Channel 3 Project

Since the average citizen is NOT an Amateur Radio operator, there is a need to have a standardized method of being able to communicate with one another.  Nearly everyone has at least one form of communication requiring no license to operate: CB, FRS/GMRS, or MURS radios.  There is a movement in the prepping community to setup an emergency communications protocol that will allow people to communicate during a situation when communications are down. Because this link-up protocol is being distributed among various circles, if someone needed assistance they have the highest probability of linking up with someone of like-mind, even if the two parties did not personally know each other prior that moment.

Enter the Channel 3 project. The channel three project is where people will monitor the radio on the threes-

  • FRS/GMRS Channel 3 – 462.6125 Mhz
  • MURS Channel 3 – 151.940 Mhz
  • Ham Radio (simplex) – 146.520 Mhz
  • CB channel 3 – 26.985 MHz

Do NOT use sub-channels, TCS, or “privacy” codes

Make Contact In 3 – 2 – 1
– 3  (Turn your radio on and set it to Channel 3)
– 2  (Attempt to broadcast for approximately 2 minutes)
– 1  (Attempt again every 1 HOUR, on the hour, to save batteries)

If there is a real emergency, you could also monitor the channel threes to give assistance to others in need. To save batteries, monitor for 5 minutes on each side of the hour to increase the chances of hearing another prepper who may be communicating using the “Make Contact In 3-2-1” method. Some operators are monitoring every three hours, some every hour, others will do so continuously. It depends on each radio operators resources and battery capacity.

Remember, when making contact with someone you don’t know, always proceed with caution. Especially during an emergency or SHTF situation. Don’t allow someone inside of your perimeter that you do not know.

Etiquette dictates that if we simply use these frequencies for monitoring and calling others, we can keep the chatter to a minimum and people will be able to monitor these frequencies 24/7 in case of emergencies for important information.

Because this emergency protocol is being distributed among the prepping community, users have a high probability of linking up with someone. The purpose can be either for relaying important or emergency communications or simply conversing with community members as a block watch program.

This project does not take the place of calling 911 in the event of an emergency if you are able to do so. This is an information service when cell or landline communications are out of service during an emergency or any sort of SHTF situation.

In a local, regional or national emergency, traditional communication networks may be overloaded or even nonexistent.  As has been proven time and again Amateur Radio has proven to be the only dependable means of communication.
While a test and license are required to operate a “ham” radio under the current rule of law, there are other means of communication. I have already posted a comprehensive guide to the different radio frequencies.
Hams typically have local “practice nets”; predetermined times and frequencies where they reach out to one another.  Some nets are associated with the Channel 3 Project, where participants will take a break and switch over to channel 3 of CB, FRS, etc. in an attempt to contact local citizens. This is the opportunity for hams to relay any news to the citizenry, and, in exchange, find out about local conditions such as road closures, civil unrest, etc. 

Pass this along. Keep it in mind.

Communications Plan

There is a reason for all of the HAM radio posts of late. Since I am moving within a few months, I need to rework the communications plan for the homestead. Since we are moving more than 30 miles away, there will be a new set of repeaters, a new fire department and police department to deal with, and other things. So I just broke out the programming software for the mobile radio (a Yaesu FTM400) as well as for the Baofeng handhelds, and I am busy reprogramming all of the new frequencies into the radios.

Then next time we are down checking out the progress on the house, I will also check to see if I can hit the repeaters I want to use.

I won’t even begin to set up the base station until I can see what antennas I will be able to put on the property. That won’t be until after we move.

HAM Repeaters

When communication by cell phones stops working, most of us can (and should) be able to switch to radios. Still, radio to radio direct communication in the VHF and UHF bands is generally limited to a few miles. To go beyond that, either HF frequencies need to be used, or some sort of a repeater is needed. The issue with HF is that it requires long antennas and is dependent on atmospheric conditions. Not a big deal if we are talking about base stations, but handheld and vehicle mounted radios are VHF or UHF for that reason.

Repeaters allow HAM radios in the VHF and UHF bands to “talk” beyond the horizon. We have already talked about the SARNET, but there are local and regional repeater nets that give quite good coverage. For example, here is the one for west central Florida, centered around Tampa Bay. Just five repeaters cover the entire area.

The yellow circles are the area covered by 5 watt handheld radios, the outer circles are 50 watt mobile radios.

There are over 700 repeaters in the state of Florida alone. There is an excellent tool here that allows you to look for the repeaters in your area on a map. It isn’t complete, but it is very useful. Whenever I go somewhere, I always make sure that I have a list of repeaters for emergencies.

I was once in Maine on a fishing trip when we happened upon a car accident in a very remote area where there was no cell phone service. I was able to get the repeater in Millinocket, which was over 50 miles away, and called for help.


In Florida, SARNET is a network of HAM radio repeaters in the 70cm band (. They are all connected, so activating one repeater ensures that your traffic will be heard statewide. A list of SARNET repeaters can be found here. Anyone who is a licensed HAM radio operator can use it in analog mode only, as long as the state disaster centers haven’t closed the net due to an emergency or other disaster, but it’s important to remember that anything you say will be broadcast across the entire state. Here is the coverage map:

It’s a great way to find someone that is a HAM operator, and then direct them to another means of communication. Long conversations are discouraged on SARNET. The network voice radio usage is intended to be short communications between users. During long conversations you are activating all of the SARNET repeaters across the state for an extended period of time, subjecting all of the hams in the state to a conversation that they have no interest in. Long local conversations are encouraged to move off of SARNET and onto another repeater that does not activate the net. Still, it’s a great way for a HAM in Key West to quickly contact one in Pensacola. Here is a video to explain it:

Another great use is calling a Mayday if you are in an emergency, because you are guaranteed to get a response if every HAM and EOC in the state can hear you.

PM Usefulness

There were a lot of comments in response to the PM post the other day, too many comments to address individually, so I figured I would make a post about it. Points made in comments are bold, my response follows.

Having PM’s will get you robbed or killed by government agents or criminals: Of course they can. Anything of value may get you robbed or killed by those who want to take it from you- food, ammo, guns, cash. People have been killing each other in order to take their stuff ever since Oog hit Org over the head with a rock and stole the rabbit he was eating. That’s why there are a couple of things you need to do:

  1. The number one thing about all prepping, or owning anything of value, is- don’t talk about what you have or ostentatiously flaunt it. You wouldn’t wear a Rolex into a bad neighborhood (unless you are hunting), so why would you flaunt your PM, ammo, or stored food collection?
  2. If critters notice what you have, that’s why you have guns. To keep critters from stealing your stuff.
  3. If we are at a point where government officials are stealing your PMs, they will steal anything else you have, as well.
  4. If things have degenerated to the point where there are roving bands of criminals wearing colander facemasks are raiding homesteads like a Mad Max movie, none of your preps or stored stuff is going to help you any more than PMs.
  5. I can hide 20 ounces of assorted gold coins/bars inside of an electrical box installed inside of the wall with room to spare. $40,000 inside of a 22 cubic inch box is a density that you can’t match with many other means of storing value.

You can’t eat/shoot/use PMs in a TEOTWAWKI situation, so you are better off hoarding beans/ammo/whatever: Being prepared for disasters isn’t just a binary choice between everything is fine and cannibalism. As I said in this post here, there are many things that fall between those two extremes, and this is what I said:

The most likely disaster that we are likely to affect is a personal one. A disaster that affects just you, or your family. A personal disaster may be something as small as a flat tire, or as personally destructive as cancer, or simply being laid off from your job. We cannot know what that disaster will be, but there is a pretty good chance that the best way to fix it will be… money.

A variation of the above claim is The government/grocers/car mechanics/whomever don’t accept PMs. While this is true, PMs are convertible into cash far more readily, at a larger fraction of their acquisition cost, and hold that value better than a jar full of dried beans or a cigar box full of cash.

Having PMs serves a number of purposes:

  • It allows me to save a significant amount of money ($15-16 thousand) that won’t lose value due to inflation.
  • It is difficult enough to get to that I am less likely to dip into my savings for all but emergencies.
  • I am far more likely to need money to deal with any given emergency than I am to need a week’s worth of freeze dried Mountain House. Does that mean storing emergency food is not a good idea? Of course not, but a 6 month emergency fund is far more important and more likely useful for preparedness.

There are people who fake/counterfeit PMs, and are so good at it that even central banks are fooled, so you are better off buying ammo. There are ways to detect fakes by looking at density and using “ringers” or gold analyzers. It can be done using magnetic properties, or even metal analyzers. For example, commenter Fido informs us about this analyzer that costs about as much as a one ounce coin. Using reputable dealers is also an excellent way of preventing yourself from being ripped off. If fake gold is so good that a central bank is fooled, then how would anyone know? If I buy and then sell such a fake, would the person I sell it to be any better equipped to detect the fake than I was? If not, then how does it matter? To the best of my knowledge, I have never bought a fake PM in the 15 years that I have been buying them. As far as being better served buying ammo, see my comments above.

The big problem here is that everyone in the prepping community likes planning for the day when you will be engaging in firefights and car chases through their neighborhood over the last can of baked beans and cans of canned butter, but few people like planning for the day when you are out of work for six months because you ruptured your Achilles tendon while playing tennis with the neighbor, a scenario that is a lot more likely than a scene from “One Second After.” In such a scenario, you can’t convert a case of baked beans or a few bricks of .40 ammo into your property tax payment as easily as you can a couple of quarter ounce Gold Eagles.

That is why you are better off setting up an emergency fund of at least 90 days’ expenses before you do any other prepping. Money is the single most useful prep you can invest in. I’ve been a prepper since 2003 or so. In that time, I have faced a lot of disasters, including hurricanes, job loss, car breakdowns, and even bankruptcy. Not once did I have to dig into the freeze dried foods or the ammo stash. In every one of them, having a couple of months worth of rent money was a life saver. Take the advice for what you paid for it- but there it is.


I’m not saying that you should bury ALL of your guns. I am saying, what if you had several caches as sort of an insurance plan? Say one of these tubes, and buried a couple of off-paper rifles, a dozen magazines, and a couple of hundred rounds of ammo? Bury them somewhere where they are unlikely to be found, and even if they ARE, cannot be connected to you? Use your imagination. Bury them next to a sewage lift station or a radio tower. There is unlikely to be any digging there, and even if there is, it won’t be connected to you if you are smart and wear gloves.

Would it be an insurance policy against all of your guns being taken in a Red Flag order?

How about a handgun, a couple of mags, and a small amount of cash, buried in one of these?

Thanks to Big Country

He pointed me to the MTM tactical magazine cases. I got one as a test, and I can say that they are actually pretty good. It has a double latch, three holes for padlocking the case, and enough room to hold fifteen of the 30 round .223 magazines.

It fits Pmags and HexMags just fine. I will be getting more of them.

I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested.

Magazine Storage

One of the big downsides to having a few firearms is that you tend to accumulate various items: holsters and magazines being the two that take up the most room. I literally have hundreds of magazines in the house, all for various firearm makes and models. Some are compatible with more than one firearm. (.40S&W magazines are compatible with .357Sig, S&P 9mm magazines are compatible 9mm Compact magazines, etc.)

I was keeping the unloaded ones in large Rubber Maid totes, but looking for the magazine you need is a large pain in the, well Rubber Maid tote. So I began looking for an answer, and it didn’t take me long to find one. I bought some foam rubber holders that fit into a .50cal ammo can for handgun magazines . I decided to try them out. Four of them cost me $62.

You number your mags too, right?

These holders allow you to store 24 magazines in each ammo can. That means I can have a can with just Smith and Wesson full sized 9mm magazines, another with .40 and .357 magazines, etc. Now four ammo cans take up the same amount of room as one Rubber Maid tote, and hold 96 magazines in a way that makes it easy to find the one you are looking for. The cans that I have are lockable, so that allows me an extra layer of security.

The downside is that the things aren’t as rugged as I would like, and lots of use will probably tear them up. Still, it’s better than what I had. If I didn’t already have the cans, I would look at buying cans that come with the pluck n’ pick foam already in them. It’s cheaper that way.

Now I need some storage for rifle magazines and for the large number of holsters that are sitting around here.

Now, the disclaimer: I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested.

The Days to Come

It’s becoming more and more obvious that the system of government that we have is failing. The way things are just can’t continue, and anything that can’t continue, won’t. Things are going to get bad. I know there are some who think that things are horrible already.

You haven’t seen anything, yet.

There haven’t been purges. The secret police haven’t yet begun to round people up in the middle of the night. There are no death squads.

We may wind up in a civil war. We may even wind up in a Communist Dictatorship with Biden as the nominal head of the party. Know that there is nothing that you can do about it. What is gonna happen is what will happen. The people reading this blog just aren’t in position or power to prevent it.

What you are in control of is how prepared you are to deal with it, and how you deal with it. There are going to be real tests of your resolve, your character, your will to survive. Now is the time to finish preparing. Now is the time to figure out who you can trust, and who you need to keep at arms’ length.

Just know that you are not alone. There are millions of people who feel the same as you do, even when you feel like all is lost. They will try to convince you otherwise. Organize locally. Make friends. Keep your eyes open, and learn. Take notes. Know your neighbors. Not just your allies, but learn who will be an informer, who will be an enemy, and who is just an NPC. Hide your preps.

How long do we have? We don’t know. It may be a year, it may be ten. One thing is for sure, when it does all go south, it will seem to have done so with blinding speed. Be ready.

Communications Training and Gear

With things appearing to deteriorate on a constant basis, I think that it is a good idea for this blog to be a bit more proactive in not just commentary, but in tidbits that people can use. After all, that is why I store and distribute training manuals with the link that the top of the site. With that in mind, I want to put more information out there.

Let’s do communications for this post. It is difficult to fight and resist oppression if you cannot communicate. You also don’t want the secret police rolling you up too easily. When the DOJ was conspiring to overthrow Trump, they were well aware of the NSA’s capabilities, yet they chose to communicate with each other through HAM radios to coordinate this effort, even though such use was in violation of Federal law.

The National Security Agency (NSA) picks up and records almost all electronic communications, thereby effectively wiretapping telephone conversations, email, and practically everything else we send out electronically. What the NSA doesn’t get, their partners in social media and at Google do.

The wife of a Deputy Director of the DOJ was coordinating this attempted coup, and would be well aware of the NSA’s capabilities. There are many technical reasons why spying on HAM radio would be a nearly impossible task. Just by using the frequencies and methods permitted to a person with a Technician license, there are thousands of available channels. Toss in the various modes like Digital, SSB, USB, AM, FM, CW, etc., and then consider that the higher frequencies are short range and would require hundreds of listening stations in every state, and it becomes a very difficult proposition to monitor HAM radio.

A HAM radio running low power on VHF or UHF would be audible for less than a mile or two, making interception a difficult process, at best. A high quality handheld radio that is capable of both the VHF and UHF bands can be bought for about $20. I bought a few of these to loan out to people in an emergency. You can get a nicer one for $70, and that is the one I use. I still own a nicer, far more expensive Yaesu that cost me almost $400, but I have found that the Baofeng works just as well at a fraction of the cost.

I am currently reading “The Guerrilla’s Guide To The Baofeng Radio” and I think it is a great book, full of both technical and practical tips to using this radio. It’s well worth the $23 it cost me. There are other ways to communicate, and we will talk about them later.

Now, the disclaimer: I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested.