Question From a Reader-

Hi NC Scout.

Could you consider the  scenario below and provide your thoughts and opinion? I’m curious what you think about this subject with your background. Thank you in advance.

We are starting to research the possibility of using a carbine line instead of an AR line for out main patrol/carry load.  Our thought is that we can have a carbine/pistol combination that accepts the same magazine/ammunition, so that if, during a fire fight, the carbine becomes inoperable, we can switch to our pistol without losing our capacity (so we start the fight with 300 rounds, and we can switch guns and finish the fight with 300 rounds).  Right now, if our AR goes down, we only have 50-ish rounds of pistol ammunition to finish off with, which could cause us to abandon an assault that we were close to successfully completing.

Other considerations:

  • We only have to carry/stock up on one type of ammunition.
  • Carbine weighs less than the AR (most likely).
  • Most likely all of our encounters will be within 100 yards, which the carbine can handle.  Obviously we lose the ability to reach out and touch someone with a carbine. But we also believe most fights will be short range encounters, less than 200 yrds.
Just curious as to what your thoughts are on this topic, and which (if any) carbine/pistol combinations you would recommend, and why. Or do should we just stick with our current setup. All this assumes a 2 person buddy team with limited or no resupply as defined by JC Dodge at MasonDixonTactical.
Thanks (name witheld)
I’m assuming by your question that you mean ‘pistol caliber carbine’ by carbine. I’ll state up front that both a PCC and a combat carbine (AR, AK, etc.) have advantages and disadvantages. The largest limiting factor to PCCs are the engagement range and power- you’re essentially entering the fight with a longer-barreled submachine gun.  Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, if:
1. Your role is not primarily actively fighting, but defensive in nature.
2. You understand the limitations of the chosen pistol round (which it seems like you do).
From a logistics standpoint, supplying common calibers is paramount, but not so much as to justify hampering your overall capability. Sure, SMGs were great primary weapons in the WWII-early Vietnam era, but the advancement of intermediate caliber carbines (7.62×39, 5.56, 6.5, etc) really rendered pistol caliber SMGs irrelevant to everyone except Police forces concerned with over penetration in urban areas or special military units for hostage rescue.
From a Survivalist standpoint, I would focus much more on a standard rifle cartridge, and the ability to carry more of it if I’m planning on getting into a fight, rather than stepping down to a pistol round out of a long gun. Both the 5.56 and 7.62 (x39 and x51) have so much more utility that I wouldn’t consider any common autoloading pistol cartridge over them. That being said, if my role is not retreatist in nature, but more in line with an Ulster-style fight, a PCC might have certain advantages. This however is a question concerning METT-TC (MISSION, ENEMY, TIME, TERRAIN, TROOPS, CIVILIANS), and not the weapon itself. In that case, the weapon is usually irrelevant and should be disposable.
As far as ammunition concerns go, in a real, live shootout, you’re gonna burn through a lot more ammo than you realize, a lot faster than you realize, especially if it’s your first rodeo. A secondary arm is exactly that, secondary, for breaking contact if the primary no longer works or a more specialized role (much more preferable, like a Ruger MK3 for example). If you’re currently armed with the AR, and you’re not sold on its reliability, look at another platform (like the good ol Kalash). In my experience, I’ve only had two real-world issues with AR malfunctions- a bolt override from a worn out magazine and two lugs sheared from a high-round count class. These were on issued Colt M4s…other brands may be different. On the magazine bit, nearly 100% of the AR-15 malfunctions I’ve observed (from others) are magazine-related, or in the rising case of the $500 special, out-of-spec parts. In either case, concerning reliability, confidence in your weapon system only comes from one source- your experience, and cannot be substituted by anyone else’s- so that means getting out and running the weapons.
So, all this being said, in a grid-down, ‘me and my buddies out on our own protecting ours’ situation, I can’t advocate limiting yourself to a PCC for commonalty’s sake. Should everyone have matching sidearms? Yep. Should everyone have the matching primary arm (except for specialized roles)? Yep. Don’t undergun yourself. Just because heavily dated stats may evaluate combat at 0-200m doesn’t mean your weapons should only work within that envelope.
Hope this didn’t muddy the waters too much-
NC Scout

Revolution in their Minds, the Children Start to March-

streetcommiesHeh. Ok. A couple of things on this- I described this collective action in my Leaderless Resistance post, and I told you that this would happen and get worse when Trump won in the post on philosophy. In the first, I described a domestic color revolution based on Marxist social structure, which is tried and true, and the second a prediction based upon living in the real world with these people and knowing their group-think.

Which is a good thing.

They are overplaying their hand in the streets. Let them.

Meanwhile, if you don’t know the differences between labels, don’t actively promulgate them to yourself, while self-affirming your own status. Calling yourself ‘anarcho-whatever‘ while aligned with the Right proves you know neither about yourself or them- meaning you should probably just close your mouth and keep your powder dry.

Second, I’m going to lay out very simply the response to this post over at WRSA. Mosby by way of Bracken is correct in his assessment. It’s all certainly true, but there’s another sociological fact to be pointed out. The Right, whether Pre-Industrial Revolution (adhering to Monarchism) or Post (adhering to Monarchism’s heir, Capitalism), does not and will not fight the Left in a proactive manner because the system works for them. Law, finances, social rewards- all work, hence why one adheres to the belief. The duty of repression is left to the Government, no matter who is in charge. Taken into one’s own hands, the means to life will be removed- thus one does not act on one’s desire.

The Left’s mass base is made of those who see no benefit to the current order whether real or imagined. Thus, conflict. Thus, ambushed Police. Thus, flash mobs. Thus, insurrection. Organized violence in whatever form necessary. And it’s going to get worse. We’re talking about people already normalized to violence and extreme living conditions- working a hard labor job with little pay or operating clandestine networks on the side running dope and stolen goods just to make ends meet. Most of you ain’t doing this, no matter what you call your little kitted-up elks lodge meeting in the woods.

For this reason the Left claws and claws and claws, until the weight of the Right, usually through the force of government (but not in every case),  crushes it into submission at some point.Certainly this is an oversimplification, but it is no less true. For the Left, the guns don’t matter. The results do.

Localism, neo-tribalism, and community standing are all effective counters, not found in suburbia. These are not labels- these are ways of life. I suggest if you don’t have a strong amount of social capital, you had better work on it. And you don’t get it from ‘bugging out’ some-fucking-where when variable x happens. Neither is sitting on your ass bitching about it, self-applying stupid labels and saying “I’m Ready!”

“…the witch of the winter came slashin…”

raleigh.jpgI could very convincingly argue that around 80% of Survivalism is being aware of your surroundings. The other 15% is skill, given you recognize the reality of your situation, and another 5% actual ‘stuff’ to use. That being said, examine the picture. This was the scene in Raleigh NC just a couple years ago. Finding this situation hideously entertaining, and faced with a similar storm tonight, there’s some lessons to be garnered.

NC can be an interesting place, weather-wise. While the northwestern corner experiences quite a bit of snow regularly, the central to eastern parts face snow as well but more often ice. It happens every single winter. And yet, realizing this fact, soccer moms still grossly over estimate their driving skills (because, we all know 4×4 suburbans make you go-anywhere drivers) and the tasty wintry allure of bread milk sammiches (because, what else do you do with only bread and milk?) overwhelm the common sense factor.

In the picture above, the storm hit in the afternoon. It didn’t just pop up, NOAA had been calling for it for weeks, just like the storm hitting tonight and tomorrow. Those folks pictured could have went home early, they could have called out (I bet the dude with the flaming car wished he had) or they could’ve just had common sense and said, “I’m staying home today, I can’t drive in this stuff.” Better yet, realize that even though I can drive in this stuff just fine with my 4×4 soul-crusher-doom-slayer, NOBODY ELSE CAN, SO STAY HOME. After all, it’s like 50 degrees in the Piedmont a couple days after every snow storm and then you get to clean up. Life’s not that serious, and there’s very few things worth yours. Sometimes survivalism means staying home, kicking back, and taking a little break when you know things might turn sour, watching the hilarious entertainment of morons in Raleigh, or any other urban area.

But you can’t know if you don’t pay attention. And no amount of gear or skill could pull all those cars up that hill, on that particular day. But being aware would have kept those folks at home.

Fifth Principle of Patrolling- Common Sense.

 

Your First HF Station

ham-radio

So far, in following the Survivalist paradigm concerning radio, we’ve discussed the many uses of hand held sets, due to their overwhelming popularity but far more importantly their largely misunderstood role. Capable of local, or Line of Sight (LOS) communications, they are often the entry-level communications device that most cut their teeth upon. Mobile VHF or UHF sets usually offer more power and increased range, but basically accomplish the same goals with most off the self models leaving out AM and SSB from the upper bands. But from there, the next step seems bewildering at a minimum and inaccessible at worst. The advantages of HF communications however, are numerous and bring to the table tools that possibly get overlooked in other contexts. That being said, getting on HF is kinda tough. You need at least a General Class radio license, which is certainly attainable but no small feat, and the selection of equipment is nothing short of bewildering (as well as expensive in many cases). Hopefully by the end of this, together we’ll get a better understanding of meeting our requirements.

shlitz.jpgWhy HF?

The first question in a lot of minds among the uninitiated is ‘Why is this important? Why do I want to talk to people I don’t know?’

Well, at first glance, this would seem logical. In a grid-down, crazy variable-x situation, talking to people you don’t know could endanger your ‘opsec’ and ‘put your preps at risk’ (these are both face value arguments I’ve heard) and that possibly may be true over LOS. If you’re talking to people you don’t know on VHF, they very likely are within range to affect your near-term living condition. This is not necessarily logical over HF. First, the antenna size required for efficiency (in most cases) and complication of operation negates likely hostiles baiting folks over HF. It’s just too hard. You’ll most likely find that stuff on the license-free options.

Second, and much more important, is that HF creates self-controlled regional and even global communications. Yes, you read that right. Sure, there’s shortwave radio stations to be heard, but we can do that with some of the higher-end handheld radios I’ve previously recommended or the excellent SW receivers on the market without buying a much more expensive and complicated HF set. But those SW stations are filtered, written and approved by someone with an agenda, as nearly all international stations are state-run and to varying degrees exist as propaganda tools. hallicrafter.jpgYou can communicate world wide over HF, with relatively small amounts of power, provided you understand the components of the system. But why would you want to? Remember Venezuela? We knew about Venezuela’s problems before the news reported them because their Amateurs were on the air talking about it. And some of us talked to them about it, getting first hand information, raw and unfiltered. Why do you think Turkey cancelled a substantial number of radio licenses post-coup attempt? To control what info got out to the world, as well as prevent a substantial communications network among potential partisans. But say, you have a license now, and it gets cancelled as a result of some variable-x scenario… your skill set still does not go away. Your spare equipment you’ve stashed away can get up and running and on the air, even after your primary set was confiscated with your license. And for those who will now read this and snarkily say, ‘then why bother with a license?’, I’ll state that you cannot gain the skill required to communicate over HF without doing it on a regular basis. Just not happening, snowflake.

HF also creates a very reliable regional communications system, via NVIS propagation on the lower half of the High Frequency bands (160-40m, reliably). This has been covered substantially on this blog; review the information, it’s not there for my entertainment. NVIS is a technique that provides communications in that tricky zone where LOS fizzles out but the higher end of HF skips over. It’s relatively reliable but requires regular practice and study to get right, which starts with getting on the air and doing it. So let’s talk about doing that.

Building Your HF Station

The neat thing about HF is that it can be as complicated or simple as you like- every  HF operator has a differing set of preferences that evolve over time. The field is so big that there’s literally a differing opinion pretty much everywhere, and it’s entirely dependent on the interests of that particular operator. This varies from modes to equipment to bands to contests vs ragchewing vs working the world vs EMCOMM, and so on and so forth. So for those new to the hobby, the options quickly become overwhelming, with most new folks wondering exactly where to start.

Most of the information (and questions I get on a regular basis) out there are centered around the particular radio itself. There’s a bunch of good options out there that we’ll examine. There’s others I’ll miss, so don’t get your feelings hurt if yours doesn’t get talked about. But what’s important to understand is that while the particular brand of radio is one thing, there’s a lot more to it than brand A vs brand B. Transmission lines, antenna systems (tuners included),  and power supplies (and lines) are all key to your success.

To QRP or not to QRP, that is the question-

0904161554A lot of the Survivalist-oriented radio knowledge likes to talk about QRP, or low power sets. QRP is the three-letter CW code sent to signal you are reducing power. Over the years it has become synonymous with low power communications and in particular, 5w and below. It’s its own area of interest very popular with the SOTA, NPOTA, RaDAR, and other portable radio hobbyist groups, usually very analogous to Survivalist and Self Reliance principles. Battery operation and efficient power management is paramount, but comes at a cost. Low power operation is anything but friendly to those new to the HF game. Inefficient antennae and lossy connections are the enemy of success with QRP. CW, or morse code, is a large booster in transmitting efficiency, as is skill with digital modes. Voice contacts over SSB at QRP levels is a challenge, and while completely possible,  can be discouraging to new or inexperienced operators. So while a small, miserly set seems attractive at the outset, know that it’s not perfect, and certainly not the answer to all questions or needs.

The two most popular sets out there among the QRP world, hands down, is the Yaesu 817 and the Elecraft KX3(and KX2…which while tiny, lacks 160, which I find a deal breaker in a tactical sense). There’s others, such as the interesting rigs coming from China (which while some are neat, you’re taking a gamble) and the diminutive (and very cool!!!) paraset.jpgCW-only Mountain Topper radios, but by far the most versatile QRP HF sets are the two aforementioned rigs. The 817 offers the most versatility of any QRP rig ever made with all of the HF bands and all-mode VHF/UHF, and the KX3 has arguably the best receiver ever made along with housing everything including a tuner inside a neat, compact package. Shortwave sounds good on both- I’m hardly an audiophile, however some find it important. But at a 5w and 10w Peak Envelope Power (PEP) respectively, they are definitely limited by power for those operating phone-only. Digital operations usually don’t require much more than 5w though, and CW is very well suited to extremely low power.  For a more general purpose set, or one to cut our teeth upon, there’s other options that offer more versatility to the Survivalist role.

Enter the 100w ‘Field Day’ Rig-

The Icom 706 was the first rig to offer everything in one. While not perfect, the later incarnations were very, very good radios and extremely common in the EMCOMM community. In fact, the updated incarnation of the 706MkIIG, was the Red Cross standard HF unit. Yaesu took the concept and ran with it, eventually building the excellent 8X7 family of ‘shack in the box’ rigs, which offer everything from 160m to 70cm in a neat portable package. 1005161629For a lot of new amateurs, the advantages of having everything in one box is just too much to resist. For those Survivalist oriented, these are great rigs to have. I’ve owned one of each in this family, with the 857D being the best of the bunch in terms of portability, versatility, and ease of use. It shares all of the same controls as its 817 and 897 brethren, but can be thought of as a happy medium between the two. It’s less power-efficient than a QRP set, but still not bad (RX is 1A @ standby/TX @ 10W is 5A…not the most efficient but not awful either) and the bottom end of operating voltage is 11v.

Some folks are torn on the idea of everything in one house, and like to have a separate mobile for VHF/UHF needs. I agree with this in a certain context, for redundancy’s sake, and for not putting all my eggs in one basket. But there’s no other new rig on the market that offers SSB operation on 2m or 70cm, and those capabilities definitely add a new and interesting capability to your signal package. 7200.jpgBut for those who like separate rigs for separate jobs, the Icom 7200 (which is now discontinued…and sad really, as it’s the last new Icom model I’ll buy…all of their newest stuff is very much, well, not designed for outdoor use…Yaesu seems to be traveling down this path too…their product development crews need to be fired, they’re missing the mark big time) is one to watch for on the resale market. While less efficient on power (2.2A @ RX) it is extremely simple to operate and fairly rugged. The Icom 718 is a very similar rig, still in production, and very, very simple to operate being marketed on its simple form factor and bare-bones utility. Along that vein is the Alinco DX-SR8T. Each of these are capable of operation on each of the HF bands plus 6m, which offers great capability at a reasonable cost for Survivalists getting into HF communications.

Transmission Lines-

Probably the most important part of your system that gets no attention is the transmission line. While 450-ohm ladder line used to be quite common, among all new(er) rigs coax is king. You’ll most commonly find UHF connectors on the ends (SOcket-239, PLug-259) but sometimes BNC as well on the QRP sets. The Yaesu 817 has a BNC plug on the front and UHF on the back for coax attachment. Along your transmitting lines you should have as few connectors as possible- one homogeneous line is best for a consistent electrical path and to insulate against interference or water contamination. All connections should be waterproofed with electrical tape (make sure it’s 3M tape!!!) if not soldered.

The lines themselves matter. They vary from being extremely cheap (RG-58) to very expensive (LMR-400) but what difference does this really make? Any 50 Ohm coax can work. Over HF, the transmitted energy itself is more tolerant of loss than on VHF and higher. So while the RG-58 you found at a yard sale for $10 a 400yd spool might be ok on HF @ 100w, it may experience too much loss to be effective at 5w. Conversely, that roll of LMR-400 you paid much more for per foot from Wireman may not offer much improvement at 100w over the cheap RG-58, all things being equal. I take the middle of the road on this- for HF use, both QRP and QRO (low power and high power, respectively), RG-8X. It’s slim and light meaning it takes up little room in the ruck, but is vastly more durable than RG-174 (extremely narrow cable popular with ultralight operators), can still be useful on VHF (in short runs), is more flexible than LMR, and won’t break the bank in cost. For portable operations I find it the best of all worlds with the fewest drawbacks. LMR-240 is useful for low profile, more permanent VHF/UHF setups. It has lower loss on those bands than RG, is narrower than its LMR-400 brother, and can be hidden in plain sight. It’s very rigid due to the shielding however, so you have to be careful of bends and turns. For this reason I don’t recommend it’s use in the field, but otherwise it’s pretty good stuff. Unless you’re looking for broadcast-quality audio, these are really the best options out there for our uses. You can spend more, but the law of diminishing returns definitely applies, and in the field 8X is really the best cable I’ve found between all variables.

Grounding-

Go back and check out this post from a while back. Grounding is very important for a couple of reasons- it completes a path for your transmitted and return energy, and it gives excess static a place to go before it damages you or your radio. It also insulates from excessive noise emitted by other nearby objects. It’s important to understand that an RF ground is not the same as an electrical ground, although the two are principally the same. There’s a lot of confusion on grounding for this reason, and that’s a debate for another day. Inside the scope of this article, just know that it’s an important part of your system and definitely needs to have attention paid to it, and it’s just as important in the field as it is in the shack.

Antennae in their many forms-

Even more bewildering than radios is the antenna types out there. As with the debate over radios, the options for antenna types can be absolutely confusing to beginners. Many books have been written exclusively on this topic, and I cannot hope to address all of the dimensions comprehensively in one post. But what I can do is give you an idea of what types are optimal for what purposes.

Polarization is just as important on HF as any other band, but that’s not to say that horizontal polarization is incompatible with vertical, or circular, for that matter. This is really outside the scope of this article, skipbut I’ll limit it to saying that the takeoff angle of your HF signal is very important to the manner in which it refracts off of the F layer. The steeper the angle, the shorter the skip zone, the shallower the angle, the further the distance. The angle is measured at the apex earth surface and the height of the radiation pattern. It’s important to note that these are general characteristics and not 100% absolutes all the time. Thus, a vertical antenna will render a very shallow takeoff angle, with a low hanging dipole giving a steep angle.

Vertical HF antennae tend to be very tall (a quarter wave long wire 160m vertical would be 40m tall!)  and require ground radials matching the length of the frequency. Think of it as our Jungle Antenna but sitting on the ground and with many more legs. Rigging a dipole is far simpler in both construction and setup. slopingveeDipoles are typically horizontally strung, either completely horizontal or in a sloping Vee configuration with the run ends sloping towards the ground. This is the configuration I prefer most of the time. End-Feds fall into the category of dipole as well, although they have their own characteristics. Dipoles are the most versatile and simple to rig antenna in the field, but requires a large amount of space, with the lower bands requiring much more space than the higher ones.

Dipoles almost always should be used with tuners to ensure protection of your radio, even for resonant dipoles. The reason for this is that while the wire may be cut to resonance mathematically, and may even be matched in one setting, those conditions change rapidly in the field. Since this happens without warning, a tuner becomes not only a critical part of the system but an insurance policy, no matter how much care you’re taken in building your antenna.

I’ve talked about the directional qualities of Yagi antennae many times in the past, yagi-udaand they are very popular on HF, but usually require significant infrastructure to erect. You need a tower, rotor, and the space to put the antenna on top of having the antenna, which really rules it out among those new to the hobby on HF. While a lot of fun to beam transmissions, its important to remember that a Yagi is a dipole with a ‘cold’ element slightly longer than the ‘driven’ element (connected to the radio) behind it to reflect the energy, and another ‘cold’ element slightly shorter as a director to focus the beam. A simple dipole is far lower profile and can work just as well regionally, as well as far better when unsupported operations are on the plate.

loopLoop Antennae are yet another option that is very popular among amateurs who’ve been on the air a while. They’re very compact and nearly 100% efficient by design, making them especially attractive for digital operations and for folks living under the thumb of HOAs. Another very attractive quality to a loop antenna is the ability to rapidly DF a signal using them- where you don’t hear the signal, or the ‘null’, is the bearing of the signal itself. dflooppatternrAt the feedpoint of the loop is a butterfly capacitor which is used to tune the loop to resonance, and also is responsible for the general higher cost over other antenna options. But for many of its advantages that cost is justified, and enjoys a considerable popularity among many into QRP digital communications.

This is simply a (very) brief primer as to antenna types and what’s out there. A great beginner’s companion resource is the ARRL’s antenna book and General Class license manual, in addition to the ARRL Handbook, to really lay the groundwork for antenna theory far beyond the scope of what’s written here. For Survival and Self Reliance enthusiasts interested in communications, these are must haves along with any resources on DIY antenna construction.

Powering Your Set

batteryRadio equipment is almost exclusively powered by 12v Direct Current. What this means is that, for the beginner, they’re not exactly plug and play like your TV or your Kureig. Conversely, your radio can be powered from a variety of sources within your control. It boils down to one of two options- a converting power supply for working on-grid, and batteries for working off-grid.

Power Supply units are usually pretty simple and do not vary much in design, aside from their Amp-rating. Your connection must be fused- if not, you’re risking power surge damage to your radio. I run dual fuses on both lines and connect with Anderson power poles, making life quick and easy (more on this in a second). Make sure your power supply at least supplies the maximum number of amps your radio will require. The 857 and 7200 are both very happy with 30 Amp supply that I use. I can run 100w barefoot (no amplifier) with no problems. But what would happen if the supplied power dips? Your radio quits working right, also known as ‘motorboating’ where it may still be powered but the sound is garbled.

That being said, let’s talk about batteries. Pictured above is a 7AH sealed lead-acid battery (SLAB) which supplies 7 amps to a radio for one hour (hence, ‘amp hour’). So now that we know that, we need to know exactly how much current our set consumes at any given point. Refer back to our radio discussion above. Those numbers given in parenthesis are important and if any of those are your chosen radios, these numbers should be memorized. So if my 857 consumes 5A @ 10w, that gives me a little over an hour transmitting time at 10 watts. If listening consumes 1A, then I can listen for 7 hours using that 7AH SLAB pictured above. APP.jpgTypically we do not want more than an 80% discharge on our battery, so when it gets down to around 11v or so on standby it’s time to recharge. Making sense? Luckily the 857 and 817 have a voltmeter on the display, making them very attractive for running on battery power. The 817 also can run on the widest variety of battery power, having the ability to run down to around 9v or so before bottoming out. As for connections, just like with the power supply you can make a pretty simple connection to the batteries using a short paired run of wire and an Anderson Power Pole connection.

Power Poles should be a no-brainer among Survivalists- not only do they make standardizing very simple, they are very durable, very reliable, and make our connections clean and safe. They’re not expensive to stock up on, and aside from the crimping tool being around $40 (a must have- you can crimp with pliers in a pinch, but the actual tool is far, far better, cleaner, and yields better results) provides a cheap way to standardize interchangeable power supplies among all of your radio and electronic equipment.

Some Final Thoughts

Through the course of this, we’ve first identified why we might want to include HF in our signals package, how to satisfy that need with the most versatile equipment possible, and how to get it running and on the air in the most efficient manner possible. As we’ve seen, it goes far beyond a simple ‘brand A vs. brand Bargument that usually grinds any other useful discussion to a halt. In all honesty, the radio itself makes little difference if all the other requirements are met. Differing models simply offer a different set of features and in some cases superior quality (we’re talking among the big names here…not the ebay specials) or a some neat caveats unique to that brand. My intent with all of this has been to answer as many ‘new guy’ questions as possible for those looking to get on the air, and I think we’ve met most of those needs. HF communications can be some of the most rewarding experiences an amateur can have, and for a Survivalist, doing it (mostly) with kit you’ve built yourself is nothing short of incredible. The empowering experience of communicating over huge distances entirely with your own home-made infrastructure is one that, while not always for everyone, is definitely cool, and teaches so many other skills simultaneously.

Get Out and Do It!

Understanding Survivalist Communications Needs

20160131_111626 Often among those new to Survivalism, Prepping, and all things on the more self-reliant side of communications, it becomes pretty important to define the exact role your communications equipment will play and what you expect to accomplish with it, all in an attempt to best suit your package to your needs. This is a really important, especially for the majority of us who are on budgets and have a definite need to justify what at the outset is expensive gear.

Take the kit pictured here. My most oft-used portable station setup, revolving around the much-lauded-by-me jack of all trades (and master of several) Yaesu 857, its LDG tuner, 14 AH battery, and CF-19 toughbook, altogether runs a good large chunk of change. Then again, I’m also an Extra Class Amateur who runs his equipment a lot because it’s something I like to do, and it’s taken me a long time to narrow down what works best, but even still the rather large investment here can be tough to swing for a guy (or gal) who’s just starting out or has little interest in communications to begin with. I can easily justify my needs and the expense, but perhaps my organic farmer, welding shop owner, and diesel mechanic neighbors can’t. Similarly I can’t justify the top tier equipment they run for occasional use as I’m not in their business professionally. But that doesn’t mean I buy junk for the sake of buying junk, either. It takes a community with a combined skill set, along with understanding that there is a fair degree of needed overlap.

Communications, like food production, water, and defense, is one of those areas that overlap.

From a Survivalist paradigm we must first define our need in order to justify our gear, not vice-versa. A lot of folks have a subconscious issue with this, whether its guns, radios, or Harbor Freight stuff, in that they buy the cheapest items possible, justify them with their own projections (it’s a psychology thing…sociologists study this too but as a group dynamic called commodity fetishism), then never use the stuff they buy. For certain occasional-use items, sure, and even sometimes great deals can be had with minimal investment. But usually you get what you pay for. This is almost absolutely true with radio when buying new. So while that $20 dual bander gets you on the air, and may even work for a while, there’s no promises it’ll keep doing so, no promises it does it well, and perhaps some other drawbacks you may or may not know about. And perhaps none of these potential problems are an issue to you. And that’s ok, it’s your money and you’re accountable to you.

ch3Maybe all you want to do is talk to your neighbor down the street who’s got a $2,000 amateur station setup and can talk to the world. From a community networking perspective, which should be the core of a Survivalist planning perspective in all things but especially communications, this can be done using AmRRON’s Channel 3 Project. I highly suggest it as an open networking standard, because it’s simple, easy to remember, and both of those factors mean it works with the least headache when the chips are down. We can accomplish two of the three legs of the CH3 project with that $20 dual bander, as well as monitor NOAA and possibly some of the MED interoperability frequencies. Don’t rule out those cheap CB radios you can find at most flea markets; community networks can be up and running fast and furious with a tiny amount of money, some wire (remember how to build antennae? Check the past few posts for some tips) and a lawnmower battery for off-grid use.

But we can accomplish all of our goals better with a bit better investment in gear, which aside from the anecdotal person reading this saying “but my cheapie has lasted XXX-years” (I know you’re out there and I don’t care…good for you, but I’m not going to recommend them, go cry elsewhere) we can assuredly say that higher-end gear will produce at least longer-term use. For general purposes, look for used Yaesu VX-5R or 7R radios.1005161506 Do you need a license to make the best use of the sets mentioned? Yes, but…you’ll be better off in the long run. In addition to standard 2m/70cm fare, they can transmit on 6m and 1.25m as well, as can the Yaesu VX-6R if buying new. Each are rugged, well built, and can be programmed via Chirp. Each can transmit from a very low power level (.5w) up to 5w which is an important tactical consideration. Each has the capability to use AA batteries, and each use the same FNB-80 lithium battery, resolving a logistical concern. Standardization matters! The Kenwood TH-F6A is another excellent tiny HT which mirrors the capabilities mentioned of the Yaesu HTs. All of the ones mentioned receive Shortwave broadcasts, and the Kenwood also receives SSB HF. This is a whole lot of capability in a tiny package, compared to it’s far cheaper (in both cost and quality) counterparts. Removing the “neighbor handout” piece of the puzzle, which may or may not justify buying cheaper gear (again, that’s on you…but also should be an issue you address LONG before Variable-X aka ‘SHTF’ happens), the more options your kit brings to the table, you guessed it…the better off you’ll be in the long run. So even if you have no interest in becoming a ‘Ham’ (I absolutely LOATHE the term…seriously…), from a listening perspective you’ll gain much more capability from spending a tad more on your gear.

From a community networking perspective, the price of admission for a quality radio which gives you all of these capabilities is actually kinda small when you factor in all of the additional equipment you’d have to buy to fill each role. You now have a wideband receiver, shortwave radio, and possible SIGINT scanning option all in one convenient package. So with all of that in one, plus the superior build quality, you’re coming out…you guessed it…better off in the long run. While not negating the need for those other items, it overlaps your gear, which adds redundancy to your plan, which ensures if one thing breaks you have other options. Keep in mind we’ve addressed Survivalist concerns here and not Tactical, with squeezing the most capability from our equipment being our paramount issue. Survivalist communications revolve around networking reliably independent of infrastructure.

More notes on Community Networking

20151013_153203 Sometimes its important to strip down to the bare essentials in order to refocus on why we do what we do. It doesn’t matter what the task is, be it in a professional sense or the survivalist sense, everyone (myself included) can get lost amid distractors, detractors, and shiny objects that pry our attention away. Its understandable; things happen, situations and equipment evolve, as do the requirements justifying their need. But at the core, there are two differing ends of needs which we identified in the last post- Survivalist and Tactical, with Survivalism being far more important in the long run.

Yeah, the election happened. “Our guy” (or the man who seems to be anyway) won for the moment. Maybe. Somebody go get Auntie Em out of the dugout, it looks like the tornado passed. Or did it? I’m of the opinion that the long messy divorce is just getting going; we’re in the domestic shouting phase right now, just prior to throwing random objects at each other. It doesn’t matter who’s actually right or wrong, the marriage is over and we’re gonna fight about it. And that’s ok. Its gonna suck but it happens, its needed to happen, and we’re in a much better position forcing the opposition to its extreme ends.

While it’s important (somewhat) to focus on all the doomsday civilization collapse kinda stuff, because it very well will affect you should all that happen and you are still living in your slothful suburban enclave, it’s a myopic view that’s reactionary in nature. People react to fear; they’re scared of variable-X happening, which apparently gets assigned a corresponding political party usually opposite of your particular lane. The Left does it, the Right does it. You’re all missing the larger point. Why not do for yourself that which you take for granted?

One way we do this by creating resiliency. One of the big things the far ends of the spectrum have in common is a general mistrust of what’s accepted- whether that’s your food, water, beer, security, and yes, communications; resiliency becomes control over the means of production; that is, the ability to produce. This concept should be applied to as many areas as possible, going beyond a hoarding mentality that many of us become subject to and focusing instead on the underlying values associated with contemporary Tribalism.

Survivalism then becomes not about having a large amount of stuff but rather a living version of Merton’s Retreatists in perfect form. It used to be difficult (and often still is) for Right-leaning Survivalists to understand how the Left could believe essentially in a mirror of these views, but they can, and they do. anarcho-primitivistTheir label is Rewilding. Its underlying philosophy lay with a Marxist rejection of Industrialization, while Right-leaning Survivalism is more John Locke, William Godwin, and possibly to a lesser extent Henry David Thoreau in its Individualist philosophy. While differing in its rejection of material goods in lieu of feralizing themselves, or at a basic level, simply rediscovering more primitive ways, the parallels to Survivalism in the Right-leaning sense are fairly strong. And a lot of lessons can be gathered from both angles. The Left however generally has a stronger focus on independent community, whereas the Right caricatures Survivalists as some sort of one man army fending off the world through a sense of ‘armed rugged individualism.’ This cartoonish image has traditionally been a vehicle for the Right’s detractors burtmeanwhile the Left encourages similar behavior but in a collective fashion, often going unnoticed among the masses. Those lessons of community building is a critical one that in nearly every way is neglected among the Survivalist circle. It then must become more of a matter of perspective and re-discovering the ways of yore.

Survivalism then is not about a Right-Left divide so to speak; the divorce is coming, and you very well may be caught up in it. Neither the mainstream left or right brands will last long (although the Right might last a bit longer). But there’s plenty of lessons to be gathered in the meantime, which we have a bit more of now. A Survivalist in the individual sense cannot lose sight of the very real danger of which our contemporary world resides, and that apathy is the danger we’re currently in. We are still in an economic death-spiral. The weight of the Max Weber-inspired bureaucracy that comprises the Colombia leviathan will not stop with one man, although that helps. One way to diminish the blow at the local level when the hammer finally falls is to identify the local sources for the required means of production and embrace them; in doing so, you’ll build ties with your neighbors, appreciate the world beyond the closed walls we create for ourselves, and most of all, begin to rediscover the skills required to not jut survive but thrive. Self sovereignty may start with attitude but it hardly ends there. One must not only have the resolve but the means.

Make a list of the items you consume most often. Whatever that is, is what you should either focus on creating for yourself, sourcing locally, or stacking deep. You’re probably going to be doing a lot more eating, building, and pooping than you will shooting. You’ll very, very likely need a way to communicate with neighbors that works without cell phone towers or switchboards. You’ll need a way to keep warm in the winter. A way to stay cool in the summer. Home are built much differently these days than they were 30 years ago based around certain assumptions and completely reliant on outside infrastructure. A means to clean water is critical and often completely misunderstood. A means to medicine. A knowledge to put all this to use. And people. This stuff all matters far more than the simplistic paradigm of ‘I got a room fulla guns…‘ because even though those are important too, they’re tools, just like anything else.

Go out this weekend and find a community market or a yardsale. If you can’t find that, go to a thrift shop. Browse around, find old stuff, and think outside the box as to how you’ll put it to good use. Find locally made food, talk to the person producing it. Get their phone number. Make friends. Meet a local fabricator, mechanic, or small engine specialist. Find out what they like to do. Think about how you’d keep them on your side should Variable-X happen.

Do not lose sight of the very real dangers facing civilization. Use your time wisely. Most importantly, rediscover the sense of community we’ve lost among the advent of technology.

Field Phones, Community Networking, and thinking in Three Dimensions

phonebunker.jpgA lot of what has been written on this blog communications-wise revolves around the radio, primarily due to the fact that it’s both the first option for most and the least understood by nearly everyone. While the fact is indisputable that radio or wireless communications make for the bulk of signal plans, it is also indisputable that wireless communications are the least secure means of communication. Yep, you read that right. Radios make life easy, but they also can make the opposition’s life easy too.

But I’ve bought digital frequency hopping triple secret squirrel encrypted radios! I’m good! Right?

Well, kinda. While you may make many inroads to protecting what is said, you’re still creating a signature. And while this may protect you from 99% of adversaries (the ‘golden horde’ from Asheville) a determined baddy with it out for you can figure out your S6 plan with patience. Smart folks wait for the attack; we sit back and look for the other player at the table to tip the hand. They may have something simple like everyone’s favorite, the Baofeng, or maybe a couple cheap CB radio handhelds, spring for a couple MD-390s, or even pick up some used Motorola Astro Sabres on fleabay and an old hacked program for them. Each can be very capable in the right hands with someone who knows what they’re doing, directional wiresuch as building a 2m dipole for a Baofeng and transmitting directionally to a known point. This will mitigate who hears you. MD-390s with their digital configuration will deter the average listener, as will an Astro Sabre, but someone with a frequency counter and/or Wideband receiver such as an Icom R5 or R6, AOR AR-mini or Alinco DJ-X11 will still be alerted to your presence and get a bearing if they’re trying to find you. And the Frequency Hop Spread Spectrum can be broken if a really dedicated smart guy gets wind you’re using it.

So are you telling us all this stuff is useless????

No- not at all. The broader point is that your radios are tools. Tools require knowledge of use, regular practice, and implementations for a purpose larger than simply having them. The knowledge of use is lacking (normally) among most civilians, and the regular use is (normally) lacking by many aside from emergency services, hunters, truckers, boaters, aviators, and radio amateurs who make use of them as tools. But even then, aside from the amateur community (and a couple other rare exceptions) most of the knowledge is gathered from a plug n’ play mentality. It’s not wrong, it just is what it is. Most of the audience doesn’t have the time or the resources to research building an SOI, learning propagation paths or creating a signals package and practicing it in the field, and most Hams are too busy working from the hobbyist perspective to think about making it work in a tactical environment. Even ARES is simply concerned with disaster relief and bends over backwards to be little else. And that’s ok, because again, it just is what it is. That’s why I run this blog; it’s the intersection of all of these skills. But tools each have a place- just like hammers, just like saws, just like weapons- radios have a place and limitations. In order to make best use of them, say, for tactical and survival networking purposes (which are two very different things), it’s paramount to understand what those limitations are and where the holes manifest themselves in your plan.

So from the community networking model, is using a radio bad?

Well, we’ve identified radios as having at least one weakness, being that it’s easily intercepted or can quickly give away a position of the transmitter to a committed foe. But is this always a concern? No. There’s two different paradigms to think within, being Survivalist and Tactical. While Tactical radio uses are an animal unto their own (and covered exhaustively in past posts), Survivalist-oriented communications must focus on networking with others to pass along whatever information is necessary and not restricted to threats. This may be exclusively your retreat, your community, or your region with HF coverage, all limited only by what your needs are once you’ve identified them. Think of it the same way we used to use telephones. Following a PACE plan (primary, alternate, contingency, emergency), rapidly creating your own infrastructure and redundancy of that infrastructure can be done rather easily using radio, be it a bottom-of-the-barrel Chinese HT or a very expensive Icom or Yaesu base unit, all according to need. But it does not exclusively solve all of your problems.

Sometimes you don’t want to go wireless- just the opposite, actually.

ta-312-pt-4In certain situations, field phones are much more advantageous. For fixed Observation Posts at a retreat, linking Hide Sites to reduce our electronic signature when out and about, or hardwiring a couple of close houses together if say, you have an elderly neighbor or relative close by, incorporating field phones into your plan can have many advantages. For fixed OPs, like the fellas in the bunker above, working with a closed loop system keeps things extremely secure, provided you have 100% control over the linking wire. In a security retreat, you have this (or should, if you’ve done it right). Among a small rural community, it’s pretty easy to do as well and used to be very common. Between hide sites in a tactical sense, carrying a field phone in the ruck and several hundred meters’ worth of wire (or claymore wire as I did) works very, very well. I’ve used everything from twisted pair wire to speaker wire and lamp cord, and they each work.

Field Phones are pretty common. You can roll the dice and buy them cheap from online surplus outlets, buy newer US made models such as the TA-312 pictured above (my recommendation) which frequently show up at hamfests, or you can check out this really cool project by a fellow Patriot and Outside-The-Box Thinker which close-loops an everyday off-the-shelf office phone and takes it off the grid for several interesting field uses. The big advantage to those is that they look like common everyday phones- most folks, without prior knowledge of what they are, would completely overlook them.

Not to go off on a tangent regarding their implementation, but the person who introduced me to this particular phone system and helped develop it posted information on it to a very well known ‘survivalist’ forum and in doing so pointed out the prevalent issue with such sites; he was met with ridicule, told his system was ‘no good’, ‘unsecure’, and ‘useless’, with each ‘expert’ giving their own opinion (all of which actually were completely useless, spouted by no doubt useless individuals, of those that were even relevant). Long story short, if you control the infrastructure, you control the tool, and the same is certainly true of a system as simple to use as field phones. But one must recognize that it is but a single tool, part of a larger plan, and has its own limitations.

Thinking in Three Dimensions

The most common fallacy for most is adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach to communications and to survivalism in general. This is a large mistake most of the community makes, be it signal, weapons, food, water, or even building materials. All of these items are tools- different hammers for different jobs. Just as you don’t eat freeze-dried food all the time, it’s supplemented with normal food stuffs and canned food (Because you do have a pressure canner and are actively canning and putting up food, right?) While it is critical to constantly red-cell your equipment and plans (Ask yourself: How would I kill Me?), never limit yourself to the fallacy of thinking ‘well this works now, so this is just what we’ll do.’ Plans constantly evolve. Equipment needs constantly evolve with training and experience as well as sometimes changing at a moment’s notice from necessity. The key is being as flexible and as redundant as possible, while knowing the strengths and limitations of everything of which your plans make use. Wireless communications are great, convenient, and rapid in deployment, however with cost in regard to security in most cases. For rapidly creating infrastructure in a community, having a supply of simple radio sets contains distinct advantages. To those who make the argument, ‘I don’t wanna talk on the radio to people I don’t know’, resolving METT-TC issues (mission, enemy, time, terrain, troops, civilians- AKA, know the people around you) might prove extremely beneficial. In addition, implementing field phones and operating within their intended use compliment an S6 plan quite well. Think about adding a couple to your inventory, while you have the time, and think outside the box while doing it.

Asique Hada, Tla Yigoliga

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The Deplorable Savages appear to have bested the machine. Good.

Now the real work begins.

As you bask in the victory, well deserved, allow me to throw cold water on the party. First, while the national election went one way, your local elections may have went another. If you don’t know or aren’t aware, that’s a problem. Second, hold their feet to the fire. They are servants- they work for you, remind them of this fact. Corruption is hard to exist when hounded at every turn. Third, VOTING MATTERS. All of the naysayers have been proven (at least at face value) wrong. This election was not in any way shape or form beneficial to the elite aside from ensuring domestic chaos- which brings me to my next point- Keep your eyes on the ball. Power does not abdicate willingly and we are not magically going to defy nature.

And remember the defeatists and those who abdicated to the opposition.

 

Community Networking

20160131_111626 Over the weekend I had a great opportunity to meet some kind and very generous folks at the 10th NC PATCON. Among the broad topics demonstrated and discussed, a few items of interest stood out in my mind as needing more attention from a Survivalist paradigm rather than the usual Small Unit Patrolling concepts. The reason for this is rather patently clear- from placing the needs of your community first, which defense is certainly a part but only one part, a large number of folks will be highly concerned with day to day sustainment activities rather than roving about looking for an adversary.

The Survivalist paradigm differs from the militant one in that capabilities are viewed from the simplicity and flexibility standpoint, rather than worrying about who’s listening in and keeping everything hush-hush. If you listen around, you’ll notice in rural areas fire and first responder communications are normally in the clear and police frequently moving to some type of P25 based system. This is because latter has a arguably sensitive nature and the former has a 100% reliability requirement. So where are we going with this?

As discussed, a need for local communications with your neighbors independent of infrastructure is pretty darned important. So what were the solutions presented? ch3.jpg

First, check out AmRRON’s CH3 Project and gather a couple pointers. CB channel 3 (26.985 mHz), MURS channel 3 (151.940mHz), and FRS Channel 3 (462.6125 mHz). None of those require a license. All of those are easily found in the wild, meaning there’s lots of radios that operate on those frequencies. The radios that utilize those frequencies are also normally very easy to use as well. This is important because setting up a community wireless or radio-based communications plan will require little training to get up and running and won’t intimidate or scare anyone off. The goal here is getting as many folks near you on the air as possible reliably – in a long term interruption of service this is critical.

Why?

Well, a governing body (any governing entity) is only legitimate when it provides for the needs of the people. Once it fails to do that repeatedly, that confidence erodes. The same goes for you. A tight knit community that effectively communicates and aids one another is a successful one. This doesn’t have to be some goofy hypothetical scenario- look at the Cajun Navy example in Louisiana. The flood response in SC last year. The relief effort in Joplin MO. The list could go on and on, but the best help comes not from waiting for FEMA and feel good speeches by clean and comfy politicians, but from your own neighbors. And once you apply this principle to projected fun times ahead, communications become pretty important. Implementing and practicing something now makes doing it later much easier and infinitely more successful, and playing radio can be pretty fun with folks in your area.

But…wait a second…I though we had to worry about direction finding, interception, counterintelligence and all that stuff?

It’s not that you don’t. In a tactical sense, those are all very real concerns. But there’s also a pretty high value on having so much chatter it literally cannot be processed- ie overloading a system. If everyone in a community is talking most of the day, messages can rather easily be passed using local slang that would go completely unheard. From the analyst’s perspective, even a good one will get burned out from routine traffic and ignore the mundane stuff. For you that benefit is twofold; it’s a human factor to security, but it also, through communicating regularly with people you know personally, becomes sources of real time information (known in many locales as gossip) with a large and nearly instant bona fide confidence.party-line

This is not anything new. LTC Les Grau, in one of his many dissertations on Chechnya, indicated that many villages equipped their people with as many radios as possible to as many people as possible thereby getting as many reporting eyes on a target as possible. As the photo suggests, think of it as an old party line, and sorta the same logic as the ‘camera in a cop’s face’ phenomenon going on these days, or really social media itself for that matter. In South Africa rural farmers established a VHF radio net to alert plantation owners of impending communist guerrilla attacks from the ANC. The idea is still around, much more for a mutual aid purpose these days.

In both cases the operators, from being in a small localized structure, knew each others voices over the air. Not only that, but they know when something is wrong, because you know a bit about that person. It’s these human factors that cannot be ‘learned’ once whatever downturn in the current social status happens. To be effective it needs to be put in place and practiced regularly now.

Praxis

20151013_153203 A lot has been written about the cheap chicom radios, particularly the Baofeng. There’s folks who worship at its altar as some sort of God-sent miracle of technology and others, myself included, who very realistically have been telling you you might want to invest in some better gear. But the reality is that they’re out there en masse, in use in real time, and have literally every accessory imaginable available for it. Review what I previously wrote on maximizing their use, not forgetting that they are what they are- a $25-ish radio.

All that being said, they are simple, they are cheap enough to not break anyone’s wallet, and it has a decent enough receiver to multi task as a NOAA receiver and scanner. Its also good for testing new antenna designs that might otherwise be risky for higher end radios in regards to SWR. (And yes, SWR matters on ALL radios, it’s a part of physics and its critical to efficiency. 1:1 means 100% of your power is ‘getting out’, 2:1 means 50%, 3:1 means 33%, etc, and the power not going out comes back into your radio, causing problems and eventual equipment failure. So yeah, it matters, no matter what.) The bottom line is that while FAR from ideal, they do work, and they’re increasingly being found everywhere. There’s even a Packet TNC out there compatible to it for APRS, should you get more advanced.

I wouldn’t use these for snooping and pooping in the woods. The stupid flashlight on top and the ridiculously poor build quality kill it in my opinion. But to hand to an elderly neighbor or the farmer at the other end of the loop to be able to call you if lines are down, sure. To hand out to new folks to get them on the air and build some social capital, sure. For everyday use playing on repeaters, sure. It’s far from being an ideal Survivalist radio (the Yaesu VX-7R is…) but know that it’s no miracle wonder kit, it’s not high quality, it’s a $25 radio and performs like one. But if that’s the chair you’ve got when the music stops, then that’s what you’re sitting in.

Don’t discount the value contained in simple CB radios either. As the sun cycle makes 11m not as much fun as it used to be, it’s popularity is fading a bit, but it’s still very much a viable option. The migrant worker community around here certainly hasn’t had a problem  with it. On most channels most of the day you can hear lots of chatter en espanol, limiting it’s utility in my opinion (in my area at least…ymmv) but it’s a good demonstration of community radio party lines in practice serving a community.

oldschool.jpgSpeaking of party lines, one of the attendees to the PATCON brought along a really interesting project– an actual off grid, solar powered closed phone set. But, ain’t that what the TA-312 is? Yes. Except these look like normal landline phones you’ll find in every home. The TA-312s I have stick out like sore thumbs. This is important because social camouflage and plausible deniability is critical to guard your infrastructure. From a door kicker’s perspective, I would very quickly overlook the landline, because well, it’s a landline. Using common phone line found everywhere, they’ve successfully created not only a normal wall phone but field phones as well, along with a simple tone generator (which works very well as a CW keyer over the line too…). It’s something I’m highly impressed with and see a lot of potential at the community level. The best part of it all, it’s solar powered and you control it.

Get to Building

The bottom line of all of this is to make use of what you have, what is practical for everyone concerned to get on the air with, and DOING IT! The underlying message here in case you missed it is the party line- building a community communications infrastructure. This stuff is great from a hypothetical standpoint, but without action, is just a fun suggestion. If that’s accomplished with a solid mobile base unit and weekly check in net, a handful of Baofengs or midland FRS radios, or tin cans and string, get it going. This stuff is important.

I’d like to thank Brock, Tom and everyone attending this year’s PATCON. I had a lot of fun and had some great BBQ (especially the banana pudding…it’s kryptonite). The house was beautiful and the event was full of Patriot camaraderie- the world, at least for last Saturday, made sense. I’m going to be at the next one come hell or high water, and I’d like for y’all to as well. No matter who ‘the will of the people’ pick to skipper this Titanic, get-togethers like these are critically important and are going to be even morso in the near future.

Pressure Bursting a Pipe, and other thoughts

Note- I’ve been swamped with duties elsewhere for the past couple weeks, between extensive studies in a foreign language and preparing for the winter (I heat with wood). I have a lot on tap, including a review of another higher power capacity End-Fed Antenna option (Marshall, you’re the man! Just bear with me Brother.) but for the moment I simply haven’t had the proper time on my hands to do it right. The world will spin properly shortly.

Pressure Busts Pipes

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Oil Spill and Gas Shortages

If you’ve ever wondered why a general Survivalist rule is in keeping at least a half tank of gas in your car, now you know why. By now you should be aware of the Colonial Pipeline gasoline rupture in Alabama, as it’s kinda a big deal and worse than what you’re being told. I have family that work in the fuel shipping industry, and they warned us based on what they know. Yesterday the public story was they were re-routing gas through the parallel diesel pipe, and today it’s that they’re building a temporary pipe. The truth is they still don’t have a plan. Gov. McCrory declared a State of Emergency but you wouldn’t know it by the lack of local news coverage. (They’re more worried about placating to males who wish to use the ladies’ room.) This could be due to not wanting to incite a run or the subsequent price gouging, but normally when the media keeps mum it’s bad. CP will get around to fixing it, once the EPA approves a plan and it satisfies the correct government oversight regulations and environmental concerns for non-offensiveness, but in the meantime, there’s gonna be a lot of sad pandas and short tempers next week(s).

But you should have at least thought ahead. I was talking about all of it while hauling wood with my Dad yesterday. He was telling me about the gas rationing of the 70s, and how my Grandad and many others beat it by storing their own. Many old houses still have in-ground gas tanks around here that long predate the 70s and were put in because it was simply cheaper to buy fuel in bulk for agriculture use. You won’t find this in suburbia. If you find an old farm house for sale, you just might find a buried tank (don’t tell the EPA). We just recently found a tank last winter by accident on a property my family’s owned nearly all my life. Large poundage tobacco farmers usually store red-dye diesel in bulk around here too for the same reasons today.

Does this mean bury a tank in your backyard on top of everything else you should be doing? No, because for most this isn’t an option. But it does mean if you call yourself a Prepper or Survivalist or whatever label you like, you should be aware of your surroundings and know where to source what in an emergency as well as being on good terms with the people from which you’re planning on sourcing. Trade and barter is important here, as is being versatile. (And if you’re planning on stealing it just know this- the meanest SOB I’ve ever known is an old Tobacco farmer who won’t hesitate to kill you should you threaten him. He’s got plenty of shovel and lime folks on his payroll too. All of the small towns around here are like this.)  I own an older 4X4 diesel truck that makes finding fuel pretty easy. Red dye diesel runs just as good as green dye (don’t tell the tax man) but in the newer trucks, I dunno as they have a lot of EPA mandated crap that gets finicky when something isn’t exactly right. And no, my truck doesn’t look like some gawdy jacked up safari wagon. That crap ruins efficiency unless you’re actually driving a lot off road. As it sits, it’ll get anywhere I need it to and a few places I don’t. I also own two very fuel efficient cars that average 30+ MPG as commuters. Large SUVs and other gasoline guzzlers are kinda silly unless they’re diesel from an efficiency standpoint. But don’t mind my opinion, I’ve only grown up in the rural life and experienced both it’s rewards and hardships. Maybe that $60K + 12 MPG soccer mom grocery getter makes more sense for you.

…And more hardships are coming.

pipe.jpg

…Because pressure, per se, busts a pipe.

NY & NJ pipe bombings, MN mass stabbing, and a ‘transformer’ explosion in Charlottesville VA with no resulting smoke or fire. That’s a bit odd.

And not surprisingly, nothing is being said or done about any of these incidents within close proximity outside of local emergency responses. Because obviously it’s not a budding insurgency becoming increasingly brazen with each new step. Each of these locales have a population of folks willing to use violence, especially this pattern of violence, to further their aim as well. When I wrote my critique of ‘leaderless resistance’ as a concept, I pointed out that step three of a culturally directed resistance following frequent ‘isolated’ incidents would be overt warfare. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s getting close. And multiple factions who have demonstrated a propensity for violence are getting pretty po’d right now. Wait till this time next month if Hillary flounders further, when the Jill Stein anarcho-greenie crowd proxies go full retard (and who knows, maybe they already did with CP 48hrs ago and Duke Energy last year. The coal ash spill wasn’t investigated by LE, just by the EPA, who’s agents’ aim is in line with the goals achieved by the incidents. Monkeywrenching is an old-school Leftist favorite, btw). Because her crowd didn’t just threaten another oil pipeline last week. None of these could be considered ‘on the Right’ either, no matter how much our media gaslights us to think ‘Alt-Right’ is the new AQ.

But don’t worry suburbia, the government has top people on it- so don’t worry, because worrying is bad, so nobody panic, because we say so. Now let’s all huddle around and watch multi-millionaire athletes spit on our values while they make more money playing a game than we could ever hope for in ten lifetimes.  Drink your Bud Light and eat your Nachos and laugh at the talking dog in the commercial.

Get your stuff straight. Go meet your neighbors today, at a minimum, or have a meal at the local greasy spoon. Read the flyers on the billboard or taped to the door. Get involved with the local Church congregation. Start meeting the wheels of your community and figure out how to contribute. Build networks. Figure out how they stay in the loop independent of conventional means, and get into the chain. Bum around the flea market or go to a fall gathering in town (every small rural town has one). Go shop at the local hardware store, even if he’s more expensive than Lowes. You’re paying for more than a product. I promise you it will get you a lot farther than just retreating and writing everyone off as some are so fond of telling you to do. It’s about to get more ‘interesting.’

May God continue to bless you and keep you. Stay safe.