Survival In The Desert

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Survival In The Desert

It's unfortunate that many people equate deserts with a hostile environment that conspires against human life. In the popular media, desert areas seem to be considered at the top of the wilderness list for danger. The historical fact is, however, that the human race was cradled in arid lands and people are well adapted to survive in deserts. Learning to be part of the desert's ecosystem is the first step of desert survival. My philosophy is not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem. Being prepared is an obvious benefit.

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Body Armor Info Source

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Body Armor Info Source

D-Rmor Gear

by George Paul Tire

Many preppers are concerned with defending themselves at some point and wind up getting weapons. Hopefully, they also get the training to use them responsibly and effectively. Should the grim day arise that we have to fight for ourselves and our families, we must consider the likelihood that we might get hurt. That leads us down two branches. The first is being able to care for injuries and the second is being able to minimize them. We’ll look into the first sooner or later, but I wanted to write about the second now.

Body armor has saved countless lives and minimized injuries for public safety and military personnel. Many people have begun purchasing it to round out their preps. The subject, however, can be complex with unfamiliar terms and vendors with claims that are hard to test. There are number of types of armor and different levels of protection. There is no perfect armor, and you have to balance protection, weight, bulk and cost before making a buy, so it’s off to the Internet we go for some serious research.

Among the most useful sites I found was D-Rmor Gear . While some gear is sold there as a part-time endeavor by an armor enthusiast, the main thing on the site is information and quite a bit of it at that. The best part of the blog for me is a collection of posts called Body Armor, The Good The Bad and The Ugly. In them, you can find a wealth of information about the many types of armor and the good and bad of each. I’m sure some will disagree with D-Rmor, but I found balanced discussions that came to pretty much the same conclusions I reached after many hours of investigation. I wish I had found D-Rmor sooner, though I’m glad I did the other research. You can never know too much.

There are a few items for sale on the site to help solve some problems with armor. A critical one with steel armor is that bullets fragment when they hit it. Those fragments can hurt you. Most steel armor vendors now offer coatings to contain these fragments, but there is a lot of bare steel out there. D-Rmor makes guards for it that will contain almost all of the perpendicular splash of lead and copper bits.

An item I’ve tested from D-Rmor is their Armometer, a heat recording strip that will warn you if your armor has been exposed to too much heat. Some types of armor can be ruined by temperatures as low as 170 degrees which can be reached in a car in a hot climate. The Armometer has a series of spots that turn black at temperatures from 170 to 200 degrees. I left one in my car (a white Honda CRV) for a couple of weeks and was pleased that it never hit 170. Then I put it in my wife’s small, black SUV and was surprised that it didn’t turn there either. Being inquisitive, I got out my heat gun and infrared thermometer to make sure it worked. Sure enough, at 170, the appropriate dot turned black as did the 180 one when I reached that temperature. I was reassured that I can probably store my armor in either car, but since the Armometer can only be used once, I will have to get another one to attach to my armor.

Regardless of your interests in the D-Rmor products, the site is a good starting point if you want to explore body armor and it is well worth reading every page there.

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Valley Food Storage

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Valley Food Storage

Storage food that even your wife will actually want to eat!

Easy to prepare, assuming you can boil water.

Serving sizes are on the small size, so expect to feed fewer people or to add sides.

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The Radio That Could Be King

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The Radio That Could Be King

by George Paul Tire

The AnyTone TERMN-8R handheld two-way radio has the potential to be one of the most useful radios ever made for preppers. The only problem is that you can’t buy one due to issues with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) See more on that below. I did get to examine one of the few in the US for this review.

The radio has many abilities. It transmits and receives amateur, business and public safety VHF and UHF frequencies along with GMRS and MURS channels. You can listen to FM and AM broadcast, NOAA weather, aircraft, and shortwave, though it lacks sideband for shortwave amateur. There are three power setting, but the manual doesn’t specify what they are.

There are a multitude of signaling options which could be very helpful in a group setting. It can identify itself to other radios in the system and send and receive tone codes for selective calling or controlling other equipment.

I couldn’t test the most exciting feature to me, frequency hopping, since I only had one radio. A group of TERMN-8R’s can be programmed to rapidly hop through a series of frequencies in unison. A radio without the proper programming will be unable to follow a conversation. This technology could offer a powerful security advantage to a prepper group. The frequency hopping is on amateur UHF frequencies, so range will be short, though one could connect it to a high gain elevated antenna for better performance.

It is a complex piece of gear and you need to read the manual to get it up and running. To make full use of all the features, you will have to keep the book close for a while.

The radio includes a flexible antenna, desktop charger, earbud, manual, belt clip and a generous capacity 2,200 mAh battery. One feature I really liked is the charging port for a 12 volt car cord for mobile use. The antenna uses a female SMA connector so it is easy to connect an external antenna for improved range. There is a port for a speaker mike. The ports have covers to keep moisture and dirt out, but if I were in a nasty environment, I would tape them over them to be sure.

The build quality seems solid, but not quite up to the Icom commercial radios I usually use. The compact shape fits the hand well and the push to talk falls nicely under the thumb. The controls worked well, but I would have liked more resistance on the channel selector knob which I found too easy to turn. The speaker and microphone both produced decent audio. I didn’t like the orange trim and might hit it with some spray paint if it were my radio.

The radio can be programmed from the keypad or with the provided Windows software using a computer. The computer is far easier. The software download, when extracted, had an empty folder labeled for Mac software, so Mac users may be out of luck. The software is logically arranged and worked quickly and well using a Baofeng programing cable.

Due to the legal issues, I only made a few test transmissions on frequencies I was sure would not interfere with others and on amateur channels. I don’t have a service monitor, so this was testing by ear. VHF/UHF performance seemed to match or surpass a Baofeng UV-82.

Shortwave is usable, but not up to the CountyComm or C. Crane radios we recently reviewed. It lacks single sideband which makes listening to amateurs difficult. I didn’t hear much with it on aircraft, but I am not close to a tower.

It can do cross band repeating, something useful for amateurs. What the radio hears on one frequency will be retransmitted on a frequency on the other band. Amateurs often use this capability to extend range. You could locate one of these radios at the top of a hill and everyone in your group could transmit on UHF and their traffic will be rebroadcast on VHF. Anyone within range of the cross band repeater could, therefore, talk to anyone else in range of it by setting their radios appropriately.

David Pruett of AMP-3.net had the brilliant idea of putting a cross band repeater on a drone. David is an avid amateur operator, emergency doc and preparedness guy who did the Survival Communications video sold here at The Summit. Since UHF/VHF is line of sight communications, this would greatly extend range. As an example, at 400 feet, the maximum altitude above ground the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows model aircraft, anyone within 30 miles or so of the drone could talk to anyone else within 30 miles. In an emergency it might be acceptable to go higher. At 1,000 feet, range could go beyond 40 miles. While trees and structures can block or weaken signals, curtailing range, this is a powerful communications tool. Drones have limited flight times, but one could set up a schedule of when it would fly and distribute it to those you wish to stay in contact with. Another option with more staying power would be a tethered balloon, if one has a way to keep it balloon inflated with enough helium or hydrogen to lift the radio. Again, the FAA has altitude restrictions, but one could probably exceed those in an emergency.

This is a neat piece of kit, but we have to talk about the law. Where AnyTone had trouble was in trying to make one radio that can legally be used in three different services governed by different rules. Part 90 rules cover business and public safety radios, Part 95 is for GMRS and MURS while Part 97 handles amateur. The FCC thankfully has these rules in place to keep people from interfering with each other.

Key factors in what can be used in each service are transmission modes and power plus the FCC frowns strongly on radios that can be programmed from a keypad by users in the field to non-amateur frequencies.

AnyTone appears to have attempted to solve this by forcing you to boot the radio in different modes for each service so it can only be used in one at a time. The GMRS and MURS modes disable the ability to enter frequencies by keypad while the Normal mode allows it. The problems begin with the rule that MURS radios may not be usable on other frequencies. Next, the AnyTone I used could be programmed to exceed power limits for MURS and FRS as well as transmit with the wrong bandwidth on those channels. Further, FRS radios may not have removable antennas and this one does. Finally, if you boot the radio I tried in the Normal mode, you can enter frequencies for FRS, GMRS, MURS, and business and public safety channels via the keypad. These issues were sufficient cause for the FCC to deny certification. That’s a shame as this radio offers a lot, especially to preppers.

AnyTone’s web page implies the radios are coming back soon and we hope they succeed in revising it so that the FCC can accept it. I tried several times to find out what AnyTone is doing, but they did not answer my emails. They do not list a phone number or address and aren’t in the phone book, so email was the only means to reach them.

And yes, there are tons of radios out there that can do all these things, but I can’t find any that are properly certified. One wonders if the FCC is going to notice and shut down the party. AnyTone appears to have tried to do this right while everyone else is simply selling radios and not worrying about asking permission. Let’s hope this works out and we can buy these radios. While any radio can be used on any frequency in an emergency, the AnyTone would be great to use in normal times too.

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Don't Forget to Check .....

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Don't Forget to Check .....

To err is human and humans make ammunition. If it is assembled like this 9mm Federal round was, it isn't going to go bang and that's a bad thing if you need a bang. I picked this round up after helping a shooter get his pistol up and running again. It was from a box of factory...

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Survival Bug Out - Bonus Content Trailer

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Survival Bug Out - Bonus Content Trailer

As you know from following our emails, the first 1,000 DVDs will sell out the first week, and we won't have any more for roughly 1 to 2 months.  If you're among the first 1,000 purchasers, you'll receive instant streaming access to this exclusive bonus material from Jonathan Hollerman.  The final BONUS film is roughly 20 minutes of AMAZING Content!

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Be Prepared

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Be Prepared

So, isn’t the main goal of a prepper to be prepared?

Scouting teaches skills boys don’t learn in school.

Becoming a Scout can make your son more capable and independent while reinforcing the values we desire of one another. If you join as a leader, you can enhance yourself as well as provide the example that boys look up to. All of this can make you a better prepper.

 

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Can your family be gray?

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Can your family be gray?

A gray man is an individual who can effectively and efficiently adapt to the baseline of whatever environment they are moving in, consequently allowing them to navigate the environment without notice.

When we think about gray man concepts, we often imagine a man embedded deep in the Middle East, walking through a market gathering Intel on the local population for some shady sector of a government office. This man is usually decked out in "covert" tactical gear and bad ass sunglasses.  However this is far from the truth and it is also far from any...

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Blue Line Breachers Badass Box

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Blue Line Breachers Badass Box

When this showed up, my first reaction was “what in the world?” The box was heavy, coming in at 17 pounds. I then remembered I was getting a review sample of a small gun safe suitable for mounting in a vehicle (though you could certainly finds places for it at home as well.) What I didn’t realize was that it....

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6 Minutes With SouthernPrepper1

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6 Minutes With SouthernPrepper1

We've started something new here at The Survival Summit.  We'll be featuring some of our favorite YouTube Channels, as well as interviewing the stars about prepping.  

Our first interview was with SouthernPrepper1.  This first interview, my audio wasn't working correctly but you can hear him very clearly.  Don' worry though, we resolved the issue on part 2 of the interview.

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Why Apple should not unlock a terrorists iPhone

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Why Apple should not unlock a terrorists iPhone

Apple is getting roasted for not helping the FBI unlock a terrorists phone. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has taken the high ground in the fight for our personal freedoms and liberties despite how this may look to the publics eye. The outcome of this case will have a far reaching impact on how secure your personal info really is...

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