Discussions

Karl, thanks for the list and for the suggestions. I would add a covid virus that evolves faster than vaccines can keep up with (so far). People in my area are generally acting like covid is over, and yet my county is currently in the red zone (local hospital impacted, etc.).  I think mitigating the risk of chronic illness should be a top priority for preparedness. That means the usual diet and exercise and stress reduction approaches are more important than ever. I’m not a medical professional. Yet it seems to me that avoiding a constant state of autonomic nervous system arousal is very important to lessen the risk of chronic illness from an overstimulated nervous system. That might mean limiting news consumption, joining an online meditation group, reconnecting with our core philosophical or spiritual principles and rededicating ourselves to them, strengthening relationships with local farmers / CSA (community supported agriculture) ventures, learning the strengths and weaknesses of our neighbors, making our living space as delightful as possible, increasing our generalist skills, and more. As I understand it, people in the U.S. have paid significantly less money for food than people elsewhere in terms of percentage of budget. If the price of food goes up 25% to 50% here, maybe we’re still in an acceptable ballpark, tough as this may sound. Regarding the Federal Reserve’s models, I wonder if we’re seeing fewer smooth curves everywhere in terms of human behavior and more sharp rises and drops. For example, inelastic demand curves for a while, then totally elastic curves. Maybe the models want to smooth this out. Maybe some people are “overreacting” with their purchasing and other choices, and others are “underreacting.” Which group has the most financial and social resources?  It seems to me that things are going to be more abrupt and jerky and reverse course more often. Unsettled times leading to more unsettled times. Roller coaster looks like the good old days because there was at least a track. This feels more like a severe weather event.  Regarding the possibility for civil unrest, I’m not ready to give up on local government and the  fabric of civic life. I see civic life as tattered and frayed but not yet beyond hope. I don’t think “you’re on your own” is where we are at yet. Maybe we need to lean into mending it, carefully and with personal limits, for a while.  Thanks again for the post.

Squidvicious, I’m thinking along the same lines as you are these days. How can I prepare for a generally declining quality of life (at least in terms of creature comforts and opportunities that I took for granted before)? How can I adjust not to a new equilibrium but to an ongoing downhill slide (hopefully not an avalanche slide but just unstable terrain where I keep slipping)?  I can see why the wealthy would invest in residential real estate and farms. Even if people can’t afford luxuries, they still need necessities like food and shelter. The primary things I’m focusing on are adjusting my expectations so that I don’t get stuck emotionally and lose precious time, prioritizing the wellbeing of vulnerable family members, spreading risk around rather than concentrating it, developing practical skills to the best of my ability, getting end of life stuff prepared (will, powers of attorney, final resting spot picked out), maintaining physical fitness routine (by Zoom these days), making my home a lovely place where I like to be, maintaining far flung relationships by phone and online, learning new things partially as a distraction for my brain so it doesn’t ruminate, and limiting my exposure to distressing news details while keeping up with headlines. I also prioritize knowing myself and my quirks and inner dynamics so that I make a life suitable for me rather than suitable for someone else. Regarding the wealthy owning homes and farms, I can’t change that. I can vote and advocate so that they don’t get unreasonable tax benefits for it.  

Hi, Colorado. Great post. In my version of the 80/20 rule, I don’t plan to get an Amateur Extra license because I can’t foresee its added value. I want to add a comment on the financial side of things. If a person gets involved in ham communities, sometimes free equipment comes your way. My HF rig and the antenna and all the labor to install the antenna was at no cost because the widow of a “silent key” just wanted the equipment to go to a good home, and the person who knew her and who donated the antenna and labor knew me (just barely). Because I’m involved in the local emergency response group (the group is just getting off the ground, really), I’m going to be given additional equipment at no charge. It’s apparently going to include interoperability with public service folks.  Another reason to get one’s General license to be able to use HF is to use an inexpensive interface between the radio and a computer to get into digital HF. Using that device (less than $150) and Winlink software, I will be able to send email over HF radio waves, no internet needed. There is still some infrastructure that’s needed in the wider world far away, as well as a battery or other power source to run the computer and radio. I’m not planning for a total grid down, internet down forever scenario, but rather more localized and temporary outages. Another reason to get into amateur radio and into ideally more than one local group is because you brush shoulders with people of other political opinions. It prevents me from staying in a political opinion bubble. Knowing how others are thinking is part of being prepared. They can’t demonize me, and I can’t demonize them as readily because we have a bit of a relationship. If I was ever in their neck of the woods and in trouble, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop their names or to ask for help from them. A bit of a tangent, but in my mind it’s related. Thanks again for the topic.

Hi, Greg. Congratulations on obtaining your ham radio license and on working so diligently to communicate with family members if internet /cell phone service is down. I got my license 8 years ago, but I am still a beginner. I hope that others with more experience and knowledge will chime in. Here are a few thoughts and questions. Is your roof-mounted antenna a directional / beam / Yagi? My roof-mounted beam antenna allows me to reach the repeater in the next county, at least as far away as you’re trying to reach. I use a Cushcraft CSH-A124WB, which is a 2 meter, 4 element wideband directional antenna. However, your hills could be a real problem. If all three of you can’t reach the same repeater, you might need another ham to relay messages in an emergency. It would be nice to set up that arrangement in advance, though it may be challenging to find a reliable ham operator in the right spot with the right equipment. You might also check if there are any linked repeater systems in your area. That way, you and your family could potentially communicate even though you’d be hitting different repeaters. I’ve also heard of people using radios with DStar capability to reach the DStar repeater network. Some radios have System Fusion, which I believe uses a linked repeater arrangement. Radios with APRS allow short email messages to be sent. Besides Echolink, there is also Winlink, which uses a combination of the internet and radio waves, as I understand it. My general sense is that digital radios can use a combination of internet and radio waves to achieve communication. To be independent of the internet and only use radio waves, it sounds like your hills are the problem. I’m not sure HF will solve the problem due to the feature of HF propagation called HF skip or the HF skip zone / silent zone / dead zone. It’s why HF stations farther away from each other can sometimes hear each other better than HF stations close together. I’ll keep thinking about your situation and let you know if I have other thoughts. As I said, I hope others will chime in. One advantage to getting involved with an ARES group is you get to know who is public service minded and might have the equipment and the interest to relay  messages if all family members can’t hit the same repeater.


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Volunteer fire departments
9
12
Electrical surge protection for older homes
10
12
No empty roller bags / suitcases
7
17
U.S. government debt ceiling / technical default
2
3
The Everyday Grommet (humor)
3
9
Storing 1 lb. propane cylinders
51
17
More than one cell phone?
8
13

Karl, thanks for the list and for the suggestions. I would add a covid virus that evolves faster than vaccines can keep up with (so far). People in my area are generally acting like covid is over, and yet my county is currently in the red zone (local hospital impacted, etc.).  I think mitigating the risk of chronic illness should be a top priority for preparedness. That means the usual diet and exercise and stress reduction approaches are more important than ever. I’m not a medical professional. Yet it seems to me that avoiding a constant state of autonomic nervous system arousal is very important to lessen the risk of chronic illness from an overstimulated nervous system. That might mean limiting news consumption, joining an online meditation group, reconnecting with our core philosophical or spiritual principles and rededicating ourselves to them, strengthening relationships with local farmers / CSA (community supported agriculture) ventures, learning the strengths and weaknesses of our neighbors, making our living space as delightful as possible, increasing our generalist skills, and more. As I understand it, people in the U.S. have paid significantly less money for food than people elsewhere in terms of percentage of budget. If the price of food goes up 25% to 50% here, maybe we’re still in an acceptable ballpark, tough as this may sound. Regarding the Federal Reserve’s models, I wonder if we’re seeing fewer smooth curves everywhere in terms of human behavior and more sharp rises and drops. For example, inelastic demand curves for a while, then totally elastic curves. Maybe the models want to smooth this out. Maybe some people are “overreacting” with their purchasing and other choices, and others are “underreacting.” Which group has the most financial and social resources?  It seems to me that things are going to be more abrupt and jerky and reverse course more often. Unsettled times leading to more unsettled times. Roller coaster looks like the good old days because there was at least a track. This feels more like a severe weather event.  Regarding the possibility for civil unrest, I’m not ready to give up on local government and the  fabric of civic life. I see civic life as tattered and frayed but not yet beyond hope. I don’t think “you’re on your own” is where we are at yet. Maybe we need to lean into mending it, carefully and with personal limits, for a while.  Thanks again for the post.

Squidvicious, I’m thinking along the same lines as you are these days. How can I prepare for a generally declining quality of life (at least in terms of creature comforts and opportunities that I took for granted before)? How can I adjust not to a new equilibrium but to an ongoing downhill slide (hopefully not an avalanche slide but just unstable terrain where I keep slipping)?  I can see why the wealthy would invest in residential real estate and farms. Even if people can’t afford luxuries, they still need necessities like food and shelter. The primary things I’m focusing on are adjusting my expectations so that I don’t get stuck emotionally and lose precious time, prioritizing the wellbeing of vulnerable family members, spreading risk around rather than concentrating it, developing practical skills to the best of my ability, getting end of life stuff prepared (will, powers of attorney, final resting spot picked out), maintaining physical fitness routine (by Zoom these days), making my home a lovely place where I like to be, maintaining far flung relationships by phone and online, learning new things partially as a distraction for my brain so it doesn’t ruminate, and limiting my exposure to distressing news details while keeping up with headlines. I also prioritize knowing myself and my quirks and inner dynamics so that I make a life suitable for me rather than suitable for someone else. Regarding the wealthy owning homes and farms, I can’t change that. I can vote and advocate so that they don’t get unreasonable tax benefits for it.  

Hi, Colorado. Great post. In my version of the 80/20 rule, I don’t plan to get an Amateur Extra license because I can’t foresee its added value. I want to add a comment on the financial side of things. If a person gets involved in ham communities, sometimes free equipment comes your way. My HF rig and the antenna and all the labor to install the antenna was at no cost because the widow of a “silent key” just wanted the equipment to go to a good home, and the person who knew her and who donated the antenna and labor knew me (just barely). Because I’m involved in the local emergency response group (the group is just getting off the ground, really), I’m going to be given additional equipment at no charge. It’s apparently going to include interoperability with public service folks.  Another reason to get one’s General license to be able to use HF is to use an inexpensive interface between the radio and a computer to get into digital HF. Using that device (less than $150) and Winlink software, I will be able to send email over HF radio waves, no internet needed. There is still some infrastructure that’s needed in the wider world far away, as well as a battery or other power source to run the computer and radio. I’m not planning for a total grid down, internet down forever scenario, but rather more localized and temporary outages. Another reason to get into amateur radio and into ideally more than one local group is because you brush shoulders with people of other political opinions. It prevents me from staying in a political opinion bubble. Knowing how others are thinking is part of being prepared. They can’t demonize me, and I can’t demonize them as readily because we have a bit of a relationship. If I was ever in their neck of the woods and in trouble, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop their names or to ask for help from them. A bit of a tangent, but in my mind it’s related. Thanks again for the topic.

Hi, Greg. Congratulations on obtaining your ham radio license and on working so diligently to communicate with family members if internet /cell phone service is down. I got my license 8 years ago, but I am still a beginner. I hope that others with more experience and knowledge will chime in. Here are a few thoughts and questions. Is your roof-mounted antenna a directional / beam / Yagi? My roof-mounted beam antenna allows me to reach the repeater in the next county, at least as far away as you’re trying to reach. I use a Cushcraft CSH-A124WB, which is a 2 meter, 4 element wideband directional antenna. However, your hills could be a real problem. If all three of you can’t reach the same repeater, you might need another ham to relay messages in an emergency. It would be nice to set up that arrangement in advance, though it may be challenging to find a reliable ham operator in the right spot with the right equipment. You might also check if there are any linked repeater systems in your area. That way, you and your family could potentially communicate even though you’d be hitting different repeaters. I’ve also heard of people using radios with DStar capability to reach the DStar repeater network. Some radios have System Fusion, which I believe uses a linked repeater arrangement. Radios with APRS allow short email messages to be sent. Besides Echolink, there is also Winlink, which uses a combination of the internet and radio waves, as I understand it. My general sense is that digital radios can use a combination of internet and radio waves to achieve communication. To be independent of the internet and only use radio waves, it sounds like your hills are the problem. I’m not sure HF will solve the problem due to the feature of HF propagation called HF skip or the HF skip zone / silent zone / dead zone. It’s why HF stations farther away from each other can sometimes hear each other better than HF stations close together. I’ll keep thinking about your situation and let you know if I have other thoughts. As I said, I hope others will chime in. One advantage to getting involved with an ARES group is you get to know who is public service minded and might have the equipment and the interest to relay  messages if all family members can’t hit the same repeater.


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