Showing posts with label radio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label radio. Show all posts

Monday, December 17, 2012

Assault Weapons Band and Matthew Bracken Radio Interview

Matthew Bracken comes on about an hour in. Worth listening to as Mr Bracken always is. Maybe he is right and maybe he is wrong; I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.

I do not take easily to panic but if the Dem's could pull something off this is the best opportunity in awhile. [Well since the two years where they had the house, senate and presidency but did nothing.]

After looking at our inventories I saw some holes. AR mags are in an OK spot but I want more PMAGs. Also AR spare parts could be better.  Brownells has PMAGs for $12.50 a piece as well as a variety of AR-15 spare parts. Our ammo situation is not great but decent. Code for I want more ammo but these days even the best priced ammo is expensive and there is other stuff on the list. Sure if I had a few hundred bucks sitting around I would like another case of 9mm ball, one of 9mm JHP and 250 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot. Those needs will addressed over the next year or so as finances allow. The holster situation could be improved as I need a nice Safariland holster as part of a war belt setup and a nice range bag would be cool but those are low on the list.

This all depresses me and I am headed off to bed. Anyway figured I would let you know what I'm up to.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolutions 2011

I am doing things a bit differently this year. Breaking goals down Suze Orman style by people, money then things seems to be a good way of categorization. Some goals are going to be conducted consecutively. For things I took a stab at prioritization.

1. Maximize family time. I think spending at least a hour of good undivided family time a day is doable on all but the longest work days. More on weekends.

2. Take better care of myself. I need to work on getting at least 6 hours of sleep even when I get off work late. Also I need to eat more regularly (I have started to get busy and just not eat) and like most people could also consume more green stuff. Find a suplimentary (to regular PT) exercise program that I can really stick with. I got busy and this goal sort of ebbed/ flowed and then just slipped away over the past year. I'm not in bad shape but could definitely be in better shape.

3. Better prioritize tasks and be more efficient.

4. Become debt free- Should be done in by the end of March

5. Fully fund ROTH IRA's for Wifey and I.

6. Add at least $500 (ideally $1,000) to our emergency fund.

7. Buy some silver. It is somewhat flexible but am leaning toward 90% coinage. I hesitate to say an exact amount because as I noted last year price swings change those goals from being realistic to unattainable.

8. Start funding Walkers college education.

Of course we will also continue to not make stupid choices.

Skills and Education

9. Study insurgent/ guerilla/ partisan tactics. This has the added benefit of being 'red hat' stuff for work.

10. Get better at first aid/ trauma stuff.

11. Shave with a straight razor. Sharpen it also. (implied task, get a straight razor)

12. Work on making antennas for world band radio’s and tuning into a variety of stations around the world.

13. Get better at using Excell. Particularly writing formulas to get the most out of what the program is capable of. This will help me with work, blog stuff, preps and life.

14. Learn more about IED construction, emplacement and use.

15. Read a couple of significant books. I wouldn't say classic but but old, noteable type stuff. In particular Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is on my list.

Alternates- Skills are an area where things seem more prone to changing due to factors beyond my control. I decided to come up with a few alternatives against that scenario.

Get better at making flat bread

Learn some HTLM

Get better with Powerpoint


Family/ Life:
16. Probably going to purchase another vehicle. A fairly low mile mid sized SUV with a decent sized 6 cylinder engine (3.5Lish or above) and 4WD. It goes without saying that we  will pay cash.

Prep Stuff:

I did a couple of things differently here. I broke stuff down by category. Also if you notice there are numbers after the goals. Those numbers are a tenative plan on what order I will acquire this stuff.

Force Protection Stuff-

17. 1x bullet proof vest. Probably class II or IIIA concealable type-2

18. 3x gas masks-9

Firearm Stuff-

19. Folding stock for my AK and a US palm grip-1

20. 500 rounds of .38 special-5.1

21. 500 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot-5.3

22. 1 case 7.62x39 hollow points-5.2

23. AK spare parts-11

24. Buy more mags. In particular a few more Glock happy sticks and a half dozen each for the AR and AK. I am not in a bad place but if I happen to have a couple extra C notes lying around in the late fall this is where they will go- 12

Food and Water-

25. 4x Berkley black filters-3

26. 1x Katadyn replacement filter-7

27. Nice solar oven-4

Energy and communication-

28. Bigger and better solar trickle charger (folding mat type)-10

29. Compact world band radio-6


30. Get 2 spare Cold Steel folding knives (my EDC) and a leatherman for a rainy day-8

What are your thoughts about my goals? Do you have goals? If so would you like to share them in a comment or a guest post?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Radio Advice

Dear TOR:
I noticed on your New Year's list that you got a radio. Is it a Grundig? Can you write about them a bit on your blog, esp. how big they are (portable enough for a backpack?), expensive, etc.
We have lots of different radios, including the car radios, of course. Some are battery-optional, and all can be run using our generators.
One that I got particularly for my BOB is a Red Cross crank model with AM/FM, NOAA channels, cell-phone carger, flashlight and emergency siren, TV-VHF channels and inputs for AC adaptor and earphones. It also operates on 3 AA batteries and weighs a little over a pound. I got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond for around $50 several years ago. I'm sure that the same model is also available at other outlets. The price has probably gone up, but Christmas sales are starting.
Since we planned to keep the BOB at my husband's work location in DC, we thought the flashing light and emergency siren would be useful in case of another terrorist attack or building collapse where rescuers would use it to find him under rubble. Fortunately, he doesnt work in that building anymore (he's now at Fort Belvoir, VA) and security is much better. The radio is still in the BOB, but that BOB is now in my car trunk. His BOB is much lighter - he's disabled and cannot carry more than a small briefcase size bag. His car BOB is more substantial, but still very restricted. We live in a very accessible area (State police, cell phone towers, homes and shopping areas, etc.) and seldom roam off our routine path, so true wilderness survival materiel is not really required in our day-to-day ops. That said, we do have guns, ammo and CCPs.
Anyway, I'd like to get a really good crank or battery-operated radio for our home base use and thought the Grundig would be a good choice. I tried talking to DH about it, but got the usual "What do you need THAT for?" I do most of the prepping on my own, but could use a little help in the techno-babble dept.
Particular model you might suggest? General comments?

Say hi to Wifey and Walker.
TOR here: I own a Grundig 350DL. You can read some of my thoughts about it here 1, 2, 3. The Grundig 350DL is fairly large, about the size of a mans shoe box but a bit more square. I would say they are good for a fairly stationary situation. If you are going to live/ operate out of a car or a backpack then there are a lot more compact radios. 

I am pretty happy with the Grundig though after reading the extensive reviews in Passport to World Band Radio you might be able to get a bit more for your money with some other radios in it's nitche/ price range. I like it's easy controls and good sound. However it's dial tuner is not as precise as a true digital one (with up and down arrows) would be nice. Sometimes it is kind of hard to get to the exact frequency in the busier areas of the spectrum. However with the right antenna and a bit of practice it is easy enough to do what I want with it. I would say the Grundig 350DL is a solid choice for the preparedness type  If you want to get into World Band Radio with pretty general aims and a modest budget you could certainly do a lot worse.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

quote of the day

"If the 20th century taught us anything it is that life is pretty cheap, and that the cheapest form of life, unfortunately is embodied in a refugee. Life is nasty brutish and short for a refugee and you don't want to be in that situation."- Jim Rawles on Coast to Coast Radio

Monday, May 24, 2010

Batching It

Wifey is going home for about 3 weeks. She is going to see family and just kinda hang out. I am really glad we are in a place where she can do that. It helps a bit with being so far away from home.

Anyway it will just be the cats and I for awhile. Work will take up a lot of my time which will help. Other than that I have some projects in mind to help fill the time after work and weekends. Plan to set up the Grundig in the living room and listen to it a lot.

So I guess you should expect to hear from me a lot for awhile.

Take care of each other

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty crazy week at work for me. However I did get some stuff done all the same. Bought a gold coin and a bit of silver which is always good. Also got to fiddling with the Eneloop batteries which I am glad about.  Got to mess with the charger next week and sooner or later figure out a rechargeable D battery solution. I will have to do some research on the matter.

Also I got a CAT Tourniquet which is just a good thing to have lying around.  At some point I will build full on IFAK style trauma first aid kits for us but at this point I am just picking stuff up one piece at a time.

Wifey and I took some time to talk about our long term financial goals. As things get further out in the future they become a lot more broad and conceptual. Instead of "buy a $300 gently used couch" it is more like "pay off mortgage at accelerated rate" or save lots of money. Anyway we came up with long term goals we are both comfortable with so that was good.

Listened to the Worldband Radio some this week which is always fun.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Battery Semi Failure

I have been feeling kind of out of sorts when it comes to preparedness and the blog for awhile now. Just kinda in a funk if you will. I think it has shown in my writing too. I have been doing this whole blogging thing for awhile and this happens sometimes.  If it goes on for a short period I just plod forward (even hobbies aren't constantly fun in every way, they just have to even out to be a majority of fun) in the normal fashion. If it goes past that stage which I think it did a couple weeks ago I have to break out of that stagnation by getting back to concrete preparedness. Often for me somehow these stagnation's correspond with getting away from concrete preparedness and towards more conceptual type stuff.

I seem to do best all around when I do stuff and write about it or what I think about it. Of course I enjoy writing about work stuff which interests you guys and analyzing news and fun debates but those are really more of side dishes.  

Anyway I felt the need to  do something. As it is late and I wasn't feeling THAT motivated it had to be something already lying around the house. I remembered a box full of Eneloop batteries that have been doing nothing. I went and dumped it out on the bed. My intent was to discharge some of the batteries (they come already charged) and then when it gets sunny use my also untested Bruton solar charger to recharge them.

I got to thinking about what stuff I have around that would discharge batteries the fastest. I figured my big d cell Mag Light would be it. That was also a happy coincidence because I also wanted to fiddle with the AA-D spacer/ adapter things I got. In past talks people suggested I just get AA's and spacers/ adapter thingies instead of D sized rechargeable batteries. It made sense as well as being logistically simple and cheap so I went that route. Tossed some AA's into the thingies and put them into the Mag Light and got nothing.

Fiddled with it some more and still nada. The Mag Light would run with 2 normal D batteries and one of these AA's in a spacer but now 2 AA's with spacers and one normal D battery. I thought this was peculiar but not a big deal. I grabbed one of the LED lanterns we keep near the bed for when the power goes out. These things are energy sippers and last about a million hours on 3 D batteries. Put them in and NADA.

I got curious if these batteries were charged at all. Grabbed my electric electric shaver and threw a pair of AA's in. It ran fine which confirmed that they were charged.

This leaves me a bit confused and perturbed. I am confused because I don't understand what the problem is. Honestly I know essentially nothing about electricity or batteries. Am I doing something wrong or does the whole using a spacer/ adapter to have AA's in a D cell item idea just not work? Also about half of our significant battery powered stuff runs on D cells so this is not cool. 

Ideas or suggestions?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review: Passport to World Band Radio

I ordered this book to help me get going with the Grundig 350DL. However because of amazons eccentricities it got here a bit late for that goal. By the time it arrived the antenna had been here for awhile and I had the radio grounded and working well. Anyway I got to reading this book today.

I ended up buying the 2008 version because at that time it is what was available. I don't think it matters much though. It started out with an interesting discussion about radio stations in Tangier. It then went into a great Getting Started section which I wish I could have read the day I got the radio.  Then it got into a long series if reviews on seemingly every radio in existence. After the reviews it goes into a comprehensive listing of radio stations by time, country and frequency. That alone is well worth the price of the book. In any situation where I need this radio to get information it will be either going to be scanning the airwaves blindly or with grid down records already on hand.

It touches on some interesting themes. First of all world band radio is one of the most free form of long distance communication out there. World band broadcasts travel (under the right conditions) enormous distances. This makes it popular for areas that are so massive that AM and FM stations are not a viable option. It has an interesting history of being used to get information into areas with oppressive governments most notably during the cold war. However still today Cuba, China and a few other countries try to prevent free listening. These frequencies are less susceptible to radio jamming than other bands.In a lot of ways Ham/ SW aka world band have been replaced by the internet. However there is the huge bonus that the input for your radio comes from the sky, not a bunch of cables running through the ground. It is impossible to monitor what someone listens to on the waves.

Also I stumbled into the wikipedia article on numbers stations. I stumbled onto one of these some time ago. After about 5 minutes of listening it was pretty darn obvious what it was and since it did nothing for me I moved on. Sort of cool to know a bit more background though. I will open this book again before purchasing any sort of radio gadgets.

Guess I sort of mucked up the usual good bad and ugly format. Oh well.

In any case I would suggest this book for anyone who is getting into world band radio.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interesting Turn For The Evening

We had a pretty normal day. A leisurely morning followed by doing some stuff then grabbing dinner and settling in for a quiet night. At about 10:30 our power went out, then on, then out for awhile. I went to the bedroom to grab my sweet LED lantern and of course Wifey's too.

Those lights aren't great to read by and I wasn't ready for bed yet so I grabbed a beer and went into the spare room where the shortwave radio is set up. Also grabbed a notebook to start a permenant hard copy radio log. The waves were hopping tonight. Got broadcasts (in English) from Russia, Bulgaria, China and Serbia as well as a few others that didn't say where they were from. Since radio isn't visual I took the time to go through our paperwork that resides in the cabinet the radio sits on. Separated a bunch of redundant and otherwise useless paperwork which is good. Going to check through it again tomorrow (good to check twice) before tossing it into the shred box at work.

All and all not a bad way to wrap up the night.  Now pretty obviously the power is back on. I really enjoyed the time fiddling with the radio. It is a lot more fun now that I am getting decent reception. Tomorrow I will likely find some time in the evening to mess with it more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Radio Log 2

I have set up a little ghetto short wave station in the spare bedroom. Pulled up a filing cabinet to keep the radio on and a desk chair we don't really use. Now it is more comfortable to sit for awhile. 16, 19 and 22 meter bands seem to come in well in the evening and have lots of stations. Last time I did this I just went through and wrote down frequencies and brief descriptions. This time I am going to stick on a station for a bit longer. This will get me get a better idea what the station is broadcasting and such.

I listened to the BBC at 15402. It is clear though not loud. This is the BBC out of England.

There is some sort of a semi news/ talk show at 4965. They are talking about the internet in Afghanistan. This very helpful site says it is Christian Voice out of Zambia which is pretty cool.

This stuff is fun. Will definitely have to fiddle with the radio some more. It is a lot more satisfying now that I can hear stuff.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Radio Log 2

Got to fiddling with the radio today. The antenna came in recently which is cool. However apparently the darn thing doesn't actually hook to the radio. This makes me rather unhappy. It does have an adapter thingy which it looks like I stuff a wire into and then stuff that wire into the radio. I have some wire lying around and can make it work. Instead of having a turn key solution I am fiddling which is disappointing.

To salvage the experience I did pick up the BBC @ 648 on medium wave which makes me happy. The goal of finding a decent station in English has been met. It should only be downhill from here. Still waiting for that radio book to show up.

Setting the goal to mess with the radio at least once a week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Listening To My Buddy

Mayberry did a podcast a little bit ago. Very interesting and enjoyable to listen to. At a bit over 20 minutes it is right for drinking a cup of coffee (or tea if you gave joe up for lent) or getting started on a beer. Hopefully more podcasts will follow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Deborah Medina Fail

I got an email about this one before I even heard about it and it is sort of moving through the blogosphere. I have been banking a lot of posts recently for times when I will not be around so I kinda take what I can get in terms of ideas.

Just a couple minutes ago I listened to the part of the interview in question. It was definitely not good. Lets even skip the whole '9/11 truther' thing. The real issue to me was that she seemed to try answering a yes or no question with a bunch of mmmming and maybe's. It is dodging the point and being evasive which are not things I like in a candidate. Also that what she said does not seem to mesh with her later press statement on the matter concerns me greatly. I know lots of folks here like Debora Medina and she does certainly have some beliefs that I share. This interview is probably to Deborah Medina what the Katy Couric interview was to Sarah Palin. It might not be the last we see of her as a candidate but it is certainly not good.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This was a busy week at work but some stuff got done all the same. Thankfully now that EIB is done I can resume a more normal schedule which will be very nice. Waking up a bit before 6 is a lot better than 4:30.

We got our usual $ amount of extra food this week. Rice, pancake mix, syrup, pasta with sauce, cans of baked and re fried beans, canned green beans and peaches as well as some treats like chocolate chips to make cookies and cake mix with frosting.

Our Royal Berkey water filter arrived this week but I will talk about that more later.

Also made an order I have been meaning to for awhile: Got a copy of Atlas Shrugged, a Kaito AN-03L antenna for the Grundig, a 2008 copy of Passport to World Band Radio, Farnam's Freehold which sounded entertaining when JWR quoted it not too long ago.

I had wanted to get a Cold Steel Latin Machete just because as Haiti reminded me recently you can never have too many good machetes. Also as Haiti reminded me you need a sheath for your machete lest you have to carry it around in your hand all the time. Unfortunately the machete selling folks didn't want to play with an APO so I will get that on the next order. Finding another amazon vendor isn't a big deal but if you have to do it a lot as we do it gets to be a pain.

Lastly I am reading Invisible Resistance To Tyranny: How To Lead A Secret Life Of Insurgency In An Increasingly Unfree World by Jefferson Mack. This is another book I got from the VP of Awesomeness. Very good and thought provoking book.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Solar Ambitions

One of the few benefits of my current work situation is that I have a lot of time to think about stuff. Solar power has been on my list for awhile now and since it is #12 on my New Years Resolution list and I am looking at it in late Jan the odds it will get done are very high. Anyway here are my thoughts.

In some ways my current situation is not ideal. Heck, in a few ways it is not ideal. Then again I have a well compensated stable job in the middle of the worst depression in 80 years so it isn't all bad. I sort of try to strike a balance between getting stuff I can use now and getting stuff that is on my longer term lists. Stashing a case of ammo or a gun or some gold is an easy decision because this stuff is long term durable and nice to have around. For some other stuff I lean more towards what I could really use NOW. I think my immediate solar ambitions need to lean more towards NOW then stashing in the warehouse for the future. 

The right setup for me right now might just be a solar battery charger and a bunch of rechargeable batteries. My goals for a small solar setup are rather modest. I would like to be able to have some lights and run the Grundig radio. If I could charge AA and D (ideally AAA also) batteries that would meet my goal.

Part of this was thinking about what I could really use now. I do not have the ability to mount stuff on the roof nor do I have a private yard at this time. If I recall correctly Conservative Scalawag mentioned having a similar dilemma. We have a big South facing window so I am sure I could set a small charger (or one per battery size as may be necessary) in a place where it would be able to do its job. Also the eccentricities of shipping my stuff back to the US mean I would likely need to either ship the marine style deep cell batteries which are the core of most small solar systems USPS or leave them behind. I learned an expensive lesson about shipping big heavy stuff last move and do not want to do that again. However a shoe box or two worth of AAA, AA and D batteries would go a long way towards meeting my immediate self sufficient power goals and would be easy to ship back home.

I have been meaning to make the move to rechargeable batteries anyway. Picking up a normal battery charger also would be easy to do.

In a few years when our housing situation is more compatible with solar and we are back in the US a couple of solar panels with an inverter and a couple big batteries will be purchased. I will pick up some LED lights that will be situated around the house and run off of the big batteries. Eventually when we are permanently (or at least relatively so) settled getting a half dozen big panels and a corresponding amount of batteries to run a whole slew of low power stuff. At that point I will stash the small and medium size setups for a rainy day, probably in a Faraday cage just in case of a One Second After scenario.

Do you have experience with any products that would fill my current need? Thoughts on the plan in general?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week my efforts were all over the place but still good. We knocked off two New Years Resolutions (#3A and #11) ordering a Berkey filter and a 37" Toshiba TV. It will be really nice to have a TV that is 10 inches bigger than our current one, without a scratched screen and including a functional remote control (we tried a universal remote, I think the sensor is busted).  Also got a good start on another resolution ( #6) today. I decided to just stick with my dollar cost averaging (ish) plan after all. 

Practiced on some first aid and heavy weapons (M2 and MK19) skills this week at work.

Also got more food and stashed it in the alternate pantry. Wifey helped me do that and pointed out some gaps in our stores. We can use more canned fruits and vegetables as well as granola bars or other quick snack stuff.

Did maintenance on the car today. Boring stuff but it keeps the thing running.

Fiddled with the radio some yesterday and today. Got to improve my equipment and skills in this area as weeks go by.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Radio Log 1

Doing some fiddling with the SW radio. Picked up some Chinese station on 49 meter (5960 to be precise). It is loud but not very clear. Fun times.

Also another station at 7367. It is something about China. I am somewhat unsure. It is quieter than the other one but clearer.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Brain Is Fried

It has been one of those weeks. A combination of being cold and bored and doing very specific tasks for a long time have just fried my brain. I've just got nothing today. There is always stuff in my head but nothing is forming into meaningful phrases let alone turning into a post, let alone a decent one. I do however realize that me barely watching the US news is having positive effects on my overall stress and irritation levels with political stuff. Occasionally I watch a bit of Fox News and I usually get a bit of BBC every day.

The BBC isn't perfect and they have a somewhat leftist perspective. I sort of listen to them from a Joe Friday "Just the facts Ma'am" perspective. They give a better snapshot of world events than any other news channel I have ever seen. 

I get enough of the news to know what is actually happening but not the constant worrying about everything some vaguely prominent liberal Democratic talking head says. In retrospect listening to conservative and Republican talking heads theorize and discuss the stuff the liberal talking heads are trying to do doesn't help either. I do not know what the right level of news/ information is but being able to stay more or less abreast of current events without getting yourself all stressed out is a nice idea.

I have two day off which is nice. No huge plans here. Going to pick up some extra food at the store tomorrow to help in building up the alternate pantry. Plan to fiddle with the shortwave radio some. Also going to fiddle around on the net to find some stations to listen to. Got some various stuff to organize. Also need to give my winter boots the water proofing treatment. They are Gore Tex so my feet don't get wet unless I submerge them fully or stand in water for a long time. However the leather is soaking up water which means my toes freeze.

Got to organize some stuff and try and crank out a few more posts to schedule for the FTX. Also I need to sweep the whole house and do some other mundane but essential tasks.

Got a couple of thoughts about how I am going to fill the weekends posts. Think I am going to bed pretty soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Got My Radio

Yesterday my Grundig 350dl came in the mail. I was initially impressed that it seems well designed and sturdy in construction. That it can run on batteries OR get plugged in is nice. That it will run on EITHER D or AA batteries is just neat. Once I got to fiddling with it a bit it seems to have some nice features. I do not have enough experience with this product to really review it but my initial impression is that it is darn nice. Also it came highly recommended.  I did a very unmanly thing and actually read the instruction book. Got some basic info on how it worked and then started fiddling. I fiddled around for awhile. Lots of people broadcasting in German, Spanish and Russian. Some of what I am almost positive was Arabic too. Finally picked up one English station somewhere in the 41 meter band.

Thinking that I need an external antenna and a book on like who typically broadcasts where and that sort of stuff in order to really get some mileage out of this great new tool. Had a done a bit more research I would have just ordered these both initially. For people looking to go short wave I would suggest that course of action.

Any suggestions?

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Resolutions: 1 Down 19 To Go!

10. A good radio that can pick up everything. Probably a Grundig.

Complete. I ordered a Grundig 350dl today. The way things worked out I came into the New Year with a bit of a war chest that will let me get a good start on some of my goals. Can't wait to get it and figure out how to listen to stuff from all over the place.
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