The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 392)

in #homesteading28 days ago

Hello Everyone!

A brief introduction: Hi I am Jacob.

TL;DR: There is no tl;dr because you should have more patience and attention span than a gnat on a high wind.

[End Introduction]

The Fantastica Chronicles Day 392!

Another Rainy Day, Tinkering With A HAM Radio & Being In 'Crash Course' Mode

I awoke rather early today and was not at all excited to see that it was raining again not so much because of the rain itself but because I had to yet again brew my morning espresso on the outdoor stove. Even though I have learned to turn on the gas to the stove, open the lid, quickly light the burner and set the espresso maker on it before dodging back indoors... it just seems like such a hectic way to start my day especially since I thoroughly enjoy having mellow mornings! I know that it must seem like a trivial thing to complain about but I just do not find it all that conducive to having a pleasant morning which is why I really need to figure out a solution for that particular problem before the colder weather gets here and I start my winter downtime.

As far as the winter downtime goes I am still debating on whether or not I should break up said downtime like I remarked upon doing a week or so ago in another post. With the way things are going in this country I am not even all that sure that I should embrace my usual habit of relaxing and focusing on entertainment and creative endeavors (as well as planning for the coming year) at all. In other words I have grave doubts about the wisdom of letting my guard down that much, relaxing and getting mildly out of shape physically. Today I was even picturing myself doing a bunch of hiking during the winter just to keep my legs strong in case I need to bug out or something like that. As far as all that jazz goes I guess that I will just have to follow my intuition and not dedicate myself to one course of action or another before the cold weather actually arrives.

Since it pretty much rained on and off throughout the day all that I really got done was my usual chores which are not all that glamorous or anything. I did get my Baofeng UV-5R HAM radios in the mail today though! Yeah, I got two of them because I wanted spare parts, an extra battery and of course one walkie-talkie by itself is not all that practical as far as off-grid (or emergency) comms go. Once I got them un-boxed I spent several hours reading more about HAM radios, watching videos about how to use (and program) that particular model radio and eventually programming in a few locally used frequencies.

The only frequencies that I have programmed in so far are the local weather station and emergency services but I have a massive list of channels that I want to program in later once I can afford a USB programming cable for the radio so that I can conveniently do the programming via some software (named CHIRP) instead of doing all the programming through the front panel button interface on the radio itself which is pretty damned tedious to do especially since I can pre-program one hundred and twenty eight channels! The other things that I can do with the software (that I cannot do with the front panel interface) is disable the ability to transmit on specific frequencies (like the emergency services ones) and also name the frequencies so that I can easily identify what they are instead of trying to commit them all to memory.

During all my research I learned that if 'life or property' are in danger and there is no other way of communicating (either via cellular phone or landline etcetera) I can legally transmit on the radio without having a license which is pretty damned cool but maybe not all that practical because I have very limited range with the antenna that came with it. I did order a pair of Nagoya 771 antennas that will extend my range on the unit to about twice what the factory antenna can do. The radios were dirt cheap and the pair of antennas were even cheaper so overall I feel like it was a good investment especially for the wide range of communications and information that I can gather by having them.

I am still a long way from getting my license but I am learning what I can and mainly just focusing on learning the gear and wrapping my head around the technology that makes them work. Just the peace of mind of having such a communication device that will operate with or without a grid or cellular network (or whatever) was damn sure worth the fifty bucks I invested and I just cannot fathom why I did not do it years ago! I am pretty jazzed about the whole HAM radio thing and the prospect of becoming a licensed operator but for now it is another device that I need to keep charged, remember the location of and keep in good working order.

Anyway, at this point in things it is safe to say that I have grown a bit obsessed over being ready for whatever is coming down the proverbial pipe in this country (and to some extent the world) and I feel like I am constantly in 'crash course' mode where I am learning as much as I can about all sorts of 'relative' data in regards to prepping, survival and pretty much everything in between from bushcraft to pathogens to whatever the hell else catches my attention including things that I am already well versed in (like composting toilets) just to try to hone my skills (and knowledge) as much as I can. The last time that I experienced anything like this kind of 'crash course' mode was in the weeks leading up to when I got dropped off in the woods back in 2017 when I began my nine hundred and fifty-seven day off-grid journey with minimal gear in the dead of winter. I sincerely hope that I am wrong but I cannot help but feel like something momentous is about to happen (or is already happening) and my skills and knowledge will determine how well I fare and perhaps how well others fare also.

Well, I have rambled on enough for one evening and should probably just wrap this up before I type out a behemoth of a post detailing all the weird thoughts, dreams and feelings that have been meandering through my mind of late. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.


I love how compact this HAM radio is!

Thanks for reading!

More about me: I have been doing property caretaking (land stewardship) for many years (decades) and live a rather simple life with my dogs doing what most folks would consider to be an 'alternative minimalist lifestyle' but what I often just think of as a low-impact lifestyle where I get to homestead and spend the majority of my time alone with my dogs in the woods doing projects in the warmer months and taking some downtime during the colder months.

A little over three years ago I began sharing the adventures (misadventures) of my life via writing, videos, pictures and the occasional podcasts and although my intention was to simply share my life with some friends it undoubtedly grew into much more than that over the years and now I find myself doing what equates to a full-time job just 'sharing my life' which is not even all that glamorous or anything but hey folks seem to enjoy it so I just keep doing it!

The way that the Fantastica Chronicles came about is that I was living at another place when I started chronicling and sharing my days but eventually I wound up moving to a new place. The new place is a homestead named 'Fantastica' so I started with 'Day 1' upon my arrival here and just kept documenting my days much like I had done for the previous nine hundred and fifty-seven days at the last place that I lived.

I have mostly done that 'documenting' at Fantastica exclusively with words (and pictures) opting not to do the videos because as I learned at the last place, sharing videos over an intermittent and slow internet connection is horribly time consuming and what I often think of as an 'ulcer inducing' experience. All that said, I opted for simplicity with the documentation and have no real regrets for doing so.

The way that I look at it is that I give it all my best each day and while some stuff I write is better than others I think that for the most part I do a pretty good job at doing what I am doing which is simply 'sharing my life' as candidly as I possibly can and whatever folks get (or do not get) from it there is always the satisfaction of me doing what I set out to do... which is to simply share my life.


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