Ted’s essays

winter heat

In 1980 I built my dream house on a south-facing hill with winter solar gain thoroughly designed in, and an efficient woodstove as the only other heat source. Both Good News and Bad News: it was in Northern California. That meant ample supply of oak, madrone, eucalyptus, live oak and other hardwoods that put out A LOT of heat (30 – 36 million BTUs per cord), little creosote, smoke, ash, and burned long per fireplace loading. The bad news was cultural, political and governmental. I did not fit there, moving from my childhood homeland in March of 2000. I had not heated with firewood again until 2013. Hardwoods are essentially unobtainable while the fir and pine (13-20 million BTUs […]

getting to know our good neighbors

Six months ago I bought a pair of custom topographical maps. One is my Area Of Interest (AOI) – that included my super-vulnerable home and our bug-out location, the homestead we bought and “rented” to offspring. The other map was a much more usable scale covering our Area Of Operations (AOO), that is the homestead neighborhood. See more detail here: mapping your neighborhood Because the kids are of the Snowflake Generation, the Me Generation, run to the tune of The World Owes Me A Living, the rental has become our new home. We are as busy as one-armed-paper-hangers cleaning up, remodeling and moving in. This has increased my focus on our AOO. It occurred to me that our podunk county […]

grid jeopardy

Three major actions of the sun may hit the Earth hard September 8th and 9th. The possibility of SOME EFFECT is near absolute. We WILL KNOW something hit us. The likelihood of some damage to electronics and electrical transmission somewhere on Earth is very high. Some communities somewhere will lose their power. The probability of global grid failure is around 10%. It is not likely to be catastrophic. That is also to say that it could be catastrophic. Check your preparations for that sort of catastrophe TODAY. While in the midst of moving, I cannot drop everything and go on a prep-shopping binge today. But I can certainly re-prioritize some of my moving activities focusing on electronics and power-failure gear. […]

become an amateur radio operator

Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm Darby Library meeting room July 13th – September 7th Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach Ham radios start where walkie-talkies leave off, with licensed radio operators communicating around the corner and around the world. ARRL License Manual costs $29.95 includes chapters on every aspect of the licensing exam and numerous practice tests Darby Thursday study sessions are FREE YOU can be an amateur radio operator No electronics background required Click this link for a .pdf poster advertising the class:Ham-radio-class-poster-7-2017 Below is a .jpg image of the class advertisement. TESTING SESSION JULY 17th For those ready to test for Technician, General or Amateur Extra […]

my first 1K

I thought of myself as a 600-yard rifleman. In DCM, CMP and NRA High Power competitions, the 600 yard target we shoot at is labeled “MR1”. That stands for “medium range”, standard target. Thus I don’t get an inflated ego from hitting that sucker on a known-distance course of fire. Upon selling The Gentleman Farmer business I owned/operated for 22 years, my gold watch was a nice trombone and a nice rifle. Two tools I had long wished for but never afforded (best boss I ever had). My AR-10 and I are awesome at a known distance of 200 yards and quite clearly effective at measured and marked 600 yards. Of course only paper targets are going to present themselves […]

purchase and use of BaoFeng two-way radios

BaoFeng UV-82HP$62.89UHF / VHF128 ChannelsOutput: 7 Watts I have helped well over a dozen people earn their amateur radio licenses. But I recognize the effort to study for, and pass the FCC exam is not for everybody. Much more accessible is The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licensed radio service. A $70 FCC GMRS license has no testing requirements and covers your entire family’s use for 5 years. BAOFENG makes good, affordable radios that can listen to several other bands and legally enable you to transmit, that is communicate, via GMRS channels. Significantly, unlike the inexpensive blister-pack big-box-store radios, these transmit at much higher powers, and are capable of utilizing repeaters for long-distance communications. My favorite of their current offerings […]

mapping your neighborhood

Having the right resources in the right places is the essence of surviving and thriving. Disasters challenge that pleasant place. Proper planning includes mapping resources and features that may be useful to your community in emergencies. Also valuable is placing on that map any threats you know of, along with potential avenues for likely threats. Obviously, so you can plan to minimize their negative impacts on your community. This is a big topic that deserves thought, planning, organization from a handful of proactive, foresightful neighbors. While I can’t help you with that, I can point you to a couple of hugely valuable resources. Samuel Culper publishing in Forward Observer offers A Primer on Tactical Intelligence Collection that is a prize […]

electricity – who needs it?

I hope you aren’t overly attached to electrical devices and the power grid delivering it regularly. As I pointed out last July, USAF has reoccupied Cheyenne Mountain as insurance against EMP attacks. Were I in a leadership position of some country threatened by the USofA adventurism, launching an EMP from a container ship near the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf coast would be one of the crucial first steps to cut the power of the world’s dominant military machine. I am no great military mind, but fershur if I can see this, there are Chinese, Koreans, Iranians, Russians and others who can too… and who could do the job any time they wished. Those of us labeled “conspiracy theorists” by the […]

dam threatens Bitterroot

I have published 6 articles in the last 3 years about the risk posed downstream from the Painted Rocks dam reservoir. A couple of them were from when I was attempting to work with the Ravalli County Office of Emergency Services. Bitterroot Bugle previous articles on Painted Rocks I cannot forget how my meeting with the head and his assistant went. The assistant, by the way, is now the agency chief. “ According to your data, a Painted Rocks Dam failure would put a 20-40 foot wall of water through The West Fork, Conner and Darby, and 20 feet through Hamilton. Do you believe that assesment? Well, we aren’t engineers, but yes, we believe their analysis. That would mean perhaps […]

Darby Dog Derby … after action report

The Bitterroot Mushers put on another fun and interesting dog sledding and skijorning event last weekend (Jan 14-15, 2017). Brandi and Nicki do an impressive job of pulling this event together and making it run smoothly and efficiently. I was happily able to provide radio communications to and from workers spread out over 30 miles of mountain trails. My hero on the comms side is Rick who both days hitched a ride on a snowmobile to the COLD mountain top where he set up the radio repeater that enabled signals from hand-held radios reach to and from the entire course. I spent most of the two days in The Beast where I could monitor all the radios. I deployed […]

up your comms

I have spent the last half-dozen years improving my ability to support community communications. Well, more accurately, I spent a tiny fraction of my time and brain power learning 2-way radio … As I do with nearly everything else in my life: Jack of all trades; master of none. This morning I was guided to an excellent overview article with links covering what SOMEONE in every community needs to know before we can consider comms covered. Crumb! I have a long ways to go, yet I want it all NOW. That leaves me three choices: 1) Get cracking; focus on my radio studies and applications 2) Recruit, encourage and support a real radio operator in our area 3) Lower my […]

community preparedness teams

It is foolhardy for people to think they will survive a major upheaval alone, with their immediate family, by retreating to a cave in the woods or other macho-man ideas I have heard voiced. We aren’t mountain lions in a place where game is plentiful for our population. Realistically, we humans need a huge variety of specializations, strengths and personalities that come from a fairly large tribe … not to mention significant genetic diversity for long-term survival of our offspring. Any plan that does not take survival of the community into account falls short of good by a wide margin. I have mixed feelings about the Oath Keepers group, but for the most part very positive. They get A LOT […]