Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Magazines. Hurricane Maria. Aftereffects of Irma. Don't open the door if you don't know who's out there. Scanners.

There's a good article in here on the procedures for buying a fully automatic weapon in the United States.  Also some information on storing long term supplies, and a few other interesting articles. American Survival Guide costs $10.00 on the news stand, is monthly, and is both entertaining and educational.

(Power went out again as I was writing this. It's been on and off all day)

Some great articles in this edition.  Military Surplus doesn't just cover firearms, but the whole spectrum of old military gear. This issue had a pretty good article on the best old war movies. Costs $10.00 and doesn't come out often, but I buy them religiously.

Another hurricane in the Atlantic.  Harvey didn't bother us, Irma pummeled the mountains, Jose gave us a miss, but Maria may come this way. For right now, nothing to do but watch it. If it does hit the Carolina coast, we'll be in the southwest quadrant most of the time, the best place to be.

We are still dealing with the aftermath of Irma.  One young fellow who lives out in my quadrant of the county had a lot of damage to his house, but no insurance. He shot himself, which was kind of tough on his three little kids.

Last night an old guy who uses a walker to get around tried to climb up on a ladder and clean out at gutter on his roof. He fell 10 feet, and broke his back. They had to call in a medivac helicopter and have it land out on the floor of the rodeo arena to haul him off to Chattanooga.

There was another strange incident a couple of days ago.  I live in a remote part of the county, but not the most remote. Out that way, a man was home with his family, having dinner. Somebody knocked at the door, and he opened it. There were three men there and one of  them hit him in the face with a wooden club. These guys beat the tar out of the husband, assaulted the wife, and while all this was going on , their daughter ran to the neighbors.

The neighbors, who live in another farm house some distance away, called 911 and the farmer and his two boys came loaded for bear. The assailants were pulling out as the neighbors arrived. The Sheriff's Department put out a "bolo" (an emergency alert to our county and neighboring counties) on the vehicle and called in off duty officers. But I haven't heard anything more, so it looks like the attackers got away. Sometimes weird, random things like that happen here. Some years ago, down on the hard surface road just a few miles from my place, a little old lady who lived alone was beaten to death. She didn't lock her doors, and apparently somebody just walked in and killed her. Nobody has ever been charged with that, either.

Cartoons: on a lighter note:


I've mentioned these before. In a rural area, they're worth their weight in gold. In a city, where radio communications are usually trunked and encrypted, not so much so.

My equipment is old, but it works fine.

The top two sets are digital , but the bottom set is so old it uses crystals.  My situation is such that while there are a number of nets here, I only monitor a few:

1. Sheriff's Department  ( I always have the old crystal set locked on this frequency)

2. Fire and Rescue/Ems ( I keep one scanner on this frequency)

3. Forest Service (one of the frequencies on the third scanner)

4. Adjacent county Sheriff's Departments (4 frequencies on the third scanner)

5. Georgia State Police (2 frequencies on the third scanner)

6. County Emergency Control Center (1 frequency on the third scanner)

One extra item I'd add to the equipment list is a good battery backup. I use a pedestal mounted system that can supply power to all three radios for about six hours before it has to recharge, assuming the radios are all on. Cost around $300.00, but protects your electronics from low amps on the line, and line spikes. Anything electronic you have plugged in, has  to be plugged into a battery backup with a high spike clamp speed and good line conditioning. Out here, the power system is shaky at best, and if you don't do this, you'll be buying a lot of radios, computers, satellite receivers, et al.

Of course, if the fewmets really hit the windmill, scanners may not be operational. During a lot of the Hurricane Irma storm, the "repeaters" we use here were off line. These are radios on mountain tops that pick up a transmission and retransmit it. VHF is line of sight, so that's the only way to get around terrain masking. If the repeater's antenna system is knocked out, your scanners are not going to be much use.

As for CB, which is good in normal times, the people you communicate with that way tend to disappear in a storm. They don't have alternate power, in most cases, and they lose their external antenna farms pretty quickly into the event. However, CB is a darn good thing to have in rural areas, because it can keep you posted on what's going on around the county.

A base station that offers SSB (single side ban) and AM is best, with a good external whip antenna. I've been using one of those for more than 30 years.

My pole antenna was knocked down by the latest storm, but the mounting pole is still up, and I'm working on getting it fixed.

Thought for the Day:


Some end of day music:

Chill Mix - Another Day on the Terrace


  1. That's crazy about the guy shooting himself when he has 3 little kids. That's just horrible on them. Now they don't have a house really, and their Dad is gone. :( I know depression happens. When it happens, you don't think of anything, but the deeply sad things.

    Having someone come to the door to attack someone that lives out in the middle of nowhere is what scares me about living out in the middle of nowhere. At least in the city you can scream, and someone more than likely would hear you.

    Another perspective: Out in the middle of nowhere, there isn't as many people, so less crime happens overall.

    1. I've always thought that suicide is harder on the people left behind than on the person who does it. But I do know that sometimes people just feel like they have reached the end of their rope. I feel sorry for the family, but I am told they belong to one of those close knit little churches you find on the back roads here. The church people will see to the house and get them back on their feet, at least in terms of physical needs.

      Home invasions have reached epidemic levels in Georgia, and rural areas are starting to see it out here as well. I am waiting for the paper to come out this week to see if there are any more details. All I know right now is what I heard on the scanner while it was all happening, and that was very frenzied and disjointed. It's so common in Atlanta that the local affiliates don't even bother to report on home invasions any more unless someone is killed but out here it's still shocking.

  2. Scary stories of rural life. Things like that are why my wife wanted neighbours. We're in a good hamlet of houses here, just five of us but we all get on and look out for each other, no one minds me making a noise (well they've not said so anyway!).
    fairly sure it's illegal to have scanners over here.

    1. I'd feel pretty blind without my scanners. One of the reasons I can feel fairly secure way out here in the forest is that the scanners let me know if anything is happening in the county I need to be aware of.The scanners were invaluable to me last summer when the forest fires were burning all over the mountains and new ones were breaking out almost daily.

      Your set up with a little clutch of homes close enough to be mutually supporting sounds pretty good to me these days. My closest "neighbor" is way off down on the hard surface road and is in his late eighties.

  3. Stay safe! The weather has been dropped as well here in NYC

    1. Thanks. We are hopeful that this new hurricane will miss us.

  4. Hey Harry,


    The scanner that would work for me costs about $500 on Amazon so it will be awhile before I get a scanner.

    Home invasions don't happen here in Texas too often. People get shot for kicking in doors etc. We have a law in Texas that allows for deadly force to be used when someone is stealing property as well as the 'Castle Doctrine' and a 'Stand Your Ground' law.
    I think its the lack of gargoyles that really makes the difference in most of Texas, especially in Rural Texas.

    I know a neighbor that keeps a 'Juggalo' in a cage with a sign on the bottom that that say's 'Release in Case of Emergency:)

    1. We are pretty well armed here too, but people get complacent. I can't, for the life of me, think why anyone would open their door with strangers on the porch. If people need help, tell them to sit down on the porch while you dial the county dispatcher. Just opening the door is asking for it.

      That whole thing out there was strange. First off, usually when a bolo goes out, they give a description of the perpetrators to include race, but this time the transmission just said three male subjects. That implies the victims and the neighbors couldn't identify the race of the intruders. But frankly, if they assaulted the guy's wife, that's kind of hard to figure. Also, they seem to have really beaten up the husband with wooden clubs pretty badly. Normally, in a home invasion, the intruders take what they want and they shoot the people in the house. I almost wonder if this was about drugs, that's what it sounds like to me, but I hate to say that because I don't have anything to base it on and I don't know the people in question. I didn't go down and get my paper yesterday, but I am thinking there will be more about it in the weekly police report. Maybe even a story on the incident.

      You can find good scanners cheap on Amazon. Just be sure that your area isn't encrypting the transmissions. Our county tried to do that some years back, but as I could have told them and saved their money, the encrypted transmissions were almost impossible to break out on the repeaters, and they had to go back to open transmissions. Also, a lot of people raised hell with the Sheriff because they couldn't listen in any more, and the Sheriff is an elected position here so he couldn't stand the gaff.

      You ever hear that song "Juggalo Island.?" Maybe they could have a session like that down where you are? That wold be fun, you could dress up like a Juggalo, and party hearty. ;-)

  5. Pierce has been pleading for a base station. I think if he takes the next test and achieves his general we will look at finding a used one. He would like all your gear. If I can remember I will show him your pictures after school.
    Scary about the stuff down the road. When I was a kid about 8, we had a neighbor who shot his wife, then himself. They had three children. We moved away not long after, but I've often wondered what happened to them.

    1. CB is a good hobby for a young fellow, but you will have to keep an eye on him when he's on the air, as sometimes you get some pretty foul mouthed people on there. As long as he knows the proper etiquette for a CB net, he should be fine. Most people on CB now are older guys and they don't mind mentoring a young fellow. Because I don't physically "hang out" with anyone, the CB lets me visit with some of the local guys without having to get involved in social activities.

      That suicide thing is really rare here. People think that if you kill yourself you go to hell, and this guy was a church goer. I guess the house getting trashed was the last straw.

      When I was thirteen I was taking care of a horse for this lady while she was gone. I walked over to the house one afternoon to feed the horse, and the door was open. Went in, and she had come home and shot herself in the kitchen. That was the first dead person I ever saw. She was a really nice person, always kind and always glad to see you. I never understood how that could have happened.

      At least the guy who killed his wife didn't kill the children. Down in Atlanta, we had a Mexican woman here recently who killed her husband and all five kids. She said God told her to do it.

  6. Hi Harry, those are some terrible stories! Alex and I never answer the door unless we're expecting someone. We have a window on the door with a sheer curtain so we can see out, but you can't really see in...plus we encourage the dogs to bark if someone knocks.

    I like your scanners. I think that's a brilliant set up to have, and I'm seeing now it's necessary in rural areas.

    I hope the hurricane misses your area, stay safe!

    1. Rain,

      Well, even though we live in a very rural setting, there's a population of 37,000 (in the summer and fall) and about 20,000 in the winter. So with that many people, some strange things are going to happen I guess. If that guy had the sense God gave a dead billy goat, he wouldn't have just opened the door like that.

      You're smart to have a way to see who is out there. My dogs have a dog house right on the porch by the front door. They would give anybody who just showed up unannounced something to think about, that's a sure thing. I don't think a person can live in the sticks without good dogs.

      A long time ago, I guess around 1988, this fellow I worked with gave me the crystal set. He told me that I needed to have it for the wife, because I was gone a lot on the job. That got me interested, and I picked up two more sets as time passed. They have really come in handy, and they make me feel less isolated.

      If you can follow the Sheriff's Department, the Fire/EMT outfit, and the Forest Service nets, you really have a good feel for what's happening.

      It looks like Maria is going to go up the east coast at it's worst. That can still mean bad times here in North Georgia, but if the current track holds, we will be in the southwest corner, which is the best in terms of wind velocity and rain. When Irma came through, we were in the northeast corner, that's the absolute worst.