ShopTalk Sunday: Comms Panic, Fire Cooking

We begin with the “Comms drill” report first.  Since being an extra class ham radio guy, who has been in charge of all kinds of computery stuff over the decades, this was a real series of Crashcading Events that was both sobering and instructive.

Friday’s Digital Crashcade

Life changed here at 4 PM Friday afternoon.

We lost our two, voice grade, CenturyLink (BrightSpeed) lines. But it was not a normal failure.  The Internet portion remained working, but the voice-side was hosed.  No, it wasn’t the DSL filters, but now there’s something that few people have (other than us) for a worst case EMP/HEMP scenario.  We just ordered more, too. (Actiontec ScreenBeam Universally Compatible Inline DSL Phone Filters – 4 Pack.)

We didn’t think much about this outage – Fajita Friday and after a couple of delicious and spicy, plus some YouTube videos, it was bedtime for Bozo, in a manner of speaking.

Next thing you know, it was Saturday morning and off to publish the Peoplenomics report.  10-minutes before publishing, though, a power outage takes down all the power for a mile or three around here. Oddity 2.

Of course, I didn’t even notice it.  The solar backup system is so fast that lights didn’t even blink here.

In fact, the first thing that called my attention to the outage was I had started to track down all the phones to make sure the problems were not an “off the hook” issue.

But this is when the next weird event came along. The old TrimLine style phone in my office for the MagicJack backup to backups was tested, but it was BROKEN!

(Yes, this is getting to be a big pile of coincidences.  And yes, I have ordered more backup phones – these, in fact.)

But this gets me to the “bottom line” for a couple of preppers on the edge of a failing society:  Back up your comms.  The takeaways from this section go like this:

  • Make sure you have a deal with your closest neighbors to share comms issue information.  Within minutes of completing this morning’s PN report, I knew my neighbors were having the same issues.  One in fact, has a telco message about an outage in the area.
  • In the event of an EMP – and this is something I had not seen mentioned on the “play prepper” sites:  You need double-deep on the DSL filters if that’s how the poison gets into your home.
  • Next is you need two, not just one, unpowered, easy to see in the dark (without glasses?) dial up phones if you still have copper into the home.

Last, but not least, the reason we were able to remain cool and just work the problems sequentially, was that we never really lost comms at all.  You see, the two terrestrial DSLs don’t compare with the ViaSat which in turn doesn’t compare with Starlink service.

But even this would not matter, except my consigliere last year insisted that we install (as part of our getting off-planet a bit) a MagicJack phone number.  Less than $50 bucks a year, pick a number and virtually locate it.  See for details. Pictured right is the MagicJack hardware hanging off the side of my mega box from a USB port.

There is still more, even deeper backup in the works.  Informed of the issue, G2 advised me to be on the lookout for one of his satphones “with a few minutes on it” which recently came back from a contractor pal who does…um…mining security(?) in South America.

Point is, we can never have too much comms.  And all this was before lighting up any ham radio gear and fire/police scanners, GMRS/FRS scanning, CB, and marine channel ears. We never want to be in a total “comms down” and event clusters (for however and why) are useful when taken as amusing training exercises.

Ham Radio Corner

The second of the Icom 761s is almost back to working.  Got the new power supply in, and it lights up and looks great.  Just one small issue: No transmit coming out of it. (Curses!)

The choice now is to keep digging into it.  Having changed out the RF board on it, that turned the receiver into a super-hot set of “ears again” but there’s no RF into the PA section on transmit – so back to checking the mini coax connectors and plugs on the inside of it.

This, by the way, is what the low power RF section looks like inside one of these beasts. So, if you’re ever walking down the street and see something just like it, feel free to mail it to me.

Even Adam (hamguy123 on eBay) thinks it may be something not too obvious.  “761s are great radios, but they do have their quirks, sometimes….” He’s a marvelous source of parts and archival Icom knowledge…the kind of hands-on genius/RF artist that you don’t see much of anymore. Except Hank, our ex TV engineer out on the Big Island. This isn’t a TV transmitter, though.  Except on slow scan on 20 meters….

Outside Fire Cookery Prep

Since prepping is the other big drawing card to this site (besides our nearly prescient market calls), we need to have a quick wood stove discussion.  High level stuff.

As you would expect, we have about 400 gallons of propane on hand at any one time.  Some is in 20-pound jugs and some in 70’s and some in the 500-gallon fixed tank.  But it occurred to me recently that we only had one option for backup heating and cooking with wood.

This is a very hefty backup box wood heater.  Popular in the Depression because with some luck, or friends in the grocery business, you could come up with old (wood) boxes and get some cooking and heating on the cheap.

By the way, hard to find wood crates anymore and if you do burn pallet wood, remember to inspect to make sure you’re not poisoning yourself since some pallets are treated. A British pallet maker site offer some extremely useful tips here:

  • Some wood pallets are treated with chemicals when manufactured, which can be toxic if burnt. Check for marks or stamps on the long sides of the pallet. Markings to look out for include MB, which means the pallet wood has been treated with Methyl Bromide. This is harmful to humans and the pallets can release toxic fumes if used as firewood.
  • Pallets marked EUR, which is an old EU logo used on wooden pallets, may also have been treated with chemicals, so you should avoid burning pallets with this marking.
  • Heat Treated (HT), Debarked (DB), and Kiln Dried (KD) stamps generally mean the pallet wood will be safe to burn, however remember that pallet wood burns hot and fast, so care should still be taken when using it as firewood. Unmarked pallets should not be burned as it is impossible to know for certain what the wood has been treated with.”

We will occasionally land a useable pallet – and with a pry bar, the wood can be used for many things besides burning. You have a planer, for surfacing, right?

A Wood-fired Camping Stove

Anyway, so I got to looking at the box stove and it is frankly too big for half the year’s fire cookery needs, even in the event of an extended “prepping event.”  The big box stove takes too long to heat up and you have to keep them away from combustible walls and such.

SIDEBAR: When I was a kid (I’m not now???) my mom used the pot belly stove down in Pappy’s shop.  Well, pappy being the firefighter and all, mom decides to load it with a lot of cardboard.  Which burned fine.  Then she chucked it full of maple wood and some of that really dense cardboard.

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  The phone rang upstairs.  With no cordless phones in the mid 1950s, she went to take the call.  Five minutes later she came back downstairs to the basement and the plywood wall not too far from the stove was on fire.

A call for the fire department, a frontal attack with a garden hose and the problem was solved.  Pappy (at work during this) got a day off without pay to “teach your wife about fire” and although I ran out to tell the firemen “Fire’s out – back to the firehouse!” no one is paying attention to a six-year-old. Once a rig is dispatched, there’s got to be a report and that means putting eyes on things…

Point is, the first several times you run a new wood-fired anything, be present and learn it’s “personality.”  Before that day, the little potbelly stove was called “Oscar”.  After that day mom shortened it to something with just four letters.

The Summer Stove

Besides topping up the freeze-dried and rice along with other prepping goods over the past few weeks, a new lighter weight (and lighter priced) camp stove arrived.  Big enough to boil water on, but small enough to be useful on the deck up against the house. 2-1/2 inch flue pipes.

Old aluminum printer plates can be found now and then.  With the ink dry, that is all you need to cobble up lightweight heat shields.  They just can’t burn and if they reflect heat?  Well, that would be fine, too.

There is enough stove pipe included to put smoke overhead and a damper in the flu pipes and on the front door of the unit to keep the fire in check, as needed. We bought more, anyway.

Price and model information on the one we picked is over here on Amazon. Stove itself, additional flue pipes, water heater, and a porch prep table to contain everything.

That odd silver box is a different brand’s water heating tank.  Which we figured even though it only holds a gallon could certainly help with freeze-dried and maybe a second filling to have some “scalding water” to dry dishes.

City slickers who haven’t done much camping may not appreciate some of the stove-based finer things in Life.  Like hot socks getting up in the morning. And by scalding your dishes in reasonably dry weather, the heat makes the boiling water on clean dishes evaporate much quicker.  Sterilizes things, as well. No point in doing work you don’t have to.

We will. over time, do some basic mods to the stove.  For example, when we looked at the “grate” that came with it for the wood fire it was much lighter than we expected. Some 1/4 or 3/8ths inch rebar and a few passes with the wire welder will be a cobbled-up heavy-duty replacement.

Pre-Planning Firewood

Start saving your Amazon boxes, especially the 12″ on any dimension ones, because they will hold a reasonable amount of wood if you collect a half dozen boxes in advance.

For actual cooking (like low embers and sticks to do kabobs on) you will want to use a low resin, dense hardwood.  Our taste here (because we have tons of it) is white oak.  No pine for cooking open food, though.  For just cooking and dishwater or coffee, pine is fine and is easy to start. Cedar smells great when burned, but isn’t good for cooking.

The downside of pine is that it burns with a lot of creosote, so a hot fire until you’re ready to take it down to embers and call it quits.

Now, in terms of cutting several – what seems like miles” of 1 to 4 inch “mini logs” each 12 inches (or 11) in length, you really ought to take a look at those new 6-inch long chainsaws.

This is a “tree farm” says our USDA survey paperwork, so we have occasion to try a few woodsy things. We so liked our “mini chain saws” that we bought a second!

There is not much, if any that we could find, that makes any of the ones on Amazon really stand out.  They are all basically 20-volt DC tools and a good charge will get you more time than you really wanted to spend in the woods cutting scraps off the burn pile.  After the first storm or two of the winter, going out into the woods with a tractor and bucket to haul things should find you a ton of “deadfall.”

Remember in seasoning wood, there is a sweet spot.  Massively “Over-seasoned” wood may be great structurally, but it does let off a (very few) BTUs (British Thermal units) worth of heat loss per pound. This is because long-seasoned wood chemically changes a bit.  The ideal is wood dried in the one- or two-year range. Refer to 1328351 ( (known in the woods as “The effects of long term storage on the net calorific value of wood pellets.”

Today’s Homework Assignment:  Read the 144-page PDF from the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service (free, here).  You too will become very aware of how wood is aged, dried and how some of that arcane lab knowledge can be used to advantage both in the shop and in a survival setting (though don’t ask me how).

When you have read that, continue on and scan Firewood Seasoning | Forestry and Natural Resources ( High moisture content unseasoned wood is 20 percent less energy efficient, slower to light and yada, yada.

Remember, the cleanest burn, easiest lighting fire is one which involves six-month (or longer) seasoned/dried out of the weather wood. Or, handing your spouse the matches…

Now, what did I forget?  Oh, right!  We will need a few boxes of these:

And where the coffee pot?  We keep a spare one of these handy, too. (Farberware, Yosemite, 8-cup perc.)

Write when you get rich,

52 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Comms Panic, Fire Cooking”

  1. Unrelated post. The energy here is too dark, too dense. The endless doom loop – dream crushers. You spin a good story, as does Andy. But in the end it’s just dross to the wind. Life is spinning it’s own web, dreaming a new dream. Love the sun, love life, step out of the nightmare.

    • I have whimsically thought now and then of requesting a prepper/doom prognostigator (like myself) who I follow, to switch sides for a week. Take the other extreme…be a cockeyed optimist

      for a week and write with the same enthusiasm about how likely it it will be a rosy beautiful future in every way.

      • OH that is my kids.. they think that all of it is fake.. that there isn’t anything going on except the republicans picking on such a wonderful guy that is our president..
        they look at me like the kids look at the father in the tommorow man movie..
        she reminds me of my wife to LOL LOL LOL LOL

      • Well RandomMike. Perhaps you could start with a few excerpts from Joe Biden’s speech last night at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards.

        “In taking the stage after Harris introduced him, Biden thanked his vice president for her partnership and “always fighting for freedom.” He said Harris is “doing an incredible job, and she really is. I told you I was gonna have a smart vice president and an African American woman, and we got one.” 

        “He also thanked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who received a Co-Chair’s Award during the event, saying “No wonder I’m doing okay.”

        “When I came to office, this nation was flat on its back,” Biden said. “I knew what to do. I vaccinated the nation and rebuilt the economy. When Russia invaded Ukraine. I knew what to do. I rebuilt NATO. And brought our alliance to rally the world. And above all, when democracy was taken I knew what to do.”

        • OTFLMAO….
          Not to be disrespectful after listening to some of his other speeches I thought that in any speech he would just die off..

        • ” I told you I was gonna have a smart vice president and an African American woman, and we got one.”

          Where? Kammy is Indian and Jamaican, and holds the dubious distinction of being the only prominent figure in American politics today, who frolicked with Black slaves, in her youth — Um, that’d be the slaves her grandfather owned…

          As for intelligence, if it were a heavy metal fulminate, there’s not enough in the entire Administration to blow Creepy Joe’s nose after he sniffs a little girl…

    • it is a ,
      Zippity do dah, Zippity aye,,, day
      I love to hear the demons squeal with remorse.
      the 5000 yr long night is ending and we are coming into a new era

      they claim it makes it harder to vote, the TRUTH is it makes it harder to cheat, Zippity do dah
      here comes the sun
      it is winter coming on our annual calendar, but on the long cycle calendar , is is the breaking of a new day.
      check out this version of an old song
      hers comes the sun, by the Petersen family

      • “the 5000 yr long night is ending and we are coming into a new era”

        That made me think of Skousen’s book: “The 5000 Year Leap,” which used to be required reading on Capitol Hill, back when Republicans and Democrats took their Oath to the Constitution seriously…

  2. Nostradamus Epistle: Paragraph 32:4
    Who will make such an abominable breach in the Churches that neither the reds nor the whites without eyes nor hands will know what to make of it.

    Nostradamus Epistle: Paragraph 32:5
    And their power will be taken from them.

    TRANSLATION: Nostradamus Epistle: Paragraph 32:4
    Neither Christians nor Muslims, without communications or mobility, will understand what is happening to them.

    TRANSLATION: Nostradamus Epistle: Paragraph 32:5
    Their technological power will be taken from them.
    Perhaps the prediction “without eyes nor hands will know what to make of it” is the result of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack on the United States from one or both of North Korea’s satellites that are in a polar orbit and travel over the United States twice a day. The question then becomes, how badly will North Korea’s KMS-3-2 and KMS-4 damage the United States. Does this event open the Gates of Hell?

  3. Lots of good, information George. Well done as usual.
    The problem here with our POTS line is that if someone even thinks about rain the service goes out. It seems everywhere you look there is a green junction box sticking up hanging half open or the cover is completely missing. Service is so bad it pains me to pay the monthly phone bill and since Diana lives on her cell phone I cannot remember the last time the gawd awful ugly pink princess slimline hanging on the wall in the kitchen was last used. My good ol reliable burner phone sits patiently in my desk drawer to use when on the road but I usually forget to take it.
    Stay safe. 73

    • “gawd awful ugly pink princess slimline hanging on the wall in the kitchen” – that line into Ure house is one of Our”keys” into Ure house..should we ever be so interested as to want to snatch and grab Ure ass. That bad boy will start ringing non stop..
      No worries – you really gotta piss of an “enlightened” CEO type muckety muck from large def. corp. to get onto list.

      At least thats why and how we did it in Tony Rodrigues 1st hand account of his experiences..Ceres Colony Cavalier. “A true account of one mans 20 year abduction”. There is some profound understanding in this book – processing of which takes some time.

    • A bizarre reality is that POTS lines are trivially simple to tap and/or record, and the green J-boxes advertise where to start. The equipment is nothing more than a recorder and a voltage sensor, with a cap or two to couple. Any thug that can read could do it. You used to be able to buy the circuit pre-packaged from ads in the back of Popular Mechanics, etc. For better or worse, cellphones are encrypted and require a greater level of sophistication or a social connection of some sort. It’s dry here, so I don’t have the problems that exist closer to sea level, though I do have a friend in NY with a terrible line that has static anytime it rains and sometimes just randomly. The Telcos have no interest in fixing the lines unless they’re selling DSL too.

      MagicJack sounds interesting. I’d heard of it eons ago and I’d not realized that it still existed. What can it do that Google voice won’t do, other than not relying on Google?

      • MagicJack is the lowest cost VOIP phone line hardware and service I have come across. Tried it on G____’s recommendation. You have to have internet for it to work. It is a little confusing to set up. You have to plug into a PC USB port to set it up, but afterward, you run it off the home ethernet.
        It’s call screening attendant function is highly effective in culling nuisance robo calls. Works as advertised. I use mine as a public line.

        • Don’t have to plug it into a computer or have a computer running.

          An cable direct to your router plus an AC outlet for it’s UBS power plug is all it needs (plus a phone to plug into it’s phone jack). Will send any voicemail to an email address of your choice.

          It does support 911 service fwiw (have to program into your account your address … and IF the internet connection changes it will disconnect that 911 address programming until you reprogram it).

          Easy to transfer a number when setting up (have to keep that number alive until it is actually transferred). They used to charge $20 for that service but unsure of what the current charge it.

          Have now used Magic Jack for 15 years + for my home line, and have installed a few at the office for Low Usage services such as the FAX machine. (yep, unlike most IP phone systems can directly send and receive Faxes over the phone system withOUT the need for a separate box with it’s monthly fees).

          Did move my Office Line to “Magic Jack Business” – same company but different service – does more in most areas, except for the FAX stuff, and call quality is quality is better, uses an actual IP phone versus a regular phone AND the restrictions on Magic Jack use for business as well as number of calls per day are removed. MJ for Business costs me $20/mo per line vs ATT’s $75 and my old IP system’s $50-$60/line (which worked great but the wanted to reduce the cost as I reduce the size of my business).

          I highly recommend it. I don’t use the home phone much but it is nice to know I have a back up to the cell phone with 911 service … at a cost of about $40/ year versus $50+/mo.

      • I simply dropped a capacitor across the lines, in the desk phone we had, and wired-in a pigtail with an RCA female on the end, feeding it out through one of the slots in the bottom. The Cap makes it so neither the Telco, nor the party at the other end can detect a recording tap. I had an old Revere tape recorder (predecessor to the Wollensaks used in every school in the country in the 1960s) and I recorded EVERYTHING that wasn’t a conversation with a peer female (and occasionally one of these also — we had psychobitches in the 60s and 70s too. They just didn’t have drugs and support groups to foster their behavior at that time…)

  4. I have a small sheet metal stove as well. I took a piece of cement backer board and cut it to fit the bottom of the stove. I cut it down the middle at 45 degrees so I could put in one piece then the other through the smaller door. This will prevent hot coals from sitting on the sheet metal and greatly extend the useful life of the stove.

      • 1″ firebrick is quite effective at protecting the stove bottom as well, and Tractor Supply usually puts it on sale about this time of year. They can be cut with a masonry or tile cutting saw blade. Be careful cutting as the dust is not good on your lungs.

        I installed an Atlanta Stove Co. “Huntsman” in this house when the house was new, 34 years ago. It has done a superb job of heating the house in the coldest weather Texas has seen. I built a brick hearth for it to stand on, then continued the brick up the wall behind the stove to protect the wall and become a heat sink. It’s located very near the center of the house at the juncture of living/dining room and kitchen and the bedroom hallway. Ceiling fans help to distribute the heat.

    then you have the one below.. great to toss a couple in the glove compartment or with your camp stove..
    now I melt the Vaseline
    Ok.. here is how to make them.. seal the end of your straws.. two inches get the big malt straws.. take your lint or your cotton and pull it apart.. mix in a half cup of the magnesium filings.. then pour in the melted vaseline and mix it up.. then peel off just enough of the straw magnesium and vaseline to fill the stuffer.. ( or of course you can stuff them yourself to..) fill then seal the other end.. the cotton and dryer vent lint with the vaseline will ignite quickly.. the magnesium will give off a hot fire to start the tinder ..
    NOW.. if you want a fire starter that will burn through wet wood..
    take three parts of rust dust.. (iron oxide)
    and one part aluminum powder
    mix together.. now add that in with your cotton and magnesium filings.. then pour the melted vaseline and mix stuff or put in your egg carton.. for the egg carton you can cap off the cells with wax.. the store in a zip lock baggie.. guaranteed to start a fire with wet wood..
    the vaseline works as the propellant.. the wax slows down the burn the cotton is the wick.. the magnesium is for heat and the iron oxide and aluminum mix is for a really super hot fire.. you can stuff this in the tubes to.. doesn’t take much of this mixture to start a really good fire within a variety of conditions…
    this is the stove I have that will be installed hopefully before all of this takes off.. the guy is scheduled to come..
    I of course suggest solar backup and a backup generator..
    the backup generator.. the one I have is for natural gas.. what is funny is I have been preaching solar towers and backup solar for a very very very long time.. the US grid isn’t designed for security but for profits of cash..
    which makes it vulnerable as hell.. can be taken down pretty quick and leave the whole country at the mercy of those that do it.. the solar towers three sided.. with a catwalk behind each of the cells.. the cells in a W patern and the inner triangle as a reflective surface.. You could go flat solar to.. but you will get more power out of the v cell pattern with the inverted trapazoid reflector.. go up three hundred feet.. each one should be depending on the cost of the tower about ten to twenty million.. and produce 6MW of power to work as a mini grid.. per section..
    ( china is building coal fired plants and dispersing them around the country to strengthen their grid.. )
    be the tree.. work from the furthest point from the main power plant back to it at every sub station..
    in more rural areas you could produce less power but I would keep them the same size.. this would secure the grid..
    to make in almost bullet proof.. then I would hand out a solar backup power kit to every home owner that wants one.. even apartment dwellers.. the cost to do that in the wastelands would cost about the same amount as ONE of those monster wind turbines… but it doesn’t fit with the business model .. of fill big buck billies pockets..
    Just like the DUMB shelters and bunkers.. they didn’t make anything for the people.. just for themselves.. we aren’t invited.. it wasn’t in the business model for them to make plans for the population

  6. Back in January 2021, during the snowfall just before Snowmageddon, my wife and I were out clearing some downed branches, and the visiting stepdaughter decided to go in the house and light the wood stove. An hour later we walked in the door and she’s still trying to light the fire, holding her BIC lighter against a piece of oak and cursing the whole time.

  7. George, I found the “Jaw Horse” and the Black and Decker Alligator lopper to be the perfect combo for cutting limbs to Chiminea size (roughly 10″s long) The Jaw horse will hold long Branches so you can just move down the limb lopping off 10″ pieces.. I suppose one of the knockoff Jaw horse brands would work as well.

    By the way I am a General class Ham and just really getting started in radio. Your articles are very informative.


    Captain Morgan

    • My favorite for beyond extension cord distance is the ten inch Harbor Freight Bauer cordless chainsaw. I’ve had mine for a year and have taken down smaller trees, cut firewood to hauling size, limbed up the junipers that grow wild around here, and even used it to cut railroad ties for various uses. I still use the original chain where I know it’ll end up in the dirt, and have found replacement chains on Amazon for when this one really bites the dust. Just make sure the oiler holes stay clear.

      The Bauer corded 16 inch unit is a bargain too, since it’s a bit of a beast for an electric. The tool to avoid from Bauer is their weedwhacker series.

  8. Prepper? I prefer the term survivor. Plenty of hoppy grasshoppers when hungry beg ants for their larder. Nyet! Look, the secret IMO is do things which cost you nothing if Mordor Dark never falls. Ex: long life food which … you will eat anyway.

    Yesterday I bought another (3) lbs of Tiger Shrimp. Why? Awesome on the Barbie. Guests swoon since these Vietnamese shrimp are Miss-monikered. I call ’em Prawns. Will they go to waste? Nope.

    Speaking of, and to dovetail with the possible extended “prepping event.” We have maybe (3) months worth (Weber) BBQ grill coal. If you must shutter coal for making of electricity pls continue bagging for burning (or, I may have to go work-a-round). We grill all year round so an “event” would look just like summer.

    Fire? Avoidance of same while harvesting cooking/heating potential? My Germanic ancestors employed a “hotsa” sorta outdoor stove. They litter the serious farms ’round here. One fella has it under an arced hog-house feeding heat through buried tiles to both workshop and farmhouse. It’s way more home-built than commercially available rigs. Fed with 1/2 cord baskets pre-split hardwood.

    I have steel stock which, if not used in an “event” let me build almost anything else. Forever. Got welder? yep. Oth-Prep: how deep must a vault be buried to shelter comm. devices (burner phone, vhf, ham radio)? I’m sure it’s know but … not by mich.

    To the grasshoppers. If you have nothing to offer, to barter, don’t come a knockin’ Jus sayin’ Nuhuh …

    ATL: gorgeous late summer day. New normal quiet disturbed by boater buds. Cool sleepin’ and warm dry days. Thank you, Sir! May I have another?

    Write when you get an epiphany,

    • We “survivalists” were on the scene, many years before “prepared” was bastardized into a noun.

      Tiny bits of information like Kurt Saxon’s “two cent breakfast” are incredibly invaluable (that one article was how I learned about, the tremendous boost in food value caused by sprouting, how to build a simple sprouter, and how to cook a simple meal automatically, in a thermos bottle.

      I don’t even know if information like that is still available, outside of hidden (and hard to search) corners of the Internet. 30 years ago, things were a little more “free…”

  9. Kinda – sorta in relationship to back-up power
    Per the comment above – “Gates of Hell”
    I have often wondered what would happen – [what will happen?] if we are really hit with a few EMPs. Odd, not often mention consequences of such a complete and complex, yet very efficient form of attack. Like prisons. What happens at a prison when the power goes out? Ohh., I’m sure they have some form of back-up for a day or two [ but will the back-ups even work after an EMP? ] and that much fuel for those generators will be extremely hard to get with the grid down and communications thoroughly messed-up [ you have a double tanker rig full of diesel – do you drive it to the nearby prison – or the local hospital, or get confiscated by the local military?]., so – what do you do with a concentrated group of very desperate, pissed-off people? What happens to them? Turn ’em all loose to ravage the country side in every direction? Try and keep them contained – but then, how do you feed them – get them water – flush the friggin’ toilets? [ Will the guards even come to work?]
    Since I first read about and understood the effects of an EMP attack I have wondered how that scenario [ and others] would play out – and felt sorry for any nearby city.

    • It’s a very good reason to never go to prison, or even jail! There’s no telling what might happen and you have no control from the inside. I don’t know if their locks are designed to fail open or fail closed.

      • I have read that they are designed to “fail open” after so many hours. But I am not positive on that point.

    • “Like prisons. What happens at a prison when the power goes out?”

      an answer to uour question posted on quora from a prison guard …
      “Well first of all for those that dont know its best to keep ur mouth shut because not all inmates are bad people they ust made wrong choices. Now the answer to this question is stated in the cdc title 115 which is your prison bible. In there it says the incase of an event such as nuclear war or a major catastrophy violent inmates in level 3s and up will be gassed. Sad but true but if you ask me thats murder.”
      people with a nonviolent past and actions while incarcerated will be released to fend for themselves. others will be recruited into the army.
      during the Vietnam days violent offenders were given an option by the courts.. go into the military and be shoved on the front lines or go to prison.
      as for backup generators.. I was told o ce that.. IF … there’s some power and the lines are operational that the spigot are opened..the problem comes up is where the detonation occurred and theevel of damage..
      similar to our grid..we designed it around the business model of profit before security. that means it would be extremely vulnerable and a cascade collapse a get possibility.
      the usa is not interested in national security of its people and infrastructure. we are only interested in stuffing big buck billies pockets.. we spend more on wars than on securing our bridges..or our grid.
      a bigger concern for nyc is the water lines.. three main lines all of which need serious repairs..
      same thing for climate concerned California.. ancient infrastructure and our only concern is some where else for someone else’s benefit.

      • “not all inmates are bad people they just made wrong choices. ”

        Agreed. Some of the folks in our jail were good kids, great workers, and had good personalities. The problems arose when they got out of jail. Within a month or two, they’d be back inside. They made wrong choices consistently when given free rein. It was usually drugs or alcohol that sent them on the wrong path, and most were non-violent, but they were just incapable of making good decisions.

  10. We’re about ready to kidnap the contractor we want to do the renovations on our house which includes a wood stove. If it weren’t for the fact the wall we want removed was a load bearing one I’d have done it years ago. The fact the price of this, no doubt, last house renovation we’ll ever do is going up and up and UP! means getting it done will be an ever increasingly daunting project.

  11. I feel at an absolute loss here for ‘wood fired’ stoves. You see, tropical ‘wood’ is more like paper water straws. Literally. The ‘octopus tree’ (sheffleara?) trunk cross section looks like a lotus root, with five large hollow chambers full of water. It will not burn. It will not dry out to something that burns. It shrivels up to a damp mass. Having 130 inches of rain annually has it’s downside. I will have plenty of water. But with the weather here, I don’t need heat. And I have a sun oven for cooking.

    Hold your accolades for old TV engineers. We don’t die… we just fade away into noise. Low level RF stuff is a bear to diagnose. I had a 1-watt UHF driver transistor… first stage past the 100mw exciter.., that didn’t open or short… it faded to noisy after the biggest solar X-ray flare on record back in 2001. The one that fried the Galaxy 4 satellite also. When I had to explain to my LA boss what the problem was, I told him ‘cosmic rays’. When he was done chastising me, I explained the ‘coincidence’ to him. He had no better ideas.

    If you cannot find a board for the 761, it sounds to me like an ideal excuse to buy an IC-7300! (While they are still available!) ;-)

    • I just buttoned unit 2 up – going to be the shop receiver. The WW2 BC-348Q – in perfect shape from a reader – will also be part of that listening post.

      But you do bring up a point. A 7850 and be done with it? Stick to day trading, lolk

      • Everywhere seems to be ‘Out of Stock’… even eBay… on the 7850/7851.
        But for only 10% of THAT price you can get that 7300!

      • Fixed up a nice 348 65 years ago but the dial had a 1/4″ slip in it I could never fix. Like driving a car with 4″ of play in the steering wheel, couldn’t stand it.

  12. I sent Andy’s recent Covid comment to a vaxxed friend.
    Reply below.

    “Everything is all fucked up. I just had COVID for the 2nd or maybe 3rd time 2 weeks ago. COVID puts you in a fog for sure. These vaccines are a problem. This is all from the evil democrat machine. This is all part of a master plan.”

  13. “For actual cooking you will want to use a low resin, dense hardwood. Our taste here is white oak. No pine for cooking open food, though. For just cooking and dishwater or coffee, pine is fine and is easy to start.”

    My butt! Oak is fine. Hickory, ash, and maple are better, but only slightly so.

    Only use spruce, pine, fir, hemlock, etc. if you keep a chimney sweep on retainer, because the deposits become places where a chimney fire can start at any time, and once it does, it burns really hot. I would also only use an aromatic like cedar or cypress if I wanted to waft the aroma. They’re no good for cooking, and burn too quickly to make good heat.

    • Hickory, ash, maple. spruce, fir, and hemlock are in short supply in SE Texas. Oak & pine are on the menu. Keep in mind that G____’s little portable woodstove rig will probably have no more than a 6′ piece of flue pipe stuck to it, unless he decides to make a project of a screened sleeping and cooking porch. I have been eyeing spots for a screened gazebo up under the shade trees, which would take the place of a sleeping porch and outdoor kitchen for off-grid Texas summers. Sleeping porches were once a staple in rural pre-REA Texas. Heating without power is less a problem than heat stroke in a 120 F house.

  14. Y’know, it a funny thing about predictions and prophecies. They never turn out quite the way you think they will. For many years I’ve put back things like sleeping bags and other things like that, not for us, but for refugees I figured would be pouring out of the cities and managing to reach our area four hours away at highway speeds on I-10. Now, in today’s World, the refugees are coming across our border in droves and actually invading our land. Don’t know if I’m going to feel like giving the things I’ve saved away for that bunch that’s coming this way. I don’t care how bad things are in Venezuela – FIX YOUR OWN DAMNED COUNTRY!

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