Sunday, March 24, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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?
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".
|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:
- 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|
Friday, March 15, 2013
AN UNLIKELY SUBJECT:
"ARE YOU A SURVIVALIST?"
|PICTURE BORROWED FROM THIS SITE|
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:
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.
- 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.
BTW: if you ever have a problem viewing one of my blogs, try an alternate view, like TIMELINE or another web browser like Fire Fox or Chrome.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A crop of unknown brand/Chinese 2-way electronics have been popping up with more frequency. This particular model, the Baofeng UV-5R+ was made specifically for 3 online vendors (Ebay, Amazon, and-i-forgot-the-last-one). I encountered this model on Amazon.com, and it seems to vary in price; either $49, or $54.99. Compare either price to any low end Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood and you'll find a vast difference in price.
A Fairly complete list of features would be:
Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-520 MHz
Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby
Output Power: 4w/1w
50 CTCSS and 104 DCS
Built-in VOX Function
1750Hz Burst Tone
FM Radio (65.0MHz-108.0MHz)
Large LCD Display
High /Low RF Power Switchable
Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/20/25/50 KHz
Dual band, dual display, dual standby
A/B band independent operation
128 groups channels storage
The manual is lacking quite a bit, but I've found some of our more established vendors coming out with a new product and a crappy manual. I read what I could find on the web about it, including my favorite "Go-to" review site - EHAM.NET REVIEWS as well and figured it would be much easier configuring this thing with the software and cable (an extra $10 at the time).
As usual, it arrived packed in an Amazon box in two days, and when I opened up the Baofeng box I found a dualband HT that looked less toy and more Ham-like. It was partiall charged but I popped it into the stand up charger anyways.
FITS INTO MY HAND JUST FINE
Once charged, I compared (receive only) with my VX-6R and found that they were both close, however the UV-5R+ did seem to pick up the local repeater I used in some places I could never get the Yaesu to do.
The software and cable are kinda weird. The software being very basic, and try sticking to the same USB port each time, or you'll have to set aside another one as a COM port. If you've heard that the cable doesn't fit quite right, you're correct. To make a good solid connection while programming the HT it's best to keep one hand firming putting pressure on the cable where it connects to the radio. I hope the external speaker/microphone isn't that bad.
Okay, a taste for now - more later....END PART ONE
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I was reading an interesting article about one fellows radio interference (electrical hash) and it was the electronic version I get on my iPad, so any references he made with links I was able to click-and-go-to. Many times this type of stuff is the electric companies fault, but in this case it wasn't.
Watch the interesting video by Sam Rashleigh below to see what I mean -
Friday, March 08, 2013
THE MORNING NEWS
- Traffic sucks, wherever you are
- Microsoft blocked 20,000 ARRL member emails
- Male pattern baldness is now starting in high school
- In a note of interest about last nights TV episode of "Person of Interest", they were stuck on an Island off New York and while they didn't come out and say it, we were to assume it was "Sandy". The person of interest's police contact called the Island police station on the emergency police frequency and while it was only a quick shot, the deputy picked up an E.F. Johnson Turner-style microphone and in the background you could make out what appeared to be an E.F. Johnson 223 CB.
FROM THE "I GOT SLAMMED DEPT."
The ARRL reported a Florida Ham was issued a $25,000 fine for operating on frequencies not licensed for. Apparently he was jamming and otherwise being a nuisance on a frequency used by, in this case, the Florida prison system.
NEW REVIEW COMING: BAOFENG UV-5R+ Dual-band HT
And, that's the news....