Friday, December 19, 2014

Some Ham Radio stuff

Yup, this week its amateur radio. Wireless communication has become second nature in today's world. But in survival situations, these communications can come crashing down and cause panic.

Consider this situation. A severe storm, (tornado, severe winter storm, hurricane, etc...) comes through and knocks out power in your area for an extended period of time. For this example we will say a week, if your lucky your local cell phone tower will have power back up and continue uninterrupted. But lets say that fails or in the chaos they are overrun and you can't get a call through. Telephone lines could go down due to weather or traffic accident. Short of physically going to the person you are trying to communicate with, you would be out of luck.

This is why preppers should consider getting licensed in ham radio. This hobby and skill can be easily learned and doesn't have to be very expensive. You can run these fairly low power units from your vehicle or on battery power. Some people run these off battery banks or solar units. They can be very versatile.

To get started first you have to get licensed!

That's right, you have to get a FCC license to legally use ham radios. It's not that hard and will run you about $15. To start, you need to study for the test. This is merely to make sure you know what you are doing when you setup your radios and start broadcasting. The best part is all the questions and answers are available for you to review before hand. You can pay for books or take courses, or you can just Google free courses. I used the site Ham whisperer. He has free videos and teaches you some of the logic behind the questions on the test.

Next is to take the test. Most ham radio clubs will administer the test for you. When you find one, show up at the testing time with ID and take the test. It should take you about 30 minutes and you will know if you pass before you leave. Once your name and new call sign shows up on the FCC's website you can start broadcasting. You can find a test site here

Now that your legal, I would suggest becoming a member of a local club to help you get started. The American Radio Relay League can help you out with this. They have a great registry of clubs across America.

If you prefer the just learn as you go, I would suggest getting a mobile unit or a portable hand unit.

So this is a very brief introduction to ham radio. Ill leave you with a quick list of helpful links.

Cheat Sheet

ARRL

Ham Whisper

Great Ham Radio store

Other Radio equipment

Friday, December 12, 2014

Restock, school registration, trying out toys

This past week, it was time to do inventory again. Pulling out my bug out bag, i realized I had made a big mistake. Over the past couple of months, I had been pulling things out of my bug out here and there and forgotten to restock them later.

So I made a list of what is needed and will restock on my next run to the store. I personally think it is good to use the items in your BOB. This keeps you familiar with the items in it and where they are. That, and it keeps perishable items, like medical supplies and food, from being expired when you need them. So don't be afraid to use these items, just remember restock. I personally have decided to keep an inventory checklist so i know whats in there and what i have taken out.
I also trial ran a life straw. These are cool little devices. If you don't know, they are large straws that have water filters built in. They are fairly easy to use. Draw water into a bottle (I used a Gatorade bottle) insert straw and drink. It worked great! There was an initial weird taste, but shortly after it tasted like water from the tap. I think this is a great tool if space dor water in your bag is limited. Only downside is you would need to locate water you would trust can be filter with them. Ill provide a link at the end of this post.
As far as an update on my life. I am officially registered for paramedic school. I am taking EMT-B this next semester and plan to share techniques and skills i learn along the way.
As my schedule transition, I am planning on continuing updates at least weekly. Thanks for reading!

Link to
Life Straws

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sorry for the absence.

Been hectic as of late. With things going south with job prospects. Ive decided that i would dive in and enroll in college again. With the support of my wife and some family i should be able to finish my A.A.S. in emergency medical technology.

So im going to try and be a paramedic. Solid job for those that cant help but jump n when someone needs help. Everyone i have talk to lately tells me this is the carreer for me.

But enough about that. 
Prepping.
I have gotten my amateur radio license and started using it. So far its been fun, but i have been having trouble understanding why i can get a signal and contact with a repeater, and an hour or so later not get my signal to a repeater from the same location. Ill learn though. Maybe ill have better luck when i get a base station instead of the cheap ht im using at the moment.

My wife will begin working on canning some more soon. We should begin planning our garden for the spring.

On to what i have learned recently, been working on water purification. A necessary skill that everyone should have.  So heres what ive learned.

Is it safe to drink this water? I ask myself that question often and most of the time the answer is no. There often is the risk that bacteria, chemicals and pathogens, specifically giardia, are in the water. Rainwater or dew that is resting on non-poisonous plants such as moss is safe to drink as is. There are a few ways to process water to make it safe to drink: boiling it, using chemical purifiers and filtration. This article will provide tips on how to make and use a survival water filter.

What Does a Survival Water Filter Do?

Passing water through a filter will make the water safe to drink. High-quality water filters from a store will ensure that no harmful pathogens or microorganisms are getting into your drinking water. But sometimes using store-bought, high-quality water filters might not be an option. Few people carry one of these around with them all the time. Also, the problem with store-bought water filters is they need to be cleaned, or the filter needs to be replaced fairly often. And you must remember to carry it when you’re out exploring.

Filtering Water with What You Have

The basic process of filtering water in a survival situation is to remove debris such as soil, dirt, sediment, sticks, leaves and any animals living in the water. To create a survival water filter you will need to gather various materials such pebbles, sand, cloth and charcoal. If you realize you are in a survival situation, take some time to think about what needs to be done. Figure out what you have with you and how it can be used to your advantage. Most people who are lost are found within 24 hours. So don’t freak out! Keep in mind that it is not possible to filter salt water into drinkable fresh water – regardless of the kinds of water filters you have.

Making a Basic Survival Water Filter From Scratch

The first thing to consider when collecting water is to think about how soon you will need to drink. If you have time, collect standing water in a container and let it sit for a few hours. This will allow anything that floats to rise to the surface, and you can skim off any debris.

If you have two containers, try this method for filtering water: Take the first container and fill it with water. Then, put your shirt or some sort of porous layer over the other container. Put your pebbles on top of the cloth and filter your water by pouring it over the stones and into the container. Next, remove the pebbles and put sand, a finer material, on top of the cloth. Filter your water again.

Finally, the most effective way to filter is to crush up charcoal, put it on your cloth and let the water run through it. Charcoal filters remove sediment, many contaminants, and improve taste. Charcoal is used in store bought home and backcountry water filters. You can make your own charcoal by making a campfire, covering it with dirt and ash, and allow it to cool completely. Once it has cooled, crush it into small pieces. Pour the water through the charcoal several times.

If at all possible, build a contraption that will combine all three filtering steps, letting the water flow from one material to another. This will make the water gradually clearer as you filter it again and again.

If you don’t have a manmade container, some natural materials are great alternatives. Bamboo is a prime example. It is hollow in the center and water can flow through it easily. There are many other plants with hollow centers. Use these to your advantage. A hollow log can be a great option. Place the materials (pebbles, sand, cloth and charcoal) in layers through the various parts of the bamboo or log. Remember to think about what materials you are carrying and check out your surroundings in any survival situation.

This should provide you with a basic insight on how to create a survival water filter. Realize that it is still possible to get sick, even if you follow the guidelines in this article. Always contact a physician after you drink questionable water. The side effects of pathogens and microorganisms will take at least a week to start affecting you. If you are in a survival situation, keep hydrated and worry about those side effects later.

Sources:

When all Hell Breaks Loose Stuff you need to Survive when Disaster Strikes. By: Cody Lundin

Also, catch me sharing some of the things ive learned since i got started in my interview with Ken Jensen here