The Survival Buzz #166

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Updated Nov 6, 2016 (Orig - Apr 25, 2015)

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

Each Friday afternoon about 4PM, I sit down at my desk to reflect back on the week gone by and review in my head everything I have accomplished and everything I still need to do.  Truthfully? I have lists to keep track of my lists.

I maintain my “prepping to do” lists on steno books, the old-fashioned type with a spiral on the top.  I have dozens with some devoted to stuff and others devoted to skills.  And then there are five or six dedicated to blog-related tasks.  Cripes!

Prepper To Do List - Backdoor Survival - The Survival Buzz

Each page is it’s own to-do list and as the list grows, I turn a page and start a new one.  Funny thing is that once I start a new page, I rarely go back.  I really need to toss them all and start over.

There really is a moral to the story and that is if you think that the day will come when you are completely free from the list of prepping things to do and prepping things to learn, dream on.  It just isn’t going to happen.

We Passed the Ham Radio Technician License Test!

By now many of you know that both Shelly and I passed our Ham Radio Technician License Test.  I scored 33 correct answers (our of a total of 35) and was so elated that I did a happy dance.  The original plan was to also take the General test just for kicks but I was so stressed, I just wanted to get out of there.

The testing was done in the meeting room at our local library in Friday Harbor.  You are handed a yellow (or was is orange?) test booklet and a score sheet.  As I was taking the test, I wrote notes in the test booklet.  Oops.  Apparently that was a no no and I had missed that part when reading the directions.

A bigger problem, though, was that I skipped over questions I was not sure of, planning to come back to them later.  The issue was that I somehow got out of sequence and was marking the answer, as an example, to question 20, on the line for question 21.  Oh man.  I was really messed up.

The kindly proctors from our local San Juan County Amateur Radio Society gave me a new score sheet so I could start over.  It is amazing that I even passed!  These days the FCC does not mail our call signs so each day I check the FCC database to see if I am listed but so far, nothing.  Maybe on Monday.

I know that for many, a Ham license has opened the door to a fantastic, life-long hobby communicating with like-minded folks from around the globe.

My goal?  Emergency communications, of course.  Both Shelly and I plan to become proficient enough to be able to communicate when there are no other modes of communication mode available.

As you may recall, we were without cell, 911, landline, and internet services for a couple of weeks when the underwater cable from the mainland to our island community was broken.  We are close enough to Vancouver Island that I was able to roam to a Victoria BC cell phone tower and get a call out to George Ure.  But other than that?  Nothing.  Speaking of George, my Baofeng radios are on their way home to me from Texas so once my license comes through, I should be able to get on the air.

That about covers it for me this week.  Now for some announcements.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

Speaking again of the Baofeng’s, this tip came in from “WB4WXD”:

I did want to point out a reference for the BaoFeng radios that converts a “Chinglish” manual to true understandable English free of charge.

It is called the Chinese Radio Documentation Project and is located here:  //

It’s a good manual for all users, not just new ones.

I printed out all 66 pages and also put a copy on my iPad.  If you have a Baofeng, you will want this guide.

Current Giveaways

Ready for some giveaways?  The following two giveaways are currently accepting entries. 

Prepper Book Festival 8: Aftermath A Story of Survival + Giveaway

How to Make Whole Wheat Bread Using the WonderMix + Giveaway

Remember, the deadline for all giveaway entries is 6:00 PM Pacific on Tuesdays.

In addition, all winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

The Final Word

I am once again keeping things short.  To be honest, I can be pretty boring and find that most of you, as you describe your weekly preps, are far more interesting that I am.

So over to you.  What did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to some personal and BDS reader favorites and items from the current Amazon Top 10.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: Although this is a book of fiction, it is also serves as a survival manual of sorts.  The depiction of society three years following a collapse is so very real that I could almost put myself in the same room as the members of the survival group that has banded together to protect each other as they live in a communal retreat.  The section on a bartering market was hugely insightful and gave me some idea of how it might work in a real, SHTF situation.  Considering when this was written, Patriots is eerily timely.

One Second After:  For many, the novel "One Second After" was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.  If you have not read this book, you really should.  This is my #1 pick when it comes to survival fiction.

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items   Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE! This is a great knife that is currently priced at about $8.65 with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller at Amazon in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: ANOTHER FAVORITE KNIFE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too. I paid $12 for this knife; it was worth $12 and of course is a steal at $8.07.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led FlashlightFAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight.  At the time of this writing, this one is only $3.80 with free shipping.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. Less than $10. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.


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Updated Nov 6, 2016
Published Apr 25, 2015

23 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #166”

  1. Congratulations on passing the ham license test.

  2. I’m a General who has encouraged and assisted over a dozen of my rural neighbors to earn their licenses in the last year. Keep going. Now. Get your General license. The difference is HUGE.

    1. Being able to talk with people in Montana (me), Florida, New Hampshire, etcetera may be priceless when other means are unavailable.

    2. Continuing to learn helps the knowledge fit together and sink in.

    3. The HF-level is much broader knowledge, supporting the VHF knowledge.

    There’s more, but it is morning.


  3. I’ve got almost all my seedlings going in the greenhouse, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, greens. I’ll get them in the ground soon, just waiting for the weather to cooperate.

  4. We actually accomplished a few things this week. I was kind of surprised when I looked back and saw what we had done. Our Kaito Voyager radio is ordered as well as our SteriPen water purifier plus we got a 3 day lite emergency kit (backpack) free. We will use the emergency backpack as a base for the things we want to have in the vehicle ‘just in case’. The radio is one with a handcrank and a solar panel. It should serve us well should the power go out here. My husband does some hiking here in the forest and has water purification tablets but wanted something more and the SteriPen is lightweight and easy to carry Started inventorying our food supplies found we had less of some things we wanted and more of others. Also started getting some essential oils to use and now trying to figure out a good way to store them and the coconut oil.
    All in all not a bad week for a newbie

    • You will want to treat your essential oils and coconut oil the same way as food storage. Keep cool, dry, and out of direct light if possible. This is especially true of the essential oils. Coconut oil is pretty hearty and can better tolerate temperature fluctuations.

  5. I haven’t been able to do anything for the last 6yrs. Was on dialysis, got a kidney in November. But we’re planning to buy a couple of fruit tree’s and grow some vegetables surrounding the fruit tree’s. 1 step at a time.

  6. Congratulations on passing your Technician test. You should be very proud of yourself for having the vision to see the value of the license and then follow through. Once you get a taste of what you can do, continue on and get your General and Amateur Extra licenses. I have my Extra, and there is so much more you can do in Ham Radio.

  7. Congratulations! Well done. I bet it felt great to check that off your list. And when you go for the next test it will be much easier and less stressful.

    Life has changed on my end and I will have to learn all over again on how to function. After my incident in March, I have been told my spine is brittle. So that means no lifting off the ground, carrying is 10 lbs or less and must be to the chest. So the learning curve begins, I drove this week and had to learn how to get out of the vehicle with out pulling the back into spasm. It is doable.

    My excitement is my children gave me for my 60th b’day, a session at Custer Firing Academy! Alas, I must wait in till the specialist say ok.

    My focus is on my mother; her body is failing her, so while she is still up and around we (sisters) are planning outings. Lightcatcher Museum today and the Bushart Gardens on Wednesday. And hopefully the Oregon coast in May. So prepping has been put aside for those 2 life changing events.

    Change is not bad. It just is. So make the best of it.

    • Amen to that. As much as change is not always welcomed, learning to cope and adapt is one of the very best survival skills you can have in your back pocket.

  8. Congrats on you Ham test. We are very proud of you and also encouraged by you. This is something that is on my personal TO DO list but as you pointed out so timely today these lists have a tendency to run on and on and on… This week we got most of the garden put out. Oh my I hope we haven’t gone too far overboard. If half of this produces like it should, expect me to be MIA for a butt kicking busy harvest season. On a lower note, I found it necessary to dig into my GHK that I keep in my vehicle, and to my total dumbfounded shock, a mouse had shredded a roll of TP! WTH?!? how did that buger get inside the vehicle? I swear I have never seen any ‘evidence’ of any critters in there. Anyway, lesson learned.

  9. Congratulations to both of you. I am hoping to get my HAM radio and maybe get my dad’s call letters, if that’s even possible. Before he died , Pop was in the process of trying to get his old call letters back. You’re not alone with the lists. I have to start all over and try to whittle down my to do lists.I am so far behind in things(due to an extreme family issue) that I feel like I’ll never catch up. I just pray that the family issue will be resolved soon

  10. I built an outdoor table for my back porch this (now last) week.
    I used untreated wood (red cedar) instead of the longer lasting treated wood products,… just in case I needed to cut it up and burn it to keep warm or to cook on.
    Next week, an outdoor chair.
    I also attached some fanny packs and a woman’s sling purse I picked up for ultra cheap at the thrift store to the back of my pickup truck seat. They hold almost all of my gear and they are Much easier to get into and out of than any other way I’ve tried to store gear in my truck. Plus, a thief would have to spend some time unwrapping the individual bags in order to take them,… and then unravel the two inch wide velcro strips I used to help hold things in place. The hardware store sells it in thirty foot rolls. I used it all. Great stuff, and it eliminates the rattle.

  11. I forgot to mention, I was inspired to build my wooden table after looking at the photo of the homemade trellis from last week or so. I got to thinking how that trellis could be used for some things other than as a trellis,… can objects multi-task? Or, are they just multi-taskable?

  12. I am finally starting a real garden! Up to now we haven’t been ambitious enough, so we had a couple of containers of tomatos. But this year we are planting in the ground, and we are starting out with five items. Peas, beans, carrots, cucumbers and tomatos. We’ll see what happens. I used to think I had a black thumb, because I couldn’t even keep houseplants alive, but since my DH and children will be doing most of the work (they insisted, they think I have a black thumb too!) it should work out. So last week we planted the seeds in starter pots, and most have already germinated. The kids are excited, and so am I! My next project is to get a dehydrator and learn to use it.

  13. Gaye ….so concerned about the hoards of people in Baltimore this evening… is happening over and over in our country….is anyone else worried….we are armed… We live in the Midwest in the country…..but I still get nervous….any thoughts…….??????

    • It behooves us to be on full alert 24/7 regardless of where we live. During times of relative calm, it is so easy to be complacent; I know that I am. Still, riots, looters, marauders, and muggers – you can bet that they are just waiting to pounce. It is my opinion that things may get a lot worse over time.

      I have some articles on civil unrest I should re-visit. In the meantime, here is one from my friend, Daisy Luther.


    • I did re read the article and it did settle my fears….just watch and don’t put yourself into danger……be as prepared as you possibly can at this point…….thanks mind has been spinning all day over this latest outbreak of crazy behavior….

    • I think everyone is concerned at this time. Seems the first reaction to anything that happens now is mass destruction and looting.
      I don’t think that living in the country makes us immune from this but it is much less likely to happen early in an event like this as most of the destruction is usually concentrated in the immediate area and is usually in a larger city.
      Just be aware of our surroundings and use caution around newcomers until you are sure of their purpose.

  14. Thank you sooo much. After all the articles and vids and social sites across the internet, the ONE THING that has really hit home is your post for today. There’s a crucial item I need to get and test for, and my children who are 7 states away will be doing the same. I’ve been doing what I can. The other half of me (my husband) doesn’t think all this is necessary. We’re much older than you, so I do what I can. Ironic though, I pictured myself doing the exact same as you and your Kelly, when I was your age. If I were you NOW, I’d train or learn how to midwife. That’s something else I wished I’d done. I still can, only I’m not trained. I wish I were your age again. Congrats on your License!!!!!!!

  15. I don’t know anyone else to tell this to, other than speaking to the wind and an empty room, so, here is as good a place as any.

    When I left the hardware store today after getting my wood for my chair I noticed in the Western sky there was this Big Fat circle – slash/ ring. It looked like a puff of smoke from a stereotypical American Indian smoke signal… only, MUCH larger. It looked to be about a quarter of the size of my city. I’ve Never seen anything like it. It was perfectly round.

    The really odd thing was: this perfect circle of “cloud” was centered exactly in a square which was created by the many jet aircraft which were creating a squared grid above our city with their contrails. Perhaps you’ve noticed these grids before?

    I would attribute the circle to the so-called contrails which were so numerous if it weren’t for the fact there was – JUST – a circle. There wasn’t a contrail leading away from it. …So a thinking person wonders… WTH? What created the circle? And, what’s up with the grids?

    As I looked at it I wished I had a camera. I thought maybe I’d ask someone if they had a camera. I kept looking for normal looking people to ask, or to maybe just point to the sky as I looked their way. … All I saw were people too engrossed in trivial sh…stuff, like texting. They didn’t even look up so I could motion to them.

    For me, it was like, “Come on, people! It’s right there! HOW could you NOT notice?”

    Tic Tac toe in the sky. …and no one notices. …Wow.

    It must be fun to be ignorant and totally clueless?!

    Maybe that’s why a lot of people don’t prep?

    Then I think: “It’s fun alright. Until the two ton heavy thing swings this way.”

    …Oh well, just another day on planet,… Mars. ?

    • You just displayed the number one thing that will get anyone to start to prepare, a heightened awareness of what’s going on around you. Those that didn’t seem to notice by not looking up are going to be in critical hurt once something does happen. Don’t just love those moments!?!

    • @Helot. Many airplanes have “smokers” on them, like sky writers. I had one on mine. If you fly your plane in a circle with the smoker on, it would make a circle like the one you saw. I use to love to catch hot air balloons flying over the area and fly a tight circle around them with the smoker on. The smoke from my airplane would drift at the same speed as the balloon, so as long as my smoke didn’t dissipate, the people in the balloon would see nothing but my smoke. Some people have nasty words for me when I do this, but I would laugh all the way home.

  16. Congratulations From KK4WPQ


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