‘Prepper’ radio is not amateur radio


Bundy Ranch

Here’s another reason why you – and your friends and family – should prep:

“Federal Communications Commission watchdogs may one day carry guns thanks to a request to Congress by the agency’s inspector general that his office be allowed to hire armed criminal investigators.”

Now before you tell me this is an old article, you might want to take a look at this:

Remember: Being a prepper means really learning from history.

And that’s one of the reasons we prep.

Whoo-wee. I got a lot of email and forum comments on last week’s column, much of it (politely) telling me that I’m a paranoid fool for worrying about the FCC’s “knock on the door.” One helpful email correspondent even did a bit of arthritic and determined I only have a 0.0005 percent chance of ever hearing from the FCC. Others decried my simplistic explanations of the complex and nuanced esoterica they hold dear as a part of their amateur radio avocation.

I’ve been writing this weekly column for just a bit over a year so far, and I’m grateful to WND for providing me with the opportunity to help the new and not-so-new prepper along the path to self-dependency. But every now and again, it seems like I need to re-grade the road and better define the ditches. So we’ll take this week off from radios – more or less – and reaffirm the reasons for this column’s existence. I need to do this because some of my commenters don’t quite get the rationale of “the practical prepper.” (A special tip of the hat to “KevinR” who gamely, and with great patience, kept trying to point out the white-line down the middle of the road.)

When I write about guns, I’m not writing from the viewpoint of a firearms enthusiast (although I do like guns); and when I talk about raising food, it isn’t from the viewpoint of a gardening devotee. I’m a nut-job unhinged prepper; and being a prepper means I’m preparing for what I think is coming, not for what is already here.

Radio communication is not my hobby or even my (certainly admirable) means of public service. For me, it’s a potentially useful tool for a coming time when its worth exceeds my concerns about a federal knock on the door. And that seems to frost a lot of people who love radio for its own sake.

I have no doubt that when I get to covering waste disposal – prepper style – then the sanitation engineering fans (there’s got to be some) will be all over me (insert you own crude play-on-words here) as well.

We wacko “distrustful-of-government” survivalist types are always thinking about crazy futures. Twenty years ago I was worried (among many things) about a mandated cashless society, transgender people (meaning the mentally ill) being celebrated as normal, the IRS being used as a political hammer, leftists rioting in the streets, “wag the dog” wars for political gain, and escalating attacks on my Christian faith.

Screwy, I know. But for some reason, the fever-dream scenarios produced by my diseased mind keep coming true. And (see the articles linked at top) if your FCC visitor isn’t armed today, well … just wait until tomorrow.

All governments are infamous for having rules they don’t enforce – until they do. One of my goals here is to make sure everyone knows about those rules, because they might end up biting you in the future. Besides, I always figure if you’re going to break the law, you ought to know which ones you’re breaking.

Radio use is defined by the FCC as a “privilege.” It’s granted to you conditionally by a benevolent government which owns the electromagnetic spectrum. And since it’s been defined as a privilege (private law), it therefore cannot, according to government decree, be a God-given Right; and that means what the government giveth, the government can taketh away.

  • After the Nazi Machtergreifung in 1933, anyone who reportedly listened to Radio Moscow was observed by the Gestapo and could be sent to a concentration camp.
  • Likewise all non-governmental radio transmissions were banned and all critical equipment of German amateur radio operators were seized by the Reichspost authorities.

So if (when) the time comes that all you amateur radio folks have your “privilege” suspended in the name of fighting terrorism or deterring crime or because “… it’s for the children,” you’ll either have to say, “Thank you sir, may I have another” or you’ll have to join me on the outlaw trail.

But don’t worry, I’ll be glad to give you some tips and training, because that’s my vocation.

For example, the greatest rule in prepping is to put your life in God’s hands. But the second greatest is the 3-2-1 rule (three is two, two is one, one is none). That means either have three times whatever you think you’ll need to survive; or more importantly, have three ways to do something. If you’ve got a freezer full of food plugged into the wall socket, that’s one. If you lose grid power, no worries, you have another power source like a generator or a solar array and battery bank to keep your stuff frozen (that’s two); and if that fails, you break out the canning jars, the canner and fire up the gas or wood cook stove. Most people who prepare meals at home don’t think this way.

So how do I apply the 3-2-1 rule to radio communications? Well, all of my radio equipment runs on 12 volts and/or rechargeable batteries. If the power goes off at the wall plug, I can shift to a generator or a solar/battery system or a bicycle-pedal generator. Additionally, every piece of radio equipment I have can be re-positioned – quickly. This isn’t dumb luck; it’s the addle-pated scheme of a nut-job prepper.

While I’m sure there’s a fair amount of crossover, I’m perfectly willing to bet that a majority of the 700,000 amateur radio licensees out there don’t think this way.

See, my radio needs aren’t based on competing in contests to talk to all 50 states in a day or making friends in foreign lands (laudable as these goals may be). I’m not driven to knock another 0.01 off my SWR and I don’t care to boast about bouncing a packet off a meteor tail. For this prepper, radio communication is security based, usually tactical, and can be extremely important for the safety of my family, friends and community. Today, while licensed amateur radio does a stellar job in helping secure those needs by being available to assist in the coordination of official responses to disasters, it’s efficacy will be greatly diminished if there’s no one available to help when the call goes out, or if those who get the call are more interested in shutting down the radio caller “… in the interests of national security” than in helping.

There. I feel better. The path has been re-marked.

Next week I’ll cover the two power-house bands of prepper radio (and both of them fall squarely in the “privileged use” portions of the radio spectrum). Until then, keep an eye out for meteors, look into pedal-pump generators, and get prepared.




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