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The New (2017) FRS and GMRS Radio Frequencies

The New (2017) FRS and GMRS Radio Frequencies

The General Mobile Radio Service – or GMRS for short – has evolved since its original establishment in quite different form in the 1960s.  In 1987 it evolved to essentially its present form, with business use specifically excluded, with a set of eight channel pairs for repeater operation, and seven single channels for non-repeater ‘simplex’ operation. In 1996 the FCC created a new product – the Family Radio Service or FRS for short.  This was […]

New FCC Regulations on FRS and GMRS Radios

New FCC Regulations on FRS and GMRS Radios

The FCC have changed some of the rules associated with our use of the FRS and GMRS radio bands.  This was primarily to resolve the overlap of GMRS and FRS frequencies, and while the ‘solution’ they’ve adopted is a bit clumsy, it also allows FRS radios to have greater power, which is a good thing. There are some implications for preppers in the changes – and while it seems the changes are generally good, you’re […]

Testing the Effectiveness of your Faraday Cage

Testing the Effectiveness of your Faraday Cage

So you’ve built your Faraday cage, and are ready to fill it with the precious electronic spares you want (need!) to protect against an EMP.  Well done. But there’s one thing you really should do before closing it up and moving on to your next project.  Even if you’ve built a simple small and apparently 100% compliant cage, don’t you think you should check and test its effectiveness?  You’re placing a huge amount of reliance […]

Buying Used - General Considerations

Buying Used – General Considerations

This is the first part of a two-part article about the wisdom (or lack thereof!) of buying used gear rather than new gear.  Please also see the second part of our article that specifically looks at considerations to do with buying used electronics. So there you are, browsing through eBay or the local Craigslist; maybe you’re walking through a second-hand store or at a garage sale, but somehow, you find yourself looking at a tempting […]

How to Build a Faraday Cage to Protect Your Electronics

How to Build a Faraday Cage to Protect Your Electronics

One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here. Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is […]

Buying Used - Electronics in Particular

Buying Used – Electronics in Particular

This is the second part of a two-part article about buying used gear.  The first part discussed general considerations when buying any type of used gear, and how it is possible to be mislead and to end up buying junk you don’t need, while all the time thinking you’ve bought something useful at a bargain price, and closed with some suggestions and tips on how to bargain for the best possible price. Now it is […]

How to Perform Calculations Without Calculators

How to Perform Calculations Without Calculators

So, after TEOTWAWKI, what happens when we need to do ‘figuring’ – to do some sums, to calculate some values?  Our computers are dead, our notepads fried, and our calculators have run out of batteries. We have several suggestions that will make your life easier. Solar Powered Calculators Our first suggestion is to stock up on calculators that use photo-electric cells to power them.  These can be expected to last for probably 15 – 25 […]

The New Baofeng BF-F8HP - A Worthy Successor to the UV-5R

The New Baofeng BF-F8HP – A Worthy Successor to the UV-5R

For several years, the small-sized and even smaller priced Baofeng UV-5R has been the most popular budget HT ‘walkie-talkie’ radio transceiver.  Although primarily intended for licensed radio ham operators, many of them have been purchased by people to use as ‘super’ FRS and GMRS radios, a (mis)use that is notionally illegal but almost never enforced by the FCC.  We’ve written several articles about this lovely radio, see, for example, ‘The Best Radio for FRS/GMRS‘ and […]

More Thoughts on Retreat Vulnerability

More Thoughts on Retreat Vulnerability

We have written before about the problems we have protecting our retreats – see for example ‘How Many Acres Do You Need for Your Retreat – Defense Considerations‘ and our broader category of Retreat Defense in general. A new development, announced at the Consumer Electronic Show in January this year, adds a new factor and concern to the mix. Until now, it has been realistic to assume that in most cases, a ‘reasonable distance’ kept […]

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