OH8STN: Portable Ham Radio Solar Power and Antenna

Here are two videos by Julian, OH8STN of SurvivalTech Nord, on running portable radios. The first covers portable solar power and the second is about an efficient, rugged, antenna for portable operations. Good communication is key in any disaster situation, so make sure you can maintain contact and keep your radios running.

Hello Portable Operators. This episode of oh8stn ham radio is the first of a series called “how to solar power your portable ham radio”. This episodes focuses on solar power and battery storage for mobile, low power and QRP portable amateur stations, operating off-grid. The episode covers my own experiences with popular solar panel brands, charge controller options, battery packs, solar storage options and explains the best way to build your own portable solar powered go kit for EMCOMM, POTA, SOTA or even preparedness. Later in the series we will look at both DIY and ready to run battery pack options, to get your station ready for off grid operation.

This video series continues where my guest post on the PowerFilm blog left off. You can read the original blog post here: http://oh8stn.net/PowerFilmBlog

The series is supported by PowerFilm Solar and GigaParts. Almost all gear mentioned in the video can be found from my GigaParts page at https://oh8stn.net/gigaparts . You can find PowerFilm folding panels, rollable panels, Genasun charge controllers and the perfect battery pack,all from GigaParts. GigaParts also offers a 5% discount to supporters/channel members/patreons of this channel and series.

73 Julian

Hello operators In this episode of OH8STN ham Radio, we test an off center fed dipole as an ultra portable HF antenna option for QRP field station. The antenna is the OCF 40 from chameleon antenna. The HF dipole is resonant on 40, 20 and 10 meters. It handles 50 watts SSB and 20 watts all other modes. Join me as we test this off center fed dipole with the Xiegu X6100 running on solar power and Icom IC-705 running an NVIS winlink session on 40 meters. 73 Julian

AmRRON T-REX Moved to September, 2022

AmRRON has announced that their annual end of the world as we know it radio communication readiness exercise will be moved from July to September this year. Put it on your calendar, now, as you have four months to get your radio ready and practice up.

The annual nationwide, scenario-based, simulated grid down communications exercise is set for:

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — September 9th, 10th, and 11th

The scenario is being developed and the goals and objectives are being defined.  

In the coming days and weeks, expect:

  • More details about the exercise and the scenario
  • List of training goals and objectives, and skillsets which will be focused on during the exercise
  • Request for volunteers as Initiating Stations to inject message traffic into the scenario
  • Roles of participants and format of the exercise
  • Preparatory training exercises which will focus on specific skills, tasks, and procedures to help prepare participants for T-REX 2022

In the meantime:

  • Continue to improve your radio station, off-grid power capabilities, and skillsets
  • Continue to familiarize yourself with the AmRRON Signals Operating Instructions
  • Participate in as many regularly-scheduled training nets as possible

The Organic Prepper: Last-Minute Preps on a Shoestring Budget

The Organic Prepper has an article on Last-Minute Preps on a Shoestring Budget. No one knows what’s going to come next, but you can still be prepared for the unexpected. Recently I spoke to a friend whom I hadn’t had a chance to talk to since before the pandemic. She lives and Portland and recounted the very hectic 2020 she experienced there – particularly the pandemic and the rioting. Said friend had some preps put away in case of earthquakes and found herself digging into them with the combined problems of lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and safety issues attendant to going anywhere during the street violence. She had no problems but she did realize that she wished to have more appealing foods stored, primarily to keep up her morale during difficult times. Even substituting something as simple as more white beans instead of less liked lentils was the type of thing she meant, but keeping morale and occasional treats should be kept in mind. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

…This piece will present you with some ideas for cost-effective preps to help round out your stockpiles and give you an extra edge. We’re all feeling the “bite” caused by the price increases everywhere: at the grocery stores, the gas stations, the drugstores, and the hardware stores. It’s only going to get worse before (and if) it gets better.

There are plenty of long-term food supplies and companies you can use for foods with shelf-lives of twenty-five years or more, I understand. I also understand that many of us can’t afford them. First, let’s put out one precept I hope you’ll adopt as your own:

There’s no shame in not having enough money for something: you do the best you can with what you have and keep a positive outlook on it. 

There! Now, let’s get into it!

Food

Regarding food supplies, there are different camps and different schools of thought. I’m a big believer in cans. Yes, I can my own stuff (always in wide-mouth Mason jars to better resist a freeze here in Montana), but this doesn’t stop me from stocking up on canned goods packed in good-old-fashioned cans made out of steel. I recommend canned goods for long-term storage on a budget.

Dried stuff (such as beans, rice, etc.) will keep for a long time, but they don’t really give you a lot in return, not to mention the fact that you have to prepare them.

Here are some basics about macronutrients for you to keep in mind:

Protein: The basic building block of life and absolutely essential for tissue repair and recovery. Protein has a high thermogenic factor. It takes more energy to digest, but you get more return on your investment.

Fats: Also very important as sources of energy and also as macronutrients that the brain (and other organs) rely heavily upon.

Carbohydrates: Believe it or not, you should stay away from these as much as possible, but they do have uses when not consumed to excess. One example is after you perform strenuous activity. It is good to replenish your body with protein, but also with some carbohydrates. This prevents catabolism, which occurs when your body is starving for sugar. Without carbohydrates or simple sugars, your body will “cannibalize” your muscle tissue.

The protein in your muscles is then converted into glycogen, which your body burns for energy. It can be devastating because replacement of protein lost in this manner is neither quick nor easy. This is a “deep” subject that I can go further into in another article, but I think you grasp the point.

A couple of references to help you on these topics: Grain Brain by David Perlmutterand Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. The first book will take you into topics such as glycation: how excessive sugars and carbohydrates in the diet disfigure proteins and cause them to form blockages in vessels. The latter work details the differences in the way our ancestors ate and how our “system” of food production is causative, not curative, of problems.

Canned Foods

Cans can take a beating, handle a freeze, and most contain foods that are cooked. Go with organic stuff as much as possible, and if that can’t be done, “sift” the ingredients. Buy (in this order) generic brands and then name brands. Compare them. The store brands are sometimes much better in quality and at half the price.

  1.  Prepared “dinners” in a can: Most of this stuff is not optimal for your body, but this is about survival, plain and simple. My objective here isn’t to recommend any brand but just to give you a “feel” for what you’ll need. Look closely at the ingredients. You’re searching for the least amount of preservatives, artificial ingredients, or “substances” that are unfamiliar. You’re searching for high protein, moderate to low carbohydrates, and moderate fats. Canned chili is good, as are some of the soups and stews. Think beef stew with high protein content. Think lentil soups, bean soups, and pea soups. These all have protein, and you can augment them with the next category.
  2.  Canned meats: Canned chicken is your best bet. It’s already cooked, and you can either add something to it or add it to something (such as the soups mentioned in “item 1”. Once again, make sure it’s really meat, without a whole bunch of “fillers,” such as potato-starch, or some other grains. Tuna fish, sardines, fish steaks. All of these you can find even in the dollar stores.
  3.  Canned fruits: Avoid the ones in the high-fructose corn syrup. Go for things with high vitamin C content and some fiber. Canned grapefruit, pineapples, and mandarin oranges are among your best bets. Incidentally, bromelain is a chemical constituent found only in pineapples. It stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach and enables you to digest meats more easily…

You can obtain these for reasonably-low prices and store for fairly long periods of time.

  1.  Summer sausage, beef jerky, and fish: They can be good for years if protected from light, changes in temperature, moisture, and pests. Once again, go for quality, but an eight-ounce stick of summer sausage can be split between a family of four and lend protein for a quick meal when the lights go out and the music stops playing. There are also Mylar pouches of tuna fish and salmon, good for single servings. Make sure these pouches are made entirely out of Mylar; some pouches have a transparent plastic “bottom,” and that won’t cut it in the end.
  2.  Dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, banana chips, pineapple. The ones in mylar pouches will give you some longevity for storage. Dried fruits will help alleviate cravings for sugar. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you eat them, or else they can “rob” your body of its fluids and dehydrate you in the course of digesting them.
  3.  Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. The “buttered” forms will keep longer, and remember, they all tend to become rancid after prolonged storage, but they’ll help. You can store peanut butter for a fairly long time. They’re high in protein. Once again, drink plenty of water when you eat them.

The reasoning behind everything I’ve mentioned thus far is simple:

In a grid-down survival situation, you don’t want the whole, hungry neighborhood to smell that tasty stew you’re cooking on the Sterno stove. You want to crack open those cans and pouches, eat that meal, and seal up anything left over. Don’t leave any signs or signatures that let others know that you’ve stored food, or your “popularity” will suddenly rise, and “company” will drop by…uninvited, of course.

You can eat all of this stuff “as-is” without resorting to a stove.

Food storage: If possible, try to buy some of those large, three or 5-gallon food-grade buckets from the bakery department of your local food store. They only run about $5 a piece or less. Get the ones with rubber gasket rings on the inside of the lids. These “clamp” down into place. If you can’t get the gasketed ones, don’t despair. Use the ones you can find. Seal your cans and packages into these, and then make sure you store/stack them raised up off the floor. Mark the outside of your buckets so that you know their contents at any given glance.

With an absence/shortage of buckets, you can use bins, but I recommend Rubbermaid “Roughneck” bins, the 10-gallon size. They usually run about $10 to $12 or so. They’re worth it. The reasons: they’re durable, stackable, and each bin won’t weigh so much that it makes it impossible to move if the need arises. They’re also dark-colored and will block off light and sight (if you should have to move things, and being spotted by neighbors is possible)…(story continues)

BCRP Central Committee Meeting, May 26

The Benton County Republican Party (BCRP) will be holding a Central Committee Meeting on Thursday, May 26th from 7pm – 9pm at the Island View Worship Center [map], 1520 Fowler St, Richland. At the meeting, the BCRP will be hearing from all of the candidates and giving endorsements. The public and guests are welcome to attend and hear the candidates. Only PCOs will be allowed to vote.

Task & Purpose: How to Layer Your Survival Kits for a Real-world Disaster

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brittany Cup Choy, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman, packs an ACES II ejection seat survival kit at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 7, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

In How to layer your survival kits for a real-world disaster U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brittany Cup Choy, discusses five basic survival kits to help you prepare for real world disasters. Read the entire article at Task & Purpose with more pictures.

Zombies, an alien invasion, or any other of your favorite apocalyptic scenarios are often used to spur interest in survival planning because each one forces you to think about being self-reliant. While it’s fun to plan for unrealistic situations, a good layered survival system actually prepares you for known and likely scenarios.

What would you do if your car slid off of an icy road at night in an area without cell service? How would you prepare if your house was built in a wildfire area? Or, will you be ready if you’re unlucky enough to have your house destroyed by a tornado? 

If any of those questions apply to you and you don’t have answers, keep reading because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll show you how to create a survival system for real-world disasters. We’ll cover things like layering survival kits, general safety tips and best practices, and overall preparedness.

Why you should trust us

During my 17 years as an Army infantryman, I’ve had to survive in environments with extreme temperatures and severe weather with limited gear for extended periods of time. I’ve also graduated from Survive Evade Resist and Escape (SERE) school, and now I train military advisors. I’ve also applied this training in my everyday life for everything from flat tires to power outages to tornados. Through all of these experiences, I’ve developed a survival mentality in which I understand the importance of a layered survival system. The following information was based on training, experience, rehearsals, and extensive research. 

A layered survival system

A layered survival system means preparing a survival kit for the situations you are most likely to encounter. You probably have some kind of layered survival system in place already. Most people have an everyday carry (EDC), a road kit in their vehicle, and a go-bag in their house. But an optimal layered survival system is more than just a bunch of kits adding up to a bunch of stuff. It’s a way of planning and thinking to get the most out of your system, so you end up with gear that you actually need and redundancies you could actually use. In this article, we’ll cover five basic types of survival kits, which will prepare you for most real-world disasters. These include:

  • Everyday carry
  • Vehicle loadout
  • Cache
  • Go bag
  • Weapons package

In the survival community, we’re guided by a saying: “We live out of our bag, fight out of our kit, and survive out of our pockets.” The point of the saying is to prompt you into thinking about your relationship — both literally and figuratively — with your gear. 

In layman’s terms, to “live out of your bag” means that you should pack an actual bag so you and your family can survive for an extended period of time. A good standard is to pack so you’re covering all your needs for 72 hours. 

To “fight out of your kit” refers to protection. It’s a kit designed solely to protect you and your family from harm. This kit often consists of a firearm, ammo, and armor, as well as a trauma kit or medical pouch. 

Finally, to “survive out of your pockets” means having the necessary gear for survival on your person. This involves developing a proper everyday carry, which is your first and probably most important survival kit because it may be all you have if you cannot access your other kits. 

Everyday carry

Your everyday carry, or EDC, refers to the items you carry on a daily basis. They’re different for everyone, and if you’re anything like me, you might add, remove, or upgrade items every once in a while. A full EDC looks something like this: 

  • Money: Always carry some form of payment like a credit or debit card and cash. While cash is king, you can get away with about $100 of local currency. That should cover basic needs like transportation, information, food, etc. 
  • Knife: A good folding knife or small fixed blade. Think of it as a tool rather than a weapon. Survival should always be at the forethought of your choices. 
  • Cordage: A piece of paracord is monumental in making traps, lashing, or repairing things. Five to six feet of cord is more than enough. Braided keychains are very useful. 
  • Flashlight: A light source always comes in handy whether you need to signal for help or just need to see in the dark. A small penlight is more than sufficient.  
  • Handgun: If you decide to carry for self-defense, find a pistol or revolver you’re comfortable with using and carrying, which means training and finding the right holster. 
  • Reload: If you end up carrying a weapon, you should carry a reload as well, like a spare magazine or moon clip.  
  • Lighter: Always carry a fire-making device. Stormproof matches, butane lighters, etc. If not, a small ferrocerium rod will throw a spark even in the wettest of conditions.  
  • Jacket: Always take a warm- or wet-weather layer with you (even if you just stash it in the car). Even in the desert, you can become hypothermic. Your clothing is always your first layer of shelter. 
  • SnackA protein bar, energy bar, nuts, dried fruits, etc. This could be a mental gain or give you the energy to keep going. At the very least, it could calm the kids while you plan your next move.
  • Water bottle: Water is life. The average person needs about two to three liters a day to maintain good health. I recommend a water bottle with a built-in water filter.  

If you make everything on this list part of your EDC, you will be able to find a practical solution to almost any small-scale problem you encounter. Now, you might think that it’s a lot of stuff to carry, and you wouldn’t be wrong. If you do decide to carry everything on this list, you might want to consider getting a sling bag or fanny pack. 

Vehicle loadout 

Your vehicle loadout should prepare you not just for a flat tire or dead battery, but also for what you might encounter or, depending on your location, what you might not encounter (like a gas station). You might have enough gear to get by in most towns or cities, but what if you’re in a rural area and you: get two flat tires; run out of gas; hit a deer; experience an electrical fire: or get stuck on the side of the road on a freezing night? Will you be ready for any of those situations? If the answer is no or maybe, the following lists will ensure you are prepared. 

Recovery kit

  • Jack with a locking bar
  • Full spare tire and wheel package
  • Breaker bar or battery-powered impact gun
  • Fix-a-flat and/or tire-plug kit
  • Portable power station with air compressor and jumper cables
  • Wheel chock
  • Work gloves
  • Warning triangles
  • Flares

Spare fuel package

  • 2.5- or five-gallon fuel can
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Vehicle-specific fuel inlet funnel (if applicable)
  • Shop towels

First aid kit

  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Chest seal
  • NPA (Nasopharyngeal tube)
  • Tourniquet
  • Gauze
  • Iodine tincture
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical shears or seatbelt cutter
  • Applicable medications
  • Medical tape
  • Splint

Sustenance

  • Snacks or emergency rations
  • One gallon of water

Shelter

  • Extra set of clothing
  • Cold-weather jacket
  • Camp hammock or tent
  • Tarp

Miscellaneous

  • Road atlas
  • Traction mats
  • Shovel
  • Toilet paper and baby wipes
  • 3.5 pounds of baking soda (for fuel spills, battery explosions, and brushing your teeth)

NOTE: Before you go loading your vehicle with everything on this list, you should know that some of the items (like gasoline) can be extremely dangerous to store inside your vehicle. They can be even more dangerous if you’re in an accident. Therefore, you should take proper precautions and comply with state and local ordinances regarding such issues.  

An emergency cushion

Preparing a cache of emergency supplies is just good practice. It doesn’t matter if you stick it in a hole in your backyard, inside an old storage unit, or in a safety deposit box at the bank — an emergency cushion will help if you’re in a jam. You might be wondering what kind of jam am I in? In pop culture, such things are used when a character decides to go on the lam. Instead, think of a small disaster like a house fire or tornado. Those sorts of things can take a while to sort out, so for an emergency cushion, you’ll want:  

  • Money: $500 to $1,000 as a general rule. Certainly, enough to get you into a hotel and feed the family until you can figure out the next step.
    • You also might want to store items of value for bartering
  • Copies of keys, if applicable, for storage units, friend/family home, transportation, etc. 
  • Personal documents like insurance information, licenses, medical information, etc.
  • Communication tools like a prepaid cell phone, or a satellite phone with a plan, which is useful if in an area where fires or weather can damage cell towers. 

Go bag

Although there’s a lot of overlap, a go bag is very similar to a bug out bag. One is meant for a temporary evacuation of your residence while the other is meant for a long journey. While the difference between the two might be semantics, it’s important to understand the differences before you pack it. 

For this article, we’re focusing on go bags. It’s something you stow by your front door or inside your car and fill with essentials meant to get you to a temporary shelter or back home. The packing list might be similar to a day hike. They include: 

Shelter

  • Poncho
  • Poncho liner
  • 25-foot cordage

Fire

  • Ferro rod
  • Stormproof matches
  • Lighter
  • Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline

Water

  • Bottle filtration system
  • Iodine tablets
  • Water bottle

Food

  • Emergency food rations
  • 10-foot snare wire
  • 50-foot fishing line 16 pounds test
  • Small to medium fishing hooks

Medical

  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Suter kit
  • Tourniquet
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical tape
  • Band-aids
  • Quick-clot gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Personal hygiene items

Navigation

  • Compass
  • Local map

Tools

  • Folding saw
  • Settlers tool
  • Multitool
  • Fixed-blade knife
  • Canteen cup
  • Headlamp
  • Hatchet

Miscellaneous

  • Electrical tape
  • Zip ties
  • Sewing kit
  • Batteries

By now, you have probably noticed some overlap between the go-bag and vehicle loadout. It’s true, there are some, but the reason for the redundancies is if one system fails for whatever reason — lost go-bag or missing car — you have the backup. It’s another layer in your layered survival kit.

Weapons package

A weapons package should be designed to prepare you for the worst-case scenario. Think about a natural disaster that disables critical infrastructure and outpaces government resources. A good example is Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many all over the Gulf Coast were left stranded without electricity, running water, or protection by local authorities. And since then, multiple states have loosened carry laws during a state of emergency. With that being said, a weapons package in this setting is intended for protection and defense (rather than offense). A weapons package typically consists of three weapon systems: an emergency EDC, a backup, and a main gun. 

Emergency EDC

  • Sub-compact to full-sized handgun (tailored to attire)
  • IWB holster
  • Extra mag/speedloader/shells

Backup

  • Compact to full-size handgun
  • Gun belt with holsters and a survival knife
  • 2x magazine pouch or more, plus ammo for the main gun
  • Small medical pouch (built for hemorrhage/gunshot wounds)

Main gun (trunk gun) 

  • Long gun
  • Fighting load carrier or plate carrier
  • Extra magazines or shells (no more than 3x magazines/35 shot shells)

Additionally, whenever you’re handling weapons, you should practice proper gun safety and comply with all local, state, and federal laws… (continues)

RealClear Politics: When Misinformation Drives Bad Policy

In When Misinformation Drives Bad Policy, John R. Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, writes about the American public’s badly misinformed perception of violent crime. On average, the American voters believes that 46% of violent crimes involve firearms, when the figure is actually less than 8%. John Lott has made a name for himself with such books as More Guns, Less Crime, The Bias Against Guns, Dumbing Down the Courts, and The War on Guns among others.

To President Biden, public health researchers, and the media, violent crime is all about guns. But a new survey finds that people are badly misinformed about how much violent crime involves guns. The average likely American voter is way off, thinking that over 46% of violent crimes involve guns. In fact, the true figure is less than 8%.

Not surprisingly, those who believe that most violent crime involves guns are more likely to view gun control as the solution.

Biden has given four major speeches on violent crime (hereherehere, and here). Each one of them was focused on enforcement of gun control laws. In the four speeches, he mentioned “gun” or “firearm” 179 times. The term “weapon,” sometimes in connection with “assault weapon,” was used another 31 times.

The words “crime,” “violence,” or “violent” were mentioned about half as often – 94 times. He only mentions the words “murder” and “homicide” seven times in these four presentations, and entirely omits them from his two most recent talks.

But this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – over 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms. Although Biden blames guns for the increase in violent crime, the latest data show that gun crimes fell dramatically.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, in the latest year available (2020), shows that there were 4,558,150 rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults, and the FBI reports 21,570 murders. Of those, 350,460 rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults (see Table 8) and 13,620 murders involved firearms. So, while it’s true that firearms are the weapon of choice in more than half the murders in this country, it’s also true that only 7.9% of violent crimes were committed with guns.

The new McLaughlin & Associates survey of 1,000 likely voters from April 20 to 26 for the Crime Prevention Research Center shows how misinformed people are. People across the country, of all races and incomes, have wildly inaccurate beliefs about how frequently violent crime involves guns.

Even so, there are large differences across groups. The average Democrat estimates that 56.9% of violent crimes involve guns, whereas the typical Republican gave an answer of 37%. Those with the highest incomes (over $250,000 per year) and those who work for the government give the highest numbers – 56.1% and 51% respectively. Women (50%) believe that more violent crimes involve guns than men do (43%). Urban Americans say 48%, whereas rural Americans say 40%. But the biggest difference is between blacks (59%) and Asians (31%).

The McLaughlin survey also gave people three options on the best way to fight crime: Pass more gun control laws, more strictly enforce current laws, or have police concentrate on arresting repeat violent criminals.

Some respondents at least got it right that less than 20% of violent crime involves guns. Just 8% prioritized more gun laws, and 15% focused on stricter enforcement of existing laws. An overwhelming 71% thought the best way of fighting crime was to arrest violent criminals.

Some likely voters thought that more than 80% of the violent crime involved guns. Most supported either more gun control laws (33%) or more strict enforcement of current gun laws (28%). Only 36% of them wanted the focus on arresting violent criminals.

Those who think that most violent crime is committed with guns consistently support more gun control. Those who don’t believe that instead want to focus on arresting violent criminals and keeping them in jail.

Perhaps the gun control debate would be very different if the media had done a better job of informing people about crime. The most newsworthy cases, unfortunately, don’t tend to be typical of violent crime. Focusing on how to solve 8% of violent crime does nothing to solve the other 92%.

Radio Contra Ep. 158 Fourth Generation Warfare

NC Scout of Brushbeater.org speaks with author Marc J. O’Connor in episode 158 of Radio Contra.

Episode 158. I’m joined by Marc J. O’Connor, author of “Electronic Warfare for the 4GW Practitioner” to talk fourth generation warfare unfolding in American politics, the strategy the Left has employed, the role of NGOs in subverting American infrastructure and what this means for the future of the US.

Radio Contra Ep. 158 – NC Scout and Marc J. O’Connor on 4th Gen. Warfare

Doom and Bloom: What To Do About Baby Formula Shortages

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on What to Do About Baby Formula Shortages.

A large survey of 11,000 stores have found that fully 43% are sold out of baby formula. More mothers are breast-feeding their babies these days, but most still find themselves using baby formula at one point or another in their child’s first six months of life. A formula shortage panic is part and parcel of a society that is unprepared for shortages in the face of disasters and other upheavals.

In this case, the formula shortage is thought to be due to a major recall by one of the three companies that make the product: Abbott labs. Recently, several infants were hospitalized with cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterium that was identified in the company’s Michigan plant. One of the babies is reported to have died. Supply chain issues may also be a factor in the current crisis.

If you have Abbott products in your pantry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asks that you check to see if it might be at risk for contamination. Recalled lots can be identified. Check to see if the first two digits of the product code are 22 through 37, the code contains K8, SH, or Z2, and has an expiration date later than April 1, 2022. Abbott’s website has a search feature that allows you to plug in your lot numbers to see if it’s part of the recall.

Baby formula is meant to be as close to human breast milk as possible, making an acceptable substitute difficult to find. What to do? You should first consult with your pediatrician, of course, about the issue. Some pediatricians say that Pedialyte is an option for a day or so to keep the baby hydrated. Others say that toddler formula will do for a few days while you’re hunting for the right stuff. Infants over one year of age on formula can slowly transition to whole milk. A few say small amounts of cow’s milk can even be given in babies 6 month of age or over for a short time.

The brands removed from supermarket shelves include popular brands like Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare. Pediatricians from Prisma Health are reported in South Carolina’s Greenville News as suggesting the following substitutes for recalled products:

Similac 360 Total Care/Advance substitutions: Gerber Good Start Gentle, Enfamil Infant, Enfamil NeuroPro, Enfamil Enspire, Up&Up Advantage/Infant, Parent’s Choice Advantage/Infant

Similac Soy Isomil substitutions: Gerber Good Start Soy, Enfamil Plant Based, Up&Up Soy, Parent’s Choice Soy

Similac Neosure substitutions: Enfamil Enfacare

Similac Sensitive/360 Total Care Sensitive substitutions: Gerber Good Start Soothe, Enfamil Gentlease, Up& Up Sensitivity, Parent’s Choice Sensitivity

Similac for Spit-up substitutions: Enfamil AR, Parent’s Choice Added Rice Starch

Similac Total Comfort substitutions: Enfamil Reguline, Up&Up Advantage Complete Comfort, Parent’s Choice Tender

Similac Alimentum substitutions: Gerber Good Start Extensive HA, Enfamil Nutramigen, Up&Up Hypoallergenic, Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic

Similac Elecare substitutions: Nutricia Neocate Infant, Enfamil Puramino, Nestle Alfamino

If these options are not available, there isn’t a lot of advice that the government or the pediatric establishment give as alternatives. They recommend continuing to breastfeed or returning to breastfeeding if the infant was recently weaned. Another suggestion is to search for it in places other than supermarkets: pharmacies, for example. Look in areas where the infant population is low (such as senior communities), you may find more available there. Of course, if you can find your baby’s formula online from a trusted source, use that avenue.

If you do find a supply, though, the government says not to get more than a month’s worth (because that’s just greedy). Needless to say, advice like this goes against the grain for preparedness folk.

It’s possible that an infant could transition to solid food. A baby that’s ready should be able to:

  • remain stable in a sitting position.
  • hold their head steady while sitting up.
  • have sufficient coordination so they can look at food, pick it up, and put it in their mouth by themselves.
  • swallow food easily without frequently spitting up.

Other behaviors could be mistaken as ready for solids. Chewing fists and wanting extra formula are not indications to switch over.

The opinion of the FDA, CDC, and almost all pediatricians is that no formula shortage should result in using cow’s milk in young infants, plant milks like soy or almond, watering down existing formula, or making your own. They explain that all these options are dangerous and can overload an infant’s kidneys or cause electrolyte imbalances that can lead to seizures. The CDC states that homemade formula recipes you’ll find online can contain harmful ingredients or be contaminated.  They recommend you ignore those “mommy blogger” recipes.

Unfortunately, solutions to the problem are scarce. Some websites actually advise mothers to borrow a can of formula from a neighbor as a strategy. Not exactly a long-term answer.

Of course, families with infants should listen to their pediatricians, but what happens when the approved commercial substitutes are sold out? What if a disaster knocks out formula manufacturing altogether? In the old days, there were nursemaids, but that doesn’t seem like a popular career path today. Up until the 1960s, some mothers were even sent home with homemade formula recipes.

If the formula shortage continues, you might have little choice but to buck the pediatric establishment and make your own. I’m not a pediatrician and haven’t been in a situation where I needed formula and there was none to be had. Having said that, you have to do something if you can’t find formula and your baby needs to eat. Here are a number of links to various “mommy blogger” homemade recipes (none of which, I have to admit, I’ve tested myself):

https://wehavekids.com/parenting/Emergency-Baby-Formula

https://dustyoldthing.com/1950s-homemade-formula-recipes/

Formula – Homemade Baby Formula – The Weston A. Price Foundation

https://wellnessmama.com/wprm_print/203435

It should be noted that no formula recipe using honey is safe for infants, due to the risk of botulism.

For now, it may take a little searching to find the formula you need, but be sure to consider what you’d do if there was none to be found. That’s part of being prepared; if we all had a plan of action for every contingency, we’d be a nation that could weather any shortage.

(Addendum: There’s a program called “Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies” that has formula stockpiles in various parts of the country. Worth checking into.)

TACDA: Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies

The following video is a recording of a webinar presented by The American Civil Defense Association earlier this year on Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies. It goes over getting your neighbors on board, planning for possible emergencies, HELP and OK signs, training, and how the neighborhood responds. As it is a recording of a webinar, there are questions and answers throughout the presentation.

Gatestone Institute: Russia and China – The Worst Moment in History Coming Soon

In Russia and China – The Worst Moment in History Coming Soon, author/attorney Gordon G. Chang at the Gatestone Institute writes about recent threats of nuclear strikes against the west.

Russia has a nuclear doctrine known as “escalate to deescalate” or, more accurately, “escalate to win,” which contemplates threatening or using nuclear weapons early in a conventional conflict. It cannot be a good sign that Russia, China, and North Korea at the same time are threatening to launch the world’s most destructive weaponry. Pictured: Mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers at a military parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Sergey Pyatakov – Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )

…On May 1, on Russian TV, the media executive often called “Putin’s mouthpiece” urged the Russian president to launch a Poseidon underwater drone with a “warhead of up to 100 megatons.” The detonation, said Dmitry Kiselyov, would create a 1,640-foot tidal wave that would “plunge Britain to the depths of the ocean.” The wave would reach halfway up England’s tallest peak, Scafell Pike.

“This tidal wave is also a carrier of extremely high doses of radiation,” Kiselyov pointed out. “Surging over Britain, it will turn whatever is left of them into radioactive desert, unusable for anything. How do you like this prospect?”

“A single launch, Boris, and there is no England anymore,” said Kiselyov, addressing the British prime minister.

The threat followed one on April 28 made by Aleksey Zhuravlyov, chairman of Russia’s pro-Kremlin Rodina Party. On the “60 Minutes” program carried on Channel One, Russian TV, he urged Putin to nuke Britain with a Sarmat, the world’s largest and heaviest missile.

The program noted that a missile launched from Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave would take 106 seconds to hit Berlin, 200 seconds to reach Paris, and 202 seconds to obliterate London.

The NATO designation of the Sarmat is “Satan II.”

Putin himself has gotten in on the fun. Just before sending his forces across Ukraine’s border, he warned of “consequences you have never encountered in your history.” On February 27, he put his nuclear forces on high alert. On March 1, the Russian leader actually sortied his ballistic missile submarines and land-based mobile missile launchers in what was called a drill. On May 4, the Russian Defense Ministry announced “electronic launches” in Kaliningrad of its nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile.

Russia has a nuclear doctrine known as “escalate to deescalate” or, more accurately, “escalate to win,” which contemplates threatening or using nuclear weapons early in a conventional conflict.

China, which on February 4 issued a joint statement with Russia about their no-limits partnership, has this century been periodically making unprovoked threats to destroy the cities of states that have somehow offended it. In July of last year, for instance, the Chinese regime threatened to nuke Japan over its support for Taiwan. In September, China issued a similar threat against Australia because it had joined with the U.S. and U.K. in the AUKUS pact, an arrangement to maintain stability in the region. This March, China’s Ministry of Defense promised the “worst consequences” for countries helping Taiwan defend itself. The threat appeared especially directed against Australia.

This month, North Korea said that, in addition to using nuclear weapons to retaliate against an attack, it might launch nukes to attack others.

It cannot be a good sign that Russia, China, and North Korea at the same time are threatening to launch the world’s most destructive weaponry.

Why are the planet’s most dangerous regimes all making such threats?

First, Putin showed the world these warnings in fact intimidate. As Hudson Institute senior fellow Peter Huessy told me in March, escalating to win assumes nuclear threats will “coerce an enemy to stand down and not fight.” Because the Western democracies have largely stood down and are clearly not fighting in Ukraine, Beijing and Pyongyang want similar successes.

Second, Putin and Chinese ruler Xi Jinping could make such threats because they do not respect nations perceived as enemies. “The bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and the unwillingness to effectively support Ukraine since our 1994 guarantee and especially over the past year have led nuclear-armed enemies to ratchet up threats to the U.S. and its allies,” Huessy, also president of GeoStrategic Analysis, said to Gatestone at the beginning of this month. “They sense a growing American weakness.”

“Like Vladimir Putin, the Communist Party of China has lost its fear of American power,” Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center said to me shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “China’s nuclear threats expose the Party’s arrogance in the face of perceived American weakness, expose the risk of the lack of a U.S. regional nuclear deterrent, and expose the inadequacy of U.S. leadership.”

Third, internal considerations may make such threats easy to make. Many say the most dangerous moment since World War II was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Perhaps even more perilous was the Checkpoint Charlie standoff in Berlin the preceding October. Yet both Kennedy and Khrushchev knew there must never be a nuclear exchange. The issue today is whether Putin and Xi know that as well. Maybe they do not.

These threats may reveal that the leaders of these regimes share a last-days-in-the-bunker mentality. Both Russia and China, albeit in different ways, are ruled by regimes in distress, which means their leaders undoubtedly have low thresholds of risk.

Whatever the reason for the threats, Putin and Xi have told everyone what they intend to do. Unfortunately, Western leaders are determined not to believe them.

In response to Russian threats, President Joe Biden on February 28 said the American people should not worry about nuclear war. On the contrary, there is every reason to worry.

In line with Western thinking, presidents and prime ministers have almost always ignored nuclear threats, hoping not to dignify them. Unfortunately, this posture has only emboldened the threat-makers to make more threats. The later the international community confronts belligerent Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans, the more dangerous the confrontations will be.

The world, therefore, looks like it is fast approaching the worst moment in history.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Biden stated in June of last year. Maybe. Putin, who jointly issued those words with the American president, may think he can wage one and even win.

TACDA Webinar – Sanitation in Disasters, May 14

The American Civil Defense Association is holding a webinar on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 about sanitation in disasters at 5pm Pacific time.

Instructor Jim Philips

Topic: Sanitation

Presenter: Jim Philips

Date: May 14, 2022 6pm (Utah time)

Link: Click HERE to join the meeting. (Everyone invited to this meeting. No subscription required!)

Following a disaster, there are two overlapping sinister challenges that (over the long-term) will cause more misery, disease, and death than the event. This deadly sanitation combo will quickly kill far more people than starvation or most other issues.  Be prepared to overcome them, before they overcome you and your household!

Live Zoom presentation will be on Saturday, May 14th, and the recording will be available to watch by the following Monday.

After the Event Serial Killer 

When “things” happen, there are areas that households can work through on their own (food, shelter, light, clothing, stored water, first aid, etc.).  However, there are a few areas that are very ‘public’, and absolutely require unified participation from the ‘community’.

Recognize that if you are doing everything correctly, but others around you are not, your ability to stay well is drastically diminished or totally negated.  At the top of this list, two major issues go hand in hand with disasters of significant magnitude and duration —

FAILED SANITATION, and its twin sister lack of SANITARY WATER.

Washington Policy Center: Trust Your Neighbors but Identify Your Cattle

Pam Lewison at the Washington Policy Center discusses Electronic Cattle Transaction Reporting (ECTR) related (“identified cattle”) inspection fee reductions and their disproportionate effect on dairy and small cattle operations who don’t use ECTR (“unidentified cattle”) in Trust Your Neighbors but Identify Your Cattle.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is proposing a cost cut for livestock brand inspections for “identified cattle” from $1.30 per animal to $0.80 per animal and is set to host a hearing May 24 on the topic.

According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), the cost cut will save livestock producers money and maintain the solvency of the livestock inspection program at the same time.

The saying in cattle country goes, “trust your neighbors but brand your cattle.” 

The problem our state faces is the need to both identify livestock and log animal disease traceability information at the same time. Brands are a useful and necessary tool for animals that spend a portion of their lives away from the watchful eyes of their owners. RFID or EID tags are ear tags that provide a digital storage mechanism for animal disease traceability.

Washington state is home to some 9,000 ranch families raising approximately 230,000 head of beef cattle. In addition to our robust beef industry, there are more than 400 dairies in Washington state housing approximately 275,000 dairy cows. The care and raising of these animals vary based upon the practices of the livestock owner but, generally, beef cattle are on range pasture for a portion of the year while dairy cattle are handled every day.

The inspection cost-cutting proposal from WSDA is only applicable to “identified” cattle, or cattle that have an RFID/EID tag and may be branded. Leaving “unidentified” cattle, or cattle that do not have an RFID/EID tag or a brand, still set to pay a fee of $4 per animal. The proposal notes the goal is to wean livestock producers off the need to have inspectors present for private cattle sales and incentivize them to use the ECTR system instead.

However, it still disproportionately punishes dairy operators and small livestock operations, neither of which have a particular incentive to brand their cattle or use an RFID/EID tag, by not addressing the $4 per animal fee for all unidentified cattle.

The livestock inspection department should set a single flat rate for all cattle to better encourage use of RFID/EID tags and logging of private sales via ECTR. A single per animal fee may help foster the use of RFID/EID tags by livestock owners who have resisted the transition from a blank plastic tag to the electronic tags.

Unlike many cattle-heavy states and our direct neighbors, Washington hasn’t figured out how to create an inspection system based on a flat fee per animal. Several other western states – Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and Colorado – all charge a flat fee per animal with an additional call-out service fee for any inspections that occur on a ranch rather than in a sale barn. The flat fees charged range in price from $0.55 per head (Colorado) to $1.19 per head (Idaho). Other fees like check-off assessments and animal disease traceability are also added on to those costs…(continues)