Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ANOTHER SK



A COMPANY NAME WE ALL RECOGNIZE...








Palomar Engineers President John E.Althouse, K6NY, of San Diego, California, died September 15 after suffering a massive stroke. He was 90.

Throughout the decades Palomar managed to remain relevant with whatever decades current equipment needs were.

The Escondido company he operated, may no longer be around as well. A message on the company’s website says Palomar Engineers is “temporarily closed”.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WAYNE GREEN, SK



WAYNE GREEN, FORMER PUBLISHER OF "73" MAGAZINE, SK









Man, it's been a long - REALLY long time since I've thought about Wayne Green. Back in the day there were 3 HAM magazines (that I knew about) to choose from:
  1. QST
  2. CQ, and
  3. 73



CQ didn't (and still doesn't) interest me, but then I'm not into contesting; QST had a lot of advertisement support, plus by joining ARRL you received the magazine, and then there was 73 and Wayne Green. I bought 73 now and then just so I read his lengthy editorials which were often written with his talent for egging on a company, country, or another magazine. He was to HAM radio what John Dvorak has been to PC Magazine - sharp wit, with a sense of the future that often hit close to home.

It's sad that I hadn't thought of him in years, making it even sadder now that he is a silent key. RIP Wayne.


'Nuff Said,
Woody









Sunday, August 18, 2013

WiPRY UPDATE





BUY THE ACCESSORY KIT...





Having done a variety of tests with the WiPry I figured out that having the ability of connecting a Directional antenna vs. the omnidirectional antenna nub it ships with could come in handy if you were trying to identify the general location from where a signal source was coming from.

I tried EPO (Electronic Parts Outlet), and they had a short (2") wire with a small connector to fit the WiPry's antenna jack and at the other end, a larger SMA connector, the wrong gender to connect antennas to, and they were out of gender-benders.

Frys was my next stop and their connector/adaptor area was a mess, with no apparent logical scheme on how it should be arranged, forcing you to look at each hook, row, column, and hopefully you could find what you wanted. At this point, I'm down $3 + tax, and gas used to get to EPO and back. I had the wire in my pocket and found several adapters which looked like I could form a stupid-looking, yet functional way to attach the antenna.

At home I realized I missed one key ingredient, making that trip a $10 + tax and gas money flop. Yeah, I know that I could have gone back and returned the adapters and connectors, but one thing I learned from being a CBer, then HAM operator over the years was that it never hurt to have something in your parts drawers that seemed useless then, but down-the-road a necessity.

So I went back to Oscium's website and looked closer at the kit and could see they had 3 connection adapters included. I ordered it, 2 days later received it, and yup, my directional beam antenna was connected and working. I also had several additions to my parts drawers, and it's always fun walking up and down the aisles at EPO to check out what's new.

CONDUCTED MEASUREMENT KIT



ALSO AVAILABLE



iPHONE 5 CONNECTOR ADAPTER



38" EXTENSION CABLE


'Nuff Said,
Woody

Thursday, August 15, 2013

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT




IF YOU WATCH TV YOU'VE HEARD THAT SAID MANY TIMES







It's surprising how often this is true. If you're in the IT or electronics field there are some great apps that will help you with your job or hobby, but the one I'm about to tell you about requires more than the app.

There is a company called OSCIUM that is making waves with it's devices that (sorry Android) work along with your iPhone or iPad. The one I bought was the WiPry-Combo which sells for $199.95, and for that amount of money you really should have use for it. I didn't want to spend the bux,so I waited, and waited, until finally on the ThinkGeek website they had a special sale (about 50% off) so it finally became affordable. We both realize I haven't even told you what this device is, or does - First, the device, which plugs into the charging jack.

WiPry Combo

The WiPry Combo is a Spectrum Analyzer and Dynamic Power Meter combo. The spectrum it analyzes is the 2.4Ghz WiFi band. You can walk into a client's business or residence and determine what sort of noise level and signals may be causing problems with their WiFi network. You can isolate it by channel to find the least affected frequency, then set their router to that channel. I recently tested this at a local veterinarian's clinic and found when certain instruments were used the noise level was almost even with their wireless network signals, which would cause spotty performance.  







 From their website:

Portable, Award-Winning

With Oscium's WiPry-Combo peak power meter and spectrum analyzer, you can pry into the power, spectral, and time characteristics of your signals using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. WiPry-Combo is the emerging standard in portable RF test equipment for cellular communication planners, RF engineers, wireless network technicians and avid electronics hobbyists. 
Product highlights:
  • Enables iPhone, iPad, iPod to make power and frequency measurements
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Measures rise and fall time, duty cycle and peak power with the precision power meter 
  • Visualizes Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Bluetooth and remote sensor networks using spectral mode
  • Awarded Most Innovative & Best Customer Value
  • Compatible with Lightning and 30 pin connectors (with adapter, works with iPhone 5 & iPad Mini)
 They also have several other products that work with the iPhone and iPad:


MIXED SIGNAL O-SCOPE
 
Product Specs:
  • iMSO-104 Mixed Signal Oscilloscope Hardware
  • 1x/10x Analog Probe
  • Logic Harness (4 Digital + 1 Ground) 
  • SMD Grabbers (5 pieces)
  • Bandwidth 5 MHz
  • Max sample rate 12 MS/s
  • Screwdriver for Analog Compensation Adjustment
  • Analog tip covers (2 pieces)
  • Compatible with Lightning and 30 pin connectors (with adapter, works with iPhone 5 & iPad Mini)

A CHANNEL LOGIC ANALYZER
 
LogiScope transforms an iPhone, iPad or iPod into a 100MHz, 16 channel logic analyzer. Not only is it the most intuitive logic analyzer available, the triggering is so powerful you'll be able to count the hair on your bug (tap product picture on right to watch a short video). Download LogiScope in the App Store and test drive the interface or watch the tutorials below. 
Product Highlights:
  • 100 MHz, 16 channel logic analyzer
  • Two logic harnesses (each with 8 digital, 1 ground)
  • Protocol decoding: I2C, SPI, UART, Parallel
  • Works with 2.0v, 2.5v, 3.3v & 5.0v systems
  • Portable: goes where you go
  • Input voltage -0.5v to +7v
  • Advanced triggering
  • Compatible with Lightning and 30 pin connectors (with adapter, works with iPhone 5 & iPad Mini)
Their website can be found HERE.
 
'Nuff Said,
Woody
 Email

Saturday, August 03, 2013

OBITUARIES



BRIEFLY SPEAKING...







Yep, this will be a brief Blog post, but there aren't any rules that say that posts have to have a certain number of words before you can publish them.

What prompted me to write this one, is about something I saw on my customized Yahoo home page. I have a variety of news items selected so I can catch up with things each morning.

One of my selections is the ARRL feed which adds new content as it occurs. This week seemed to be a particularly downer week as it looked more like the obituaries then usual. Each morning it I would find another SK (silent key) listed. Older hams seem to be dropping like flies.

As far as CBer's go, there isn't an organization like the ARRL for them, so usually you find out who died via a CB radio based chat board, or word of mouth. Nonetheless it is depressing either way. As far as the ARRL feed is concerned, whatever they post is a drop in the bucket compared to SK's that are in the ARRL publication "QST". I hope both services are recruiting enough newbies to replace those that have gone onto the other side of that long wave -

'Nuff Said,
Brian

Sunday, July 28, 2013

WHAT RIG AM I USING?









Every now and then I get an email wondering what rig I'm talking on in this picture, some even mistaking it for one of those small form factor Cb's.

What I was using in the photo was my Yaesu FT-817ND HAM portable, which is probably one of my "TOP TEN" HAM rigs of all time (of course I liked them a lot better when you could find them NIB for about $500).

Somewhere in one of my many posts I listed my top ten favorite HAM rigs, so I'm going to list them again, and when I have the time, track down the first list to see what changed (if anything). So, in 2013, here are my top ten Amateur radio rigs, listed in no particular order:
  1. Yaesu FT-817ND
  2. Kenwood TS-2000
  3. Kenwood TS-850AT
  4. Yaesu 450AT
  5. Yaesu FT-530
  6. Yaesu FT-101 series
  7. Yaesu FT-650
  8. Icom IC-751A
  9. Icom IC-207a
I know I did the same thing with Cb's, so here is my 2013 "Top Ten" list -
  1. Stoner Pro40 w/accessories
  2. Uniden Grant (original, 1st series 40ch line)
  3. Uniden PC-122
  4. Cobra 138-XLR (still use one every day in the truck, and keep a back up or two just in case)
  5. SBE Super Console
  6. Midland 13-880/885
  7. Realistic TRC-100B
  8. Realistic TRC-457
  9. SBE Console VI
  10. General Super MC-11


HOUSTON AMATEUR RADIO SUPPLY SELLS AMATEUR RADIOS, CB RADIOS LIKE THE UNIDEN 980



I don't believe I did one with microphones, and I'm not sure I'll hit 10, but I'll give it a go -
  1. Turner Super Sidekick
  2. Turner +3 desk microphone
  3. Turner +3 hand microphone
  4. Turner +2 desk microphone
  5. Icom SM-10
  6. Yaesu MD-200A8X
  7. Astatic 636 Noise cancelling microphone
  8. Astatic D-104 stand w/10DA microphone head
  9. Astatic D-104M6
  10. Astatic 575
That's it for this exciting post. Ah, I almost forgot - it your PC is crippled with viruses and trojans, or just plain slow, call Dave at Houston Amateur Radio supply to arrange and appointment!

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Saturday, July 27, 2013







I'm sure you heard of this, read about them (possibly from here), or this is your first time learning about scams found usually on social media sites like...Facebook.



They are usually posted by a friend who finds the item interesting enough to pass along to their circles of friends, who find it as interesting and pass it along to their friends, much like a chain-letter-email.



WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING LIKE THIS YOU HAVE TO QUESTION IT


Why should you? It came from a friend? [ed. - and I'll make it clear upfront that I don't know if this is, or isn't, but it caught my attention]

•Usually an ad like this would have the monitor on display, perhaps in front of the box.

•Just by looking at where they took the photo is odd - on the floor, with a crummy background (waste basket or maybe a paper shredder on right edge of photo and what appear to be kitchen doors in the background)

•And the last line "Some of last weeks winners we're Roy Smith & Andy Whitehead".


You would think someone would have done a spell check on this, or maybe they were just in a hurry. I just used the word "were" properly. In the ad above they use "we're", as in we are.

Once again, I don't if this is a real ad, or a phishing expedition (yes, phishing is a word used in the security world), but be careful when giving out info and always doubt the ad.

'Nuff Said,

Woody



Saturday, July 20, 2013

THINGS THAT WILL KILL HAM RADIO






IT COULD TAKE LESS
    IT COULD TAKE MORE...












What do you think could kill Ham Radio? I suppose there's a shortlist like:
  1. The Government
  2. Not enough new Hams to compensate for SK's
  3. A force of nature that makes anything but UHF transmissions possible
  4. A force of man that makes anything electronic possible
  5. Hams themselves
While listed as number 5, it should really be number one - with a bullet. I don't know how many time I've heard a new ham announce himself on repeater, be recognized, and bursting with pride announce he just became a Ham, and then the conversation continues, leaving the new Ham out - more or less leaving him/her on the sidelines (although I must admit certain repeater frequencies are more social than others. That said, I can only think of one in the Houston area)

"Why should I press on and get a higher license" the new Ham asks them self.

A quick view of HF:
  1. There are the medical, daily aches and pains frequencies
  2. There are contest hounds
  3. There are "This is our frequency" groups
Any other ideas you can think of?

'Nuff Said,
Woody
EMAIL









Sunday, July 07, 2013

KEEP THOSE THINGS CHARGED MEN (AND WOMEN...)





















Product Specifications
  • Ultra reliable lithium ion battery with 11200mAh capacity at 5v output voltage
  • Will easily give you over a week of battery boosts for your device (with normal use)
  • 1 amp & 2 amp ports, charge two devices at the same time!
  • 50 hours of movie time for iPhone, iPod touch or 17 hours movie time for iPad 2
  • Compatible with:
    • All iPhones (E.g. Original, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S & 5)
    • All iPads (E.g. iPad 2, iPad 3, New iPad & Mini)
    • All iPods (E.g. Touch, Nano & Classic)
    • Most Android Devices (E.g. Galaxy 4, HTC One)
    • Most Blackberry & Windows Phone Devices
    • Other Stuff (Kindle, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and many more - Standard USB charging cable required)
  • Retractable USB cable included

  • No iPhone/iPad adapter is included because it works with the one you already have
  • Rubberized black finish
  • Batteries: Lithium ion (plug in to recharge)
  • DC transformer input: 100v-240v
  • Weight (main unit): 8.6 oz
  • Dimensions (main unit): 3 3/4 x 3 3/16 x 1
This little power pack supplied (up until last month), 9900mAh DC electricity to charge a variety of items). It's price was $69.99. For the same price, they've upped the amount of stored electricity to 11,200mAh. I own the 9900mAh model, and whether it be Zombies, Tornado's, Hurricanes, or whatever else you can thing of to shutdown power, it always helps to have a variety of "Energy Cells" around the house, or underground safe room to keep your devices charged. You can find it HERE, and, if you buy it before the end of the day you'll get 20% off the regular price!



While I've only owned the 9900mAh model for two months it's been very convenient to charge my dying iPad, iPhone, and Ham Radio HT with this device.

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Thursday, July 04, 2013

WHEN IT COMES TO HAM RADIO...





IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD NOW




KB5CEJ & KB5CEM

Back when Doug and I became Hams (almost 30 years ago) the whole system was in flux, testing, manufacturing, Hamfests and tailgate sales, along with the disappearance of the local HAM or Electronics store.

At the time we got licensed (Thank you "CW DAVE"/NA5CW) we could go into downtown Houston and if the service calls weren't there we would hang out at Madisons, which besides looking similar to an Episode of "Hoarders", had a whole aisle with used stuff a new or seasoned Ham could use. There was another store just North of downtown that lasted a few years, but Madisons was the big dog in town.

Having passed the written exam, then the 5 wpm (wpm = words per minute) test we were still "Technicians" yet we could use part of 10 meters to actually talk on a transceiver (it wasn't too much longer when they made us "Technician Plus", and those who only passed the written test with "Technician" status). So having a flock of new hamlings wanting to talk on 10 meters, a lot more 10 meter only radios came to the market with Uniden's HR2510 being the most popular.

Uniden HR2510

If you were lucky enough to pass the 13 wpm exam, then you had quite a bit of Amateur Radio designated to use. So IMHO, the mid-80's gave us the most rigs to choose from. We could buy a new one (still a wee-bit pricey), or a used rig, and in that field we could pick a 60's all tube transceiver, or choose from a slew of Hybrid (part tube, part transceiver, part terminator - just checking to see if you're paying attention, 'Nuff Said), or some of the early all transistor transceivers. A newly ordained "General", on a budget, could easily find a used transceiver for under $500.

Almost no one bought a full featured all-mode HF transceiver from his local store because they would have to pay tax. Most Hams have what has been found in DNA research as the "Cheap Ass Cell" so they bought their rigs from out of state stores to avoid tax and get free shipping to their doorstep.

So naturally, Madisons would get a phone call (remember no readily available Internet back then) asking if they had a particular radio in stock, and if so, how much was it, and did they charge for shipping. If all criteria were met, Madisons would ship it out of state to the buyer. Even if they didn't get the sale, it wasn't like it would kill them because the margin of profit on radio sales was so slim you almost didn't notice it.

Accessories, antennas, microphones, etc. had a healthy profit along with having a good technician to do in-house repairs for your customers. At one time, a Ham could successfully repair his own radio, but with almost every rig using surface mount technology, it would take a very steady hand, good lighting, large magnification and a prayer or "Hail Mary" to do it now.

CLICK ON PICTURE TO GET FULL SIZE AND ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SEE WHAT I'M SAYING

I used to attempt such things but lately it appears as if the components are getting even smaller, discouraging the Ham who was always used to repairing or modifications but now has to take a class just to learn the various menus and what they do.

I attended a couple Hamfests this year and pricing hasn't changed much - and only those with almost throw-away pricing sell rigs. For example, a FT-101 sold new, in 1971 for $499, which was 42 years ago. A used, scratched, but working FT-101 sells in a price range between $300-->$450 today. Was it built with gold plated casings? No. The FT-101 series was a good line that came out with revised versions of the model proceeding it, and if a new ham wants to make that jump from FM to HF, he'd have to check his wallet, the safe in a wall clock, and money in an envelope taped to the bottom of the driver seat, then $450 sounds a lot better to him than $700 and up for a new rig.

The good news for the younger ham, who just got his ticket is that it's much easier to pick up an HT now than it was in the 80's. I remember Doug and I at Madisons looking up at the Kenwood TH-215 2m handheld and seem to recall a price tag of nearly $300 [ed. - keep in mind, this was 2m ONLY]. It was Doug's first HT.

Jumping to the present day, almost 30 years later and single band HT's are in the minority today, replaced by the handheld dualbander HT. If you're not a ham, been asleep under a tree for 30 years, and haven't checked prices if you're reading this blog post I can imagine your thoughts; "If a 2m HT cost almost $300 back then, they'll have to be more expensive now - so what's the use". Don't despair, until recently you could pick up a dual-band HT for about $170, almost half of the price of a single band  HT from the 80's.

I did say "until recently", because there has been a shake up in pricing as of late, along with the well established manufacturers like Yaesu, Kenwood, and Icom facing HT competition from Chinese manufacturers. So what can you expect in pricing?

Yaesu's FT-60r has been around a long time and you'll find it under $150. Baofeng, one of the new Chinese manufacturers has the UV-5RA and UV-5R+, both dual-band handhelds selling for under $50 each via places online like Amazon.

I've owned and used the 5R+ for a little over six months now and it still works great. I paid about $45 for the HT and $10 for the programing software and cable [ed. - Hint, buy the s/w and cable and save yourself the grief]. I wanted to know what would happen if I went even cheaper and bought the 5RA for about $35 recently, and all I can say (having it for such a short time) is: "So far, so good".

Looking at it another way, if you spend $40 for the Baofeng HT, you've spent the price the "Big 3" charge for just the programming software and cable.

THE BAOFENG UV-5R+



BAOFENG UV-5RA, CURRENTLY $35.89 ON AMAZON

I'll be interested and looking forward to their first venture into the world of HF, because if they maintain the quality that these HT's have (at least the ones I own), it could really change the landscape as far as who is the most dependable HF transceiver maker, with the lowest price.

For now, I'm happy with what I have and hope the Government doesn't take away Amateur Radio band space, just for the money, allowing for more cellphone frequencies.

If you are a Ham now, you should be watching this carefully, and I'd recommend joining ARRL to keep informed and add to the ranks of those who are fighting to keep our frequencies.

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Email to: Woody

Monday, April 22, 2013

BELTON HAMFEST - SPRING 2013











A friend of mine reported that he found this Springs Hamfest to have a pretty good turnout with perfect weather from a recent cold front, he said the air was crisp as the money seen exchanging hands! So, what was selling?

For the most part - nothing big and/or expensive. That equipment stayed and left with the person that brought it. Rigs selling in the $150-$300 range had a much better chance, although he said that by mid-morning it was obvious the place was filled with a good amount of "Tire kickers". When he ran across someone that actually had bought something, it was usually a small item like a microphone, some cabling, a tube, connectors, etc.

I recall being at many Belton events where you could hardly make your way through an aisle there were just too many people there - but he said this was not like the old days, a mere shadow of it's past. At one point there was a loud talking guy on the PA system shouting "Can we have silence please, SILENCE, SILENCE" apparently they wanted a moment of silence for an SK, but before that came (as reported by my friend) a long rambling speech about the SK by a obviously broken hearted friend which took about 10 minutes or so and then the loud gentleman got back on the PA shouting for silence, a moment of silence. My friend, and others in the group he came with found this rather out of place, and perhaps could have been done better by a different approach.

Nonetheless, he said he had fun.

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that he saw a lot of Hams using those new Baofeng dual-band HT's. He stopped a few and asked them how they liked it and universally got a two-thumbs UP reply and advice: BUY THE SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION DISK AND CABLE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


SUNSPOTS GROWING










Here's a great photo from a great website (spaceweather.com) of the Sun, and 2 growing sunspots -


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

SHORT UPDATES OF RECENT REVIEW







We've had a variety of weather in Houston in the last month - upper 30's (cold for us), near 90, heavy winds, rain, and dime to quarter sized hail [with more of that coming in a few hours]. I figured it would be a good time to do a few updates on recent reviews.

THE UNIDEN/BEARCAT 980 AM/SSB MOBILE


Well, you know what was said in my review and I think I remember what I wrote in that review, but for now the 980SSB is back on the shelf. Each day I was constantly annoyed by bleedover (I was on 38 lsb, bleedover on ch.19), so I ended up putting my beat up 138 XLR back in the truck to confirm it wasn't just in my mind - and it wasn't. I've picked up a couple backup 138's recently, should this one bite the dust. The other reason was (mentioned in review) due to limited mounting space, during certain hours in the afternoon it was difficult reading the display, depending on what direction I was going in.


SIRIO MOBILE ANTENNA WITH PL MOUNT


I am still very happy with this antenna (with non-Sirio magnetic mount). It's held up fine under a variety of conditions and cross winds. Because it's wide banded I've used it on 10 meters as well with my 10 meter rig where I've made several contacts. Just like I did with the "Big Bubba", I'll buy at least one other as a backup.
BAOFENG UV-5R+ DUAL BAND HT
I'll be doing occasional updates on this little guy because I (and probably you too) are a little trepidacious about buying something for $50 that would sell for up to 3 times more under a well known brand name. So far it's holding up just fine; I'll grab it on the way out the door and toss it on the passenger seat, or stick it in my computer bag, and yes, I'm still impressed with how solid it feels every time I pick it up.

I was down around the Galveston area to look at my friend Leo's (W5QUE) computer call he placed and I guess we were of the same mind because just as he was about to ask me if I could bring it down with me on the next call, I was taking it out of my computer bag. Just as I was, Leo was impressed with the feel of it in his hand. He had thought it would be cheap plastic that would crack or have pieces fall off, but this changed his mind - along with one other thing: When I turned the HT "ON" it was set to a Houston repeater and while scratchy it was picking it up some 30 miles away.
We were in his motor home and I found a spot where the repeater came in very clear - something he has not been able to do since moving down there from Sugar Land (hit a Houston repeater). Of course, remember I had changed the factory rubber duck with a Diamond dual band antenna, and I'm sure it had something to do with it, but, I'll keep you posted from time-to-time on how it's doing.

This wraps up the "Reviews Update", and you can expect to see these turn up on the Blog now and then just in case you're sitting on the fence and would like to see how the product continues to do.

'Nuff Said,
Woody




Sunday, March 24, 2013

ARE YOU A FAN OF AMC'S

"THE WALKING DEAD?"










Then you'll find this ebay ad kinda funny

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SURVIVING - PART II


As I think I mentioned in PART ONE, I'm not preaching "Doomsday", rather preparedness. You should be prepared for a natural or non-natural disasters aftermath, hopefully coping better than those who haven't (prepared). Hurricanes, Tornadoes come to mind when I think "disaster"; telephone lines down, no electricity, cellphone towers damaged, etc. All of this, after a period of time, will be repaired. It would help to have some devices that let you know what is going on, and if possible to communicate with, along with staple items like food, water, batteries, generators, etc. But what about non-natural disasters, like an EMP?

You may have heard this term talked about before, or maybe not, so assuming "not" - "What is an EMP?" Well, first of all it's and abbreviation for Electromagnetic pulse, in other words a "Blast" or "Burst" of electromagnetic radiation. Check it out on wikipedia, books in your public library, or just GOOGLE it.

An EMP is born by an atomic bomb set off at a high altitude. The radiation emitted will wipe out every electronic device, rendering everything we know pretty much useless. We won't see it coming, but we'll see the results. To give you just a small look at the results I've compiled a short list, which should get the point across -
  • No electricity
  • Electronic devices not even plugged into the wall at the time are useless
  • No water. Water requires electrical pumps.
  • No running automobiles. The computer in your car or truck is toast. You could walk to the closest dealer to buy a replacement, but everything on the shelf is toast as well.
  • No radio
  • No TV
  • No Satellite
  • No cell phones
  • No regular phones
  • No Internet [but for the sake of an argument, say the Internet was alive! Well, all of you computers would be dead - and not coming back]
  • No Electric heat
  • No Air Conditioning
  • And I'll stop here and let you figure out all of the other "No's".
So now that it has sunk in, you realize this is not one of those things where life returns to normal very easily. With no transportation there will be food shortages, people fighting other people for water or other necessary items - in other words: the worst of mankind. We saw it happen in New Orleans, imagine it country wide...



CARS WOULD BE USELESS WITH ALL OF THE ELECTRONICS FRIED

I recall a manager of mine who built an underground storage/living facility on his property back in the 90's, and occasionally read about survivalist groups across the country that pop up in news stories, but don't grab that shovel just yet. There are a few things that can protect your electronics from an EMP, for instance a simple Faraday cage would work, and it's something you can make yourself. There are simple pouches that will act as a Faraday cage, and come in various sizes. I bought a 2-pack recently and plan to get a few of the larger ones as they aren't terribly expensive.


Your microwave oven is a Faraday cage, but if you had one, what would you put into it? Your cell phone? Nope, no cell towers or electricity to power them even if they worked, so a cell phone would not be a good choice. You'll require communications of some sort, so a all-in-one radio would be a good idea. Something like this:



ETON FR160R

  • AM (520-1710 KHz) and FM (87-108MHz)
  • NOAA weatherband ? all 7 channels (you'll read more about that later).
  • Built-in 3 white LED light source
  • Powered by solar or dynamo both of which charge internal Ni-MH battery
  • USB cell phone charger, or charger for any other 5v USB device. 




HAND CRANK TO CHARGE INTERNAL BATTERY


SOLAR PANEL TO CHARGE INTERNAL BATTERY


DON'T LET THE PICTURE SIZE FOOL YOU - IT'S VERY SMALL, AND IF POSSIBLE FIND A LOCAL SOURCE TO CHECK OUT VARIOUS MODELS FROM DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS. THIS ONE WORKED WELL WITH EVERYTHING EXCEPT NOAA WEATHER RECEPTION AND WAS SENT BACK. IT'S USED JUST AS AN EXAMPLE.

I'LL CONTINUE LATER IN PART 3, BUT FOR NOW -

'Nuff Said,
Woody

Friday, March 15, 2013

AN UNLIKELY SUBJECT:

"ARE YOU A SURVIVALIST?"

[PART ONE]




PICTURE BORROWED FROM THIS SITE
  We hear about them, we read about them, but have you ever asked yourself if you were a survivalist?

The answer, of course, is that all of us are survivalists in our own way. Today, we work at jobs to make money which provides us with goods required to survive.

By definition via the Merriam-Webster dictionary we get:

sur·viv·al·ist [noun]
a person who advocates or practices survivalism; especially : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society
survivalist adjective

"an anticipated breakdown of society.." - This falls into a wide scope, from providing for your family, to underground bunkers stocked with food and other items. Every year many portions of America becomes survivalists whether it be flooding, tornado's, hurricanes, heavy snow fall, or a failure in the power grid. The question is: "How many of you are prepared?"

Some of us may store some extra water, batteries, flashlights and perhaps a am/fm radio; but there is so much more you could do - just in case.

Even in the most usual type of disaster (Tornado, Hurricane, etc.) one thing becomes clear - your cellphones and Internet-linked computers are virtually useless. Telephone poles are usually down, so you can't count on that, and in many cases you won't have electricity either. How do you plan to survive? Do you even have a plan to survive that every family member knows of? How long will your rechargeable devices, fresh water, food, and other supplies last? Tough questions.

Sometimes humans pool together to help one another, while other times it gets nasty and the dark side of human nature pits one against the other.

Much like a "Will", which covers things cleanly after you depart this world, you should have a well thought out plan for life, because when it becomes "everyone for themselves", you'd wish you had one in hand.

There are the usual things you can do:
  • Store batteries with the different sizes you require, just remember to use them as needed so you can replace them with fresh batteries. Same goes for food and water (water jugs are okay as long as they aren't stacked on concrete - above concrete is okay).
  • If you or someone in your family requires medication, make sure you have a box "ready-to-go". Use it up, and as it's refilled put the newer meds in the box. You may as well throw in bandages, gauze, and other supplies as well.
  • Look into portable generators that run off gasoline. Some of these are a lot quieter than you would think.
  • Do some research and buy a combo radio, like the Kaito Voyager KA500 pictured below.
What makes it special?


  • When the Unexpected happens You Better be ready - 11 Bands + NOAA Weather Alerts + Shortwave.
  • 11 bands - AM/FM, Shortwave SW1 & SW2 plus 7 weather bands Durable Construction: Manufactured to be water resistant & has a rubberized body
  • It's 4 Way Power source is very important: You can recharge this via Solar, or the hand crank, 3 "AA" batteries (not incld), AC Adapter (not included) AND, it has a USB port for charging things that charge via USB
  • 5 LED Reading lamp for Camping & Emergency, Includes power Tips for most Cell Phones
Not bad for under $50.
  • Buy some old CB radios, mobile (car) and portable (handheld). Picking them up used is fairly inexpensive and assures you that you and your family can communicate between each other until Cell towers and electricity is online again.
  • Study and get your HAM license. It's not hard; there's no code requirement any longer, and many young people are getting licensed now. I'd still do the first option with CB radios, but HAM radios will give you greater opportunities. For instance, you can buy VHF/UHF handheld radios or HF (High Frequency) transceivers that will allow you to talk around the world - or to your local emergency coordinators.
  • Once you get a HAM license, join the emergency groups - you'll get a lot of good info.
  • If you don't have one, it would be a good time to buy a weapon or two and ammunition. You don't have to go crazy but, it's not going to kill ya to go to the range now and then and practice, or even take a Saturday and get your concealed handgun license. I'm not proposing you go out and purchase assault weapons, however a shotgun or two and several hand guns wouldn't be out of line when it comes to protecting you, your family, and your property.
Yes, this is an unlikely topic for this Blog, however I named it what I did so I could write about any subject I chose to. There more to write about this subject which I'll include in Part 2.

'Nuff Said,
Woody

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