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.

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