Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My ideal survial group

No, I hadn't forgotten about my promise to post this.  I've been traveling for business and then have company over and last night I went hunting.  It gets busy around the holidays.

  • First off, I would like for everyone to be of the same faith and be strong in the faith.
  • Second, I would like for everyone to be motivated to prepare for the same or similar reasons.
  • Next, I prefer that everyone prepare in all categories of preparedness and be generally self-reliant.
  • Fourth, everyone in my group should be married with children.
  • Finally, everyone should be roughly at the same level of preparedness- that is I wouldn't exclude any new comer or long-time prepper- but everyone should be budgeting roughly the same amount of money towards preparedness.
  • My ideal group would meet once or twice a month or as needed.
More on this later- gotta run.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

eXRS? Anyone try it?

So, I was looking in the store today and ran across this walkie talkie that caught my attention.  It's by a company called Tri Square but that's not what caught my eye.  It is like FRS, but it's digital and uses frequency hopping technology to help make it secure.  This is pretty exciting technology and its been around for years.  The radios have to be sync'd together beforehand and decide on a number.  Then, when you want to talk, you put in that number and it calls the other radio.  Once you start talking, the radios start changing frequencies based on a common algorithm- so, even if someone else does find out a frequency your on, it changes in a less than a second, so they don't get the whole conversation.  We used similar radios when I was in the police department to stop citizens from using scanners to listen in on us. Also, with this higher end model it will record the last transmission from the other person so if you miss their radio call- they can leave a message!  I'm not trying to advertise for them- I don't care if you buy one or not, but from a COMSEC point of view, this could be a very valuable tool for communicating with those in your group.  This was advertized for $100 and includes 2 units, batteries, wireless headsets and a base charging unit.  They also make it in real-tree.

This is from their site:

eXRS (eXtreme Radio Service) is the new digital two-way radio service operating in the 900 MHz band [Jimmy: this means it can travel through building better than the HF waves but requires more line of sight]. eXRS goes beyond FRS and GMRS. eXRS uses frequency hopping to make it possible to have private and secure communications. eXRS puts an end to annoying interference from other users on the same channel. Because eXRS radios constantly hop from one frequency to another, your conversation cannot be overheard on a scanner or another radio. In addition, eXRS radios, unlike FRS/GMRS radios are license free and are legal for all users of all ages and for personal and business purposes.




That’s a bold statement and true, but of little practical value to the user.

The truth about Radio Range on the planet Earth

The actual range of eXRS and all other UHF two-way radios including FRS and GMRS (walkie-talkies) is effectively the same, regardless of transmit power. The total range is greatly diminished by the effects of the atmosphere, trees, buildings, hills and all other environmental conditions in the area of use.

Portable UHF radios are effectively straight-line communications devices. It is the path that establishes usable range, not the transmit power.

The Earth is not flat.

Even the curvature of the Earth limits the straight-line path. The average curvature of the Earth dictates an average maximum range of 6 miles.

There are certain conditions that will extend the straight-line path to more than one hundred miles (mountain top to valley, for example) and there are many conditions that will obstruct the straight-line path to less than one mile.

Shorter Range Conditions

Longer Range Conditions

Beware of advertised range claims. Advertised range has grown over the last few years from a couple of miles to 30 miles and more in an effort to distinguish product pricing. All good quality portable UHF radios, regardless of range claims, will perform essentially the same under the same conditions. It is unlikely a user will normally experience a set of conditions conducive to long range operation, but under those conditions, radios with advertised range of 2 miles will perform equally as well as those advertising greater than 30 miles.

Realistically, under most conditions, typical range for all eXRS, FRS and GMRS radios will be a few thousand feet to several miles.

eXRS radios have been independently tested head to head with the top of the line GMRS/FRS radios and up to five Watt commercial radios and the results demonstrate that they are all range equivalent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Forming a Prepper Group

So, you've ID'd some folks who have similar goals as you and you all would like to form a benificial group to prepare against whatever it is you feel the need to prepare for.  I suggest starting with only one or two other initial members.  That way, after you've hammered out what the group will be, you can each then recruit more members with a goal in mind.  (easier to get group concensus with fewer members)

Step 1- Research and plan your group type.  Figure out what you want to get out of your group.  This can change over time and may have phases built in.  Do you just want a group to bounce ideas off of?  Do you want a group that all chips in money to buy a retreat in Idaho?  Do you want your group to pool resources in times of emergency (one person buys the nice reloader another buys the big flour mill, another buys the diesel generator)?  Try to define what it is you want to join.  Everyone's idea may be different- and you will have to compromise.  As cheezey as it sounds, a mission statement may help give direction- a one sentence statement that defines the purpose of your group.  Everyone needs to know what the group is for.  Otherwise your just hanging out.  After you agree on what it is you are going to do, it's time to plan.

Step 2- Get organized. Give the group a name.  Try to keep notes on what was discussed.  Decide where and how often the group will meet.  What will happen at these meetings will largely depend on the group's mission statement.  If you are primarily a weapons and tactics group- you may meet at the range on a regular basis.  Others may meet in the home of a member- or a public location.  Decide on membership requirements or limits.  Be curtious of others and don't exclude potential members simply because they have a busy work load and can't meet every other Tuesday.  Decide who the leader is.  Every group needs a leader- though it may not be you.  Be prepared to be a follower if a better leader is present. Decide early on if decisions are going to be democratic in nature or not.  You can create an agenda of activities or goals.  For instance, one month may be get CPR certified month (you could host a CPR instructor for the group or maybe a member is already qualified to instruct).  Another month you could talk about food storage- or cooking techniques, or knife sharpening or gun cleaning, or gardening... Be sure to decide about new members- what it takes to let a new member into the group. Respect the privacy of other members.

Step 3- Stay Active.  Whether you are the group leader or not, if you want the group to continue you have to be supportive of everyone.  Be encouraging to others.  If you value their membership, make them feel wanted and important.  Do fun things- not just discussion meetings.  Go for hikes, to HAM radio club events, to the gun range, to gun shows, help other members dig in their gardens...

Question- is it alright to join multiple groups?  I think so.  Each group may have different goals and offer different benifits of membership.  I also think in terms of circles.  I have a circle of friends that believes strongly in food storage, yet abhors guns.  Another circle that loves guns, yet places little emphasis on anything else.  Eventually, I hope to get enough people who have similar goals, circumstances and perspectives as me and we can form a real tight-nit group.

Next post I will define I want out of my ideal survival group.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Poll results- Visiters want to form groups to prepare against the government overstepping it's bounds

These polls are still running, but it's clear that most of the people who responded would like to join a prepper group to aid in the defense against the government overstepping it's constitutional bounds and bandits (they might be the same group). Also, there are a good number of lone-wolf types that responded. That's something you will have to do on your own. For the rest of us, I want to try to help everyone form a prepper group.

I'm betting that my newest poll reflects a diverse group of people- although the majority will be conservative leaning.  (meaning that your group doesn't nesessarily have to be of the same political leaning as you- though it may help)

So, what can we do to identify individuals that would be interested in joining a survival group? What traits should they possess? How do you organize? How do you organize your preparations?

I'd like to address each of these questions in separate posts- starting with

How to identify individuals to be in your group.

First, make a list. List your talents and skills- and your weaknesses. Do some soul searching and be honest. Focus on the weaknesses and skills that you lack. You can either go and try to acquire the skills, or you can recruit someone who already possess them. I suggest both. Consider tactical experience, intelligence, leadership, wealth, medical knowledge, cooking skills, wood working skills, hunting skills, mechanical skills, welding, religious, humor...

Once you know the skill type you are looking for, where do you find these people? Well, the easiest place to start is with the people you already associate with. Ok, you are into OPSEC and nobody knows you are a prepper and you want to keep it that way- well, you can always fish. What's fishing? That's what you do when you lure a person into a conversation to see how they respond.

You could say something as innocent like, "What do you think about the economy?" If they respond that they aren't concerned or are oblivious, they might not be interested in joining your group... or if you ask, "last week was veterans day, you served in the military right? What did you do when you were in?" That can open the door to conversations about military tactics and their opinion on current military activities, guns....

You don't have to volunteer anything- just ask the right questions. Here are some other openers: "What do you think about the price of Gold? I saw it reached over a $1000/ounce last week." or "What do you think about the bailouts- do you think it will work?" or "I heard the new health care bill would put people in jail if they don't have health insurance, what do you think of that?"

These open-ended questions will reveal what kind of person you are dealing with. Don't preach, don't try to convert- just ask and listen.

Once you ID a potential group member- you might try something like, "I picked up a few extra groceries this week- I'm concerned about the economy." And see how they respond. Or, "I've heard that the price of guns has gone way up since Obama came into office- Do you think I should buy one" And listen to the response. You need to be a friend to this person before you ask them to join a group. Besides- they may be wacko. Interview them without them knowing it.

You might find the person you're looking for right away- or you might not. The thing is, get to know the people you hang out with- they may have the skills you need- they could join your group- or you could just learn from them.

So, you've exhausted everyone you know? Now go to farmers markets, coin shops, church, the shooting range, or other social events where you can meet new people and fish them/befriend them. Don't neglect to fish out family members and distant relatives. Remember Uncle Roy? He's an avid hunter with a hunting lease in every other state...

Next post I will discuss how to actually form the group. Comments welcome.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dynapoint GT ammo

It's kind of funny that the #1 search that brings up my blog is my review of my Savage Arms Mark II .22

I went shooting again yesterday at the range with some new ammo I bought at Dicks made by Winchester.  Dyna point GT.  It's copper plated 40 grain and claims to be a "target" round.  I was interested b/c it was cheap and also b/c it was copper plated.  I had had problems with other ammo not feeding correctly due to the hollow point catching.  Not so with this ammo.

I don't have any pics of my target, but I was hammering nails with this stuff.  At 50 yards I was hitting everything within 1/2-3/4ths of an inch consistently. Switched back to the regular Super X and I knew I had found the good stuff for my gun. I was also able to shoot at the 100 yard targets.  I discovered about a 6" drop that is typical for a .22.  I would really recommend the accutrigger- this trigger is ok, but has a very hard pull.  I would prefer something lighter.

Every gun is different and, especially with .22s, you need to experiment with different ammo to find what works for your gun.  I'll continue to experiment, but I'm very satisfied with my discovery.  I think Dick's is the only place that sells this stuff.  Says Winchester Target on the top and I think a box of 500 loose cost me $12.

I also put my Glock 19 (9mm compact) through the loops.  Performed as expected.  This is a very dependable and fun to shoot pistol.  I could consistently hit head shots at 25 yards (no feat by any means) but for some reason (my errors) I would throw a round to the left when rapid firing.  I can understand shooting low (due to anticipation) but to the left?  I have formal police training (it's been a long time) but I don't remember ever doing that during my training with my service weapon (Glock 22).  Any suggestions?  I know it's my error b/c when I take my time, it's a bullseye every time.  Just looking for a pointer if anyone has seen this in the past.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

I have been absent from writing anything of substance for the past few weeks.  This is, in part, due to my having to work some night-shifts at work and due to the sad fact that I feel I haven't done anything significant to prepare recently.  Oh, I'm still making bread and all that.  I went and looked at travel trailers this past week as well.  I also started reading Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. It's really a good book, long and tiresomely detailed.  So much has been already written on this book that I feel any half-hearted attempt on my part in a blog would be an insult to the literary icon.  So, I'll simply repost a short post from Gatsby's Monologue regarding the book (disclaimer- I don't agree with many of the perspectives from the blog author- but this was a good summary of the book).

Since the government sponsored bail-out of a few public companies, most notably in the banking and automotive industries,  a lot of people have been comparing our modern situation with Ayn Rand's classic novel Atlas Shrugged.  If you aren't familiar with the book, it is centered around a core group of characters who are all brilliant industrialists – Dagny Taggert runs a transcontinental railroad, Hank Rearden owns a steel company, Francisco d'Anconia presides over many copper and other metal mines and finally John Galt, well, who is John Galt.  Anyways, the whole premise of the book involves the depth of Capitalism in America, or lack thereof.  Rand, in contention to the term "free market", makes convincing arguments that although business is essentially free to make fluid decisions within some markets, the greedy and parasitic politicians within the government bleed the genius mind to death through taxes and policies.  For example, when Rearden invents a new form of lighter, stronger steel that revolutionizes the world, politicians tax and blackmail him into releasing the patent so that their inept friends who themselves own steel forges will not be driven from the market.  The obvious message in this book is that capitalism must be pure, not adultered with politics or taxation.  Also Rand seems to really slam on communism, although she rarely says so explicitly.  As the novel progresses, the (always, unfailingly) despicable and unqualified politicians manipulate, cheat, steal and basically bastardize their government posts in order to screw over the smart industrialists, basically because the politicians know they are not creative or hard-working enough to succeed through pure capitalism, so they instead use government power to leach from those who are actually successful.

Finally, a quote from the book:  Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. 
Ayn Rand 

Thursday, November 12, 2009


36  have been accused of spousal abuse

7  have been arrested for fraud

19  have been accused of writing bad checks

117  have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

3  have done time for assault

71 repeat, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

14  have been arrested on drug-related charges

8  have been arrested for shoplifting

21   currently are defendants in lawsuits, and

84   have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

you guess which organization this is?

NBA   Or   NFL


Give up yet? .

Scroll down,

it's the 435 members of the
United States Congress

The same group of Idiots that crank out
hundreds of new laws each year

designed to keep the rest of us in line.

Monday, November 2, 2009

You have to watch this

I really like Glen Beck.  I think he has hit a home run on this.  I can't believe that I didn't see all this before.  He lays it out so clearly.  Watch the whole thing.

Based on what he's saying we should get fixed loans now- auto, home, rv.... and if we can, we should pay off our home and land loans ASAP.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Acorn Muffins

Took the kids on a hike this morning and collected a bunch of acorns.  Couldn't find a white oak- so I had to leach out the tannin in three boils.  It is a lot of work to shell these.  To me, it hardly seemed worth the effort- other than to learn that can be done.  There are lots of recipes for acorns online if you're interested.