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Nov 192017
 
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 […]

Nov 192017
 
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 […]

Jun 282016
 
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 […]

Jun 142016
 
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 […]

May 142016
 
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 […]

Feb 012015
 
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 […]

Aug 132014
 
Little Things We Take For Granted (1)

This is the first of a series of short articles about things in our lives we take for granted but which we need to consider in our preparing. Today’s topic is the telephone.  Not that fancy smart phone you have in your pocket, and not the multi-station cordless system you have at home, either. We’re talking about really simple and basic hard-wired phones.  You know, landline phones that are powered from the phone line itself […]

Aug 132014
 
The Eye in the Sky is Watching You, Ever More Closely

Today marked a watershed moment in our privacy.  A new commercial satellite was launched with four times better than before imaging capabilities, further reducing our privacy. There was a time when getting privacy in our retreat was an easy and simple concept.  Choose a location away from the main roads, and you knew that as long as the parts of your retreat that you wished to keep private were not visible from any other property […]

May 082014
 
Radio Repeaters - Good for Short Range as well as Long Range Communications

We’ve written before about how wonderful radio repeaters are for extending the range you can communicate with your two-way radios.  No matter what you do to your portable and in-vehicle radio transmitters and receivers, sooner or later you will probably have to consider using a repeater to extend your communications to reliably cover the region you need to be able to keep in contact with. But maybe you are very fortunate, and your terrain/topography is […]

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