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PREPCOM: A comprehensive radio coms Standard for UK preppers

The objective of the PREPCOM radio coms standard is to maximise the effectiveness of UK based survivor radio stations following a major disaster in which conventional telecommunications have ceased.

For easy mnemonics the standard is the RULE OF 3S

3 is the important number.  Remember it!

The 3 parts to the Standard are:

  • 1/3:WHEN     (Time coordination so we all know WHEN to call and listen)
  • 2/3:WHERE (Frequency coordination so we all know WHERE to call and Listen)
  • 3/3:HOW           (Radio set-up so that everyone’s transmissions are compatible)

What’s this document for?
It is intended that this document be printed and stored in a water and light-proof pouch which is to be kept with stored radio equipment intended for disaster communications.

PART 1/3 =WHEN

Everybody looking to communicate needs to coordinate the time at which to do so.
By coordinating times and limiting operational time window precious electrical power will be conserved

Rule of 3s again:
Start communication sessions On the hour
Every 3 hours (starting 00.00h)
For 3 minutes calling and listening, if nothing heard, close the station and try again at next scheduled time.

Note, if a contact is made it is good practice to move communications to another channel / frequency so that the emergency calling channel is freed for other users

There is no requirement to end it after the magic 3 minutes,  it can continue as long as required, but bear in mind power consumption.

PART 2 =WHERE

Where relates to Frequency coordination so that everyone is also communicating on compatible frequencies,  failure to coordinate frequency is like not knowing the direction in which to flash a torch to signal to someone at night.  We need to know exactly where to send and where to look.

Rule 2 is broken into two parts 2a for simple License-free transceivers ( CB and PMR446 walkie-talkies),  whereas 2b Ham is a full version incorporating both license-free and Ham frequencies.

PART 2a =WHERE License free
So for license free,  the RULE of 3 continues.  Set your radio to one of the following:

• FM only CBs                                       =  Channel  03 English band
• SSB capable CBs                                =  Channel  33 USB EU CEPT Band  
• PMR446 (kiddies type walkie-talkies)   =  Channel 03 (CTCSS/ DCS code turned OFF)

PART 2b/3=WHERE Full version

UK Emergency Frequencies:
3.663 MHz LSB Weekly RAYNET news Every Sunday 0830 local time
3.760MHz LSB Emergency RAYNET Centre of activity

7.023MHz CW NVIS low-power Morse Code Centre of activity
7.110MHz LSB Emergency RAYNET Centre of activity

14.300MHz USB Emergency RAYNET Centre of activity

21.360MHz USB Emergency RAYNET Centre of activity

27.62125MHz FM CB UK 27 Ch 03 Emergency Channel*
27.555MHz     USB   CB FREEBAND ( Illegal frequency) but well populated.
27.335MHz USB CB EU CEPT Ch 33 Emergency Channel*

51.210MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
51.950MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
To 51.990MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity

144.260MHz USB RAYNETEmergency Centre of activity
144.625MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
144.675MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
144.775MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
145,200MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
145.225MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity

433,700MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
433,725MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
433,750MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity
433,775MHz FM NB RAYNET Emergency Centre of activity

446.03125MHz FM NB RAYNET PMR446 Ch3 emergency channel***
======================================================
* License free: Rule of 3s = CB Ch 03 FM  every 3 hours, on the hour for 3 minutes  (staring 00.00h)
** License free: Rule of 3s = CB Ch 33 USB  every 3 hours, on the hour for 3 minutes  (staring 00.00h)
*** License free: Rule of 3s = PMR446 Ch3 (CTCSS/DTS OFF)  every 3 hours, on the hour for 3 minutes  (staring 00.00h)
=======================================================

PART 3/3=HOW to set up the radio and transmitting antenna

3.1 Identifying and setting the operating MODE of your radio

In all descriptions there are annotations FM/USB/LSB/FM NB. These are the different TYPES/ FORMATS/MODES of signal that radios can transmit.

It is essential that sending and receiving stations are using identical transmission TYPES otherwise they will not be able to hear one another even if transmitting and receiving on the same frequency at the same time.

Look at your radio: If it has a MODE knob it will allow you to select the modes required. If it does not have a mode knob and it’s a CB it will almost certainly be FM only. This should be confirmable by looking for a label or stamp of conformity on which the letters FM will be shown.

PMR446 equipment is only manufactured in FM variety so no choices to make.

3.2 POLARITY of your antenna.

For CB the antennas must be vertical

For PMR44s antennas must be vertical

For Ham frequencies below 28MHz antennas must be HORIZONTAL

For Ham frequencies in FM mode above 28MHz antennas must be VERTICAL
For Ham Frequencies in LSB/USB mode above 28 MHz antennas must be HORIZONTAL

Note: This document is available for download from the comms area of the files site.

Survival UK Sites – Update

As per my previous post where I was looking to do something about the forum and was looking for input. I’ve been receiving input and thinking about this during my time off and have had several discussions, including during the NW meet this weekend (Report to follow later this week) and the input is fairly conclusive. You love the site and you hate many of the users. So the best thing I can do is keep the site but have nobody on it. Mmmmm.

Funnily enough as that was an option that was on my list initially I was easily convinced by some late input I had from a few people I have respect for. Their input coupled with my requirements for the site means that I can easily meet everyone’s requirement without too much trouble. So win win.

As I wanted the sites to be available to new preppers I cannot set up a closed forum. However Survival UK members have already set up and are working on closed forums already. To get new blood they will include member of these sites to their forums if they think they are worthy. These sites are independent of Survival UK and I have no control over who they invite or not. Contribute and you may be invited, troll or post inane comments and you probably will not. The members from these forums will drop in from time to time to answer questions and contribute as they see fit and I already have an article from them I will be posting later this week.

This obviously isn’t perfect but it seems to be an excellent compromise. Newbie preppers can start here and experienced preppers can deal with other experienced preppers on their own site where they control who is on and using it. Hopefully, it will not follow the path we have set.

Therefore, excluding the forum, the Survival UK suite of sites will remain as is.

The forum will change as follows;

  1. The rules of the forum will be updated to;
    • Posts to stick to questions and replies.
    • No topical news items for awareness.
    • No inane comments that do not add to the thread.
  2. The forum will continue to be open to all.
  3. I will change the forum format to a different software package.
  4. I will either transfer the forum data to the new format or archive the existing forum if I cannot transfer it.
  5. I will transfer all the users from the forum who have contributed in the past.
  6. I will set up a rating system to allow users to rate other users. You can help police yourself.
  7. I will contact all the mods to see if they want to continue being mods.
  8. I will send out new passwords and a covering letter to every user that remains explaining what is going on.
  9. I will put a notice on the forum explaining what is going on and how to use the rating system.

With a bit of luck the site will return to something that will be helpful to users and we can be a feeder site for the more advanced groups. That enables me to do what I want to do. The new preppers can learn and discuss basics while more advanced preppers can move on to more advanced discussions which, hopefully, they will continue to feed us with articles.

Survival UK Sites next steps

Well after my previous post I received several comments on this site, several comments on the forum, a couple of emails and a couple of phone calls. Thank you all for your input.

A bit of history before we look at what was said.

I started the sites with several ideas in mind.

  1. To provide a site for preppers, including newbies, to learn about prepping in the UK.
  2. To provide all the files I had on prepping for all to download.
  3. To introduce preppers to each other in a controlled way.
  4. To encourage preppers to create local and/or special interest groups related to prepping.
  5. To allow preppers to discuss the articles on the main site.

I planned to create a Main Site for articles on prepping, a Files Site for PDFs and prepping files and a WiKi so people could understand the terminology. Then once that was established I was going to build a Forum for discussions on the topics posted on the Main Site. The issue I had with the forum is that all forums require a lot of work to manage and administrate and I knew I did not have the time for it. After I had put the main site online I had discussions with some preppers and I thought I could do the forum with a light touch and so the forum was the second site to go live followed by the files site and the WiKi.

Went OK with contributors, groups and group meets and a thriving forum till I had a problem with my ISP in late 2014. 1&1 spit, screwed me over and coupled with work issues I had quite a few months downtime until I eventually moved to a new ISP. The site never recovered.

Current status

From what I could see the sites are pretty much like this;

The Main Site has plenty of people using it. Enough so that the stats are at an all time high. Which is what I wanted to do let people find the information to help them prepare. The number of hits on the main site had slowly increased over time with a massive dip after the ISP issues although it has now recovered and exceeded the high point by going to new heights. Although with nobody except me posting or really commenting makes it look dead. People are still signed up for email addresses and the contacts DB but as I don’t log the contacts or its use I have no idea what is going on in there.

The Files Site also has plenty of people using it. I am regularly clocking Gb of downloads daily so people are downloading stuff. As that is all it does and I again don’t log its use I have no real idea what is going on there either.

The WiKi Site is pretty much stand alone. I’ve had a couple of suggestions for items to be added over its life but besides that I have no idea what its use is.

The Forum Site is the most visible area with people commenting and like all social media sites it has its downsides. I was hoping that people would just ignore and not feed the trolls but it appears that hasn’t worked here and I have regularly received complaints about people on the site. In the last month the site has had several days dotted through the month with no articles or comments at all.

I managed to achieve all of my original objectives, even now with few participating, it is still going on. However as the reach is small there isn’t too much new collaboration and discussions and no growth.

Last Two Weeks

So after noticing that forum was quiet and as I was coming up to some free time I thought it was about time I reviewed the sites and decided what to do with them. First up is always ask your customers so I put up a post here and on the forum asking for input.

Some of you responded and the verdict was pretty clear although not really unexpected.

Feedback

On the main site it appears that people are happy with it although they are mainly people that have little or no experience in prepping. These people feel they have nothing to add so do not comment or contribute but are happy to learn from the site. These are the people the site was aimed at and its primary objective.

The same people also appreciate the files site as there is a large amount of interesting information on there.

Nobody mentioned the WiKi site.

The forum however got the most comments and that was around three subjects;

  1. The trolls.
  2. The wide range of subject matters not related to prepping.
  3. People leeching and not contributing.

Looking at the Issues

Trolls are trolls and to be honest most sites have them and the moderators nuke them when they see them. They come back under different names and the game goes on. The sites that control trolls have strict rules and moderators that are on there all the time. I didn’t want to have too many rules and thought that an occasional purge would do as we were all big tough preppers who could handle anything from a horde of invaders to fighting with wolves over a chicken and I thought some upsetting words on the screen would be a walk in the park. So we have a few people that made some dubious comments and people complained. The problem was that people were complaining about everyone and some good contributors were included in that.

What to do? I don’t have the time to police this.

Originally the site was specifically for prepping related stuff but that was expanded, at user request, to encompass a wide range of subjects and the claim was made that even stuff like the terrorist attacks in Iraq was relevant as it demonstrated what could happen here and we should use it to prepare ourselves. That included politics as what politicians do impacts us all.

There was a reference to it looking like a BNP site. The issue I have here is I think the biggest and most immediate threats to us are from the invasion of Muslims and the overbearing state. That must be discussed if we are looking at threats.

What to do? I don’t have time for police this either and if I did the different political views mean it is an area of dissent even if it is based on facts.

The part about people leeching and not contributing has been around for a while. Several people who have been prepping a while have commented on this. It creates a problem for me because one of my primary tasks is to allow people that don’t know anything to download information for later use. If someone writes something and doesn’t want it shared then I’m happy to hold that back, it isn’t mine to control, but stuff I have leeched off others over decades and not really contributed in return I cannot with all conscience hold back as if it is mine. I can’t change my stance on this as this is exactly how I got all my information and this site is for me to share that with others.

With few new joiners and the old crowd off to pastures new there is little collaboration going on now, on the site anyway, as those set up earlier are still going strong off site. Few comments from experienced preppers mean the new joiners do not learn and cannot build up their experience so they can contribute and bring others in. This is not what I wanted. I wanted to bring new preppers in and educate them.

So taking all this into consideration the only are I will be looking at changing is the forum as leaving it as it is is pointless, something needs to be done and I can only see the following options. Feel free to let me know if you can think of any others.

  1. Close the existing site for writes. Allow it to be read only for the articles in it.
    This would mean starting a new site instead.
  2. Set up a strict membership system before you can write. People I am happy with only. Existing users must reapply.
    This would mean I invite those I know and still talk to while those I don’t need to let me know they are interested.
  3. Set up a strict membership system before you can write. Invitation only. Existing users must reapply.
    This would mean having a core of people who would suggest others who could join. Black ball principle.
  4. Make it a closed paid membership only site.
    Anyone can join if they pay and anybody breaks the rules gets ejected with no refund.
  5. Set up a user voting system where the users can ban trolls and off topic posters.
    Using a rating system that automatically triggers when you get X -ve votes.
  6. Set up a site where the only threads are articles on the main site and enforce that.
    Limits topics to those on the main site only. My original intention.
  7. Set up a two tier system where the open items are threads for the main site and forum opens up for your posts as you build up points.
    A tiered system that gives writing privileges to advanced preppers while others can only read posts in those threads.
  8. Keep the site as is and make more people moderators with strict rules and enforce them vigorously.
    Basically as now with mods tightening up the rules on off topic posts and trolling.
  9. Offer prizes or rewards for contribution.
    Encourage articles with rewards. Best post gets a reward. Details clearly need ironing out.

My Thoughts

My thoughts are that I will mix and match for my needs. I should archive the site as it is after I have pruned back the off topic posts. I should create a new tiered site where anyone can register as now. Registered users can only discuss the topics on the Main Site and selected topics. Selected users can add topics of their own for discussion in a thread structure similar to what there is now which everyone can read but not everyone can post to. Police it vigorously for trolls and off topic posts.

Offering rewards means getting sponsorship and that requires a lot of work and a base for that sponsorship we do not have. I have paid for these sites myself and have received no financial help, bar a few donated items, mentioned on the site a few years ago. I have received a lot of time help by people moderating, contributing to articles, meeting and discussing topics though. I have made a few good friends and consider the time and effort well spent.

The downside is that I have raised my head above the parapet and people that I would prefer not to have an interest in me have my name on a list.

Immediate Steps

  1. Go through a delete all users that have zero posts.
  2. Go through and ban all users that have less than 10 posts.
  3. Deleting users that have posts orphans their posts and screws up the system. So nobody gets deleted that has posts.

  4. Ask for some input on the future of the site.

Steps over the next two weeks

  1. I must think about what I can do with the forum.
  2. Prune some threads to get rid of clearly off topic threads.
  3. Get input from users.
  4. Analyse input.
  5. Make decision and implement it.

The Future

If we do decide that the site is useful then I’ll set it up and monitor the site over the next few months and if it isn’t going anywhere, there are no contributors or interesting posts then I’ll just close it down and make it read only.

What is your view?

Having read all of the above and knowing what I am looking at doing feel free to complete the poll, write to me in the comments, write to me directly or any combination of these that you feel comfortable with.

What changes do you think is best for the Forum?

Loading ... Loading ...

I look forward to hearing your comments.

How can we put life back into the Survival UK sites?

This site has always been quiet while the forum has dropped off significantly since I had the downtime a couple of years ago. People thought the site had closed and went never to come back. It didn’t help that I was slow to fix the problem for which I hold my hand up. This left the sites with a few core supporters who have kept the threads going. Lately though the posts have petered out as the few contributors have gone on holiday or lost interest talking to themselves and a few pals.

Sites in the UK like mine have few followers anyway as we just don’t have the people with an interest in the wilds and having few places to hunt and get out and about that is not rigidly controlled or very expensive. Most of us are stuck behind the TV and are watching the latest soaps. It’s the same in the US but the percentages are different as they do have large areas where you can hunt and camp and a lot more freedom. There are still those that watch TV but there are plenty interested in prepping and survival sites to make the US based ones viable businesses.

Interestingly enough I still have a lot of browsers looking at the posts on both this site and the forum while I have a regular few downloading from the files site. Some look like they are downloading the entire site which isn’t easy.

I’m after suggestions on how to get some of those browsers into commentators or contributors. How to get some fire back into the site and not just have me putting a post up about something else I am doing that isn’t that exciting. People are doing things, how can we get them to say what they are doing so we can all learn. There must be something we can do that will attract people to the site and get them involved. I’ve always said that it is the users that keep the site going, we need to get new users here, those that will contribute or we will just stagnate as we appear to be doing now.

If however we think that the site is fine, nobody has anything to add as they are happy with what is already on here or it is crap and nobody is interested then let me know.