Author Topic: Ways to communicate  (Read 1309 times)

Offline pkveazey

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Ways to communicate
« on: November 05, 2016, 03:54:48 PM »
I noticed in the Communications posts, everything gravitated to radio. I'm a Ham and I'm all for it. That's what I plan to use as my first method. However, when that fails or is not available, folks should look back in history and consider getting familiar with old tried and true methods. Start with beating on a hollow log and waving flags. Maybe runners carrying written messages. Then Morse code using lights. Being prepared with only a plan A is not as good as being prepared with plan B, plan C, and plan D. Now, Im going to sound a bit condescending. When I got my Ham license I actually had to learn the electronics, rules, and code before taking the test and it was at the FCC field office. If you failed, you had to wait 30 days to take it again. The new Hams are going to have a hard way to go In a survival situation. Learning the questions and answers alone will get you on the air and that is the important part. That doesn't mean you are not supposed to actually learn all the other stuff just because you have a license. When things go bad, the first thing you'll ask yourself is, "Why didn't I learn more about this stuff?" When I look back at getting a Commercials Radiotelephone License and my Advance Class Ham license all those years ago, I think, "How could you possibly forget all that crap? Now you're going to need it again, when things go bad".

Offline JohnyMac

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 05:21:24 AM »
Great topic for further discussion pkveazey  :bravo:

Next on my amateur radio list of today's is tho learn CW. Do you recommend a course of instruction? Think cheap  ;) There are some great course out there but cost money. I would rather put the money towards a key.

On another note: At the cabin besides radios, we use a big ass bell fastened to one of the columns on the porch. The bell is about a foot high and 8" across. Anyhow, we have worked out some simple codes to use with the bell. Currently we are using time codes like, 1 second of ringing means means X, three seconds of ringing mean Y and so forth. Continuous ringing means "Get your ass back to the cabin PRONTO!.

Rudimentary flares you buy at the marine chandlery could me something. Colored flares would be even better. How about popping smoke? Different colored smoke could mean different things. I have a link somewhere where you can buy smoke grenades.

Anyhow, lets keep this topic going.  :cheers:

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Offline Kbop

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2016, 05:47:50 AM »
when i was a kid, my friends and i had a whistle code - great when you want to send a simple message across a farm field or if someone is in a wooded area.

My great grandpa told us about what a hoot and a holler meant too.  They had simple 'codes' for asking for help or just saying hello - its was the distance it took two people to relay a message.  useful in the low rolling hills of MO in teh US of A.
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Offline Well-Prepared Witch

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 02:57:44 PM »
I love the idea of Runners carrying messages and finding supplies.  If you've ever used the smartphone app Zombies, Run! there's a network of Runners who do that sort of thing and I think it's a great idea in a real TEOTWAWKI.

Don't forget the simple and often overlooked method of sending a letter.  The mail infrastructure is a good, solid one and I don't think it'll easily go away.
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Offline thedigininja

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2016, 01:54:26 PM »
We have a few. As kbop mentioned, we also use whistles. I've never really gotten the hang of whistling though so it only really works in close proximity. We use it at home or at the shops, people look at is like we're mad.
My favorite is the color system where we have different meanings for colours and colour combinations. We all carry coloured thumbtacks and glow sticks. the tacks are nice because they're rather inconspicuous, most people would look right past one stuck into a tree, door frame etc.

our mail service doesn't even work now, so I don't see it being viable for us if shtf, unless a few good men were to set it up after the fact.

flares are hard to get hold of here, all explosives are quite heavily controlled. luckily between us we have some...shall we call it "chemistry experience".
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Offline pkveazey

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2016, 04:57:21 PM »
A note to JohnyMac..... There are a gazillion ways to learn the code but I will relate how I did it for free. I got a copy of all the letters, numbers, and characters. I started with A and just kept saying Dit Dah all day. The next day I did B by doing A first, followed by B. I'd say Dit Dah, Dah Dit Dit Dit. Then added C etc. In 30 days I had all the letters and numbers perfectly memorized. I practiced by saying the Dits and Dahs as I saw roadsigns. When you start feeling the rhythm of it, you got it whipped. If your radio has a keyer built in, you can build you own paddle key for about 35 cents. If not, you'll need a straight key. I started out with a straight key. Now, my radio has a built in keyer so I made a paddle key out of a piece of double sided circuit board and attached it to a magmount so it doesn't dance all over the desk.

Now, back to signaling. I found a place that had hand operated horns that sound just like the air blast horns that boaters use. If you pull the horn part off the end, you can use it like an air pump. Then push the horn back on its a blast horn again. I bought about 6 of them because they were dirt cheap and I attached them to our bug out packs. If we get separated, we can just start blasting away because it's not canned air. Sometimes you can actually find them in Dollar stores.

Offline special-k

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 05:56:05 PM »
True story:
Years ago, before they removed Morse from the tests, I decided to learn it.  I didn't have a key,  so I practiced on a guitar... which worked great for me.  After only four 1 hour session I knew the whole alphabet and numbers easily by memory.  Words and sentences flowed quite rapidly...however I never practiced decoding/receiving.  I can't remember any of it now...but it probably wouldn't be too hard to pick it up again.  I ended up never taking the test. 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 07:18:10 PM by special-k »
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Offline Nemo

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 10:10:04 PM »
Tin cans and fishing line.  Thats the best I have right now.  And a couple thousand yards of fishing line.

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Offline JohnyMac

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2016, 08:32:56 AM »
Some great idea's. Lets keep 'em coming.

@pkveazey, I will give your way of learning CW a try.  :cheers:

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Offline JoJo

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 01:33:45 PM »
 I remember hearing fog horns when I was a kid and they always seemed to be saying something. JM your a boater and might be able to shed light on this?
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Offline Jackalope

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 07:27:59 PM »
I've got some military field phones and wire stashed away. CW is okay, but I see it as a limited means of communication, because there aren't many CW operators....and yup I'm one of those 20 words per minute old time extra class radio operators, and I rarely use code anymore.  Semaphores are another method, it seems to me the old Boy Scout manuals use to have a section on communications and semaphores.

     For learning Morse code, I used 73 magazine code tapes (cassettes), beginning at 5 words per minute for the novice license, and progressing up to faster speeds.  Once you have a basic understanding, then definitely listen to the CW portions of the ham bands.  There's nothing like your first on the air CW contact.

    One of my methods of contacting friends and family in the event of a major incident is the use of the Inreach Communicators, which use satellites to send text messages.  My back-up is 40 meter or 80 meter HF using SSB.  The fallback is PSK 31 on HF radio, mostly because it'll get through noise and low powered signals, but it does require a computer of some sort.

    I don't know about the foghorns, but you could use one of the portable fog horns for signaling, much like hunters do with gunshots.  For example, 3 shots indicates an emergency.  For general signaling, or an alarm, an old time dinner bell, or one of those triangle dinner bells could be used.

Offline Kbop

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 08:26:00 PM »
Tin cans and fishing line.  Thats the best I have right now.  And a couple thousand yards of fishing line.

Nemo

get a sports whistle a signal mirror and a flashlight - three different methods that are easy and cheap.
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Offline Nemo

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Re: Ways to communicate
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2016, 07:40:14 AM »
Tin cans and fishing line.  Thats the best I have right now.  And a couple thousand yards of fishing line.

Nemo

get a sports whistle a signal mirror and a flashlight - three different methods that are easy and cheap.

Got those.  Told wife to save bean cans from now on.  Fishing line is on Santa list.

Nemo
If you need a second magazine, its time to call in air support.

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