Communications

I hate cell phones, but I’ve always carried one for safety and convenience. When smartphones came out, I could see the utility of having the interwebz in your pocket, but the high cost of the phone and the ridiculous monthly service charges had me sticking with my craptastic pay-as-you-go biscuit phone for years. When I finally gave in and got a smartphone almost three years ago, I was appalled at having to pay $70 a month for a single line […]

In the Know in My AO

As the winter of 2014-15 was winding down, I identified a major gap in my preps. It started with a midday phone call from Brother Harold. That was strange right off the bat – we rarely communicate by phone, and almost never in the middle of the day. Turns out he was stuck in traffic with state and local police cruisers flying past him, and he wanted to know if there was anything big going on that he should know […]

Severe Thunderstorm? What Severe Thunderstorm?

I knew we were going to get storms today. Even if Wunderground hadn’t predicted them, our dog Gambit is infallible at predicting thunderstorms – if there’s a clap of thunder anywhere east of the Mississippi, he takes shelter behind the toilet in the powder room. My hero. Still, it was a bit of a surprise to hear the first rumbles and realize I hadn’t heard a peep out of the weather radio all day. Usually there’s a watch posted, which […]

On Sunday morning I took a walk up into the woods. I kept hearing a strange sound – like a swarm of angry bees somewhere off in the distance. My first thought was, “Cool! Free wild honey!” But then I realized the sound was more mechanical in nature, and I began to realize that I was hearing a quadcopter buzzing through the woods.

Omni-directional Antenna

Last October, Mr. Paranoid cut his Cable TV cord. I cut my cable/satellite cord back in 2011. I’ve been through 3 major power outages with my over-the-air TV antenna and have not lost TV communications. In addition to that, the equipment I bought long ago paid for itself in the $90/month cable bill savings. In fact, I even covered the cost of a significant Home Theater PC, which acts as our DVR (I might discuss the prep aspects of this […]

Going to a Dark Place

I normally try to concentrate on positive things at APB, as opposed to rants about what’s wrong with the world, or outrageous news stories about the latest abridgment of liberty somewhere in this country. These thing are important, insofar as they inform my preparedness efforts, but I don’t want to use this space to rehash those issues. I try to stay focused on “Turning fear into self-reliance and personal freedom.” But that’s not to say that I don’t think about […]

Cutting the Cord

I’ve been threatening to do it for a long time, but a couple of weeks ago, I finally did it. I canceled cable. There was very little pushback from the family. My youngest was a bit upset that she wouldn’t be able to watch all that strange Japanese animation she likes, plus she’s got a few shows on the Food Network that she enjoys. But most of that stuff is available online, so no great loss there. My older kids […]

I decided a while back that I should get my Technician Class Ham license. I’ve been taking practice exams, and I’ve been listening to Hams on the 2 meter repeater system in my neighborhood on the scanner in my truck. As a result, I’ve witnessed a lot about the culture of Ham radio. And no sir, I don’t like it. The Hams in my neighborhood are active primarily on their way to and from work. They sign on and chat during […]

An elmer's education

I decided a couple of weeks ago to get my Ham license. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I’m still not comfortable with some of the opsec issues it raises. It’s stupid-easy to get way too much information on someone just by punching his callsign into an online database. My buddy did it just the other day and found out more than enough information to easily burgle the house of a local Ham. Not that he would do that, mind […]