Why we prep
Here’s another reason why you – and your friends and family – should prep:
The news these days is all about war and rumors of war. The media is salivating, the politicians are bloviating and the defense contractors are calculating. Governments love war. It distracts the populace from the fact that their dollars are shrinking, their freedoms are disappearing and the number of “haves” are decreasing while their net worth is growing. To quote Robert Heinlein about our last officially defined depression, “… That depression continued until the country blundered into a war – which didn’t cure what was wrong; it just masked the symptoms with a high fever.”
Today’s enemies du jour are Russia, North Korea and Syria. If you’ll check out the graphic above, you’ll see the U.S. annual defense budget is nine times greater than that of Russia and 80 times that of North Korea’s. The single aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) cost twice the entire annual military budget of North Korea. Syria spends around one-third of North Korea’s budget.
Now as my Daddy always said, “Money isn’t everything.” But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that the lack of money sure is something. It seems to me that ever since Viet Nam, Uncle Sugar has been diligently managing the “police actions” we’ve been dragged into to make sure we didn’t win them too quickly or too decisively.
Yeah, I understand nuclear weapons are a big force-multiplier, but you’ll note that their first use in battle was also their last. As everyone now understands: the next country to use the “bomb” – loses.
So as the world beats the drums louder and starts loosening the collars on the dogs of war, speed up your prepping. It isn’t hoarding; it’s learning from history.
And that’s one of the reasons we prep.
So (finally) we’re putting a wrap on radio, specifically radio for the prepper. I think the amateur guys have given me up as a lost cause. I only got one nay-saying email this week, and a repeat customer at that (hi Ralph).
There are two main pieces of equipment I want to touch on in this week’s column that are every bit as important as the radio you choose: The feed line and the antenna.
The feed line is the connection between your radio and the antenna. A correctly “sized” feed line can make your radio. Now, I was going to give you one of those perfectly adequate Pat McLene analogies for feed line using a garden hose example, or maybe blood vessels, but thinking about veins got me thinking about the blood pressure of the last remaining amateur radio readers I have, and since those guys don’t get much exercise, I decided I just couldn’t risk it.
So here’s a simple explanation from a ham guy whose products I’ve bought and recommend: “What type of feed line coax should I use for my antenna?”
Feed line is one of those very rare instances when I recommend you don’t buy used and you do buy from a reputable dealer. It’s pretty hard to look under the hard plastic coating for weak spots or bad soldering jobs. And since this is a prepper column, my feed line needs include requirements that aren’t usually as big a consideration for the hamsters.
Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
As I’ve said before, one of the criteria I use in choosing radio gear is easy and quick portability. But because I also recognize conditions may be vary considerably if I’m on the run, I also buy for durability. My “at home” feed lines consist of 50-foot sections of Times Microwave LMR-400/direct burial cables with PL 259 connectors and miscellaneous shorter LMR 240 jumpers. If I have the time, I can take down my masts in five minutes and pack everything in the back seat of any of my vehicles, ready to move and set up again anywhere I travel. Having varying lengths of tough cable makes packing and reassembly easy even with configuration changes.
To ham guys, antennas are the equivalent of semi-auto assault-style rifles for the gunners in terms of debate and argument. Just Google “best amateur radio antenna” and strap in for the ride.
I don’t intend to get into that minefield because my needs are not those of the amateur radio crowd. I look for adequate antennas that can be acquired cheaply and are at the same time both robust and extremely portable. For my two meter, CB and dual-band (two-meter and 70-cm bands) radios, I therefore chose J-pole antennas and wire dipoles.
The prepper advantages of a J-pole are numerous. They’re sturdy, easily camouflaged, lightweight and inexpensive. I purchased a couple from this source.
Check out some options in the WND Superstore preparedness department. New products of all kinds being added regularly for all your prepper needs – from informational books, movies to shovels, water purifiers, and food from soup to nuts!
These antennas, unlike yagis or discones, will do well up a tree and are pretty easy to tune (although the ones I bought from from this source came out of the box with a 1:1.15 SWR). As I said in a previous article, my 75-watt two-meter radio and J-pole have allowed me to communicate out to 70 miles. Good enough.
For quick travel and for places where I can’t or won’t raise my masts, wire dipoles do quite well for my CB and dual-bands. Instructions for making one of your own for the CB band can be found here.
Finally, I want to cover briefly the contents of my radio go-bag. My go-bag isn’t just meant for bugging out. I carry it in my vehicle whenever I travel. It’s a hard-shell bag that contains two Baofeng UV-5Rs, a hand-held CB radio, one dedicated GMRS radio and one FRS/GMRS radio in custom-fitted hard foam. It also contains two 10-foot LRM 240 cables, one 11-meter coiled wire dipole antenna, and a “Slim Jim” dual-band portable antenna, as well as the necessary fittings to connect radio, feed line and antennas together. The go-bag also contains a complete additional set of charged batteries and all the stock antennas. It carries a roll of duct tape and several rolls of flex-tape for sealing connections. Miscellaneous stuff includes a small tool kit, reading glasses and a flashlight. The kit also has a battery recharger for the UV-5R radios, and another for the rechargeable AA and AAA batteries.
Alrighty then, that’s it for radios. Next week we’ll go jargon-free for a change. Until then, pray for peace and prep for war. But whatever is coming, get prepared.