A Communication Library for Preppers
After my posts on communications for preppers I received a number of questions about where to start for a communications library.
At first I was a bit overwhelmed because I have literally a book shelf full of related materials for radio and all it entails.
Then I started sorting and stacking into piles Id grab first, second and so on. It really wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be and some of my choices aren’t going to be obvious at first.
Information is far more important than gear
So much so, you will save a pile of money after extensive reading because you wont buy the wrong gear for your intended use.
As an example, you have a box full of holsters. If you have a pistol there is a history of your carrying it in a box somewhere, until you found the one which fits you.
Radio gear will bankrupt you doing that. You need to know what you want to do, and the piece of gear fitting that slot.
The books I acquired first
Ive had these books for much longer than Ive had my ham license, and I suppose there was a reason I bought them at the time. I tend to grab books because I might not have an interest now, they always come in handy later for answering questions about areas I never knew Id want answers
Ive had this small book over 20 years and I continuously refer to it for things like wiring old phones for use in private exchanges, making and using one time pads, and as the author describes it” the techniques of collecting and exchanging information secretly”.
Really doesn’t get any plainer than that.
I know, you don’t want to jam anyones radio signals. I got that.
This book covers in detail how to set up, man and operate 24/7 an electronic signals intelligence Listening Post ( LP ) which I beat to death in posts here as well as in forums.
Basic antenna construction, and expedient covert monitoring is covered.
It is as important to know what is happening around you as it is to have food, water and weapons. I feel its the most important skill set to have, prior warning of bad things happening is obviously key.
Knowing the theory of radio jamming might come in handy in the future as well, to break up an unfriendly groups communications in the middle of their activities could prove to be the decider in a confrontation.
It needs to be in your library regardless.
Directly related to these 2 books is one I think everyone who is serious about prepping should have
The author of this short book is humbling in his knowledge of communications between people trying to stay off the radar. Every question a beginner in prepping communications can ask, has an answer in here.
I have been involved on the fringes of this movement for a very long time and I learned something new with each chapter. He thinks outside the typical ham and survival mindset.
You have seen this particular book in multiple posts of mine. There is a reason for that. It is that good not just for the book itself but the bonus chapter.
You see there are a bunch of funny buttons and menues in modern radios, and the bonus chapter covers all the functions and reason to have menues in modern radios. I printed out mine and use it continuously when operating my radios and changing settings.
I buy one of these every couple of years as the new editions come out, I usually give away my older editions to new operators. This is not just for ham radio but applicable to ANY radio operation.
It is an encyclopedia of radio knowledge. And following it on priorities is the book you will use the most as you build antennas for your radios.
Ive had 4 or 5 of these in various editions and condition drifting around in my shop and library. I literally trash these writing in them and spilling coffee, and “other” liquids on them until they are so bad I cant give them away. I don’t care, a shop manual well used is a wonderful thing.
This manual isn’t an instruction manual for anything sold by anyone, its a “how to build this type” book. If you can find a ball of wire and some wood scrap you can build an antenna. And you can find ways to keep antennas discrete and concealed in common items.
Maybe not a big deal today, but the time may be coming when you don’t want your capabilities known.
I get a ton of questions about why digital is I’m important to preppers. Enough questions I’m planning an entire post to just talk about the use of that mode and why.
This mode is the most misunderstood and neglected mode of communication in the community, and that’s why the powers that be intend to use it extensively in times of emergency.
Its a way to send a plain text message unencrypted( to stay legal).
It will work through heavy interference and is far more reliable for message traffic than voice.
It cant be scanned or deciphered with the human ear.
It is VERY popular for ham clubs who support Emergency Services in times of disaster or “other” situations when the normal ways of communication go down.
ARES/RACES are groups sanctioned by state and federal govt entities for radio operators to volunteer their own time and equipment for supporting said agencies in times of disaster or emergency.
It is an open secret inside the ham radio community the VOICE communications used by ARES/RACES will be disinformation, while the information sent out over digital will be truthful.
Read that as anything you scan ( in time of emergency ) from your County/State Emergency Services will be false.
If You want to know what is really happening around you, YOU need digital capabilities in both your VHF and HF radio setups.
These tend to overlap but I like them because, someone with NO knowledge of digital communications can get the right gear, the right software for the modes in use, download it free and pick out the applicable intelligence.
Real time, happening now information to use for your group. Where the food is, what roads are blocked, where checkpoints are etc…
If you have it, it was sent to you with an electronic map. And to fix it you need to know how to read that map
Once you can read the schematic, you need to know how to scavenge parts, and fix what you have.
Being self sufficient goes farther than just stockpiling stuff, knowing where to start repairing your electronics will put you ahead of the game and you will have a barter able skill after.
My opinion again
You should first get your library together and learn , there wont be time after when you need the information.
I didn’t put the license manuals for your ham license on this post but I refer to mine frequently to refresh my memory and you should have a manual for your own class of license for your own knowledge.
At least read the books so you know where to look when the problems arise, and when you see a $1000 radio at a yard sale for $20.
A Communication Library for Preppers