The sun was up, the mosquitoes were out, the BBQ was hot and the sweet tea ice cold- yes, it was another great Patriot Convention with Brock. The turnout was impressive; a fantastic number of good folks from a wide variety of places coming to enjoy great fellowship & food along with discussing varying aspects of preparedness in an increasingly unstable world. The prevailing theme this year, as with last fall, was keeping it local- focusing on not only the local aspects of community preparedness but going into what it takes to make it work.
For my part, the presentations done focused primarily upon taking the predominant equipment in use on the license-free bands and readying it for better use off-grid, slowly evolving into addressing the needs of those in attendance. We discussed why taking a CB antenna off a truck and trying to press it into service in the field is not exactly the right answer (limited/no sufficient groundplane) and overcoming it by building your own antenna fast and cheap. We demonstrated how to properly run the extremely common Baofeng UV-5R (or many other HTs, for that matter) off an external battery and why standardizing all of your equipment with Anderson Power Poles is a worthy investment. During that discussion I also explained the importance of marine shrink tubing as a waterproof protection and reinforcement for all of your connections, lest you get any surprises during operation such as antennas or power cables breaking while being carried. And of course, I placed a strong emphasis on why tiedowns on your kit, no matter how inexpensive it may be, are very important. Nothing you have is expendable and no competent Leader would ever utter that word.
While a lot was accomplished in a tiny amount of time, along with the primary importance of meeting good people and clarifying topics that are sometimes lost in the transition or can’t be explained simply from a blog, we found ourselves simply limited by time to really address all of the needs of the folks there- something I truly feel is needed in a broader depth. So if there’s one takeaway for myself as an improve, it’s dedicating a full day to communications training at the next PATCON. God willing in October we will be covering:
- Basic Traffic Handling and Operating Principles
- Commo Windows and the role of the Base Radio Station (BRS)
- Writing an Operations Order, Report Formats and the Signals Operating Index
- Building wire antennas for Squad Use
- Creating a Network using a 292 Jungle Antenna and Directional Antennas in the field
- Running an HF Station in an improvised environment
- Keeping your Equipment powered
- Running Field Phones
It’s going to at least be a full day of instruction, so make plans now and email me if interested and if there’s anything specific you’ll be wanting to see. Stay tuned for more details.
Above all, I’d like to thank Brock, Tom, Safetalker, LT, and CA for the tremendous undertaking that goes into putting this thing together. It is no small task. I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for the great fellowship and fraternity, while recognizing that all of our meeting was no accident; it’s the Lord’s will that good people can come together.