Category Archives: COMMUNICATIONS

Ham, shortwave & CB radio systems, satellite, internet, telephones, scanners, TV, Morse code, smoke signals ect…
POWER could go here too.

EAS false alarm

EAS false alarm

Recently there was a false warning for a missile attack on Hawaii. The warning lasted about 37-38 minutes and caused a great deal of panic. People were going into the storm drains for shelter.

Apparently someone had just hit the wrong button. All I got to say about that is IT happens. That raises a question in my mind. Ideally everything should go as planned 100% of the time. That is not reality though now is it? Which would you rather have happen, a false alarm OR no alarm and the first you know is a bright flash of a nuke going off? IF we can not have 100%, then I would rather get a few false alarms than miss out.. SO, in my mind it was a good thing as it showed flaws in the system, it made people think and has sparked conversation!

So let’s analyze the situation– here in the US of A mainland we are about 30 minutes by ICBM from Russia and China and North Korea– comforting thought. In Hawaii it is way less than that maybe 10 or 15 minutes from North Korea. Maybe if people could keep that in mind they would not be panicky after the first 20 minutes [ymmv]

Shelter – it would be great if you had a designated shelter to go to, 2nd best is retrofitting your basement . As far as going into the storm drains or sewer systems, it is a good idea until it rains and washes the fallout into the drains. The other issues with going underground like that is methane which displaces oxygen which WILL kill you. Think about it, the next time you see a work crew going in the pipes they always keep one person on the surface AND they pump fresh air down to the underground workers.

Is it possible to survive a nuclear weapon attack?? Unless you are directly at ground zero, yes it is. I was stationed in Japan in the 1970s. Part of my duties as a medic was taking care of some of the survivors from the 2 atom bombs we dropped in the 40s. This was not from the kindness of our [or our government] hearts. We wanted the data for research. It was very interesting seeing the flash burns on them [the survivors] and you could tell what the patterns of clothing they had on. The darker part of the pattern had worse burns V the lighter colored areas. One of the people was SOOOoooo… lucky, he was 700 – 1,000 yards from ground zero with the first bomb and survived, then he walked home where he was just in time to be caught in the 2nd bombing… mind you this was back in the 1940s. He finally dies of old age in the early 2000s about 60 years after being bombed twice.

Which brings us to— what are you doing to get prepared?

Ref article – which should NOT be comforting..

Hello Computer

Hello Computer

A friend got one of those Alexa Dot that you can talk to and among other things make phone calls for you hands free…. This sounds like a good thing, RIGHT? Maybe not so much some times.

I demoed it for a friend that dropped in for Christmas dinner. I told the dot to call me [as I knew that it had been set up to call my phone.

ALEXA call XXXX it started ringing and then a young lady answered and there was a baby crying in the background….. boy did I get a wrong number as we don’t know anyone with that size of kid. We chatted for a bit and I explained what was going on, she got a laugh out of it and we wished each other Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…..

here is my assessment….. wrong numbers can still happen EVEN with a small universe [you think] of numbers you can call – the young mom’s number was NOT programmed into the system. This could just be an annoyance issue.

BUT, ALEXA has a ‘drop in’ feature too. Example I am sitting in my office and I want to drop in and listen to the kids in our living room. Can ALEXA connect to a ‘wrong number’ of say, YOUR bedroom? I do not know and do not want to find out the hard way. This aspect is why ALEXA is in the study.

What are your thoughts on this?

Dark and Stormy Night

It was dark and stormy night….

It was after dark and it was snowing hard enough that we could not see the school across the street from us. The temperature was around 4 degrees F. …. when a neighbor knocked on our door for help dealing with 2 kids [maybe 8 to 11 years old and their 2 dogs. They were wet and cold from being out all afternoon. One did not have socks on and the other’s socks were wringing wet. While they did have coats on they did not have hats or gloves.

Due to the blowing snow they were disoriented and lost, they could not tell which way home was.

A phone was provided and they called home. The 14 year old who was watching them simply told them that they needed to come home and hung up on them. [The parents had gone shopping at noonish and left the 14 year old in charge] it was now 1830 – 1900. the lost kids had been gone from home at least 6 hours by their account.

at this point the local police were called. It was not long at all before the police arrived.

Prior to showing up at the senior apartments the kids had been sheltering at the school in an outside recycling bin with a 3rd kid and dog. Nobody knew where this 3rd kid was as he was no longer at the recycling bin when another officer went to look for him. An apb [all points bulletin] was issued and the kid was located back at home – he had hitched a ride with a stranger which was kind of scary on it’s own.

Turns out that the mom had left her phone at home and the dad’s phone was dead. As an aside even if you have to post a check list on your door before you leave make sure that you have your phone with you and a way to charge it too.

I bet that the parents and the police are going to have a nice long chat over this situation

those kids very easily could have died or kidnapped in this situation.

Lessons learned from this

make sure that everyone knows their street address and the family phone numbers.
Have set check in times
dress right for the weather
make sure others know where you are and routes of travel.

EAS Test

Blog EAS Test

Emergency Alert System Test aka Emergency Broadcast System or if you are even older you recall Conalrad Alerts

I was listening to Clyde Lewis at Ground Zero Media on earlier. Part of the discussion was about a national EAS test set for 2017, September 27th at 12:20 [pm] Eastern Time[US] Mountain time would be 10:20 AM. GMT or UTC time would be 16:20 ZULU. [Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Time Coordinated]

IF something is actually going wrong they will delay the National test until 2017 October 4th same times.

Apparently this test will go out over both your weather alert radio and your AM/FM radio and TV.

This would be a good time to test your family communications plan to see how well it works and to fix any bugs you find. It would also be a good time to review your bug out plan.

It would be interesting to hear from you what your experiences are with this.

Cross ref

and some books that explore the topics in more depth This is book 1 the quick start guide to preparedness. This is book 2 about traveling and evacuation planning.

Hurricane COMMs plus

Hurricane COMMs plus

Unless you are totally Narcisstic and sociopathic, communication in an emergency should be high on your list of skills and equipment to be developed by you and your family / group.

Have you ever played \telephone\ ? Often by the end of the transfer of the message no one recognizes it as the same as at the beginning. Typed OR recorded messages tend to convey meaning consistently. This is one of the reasons HAMs are shifting in a lot of cases to digital radio so that you can in effect send E-mail via radio instead of internet only.

However voice communications is still easy for dialog.

As long as the grid is at least mostly up [or at least spotty] ZELLO seems to be a great system to use so that people at least get the same message even if you don’t get it at the same time as the person next door. Better or at least as good as text.

Zello and texting does NOT replace HAM radios for reliability.

There are links at the bottom for more communications ect.

Zello tops US app store as the walkie-talkie for hurricane volunteers
•by Mike Butcher,
With Hurricane Irma hitting Florida’s southern islands as a category four storm, and more than 6.3 million being told to evacuate Florida, being able to stay in contact with the outside world is a high priority. As a result, smartphone apps which can help coordinate rescues and responses have become crucial to efforts.

The main one that’s being talked about — and downloaded at a prodigious rate — is Zello, a walkie-talkie app which was originally launched in Russia in 2007 under the name LoudTalks (but since moved to Austin, Texas in 2011) and now boasts 100 million users around the world. After being featured in a Houston Chronicle story about the “Cajun Navy” of volunteers who have been using the app to coordinate their efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the app hit the top of the US app store.

Zello appears to have added six million new registered users since Monday, the company’s CEO, Bill Moore, told BuzzFeed News, and is now the top free app on the iOS App Store. “With the crush of new users and emergency situations, most of the Zello team is working long days either maintaining capacity or helping with customer support,” he said.

However, the huge interest in Zello saw the company admitting it has had to add servers to keep it up.
Now, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, interest in Zello is being boosted yet again.


and some books that explore the topics in more depth This is book 1 the quick start guide to preparedness. This is book 2 about traveling and evacuation planning. This one will give you an interesting look at travel snarl ups when it not an emergency. has some interesting info for your consideration during this season.

Hurricane Season 2

Hurricane season visit 2

Harvey in Texas and Louisiana… the water is still rising in some areas as they release water from the dams to keep them from failing.. it will be a while before many areas see dry land again. There was at least one tornado. There are MANY reports of price gouging on things like gas – as much as $20.00/gal and bottled water for $50 – 100.00 a case.. Some folks are advocating just TAKING the water and handing it out for free. NOT a good idea as that would be theft or depending on how many were involved [2 or 3 plus against one would make it armed robbery even if no weapons are involved. Years ago there were 3 guys heading to the pen – 7 years hard labor for drunkenly ganging up on the pizza delivery person, beating him and taking the 3 pizzas he had brought them…. no weapons were involved and they did not take the money he had -just the pizzas. They were known as the pizza bandits..
back on the 21st of Augest people that traveled to our area for the eclipse ended up paying a LOT more for stuff and their booked hotel rooms than planned and nobody screamed about price gouging then… Go figure (;

during Katrina Louisiana was upset with the Cajun Navy and talked of requiring “permits” before they could rescue people – Texas on the other hand is more welcoming to them now AND rightly so! The Cajun Navy is getting into spots the Coast Guard can not due to the draft of the boats.

The Redneck Army with their high lift pick-ups have been assisting in the rescue and recovery EVEN recovering Army NG trucks stuck or stalled in the deep water. GOOD job to ALL involved!

Every storm we hear of folks rushing to get plywood [which they should already have at home cut to size of their windows and doors] and getting Gen sets – should already have those OR their vehicles set up to generate power with extra batteries and power invertors. Along with cases of bottled water and fighting over the last of the milkl and bread like it was Black Friday Sale time. Looters shooting at civilians / first responders trying to take their stuff. [This was reported at Harvey] Do NOT allow anyone to disarm you! EVER! Always have an exit stratigy in place.

ADVICE during flooding it is normal to want to clime to a higher area.. do this OUTSIDE, Do NOT clime into your attic where you will be trapped and die!

And now IRMA is headed for Florida, East coast or the gulf – don’t know yet…

STAY in touch with your family and friends who are not in harms way…. They are very concerned for you and your safety – don’t leave them in the dark

If you want minute by minute news on hurricane operations tune into 7.268LSB, 7.242LSB, 14.325USB, 14.300USB, 3.860, 28.445USB or 147.090 pl tone131.8 to hear many of then operations going on in affected areas…. DO NOT transmit unless you are rendering direct aid to someone. If you are a HAM operator you know what all this means, if not it is easy to become licensed.

CB s are great for local comms and sometimes even long range talking depending on the conditions. FRS has it’s place too along with HAM radios.

Cross ref

and some books that explore the topics in more depth This is book 1 the quick start guide to preparedness. This is book 2 about traveling and evacuation planning.

Eclipse Day

Good MORNING campers!

Well it is eclipse day!

Pay attention to situational awareness! Watch out for traffic. Especially in the dry west areas watch out for fires caused by parking hot vehicles in tall dry grass.

In our area last week started with reports of people squatting on private property preping for this eclipse.

One radio report that we heard this AM a normal commute of 9 minutes is taking 27 minutes….

We would be very interested in hearing your reports of how the eclipse experience went for you.

How were the crowds and traffic?

Did the food places have enough on had?

How about fuel? One station we heard about had run out of gas [all grades] Sunday night and wont get resupplied till Tuesday. They still have diesel fuel.

Did you have reservations over the eclipse that they canceled or charged more for than planned?

How did communications go? How did your radios work? Was there issues with your cell phone – over the weekend there were a few times that our phones would not connect because ‘all circuts were busy”… I suspect that the large amount of traffic did that…. I bet during the eclipse there will be a lot of dropped calls.

Be safe!

BTW reportedly will have Clyde Lewis live this AM to help report on the eclipse.

eclipse 2017

eclipse 2017

Howdy everyone

Monday august 21st is the date of the total eclipse of the sun. I know this comes as a shock as nobody else has been writing about it…

In Casper Wyoming they are expecting the population to expand by close to 500% the town is about 50,000 people normally and they expect over 200,000 people to show up for the eclipse, according to the news on the radio there are flight plans already filed for an extra 190 aircraft to arrive the morning of the eclipse in Casper and then during the eclipse the airspace will be closed down.

Even though it is illegal to “park” on the interstate in most areas….. Wyoming Highway patrol is expecting large numbers of parked cars and accidents.. some states have activated the national guard to help deal with the extra people who come to watch the eclipse.

I do not expect a natural disaster from the eclipse, BUT I think it prudent to expect a human disaster during this time. Think of it as a large influx of refugees and the effect of this may have on infrastructure – food,gas, electric, water and SEWAGE.

Go today and top off your fuel tanks [TODAY] as it will most likely be HEAVY traffic around Monday. We plan on having a family BBQ and to stay off the road on Monday, I suggest that you go ahead now and get whatever provisions you will need for the festivities you plan.

There are several ways to /watch/ the eclipse– for example the special sun glasses IF you can find them at this point. You can make pin hole cameras to see this event [google it] when I was very young we watched one eclipse with such a thing. It was a big cardboard box with a hole cut in the top for binoculars [wrapped in a towel to seal around it] and a hole cut in the side for viewing. This was rather neat that my parents built this for us.
HEALTH WARNING– do NOT look directly at the sun EVER!

This event is supposed to effect radio propagation. You may want to have an AM radio tuned to a distant radio station and hear the effects on reception.

Please share your thoughts and experiences from the eclipse [past and present one] along with the reactions of people around you.

cross ref for dealing with large numbers of people….

Count down

Counting down to Christmas — for those of you who do not observe Christmas as such then Happy Holidays to you.

Just when you thought the presidential election was over….and decided and that for good or ill that Donald Trump won, well it taint over yet.

December 19th [today] is when the Electoral College votes on who the next President of these United States of America will be. The results of this vote most likely will not be made public until 2017 January 6th

post election [2016 November 8th] we have seen too many peaceful demonstrations -also known as riots- of the anti Trumpers in the days and weeks. Regardless of how things turn out today I think that it would be reasonable and prudent to be prepared for whatever happens.,.,

things to do today… top off you fuel tank and do not let it get below ¾ for the rest of winter. Avoid large gatherings of people. Keep your eyes and ears open for things out of the ordinary, if it does not sound, look or feel right – leave the area.

Review your family communication plans and test it.

There is less than a week till Christmas. IF you don’t have all of your presents bought yet, consider things related to being ready. Such things as sleeping bags and other ‘camping’ things. Fire starter related items are always good for stocking stuffers. Another great item for each of the older kids and adults would be one of those 4 way water keys – they look like the 4 way tire iron or lug nut wrench and they will work on almost all of the out door water outlet so that you can get city water from outside most buildings as you bug out or walk home during a disaster.

Cross ref I have found it better to go to her website – product review section to get the books [extended till Tuesday for the free copy] your kids will love the time travel-books!  This is book 1 the quick start guide to preparedness. This is book 2 about traveling and evacuation planning.

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Riots post election

Riots post election ;[

There are several riots going on around these US of A for the second night after the elections. Sounds like a lot of property damage with several people hurt [at least 2 in ICU]

I realize that half of the country is happy how the elections turned out and the other half is pissed. Either way it is getting needlessly dangerous out there.

I have heard some talk of how the ‘protesters’ are paid to be out there stirring up crap. Is this actually the case? I do not actually know. Some observations though. Most of the “spontaneous protests’ seem too well organized and co-coordinated in my opinion. Regardless of if they are spontaneous or not it is NOT safe for you to be around them.

So what do you do if you find yourself in the middle of this crap? OR better yet how do you prevent yourself from being in the middle of it?

Pay attention to your surroundings, avoid large groups of people, plan out alternate routes of travel AND have plans to be able to camp out at your place of work or with friends until the crowds / trouble disburses.

1. Pay attention to your surroundings – know what is ‘normal’ for where you are, be familiar with the area for the time of day you normally are in the spot. Are the people near you behaving as they normally do or are they agitated? Does anyone appear odd or out of place / does not fit in? If so, report it to the ‘normal’ people there [your co-workers, friends, the boss or security if any. Once you have alerted others either take control of the situation or leave.
2. While you are out and about avoid large groups of people especially if any of them seem agitated or angry.
3. Plan out alternative routes of travel AND escape routes. Always know at least 2 ways to exit any area you find yourself in. look for the normal things like front, back and side doors. Consider also windows as points of egress. Discuss this with others in your party so that everyone will be on the same sheet of music should something not good happen, also discuss and agree on a meeting place should any of you get separated.
4. Have a communication plan before hand with those in your party AND people at home. Most of us have cell phones which seem to grow out of our heads now. Consider use of either CB radios, the FRS type radios or the Beofeng radios that I have reviewed elsewhere in the blog.
5. Have plans to be able to camp out at your place of work or with friends until the crowds / trouble disperses. It is sometimes advisable to just stay somewhere until the storm blows over. Right now we are discussing riots and “peaceful protests” but this also applies to snow storms and other such. If you work in an office type setting consider storing an extra set of clothing, toiletries, a days [or 3] of rations and maybe some bedding in or under your desk – I have been snowed in at work before and it sure is better if you have planned ahead.
6. Listen to the news and or local radio station while at work to be able to know what is going on around town. An off shoot of this is to have a friend or family member who is at home pay attention to the local news and alert you to things. People can take turns on this if you have a group and if need be and the group is large enough there could be 24 hour coverage.
7. Lastly, if there is trouble and you do not HAVE to be out and about, do not be stupid and STAY home..

cross ref

and some books that explore the topics in more depth This is book 1 the quick start guide to preparedness. This is book 2 about traveling and evacuation planning.