by Rick Donaldson, CET, N0NJY
I wrote a book a few years back on Basic Survival and Communications in the Aftermath. I did a three day long give away of the book. Thousands of copies were downloaded. I suspect the Prepper Community always wants to do things on the cheap, and free, and always want more, but seriously, a few more hundreds of the books were sold. A few reviews were written. This is a good piece of educational information for the completely uninitiated, and refresher for those who have more background in communications.
I suggest you go get a copy. It’s in digital format only. It’s cheap too. Under 5 dollars. Read it!
No, it’s not in a hard copy. I want people to LEARN, not carry three hundred educational books with them in their bug out bags. Save that space for food, water and ammo. But, go get it, you’ll thank me later.
Here’s the link to that book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q3ZWRIE/
This blog entry will discuss something near and dear to all our hearts. Today’s communications methods. Sort of. Keep reading. Let’s look at a typical example.
You get up in the morning, fire up your computer either at work or home, read through Facebook, drop into Twitter and send a few tweets, check your email, pay your bills, message your friends about lunch, your wife about date night, laugh at the grandkids’ recent pictures posted by your daughter 1200 miles away and then you log off, or put your phone away and go off to deal with the day’s business.
Question: Which one of those things did you do in that paragraph that did not require 1) electricity, 2) a radio, 3) the Internet, 4) a computer of some kind?
Answer: NONE OF THEM.
Every, single communications thing you did (and make no mistake, all of it was ‘communication’) used electricity, used a RADIO, used a computer and used the Internet.
Take away just ONE of those things, say, electricity, and nothing functions. Nothing. Sure, you might have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Take away electricity, you’re going to have enough power to back up and/or shut down. Cell towers aren’t going to function though. Neither are the routers over at your local ISP. Your wifi isn’t going to communicate with your computer, even if you’re using a wired network. No power.
Take away the computer and you lost it all.
Take away “radio” from the equation, and you lose the network as well. Cell phones are RADIOS. Wifi is a RADIO. Signals since between ISPs use RADIOS (and fiber and copper. MacDonald’s ain’t gonna have wifi either if the power goes down or radios are disabled.
How are you going to contact that daughter 1200 miles away now? Pony Express probably. Because, if the power is out, you’re not going to be pumping gas either. Your fridge is out, and your frozen meat is melting.
There is currently ONE WAY in disasters, we get messages out. We use Ham Radio Operators. The Amateur Radio Service has been around since the inception of Radio itself. Over one hundred years. Nicola Tesla was using it as remote control in the late 1800s, the device because a remote controlled torpedo. Marconi transmitted the “first radio signals” Trans Atlantic in 1901. Thousands experimented with radio, learning and teaching themselves about radio waves and used Morse Code to send “Continuous Wave” or CW signals around the world even in World War I, and later in World War II.
Radio signals travel at the speed of light, 300 million meters per second. It is the fastest thing we know, and therefore, radio communications is, for all intents and purposes, instant.
Radio can be used for you or against you. It can be harmful, it can be helpful (in many ways). There are frequencies that can be sent around the world, or deep into space. There are even frequencies that can be sent through the Earth to the other side.
Radio, like all other electronics however, requires power. Electrical power. From the grid. Or, a generator. Or a Battery. Or a Solar Panel. Or a hand-cranked generator.
Amateur Radio has been around, as I said, since the beginning of the technology age and industrial age. And Amateur Radio has been there in disasters, war, survival situations, military uses, civilian uses, weather spotting, storm chasing, radio control of remote controlled airplanes and many, many other uses.
This article is about how you communicate in a grid down situation.
It’s easy. You USE Ham Radio. You ask the hams in the area to pass messages (and they will, remember it’s a SERVICE). Amateur Radio Operators are usually there for Wild Fires in Colorado, assisting the Fire Fighters, the Police and medical personnel in communicating everything from personal messages to locations of hot spots, or where to direct an ambulance.
What if there’s no hams in your area? Easy, YOU be the Ham. YOU take the time and study for a simple test (or two) to get the Technician License. This gives you a LOT of privileges on the radio frequencies, and most importantly, helps to train you to be that guy or gal that works with the first responders in your area in emergencies.
The second level up is General Class license, which gives you all the other things you need to communicate world wide through High Frequency (HF) Radio.
So how are you going to communicate during a grid down? You become the Amateur Radio operator. YOU set up a station. YOU get your power requirements (batteries, generator, solar panels) and radio station (radios required on your chosen frequencies) and you learn about antennas. YOU set up the antennas.
Most importantly, you become the “Elmer” to those around you, including young children to bring them into the Amateur Radio life. An Elmer is a teacher, someone who is usually “older” (but, not always) that passes on knowledge to others.
Listen, this isn’t a joke. This isn’t just for “nerds” in the basement. This is for all of us. All the Patriots NEED to understand they are the next level up from the regular civilians around them.
Being a Patriot doesn’t mean you’re a good guy with a gun. It means you’re a good guy who can do a LOT of things, including, when the shit hits the fan, COMMUNICATE with other Good Guys with Guns and Radios.
Seriously. What are you waiting for? Get out and do it.
Don’t believe me? Read this guy’s blog entry too: https://www.americanpartisan.org/2019/09/your-comms-in-a-grid-down-world/