer two-way walkie-talkies. They work well at short-ranges in most terrain, with little interference. This makes them popular on camping trips, job sites, and for other short-range personal communication tasks. The biggest drawback to FRS radios is their low battery life and limited range.

GMRS – The General Mobile Radio Service is another form of short-distance two-way radio communication. Unlike FRS, it requires licensing from the FCC to be used. GMRS radios cost more than FRS but have much greater range and power. A GMRS radio has a normal range of 10-15 miles. Tapping into a local repeater could extend that range to upwards of hundreds of miles.

Marine Radio – Marine radios are found on most boats, ships and homes along the water. They are used for ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore traffic in both coastal and open water areas. These channels broadcast important information about severe weather, criminal activity, and other suspicious behavior on and near the water.

CB Radio – When most people think of CB (Citizen Band) radios they think about the ones mounted in big-rig trucks. CB radios are also available in handheld, battery-operated form. These devices have 40-channels and ports for an external mic or antenna (to extend your range). Most trucker CB radios are in fact CB/SSB radios. SSB stands for Single Side Band and gives the radio much greater range with or without an external antenna. CB radios are normally quite cheap and do not require much practice (or a license) to operate.

HAM Radio – HAM radio is often hailed as the go-to means of survival communication. It offers the most range and can transmit via voice, text, or video communication. Though the strongest HAM radios are base station models, they can also be mounted in vehicles or carried as portable handheld radios. These portable devices have low output, but can take a charge from a 12-volt battery.

Operating a HAM radio requires a license from the FCC. There are three levels of HAM licensing: amateur, general, and technician. Each level is given their own set of frequencies. Quite simply, you do not need a license to receive info via HAM radio. But if you want to transmit legally, you will need a license.When disaster strikes, HAM frequencies will no longer be regulated and you will be able to transmit freely. In any case, the FCC permits an individual to transmit via HAM radio in a life or death circumstance. The biggest drawback to HAM radio is the limited number of users. With so few HAM operators compared to the population as a whole, it will be difficult to reach other survivors who are versed in HAM radio.

The ability to communicate after a disaster will be crucial to your chances of survival. One day when you turn on your cellphone and nothing happens what will you do? Hopefully you’ll resort to one of these several backup radios, as they could be your only ticket to survival. – Survivopedia

Find out more about long term survival after disaster happens on Prepper’s Blueprint.

Photo sources: Dreamstime.