Monday, August 9, 2021

For want of a nail...

Sometimes the machine stops for want of a drop of oil

Arthur Sido at Dissident Thoughts posted an "Open thread" asking 

...what are some important but overlooked items that many people might not have considered (for these times of growing chaos)?

I attempted to post a comment but it bounced.

After consideration, I think the topic deserves a wider audience. Take a look at his post and the comments if you are so inclined.

My comment:

The Vikings were so effective at conquest because their ships could move down the coast and up rivers faster than the populace could be warned. Only the very rich had horses.

Unwarned, the communities didn't have a chance to arrange their defenses.

Have you considered a neighborhood net of hand-held radios or CB? Not only could the net serve as a warning system, its value would be beyond measure for trading purposes.

It would not need to be very large. Three miles in each direction would be plenty. That is an hour's walk or a 15  minute bike ride. Longer if pushing a wheel barrow. Most of your trade is likely to be with others within a half mile.

I think this is the best time to scout out like-minded neighbors. Agree upon a channel (and sideband if appropriate). Neighbors on knolls will have better reception and can serve as "repeaters" to valley folk if they are willing.


  1. I and 4 neighbors were considering the hand held radio communications option but trees will interfere with the signal so even my closest neighbor 1/2 mile away was cut off. We are still trying to come up with something workable.--ken

  2. Ken, was that FMRS? Did you try CB? CB is a lower frequency, might get through better.

  3. in today's idiom it would be for want of a 50 cent part. That one little widget that fails and disables the whole machine. So get tools to make/repair tools. A set of really nice files, especially needle files will let you make that 50 cent widget that you can't get anymore. The cheap set of taps and dies from harbor freight isn't great for cutting new threads, but will clean up damaged ones real quick.

    1. Yes - the more stuff you can fix, the longer you're going to have working stuff!

      For this applied to the radio thing, if you don't have much radio experience, I definitely recommend Brushbeater's radio class (he calls it "Basic RTO" class). I like that Brushbeater includes a strong element of what you're talking about in the class, especially making your own antennas out of wire and small parts and fixing them if they break or don't work. Don't mean to hijack the thread, just sharing some info that was useful to me.

  4. Drones. Can be recharged from a solar cell. Worried about the farm down the road because they haven't checked in over your radio net? Are you going to be finding them dead and pillaged, or walking your QRF into an ambush? Or are they just down from the net because of technical issues?

  5. A tool that I bought a couple of is a tire pump. Without electricity there is no other way to keep your tires inflated on your truck or farm equipment. I had a buddy about 40 years ago that made a compressed air cannon out of plastic pipe to shoot Molotov Cocktails. Used a ball valve for a trigger mechanism but other than that I don't remember the specifics. I watched him do it once. I didn't want to make one, but I never needed to. ---ken

    1. Regarding the airing up of tires, harbor freight sells a small compressor that hooks up to your vehicle battery. The one i got pumps up tires in a big hurry.

    2. Finding an old manually operated air pump is quite a chore now. Used to be a very common item but the quality of them has dropped very much. What I would give for my Grandfather's old pump, that thing was bulletproof.

      My wheelbarrow has 'flatproof' tire, got tired of finding a flat whenever I needed it NOW.

      Electronic communications are great, but someone has be monitoring the unit on both ends. I wonder if the farm triangle or bell would have better use ?

      Good topic - thank you to writer for beginning the discussion.

  6. Ham radio. Local nets cover a wide of on 2m

  7. Getting your basic Technician license is a matter of about 30-40 hours of casual rote memorization. There is no Morse code requirement anymore and the FCC publishes the questions (mult. choice) and all four answers (including the wrong ones).
    This website: has these online. You register so it can keep track of what you are doing well in and where you need more work.

    Do a couple of these every other night for a month until you reliably score in the high 80% and you will ace the exam. Local amateur radio clubs are where you take the test - check the ARRL website for one near you:
    You do not need to buy any study guides or books for this exam - again, it is rote memorization. The QRZ practice exam will show you the correct answer if you get it wrong.
    Fun hobby, very useful when things get crispy and great group of people.

  8. Great job of explaining the process,Dave.

  9. You might get a chuckle out of this one, Joe. It's mine from forever ago:


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