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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Being Prepared: Getting the Kids Involved

Here is an excellent post from Another Prepper about getting the whole family involved in preparedness.

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Being Prepared: Getting the Kids Involved

When it comes to being prepared, it is a natural thing that adults do a lot of the heavy-lifting--after all, it is our responsibility to make sure that our loved ones are taken care of in terms of food, shelter and security issues. However, getting the children involved in emergency preparation as early as possible might not be just a smart thing to do, it may make a vital difference when a crisis actually occurs.

There are many different ways that we may find ourselves in need of emergency supplies, but the basic necessities remain the same. For example, we all need to have food to eat. One way that we can help children learn basic skills that can help provide such food is to teach them how and allow them to work in the garden. They may not be able to prepare the soil for planting, but there are many ways that they can help out, and some benefits and ideas for making their gardening experience successful are outlined in this article (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/01/DDD718DQFN.DTL). We may even be able to avoid an emergency altogether if we have a source of food that we know is uncontaminated, and even if we don’t end up needing the produce from our garden for an actual emergency, there will still be the lessons learned from the gardening experience, some of which are outlined in the linked article.

Including the children in emergency planning goes beyond the food issue. One such case would be avoiding catching the H1N1 virus. As mentioned in this article, (http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/swineflu/news/jun3009personprep-pp.html) the number of cases of this flu are going up, and it has already been declared a pandemic. I recommend reading the entire article, but some basics are covered as to preventative and planning measures that should be taken that can involve the entire family. What seems basic to us (washing hands, avoiding those who are sick) may not be so clear to our children, but if we teach them, we better our chances of avoiding the illness altogether.

Preparing our children mentally by explaining likely scenarios and involving them in the emergency planning could make a big difference in how an actual emergency plays out. Having a family plan about how to deal with an emergency that requires gathering the family from different locations will help now because children don’t have to worry as much about the "what ifs" of a situation. It will help when there is an actual emergency because everyone will know what to do. A great example of such planning can be found in this post (http://mymoderncountryhome.blogspot.com/2008/12/bok-bug-out-for-kids.html) at My Modern Country Home (http://mymoderncountryhome.blogspot.com/). The children in that family know what to do in the case of an emergency, and such a plan, obviously with different details, can be made in each family so that there is less stress and crisis in an emergency. If children know what to do, the effects of an emergency can be decreased, as evidenced by what happened in this post (http://newmexicopreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/remembering-why-we-prepflooding-on-farm.html) over at New Mexico Preppers Network (http://newmexicopreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/). I was particularly impressed by the preparation that had taken place, and that the result was: "Our teens know what to do and listen the first time." Getting the kids involved can make a big difference.

Preparing the children mentally may also involve letting them know what will happen if schools are closed, what the plans are if evacuation becomes necessary, how to obtain help and who should be contacted, and teaching them how to take care of themselves if the adults are unable to complete normal responsibilities due to illness. The importance of teaching these skills is highlighted over at this post (http://prepping101.blogspot.com/2009/04/single-married-have-small-children.html) at Prepping 101 (http://www.prepping101.blogspot.com/).

These are only a few ideas on how to prepare children for emergencies--I would love to hear additional ideas, because the more we know, the more we can do. Preparing children is done on an individual basis--one may be at the stage where there responsibility is to know where a working flashlight is, while another may have jurisdiction over an entire section of the garden. Whatever their level, involving the children in emergency preparation will benefit the entire family.

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Thanks for another excellent post Another Prepper! And to everyone else - make sure to stop in and check out Another Prepper's blog Live on Your Feet!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The American Preppers Network "Ham Radio Net" calling CQ CQ...(Updated)

(We have received permission to copy this post verbatim from W4DMH at the West Virginia Preppers Network and KI4HEE of the South Carolina Preppers Network...)

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by Dave, W4DMH & Bob KI4HEE

Following on the heels of last weeks successful Ham Radio Net, The American Preppers Network will take to the air again Thursday night, July 23rd at 9 PM EST., on 14.320 MHz. in the 20 Meter Band.

The 20 Meter band's conditions were pretty good last week as attested by the Google Map Hawk KI4HEE posted in an article covering last weeks net. With 10 total check-ins that ranged from New Hampshire, well into northern Texas , the fledgling radio net established a reliable communications network that covered the majority of the continental US. Not bad for first-timers.

With a mind toward finding a set location within the Ham Radio Bands for a continued presence, the APN is still getting it's sea legs and will be calling the net on a variety of frequencies in coming weeks, Be sure to check back here for weekly updates.

While 14.320 MHz. may or may not become a regular frequency for the net, we should be on it or close to it this Thursday Night 9 PM EST.

A very special QSL card designed by KI4HEE for the American Preppers Net will be sent to any Ham Operator who checks in, as well as any SWL listeners who respond Via QSL info for W4DMH on QRZ.COM callsign lookup.
SWL listeners please log the time, your location, received signal strength, and a brief description of what you received, or checked-in call sign heard.

Being that this is a new net, there are still problems to be worked out. APN Communications Committee Chairman Dave, W4DMH says that along with determining a set schedule and operating frequency, the most pressing concern is manpower, "Anyone that wants to help out, particularly ham operators who can participate as a net control, please contact me for more info and a net preamble script. We will gladly consider any and all help that anyone wants to offer." he added, "By all means, do not hesitate to check-in Thursday night."

It should be noted that the two ham operators most actively involved in this net, W4DMH & KI4HEE, are both located along the East Coast, the hunt is on for Ham Operators west of the Mississippi willing to help make this net possible.

As the American Preppers Network grows, it is our hope that more & more people will gain exposure to the ideas of individualism, self-reliance and independence. All hallmarks much needed in these times.

Join the net, Thursday, July 23rd 9PM EST on or around 14.320 MHz, and as always...
“No Experience Necessary”
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To all Canadians - let's all tune in on Thursday! And to all Canadian Hams - we need YOU to start participating in this great adventure! Let's do it! Let's create a Canadian Ham Radio Net!

A big Thank You to both Dave and Bob for all of their efforts in building this net!!! One day, we will all look back and say "Remember when..."

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UPDATE: The American Preppers Network "Ham Radio Net" now has their own blog here. Make sure to check in often for all information related to the Ham Radio Net!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Adding To, or Starting, Your Group (Updated Version)

Nitewalker over at the West Virginia Preppers Network has compiled a many-part series entitled "Adding To, or Starting, Your Group".

His many-part series is based on his own extensive experience and knowledge of being a member of a prepping group and his advice in the series is sound and insightful.

I hope that everyone will read his posts and come away, like I did, with a better practical understanding of group dynamics and how to go about trying to form, or join, a group.

Part 1 of the series is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here and Part 6 is here.

Thank you Nitewalker for giving us permission to re-post your articles here as I am sure many Canadians will enjoy reading them.

Hopefully Nitewalker's post will stir up ideas in your minds. If you have any questions for Nitewalker you can leave your questions in the comments section here or head over to the West Virginia Preppers Network and leave your questions/comments there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Emergency Communications - Part 4

WVSanta, of the West Virginia Preppers Network, is back with Part 4 of his much-anticipated series on Emergency Communications!!! We here at the CPN are glad and proud to host WVSanta's Emergency Communications series as these posts have generated much interest among the preppers networks! For those of you not already aware - WVSanta is heading up the American Preppers Network Communications Committee on the American Preppers Network Public Forum! WVSanta has a huge role to fill on this network in trying to establish alternative methods of communication for the entire network - but he has big shoulders and we know that he can carry this task out to fruition.

For those of you not familiar with WVSanta's Emergency Communications series...I recommend that you start at the beginning....read Emergency Communications Part 1 here, Part 2 here and finally, Part 3 here. And once you have caught up on the series, come back and read Part 4.

Now enough of my rambling and on to the latest Emergency Communications post!!!

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Emergency Communications - Part 4

In this part of the series, I am going to cover the process of putting up a wire antenna. This process can be done with different types of equipment and materials. I will also cover different techniques that I did not use but most people do. I did this at the spur of the moment because I happened to have the time and the help to get these antennas up. The demonstration is of my 160 meter antenna which is the longest and heaviest of all my wire antennas and my home brew 80 meter wire. I also used what material I just happened to have on hand that would work.


The first picture is of the wire antenna coiled up before being stretched out so you can see how portable this can be even though it is the longest wire I have. It is cut for the 160 meter band but with the use of a good antenna tuner it can be used on other bands.



The next picture is what we used to get the antenna put up with. What we have is rope of different types a bow and arrows and a fishing rod strung with 30# test line.



Next a close up of the bow and the fishing rod with the arrow attached to the fishing line and the rod used.



Close up of how we attach the fishing line to the arrow.



Next is a picture of my son shooting the first line into the tree. Next to him is the fishing rod with the line released for the shot. We tie the line to a practice tip on the arrow. The trailer in the background is used to store all my junk, ugly but it was free and will eventually be demolished when the garage and shop get built. (That will be another post coming up showing how to use trees from your property to make lumber to build with). Also some of that tattoo work on my son is done by me. (One of my other hobbies).



Next is me and my daughter stretching the antenna out and laying it on the ground in the area it will end up being raised from. In the background is the trees taken down for making lumber with. The cleared area was all woods at one time and that is the reason the antennas were taken down before last winter. Yes some of my tattoos were also done by me during times when I get bored during the winter months.



I used RG6 coax cable to raise this one with. (The orange wire in the picture below) Why you ask? Well the main reason is it was free. It was a 1000 foot roll that had got tangled. Since it was laying there I just decided to use it to save on rope for use on other antennas.



Next is us raising the center of the antenna up in the tree The loop you see in the picture is the feed line to the antenna tied back to the center as a strain relief. The other wire going up will hold the center of the antenna up in the tree. The other ends are tied to trees on the far end of the wire lower to the ground so the wire ends up in an inverted V shape. The reason I put them up this way is they are not as directional as a wire put up flat top or with the ends at the same elevation as the middle. This gives you better performance in a 360 degree radius.



Next is the home brew 80 meter antenna. This antenna was made from ½ inch hard line coax cable that was left over on a project of building aerial lines for a cable TV system. This picture is of a spool of this cable that would have otherwise been cut up and put into dumpsters. I did this type of work for several years and brought these spools home since they were being thrown away anyway. As you can see all of one spool has been used and the 80 meter antenna showed next was made from that wire. The one with wire still on it has enough to make several more antennas.



Now I will show you some close ups of the feed point of the antenna. Let me tell you this started as an experiment and worked so well I am keeping it just the way it is. This all happened like everything with me a couple of people getting together and building this with stuff just lying around. This will be real funny to some and look like pure junk to others but that is OK because it was all free and it WORKS so don’t knock it.


Now unlike the other antenna this is NOT PORTABLE it is very heavy and very stiff to work with. My antenna GURU friend talked me into doing this with the idea that the increased surface area of the large shield on the outside of this coax would work very well. After building this one Sunday and getting on the air we found his theory was indeed correct. With the first signal report we got people could not believe I was not running a big amplifier. We were using my Kenwood 570D with the antenna feed line running directly to the radio.


I was told the next day he was in the local candy store (Ham Radio Store) and people there were talking about it. He ended up telling them that he was indeed here during the test and they still insisted there had to be more than just the radios wattage being used. He is pretty well known for being really good with antennas and they wanted drawings of this antenna. He later told me that he would not do it. So they raised the stakes to a free 80 meter Double Bazooka antenna for a drawing. By the way that is the type of antenna in the first set of pictures except that one is for 160 meter not 80 meter. (Twice as long as 80 meter). Anyway he did finally draw it for them but they still questioned the wattage being used. As I say his reputation is very good and he did get the free antenna. For all you experienced Hams out there get ready for a good laugh but IT WORKS and that is all that matters!!!!!!!




The first picture is simply a connector my buddy had that is a SO239 connector wired to two studs with wing nuts in a plastic case. One of the wing nuts is connected to one side of the hard line by the green wire and the other wing nut goes to the second section of coax. (Picture 2) The piece of wood is a broken axe handle that just happened to be lying around the day we built this monster antenna. Well it may be ugly but it works and it was free so what can I say.


This next picture will show you how long this antenna is. The math for this antenna worked out to be 70 some feet but after trimming for SWR it ended up being 68’6” on one leg and 67’4” on the second leg. The way I was told the technical name for this antenna is an OFF CENTER FEED DIPOLE. Because it is off center feed it works well with 50 ohms feed line instead of ladder line.




Well there you have a little bit of how things work with building antennas and putting them up in trees. One of the best things about Ham radio is the fun of making things work. Sometimes you just have to try things and see if it works.


There are many different ways to put these wire antennas up but for this article I tried to show some of the many different ways you can make things work with what you happen to have on hand. One point I would like to make is that a much more permanent way to install wire in trees is thru the use of using pulleys with the rope run thru that and held down with sand bags tied to the rope on the ends. This method allows the rope to glide up and down without to much force being applied to the wire when the wind blows. The other thing is it is best to use regular antenna rope that is UV resistant when installing wire antennas.


Again my purpose with this article was to show that you can use just about anything you have on hand if you must to make things work if you end up in a pinch. We may need to use whatever we have in a SHTF situation. Also remember that here I have showed you 2 really big antennas and 1 that is in no way typical at all. But it all works and really I will be redoing these properly with pulleys and sandbags as time allows. With the exception of my 80 meter ugly duckling antenna, I will let it be the way it is until it no longer works. HI HI….

73 all W4DMH

God Bless from the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

Santa


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Again - our thanks to WVSanta for always being so willing to share his experience and knowledge in emergency communications with the preppers networks! And if any of you have any questions for WVSanta...leave a comment here or contact WVSanta at WVSantaclaus@aol.com.


And don't forget to check out WVSanta's posts on the West Virginia Preppers Network!

(I really enjoy his posts on West Virginia Fun Facts!)

Thanks WVSanta!!!



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Request from Scarecrow at the Ontario Preppers Network for a Guest Poster with Nuclear Knowledge

Below is a post from Scarecrow of the Ontario Preppers Network (the same post can be found on the OPN here).

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Guest post needed...

With the recent problems with the Chalk River nuclear reactor, the ongoing maintenance of the reactor at Darlington and the Ontario Govt's commitment to increasing the number of nuclear powered electricity generation facilities in the province, it is prudent that we all understand the risks associated with living downstream or near a nuclear facility should an accident occur.

Unfortunately, this is not my area of expertise. I am looking for someone more knowledgeable than I to point out the possible impact of an accidental release of nuclear contaminated material into our waterways or the atmosphere. Is it prudent to have some iodine tablets on hand? Should we blindly run as far away as fast as we can?

If you feel that you can help by providing some insight into this disaster scenario and some concrete steps that the average family can take to help prepare, please contact me by email.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

Scarecrow
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Is there anyone out there who can help ? If you are a regular reader of the CPN, APN, or if you post for the CPN or APN - can you help?

We all here at the CPN would appreciate if anyone would step forward and share their knowledge.

You can contact me (kymber@novascotiapreppersnetwork.com) or Scarecrow (dph15@rogers.com) if you think that you can help.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

To all of our American friends on the American Preppers Network:

Happy Independence Day!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Prepper E-Book

American Prepper has created a new blog:

The Prepper E-Book - "From surviving any immediate situation to a 72 hour plan to long-term sustainability, find and exchange information here at the Prepper E-Book. ALL information on this site is FREE to copy (See copyright rules) Teach...Learn...Share".

The Prepper E-Book already has articles categorized under Budget Prepping, Cooking, Food Storage, Gardening, General Prepping, Livestock, Outdoor Survival and many others. Remember - you can copy and use any of these articles as long as you follow the copyright rules!

Do you have an article that you would like to submit to the Prepper E-Book? Send an email to AmericanPrepper@yahoo.com and include "Prepper E-Book Submission" in the title.