October 23, 2016

Thank you, Oathkeepers.

Your copying my material, right down to calling it "grid-down communications", for your seminar is the best compliment I've received in a while.  It also confirms that stupid woman you sent from Colorado to my class was a spy.  Next time sent someone better.  She was the worst student in the class for that session.  Keep that in mind when you're using my old material for your seminar.  I'll guarantee something will be lost in the translation.  In the meantime, you can answer a few questions for me:

1.  If you needed commo help, why not just man up and ask instead of sneaking around like that?  Are you afraid of something, or are you up to something hinky?

2.  Does your oath to uphold the Constitution include the provisions of Section 8, Paragraphs 15 & 16, or did you forget about those ones?

The first time is always free, but goodwill only goes so far.  If I discover any of my new material from this point on being used by the Oathkeepers without asking my permission first and paying a royalty fee, a lawsuit will result.  Considering what happened to the 3per scene after I got pissed off over the stupidity of some of their "affiliates", you may want to consider your next actions very carefully.

Anyone can put together a seminar and call it "grid-down communications" or whatever.  Most of them are copying my old material.  That's fine, I released it under Creative Commons.  However, they won't have the results of my latest research.  You can only get that by subscribing to Signal-3, which is being released in less than two weeks.  Now ask yourself the following question:

Does the "expert" holding the seminar have not only decades of experience in the field, and the years experience teaching it, but also a fully-stocked R&D lab and research library to come up with new stuff?

I do.

Wouldn't you prefer to learn the latest from someone who is creating his own new, fresh material instead of the old regurgitated stuff?

If you would, then please subscribe to Signal-3.

October 9, 2016

Never trust somebody else's infrastructure. Again.

Was talking with a ham friend of mine who lives in Casper about setting up a weekly sked.  We were going to use a local linked repeater system because it was convenient and easy for other ham acquaintances who only have a technician class license and VHF/UHF capability.

Turns out some hamsexy politics between repeater owners have resulted in the linked system going away.

We decided to do our sked on HF instead.

Never trust somebody else's infrastructure.

What I'd like you to do tonight.

 This is what a sunset over the Rocky Mountains looks like, although the picture doesn't really do it justice.
This is an old-fashioned coffee percolator.  It is how people made coffee before K-Cups.  It is also the real way to make coffee.

This is an example of a good multimeter.  It costs ten times as much as the one you'd buy at Harbor Freight, and is worth every penny. Mine is now 20 years old.  If you do anything beyond the most casual work with electricity and electronics, you need a good multimeter.  Since you will eventually have to troubleshoot your equipment and radio setup, you should put a priority on getting a good meter and other test equipment.

Here is what I want you to do tonight.

Brew yourself a a couple cups of coffee the old-fashioned way.  Don't screw around with the damn K-Cups.  Grind some beans, toss them in the percolator with some well water, and put it on the stove.  If caffeine keeps you up, use decaf. Kick back,enjoy the sunset and a cup of coffee with your significant other.  Bonus points if you use a camp stove or fire.

Congratulations.  Welcome to the human race.

Now turn off your Internet, go to your radio room/corner, and turn on all your receivers.  The scanner should be listening to the local public safety traffic, and your shortwave set should have something interesting on.

Using your multimeter, measure the total current draw from your power supply to your receiving equipment. 

That's how many amps your setup is drawing.

Now divide the total Amp Hour rating of your emergency power setup (I bet most of you have a deep cycle battery) by two.

Divide that number by the number of Amps your equipment is drawing.  That's how many hours you can listen on your current emergency power setup.

Are you happy with that amount of time?  If not, then you need to work on your emergency power capability.

Now keep your Internet disconnected for the rest of the night, and listen to the airwaves a while.

Repeat the coffee and sunset thing as often as you like.  Use remaining after sunset time to work on your radio room/corner.

If this advice worked for you, please consider subscribing to Signal-3, where you'll receive other useful advice and information.

September 30, 2016



What don't you know? Part 5 - Finding gear in the wild.

This one was taken from very recent events.

You are at a garage sale, and come across this piece of equipment:
The price on it is $35.  What is it?  Is it worth the price? If you try Googling it on your phone you might not get accurate information in the first few results, and the owner is likely to jack the price up because when it notices you on the phone and he thinks you found out it's something ooo-ahhh rare valuable. More important however, is it something that you can actually use in your equipment collection, and does it function properly? In regard to the latter, what quick checks can you perform to see if it's worth taking a chance on?

Here is another item, a tool with the Army Signal Corps logo on its sheath:
Do you know what it is?  How much is it worth? Is it a collectible, recent manufacture, or China knock-off?

It's a Woodman's Pal, and this particular model retails new for $115 on Amazon.  Other models sold without the extra nostalgia stuff start at about $70.  This one is a US-made reproduction made by the same company that did the originals. They were originally issued in World War II to the Signal Corps as a brush-clearing tool, and later as a pilot's survival tool. The GI-issue originals will be marked with their item designator, either "LC-14-B", or "Survival Tool Type IV", and are considered collectible.  One of the originals from World War II recently sold for $457. Notice that price difference: $457 versus $70.  If you found an original at a reasonable price, you could probably flip it to a collector, buy two or three new ones, and have some money left over. The build quality hasn't changed appreciably since then, so there's no need to eschew newer ones.

Chances are, especially if you are a communications newbie, you don't even  know what you don't know when it comes to stuff like that.  How would you learn how to answer those questions on your own?  How can you figure out what you don't know?

That's where Signal-3 comes in, and you can find out the answers in an upcoming issue. Signal-3 is an electronic technical newsletter focusing on resilient "down-grid" communications and other technological aspects of self-reliance and preparedness.  It is delivered via an email link in PDF format.

How to Order:

Subscriptions are $50/12 issues, payable via the following means:
Paypal - Click here to subscribe.


Cash or Payee Blank US Postal Money Order only sent to:

TAC Enterprises LLC
PO Box 1351
Riverton, WY 82501
Cash subscriptions get a $10 discount.
Don't let ignorance be your downfall.

September 27, 2016

Subscriber update needed.

There are about a hundred of you that I don't have an email address for.  Please write me - sparks31commo@gmail.com - so I can get you on the list.  Starting back up again in a little over a month.

September 23, 2016

Signal-3 Update

We are set to start publishing again in November. Signal-3 will be in electronic format (PDF).

If you have subscribed via Paypal since the beginning, I have an email for you and you should be good to go provided said email address is current. A quick email to me conforming your current email address would be appreciated.

If you subscribed via snail-mail, please send me an email so I have your email address.

Don't be alarmed if you don't get a quick reply.  Internet service is intermittent out here.