by Sarah Latimer, Survival Blog:
(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article)
DEVELOPING YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS
If you work at this, you’ll gain many skills in the areas of operational communications, and in logistics as well. You’ll find the Professional Development Series will help your skillset for leading a volunteer group– whether a prepper group or an ARES group. You’ll be well accepted by the local Emergency Management folks for your willingness to help forestall the onset of anarchy in your community. Most emergency managers realize that communications is a weak spot in their own knowledge base, and if you come across as likable, knowledgeable and professional — they are likely to be very interesed in helping you grow a volunteer group.
TRUTH LIVES on at https://sgtreport.tv/
But this still won’t be easy. Volunteers are the very hardest group to lead. You aren’t paying them; their allegiance is always subject to change. But the same thing is true of prepper groups. If you can’t build a solid group in “blue sky days,” don’t kid yourself that you will remain anything but a lone wolf in “black sky” times. Emergency managers have one extreme dislike in common: they don’t want “drama.” Ham radio groups are well known for drama. It is deadly to a group. And deadly to a prepper organization, too! You’ll be shown the door quickly if you allow “drama.” So do everything possible to get along.
Secondly, you must recognize that you’re only volunteers. You’re not professionals at emergency management. The county or city authorities may have years of dealing with large and small emergencies and you’re not there to try and tell them how to do their job. You may be amazed at some of the communications gear they already have! (We were amazed. Our professionals handed us radios that they didn’t know how to use, and we recognized them as $10,000 pieces of gear and soon we had them working. This will obviously be important intel to you as well.) Go in with a humble attitude, “What can I do to help?” and listen to what they want and do it immediately. Our group was “tested” a few times, and we passed with flying colors and are extremely appreciated. We know our place, our role. We stay there But in the process, we gain extremely valuable insight into the capabilities and responses of our local communities, which we can then extrapolate to likely responses to truly major disasters….
Now back to our central thesis: this is a way to build a stealth prepper group that will WORK.
YOUR STEALTH GROUP
Guess what kind of person tends to join ARES groups? Yep, you guessed it, preppers. And semi-preppers. They are drawn like insects to the light. In the typical ARES group, 1/3 or more are closet preppers. You’ll quickly spot them and develop special relationships with those key people. You would be amazed at the skillsets you may encounter. Many of them will have military experience. Some may even be retired SWAT team members. Others will have medical or legal or entrepreneurial skills, perhaps teachers or farmers or ranchers. Are those useful skills to have in your core group? You betcha!!
Back to your own development, radios require electricity. In the process of developing and training your group, and advancing to higher-class FCC licenses, you’re going to have to actually learn much more about electricity and backup power systems. Things like watts, amps, amp-hours, resistance, fuses, current limiters, MPPT versus PWM — all of this is going to be important to you, both as a community leader and as a survivalist. Solar power systems are part-and-parcel of many Field Day exercises, and pretty soon many in your group will have modest or better systems. It is going to move from interesting articles in prepper blogs, to functional equipment in your garage.
Generators are also key: and you’ll quickly learn about “radio frequency interference” from those generators, something that many preppers don’t quite grasp. You’ll learn about ways to reduce interference with ferrite-based common-mode and differential-mode filters. You can purchase them, or even build them yourself! And you’ll learn about the advantages of diesel generators and their fuel-sipping ways and zero radio interference….and you might even acquire one. Simple diesel generators are often based on small Yanmar diesel engines and clones could even be constructed that would be a huge help to your own personal preparedness!
You’re going to learn a lot about AC wiring, and GFCI protection and measurements in the process. All of that is important for your personal preparedness, also, of course.
There have been some great introductory articles about antennas in survivalist literature, and some that have gone far into working systems. But you’re going to want, and need, to move from reading to building and owning those advanced systems. Antennas for just about every conceivable frequency are going to become second nature to you, and gain antennas that reduce surveillance risk by narrowing the beam, also. These skills, such as impedance matching and efficiency concerns, aren’t learned overnight, so this will take some time. but with a GROUP, you may be able to subdivide the efforts.
If your emergency management government department is top notch, they will have completed an analysis of the top threats to your community, something called a THIRA analysis. You can read free knowledge about this intensely-prepper-compatible analysis here. You can do the same thing from a communications perspective. More and more, civil unrest is a distinct risk to communications, as I’ll describe below. Depending on your area, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, storms, derechoes — all of these might be in the risk matrix for your location. And nothing at all prevents you from putting EMP/CME or financial distress right in that list! Remember, if the police loose comms from any of these for longer than a few hours….your worst days are coming. Your mission, if you’re willing, is to push that off by providing alternative comms for situations they may never have even considered. That may involve backup radios, backup repeaters for them, or even more exotic solutions. This may be beyond where your professionals have even thought about, so you may have to have some of those plans quietly “in waiting.”
Many perhaps now most, police and fire systems are dependent on complex computer-operated “trunked” radio systems. You’re going to learn about those in both amateur training as you advance, and also in your training in the national response systems. Those are huge vulnerabilities for communications. A smart person who knows their network topology may be able to take down some or all of the whole system either physically (with a diagonal cutter) or via software. An EMP will very likely do it also. It would be much, much better for your community if you quietly think through some simple alternatives using your new-found skills and your group’s radio assets. Don’t be outspoken about these; people may wonder why you are so concerned.
It is even possible that as your group grows, gets higher licenses, develops high frequency (HF) (“shortwave”) skills and long-distance abilities, that you may get the chance to learn more about federal response systems that can help your local county stay afloat and “in touch.” Some of those systems are antiquated and slowly being replaced; others are very impressive and your group can volunteer to help your county with Automatic Link Establishment systems popular to keep counties and cities connected to State resources.
BE THE GRAY MAN
Obviously, you’re going to want to be very careful about exactly how much you reveal about your own preparations and knowledge. But your integration into your local authority’s defensive systems will give you unique insight into likely responses and most likely risks. Here you can learn things that the average citizen will never know. Be circumspect about how you deal with that kind of knowledge; you have a duty to your neighbors and your community to look out for all their interests. And no doubt about it, you can be a huge resource to your community and likely forestall the descent into anarchy from a communications disaster. That has huge benefits for you and your family, as well as for your group. In quietness, have discreet conversations with key persons about what might happen if your group is unable to prevent total loss of comms…..and what some options for shared community in those times might be. You already know each other well, by now.