Anti-gun WA Initiative 1639 Information

Initiative 1639 will be on the ballot this fall (2018) unless it is stopped by lawsuit. Titled “AN ACT Relating to increasing public safety by implementing firearm safety measures, including requiring enhanced background checks, waiting periods, and increased age requirements for semiautomatic assault rifles and secure gun storage for all firearms,” this billionaire-funded initiative is much more dangerous than that language implies. The initiative is facing lawsuits over reported illegal petitions.

Washington Arms Collectors published the following facts about I-1639.

Initiative 1639 – An Attack on Every Firearm Owner

Initiative 1639 has been filed with the Washington Secretary of State:
“AN ACT Relating to increasing public safety by implementing firearm safety measures, including requiring enhanced background checks, waiting periods, and increased age requirements for semiautomatic assault rifles and secure gun storage for all firearms.” We should all be informed of the contents so please go to the official copy online and read it, download it and print it out to share with others. Here is the web address:
This initiative is now in the signature gathering phase and if enough signatures are collected it will go directly to the voters, not to the legislature. If passed I-1639 will become law on July 1, 2019.
Every Semiautomatic Rifle is an Assault Rifle
Let me start with the initiative language that will do the most harm, the definition of an assault rifle.
I-1639 creates the following definition:
“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”
The age of your rifle, collectability, ATF definition of the firearm as a Curio or Relic, caliber, rimfire or centerfire, tube or box magazine—none of this makes any difference, ALL semiautos are defined as assault rifles. Your kid’s .22 LR plinker is an assault rifle. Your Garand collection is a collection of assault rifles. Turn of the 19th to 20th century semiautos are assault rifles.
You say that you hate those black plastic stocked AR-style rifles and wouldn’t have an “assault rifle” in the house? Too bad, the anti-gun community has outflanked you this time by including all of your wood stocked semiauto hunting rifles, all 22 semiautos and just about every rifle created from 1900 to now. Oh, antiques and inoperable firearms are generously exempted. So it’s not just Modern Sporting Rifles that have been included but all semiautomatic rifles.
Registration of Rifles
How will this affect collector transfers, private transfers and all FFL dealer sales? Semiauto rifle transfers will be handled like pistols are now with additional forms, State registration and waiting periods.
The Department of Licensing is authorized to keep, “copies or records of applications to purchase pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles.”
Firearm Storage is Criminalized
We all secure our firearms the best we can. Some can afford safes and others lock them up or use locking devices. I-1639 defines safe storage as follows: “Secure gun storage” means: (a) A locked box, gun safe, or other secure locked storage space that is designed to prevent unauthorized use or discharge of a firearm.” Oddly this definition excludes gun locks! Yet the initiative itself requires gun locks be provided with every sale. It appears that if one secures a firearm using a locking device it is by definition not in “secure gun storage.” Read the definition again—a secure storage SPACE seems to be required. And if you fail to have such a space and someone uses your firearm to do harm, you are the criminal.
A new crime of “community endangerment” is created that will allow you to be charged and jailed if your firearm is taken and misused. Yes, if you have secured your firearms you may not be charged and in this section gun locks are mentioned along with secure storage. We all strongly support safe firearm storage but changing the law to shift the blame for a crime onto the victim of a crime is wrong. The message to the public and the legal system is that your formerly law-abiding gun ownership is a threat to the community.
Annual Verification of Eligibility
I-1639 will institute a system that annually reviews your record to determine your eligibility to own firearms. You should expect that medical records, mental health issues, and social security disability will all be reviewed to determine whether you can possess that old semiauto hunting rifle. And you thought we were trying to scare you with visions of the police at your door to confiscate your firearms.
Out of State Purchasers
Residents of other states have been able to purchase rifles and shotguns here in Washington. 1639 will end this reasonable practice for semiauto rifles. Our WAC members in Idaho and Oregon will be unable to come to our shows and collect these firearms.
No Longer an Adult at Age 18
At age 18, you can vote, you can be charged with a crime as an adult, be imprisoned or drafted and do other adult things but you can’t take your 22 rifle into the woods to plink and you can’t go hunting with a license and a semiauto. I-1639 judges you to be too immature to do these adult activities. Thinking about taking your semi to the range for practice or a DCM shoot Forget it—that would be illegal.
What can a 18 year old do with a semiautomatic rifle? Stay at home on your own property. That’s it. The initiative states that a person, “ eighteen years of age, but less than twenty-one years of age, may possess a semiautomatic assault rifle only: (a) In the person’s place of abode; (b) At the person’s fixed place of business; (c) On real property under his or her control.”
Seriously…if this becomes law you can’t take your children to the range to have some shooting fun with the 10-22.
Government Safety Training Required
This initiative has costs that will be borne by firearm purchasers and owners. A new regimen of “safety” training to be delivered by government agencies is defined. Will it be free? Of course not and the price is not stated or limited. Firearm accidents are near zero in Washington. Death by firearm is either a criminal act or a suicide—neither is preventable through any kind of safety training. Hunter Safety classes teach safety and public and private firing ranges all provide safety training. This requirement is a bogus attempt to incorporate public safety into 1639 and increase the costs and create obstacles to firearm ownership.
Trigger Locks required
And you thought that trigger locks were already required? Well yes they are—by Federal law every firearm sold must have with a locking device. This section appears to exist only so that the initiative can masquerade as a safety measure. Nothing changes.
Rifles are Taxed
Sure they call it a fee but this is a tax on semiauto rifles. A fee of $25 is to be assessed by dealers for the Department of Licensing to use in their registration of firearms.
Multiple Initiative Subjects
Washington law requires that an initiative deal only with a single subject. In I-1639 we have changes to the age of firearm ownership, fees which are really taxes, storage requirements, changes to the definition of rifles and more. Most of the law changes would be in RCW 9.41. Still, there are obviously multiple separate and significant issues,not a single subject. This initiative is also falsely titled as dealing with “assault rifles.” These are flaws that may allow challenges but will not necessarily prevent a ballot vote. Don’t count on our courts to protect your rights–begin the fight now.
This article from the GunNews magazine, Washington Arms Collectors, may be reprinted and distributed by all those acting in opposition to I1639.
See also https://saveoursecurity.net/ for more information about I-1639.

Dialtone: Camp Comms

This is an older post from the Dialtone blog. Camp Comms talks about taking your radio gear outside to practice, the reasoning being that in a disaster/SHTF situation you may very well not be able to operate from your home/radio shack. This can be a tough one. You can spend a lot of time and effort training and/or exhorting your people (whether mutual assistance group, neighborhood protection team, assembly, committee of safety, militia, etc.) to acquire and use their radios. Assuming they do so, they become comfortable using them from home. You encourage them to upgrade to an external/mast antenna. Some of them may actually get excited about their radios and start doing upgrades on their own and getting into more advanced radio equipment and modes. So now maybe your problem changes to no one having communication equipment to they have it, but everything is perfect at home and they don’t want to take it to the field.

While there is a good argument for having some decentralized communication hubs in your area, there is always the possibility that your SHTF situation may not allow you to operate from your home/shack/otherwise stationary location. That may be because of opposition monitoring, because it is necessary to have mobile scouting or defense, because your home in uninhabitable, or numerous other reasons. If you have to go out, what equipment are you going to use and how will you use it? NC Scout’s RTO basic course takes this into account by getting you out of the classroom and outside, at least.  But you need to spend some time in your own area and weather to find what is going to work. Better to know now, then learn by trial and error and error when your life may be on the line.

In the arena of grid down communications, wilderness plays a big part. In a SHTF scenario you will most likely find yourself operating outdoors at some point. With this in mind, your training should focus on operating in a less than perfect environment.

20150907_174452-1

Many men lost there lives in this wilderness. …..

If you go outside and look around, you are sure to find somewhere you can practice your craft. It can be a park or maybe your friend’s woods? It may even be your backyard. Wherever you choose, get out of the house! Leave the comfort of your shack and go test your kit. You will not know what works for you until you find out what does not work for you! You need to work out the bugs now, not when the sky is falling. You can go camping and take your comms kit. Get your kids involved, set up a base station and give them frs radios to go “on patrol”.

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On patrol. ….

The more comfortable you are with your gear in a real life situations the better off you will be. You need to be able to hike in with your gear. If it’s too heavy, now is the time to work it out. Most of the equipment we use lends itself to field ops, it’s light weight and small. Even a small gel cell battery and a CB radio will do the job.  Recently, I went into the woods with a set up just like that. I took my uniden 510xl CB, MFJ tuner a small gel cell battery and some wire. I was able to get comms established in a wooded area under approaching darkness. This is just an example, I could have used my Yeasu 817 or any other portable rig.

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Field Kit: Meets mission requirements.

You should also be doing this with your monitoring gear. You can pack in a scanner/comms receiver and set up a covert LP (listening post). You perform the same information gathering, just in the wild.  Bugs, dirt and snakes brings out the best in people,  throw electronics in the mix and now you have a party…..

Read the entire article here at Dialtone.

Columbia Safety: Wilderness First Aid, Oct. 6, 2018

Columbia Safety will hold a one day Wilderness First Aid class on Saturday, Oct. 6. The fee is $125.

Click here for more information and registration.

An intensive 8- to 10-hour course for those who are involved in wilderness recreation. This course may also meet the needs of volunteers and professionals who lead groups on short trips in relatively low-risk situations.

Most first aid classes assume that an ambulance or other advanced medical attention will be minutes away.  While wilderness first aid still assumes that you will eventually have the same, it also trains for the additional time that you may need to stabilize a patient before that happens. This makes the class good for those preparing for disaster aid situations.

American Partisan: Defense Against Tyrants

A new author, Bryce Sharper, over at American Partisan has written an introductory post titled Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (Defense Against Tyrants) where he says that he will be writing about moral and mental aspects of resistance in order to achieve victories on the spiritual level.

…What about our families?  Almost every philosopher of every faith or tradition has agreed that the family is the basic building block of civilization.  If ours are coming apart, how will we have the support we need to play IRL Call of Duty come The Revolution?  How can we preserve our way of life if we’re failing to raise our kids?  How will our local prepper group respect us, if our wives don’t?  How can we cooperate on greater levels if we can’t cooperate on a family level?

These are questions I intend to explore in upcoming articles.  As a leading-edge Millennial who was raised by diligent parents who brought me to church and are still married, I still feel like I’ve had to learn everything from scratch.  We have lost all our traditions [L. traditio = hand down] and so no knowledge is being handed down to the next generation and our civilization is dying.  Since this website is a “vanguard movement of Western civilization,” let us begin with ourselves and practice the small-but-important things in the hopes they will lead to greater things.

Will Durant said that civilizations begin in stoicism and end in epicureanism.  We see the latter every day, complete with public orgies found in ancient Rome.  Can our destruction be far behind our decadence?  We may not be able to preserve the United States.  In fact, I think it is near its end.  We can recover our traditions and preserve our way of life, or at least try.  How?  I’ve become convinced that the United States began with good Americans.  In one sense, there were never golden years to look back on because “former days were not better than these” (Ecc 7:10).   However, even secular historians such as Durant and many of our Founding Fathers agreed that civilizations die in licentiousness.  Civilizations follow an arc of birth, life, and death and most indicators point to our death.  If this is the case, we should look forward to rebuilding and we can start with ourselves…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

RELATED:

Beauty Beyond Bones: Drowning in Indifference – a thoughtful article from a brave young woman in New York City about the difficulty of trying to make a difference against the opposing freight train when you feel like a feather.

We are all just sitting back and letting this all happen.

Just like my response to the PP [Planned Parenthood] canvassers today.

No one is willing to stand up and take the unpopular opinion that, Hey, this is wrong. This needs to stop. We need a change…

When are we going to push the pause button and at least ask the question of: What is the implication of all this?

But the even more important, and sobering question, is, How am I contributing to what our world has become? 

Sure, my heart and mind say one thing, but do my actions shout, “Indifferent?!”

And that is a hard question. Because we are to live in this world, but not be “of” this world. And further to that, what can we do? Really? 

It is a discouraging conversation to have with oneself. How do you stop a freight train with a feather?

Brandon Smith: Fighting Globalism Requires Decentralization

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market.com has written on a piece worth your time titled Fighting Back Against Globalism Requires An Honest Movement To Decentralize. Globalism isn’t the only threat to liberty, but it is a major one, affecting people the world over and not just US citizens.

…Liberty activists have to lead by example, first by educating the public on the concept of the non-aggression principle — the principle that force is not an acceptable method of compelling a group of people to organize in the way you wish. Force is not incentive, it is criminal. Force is only an acceptable reaction when someone else is trying to harm or enslave you and those around you. This concept is paramount to the long-term survival of any society. It should be codified and taught to each new generation.

Next, liberty activists need to organize locally into voluntary groups based on mutual aid. Modern civilization has been directed over many decades to assume that participation in the system is mandatory and that the survival of the system is paramount over the rights or prosperity of the individual. But a system that is hostile to individual liberty does not deserve to exist. It should not be allowed to survive.

People have to walk away and build something else.

Voluntarism is the key to changing decades if not centuries of misallocated human labor and time. Imagine a world in which every person is a “free agent,” and they join groups (or partnerships) based on shared goals or shared beliefs rather than being born into servitude — fuel to keep a global machine that does not care about them running. They join these groups based on their interests, abilities, merit and how they might help a particular project progress. Then they are free to leave the group whenever they wish or when the project is done.

In other words, voluntarism is a kind of return to a tribal system, but one in which some tribes exist temporarily based on what they plan to achieve. The GOAL becomes the focus, instead of the endless perpetuation of a group that has outlived its usefulness. The more legitimate achievements for the betterment of humanity a tribe attains successfully, the longer it would stay relevant.

The incentive to better one’s self would be considerable in a voluntary society, for you are competing against every other individual that is also improving their own skill sets and knowledge for a spot in each project or tribe. Individual excellence would become the core virtue of such a civilization.

Voluntarism is perhaps a lofty vision, but one that can be pursued in steps. One of the first steps is self-sufficiency and production…

Click here to read the entire article.

Inland NorthWest Preparedness Expo, Sept. 22-23, 2018 – Sandpoint, ID

The Inland Northwest Preparedness Expo will take place at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, Sandpoint, ID on September 22 and 23rd. While this expo is not related to our own Northwest Preparedness Expo in Prosser, we do know a lot of the speakers involved, having hosted them for our own expo or as separate speakers for our assembly. There are a lot of good people presenting here, and it looks like it would be worth your time to attend.

http://inwprepexpo.com/

 

Speaker schedule:

Saturday, 9/22
Time Slot Title Speaker Room
9:15 – 9:30
Flag Ceremony Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts Main Floor
9:30 – 9:45
Event Welcome Glen Bailey,
County Commissioner
A
10:00 – 10:50
Go Bags: Survive the First 72 Hours Lee Lukehart,
Bonner County ARES
A
Active Shooter! Ranger Rick B
11:00 – 11:50
Hazardous Fuel Treatment Mark Sauter,
Selkirk Fire Dept
A
Gunshot Trauma First Response Ranger Rick B
12:00 – 12:50
Water Storage & Purification Nick Mechikoff,
Panhandle Health
A
Handgun Safety and Operation Russell Spriggs,
The Pistol Prof
B
1:00 – 1:50
Prepping from a Woman’s Perspective Shelby Gallagher, author
A Great State: The Divide
B
2:00 – 2:50
Prepping 2.0 Glen Tate, author
299 Days Series
B
3:00 – 3:50
Intro to Prepper Gardening Patrice Lewis A
Intro to Emergency Communications John Jacob Schmidt,
AmRRON
B
4:00 – 4:50
Medicinal Herbs Dr. Carla Northcott, PhD A
Meal in A Jar Janiene Rise, THRIVE Freeze Dried Food B
Sunday, 9/23
Time Slot Title Speaker Room
10:00 – 10:50
Go Bags: Survive the First 72 Hours Lee Lukehart,
Bonner County ARES
A
Medicinal Herbs Carla Northcott, PhD B
11:00 – 11:50
Overview of Idaho Water Rights & Permitting Brian Domke, Strategic Landscape Design A
Introduction to Emergency Communications John Jacob Schmidt,
AmRRON
B
12:00 – 12:50
Community Force Craig Nelson, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office A
Ladies First: How to choose a handgun Russell Spriggs,
The Pistol Prof
B
1:00 – 1:50
Prepping 2.0 Glen Tate, author
299 Days Series
B
2:00 – 2:50
Prepping from a Woman’s Perspective Shelby Gallagher, author
A Great State: The Divide
B
3:00 – 3:50
Wood Gas — The Other Solar Energy Steve Honkus A
Beekeeping TBD B
4:00 – 4:50 B
Ham Radio Field Communications Richard Howell, NQ7C
North Idaho Militia
A
Critical Considerations when deciding on solar, wind, hydro and hydrocarbons Thomas Quinlin, Idaho Solar & Energy Storage B

Brushbeater RTO Course – Why You Should Take It

One of our members recently attended the Brushbeater RTO Course. He has written up his thoughts on why you should take the RadioTelephone Operator course if you can.

Earlier this month I attended Brushbeater’s RadioTelephone Operators course taught by NC Scout. Other people have done reviews of the class (see here and here), so I am going to structure this a little differently. Rather than give a blow by blow of the course as others have already done, I’ll try tell you why you, as a prepper, or member of a Neighborhood Protection Team (NPT), or member of a Mutual Assistance Group (MAG), should take this course.

The purpose of the RTO course is to teach you how to communicate via radio and do so effectively as a member of a communications team. Communication is the act of transferring information from one place to another. Successful communications means that the information has been correctly and effectively transferred from the sender to the receiver. How many ways can that go wrong in radio communication? You may be surprised. The RTO class attempts to identify and rectify some of those common problems.

First, you may not be talking to the right person in the right place. For this, you need a communication plan, or Signals Operating Instructions (SOI). The plan tells you how to identify/authenticate to whom you are talking. It tells you where (what frequency) to contact them. If you can’t speak to them on that first, primary frequency, then you have an alternate frequency and then a third, contingency frequency. Finally, the plan lays out an emergency method of communication. You may have one plan that you use week in and week out for practice with your team or for supporting public service events, but you should practice changing it as well. And if you are preparing for some sort of TEOTWAWKI SHTF WROL WTFBBQ where your NPT is fighting off the golden horde type of event, you’ll want to change it every day.

Choosing the correct frequencies for the location and distance across which you need to make contact is a part of this planning, too. Will line-of-sight frequencies be appropriate or are beyond-line-of-sight frequencies required? What frequencies do everyone’s radios cover? To what frequencies does any possible adversary have access? If our radios cover a frequency, is the antenna on the radio sufficient to make the contact? If not, can you build a field expedient antenna that will be better?

Make sure you can talk to the person you want, and that it actually is the person you expect – check.

Next, you need to transfer all of the information without forgetting or leaving out anything important. Here the RTO course emphasizes standardized report formats. Most of these have come from NC Scout’s prior military experience. You can modify these for your own group or make up new ones; the important thing is to standardize them and to not modify them to leave out anything important. Many experienced radio operators or prior-military service personnel are familiar with the SALUTE report (size, activity, location, uniform, time, equipment) for reporting enemy information, but there are many other useful reports as well.

A good example is the arrival report, used to tell the command element that you have arrived at the location where you were sent. In my own experience with public service and emergency response, your arrival is typically only sent with something like, “Net control, this is Wxxxx. I have arrived at Spokane Memorial.” While having an entire report for arrival, may take more air time, it can convey critical information. For example, you can add that there was a rollover accident blocking interstate 90 so take the 5th Ave exit to get to the hospital. Or you were sent to the Red Cross building on McClellan, but they had moved services a few blocks away to the high school at 5th and Stevens and you taking up your post there. Deviations in final position as well as deviations on your route the location can provide important information for higher up decision makers and shouldn’t be left out.

The RTO course covered and practiced sending and receiving several different types of eports. Just as important as sending all of the information is receiving all of the information accurately. NC Scout emphasized that the receiver should repeat back the entirety of the report to the sender to ensure accuracy. Just saying, “Report received” doesn’t cut it and results in time wasted, or worse — lives lost, because a response was sent to the wrong location or the wrong assets were delivered.

Make sure that all important information is accurately delivered – check.

Finally, if your group or team is going to run efficiently and effectively, your command and control must be organized. Units being sent out must know why they are being sent and what they are expected to accomplish. The command element/post must remain available and actively monitor any operations in progress. Enough radio operators must remain with the command element to communicate with all of the remote units without being overwhelmed. How many radio operators that is will depend on your specific circumstances, including your size, the number of remote units to be sent out, the type and size of the situation to which you are responding, the capabilities of the radio operators and so on. For example, a command center for a peacetime parade may have one radio operator, communicating with twelve remote radio operators, but a large marathon may have several different teams operating on their own frequencies with their own net control. Similarly, a Neighborhood Protection Team with one control point and one roving patrol can operate with one RTO in the command center, whereas a community under siege in a civil disturbance scenario may have several scouting teams out and a need for a command center RTO for each remote team.

The RTO course again uses some military procedures to help with the command function. Warning orders and operations orders are briefly discussed as methods to impart the goals and mission-specific procedures to the teams being sent out. Similarly, NC Scout briefly discusses what are intelligence and intelligence requirements and the inclusion on the requirements in mission briefings.

Control your communication teams effectively – check.

The RTO course teaches to all levels of experience. If you are new to radio communications, the class will cover the basics of radio operation, antenna theory, and propagation for line of sight and beyond line of sight communications at a level that is understandable for a beginner, yet provides insights to more experienced radio operators as well. The class I was in had people from no prior radio use at all the way up Amateur Extra ham radio operators and ex-military radio users. Everyone appeared to have gained something valuable from the class.

In a disaster or SHTF scenario, you will need to talk to someone. That someone likely won’t be standing right next to you all of the time. How are you going to talk to them when they aren’t in talking distance? Why might you use UHF instead of VHF to talk to them? Why might you need HF? Why might you want to use a digital mode instead of FM or SSB? What’s the best radio for my team? Who needs to have a radio? Who needs to know how to use one? Should you use FRS or MURS? Should you get an amateur radio license? Is burying a box of Baofengs enough to cover my communications needs in the future? If you’re not sure about the answers to any of those questions, or are confused about what some of them mean, then you should take this class.

Occasionally I teach classes for people to get their Technician amateur radio license, and I plan on using some of NC Scout’s antenna explanations in the next class. The training about reports has made me re-evaluate how our radio communications should be conducted. I drove seven hours for the class, and it was worth it.

China Cracking Down on Religion — Destroying Crosses and Bibles

From AP News, 9/10/18, Officials destroying crosses, burning bibles in China,

China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives…

From CBN News, 9/14/18, One Nation Under Xi? This is why Christian Persecution in China is Escalating

…Chinese Christians report authorities have urged church leaders to remove pictures of Jesus from their sanctuaries and replace them with patriotic posters, or posters of President Xi instead. They’ve suggested hymns be replaced with patriotic songs about the “wonderfulness of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Nettleton also said Chinese authorities are using advanced artificial intelligence software to monitor church attendees. “One pastor in Beijing not long ago was told by the government, ‘pastor we don’t mind if you continue holding your services, we just want to put this camera on your platform looking out at the audience and it’s attached to facial recognition software so that we can tell who comes to church on Sunday and who’s there and what they are doing and how involved they are,'” he said…

First National Wireless Emergency Alerts Test on Sept. 20th, 2018

The fourth national Emergency Alert System (EAS) test and first national Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) test will occur on Thursday, September 20th, 2018 at 11:20am Pacific and 11:18am respectively.

From FEMA:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on September 20, 2018. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016,  and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of the WEA test.

If circumstances, such as a major weather event, cause the IPAWS National Test to be postponed, the back-up date is Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

Mises: Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws

From the Mises Institute comes the article A Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws

Arguably one of the rights that has seen less government encroachment in the US — in contrast to other activities such as commerce — gun rights are now witnessing unprecedented attacks at the state level and even from politically-connected corporate entities.

Although gun control laws are not created equally in terms of overall impact, gun confiscation holds a special place in the halls of political repression. A trip down memory lane will give us a refresher of how gun confiscation has helped consolidate government power.

The Soviet Union and Its Satellite States

The Soviet Union left its mark as one of the deadliest political regimes in the history of mankind. However, it could not get away with such atrocities without having a complete monopoly on the use of force…

Although the numbers are highly disputed, Robert Conquest contends in his book The Great Terror that at least 15 million people perished under Soviet rule.

Nazi Germany

These days the word Nazi is tossed around liberally, almost rendering its definition meaningless. Regardless, the history of Nazi Germany should never be forgotten. Interestingly, both sides of the gun debate make mistakes when discussing gun control policy in Nazi Germany…

…Gun control may not have a path dependency toward tyranny. However, gun confiscation is an egregious form of gun control that allows authoritarians to steamroll their subjects at will. The way gun confiscation enhances the consolidation of state power is undeniable. A disarmed populace is simply no match for a repressive apparatus that has a monopoly on the use of force.

Gun rights might not guarantee victory against tyrants, but being deprived of them all but guarantees submission.

Click here to ready the entire article at Mises.org.

AmRRON Goes to AMCON 2 for Hurricane Florence, 9-13-18

As of Thursday, 13 Sept. at 1700hrs Zulu we are increasing the AmCON to level 2 (Incident Imminent). Hurricane-force high sustained winds and extremely heavy rainfall are forecast and damage is imminent. Major disruptions to conventional power and telecommunications grids as well as transportation are expected in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, especially along the coastal areas.

As of this update, persistent (continuous) nets are being conducted on the 40m and 80m digital frequencies using beaconing modes FSQ Call and FT-8 Call. Additionally, nets are being conducted according to the AmRRON SOI. Please refer to the AmRRON Activation PDF for more details.

Expect a change to AmCON-1 (Active Incident) within the next 6 to 8 hours.

Click here to read more at AmRRON.com.

Edit: AmRRON went to AmCON 1 on Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 0300 zulu.

Edit: AmRRON returned to AmCON 5 on September 17th, 2018, while continuing to support operations as needed.

ARRL HQ Emergency Response Team Activates, 9-12-18

From the ARRL:

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team will activate on Wednesday, September 12, ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, has announced. The team already has taken some steps to help prepare Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) groups in advance of Hurricane Florence, poised to strike the US east coast along the Carolinas and Virginia.

ARRL will ship seven Ham Aid kits to South Carolina by way of Georgia today (September 11) to assist with emergency preparedness needs in advance of Hurricane Florence. The kits will fly out of Hartford to Atlanta, because airports in South Carolina are already closed with flights suspended. ARRL Georgia Section volunteers have agreed to get the kits to South Carolina for delivery to the state emergency operations center (EOC) in Columbia, South Carolina. These kits are the same ones that ARRL volunteers took to Puerto Rico a year ago to assist with disaster communications following Hurricane Maria.

“Amateur Radio emergency networks, including those connected to the National Hurricane Center, are active and ready to assist first responders and others with their communication needs before and after Hurricane Florence impacts the Carolinas,” ARRL said in an announcement. “In addition, they continue to monitor activity in order to respond when needed during the 2018 Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season.” Ham Aid kits also may be deployed to Virginia.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), now at Alert Level 3, is closely monitoring three systems: Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Invest 95L, currently in the Gulf of Mexico. The net will activate on Wednesday, September 12, at 1500 UTC, as Florence closes in on the US east coast. The net traditionally uses 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and 7.268 MHz after dark. “With propagation being extremely poor to nonexistent on 20 meters, we may be forced to operate on both bands simultaneously,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said this week…

Read the entire story at arrl.org by clicking here.

AmRRON Activation for Hurricane Florence Announced 9-11-18

AmRRON has announced an activation for Hurricane Florence.

SUBJECT: AmRRON Activation – Hurricane Florence

SITUATION: Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the US east coast along the Carolinas, estimated to impact between Thursday evening and Friday morning. Widespread disruptions are expected to affect commercial power and communications grids as well as transportation.

>>AmRRON Activation – Florence PDF<<

AmCON raised to Level 3 (Incident Probable) as of Monday morning, 10 Sept. 2018, to raise awareness and begin pre-event planning and coordination in anticipation of activation of AmRRON Nets…

AmRRON Corps operators have been coordinating and developing a communications plan in order to provide the widest coverage possible. This will help ensure those in the affected area have multiple options for reporting their situations on the ground and seeking assistance.
Note: This is a real-world disaster response, and not a time for training. This is a time to implement what you know. To increase your skills and knowledge and gain additional experience, we encourage you to participate in our regularly-scheduled AmRRON Practice Nets.
The SOI will be implemented on Wednesday evening in the U.S. (20180913 0200hrs Zulu date/time).

If you’re living in an area that may be affected by Hurricane Florence, and you don’t know what to do to prepare. This Reddit thread has a lot of good preparedness advice. Here is an excerpt from the first post:

  1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still be used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups (power banks).
  2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Water in trash bags should not be used to bathe or drink. Bags contain chemicals to suppress insect and odor. Use for toilet flushing purposes only.
  3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
  4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
  5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
  6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
  7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
  8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.
  9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
  10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
  11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
  12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
  13. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
  14. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
  15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
  16. Make sure you have cash on hand.
  17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
  18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
  19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
  20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
  21. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, first aid kit and other items and keep them accessible.
  22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
  23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
  24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
  25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
  26. Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands.
  27. Pack a small suitcase and keep it in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate. You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
  28. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
  29. Pets are family too. Take them with you.
  30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
  31. Cover televisions, computer monitors and other electronic devices with trash bags in case windows break and expose the interior of the house to the elements.
  32. Cover windows with plywood from the outside.
  33. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
  34. Touch base with neighbors prior to the storm to determine if they are ready and capable to weather the storm. Building relationships with neighbors also comes in handy if you need to borrow a chainsaw or need extra hands to clear debris.

Take a video of your house and contents. Walk room to room, opening cabinets, drawers and closets. Make sure to highlight model and serial numbers of appliances. Don’t forget outbuildings and sheds where you keep tools and equipment. This will help if you need to make an insurance claim later.

In your freezer, freeze a cup of water and place a coin on top after it is frozen. When the power goes out, if the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away.

Finally, anything that you want to try and preserve, but you can’t take with you—place it in a plastic bin and put in your dishwasher, lock the door. This should make it water tight in case of any water intrusion into your home. But of course, take all the important/irreplaceable items you can.

Regular Assembly of the Whole, Sept. 13, 2018

The next regular assembly of the whole will be on Thursday, Sept. 13 at the WestWind Aviation Services hangar at the Prosser airport at 6:30pm. Bring your handheld radios with you for the radio exercise. There will also be a potluck dinner. An email will go out with potluck assignments/suggestions, so please be on the watch for it. Your radio is your ticket to eat. Don’t forget it!

Click here to download a printable PDF agenda.

Zucchini, You Can Eat the Stems, Too.

Upper left: Peeled Zucchini stem on left, unpeeled on right. Lower left: Stems cut into penne shape. Upper right: Blanching cut stems in salt water. Lower right: Blanched stems glazed with butter, sherry, and stock. Center: Finished dish with sauce and parmesan.

You’ll find zucchini in a lot of local gardens. The squash is yummy and nutritious, but also grows quickly and is an early garden producer which usually produces its low calorie fruit in abundance. Zucchini recipes abound almost as much as the fruit itself.  But did you know that you can eat the stems, too? A relative recently passed along a recipe for Zucchini Stem “Penne” which we tried out today. The zucchini production is over for the year for us, but we still had several large zucchini vines sprawling in their corner of the garden. Our stems were old and large. The consistency of the resulting “penne” is a bit more like celery than pasta, but it makes for an interesting dish and is definitely good to know if you need to squeeze all the food and calories from your garden that you can. Our two- and four-year old kids enjoyed it. We’ll try it again next year with some younger stems and see if there is a tenderness difference.

Zucchini Penne Recipe

Covert and Hidden Antennas

Sparks31 has a brief article up on Covert and Hidden Antennas.

Whether you are setting up a field radio station for communications or a monitoring post for SIGINT operation, the antenna is the linchpin of your setup. The best radio in the world is useless without a decent antenna.

Let’s take a look at a common antenna design, one I’ve used with much success over the years:

discone-vhf-uhf-hardline

This is a discone antenna. I have one at my eastern QTH. For a first antenna it’s not bad. It makes an adequate wideband receive and transmit antenna for the VHF and UHF bands. It’s a unity gain antenna, but its advantage is that you can get on the air with multiple VHF and UHF bands with a single antenna. For permissive urban and suburban environments it’s a good choice.

However, it sticks out like a cow in church. Anyone with a modicum of RF knowledge will know what you’re doing when they see one on your roof. Not a problem in permissive environments like the U.S. today, unless you live in place that has a H.O.A. which restricts antennas, or for whatever reason(s) you want to keep your RF activity under wraps.

Antennas are one of those things that you can easily roll your own out of whatever stuff you have lying around your workshop, homestead, or wherever.

Marconi spins in his grave every time a ham buys an aerial instead of building it.
– Joe W1GFH

Continue reading “Covert and Hidden Antennas”