Communications for the Prepper

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    It is finally nice to find like minded individuals.
    I am no expert and by far I do not know everything. I try to learn as much as possible, and have many tools in my tool box. I am an active Police Officer/SWAT & prior military. Most of the officers on my 45 man department in Indiana know how I am. ❗ 20% think I am nuts 😯 , 20% are oblivious to everything and are DRONES willing to do the Govt.’s bidding ❓ , 40% are just observers of the situation and stagnant 😕 . The remaining 20% of the officers that I work with agree with what I have been trying to educate them on and we have a preliminary plan :geek: . They agree that there is something fundamentally wrong here. I have had my eyes open for a very long time. My wife opened her eyes about 6 months ago on her own by reading a few books and paying attention to the news. (Beleive me I tried to tell her, but people unfortunately need to find out for themselves. Prior to that, I would always here comments such as, “Why did you buy that for”, Don’t you already have one of those”, or “We need to save”. Well not any more as we have teamed up to better prepare our family larder. Some days I see that she does get somewhat depressed that her eyes have been opened and can now clearly see what is coming. Ignorance is bliss. 🙄
    Most days I see motivation, confidence, and drive in her that I have given us a head start over the past ten years. I think it would have been really bad for her if we had to start from scratch. My advise to anyone reading this is to do a little each day. It can be very overwhelming. Baby Steps. But you need to do at least something every day. I work a full time job, run & own a business, attend various trade shows as a part of my business, do our taxes 👿 , and still try to PREP. Remember the fundamentals. Beans, Bullets, & Band-aids. Below is my contribution to the subject of Communication. Like I said. I am no expert on the subject, but I am doing a little each day on this subject because I believe that if you have no information, you are at a critical disadvantage.

    There is no substitute for Operational Security. OPSEC Once your information and your business has been disseminated to the masses. When TSHTF, that little memory bite of information will pop into the unprepared family, friend, or foes head, and you will be their first stop. Inform your children that they are not to talk to their friend’s at school on your prepping. It is a child’s desire to impress their parents that they remember a school mate talking about how their parents have stockpiled supplies. 💡 Then the next thing you know, they are at your door as well. It sounds cold and heartless, but you will need to turn people away. Further more, you will most likely be revisited by those that you did turn away when the bad gets worse. Safety in numbers is a very inviting proposal, but when your supplies won’t support that endeavor, it will be safety in numbers for a shorter time than you thought.
    The information below is merely my experience with this subject. A couple of cheap CB’s might be for you. But if you want to be more versatile as well as secure, then I would encourage you to add this to your list. Commo gear can get expensive, but you have to weigh the priorities out and make a list assigning each item on that list a number of 1-10. Then apply that item to a grid of situations such as; (Shelter In Place), (Bug Out On Foot), (Bug Out In a Vehicle), (Fall Back To A Retreat) If the item in question is applicable to each of these scenarios, then it would obviously grade a higher score of 1-10 overall. IMHO Commo would score high in each of these scenarios. I would obviously want to have communications kit on my person, in my vehicle, and at my primary residence, and fall back location. But without food, and a means to protect that food, the commo kit will be of no use. So, then the commo kit gets bumped down below, arms and food. This is just a little method I use. I am very analytical in my methods. To the layman it would look like a big pile of mess, but my desk makes sense to me. 😀
    To the topic at hand.

    First Priority. Go to the following link. Take the quizzes. Once the quiz downloads, you don’t have to be connected to the internet. Keep taking the quiz over and over until you can just zip right through them to gain the basic knowledge required to get up and going and to appease the FCC.
    Next search online at the ARRL website ( to locate an actual testing location and date in your area that it is being put on. Then at a minimum (Get your General license). Next Get Operational. Then GO FORTH and communicate! Practice, practice, practice. Get familiar with your gear. You should be able to get up in the field and on a frequency in about 15 minutes.
    Quiz Website:

    Second Priority. Search the world of NVIS & HF. NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) is a proven military tactical non line of sight communication method. Once you are familiar with the method of commo that will suit your needs or your group’s needs, then go out and and get the equipment. I agree with the above post. The FT897D is a nice rig. Our group has two of them. Anytime we take trips for personal or business, we are sure to set up a commo test. NVIS is a very effective non line of sight highly undetectable form of communication. It is very difficult to DF (direction Find) when the correct DF equipment is utilized. Now imagine a grid down situation where there is lawlessness and roving bands of A-holes looking for you. The chances that one of those groups actually has an unethical HAM operator in their ranks will be slim to none. But the chances of a quasi government organization or foreign A-hole that has the DF equipment in their arsenal will be higher. Don’t give them an inch. ” You know, The Spartans”
    Your primary reason for communications will be to find out information for your group to help moral, logistics, and security. You can do that by just setting up and listening on HF from all around the world or in your area of operation (AO). Problem solved right? Not really. You will eventually need to communicate 5-600 miles away to others in your group that have either ventured out for supplies or reconnaissance, or other like minded groups that are reaching out to form an alliance. Be weary of this one. OPSEC. Don’t let yourself get suckered into an ambush from these publicly well intentioned groups that are trying to reach out to you. It could be a trap. Come up with a tactical security plan to meet away from your retreat and do so carefully. Then memorize, rehearse, and have plan b, c , d, and f.
    The benefit of the FT-897D is that it is 20W on the two (not included) internal batteries, and can be up to 100W on an external car battery or an AC to DC 20A power supply. The radio can be purchased as a stand alone item, and then accessorized with the internal batteries, charger, solar panels, and the such. NVIS commo can be conducted on 80m at as little as 10W up to 60 miles away. Antennas are the easy part. Two 72 foot lengths of wire, 10ft of coax, and a 1:1 Balun can get you up on NVIS. An NVIS folded Dipole antenna that you can make for about $25.00 can get you on the air on 80m. Contact me if you need help on this antenna design and resources. Learning how to tune the radio to be resonant on that antenna can be difficult. What this means is that when the radio transmits the frequency out though the antenna, if the antenna is not matched (resonant) to the frequency that you are transmitting on, the frequency can be reflected back into the radio which will damage the radio. In an end of the world as we know it situation, you are screwed with a burnt up radio. The FT-897D is a nice radio to put into a back pack, and go out on an extended Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. It is also a nice base station rig, as well as a mobile rig. It gives you the best of all worlds. Noooo, I don’t work for Yaesu. 😀 I did work for Motorola prior to my LE career though. Another piece of kit or two I would recommend is the Yaesu VX-8 HT. It as well is very versatile when it comes to the frequencies and accessories. It is waterproof/submersible which is a very BIG plus. It can be run off of AA batteries in the battery pack, or on a lithium ion rechargeable pack or two that can be maintained by a solar charger.

    Think of the antenna being resonant/matched as your tire on your car having a little two much rubber on one side of the tire than on the other when they made it at the factory. When you put that tire onto the rim, and then onto the car, and just drive down the road, lets say at about 25mph, you won’t feel much but the bumps in the road because you are going too slow. As you increase the speed to lets say about 49mph the tire will start to bounce up and down causing the front of the car to vibrate pretty bad. Then you increase the speed while still feeling the vibration until you reach 54mph. The vibration starts to go away. You then increase to 60mph and you feel no vibration. The tire is now resonant to the speed at which you are traveling. When you slow down and observe that the vibration returns between the speed of 54mph-49mph, the tire is no longer resonant to the speed that you are traveling thus forcing that vibration back into the structure of the car. This is why they balance the tire to the rim with the little lead weights. This balances the tire to be resonant no matter how fast you are going. This would be the equivalent to a radio auto tuner. The auto tuner referenced below can pretty much tune a wet noodle. Your antenna no matter how you make it is resonant on at least a minimum of one frequency. The trick is to find the frequencies that you plan on operating on, and build the antenna to match the high end (54mph and low end 49mph) of those frequencies. This will ensure that you can just throw up the antenna, and start talking or listening to the frequency range that you want to listen to as long as you stay within those frequency ranges.

    I would also recommend getting an auto tuner such as the LDG-AT-897 to bolt right onto the radio to make this process a little easier. However, if this goody fails, you will need to revert back to the basic knowledge of manually tuning or paring/matching the antenna to the frequency, or vice versa. There are simple mathematical equations to figure this out. You can print this out, and laminate it. The subject of antennas and HF radios is very confusing and again I am by no means an expert, but as my buddy says to me all the time, I apparently have the magic smoke when making an NVIS antenna. I hope this helps those in need of layman guidance on the subject of Commo. I have not met a HAM radio operator yet that will not drop anything they are doing to help you break into their hobby. I have however met a couple of narcissistic individuals that talk above you to make themselves feel better, but for the most part they are all honest and eager to help.

    I am in Central Indiana. Be vigilant and try to inform at least one new person a day.

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