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My wife and I use two way radios to communicate whenever we take two vehicles to travel anywhere. By doing so, we always know when one of had to stop for something to drink, eat, go to the bathroom, get gas or just stretch our legs. If one of us had a problem of any type, we could communicate the problem to the other quickly and effortlessly. If one of us gets out of sight of the other in heavy traffic, we just had to radio the other to stay in touch. Radios worked very well for us.
At first, we both had standard Citizen Band (C.B.) radios mounted in each of our vehicles on removable bases. We had magnetic antennas on the top of each vehicle. This allowed us to take our radio antennas off of our vehicles so we could run the vehicles through an automated car wash. When we pulled into a motel parking lot for the night, we took the magnetic based C. B. antennas of the tops of our vehicles and removed the C. B. radios from inside of our vehicles; this made our vehicles less of a target for car burglars.
We found several major problems with our C. B. radios during and in the weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit southeast Louisiana.
First, there were major problems with too many people trying to transmit on all of the C. B. radio channels at the same time. We could not get a chance to transmit anything, no matter what channel we attempted to transmit on. Everyone wanted to talk at the same time. No one wanted to yield to anyone, even if an emergency was declared.
Second, the vulgarity used on the C. B. radios was unbelievable.
Third, when we left our vehicles, we could not take our vehicle C. B. radio with us. Yes, I know that they make hand held C. B. radios. If we decided to use the hand held C. B. radios, we still would have had the above listed problems with them.
I then got my “HAM” radio license. When I looked into purchasing my own “Ham” radios and the associated equipment, I found the cost to be prohibitive. At least it was a lot more than what I was willing to pay on a retirees fixed income.
We also had problems with our cell phones during evacuations. All of the lines were busy during the evacuation or we could not get a cell tower signal because the electricity was out. Also, using cell phones, you must take your eyes off of the road to dial the phone number. This is extremely dangerous in the very heavy traffic of an evacuation.
Both my wife and I enjoy going to flea markets and garage sales on Saturdays mornings. We find fantastic deals on camping gear and a whole lot of other items we use for prepping. Flea markets and garage sales are a topic for another article.
While at a garage sale, I observed two small, about the size of an adult fist, two way radios. They were yellow, “Motorola, Talkabout” Two-Way, GMRS/FRS channel radios, model number T5990. I inspected both radios carefully. They appeared to have been well kept. I opened the backs of both radios and observed they both had rechargeable batteries in them. On the table next to the two radios was the battery charger for the radios. I asked the lady how much she wanted for both radios and the charger. She told me she wanted $3.00 for the two radios and the charger. I quickly paid her the $3.00 and took them. Even if they did not work, I would only be out $3.00.
When I got home, I placed the two hand held radios in the charger. About eight (8) hours later I turned the radios on. Neither one of the radio batteries took a charge.
I removed the rechargeable battery packs and replaced them with three (3) AA batteries. When I turned the radios on, they both worked perfectly.
I went on the internet, located and printed out the operations manual for the two way radios and read all about them. To my surprise each radio had twenty-two (22) channels. Fifteen (15) channels transmit with one (1) watt of power and seven (7) channels transmit with one half (1/2) watt. In addition to the radio channels, each radio had ninety-nine (99) Interference Eliminator Codes.
NOTE: I am not positive about this but a friend of mine told me that the N.S.A. receives and records ALL radio transmission of one (1) watt or more.
To my surprise both radios could receive the weather channels also.
While in my local Wally World one day, I observed the “Motorola Talkabout, model T5950 radios for sale. They came in a blister pack with two radios, two reachable batteries and a charger. Wally World was selling them for $68.00 new.
My wife and I then started testing these little radios. To our surprise we could easily transmit and receive a mile with no problem within the city that we live in.
We then tested the radios on the interstate from and to each of our vehicles. They worked great. The real test came during our Hurricane Gustav evacuation. With all of the problems that we had with the C. B. radios; we did not have any problems with these little two way radios.
Since then, we continue to go to garage sales and flea markets. I have found a pair of “Cobra, micro Talk” radios. I purchased the pair for $5.00. I also found a single “Motorola, Talkabout, model T5710”, which I purchased for $2.00. All of these radios are compatible with the first two that I purchased. When tested, these two way radios worked flawlessly also. I found the manuals for these radios on the internet also.
I easily attached a length of para cord (550 cord) to the back of three of these radios. (See Photo # 2 & 3 above) We place the para cord around our neck and the radio in our shirt pocket. This way while we are driving the radios do not slide around in the vehicle and you can locate them easily when someone calls you or you need to call someone. Another advantage is that you can easily hear when someone calls you.
When we go camping with our grandsons, everyone carries their own two way radio. This way we are able to talk to anyone in our camping party at any time that we need to. We have also used them very successively at Disney World in Florida and on other vacations that we have taken.
They make even more powerful two way radios than the ones that I have but they cost a little more. I have seen them for sale at Cabala’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco. I am sure you can find them at other locations also. However, garage sales and flea markets are my preferences.
These little radios work great for us and you cannot beat the price we bought them for.
He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
Editor’s Note: I do NOT receive any financial compensation from any company or product that I mention in any of my articles. I only state what has or has not worked for me.
Many times the electrical power goes out, sometimes during a disaster and sometimes for other reasons. During these times, we do not have interior lighting unless you have emergency power, such as a gasoline powered generator or large solar panels. If you are like me, you cannot afford those options.
I have tried candles to illuminate the inside of my home. The problem with them is that they burn down fast, are a fire hazard and give off very little light.
Kerosene hurricane lamps also fall into the above category and have the same problems.
I have tried battery operated flash lights also. However, the batteries burn out rather quickly. Batteries are hard to find after a disaster, if you can find an open store. If you must use a flashlight, use only the ones that use LEDs to produce the light. LEDs use a lot less power, so the batteries last a lot longer.
I have tried “Crank” flash lights. Every brand that I have ever used, the crank handle breaks. This leaves the flash light useless.
One day I was in “Harbor Freight” just looking around and I found a box marked “Solar Spotlight Set”. This particular one is model number 60562. Written on the box was, “Eight (8) hour run time on a six (6) hour charge”. The lights automatically come on in the dark and go off in the light. The light has three (3) LEDs to produce the light. It is charged by sun light using an included “Amorphous Silicon Solar Panel”. The solar panel mounts on the top of the light making one whole unit. The back of the light unscrews and reveals two (2) AA rechargeable batteries, included. These batteries can easily be replaced if the ones that comes with the light ever go bad. They come two (2) Solar Spotlights per box. The sticker stated, Normal Price $19.99, On Sale for $14.99.
If you read any magazines that have a “Harbor Freight” advertisement in it, look closely at it. You will find a 20% off coupon which you can use on ANY purchase, including the one mentioned above.
I purchased a box of the lights. When I got home, I took one of the solar lights out of the box and mounted it outside on my wooden fence to test it. (See photo) That has been over a year ago and the light still comes on every night. Surprisingly they give off more light than what I expected.
I have since purchased three (3) more boxes of the lights. I store them with my emergency supplies.
During the next prolonged power outage, I plan to place all of the lights in the sun to charge. Then, when night falls, take them inside and place them where I need light. The next morning when I get up, I plan on placing them back in the sun to recharge, while I go about doing whatever I need to do. Then repeat the process that night.
If you do not have a “Harbor Freight” store near you, they do have a web site you can order from. “WWW.Harborfreight.Com”
A review on a heavy duty emergency blanket purchased from Dealsonlywebstore.com
Quote of the Day
“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.”
Review on a Heavy Duty Mylar Emergency Blanket
By Bev Sandlin
I recently purchased two heavy duty Mylar blankets on eBay from Dealsonlywebstore.com. $7.49 each with FREE shipping. Unfortunately, I cannot find them on their website, but they are on eBay, go to:
If you are in a northern climate, your life may depend on staying warm. The cheap emergency blankets tear so easily! And I knew there was heavier Mylar material out there because discountmylarbags.com has nice heavy (best deals on the web that I can find) food storage bags—4 mil I believe. Why they don’t stock the heavy duty Mylar blankets, I do not know…
Anyway, these blankets are definitely worth the money! Very hard to tear (Actually, I couldn’t, but maybe a man could; they stretch.). Definitely reusable! Definitely the best deal on the web that I could find, considering the free shipping.
Five stars from Bev! And I will be ordering more!
Have you bought a prepping or homesteading item and would like to do a review? Just email us at: scprepper at outlook dot com
A smile for you…
The exhausted clerk had pulled down blanket after blanket from the shelf, but still the woman customer was not satisfied.
“There is one more blanket left,” said the clerk. “Do you care to see it?”
“I’m not going to buy one today,” said the woman. “I have only been looking for a friend.”
“Well,” said the clerk,”I’ll take the last one down if you think your friend might be in it.”
A couple of definitions from the Devil’s Dictionary:
PATIENCE, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
MEEKNESS, n. Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worthwhile.
Article Summary: Review of the Deadwood Stove. A fantastic biofuel, off grid cooking device.
“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”
Deadwood Stove Review
By Bev Sandlin
Money is tight for preparedness, partially because my husband doesn’t believe we need to prepare, “What is going to happen?”
His attitude confuses and frustrates me given that he was a First Responder, Storm Chaser in tornado alley of Minnesota, has gone through periods of long unemployment, been homeless, experienced floods, and disability due to cancer (all before we met). Personally, I think he is just cheap and knows that I will do it even if he doesn’t participate. However, he does appreciate that I put food back so that I can only buy on sale because we split the grocery bill. And he always has an opinion about my purchases…
We like to grill on the back deck. I like my propane grill, but it doesn’t have a burner and the more I grill, the more I would like an extra burner for boiling corn-on-the-cob, sautéing mushrooms and onions, whatever…
The grandkids come over and want to make s’mores. Even though I have a fire ring down by the creek it is a chore to start up a campfire for 10 minutes of roasted marshmallows and then they are off to something else.
We have lots of tree–maple, birch and various spruce trees. We have branches come down in every storm and a lifetime supply of pine cones! So I have been looking at rocket stoves using biomass (sticks and pine cones), for perhaps two years now. Weighing the pros and cons and trying to decide what I really want from it. Did I say money was tight? Everything I purchase has to work for multiple purposes.
If the power goes out and no natural gas is available, how am I going to cook? The propane grill will only work for so long and only for so much. But what if nothing ever happens? How can I use a rocket stove to justify the purchase? I NEED at least one extra burner on the deck near the grill. I could satisfy the grandkids with their s’mores and hotdogs without creating a bonfire, and the kids could gather the twigs needed to fire it—yard cleanup. It would definitely be handy for our camping excursions and would save us money by not having to buy firewood at the site (Minnesota is currently under a ban for unauthorized firewood being brought into parks due to an emerald ash borer infestation threat). And the kids could borrow it.
So, which rocket stove? After viewing many videos on YouTube, I decided to purchase the Deadwood Stove. Seemed like the best value for the money. And I can say that I am not disappointed! It arrived promptly and I was totally impressed with the quality, construction and good leather gloves that were included.
I’m old and disabled, so weight is a concern for me. The Deadwood Stove is 18 lbs. Not light, but for the quality of construction it is made for durability—5 year warranty. This is a mini-woodstove–I’m guessing 50 years plus. The Deadwood Stove is something you can pass onto the kids. This makes the $250 I spent on my gas grill look like money ill-spent as that, even though it is stainless steel, is already rusting (1 year old!).
I’ve had my Deadwood Stove for about six months now. I’m thrilled! With dry sticks and pinecones it boils a quart of water within 10 minutes. I keep one (Yes, I actually have two now!) on top of a table on the patio so I don’t have to bend over. It has removable legs, so it is perfect on a tabletop. The legs have a slight adjustability, so the other one on the edge of the deck (it is actually a limestone retaining wall so it is not a regular surface) can be easily leveled.
Roasted marshmallows within three minutes! You can grill a steak (or tinfoil anything) to perfection directly on top of the built-in grill just by adjusting how many sticks you feed into the front of the stove. Talk about adjusting… Wind blowing the wrong way? Just turn it! Works best facing the sticks into the wind—no smoke! I put wood chips in a tin foil pan in my propane grill to get that delicious wood smoke flavor… Turn the Deadwood Stove slightly angled to the wind and you don’t need to add smoke! Actually, I’ve been contemplating how I can use a Deadwood to create a smoker. I’m sure it can be done; I just have to figure it out.
With two Deadwood Stoves you can pretty much do a meal. My two Deadwood Stoves have almost made the propane grill obsolete! And between we use them camping and the kids also using them, the savings in not buying firewood at state parks has already paid for both in one summer!
Only problem… The kids! Expect that they will borrow one for every camping expedition. The son even uses it on his pontoon boat! And my husband takes it with him on his Harley when camping! And if two of the kids go camping at one time, well, you are sans your Deadwood Stoves. Not good if you get the grandkids.
My son even sidled up and asked who was going to inherit the Deadwood’s! He already has dibs on the 12 gauge and .38!
Not cheap, but worth the money!
For more information visit the Deadwood Stove Company’s website.
A smile for you…
“What would men be without women? Scarce, sir… mighty scarce.”