October 31, 2016

All Subscribers - Mailing List Generation

I'm in the process of setting up a distro list for the release of Issue #4 on November 5th.  If I have an email address from you, you should be getting an email from me in the next few days via Google Groups that you've been signed up.  If you don't receive one by November 5th, please let me know.

October 28, 2016

Save your money. Buy it right the first time.

I am getting sick and tired of hearing the lame excuse of "it only cost $30" from people who bought those Baofeng HTs because they didn't know any better at the time.

I was at the local farmers co-op today, and saw these:
 They were $2 a box.  $30 will get you fifteen boxes of them.

If you have $30 to blow in your pocket, what would be the better choice, a Chinese-made radio that is a pain in the ass to use, and that'll just sit worthlessly on the shelf, or 15 boxes of a useful product that may save your life?

A lot of you bemoan your poor financial situations, and I understand, being there right now after having my income cut almost in half from my layoff in March and subsequent part-time reemployment.

Most Chinese HTs are of mediocre quality, and difficult to use.

Also, despite what others have said, a dual-band VHF/UHF ham HT is probably one of your worst choices for a first radio, no matter how cheap it is.

That applies even more so if you have no intention of getting an amateur radio license and think you're just going to turn it on and use it if something happens.

Especially when that $30 can get you a large supply of life-saving strike-anywhere matches.

Think you have a need communications gear, but no knowledge and idea of where to start?

Want to know the inexpensive alternatives to that useless HT?

Subscribe to Signal-3.  Written by someone with decades of experience in the field, a working laboratory, extensive research library, and whose material and classes have been used/copied by everyone else (and never improved).

Can't afford the subscription price on your own?  Get four other friends of yours to give you $10, and subscribe as a group.  Surely you have four friends who are as concerned about the need to stay in touch and get information during our interesting down-grid times.

Click here to subscribe.

Subscriber Update

We're going live with Issue #4 in just eight days.

If you are an existing (print) subscriber, and have not yet done so, please send me an email <sparks31commo@gmail.com> with an up to date email address so I can add you to the distro list.

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.