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What did you do to prep this week?

May 30, 2015 By M.D. Creekmore

Before we get started with this weeks post, I would like to give a shout-out and to thank Gordon G, Willard N, Kelli M, Chantal L, Cheryl D, and Angela M for their contributions this week. Thank you – it’s folks like you who keep this site running and free for everyone else.

Recently, I’ve noticed some confusion related to the MD in my name, with several people recently referring to me as Doctor Creekmore, to be clear I’m not a medical doctor, the MD is at the front of my name and not at the end.

Also to clear up more confusion that I’ve noticed recently, I did not write and I’m not the vendor of the Survival MD product. I wrote a review of the product (a good product BTW) and published it it here but that is my only relation to the product is the review.

Okay, now let get to it – what did I do to prep this week…


Finished my strawberry tower…. Looks good doesn’t it…


New Glock magazine and pistol case…


Cut back weeds and underbrush…


Cleared off an area for my new building that should be done in a couple of weeks.


Extra Krav Maga in no time DVDs.


Watched the garden grow…


And the chickens too…

I also renewed my NRA membership…

Well that’s it for me this week folks – what about you… what did you do to prep this week?

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This Stealth Missile Will Use EMPs To Cripple Enemy Electronics

By:  Tyler Rogoway

The Pentagon’s Counter-Electronics High-Power Advanced Microwave Project (CHAMP) has been one of the sci-fi like weapons programs that has the ability to change warfare as we know forever. Now it looks like the CHAMP has found an ideal delivery vehicle, the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range.


The whole idea behind CHAMP is to be able to destroy an enemy’s command, control, communication and computing, surveillance and intelligence (C4SI) capabilities without doing any damage to the people or traditional infrastructure in and around it. In other words, it can eliminate a facility’s effectiveness by destroying the electronics within it alone, via a microwave pulse, without kinetically attacking the facility itself. Think of it as the mother of all less than lethal weapons.

Read More:  FoxTrot Alpha

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DIY Cargo Trailer to Traveling Shelter

A quick search on Craigslist pulled up 20 cargo trailers with in miles of my home.  These trailers ranged in price from $1100 to $4500.  Materials needed for a down and dirty cargo trailer to mobile emergency shelter with a little work could easily be completed for as little $1700.  This could be a great option for families on a budget.  These trailers are light enough to be pulled by just about anything larger than a Toyota Prius and they are usually very well built since they were originally designed to carry heavy loads and commercial cargo.


Vogelzang BX22EL Lil Sweetie Cast Iron Stove


Things you should consider when converting a trailer:

  1. Match the trailer size to your family needs.  For example a family of 2 may be able to get away with an 8′ trailer, where a family of 5 would need something in the 12-14′ and tandem axle size.
  2. Insulation:  If you live or plan on travelling to colder climates, invest in high density foam insulation before you began framing out cabinets and bunk beds.  It will make an enormous difference in comfort.
  3. Find a small wood stove.  Pot belly stoves work great.  Cement board works great for a hearth and panel.
  4. Plumbing:  Hand pump water and manually operated systems are best.  Remember, your not building an RV to plug in to a full electric campsite.  You won’t have electricity.  In the pictures above you can see a bucket under the sink.  I recommend using a valve to allow water to be stored in containers and recycled since you don’t knowingly waste water.  This could prove to be very important at some point.
  5. In your spare parts kits always make sure you have necessary tools to work on the trailer and a spare set of axle bearing, grease,  seals, jack, and spare tire and rim obviously.

DIY Roof Top Shelter

Roof Top Tenting has become very popular for back packers and hikers.  These versatile shelters allow you to pack up and go at a moments notice.  No set up required since the shelter is with you, ready to open and crawl in for a good night’s rest.  The only drawback to buying one pre-made is cost.  For a 2 person tent they range in cost from $1100- $1700 plus $150 shipping on average.  We found that you can easily build one if you have the time for around $400 and it won’t be the ultra-thin vinyl you’ll get with a manufactured unit.

Pros:  Low cost portable shelter.  Easy to set up and take down, portable, and gets occupants off the ground.

Cons: Small, limited to 2 occupants usually although some commercially available rooftop tents can support more people.  Can’t use wood source heat.

DIY Cargo Van to Traveling Shelter

Cargo vans can be a great BOV.  These vehicles are built on large robust truck bodies and one can usually find high mileage cargo vans that have been maintained very well since these vehicles are typically used by commercial service companies that have a huge incentives to keep them in good working order.  With a quick search of craigslist, we found vehicles ranging from $800-$10,000 in varying conditions.  Many of these vehicles already had metal shelving and wood or rubberized floors ready to be altered for the perfect BOV for those on a budget.  The addition of a wood stove makes for a great campsite home base.  These van come in various sizes ranging from compact vans to 1 ton walk up box vans that could easily sleep 8 people with some creative, submarine berthing area, style bunk beds.  Solar panels for both electric power and battery storage as well as solar thermal panels for domestic hot water productions could be added.  With a couple tilt up 200 watt solar panels and  the addition of a 75 watt HAM Radio could be incorporated into your van to keep in touch with the world as you travel around.  We aren’t the only ones the think about using full size cargo vans as a rolling shelter.  Airstream is a maker of high end RVs ranging in the $125,000 and up, and they make amazing luxury travelling homes for people with money to burn.img


DIY Motorcycle BOV

If you’re flying solo or just you and a partner, a motorcycle set up with large panniers or a small trailer could be the perfect BOV.  Not only do motorcycles get much better gas mileage than any other option above, they also allow for off-road and on-road travel.  A good quality motorcycle can be acquired for less than $5000 and top off at more than $20,000 for a top of the line BMW cross country motorcycle that can take on any terrain with ease.  Many larger motorcycles also have the availability for trailer kits and accessories that would allow you to not only travel quickly to your destination on very little fuel, but also provide you with shelter via a pop-up tent trailers or just simply storage for tents and supplies.  Motorcycles have many advantages over larger more cumbersome vehicles such as ease of servicing.  Motorcycles chains, tires, and just simple maintenance are all easily performed in an emergency with minimal tools and parts.  The option of run flat tires or just simply patching a tire can be performed with very little mechanical skill.  Some disadvantages include, exposure to the elements and difficulty traveling in colder environments.

M35 6×6 Multi Fuel Vehicle

Affectionately named the “Deuce and a Half” from WWII, the M35 is a versatile vehicle.  By it’s design as a utility truck it began life serving in the military and included everything from troop transport, water vehicles,  snow plows, to armed combat vehicles.  These trucks can literally run on any fuel available.  They are certified to operate on diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, heating oil, and gasoline.  These trucks are not for the light hearted conversion enthusiast, but M35’s and it’s cousin with a slightly shorter wheelbase M34, can be purchased at surplus for pennies on the dollar from their original cost to the government.  Since M35’s are 6 wheel drive and you can take them just about anywhere, including places you may not want to go.  They aren’t very fast, and they don’t get very good mileage, but if you carry enough fuel, and don’t mind how long it takes you, you may just need this vehicle when the SHTF.

Written by RAG

SHTFandGO.COM  Plan, Prepare, Protect

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Death By Footwear

Death By Footwear By RG


I asked Dad what he learned from Vietnam. He shared a few things, but the one I always think back to is: Keep your feet dry.

I expected him to go down the leadership and battles road. He paused and shared a bit at the fork and then went down the seemingly-little-things-that-matter-practical route.

Wear dry socks. Mucked-up feet will take you – and your brothers – down.[1]

The 5 most important aspects of footwear and foot health:

  1. Keep your feet dry
  2. Choose Lighter over Heavy
  3. Keep your feet dry
  4. Leather is not better
  5. Keep your feet dry

In wartime, especially in hot and humid areas, foot care has always been an extremely important problem.  Soldiers from WWII, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam, all worried about keeping their feet dry.  Those that didn’t take care would get “Jungle Rot”.  Many soldiers lost toes and in extreme cases there lives over there foot hygiene.

Many people are preparing for survival situations with weapons, outdoor supplies, and fancy bug out bags, but when fuel for your vehicle is exhausted and your left walking everywhere you go.  Many can’t even walk to their mailbox without getting winded, so how do you expect to survive in the wilderness or walking everywhere?

Things will not save you.  Yes tools are nice to have, but your health, knowledge, and experience are the most important.  You can figure out the rest if you have these three things.

The military phased out heavy leather boots in favor of light, breathable and flexible models.  A healthy foot allows you to keep marching.

Here are some civilian footwear that will serve you well.


Lowa Men’s Zephyr Mid TF Hiking Boot,Desert,10.5 M US

Lowa Footwear

Drymax Lite Hiking Crew Socks, Grey, Large

Drymax LLC

Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot,Walnut,11 M US

Merrell Footwear

PowerSox Men’s Coolmax Crew 3 Pack,Black,10-13


Astra Depot 1 Pair Jet Black Unisex Double Sealed Velcro Zippered Closure TPU Strap Waterproof 400D Nylon Cloth Leg Gaiters Leggings Cover for Biking Boating Fishing Skiing Snowboarding Hiking Climbing Hunting

Boot Cover

Maelstrom TAC FORCE 8” Tactical Police Duty Military Boots with Zipper – T5181Z, Tan, Size 9M

Teva Men’s Kimtah Mesh M Hiking Shoe

Teva Footwear

Sorel Men’s Caribou Waterproof Boots,Buff,8 M US


Keeping your feet dry while you are hiking or backpacking is one of the most important things. It helps prevent blisters, helps prevent cold feet, trench foot; there’s a lot of things that can be prevented by keeping your feet dry. Appropriate footwear is the first thing off. You are going to want to make sure you choose the right type of footwear; boots with high sides will help keep water out. Compared to sneakers, they are not necessarily water proof. Boots that are leather or Gore-Tex are going to keep your feet pretty dry and boots that have a tongue attached will keep water out instead of a tongue that isn’t attached will let water in. Gaiters are another good option to keeping your whole foot dry. They attach to your boot, go up over your pants and these are waterproof. If your socks get wet from sweat or just because you did have to walk through a steam bed, a good idea is to bring an extra pair of socks to camp with you. So when you get to camp at night, you can take off your wet socks, put under your jacket while you make dinner, dry them out and then in the morning you will have a fresh pair of dry socks. This is the key to keeping your feet happy. If you have the luxury of bringing camp shoes or sandals to wear when you get to camp to allow your boots to dry out, that would be ideal too. Make sure if you are in a rainy area at night and you are camping out, keep your boots under your rain fly so that they don’t get soggy and gross and your feet will thank you for it in the morning.

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Does your Bug out bag suck?

A Green Berets take on the Bug Out Bag -or- BoB…

What’s a BoB? The accepted answer is a 72 survival backpack with everything you need in it. Have you asked yourself why 72 hours? Seems kind of arbitrary if you ask me, why not 48 or 96? How long will your disaster last?

If you’re trying to pass off a tactical glamping pack as a BoB, I’m calling you out. Preppers should start thinking aboutthe mission goal and not the mission gear. What I mean is the goal for BoB should be to get from point A, to Point B. That’s it. Now what tools do you need to do that? If your need to get to point B doesn’t exist, well then a BoB is not going to help you much.

Having spent a few years preparing for evasions in combat zones across the globe, this is a topic I’m intimately familiar with.

We strongly encourage the use of caches to supplement your bugging out plans. Get the tick target off your back, and go home as fast as you can! If you’re actually “bugging out” you should be able to sustain short duration jogging bursts with the BoB on your back….Food for thought.

If you’re actually bugging out, you’re in for a world of hurt, because it’s not going to be an easy stroll down the block. It will be a life changing event.


Good grief whose hauling this tick?

Good grief whose hauling this tick?

What goes in a bug out bag and why? So many questions, not a lot of consistent answers…

Lets simplify the equation: Do you have a need to go from point A to point B during an emergency? From work to home, home to a school, vice versa? In a vehicle, on foot or on a bike? Because there is a difference between a bag you can easily put in a car, and one you easily walk with…

Most of the BoBs I’ve seen floating around the internet are entirely to large, way to complex and couldn’t be hauled by a vast majority of the people who need a BoB. Consider small children have been lost in the woods without any supplies, during the cold and have survived. What exactly is it that you NEED?

If you don’t know how to use it, why carry it? It’s just weight at that point and during the emergency is the worst time to learn. Start thinking a little more Spartan, and slim down your kit to BARE ESSENTIALS. Weight is brutal…Weight is brutal… We need to stop making these comfort packs and calling it a survival rig.

Fact is there’s no “list” so each mobile kit you produce MUST be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. In Special Operations we will build our kits to fit the mission profile and evasion plan we going to exercise. There is no bag we grab and call it good to go.

72 hours is the national average it takes to restore utilities from the onset of an emergency, making it an almost pointless figure to use for real planning. This ranges all the way from Katrina to a local tornado. The number is irrelevant to the need. It’s just a planning tool to get you started, it’s not gospel.

I’ve had to build a few BoBs over the years for real world missions. These are some of the things I consider:

The bag: Preppers tend to recycle surplus milspec bags because there are comfortable and usually modular. Hiking backpacks are too and also have more useful color schemes than just camo and crye. Have you considered luggage? I have a well seasoned traveler I trust when I’m on the road….

Resist the urge to fill empty space……

Time: How long is this bag really supposed to support you? My experience has taught me that once you go over 24 hrs, you’re cutting into your speed and mobility. Again, if the goal is to get home…. then uh….

Food: How much? and what kind? Are you trying to just make it home or live comfortably until rescue? Protein powder and meal replacement shakes are a great way to get the fuel you need while conserving space, but then you need water? If it’s an emergency do you care if its tasty?

Water: Are you really going to carry 3 days worth of water and expect to go very far? Will you purify by filter or chemical? I like chemical because it reduces weight, can you boil?

Medical: You better have at least a trauma pack. Do you have chronic meds? Allergies?

Hygiene: Get some baby wipes, the appropriate female necessities and move out. Why do you feel like brushing your teeth is a priority during a time like this? If you’re in the field long enough to brush your teeth, your Bug out plan is failing.

Ammo: Are you trying to carry a combat load? Is there a hill you have to take or hostage you need to rescue on the way home? If you have the mindset of an assaulter you may be over packing. Lighten up and think evasion. Break contact and go home…

Fire: Can you start one? Will you bring fuel for a stove?

Shelter: Tents are heavy but provide comfort and moral….

Signal Kits: Are you trying to hide or get noticed? It sucks trying to rescue people who have gone out of their way to be unnoticed. A few flares and a radio go a long way…How about a safety vest?

Maps: Yep, you still need them. Batteries die and GPS lose signals.

The of course geographic essentials:This all goes out the window in an Alaskan winter or Arizona summer….


In most cases, Bug out webbing makes more sense!

In most cases, Bug out webbing makes more sense!

Have you actually hiked with all this gear? Turns out hiking is harder than most people think so many of the BoBs I’ve seen people suggest just wont work. They are at best vehicle bags. None of this should exceed 25% of your body weight unless you road march Infantry style on a regular basis…

If you feel like you need to have supplies on hand in the event of an emergency, consider building caches. This will lighten your carried load, and if you were separated from your BoB you will still have some food and water for the trip. Keep in mind you KNOW where your trying to go, why not set yourself up for success early on and go bury some emergency bacon…

The bottom line having a BoB is an ongoing process where you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. It needs to be refined and trained with. I have a general rule, if I don’t use it on 3 training or real world missions in a row, its gone. As your life circumstances change, so should your BoB. If the training you’re doing either doesn’t support using your BoB, or has determined you don’t need a BoB changes to your program must be made.

Don’t just build a BoB because that’s what all the “cool” preppers do, create a requirements driven approach to the purchases you make, and generate your requirements from effective training.

Planning means nothing with out training…..Rehearse rehearse rehearse…img



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Why You Should Own A Bow And Arrow

I didn’t think I would be a big fan of the bow and arrow, but once I started using the recurve bow and the compound bow I fell in love with it.  I always get such an adrenaline rush when I am out in the woods or practicing in the backyard.
There are a ton of different bows to choose from. I only own the two but they also have the long bow and cross bow. All four of these bows are fun to shoot and extremely effective with a little practice.
Here are a couple reasons why you should own a bow.  Not just any bow but a simple survival take-down bow.

1. Easily Transported


The recurve bow can be taken down into three pieces: the middle grip section and the two limbs (top and bottom).  The recurve bow had a couple lug screws and voila that can be twisted off.  Once you have it taken apart, it can be stored in your pack. The best part is how light it weighs.

2. Within Financial Means

The recurve bow should only cost you a couple hundred dollars and if you take care of it, it should last a lifetime.  The arrows are costless and once you start practicing more; you should be able track your arrows after you shoot them and reuse them.  There are ways to make your own arrows using wooden dowels or plant shafts.

3. Talented


A lot of the new arrows are carbon fiber which are lightweight and have a tip that can be screwed-in to the arrow. There are a variety of different arrowheads that vary from practice tips, hook tips and line for fishing, broad head razor tips, and stunner tips.

4. Paperless and zero laws

Guns and bullet you need to follow laws and fill out a ton of paperwork.  With the bow and arrow you don’t need to mess with all the permits and paperwork.  Keep in mind a bow and arrow can be extremely deadly so always be responsible when handling one.

5. Too Loud?

The bow and arrow is one of the most silent weapon you can own.  You never know when this will come in handy. When you are hunting you don’t want a loud weapon that is going to scare everything away.img-6

6. Mutlitasker

The best part of having a bow and arrow is being able to use it for other sources.  The most important item of the bow and arrow is the string.  The bow strings can range from four to six feet in length and it’s strength is remarkable.  You can use the bow string for trotline fishing, traps, or shelther building.


The second most important items are the arrows. You can use the arrows for spearing fish, small animals, or even wild pigs.  The only thing you need to change is how long the shaft needs to be for each animal. A longer shaft and larger spear will need to be used for wild pigs, fishing, and/or self defense.

The only negative feedback about the bow and arrow is that you can’t just go out thinking it’s a piece of cake to shoot a bow.  It requires a lot of practice to be efficient.  So quick being lazy and go practice in the backyard.

I always love challenging myself and this was a great way to practice and show off my skills to all the boys! Remember the more practice you put into your bow the more targets you will hit. Once you start hitting targets, remember its not the bow that’s amazing; it’s you that has all the skills! If you really want to challenge yourself, go out and make your own bow and arrows. Plan, prepare, and practice.

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Long-Term Storage of Powdered Milk


Of course, all food and drink lasts for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember that powdered milk, unlike a lot of other dairy products, usually has a “best by date” which is the last date by which a manufacturer will vouch for a product’s quality, not its safety. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite meals even after its best by date has lapsed.

How to tell if Powdered Milk is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent food born illness.

Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your powdered milk has gone bad. Some common traits of bad powdered milk are discoloration, it will begin to have a yellowish tint, and an odor. If an odor or discoloration appear in your powdered milk, then it should be discarded.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Powdered Milk to extend its shelf life?

Keeping powdered milk in a cool and dry place is essential to extending it’s shelf life. Powdered milk should be stored in airtight containers in the pantry, the original box is not the best storage vessel for powdered milk. For example, powdered milk stored in its original container will last about 2 years beyond its best by date while the same product in an airtight plastic container should last about 10 years if kept away from heat.

Freezing powdered milk is a great option, but it is highly recommended to place it in vacuum sealed containers for the longest shelf life. This sealer is highly recommended for freezing any foods to extend their shelf life.

Light, moisture and oxygen all cause it to degrade quickly, but properly sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and desiccants inside five-gallon buckets help a lot and will extend the shelf-life.

Plastic buckets alone are slightly porous and will allow for some air to transfer through them, but by using the bucket and a correctly sealed Mylar bag this can be greatly reduced or eliminated completely.

Pack it correctly and rotate it into your normal everyday meal plan and use on a first in first out basis and you won’t have any problems. You should always be using and replacing your food storage items.


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10 Things You Learn by Carrying a Gun Every Day


What can you learn when you carry every day? A whole lot, it turns out.

Reflecting on my experiences carrying a gun daily for near a couple of decades, I figured out that I’ve learned a couple of things. Here’s a short list.

1. How clueless the average person is.

I don’t mean this in an offensive way at all, I mean it quite literally. When you first start carrying, you manage to convince yourself that every person you see in public will spot your gun. After a couple of weeks, you begin to realize that people are far more immersed in their phones than your appearance. The folks that do make eye contact with you almost never look for telltale bulges around your waist.

2. How quickly anti-gun folks can change their views—at least temporarily.

My wife was out for dinner one night with some friends, some of whom are decidedly anti-gun and can’t understand why someone would carry. Walking to the car after dinner, the group noticed a couple of suspicious characters hanging around a dark corner of the parking lot. Looking to my wife, the group asked the same question, “You do have your gun with you, right?”

Moral of the story: everyone loves a sheepdog.

3. The value of a good belt.

Physical fitness starts with a strong core. A skyscraper requires a deep foundation. Carrying a gun safely and securely requires a proper belt. A quality gun belt, like the Galco SB-2, will hold the weight of your gun, keep it close to your body, and prevent the holster from flopping around due to belt flex. If you’re having trouble with a holster, make sure you’ve got a proper belt underneath.

4. The value of a good holster.

Once you have a solid foundation with a proper belt, you need to continue building on that with equal quality. A good holster does three things:

  • A holster helps you access your gun quickly, easily, and safely. It will hold your gun in a fixed position. If you ever need to reach for your gun, it will be exactly where you expect. It won’t move around and you won’t have to constantly check the position of your gun.
  • It protects the trigger. By necessity, you may have to find and grip your gun quickly while under stress. A safe holster keeps the trigger completely protected until you have a proper, and safe, grip. Many things in your daily routine (chairs, seat belts, keys, etc.) have the potential to push through clothing hard enough to move the trigger.
  • It ensures that your gun remains under your control. Retention features in a holster aren’t just for law enforcement professionals. Make sure you invest in a holster that will keep your gun secure through your range of daily activity whether that includes getting in and out of cars, working outside or any other sort of physical activity.

It doesn’t look like much, but the extra weight of a couple of loaded magazines really adds up during a long day carrying.

5. Bending over can get you in trouble—in more ways than one.

A number of carry methods can cause printing dysfunction if you’re not careful. Most belt holsters, inside or outside the waistband, can cause the gun grip to press against the back of your shorts or cover garment if you lean forward too much. If you carry a gun daily, you quickly learn how to reach low things by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.

6. How many other people carry concealed.

Once you start carrying, you tend to look for other people who are also carrying. Trying to spot other concealed carriers is a great way to pass time. Better yet, make this activity a self-improvement drill. If you can spot others carrying, consider what tipped you off to their armed status, and don’t make the same mistake yourself. For example, my daughter spotted a motorcyclist on the highway the other day using an inside the waistband holster covered by a long shirt. Cruising along with the wind in his face caused his shirt to ride up to his chest, leaving his gun exposed for all to see.

7. Guns are heavy.

Actually, even light guns get heavy. Because marketing materials of pocket guns always show unloaded weight, you get surprised when you load that sucker up with 10 or more cartridges. For example, a 9x19mm cartridge weighs about .416 ounces and a single .45 ACP weighs just over .75 ounces. To put this in perspective, a roll of nickels weighs about 7.05 ounces, so each magazine full of ammo weighs something in the vicinity of a roll of nickels, depending on the caliber. When you carry a loaded gun and a couple of spare magazines, you’re talking about serious pocket change!

8. Heroism is overrated.

On TV and in the movies, the good guy does their thing and then a happy ending ensues. The credits roll, and Ben Cartright rides home for a fine steak dinner. In reality, doing the noble thing can easily become your worst nightmare. Even after justifiable self-defense shootings, ambitious prosecutors or family members of the perpetrator can take your life savings—and freedom—in the post-event courtroom.

9. It’s hard to beat a traditional belt holster.

Regardless of whether you prefer IWB or OWB holsters, on-the-belt carry is had to beat for gun security and quick accessibility. Is it a pain to conceal? Yes. Is it comfortable? Not necessarily. Do you have to adjust your dress code? Most likely. But when it comes to attributes designed to save your life in an emergency, it’s tough to beat.

10. You don’t know anything.

The longer you carry, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Owning a gun won’t necessarily protect you from crime. Going to the range to practice doesn’t necessarily mean you will prevail in a fight. Carrying a gun is literally a matter of life or death, so make it a point to learn something new each and every day.

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.

Images by Tom McHale



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Report: Terrorist Nuke Attack May Be Carried Out Inside the United States in Next 12 Months


With nuclear material having been stolen on multiple occasions in Mexico, and close terrorist ties to intelligence organizations in the middle east, it appears that if an organization was committed to acquiring nuclear material they could do so. Finding the scientists to build such a weapon, whether dirty or actual, wouldn’t be all that difficult. Moreover, smuggling such a device into the U.S. is possible, as evidenced by a 2011 report which confirms that at least one nuclear weapon of mass destruction wasseized as it entered the United States.

According to a report from Zero Hedge, such a plan may be in the works over the next twelve months, as the Islamic State claims it may be actively pursuing a nuclear weapon intended for detonation on American soil.

Three weeks after the first supposed attack by Islamic State supporters in the US, in which two ISIS “soldiers” wounded a security guard before they were killed in Garland, Texas, the time has come to raise the fear stakes.

In an article posted in the terrorist group’s English-language online magazine Dabiq (which as can be see below seems to have gotten its design cues straight from Madison Avenue and is just missing glossy pages filled with ‘scratch and sniff’ perfume ads ) ISIS claimed that it has enough money to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and “carry out an attack inside the United States next year.”

In the article, the ISIS columnist said the weapon could be smuggled into the United States via its southern border with Mexico.

Curiously, the author of the piece is John Cantlie, a British photojournalist who was abducted by ISIS in 2012 and has been held hostage by the organization ever since; he has appeared in several videos since his kidnapping and criticized Western powers.

As the Telegraph notes, “Mr Cantlie, whose fellow journalist hostages have all either been released or beheaded, has appeared in the group’s propaganda videos and written previous pieces. In his latest work, presumed to be written under pressure but in his hall-mark style combining hyperbole, metaphor and sarcasm, he says that President Obama’s policies for containing Isil have demonstrably failed and increased the risk to America.”

Cantlie describes the following “hypothetical” scenario in Dabiq :

Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table. The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region. 

The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the muj?hid?n move it south to Nigeria. Drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible.

The nuke and accompanying mujahadin arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the  porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States.

From there it’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million “illegal” aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car.

Cantlie continues:

Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago. And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive?

That’s easy enough to make. The Islamic State make no secret of the fact they have every intention of attacking America on its home soil and they’re not going to mince about with two muj?hid?n taking down a dozen casualties if it originates from the Caliphate. They’ll be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.

Remember, all of this has happened in less than a year. How more dangerous will be the lines of communication and supply a year on from today? If the West completely failed to spot the emergence of the Islamic State and then the allies who so quickly pledged allegiance to it from around the world, what else of massive significance are they going to miss next?

One can, of course, debate just how much the West “failed to spot the emergence of ISIS” considering it was not only the CIA which initially trained the terrorist organization in Jordan in 2012, but according to recently declassified Pentagon documents, the US was well aware the outcome its attempt to overthrow Syria’s Assad would have on the region, in the process “creating” ISIS, aka al Qaeda 2.0.

In other words, even the “hypothetical operation” involving a nuclear attack on US soil would implicitly have the blessing of the US government. Which, considering the way the stock market surges every time the US economy deteriorates further on its way towards recession, probably means that a mushroom cloud appearing in some major US metropolitan area is just what the E-mini algos would need to send the S&P500 limit up.

We have definitive confirmation via declassified documents that the Islamic State is a creation of the U.S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency, and their influence across the middle east was predicted well in advance of anyone ever having heard the name ISIS or ISIL. We also know that false flag operations, such as the German Reichstag fire of 1933, are often used by governments (or rogue elements within a government) to implement changes to existing political and social paradigms.

It could be that this nuclear threat is a psychological operation designed to elicit fear in the populace so that they go along willingly with legislative actions like the Patriot Act which further erode individual rights in the name of protecting us from terrorism, or to justify large scale military operations on U.S. soil, including but not limited to this summer’s Jade Helm exercises.

Or, certainly within the realm of possibility, is the notion that at some point a rogue terror element, the origination and loyalty of which makes absolutely no difference in the end, is planning on detonating a nuclear device on U.S. soil.

Perhaps this is one reason for why the elite arerapidly investing in secret hideaways. Perhaps they know it’s time to start exiting large metropolitan areas ahead of whatever is coming. Perhaps it all starts with a bang and a mushroom cloud, soon followed by panic, riots, looting, and of course, the unprecedented domestic military response that would be necessitated by a widespread breakdown of civil order.

We can only speculate, but the fact is that another large-scale attack on U.S. soil would usher in a new era in the Land of the Free.

Admittedly, we have delved deep into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory, but we leave the reader the following quote to consider within the context of this current threat:

The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. 

Project for a New American Century, 2000
Signed by Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al.

At the very least the American people are being psychologically conditioned to accept their own enslavement. At worst, an event such as this would be used to plunge the world into the next great war.

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How To Clean a Squirrel

When you or your family is hungry, just about anything that moves become food.  Squirrels are a plentiful and abundant source of protein.  This video and instructions below show you a simple fast way to skin and clean your squirrel.  I hope you didn’t forget your A1 sauce.

Learn how to skin a squirrel in one minute.’s Will Brantley displays his squirrel-skinning prowess. Want more how-to information on cleaning and cooking your game?

  1. Start by getting the squirrel wet. To keep hair from getting on the squirrel meat, wet down the fur. Do this by either placing the squirrel in a bucket of water, or dousing the squirrel with a hose.
    • Leave the tail intact, you will use it later to help remove the pelt.
  2. Make incision under the tail. Lay the squirrel belly-down on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife or razor blade to cut a horizontal slit 1.5 inches (~4 cm) beneath the base of the squirrel’s tail. This slit will be below the anus running horizontally across the butt. The incision should be shallow, only deep enough to penetrate the skin, not the underlying flesh.
  3. Make incisions on the hindquarters. Holding the squirrel, carefully extend the original incision along the back of the hind legs (rump). The incisions should be shallow, only deep enough to penetrate the skin, not the underlying flesh. You will now have a long incision running up the back of both legs and across the butt, under the tail and anus.
  4. Pull the pelt off. Rest the squirrel on a flat surface that is clear of dirt and leaves. Grab hold of the hind legs, step on the tail and pull the squirrel out of its skin by its hind legs. Think of removing the skin as you would a sweater. The pelt should come off the torso in one piece. Stop when you get to the front legs.
  5. Remove skin from the hind legs. Holding the squirrel by the tail, separate the pelt from the flesh of the the hind legs. To do this work your fingers under the pelt and separate the muscle from the skin. This can take a little time, just be persistent. Do not try to speed up the process by using a tool. A tool is more likely to damage the skin, just use your fingers.
  6. Remove skin from the front legs. Separate the pelt from the flesh of the the front legs. To do this work your fingers under the pelt and separate the muscle from the skin. This can take a little time, just be persistent. Do not try to speed up the process by using a tool. A tool is more likely to damage the skin, just use your fingers.
  7. Continue skinning. Continue to pull the pelt until its around the squirrel’s neck.
  8. Remove the squirrel’s head, hands, and feet. Use a sharp and sturdy knife to slice through the muscle and ligaments of the hands, feet and head of the squirrel. Then with your hands twist and crack off the appendages. You may find pliers helpful for removing the hands, feet or head. Do not try to cut through the bone. This will dull your knife and splinter bone into the meat.
  9. You have successfully skinned a squirrel. Next gut it.

Method 2 of 2: Gut the Squirrel

  1. Make the incision . Turn the squirrel over with its belly facing you. Pinch the stomach and make an initial small incision. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to do this and keep the cut shallow. Insert your blade into this initial incision, cutting edge up, and run your knife blade from the pelvis to the bottom of the rib cage. You want to cut through the muscle and underlying membrane but not into the guts themselves, especially into the intestines or bladder, which can taint your meat. If done right there will be very little blood.
  2. Remove the innards from lower abdominal cavity . Spread the back legs, like a butterfly, to open up the belly area. Reach in and pull out the intestines, liver, stomach, kidneys, and visceral fat from the lower abdominal cavity.
    • Inspect the liver before you eat the meat. If the liver looks pale, off-color, or spotted, do not eat the meat. If the liver is deep, dark red and looks healthy, the meat is fine to eat.
  3. Remove the innards from upper abdominal cavity. Next, return to the main carcass. Use your knife or cooking shears to cut the ribs along the breastbone. Spread the ribs and reach into the chest cavity; and remove the heart, lungs and diaphragm from the carcass.
  4. Rinse. You now have an intact skinned squirrel carcass ready for cooking. Rinse it with some clean water. Then immediately cook it, or refrigerate or freeze it for longer term storage.


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Move over Kale: The Miracle Tree Is Taking Over

In a survival, prepping or disaster situation health and nutrition is crucial to surviving. In our 72hr Bug Out Bags or Get Home Bag it is commonly known (and recommended) to have essential items that will allow us to maintain and/or increase our energy levels, and at the same time ensure that the food in which we are consuming has the proper nutrition which will give us (as much as possible) optimum nourishment during that potentially stressful time.

Did you know that there is a Super food plant which can provide you with:

  • 92 different nutrients
  • 46 Antioxidants
  • 36 Anti-Inflammatories
  • 18 Amino Acids
  • 9 Essential Amino Acids

If that wasn’t enough, this Super Food also is known to:

  • Boosts energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved immune system function
  • Improved mood
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Protects the stomach lining
  • Treats stomach ulcers
  • Ultimate Anti-oxidant
  • Plus many more!


This Super food plant is known as the “Miracle Tree,” and is scientific name is “Moringa Oleifera”. Moringa has naturally occurring antioxidants which support the prevention of cancer and other debilitating diseases that attack the human body’s cells. Antioxidants, such as those found in Moringa Oleifera aids in dynamic cell restoration, which can combat oxidative stress by preventing free radicals from reacting and causing damage to cells. Moringa Oleifera has one of the highest ORAC rating of 157,000 (that’s off the chart folks).

Moringa Oleifera is a nutrient dense, whole Super food and that makes it a complete health product that will not only provide you with the vitamins you need, but also may improve your overall health. As a Master Herbalist I believe Moringa Oleifera is one of the best super foods which any Preppers will feel confident in having in either their 72hrs (Bug out Bag) or in their essential preps. Actually, I personally use this Moringa as part of my family’s daily nutritional supplements, it’s just that vital and effective.

How awesome is this? Moringa has:

  • 14x’s more calcium than milk
  • 9x’s more iron than spinach
  • 4x’s more fiber than oats
  • 4x’s more potassium than bananas
  • 2x’s more protein than eggs.

The benefits of Moringa Oleifera is known and used in areas where there is dramatic famine and extreme malnutrition. Moringa Oleifera is/has been used in many African countries such as Kenya, Mali, Senegal and others. The USAid agency also has used Moringa in Hati. (reference: where they claim that 30% of the children there are malnourished.

What nutritional daily value can Moringa give?

According to Optima of Africa, Ltd., a group that has been working with this tree, says that for every 25 grams (less than an ounce) daily of Moringa leaf powder will give a child the following daily allowances: protein 42%, calcium 125%, magnesium 60%, potassium 41%, iron 71%, vitamin A 272%, vitamin C 22%. The same benefits apply to adults and senior citizens, but only the percentages change. Obviously, Moringa is beneficial for people of all ages in one serving of Moringa Oleifera leaves, you can find:

  • 22% daily value of Vitamin C
  • 41% daily value of Potassium
  • 61% daily value of Magnesium
  • 71% daily value of Iron
  • 125% daily value of Calcium
  • 272% daily value of Vitamin A

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: Moringa oleifera leaves and seeds contain beneficial essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Moringa seeds contain between 30-42% oil, with 13% saturated fats and 82% unsaturated fatty acids. Oleifera is the Latin term for “oil containing.” About 73% of the Moringa oil is oleic acid, while in most beneficial plant oils, oleic acid only contributes up to 40%. Olive oil is about 75% oleic acid, and sunflower is about 20%. Oleic acid is linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, artherosclerosis, infections, and certain types of cancer, and it helps to regulate blood glucose levels. Our Moringa contains both: Both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

Moringa’s unique combination of nutrients can help to boost the immune system. It also helps to maintain healthier blood sugar levels within a normal range. People with high blood pressure or diabetes may also find moringa oleifera to be an effective supplement for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

When the Moringa Oleifera leaves are dried out and used in powder form you have a lightweight, high density superfood. The pack below is enough to provide all of the nutrients outlined in this article for one adult individual for a over 15 days and as long as it stays dried will still maintain is potency for 5+ year easily.

Moringa for lactose intolerant individuals & children:

Growing bodies need nutrients, and moringa is the most nutrient-dense plant ever studied. Moringa gives children the nutrients they need to grow health and strong, in an easily digestible form with high absorption rates. Nursing mothers can also use moringa to increase the nutrient content in their breast milk. Moringa can increase the natural calcium levels of mother’s milk by an amazing 25%. Again Moringa has 125% daily value of Calcium making it the perfect substitution for lactose intolerant people as well. You need calcium for health bones and health blood pressure control. Moringa does not contain any lactose.

You’ve now probably just discovered one of the most nutritious plants on the planet packed with over 90 vital nutrients and that includes essential fatty acids. Get Moringa in your bug out bag.

We are not aware of any negative effects. However, women who are pregnant or wishing to get pregnant should not consume this product. It’s maybe UNSAFE to use moringa if you are pregnant. Chemicals in the root, bark, and flowers can make the uterus contract, and this might cause a miscarriage.


Disclaimer: Information contained on this website is for general information purposes only and must not be used to treat or diagnose dental/medical conditions. The products and statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended as medical advice. Should you have any health concerns please check with your medical doctor before self-administering any natural remedy.

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Today We Honor the Fallen

Memorial Day is so much more than a extra day off from work or a day to barbecue with friends and family.

Many think Memorial Day is like Veterans Day but  it isn’t.  Yes it does show support for our troops, but for the soldiers that gave all of us everything they had to give.

Again no day is a bad day to thank a vet but if we become convinced that Memorial Day is about those of us that served and came back home, we miss the point. Memorial Day is more somber, it is about those who fell in battle and never again got up, it is about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, it bluntly is about those who died.

Today at some point just pause and think about that. Think about the 4,400 of our US service members that have fallen in Iraq, the 2,000 in Afghanistan, the 47,000 in Vietnam, 33,000 in Korea, 291,000 in WWII, 53,000 in WWI or perhaps the 212,000 that fell on both sides in the War Between the States.

To put it in perspective here are just some of the memorials we owe.

1American Civil War      1861–1865     750,000

2World War II    1941–1945     405,399

3World War I    1917–1918    116,516

4Vietnam War      1961–1975      58,209

5Korean War      1950–1953      54,246

6American Revolutionary War     1775–1783     25,000

7War of 1812     1812–1815     15,000

8Mexican–American War     1846–1848     13,283

9War on Terror       2001–present     6,7171

10Philippine–American War      1899–1902      4,196

Please join us in remembering.

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Frequency List for SHTF Survivalist Radio Communications and Preppers



============ | ===== | ============ | ==================
FRS UHF ==== | FRS 3 | 462.6125 FM =| PREPPER
GMRS UHF === |GMRS17 | 462.6000 FM =| SURVIVALIST
PMR UHF ==== | PMR 3 | 446.03125FM =| SURVIVALIST PREPR
CB AM ====== |CB 3AM | 026.9850 AM =| PREPPER
CB AM ====== |CB 9AM | 027.0650 AM =| HIGHWAY SAFETY
CB SSB ===== |CB 37U | 027.3750 USB | SURVIVALIST PREPR
HAM UHF ==== |HAM U3 | 446.0300 FM =| PREPPER
HAM VHF ==== |HAM 42 | 146.4200 FM =| PREPPER
HAM VHF ==== |HAM 52 | 146.5200 FM =| HAM CALLING
HAM VHF ==== |HAM 55 | 146.5500 FM =| SURVIVALIST
HAM HF ===== |HAM20M | 014.2420 USB | PREPPER
HAM HF ===== |HAM40M | 007.2420 LSB | PREPPER
HAM HF ===== |HAM60M | 005.3570 USB | SURVIVALIST NVIS
HAM HF ===== |HAM80M | 003.8180 LSB | PREPPER
MARINE VHF - |MAR 72 | 156.6250 FM =| BOAT PREPPER
The source of this chart is RadioMaster Reports.
Updated 2015. Entered into public domain. Free to copy.

Background Notes and History of These Frequencies

Reference: First-hand physical research, correspondence, and open public domain sources 1997-2013. Updated NOV-2013. The basic SHTF Survivalist Radio Frequency List chart was entered into the public domain 2013 by Radiomaster Reports.

Low Band VHF Frequencies:


Radio Bunker at Bug Out Location 2 during SHTF Test Drill

33.4 MHz is an ancient Low Band VHF FM itinerant business channel with a 1 watt limit. Popular among reenactors, survivalists, and bulletproof-radio enthusiasts using old military surplus manpacks or military handheld sets on this channel (especially PRC-77). The reason they use 33.4 is probably because it is the only low power itinerant channel that old green manpacks can select with their 50 kHz or 25 kHz channel spacing dials. At low power in the field, they aren’t bothering anybody. Useful for patrols and tactical communications. All scanners can receive this channel.


Preppers Test Out Military Surplus Low Band VHF Radios on SHTF Survival channel 33.400 MHz FM Simplex img-12

Radio Bunker at Bug Out Location 3 during SHTF Test Drill

Preppers Test Out Military Surplus Low Band VHF Radios on SHTF Survival channel 33.400 MHz FM Simplex

Radio Bunker at Bug Out Location 3 during SHTF Test Drill

Some interesting older “green” military surplus radios common for Low Band VHF frequencies:
Military manpack set PRC-9, AN/PRC-9 (27.0-38.9 MHz FM) continuously tunable
Military manpack set PRC-10, AN/PRC-10 (38.0 to 54.9 MHz) continuously tunable
Military manpack set PRC-77, AN/PRC-77 (30-52.95; 53-75.95 MHz FM) channel spacing 50 kHz
Military manpack set PRC-25, AN/PRC-25 (30-52.95; 53-75.95 MHz FM) channel spacing 50 kHz
Military handheld set PRC-68, AN/PRC-68, PRC-68A, PRC-68B (30-79.975 MHz FM) channel spacing 50/25/12.5 kHz
Military handheld set RT-1547/PRC-126, AN/PRC-126 (30-88 MHz FM) channel spacing 25 kHz
Military handheld set AN/PRC-128 (30-88 MHz FM) channel spacing 12.5 kHz
Military manpack set AN/PRC-119 (30-87.95 MHz) channel spacing 25KHz
Military radio set AN/PRC-117 (30-90 MHz) channel spacing 25KHz

Radio Bunker at Bug Out Location 1 during SHTF Test Drill


Radio Bunker at Bug Out Location 1 during SHTF Test Drill

High Band VHF Frequencies:

151.940 MHz FM is the MURS Prepper channel, known as MURS Channel 3. Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is an unlicensed two-way radio service similar to CB but on VHF FM.  It is in wide use by preppers and survivalists. VHF has longer distance range in rural and suburban areas than either FRS or GMRS. Useful for mobile, base, patrols, practice drills, and tactical communications. Most scanners can receive this channel.

154.570 MHz FM is the MURS Survivalist channel, known as MURS Channel 4 or the Blue Dot  Channel. Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is an unlicensed two-way radio service similar to CB but on VHF FM.  It is in  use by some preppers, and has much better distance range in rural and suburban areas than UHF, FRS or GMRS. Useful for mobile, base, patrols, and tactical communications. Most scanners can receive this channel.


Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band Transceiver (Black)

155.16 MHz FM Simplex is Emergency Only. SAR (Search And Rescue) National interoperability channel in USA for ground search teams. It is widely used by government and civilian SAR teams for field communications and interaction with governmental, law enforcement, or fire operations in the field. This channel is also known as Ground SAR, Land SAR, and identified in agency radios with the channel name SAR WFM or SAR NFM. It requires an FCC license to transmit on it, and should never be used by unlicensed operators, except in life-threatening emergency to communicate with a Search & Rescue unit. All scanners can receive this channel.

156.800 MHz FM Simplex is VHF marine channel 16, the international primary Marine Safety, Emergency, and Distress guard channel worldwide. It is widely used and monitored by all boats, ships, and watercraft. Coast Guards monitor this channel, and it is audio-recorded in major ports. All scanners can receive this channel.

156.625 MHz FM Simplex is VHF marine channel 72, an international ship-to-ship or HT channel worldwide. It is widely used on sailboats, motor boats, yachts, and watercraft. It is designated for non-commercial use, is common for HT-to-HT informal communications, and is normally clear of commercial shipping or port operations. It is usually not monitored by coast guards, but it is audio-recorded in major ports. All scanners can receive this channel.

HAM Prepper SHTF Survival Channel 146.550 FM Simplex


TYT Quad Band Transceiver 10M/6M/2M/70cm VHF/UHF TH-9800 Two Way and Amateur Radio with HH9900 Antenna

146.55 MHz FM Simplex is the primary VHF Ham Survivalist local channel. It is one of very few ham radio 2 meter frequencies widely coordinated for FM-Simplex-only throughout USA. It is widely available to Technician basic ham license (or higher) ham operators in USA. It is popular among survivalists because it is the only coordinated 2 meter simplex channel compatible with bulletproof military surplus radios (AN/PRC-127, etc) and forest-fire radios (Bendix HTs, etc). These types of radios have 25kHz channel spacing, and are in wide use by ham radio survivalists/preppers. Useful for patrols and tactical communications. All scanners can receive this channel.

146.52 MHz FM Simplex is widely known as the ham radio 2 meter Calling Frequency. It is the most widely monitored simplex frequency in USA, but it should not be depended upon for emergency 911 type calls, because there are no organized first-responders on it. It is widely available to Technician basic ham license (or higher) ham operators in USA. Known by most hams as 52 Simplex, it is the channel for the Wilderness Protocol  in which hams often monitor it while in backcountry. The Long Tone Zero or LTZ protocol, applies on 52 Simplex, in which an emergency call may be transmitted at the top of the hour with the Zero key on the DTMF keypad being held down and transmitted for a long time prior to the voice call to attract attention. It is the most likely local ham radio frequency-coordinated FM Simplex channel to be activated in SHTF scenarios, especially when infrastructure and repeaters are down. All scanners can receive this channel.

146.42 MHz FM Simplex is a ham radio 2 meter frequency commonly used as a chat or SHTF practice channel by mainstream Prepper organizations. It is not a normal frequency-coordinated 2 meter simplex ham channel, although it is generally within the simplex bandplan for USA. It is widely available to Technician basic ham license (or higher) ham operators in USA. Useful for practice drills, patrols, and tactical communications. All scanners can receive this channel.


Yaesu FT-2900R 75 Watt 2 Meter VHF Mobile Transceiver Amateur Ham Radio

Reference source: List of 2 Meter 146 MHz Simplex Reality in USA
= 146.400 Repeaters all areas
= 146.415 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.430 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.445 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.460 Simplex all areas
= 146.475 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.490 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.505 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.520 National Simplex Calling
= 146.535 Simplex all areas
* 146.550 Simplex all areas
= 146.565 Simplex & T-hunts (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.580 Simplex all areas
= 146.595 Simplex (or Repeaters in some areas)
= 146.610 Repeaters all areas

* Compatible with Mil Surplus and Forest-Fire HTs using 25 kHz channel spacing

UHF Frequencies:

462.600 MHz FM is the GMRS Survivalist channel. It is GMRS Channel 17 in the Motorola channel naming system and GMRS Channel 3 in the Icom/GM channel naming system. This channel is popular among Survialist organizations and teams due to the the famous Survival Rule of Threes (since it is the 3rd GMRS-only channel). It is a simplex channel or a repeater output channel. If used with a repeater, the repeater input frequency is 467.600 MHz. The duplex is 5 MHz + split. PL 141.3 tone. Most scanners can receive this channel.

GMRS | GMR20R | 462.675+ FM | GMRS REPEATER PL 141.3
462.675 MHz FM is recognized as the GMRS nationwide emergency and traveler assistance repeater channel. It is GMRS Channel 20 in the Motorola channel naming system and GMRS Channel 6 in the Icom/GM channel naming system. The repeater output is 462.675 MHz and uses a 5 MHz + split with an input frequency of 467.675 MHz and a PL 141.3 tone. Most scanners can receive this channel.

462.6125 MHz FM Simplex is FRS channel 3, it is commonly used for tactical patrols and neighborhood watch. It is an extremely short-range channel, but can be extended somewhat using GMRS radios that can also operate on this frequency or with simplex repeaters. FRS Channel 3 is on the channel list of several prepper networks. This channel is popular among Prepper organizations and teams due to the the famous Prepper Rule of Threes. Most scanners can receive this channel.

PMR | PMR 3 | 446.03125 FM | PREPPER PMR466 CHANNEL 3
446.03125 MHz FM is the Prepper channel for Personal Mobile Radio (PMR or PMR466). PMR is a low power, short range, radio system similar to FRS. It is very common in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In USA and many other places, the 446 MHz band is assigned to Amateur Radio Service (Ham) so, the PMR channels can be used by hams in those areas. PMR Channel 3 is interoperable and compatible with the HAM UHF Prepper channel HAM U3, at frequency 446.030 MHz. This channel is popular among Prepper organizations and teams in Europe due to the the famous Prepper Rule of Threes.


Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver 100 Watts – Original Icom USA

PMR446 Prepper Radios

446.030 MHz FM Simplex is a Prepper ham radio UHF frequency. Useful for practice drills, patrols, and tactical communications. It is not a normal frequency-coordinated UHF simplex ham channel, although it is a simplex frequency within the widely recognized simplex bandplan. It is interoperable and compatible with PMR Channel 3 (a channel popular among European Prepper organizations and teams) due to the the Rule of Threes. All scanners can receive this channel.

Ham HF SSB Frequencies:

28.305 MHz USB is a ham radio Upper SideBand local and international frequency in the 10 meter band. In USA, it is widely available to Technician basic ham license (or higher) ham operators. This channel also is compatible with less-expensive 10-meter SSB channelized radios and extra-channel or modified CB SSB radios. HF SSB radios and military surplus manpack radios can transceive on this channel. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

14.242 MHz USB is a ham radio Upper SideBand international and long distance frequency in the 20 meter band. In USA, it is only available to General license (or higher) ham operators. It is on the channel list of several organized survivalist and prepper networks, including TAPRN (The American Prepper Radio Network). HF SSB radios and military surplus manpack radios can transceive on this channel. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

7.242 MHz LSB is a ham radio Lower SideBand wide area frequency in the 40 meter band available to General license (or higher) operators in USA. It is on the channel list of several organized survivalist and prepper networks, including an active practice net by TAPRN (The American Prepper Radio Network). HF SSB radios and some military surplus manpack radios can transceive on this channel. Shortwave receivers with LSB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

5.357 MHz LSB is a ham radio Upper SideBand regional area frequency available to General license (or higher) operators in USA and other countries. The 5 MHz channels in the 60 meter band are recognized for use in EMCOMM Emergency Communications. This channel is optimum for long range mobile patrols and base NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) HF communications dependably up to 500 miles on a regular daily basis. HF SSB radios and military surplus manpack radios can transceive on this channel. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

3.818 MHz LSB is a ham radio Lower SideBand night regional frequency in the 80 meter band available to General license (or higher) operators in USA. It is on the channel list of several survivalist and prepper networks, including an active practice net by TAPRN (The American Prepper Radio Network). HF SSB radios and some military surplus manpack radios can transceive on this channel. Shortwave receivers with LSB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

CB Band and Freeband HF Frequencies:

CB AM | CB 3AM | 26.9850 AM | PREPPER CB
26.985 MHz AM is CB Channel 3. Useful for common tactical patrols and local area communications between vehicles and bases. Channel 3 CB is on the channel list of several survivalist and prepper networks. This channel is popular among Prepper organizations and teams due to the the famous Prepper Rule of Threes. Shortwave receivers can receive this channel. Some scanners can receive this channel.

27.065 MHz AM is CB Channel 9. In USA, the radio regulations designate this as the Emergency and Travelers’ Assistance Channel in FCC rules 47CFR95.407(b). It is widely used by CBers during emergencies, but it should not be considered a 911 type channel because it is not reliably monitored by any first-responder organization. Some CB radios have a dedicated Channel 9 button. Shortwave receivers can receive this channel. Some scanners can receive this channel.

27.365 MHz USB is CB Channel 36 Upper SideBand. Highly useful for long range patrols and wide local area communications, espeically between vehicles and bases up to about 20 miles. Channel 36 USB CB is on the primary channel list of various survivalist groups. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

27.368 MHz USB is the primary Survivalist Freeband Upper SideBand channel. It is in the gap between CB channel 36 and CB channel 37. Useful for long range patrols and wide local area communications, it is especially good between vehicles and bases up to about 20 miles or more. This frequency is clearer due to less interference and has longer distance range than normal CB channels for survivalist groups using CB SSB radios with unlocked clarifier. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

Survivalist 375 CB SSB Radio

CB SSB | CB 37 U | 027.3750 USB | PREPPER CB SSB
27.375 MHz USB is CB Channel 36 Upper SideBand. Highly useful for long range patrols and wide local area communications, especially between vehicles and bases up to about 20 miles. Channel 37 USB CB is a prepper listed frequency. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

27.378 MHz USB is the most popular Prepper Freeband Upper SideBand channel in the gap between CB channel 38 and CB channel 37. It is useful for long range patrols and wide local area communications, especially between vehicles and bases up to about 20 miles. This frequency is clearer due to less interference and has longer distance range than normal CB channels for SHTF groups using CB SSB radios with unlocked clarifier. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

Survivalist Prepper Communications HF SSB Ham Radio Modified for CB Freeband

27.425 MHz USB is a CB freeband Upper SideBand channel in extra channels, about 2 channels above normal CB channel 40. For CBs with extra channels in bands, it is channel 2 of the band just above normal CB band (usually Band E). It is useful for long range patrols and wide local area communications, especially between vehicles and bases up to about 20 miles. This frequency is clearer and has longer distance range than normal CB channels for SHTF survivalist groups using radios with extra upper high channels. Shortwave receivers with USB or BFO can receive this channel. Most scanners can not receive this channel due to the use of Single SideBand.

Notes on PL tones, Squelch, and DCS use:
The listings for FM Simplex are all carrier squelch receiver.

There is some advantage to transmitting a PL 151.4 to include those who may be using CTCSS.
Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System:
Interoperability with surplus military radios is desirable using Mil Tone Squelch frequency 150 Hz, compatible with PL tone and CTCSS radios using PL 151.4 Hz. This tone is also known as Motorola Code 4A or National Interagency Fire Center code NIFC 14.

P25 digital radios can be used on some of the FM Simplex channels listed.
Recommended Network Access Code NAC $F7E
(Using NAC $F7E, receiver will unsquelch with any incoming NAC)

Everyone – Talk Group ID TGID $FFFF
Individual Unit ID can be anything between $000001 and $98767F
Unit ID for (All Call) everyone, Group call $FFFFFF

Digital-Coded Squelch (DCS) or Digital Private Line (DPL) or Digital Channel Guard (DCG)
Not recommended due to interoperability issues.
If used: DCS 023.

RadioMaster wishes to thank: “SHTF Team 2″, “Joe The Prepper”, “Darth_vader”, and “Mike the radio guy”, for their contribution of photos and useful information for this article.

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Hydroponics – Soil-less Gardening.

Home Gardening: 10 Plug and Play Hydroponic Systems

New generation gardening systems abound in your own home. Technology lets you do hydroponic gardening the easy way.



In case you don’t know yet, plug and play hydroponic systems are now available at your favorite stores. Take your pick and make the right choice. Find out which futuristic hydroponic gardening systems will be useful to your home.

Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit by PowerGrow ® Systems (4) 5 Gallon – 10″ Buckets

A Hydroponics Vegetable Growing System 

Use technology to grow vegetables at your home garden. The hydroponics vegetable growing system consists of 34 gallon reservoir, a digital watering control system, and three sets of 3 gallon pots. The components contained in this system work closely together to nourish healthy vegetable growth. The hydroponics digital system ensures crops get enough water supply in a timely manner.

A Tower Garden Aeroponics System 

Do hydroponics gardening the majestic way. A tall tower garden aeroponics system is a complete tool set consisting of a growing stand, a pump timer, net pots, mixture of plant food in liquid form and a PH level test system. No need to purchase food for your plants separately when you care for them in a tower garden aeroponics system. Save your money for other expenses, rather than spending your extra funds for your plant’s foods.

The Complete Garden Stick ‘Green’ Version Planter Stick, Jumbo

Smaller Garden Aeroponics System 

Should you decide to go for a more modest plug and play hydroponics system, a smaller garden aeroponics system will be at your service. This mini and budget-friendly aeroponics garden consists solely of an air pump and a PH level test.

Extraordinary Aquaponics Garden 

Let your pet fish care for your plants in their own ways. Grow your fish and a maximum of five plants in an Aquaponics garden. The plants inside your garden get their foods from the fish waste. So, you don’t need to provide food for them in separate occasions.

Water-Based Farm Hydroponics Garden 

This is a sizable planter consisting of clay pebbles. These clay pebbles make use of a 4 gallon packed reservoir and an air pump when they distribute water and nutrients all over the garden. This mini hydroponics garden system is portable, and only measures 12”X12”.

A Hydroponic Garden on Your Windows 

Hang your hydroponic garden on your windows. Alternatively, you may also let your garden ascend towards your window’s top. A window hydroponic garden consists of an automatic pump and a watering supply system. This garden is sure going to catch the attention of onlookers and observers alike once they set their sights on it.

The Aero Hydroponic Garden 

The Aero hydroponic garden is the place where your plants can get water and nutrients in one place. A substantial lighting source also abound within the garden’s premises. The garden’s light source is easy to adjust. Plus, the garden’s functions may be adjusted via a remote panel system as the needs arise.

An Electronic Mini Hydroponic Garden 

Your hydroponic garden now comes in a friendly mini pot. This pot consists of electronics, sensors, batteries, pump and a water supply system. You may choose to upgrade your hydroponics mini pot garden, too. An upgraded mini hydroponics pot consists of plant cartridges or seeds, nutrients and a plant nourishment software.

Plug and Play Desk Hydroponics Garden 

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black

A plug and play desk hydroponics garden entices you to work better each day at your home office. The garden’s two tanks, four clay pebble-filled plant pots and a system that supplies the majority of nutrient re-circulation, should be your inspiration for professional success.

An Automatic Hydroponics Garden 

An automatic hydroponics garden is your source for top water supply and bottom oxygen supply systems that facilitate rapid plant growths.

These technology-based hydroponic gardening systems should keep you busy all the time in your house, apartment or condo. Keep the premises within your 70 St. Patrick’s condo unit healthy. Do so by trying these plug and play hydroponic systems. See the difference these gardening systems make in your life today.

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Homeless Tent Cities In The Suburbs Of The Nations Capitol

This is a mini documentary of what real life SHTF looks like.  Many people have different scenarios in their mind about what may happen during an apocalyptic event.  But the reality is that SHTF scenarios happen to good folks every day.  This short video takes a brief look at what it is like to live homeless in a tent.  It also explores that fact that about 30% of people who are in homeless situations like these two guys would work for a living if given an opportunity.  Of course that means that there is also about 70% of folks that just want to stay in the situation that they are currently in.

I would like to do a full length documentary on this subject and identify several people who do actually want to work for a living and find a way to help them transition back into normal civilian life.  The film that I would make is going to reflect the reality on the ground just like this short video does as well.  You will notice that one guy in this video is drinking and smoking.  The other is also an alcoholic, although he wasn’t drinking the day we filmed.  This is real, it is how they live and show that is how I will show it.  I don’t judge these people for their choices and I respect their willingness to get on film and take ownership in their situation.  Which both of these men did.  I only had seven mins of footage that I could include in this film but I have at least an hour more footage where they both go into detail on their situation, how they got there and what kinds of things would help them to get out of the situation. It is all very interesting and ultimately if I am able to make the longer full length film, I am hoping that it will help to make a change in the way county governments go about distributing assistance to folks who are homeless. My guiding principle is that old saying “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime”.  I believe our benefits system in the USA should follow this motto.


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11 Ways To Light Your Home When The Power Goes Out


Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me.

Flash, Boom, and Crash.  Power is Out

You may have a generator to run, but how long do you really have before you need some other source of light either for emergency or to just simply get around the house without kicking a coffee table or falling down the stairs.

Here’s a list of items you need for emergency and ways to light your way.

1. Flashlights

You must have multiple flashlights and they should be reglarly check for charged or good batteries.  With the cost of LED flashlights coming down in cost over the last couple years, you have no excuse.  Go invest in a couple high quality, water proof or highly resistant flashlights.  When emergency strikes, you’ll be thankful you did.

AYL 3-in-1 LED Vehicle Emergency Flashlight High-Lumen 100,000 Hour CREE Torch with Powerful MAGNETIZED BASE. Peace of Mind During Blackouts and Emergencies!

2. Rechargeable/Dynamo Flashlights

When you pick up your battery powered flashlight, look at rechargeable or dynamo powered flashlights or lamps.  These flashlights never need batteries because they are human powered by you.  When the light intensity begins to fade, you either crank the handle or shake the light for a while to charge up the built in battery.

Ginkgo-tree®CREE XPE R3 White Light LED Flashlight 3 Modes| LED Headlamp | Wearable Light 4-in-1 | Multi-Function Capability – Outdoor/Indoor, Water Resistant,300 Lumens, Zoomable – For Hiking, Biking, Kids, Reading, Military, Camping, Auto Repair & More. Provides Safety and Security – Fits Around Head, Helmet, Bike or Belt | Premium Grade | CREE Certified (Battery Not Included)

3. Head Lamps

Have you ever needed a third hand.  Or perhaps your working on some repair and need a buddy to hold the light for you.  With a head lamp you can use your hands and where ever you look you have the illumination needed to complete the job. These lights are also great for camping, hiking and hunting.

4. Candles

Candles are easiest and often first line of defense against the darkness.  Emergency lighting with candles have some great pros: They are easily attainable, have no expiration, and are easy to use. Cons: Dangerous due to open flame. If candles are part of your emergency preparedness plan, be sure to take safeguards and obtain fireproof candle holders or place the strategically in areas of low fire hazard.

Long burning emergency candles are the best option.  Sure your mother’s cranberry cinnamon FooFoo candles will work, but generally do not provide very much light in time of need.

Candle Tips:  Reflecting surfaces can help direct the light where you need it.  Using a cut open coffee can, or small tea lights in a soda can can give you more light were you want it.

15 Hour Long Burn White Unscented Votive Candles Set of 36 HIGLOW

5. Kerosene / Oil Lamps

Oil lamps in some form have been around and lighting the way since 4500 bce.  These are awesome light sources, especially the old school hurricane lanterns. As with candles, however, they are an open flame so you need to be careful with them. Oil lamps also give off more heat and carbon dioxide than candles and should only be used in a well-ventilated room.

V & O 200-30060 Camping Lantern 12″ Blue

Store lamp oil in a non-corrosive container as it sometimes eats through the plastic bottles. If you decide to use oil lamps, keep extra wicks as well as extra oil on hand.

6. Propane Lamps

Propane lamps also are great sources of light and have plenty punch to light your way out of darkness. The danger of such lamps is their high heat output and high oxygen use. A propane lamp should be used outside or in a well-ventilated area. If you decide to use a propane lamp, make sure you have a few extra propane bottles to keep your light going.

7. Battery Powered Lamps

You’re going to use a lot of batteries if you go this route, so you might want to invest in some rechargeable batteries and a solar battery charger. Rechargeable batteries don’t last as long so you’ll be changing them a lot, but at least you won’t have to deal with kerosene or lamp oil. It depends on your preference.

8. Rechargeable Lights

These come in a variety of sizes, power, light types, and costs.  No batteries are necessary because you just plug them into the wall to charge them up. They’re great for short-term power outages, but obviously they won’t be a great option if the power is out for more than a day. It’s a good idea to have a nice rechargeable work light, anyway. Then when the power goes out you’ll have another option.

9. Solar Lamps

Solar Lamps have really comp down in cost over the years.  You can pick up an entire box of solar lamps for $20-30 and use them around your home.  They are typically cheaply made and need to be replaced ever couple years, but they could definitely help out in an emergency situation.

10. Glow Sticks

25 Lumistick 6″ Premium 15mm Industrial Grade Glowsticks – Assorted Colors

Kids love glow sticks, and for good reason.  They are fun.  It’s not going to allow you to see what’s going on in the back yard from you back door, but they can give you enough light to read, or provide a little comfort to a young child. Other options include glow bracelets, necklaces, and UV Paqlite.

11.  Your Cell Phone

Almost all modern cell phones have either a camera flash that can be used as a flashlight or the screen itself.  When using the front screen as a light source, try to use a app or page on the phone with the most white or bright colors.  This will intensify the brightness.  Many light apps are available for both Iphone, Android, and others, that not only turn your phone into a flashlight but also can strobe your lights to get someone’s attention in an emergency.


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How To Sharpen a Knife


Ancient peoples used anything and everything to sharpen swords and blades of many sized and shapes.  The most common would have been stones and leather since they were not able to run down to Sharper Image for their fancy “5 bean laser enhanced plasma electric honing blade enhancer”.

There are a couple techniques and they all work to put a sharp edge back on your Bastard Sword.


There are different ways to sharpen a blade based on what you’ll be using your knife for as an example a whittling knife may have a different cut than a cooking cleaver.

Smith’s SK2 2-Stone Sharpening Kit

Tools You’ll Need

To sharpen a pocket knife you’ll  need just two things: a sharpening stone (whetting stone) and a lubricant.

Just as there are dozens of different ways to sharpen a knife, there are dozens of different sharpening stones. There are Japanese water stones, stones with diamond encrusted surfaces, and stones with different grades of grit. Again, choosing a stone is a matter of function and preference. Play around with different kinds of stones to find the one that gives you the results you’re looking for.

If you’re sharpening high quality knives, you probably don’t want to use a cheapo sharpening stone. But if you’re just getting started with sharpening your pocket knife, there’s no need to get too fancy right off the bat. You can find a sharpening stone at most hardware stores for about $10.  You won’t need anything fancy. A Basic sharpening stones come with two sides: a rough grit and a fine grit. The finer the grit, the finer or sharper you can get your blade. You usually start off sharpening on the rough grit and then finish sharpening it on the finer grit.

Lubricant. Most knife sharpening experts recommend you use some sort of lubricant when sharpening your knife. The lubricant can come in a variety of forms, from water to oil. Most of the literature out there recommends mineral oil to be used for knife sharpening. The lubricant reduces heat from the friction that is created from sharpening your knife. Too much heat can actually warp your blade. Lubrication also helps clear out the debris, or swarf, that is created as you grind your knife blade on the stone. You can pick this up at most hardware stores for a couple bucks.  Although we mention this lubricant isn’t necessary with most basic stones. So if you’re out in the field and need to sharpen your knife, don’t stop yourself just because you don’t have some mineral oil handy.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife

1. Start off with the rough grit. If you have a particularly dull blade, start off with the rough grit side of your sharpening stone. How do you tell which side is the rough grit? Sometimes you can tell by sight. If you can’t do that, do a thumbnail test. Scratch the surface with your thumbnail and whichever side feels rougher, that’s the side you want to start off with. Also, rough grits tend to be more porous than finer grits. So if you put water on one side and the stone really drinks it up, chances are it’s the rough grit.

2. Prep the stone. If you’re using a lubricant, get it out. Pour an ample amount of mineral oil all over the surface of the stone. You don’t need to drench it, but don’t be stingy either.

3. Place the knife blade flat on the stone and raise it to a 10 to 15 degree angle. The key to knife sharpening is maintaining a constant angle. Different knives require different sharpening angles. For a pocket knife, shoot for a 10 to 15 degree angle. This will give you an edge that’s sharp enough for most daily needs, but not sharp enough to perform heart surgery.  Keeping a constant angle by hand takes a lot of practice. If you’re having difficulty, you might consider investing in a sharpening guide. It takes all the guess work out of maintaining the needed angle. They cost about $10.

4. Start sharpening the first side of the blade. With your blade set at the prefect angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Personally, I bring the blade into the stone. Other people stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times.

5. Sharpen the other side of the blade. Flip the blade and do the same thing on the other side.

6. Take alternating strokes. After you’ve sharpened each side, make several alternating strokes- sharpening one side and then sharpening the other successively.

7. Flip the stone over on the fine grit and repeat above process.

8. That’s it… for a basic sharpening.


OXO Good Grips Professional Sharpening Steel

Sharpening with a Steel

When a knife is used, the edge eventually becomes dull. The edge will turn either to the left or right side depending on how you hold your knife when cutting. Quality knives with high carbon/molybdenum/vanadium alloy have elasticity and can easily be re-aligned by a sharpening steel. Do not use a diamond-coated steel or a pull-through manual or electric sharpening device for maintaining the edge. These devices will destroy your turned edge. They can be used to sharpen, but not for maintanance.

Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at an angle of approximately 20 degrees. Pull the knife down and across the steel, describing a slight arc. Repeat this action on the back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade. Repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade. It is very important to maintain the angle of 20 degrees and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife. Speed of movement plays no part in this process.

Sharpening a Straight Razor

You can learn to sharpen any razor on a stone, and if you have experience, or use the right sharpening system you will get very good results.  The principle of grinding any knife is restoring the gross shape of a blade according to it’s grind-type ; this is mostly done with machines such as grinding wheels. Grinding does not sharpen a knife.  The principle of honing is to create a good cutting edge angle and the blade part directly adjacent to it, the relief. The relief is created by honing with a secondary angle on a stone until a burr appears, and subsequently create the primary angle (this is the cutting angle, which is somewhat greater than the secondary angle, but both under 25 degrees) to remove the burr. The relief/secondary/primary angle principle makes the blade more resistant for less than delicate use.

Sharpening Serrated Blades

First, obtain the correct sharpening tools to perform the task. Many of the sharpening kits on the market offer serration hones as options.  Second, have the proper technique to use.

Most factory ground serrations will have the same angle as the plain edge portion (assuming the blade is partially serrated), which means in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 degrees.

Once everything is set up, you can begin the process. Using firm pressure, work the hone in a back-and-forth motion, perpendicular to the cutting edge. Every so often, stop and feel for a raised burr on the backside of the blade. Only move on to the next tooth when you see or feel a raised burr. Once you have completed sharpening the ground side of the blade, flip the knife over.

Types of Sharpeners

There are many good sharpeners on the market today. The main factor in sharpening is the device you use to remove the material from the blade must maintain a uniform angle for you and not allow your efforts from stroke to stroke to change the angle of pressure you are putting on the cutting surface of the blade. If this angle relationship is changing from stroke to stroke, you will end up with a rounded edge that will feel sharp for a short period of time and dull rapidly.


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How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne


There’s a scene at the beginning of The Bourne Identity where the film’s protagonist is sitting in a diner, trying to figure out who he is and why he has a bunch of passports and a gun stashed in a safety deposit box. Bourne also notices that he, well, notices things that other people don’t. Watch:

That superhuman ability to observe his surroundings and make detailed assessments about his environment? It’s not just a trait of top secret operatives; it’s a skill known as situational awareness, and you can possess it too.

As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and yes, government-trained assassins, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.

But it’s also a skill that can and should be developed for reasons outside of personal defense and safety. Situational awareness is really just another word for mindfulness, and developing mine has made me more cognizant of what’s going on around me and more present in my daily activities, which in turn has helped me make better decisions in all aspects of my life.

I’ve spent months researching and talking to experts in the tactical field about the nature of situational awareness, and below you’ll find one of the most complete primers out there on how to gain this important skill. While the focus is primarily on developing your situational awareness to prevent or survive a violent attack, the principles discussed can also help hone your powers of observation in all areas of your life.

How to Develop Situational Awareness

Many of the resources out there on situational awareness say it can be cultivated by generally keeping tabs on your surroundings — “checking your six” and “keeping your back to the wall.”

This definition isn’t wrong. That’s exactly what situational awareness is: knowing what’s going on by scanning your environment. But I always found this explanation lacking. What exactly am I looking for? How do I know if I’m paying attention to the right things? Are there behaviors or warning signs of an imminent threat that I should know about?

Today we’re going to start by discussing the general principles of increasing your observational abilities, and then dive deeper into situational awareness itself to answer these important questions.

Observe + Orient = Situational Awareness

The thing that helped me finally understand situational awareness was framing it within the OODA Loop. For those of you who haven’t read my in-depth article on this important cognitive tool, here’s the CliffsNotes version:


The OODA Loop is a learning system and decision-making process that was first laid out by Air Force fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd. The four steps of the OODA Loop are Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. In a head-to-head competition, like air-to-air combat, a violent confrontation in a parking lot, or even political contests, the person who can cycle through the OODA Loop the fastest wins.

Obviously, the Observe step in the loop is what most people associate situational awareness with.

But it’s the second step in the OODA Loop – Orient — that answered my questions about what developing situational awareness actually involves. Orientation tells us what we should look for when we’re observing, and then puts those observations into context so we know what to do with the information.

So Observe + Orient = Situational Awareness.

But how can we become better observers so that we can improve our situational awareness? And how should we orient ourselves so that we observe the right things and understand the context for what we’re seeing?

Observe: Stay in Condition Yellow 

In his seminal book, Principles of Personal Defense, gun-fighting expert Jeff Cooper laid outa color code system to help warriors gauge their mindset for combat scenarios. Each color represents a person’s potential state of awareness and focus:

For optimal situational awareness, Cooper recommends that we always stay in Condition Yellow.

Condition Yellow is best described as “relaxed alert.” There’s no specific threat situation, but you have your head up and you’re taking in your surroundings with all your senses. Most people associate situational awareness with just visual stimulation, but you can also learn a lot about a particular scenario from the sounds (or lack thereof) and even smells in the environment.


Situational awareness isn’t just for times when your enemy is of the human variety…

Even though your senses are slightly heightened in Condition Yellow, it’s also important to stay relaxed. By adopting a calm demeanor, you won’t bring any unnecessary attention to yourself. If you look antsy and your head is swiveling frantically while you scan your surroundings, people are going to notice you. Additionally, staying relaxed ensures that you maintain an open focus, which allows you to take in more information about what’s going on around you. Research shows that when we get nervous or stressed, our attention narrows, causing us to concentrate on just a few things at a time. A narrow focus can therefore cause us to miss important details in our environment.

Situational awareness isn’t just for times when your enemy is of the human variety…

Look up from your smartphone, don’t zone out, open your eyes, ears, and nose, and calmly scan your environment to take in what’s going on.

Besides staying in Condition Yellow, here are a few more tips to improve your observational abilities:

Put yourself in a position for optimal observation. To achieve effective situational awareness, you need to be able to observe as much of your surroundings as possible. Positioning yourself in obstructed spots will inhibit the flow of information coming in. For example, something might be in your way that prevents you from seeing a bad guy enter a theater or restaurant. You also don’t have eyeballs in the back of your head, so you can’t see what’s going on behind you.img-19

So whenever you enter an environment, put yourself in a position that will allow you to see as much as you can. My buddy Mike Seeklander at Shooting Performance recommends finding a place where you can view all or most of the exit points, and that allows you to put your back to the wall. This position readies you to make a quick getaway, and eliminates the possibility of failing to see a threat materialize behind you.

Granted, this isn’t possible in all situations. You don’t have much control as to which table a restaurant hostess seats you at on a busy night, and you’d likely get a lot of strange looks if you stood with your back in a corner while you’re waiting in line at Five Guys. So do your best within the given circumstances. In that busy restaurant, you might not have control of your table location, but you can choose which seat you take. Pick the chair that gives you the best view from your table. When you’re standing in line at a fast food restaurant, just nonchalantly look around and take in the scene.

Hone your observation skills by playing the A-Game. Mike plays a game with his kids called the “A-Game,” or Awareness Game, to help them (and himself) strengthen their observational skills. To play, when you go into a business, make note of a few things about your environment: the number of workers behind the counter, the clothing and gender of the person sitting next to you, how many entry/exits there are, etc. When you leave and get into the car to head home, ask your kids questions like “How many workers were behind the counter?” “Was the person sitting next to us a man or a woman?” “What color was his/her shirt?” “How many exits were there?”

It’s fun to play, but more importantly it’s training your kids (and you) to be more mindful of their surroundings.

Master memorization. Another fun activity that will help improve your situational awareness is to practice memorizing things. Bourne knew all the license plate numbers of the cars outside the diner. You can gain this skill by practicing with a deck of cards, or strings of numbers. Here’s a guide on how to gain the ability to memorize anything you want.

Orient: Baselines, Goals, and Action Plans

Being more observant isn’t enough to master situational awareness. You have to know what you’re looking for, and then put that information into context so it has meaning and becomes actionable. That’s where the Orient phase comes into play.

The Orient step provides three things to help us achieve situational awareness: 1) baselines and anomalies for our particular environment, 2) mental models of human behavior we should look for, and 3) plans of action depending on our observations.

Establish a Baseline Wherever You Go


Every environment and person has a baseline. A baseline is what’s “normal” in a given situation, and it will differ from person to person and environment to environment. For example, the baseline at a small coffee shop will usually entail people reading a book or working on their computer or speaking in hushed tones with their friends. The baseline at a rock concert would be loud music and people looking at the stage while either jumping up and down to the music or swaying their bodies to the beat.

We establish baselines so that we can spot anomalies. According to Patrick Van Horne, situational awareness expert, instructor of the Marine Combat Profiling system, and author of Left of Bang, “Anomalies are things that either do not happen and should, or that do happen and shouldn’t.” Anomalies are what direct our attention as we take in our surroundings and what we need to focus on to achieve situational awareness.

So the first step in orienting ourselves is to establish baselines so that we can direct our attention to anomalies. How do we do that on the fly? Van Horne suggests that you mentally ask yourself these questions every time you enter a new environment:

  • Baseline Questions: What’s going on here? What’s the general mood of the place? What’s the “normal” activity that I should expect here? How do most people behave here most of the time?
  • Anomaly Question: What would cause someone or something to stand out?

Behavioral Clusters to Look For


Our inability to pay attention to everything all at once makes it impossible to obtain complete situational awareness. The human mind can only handle so much information at a given time. Thus in the domain of personal safety, where things unfold quickly and seconds are often the difference between life and death, how we direct our attention is paramount.

So we need to focus on a few things at a time that provide the most bang for our attentional buck. And we do that, Van Horne argues, by relying on heuristics. Heuristics are quick and dirty problem-solving and decision-making mental shortcuts our minds use to figure things out when minimal information is available and time is limited. Decisions made from heuristics aren’t always perfect, but in the context of your personal safety, they’re usually good enough.

In Left of Bang, Van Horne lays out six domains of human behavior that Marine Combat Profilers use on the battlefield in order to quickly determine whether someone is a friend or foe. To get an idea of what civilians should look for in everyday situations, I interviewed Van Horne for this article. He told me the most important category of clues is what he calls kinesics, an area of behavior that involves people’s conscious and subconscious body language.

Within the domain of kinesics, three clusters of body language are of particular interest for situational awareness. They are: dominance/submissive behavior, comfortable/uncomfortable behavior, and interested/uninterested behavior.

Dominance/submissive behavior. Generally, most people try to get along with others, so for the most part people act in accommodating and submissive ways. Van Horne writes that dominant behavior “is an expression of the limbic system’s fight response” and often manifests itself in “gestures and postures that make a person look larger to intimidate ‘smaller’ individuals into submission.” Smaller vs. bigger here doesn’t just apply to physical size, however, but also relates to relative positions of power.

Because most people get along to get along, dominant behavior often constitutes an anomaly, and the person displaying it deserves more attention. If someone acts in a pushy, authoritative, or overbearing way, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a threat; context matters. You’d expect a boss to act dominant in relation to their employees and the employees to act submissive to their boss, but seeing extreme dominant behavior exhibited by a customer towards an employee isn’t as common. That’s something to keep an eye on.

Comfortable/uncomfortable behavior. Most people are going to look relatively comfortable in most situations. Think about a bus or a subway ride — passengers generally appear pretty relaxed while they stare out the window or read a book. If someone looks uncomfortable, that’s an anomaly that warrants extra attention, but it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a threat. They could be distressed because they’re late for work or maybe they just heard some bad news about a relative. Again, it’s just something to keep your eye on.

Van Horne says that a common display of uncomfortable behavior you’ll see from individuals up to no good is that they’re “checking their six.” This is when a person looks over their shoulder to see what’s behind them or generally scans their surroundings. People who are comfortable generally don’t do this because they don’t feel any threat. So if you see a guy looking over his shoulder a lot when he should be standing there aloof, that’s an anomaly that should get your attention.

Now obviously, “checking your six” is something that situationally aware good guys do too. If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t be noticeable to others, but it takes practice, and some guy with his head on a swivel might still be green. But until you verify that through further observation, be suspicious.

On the flipside, someone acting comfortable when everyone else is uncomfortable would be an anomaly. One of the ways law enforcement was able to identify the Boston Marathon bombers was that they noticed in surveillance footage that the men looked relatively calm while everyone else was running around in a panic. The reason they looked calm was because they knew the explosion was going to happen and thus weren’t surprised by it, while everyone else was caught off guard.

Interested/uninterested behavior. Most people aren’t paying attention to their environment. They’re too caught up in their own thoughts or whatever it is they’re doing. So individuals who are showing interest in a particular person or object that most people wouldn’t be interested in is an anomaly that warrants further observation.

These three body language clusters establish baselines for every situation in which we find ourselves and allow us to direct our limited attention towards things that are potentially more important and/or dangerous. If a person’s behavior across these clusters fits the baseline for that particular circumstance, you can pretty much ignore them. If their behavior doesn’t fit the baseline, they’re an anomaly and you should observe them more closely.

Other Behavioral Threat Indicators

Besides the above three kinesic clusters, Marine Combat Profilers are taught to look out for a couple other behaviors that could apply to civilian situations as well:

Shifty hands. Military and law enforcement officers typically check the hands first on any person with which they’re engaging. This is for two reasons. First, “checking the hands of a person ensures that the person is not holding a weapon and is not preparing to strike,” writes Van Horne. Second, hands often telegraph hidden nefarious intentions. People who are concealing something they don’t want discovered, like a gun, knife, or stolen object, “will often touch or pat that area on the body where that object is concealed, as if to ensure the object has not been lost or is still hidden from view.”

“Acting Natural.” It’s difficult to “act natural” when you’re not completely focused on whatever it is you’re really supposed to be doing. People “acting natural” will appear distracted and over- or under-exaggerate their movements. Insurgents in Afghanistan will often try to act like farmers, when they’re in fact attempting to collect information on U.S. military patrols. Marine Combat Profilers are trained to look for these “farmers” who appear to be trying too hard.

Have a Plan of Action Based on What You Observe

You visit your favorite coffee shop and a bad guy with a gun decides to drop in as well. But because you’ve followed the principles above, you’re the first to see him as a threat. Great. But what are you going to do about it? Seconds matter here. You don’t have time to formulate a well-thought-out plan. What’s more, the stress of the event will muddle your thinking and decision-making.

In addition to asking yourself the baseline and anomaly questions every time you enter an environment, Van Horne suggests you ask yourself a third question: “What would I do if I saw an anomaly?” In other words, come up with an action plan.

So let’s go back to the coffee shop example. Let’s say the anomaly for which you want to create an action plan is “guy comes in with a gun.” The best course of action in this scenario depends on a few things. And knowing what those few things are requires you to be situationally aware. If the robber came in from the front door and you’re near the rear exit, your best action would be to book it out the back door right away. On the other hand, if he entered through the back exit near you, according to the Department of Homeland Security, your best action would be to immediately close the gap between him and you and incapacitate him.

Establish baselines. Look for anomalies. Have a plan.

That’s what situational awareness comes down to.

Situational Awareness as a Preventive Tactic

Animals are creatures of opportunity. They’ll typically only attack another creature if they look vulnerable. Lions will go after younger, sicker, or older gazelles because they’re easier to catch. The same goes with humans. Criminals are typically going to go after a person who looks vulnerable, whether the victim is physically weaker or will simply be easy to catch off guard.

Practicing situational awareness goes a long way in keeping you from appearing like an easy target. When you’re out and about, look alert. Get your nose out of your smartphone. When you’re walking back to your car at night, have your keys at the ready and constantly scan your surroundings. The less vulnerable you look, the less likely someone is going to mess with you.

Here’s another tip on not looking like a victim, from the guys at Sage Dynamics: Alwayskeep a tactical flashlight on you and bust it out at nighttime. Having a light allows you to better observe in the darkness, but it can also act as a deterrent to would-be bad guys. Because law enforcement officers are usually the only ones shining flashlights down alleys and under cars, if you’re shining your light as you walk to your destination or back to your car, the bad guys are probably going to think you’re a cop and will likely just leave you alone. If worst comes to worst and you do end up getting jumped, you can use the tactical flashlight as a defensive tool by blinding your would-be attacker with the bright beam or even hitting him with the beveled edge that’s often built into the handle. 

Practice, Practice, Practice


Situational awareness is a mindset that you have to purposefully cultivate. You want to get to the point that it’s just something you do without having to think about it. To get to that point, you have to practice it regularly. Starting today, consciously remind yourself to look for entry/exit points whenever you enter a new building. Start observing people and establishing baselines and generating possible anomalies while you’re at work, at the gym, or on a date. And then start coming up with action plans on what you would do in that specific situation if you see a possible threat. Don’t be paranoid, just mindful. Do that day in and day out, and situational awareness won’t be something you have to intentionally think about, just something you do naturally. And not fake farmer natural, but Jason Bourne natural.

Until next time, keep your head on a swivel, check your six, and keep your back to the wall.

Oh, and stay manly!


Further Reading and Resources on Situational Awareness

Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley. Patrick has spent his career researching and teaching situational awareness to Marines through the Marine Combat Profiling system that he helped create. This book, coupled with the articles at his site and a personal interview with him went a long way in helping answer my questions. This is Patrick’s company website. He has tons of free content that provides insanely useful information on developing your situational awareness. If you’re looking for something more structured, he also offers online courses.

“Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness” by Dr. Mica Endsley. Dr. Mica Endsley is the Chief Scientist at the U.S. Air Force. While Dr. Endsley’s paper is pretty technical, she does a fantastic job explaining the minutia and nuances of situational awareness that helped clarify a few things for me. I highly recommend you check it out.

Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making by Gary Klein

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

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The 1st Preparedness Commandment: Know Thy Neighbor


Krista Eddy, right, speaks with Laura Quilman about her emergency preparedness plans. Amanda Peacher / OPB

Ed and Sara Johnson — one of the household’s participating in OPB’s “Living Off Your Quake Kit” weekend — know three of the 10 families who live on their block, and estimate they’re the youngest couple there.

After trying to think of more people on the block, they decided to visit their next door neighbors, the Lapworths.

To the Johnsons’ surprise, it turns out both Cheryl and Roger Lapworth work on the emergency preparedness teams at Legacy Mt. Hood Medical Center.

“We didn’t know they had that expertise!” said Ed. “Both of them … are ready for an emergency.”

The Lapworths knew an additional five neighbors. The neighbors the Johnsons learned about included a retired marine, a carpenter, a man who’s “very mechanical” and another who’s good with cars. That expanded their community to eight out of the 10 estimated neighbors.


Alice Busch, certified emergency manager, training and exercise coordinator, Multnomah County. Alan Sylvestre / OPB

Alice Busch, training coordinator for Multnomah County Emergency Management, said meeting your neighbors is just as important as gathering food and water for an emergency kit.

“The first thing on your list should to be throw a party,” said Busch.

That’s a notion that came to the Johnsons’ minds almost immediately after returning home.

“We like having people over,” said Sara. “We could see if we could get everybody, on a warm day like today, to come and hang out in our backyard and we could talk about this stuff.”

“That’s true,” said Ed. “Have a neighborhood barbecue.”

Busch said even if a person doesn’t have money or supplies after a disaster, skills can be useful for bartering and community survival.

“Do you have a friend who can store supplies, but you have another way to be part of the disaster solution? You can help care for pets, or watch kids, for example,” she said.

“We don’t all have the same skills. Focus on the skill sets you have that aren’t about material supplies, but that are good for trade.”

In Lincoln City, Krista Eddy and Patrick Alexander live at about 400 feet of elevation, on a hill that they expect would become a sort of island after a tsunami. Of the 12 houses on their street, they can name 11 of their neighbors.

Laura Quilman lives three houses down and Krista found her at home.

“I think we would work together as a community,” said Quilman, after Krista asked how their street would fare after a disaster.

They each said that they would check on each other as soon as their own households were safe.

Quilman said she’d be worried about Eddy’s 2-year-old son, Quinn.

“If something happened to either of them, would Quinn be alone?” the neighbor asked.


Carmen Merlo, director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. Alan Sylvestre / OPB

“I hadn’t even thought about that,” said Krista, covering her mouth. “What if I was knocked out and he was just wandering around the rubble?”

While preparing for an earthquake can be a daunting — and sometimes stressful task — the director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, Carmen Merlo, says there’s no reason to be afraid.

“Earthquakes are survivable,” she said. “It’s about community and connections.”