Preparation For War.

Over the last few weeks just about every news outlet (including the BBC) has been printing government (usually the US version)  advice about “What to do in the event of a Nuclear Attack”.

The only comment of note for us is the ‘UK government is looking at a new national warning mechanism for warning the UK population’.

Which comforts me greatly (not).

Various experts are talking about the signs of escalation to look out for. No need for me to list them as the media is saying the same round the world.

The worrying bit is some the signs have already been noted.

  • In particular the rise (and rise) of US fleet,
  • The arming of S.Korea and Japan with advanced missile technology, and
  • A diplomatic rallying call for all coalition  forces worth a spit.
  • An increase of military manoeuvres within the region
  • Diplomatic protest, or rage, from China and Russia.

What I’m waiting for is a ‘suggestion’ of a deployment of UK troops to that theatre from our government OR the cancellation of all military and emergency services leave.

At that point, we will finish our preparations starting with an immediate withdrawal of all the cash we can lay our hands on.
The worry being the government will shut down the banks to protect the financial sectors.

Of course if they do that I’ve no choice but to enter a full on survival foraging mode. i.e. Taking what I need.

Apart from that, the unknown is still whether to shelter in place or bug out. That all depends on the range of the nearest ‘BOOM’ and the prevailing wind.

More to follow.

Torches

They are an essential but it is also difficult to choose what is right for you. The modern trend is to go for POWER, i.e. as many Lumens that they can squeeze out of a little bulb or LED.

So is the must have of ‘POWERFUL’ bad news for preppers?
What does ‘powerful’ cost in an austere environment?

Four Sections to discuss:

  1. Powerful high-capacity rechargeable  or disposable batteries.
  2. Bulbs verses LED’s
  3. What is a Lumen, or watts which some manufacturers use?
  4. What sort of power do I really need?

High Capacity Batteries.

  1. The new king on the block is Lithium. (Li-ion)
    The lithium-ion battery is easy to charge with the right charger BUT charging it safely is the more difficult bit.
    Starting with the popular 3.7 volt ‘18650’ battery found in a lot of ‘tactical’ torches. To charge it needs a specific sort of charger, usually supplied as part of the kit, and working off domestic mains power. A few come with a 12 volt (car battery) adapter. How convenient is that! Or is it?
    There’s you, miles from anywhere or even in a township or city where the electrical power is off and looking for a place to plug-in your charger. If you did buy a torch that came with a 12 volt charger option, can you always find abandoned cars with charged batteries?
    I also read a story of a person who was going to use a solar panel or his hand crank battery charger to recharge his lithium batteries. Sounds OK BUT he then discovered that you couldn’t stop half way through charging and you must use the supplied intelligent charger (a must have for Lithium).
    Problem was he lived in the UK and he had to charge a battery to use the supplied charger. That took TWO DAYS!
    As for his hand crank generator, he just gave up.
    The next guy used an “intelligent” model car battery charger.
    Great for Nicad and Nimh batteries but not lithium, the subsequent fire was described as “hot”.
    You can’t mess about with these batteries.
    You can’t trickle charge them either.
    Get it wrong and you could be injured.

    lihazardWhat price high power, huge capacity now??

  2. Before Li-ion came the Nickel Metal hydride (NMh)
    In AA size, 1.2V@up to 2.7 Amps (100-500 cycles)
  3. And before that Nickel Cadmium (Nicad)
    In AA size, 1.2V@ up to 1 Amp (500 cycles BUT high self discharge)


    These two, NiCad and NiMH,  are difficult to charge accurately. Whereas with lithium-ion you can control overcharge by using your charger, both Nicad  and NiMH need force feeding current. You usually charge both of them over 10 hours being careful to never let the battery get hot.
    You can however fast charge them. That can be hazardous.
    It’s called thermal runaway where they get so hot they can self destruct. Not as spectacular as Lithium but still not nice.


  4. Alkaline Batteries are fairly powerful, and disposable.
    In AA size they generate 1.5V to a maximum of 3 Amps.
  5. Zinc chloride, old school, and disposable.
    In AA size they generate 1.5V to a maximum of 1.1 amps.

Both 4 & 5 are cheap, solid, and reliable, but don’t really like it very cold where their ability to deliver large current decreases.

Bulbs and performance.
Used to be all you could get was filament and Halogen bulbs but today’s buzzword is ‘CREE LED’s.’
Solid state bulbs that can generate really high power aka LOTS OF LIGHT! Their life is good and they withstand shock a lot better than the older filament bulbs.
Tip. Look for buying filament torches which you can fit Cree LED replacement bulbs. Thus you buy cheaper and get better performance.

Caution, Switches. Within all this is the consideration you must give to the power switch. High power means high electrical current and that can produce early failures. Some of the switches incorporate different power (bright, dim) modes and cute little SOS signals.
Very nice. Until they go wrong.
Remember, KISS. It stands for Keep It Stupidly Simple!

Now we swap onto POWER. Watts and lumens.
According to Wiki 1 watt of LED generates 90 lumens.
Which still doesn’t answer just how bright is a lumen!
CREE LED output can range from 20 lumens (for book reading) to a searchlight strength of 3500 lumens.
Nope, it still doesn’t mean a lot to me.
Try this.  If you have 1 candle 1 foot away from your face, it emits the same amount of light as 1 lumen. So 20 lumens is the same as 20 candles? I’d still have difficulty as to see in the distance or read a book what I need is a BEAM of light.

Handily some better manufacturers quote ‘Beam Distance’.
That doesn’t actually mean a lot though as it is the distance a torch will shine where the light seen will be the same brightness as a full moon. When I read that I thought “You’re kidding right ?”

Lets look at this from a task side of thing.
Key fob 3 x std. 5 mm white LEDS? Maybe 5 lumens.
Not bad for map reading, last a long time, great in a combat scenario as they don’t project a high power beam.
General home use? 10-25 lumens
Headlamp? 20-40 lumens
Camping?  35-60 lumens
General Security work? 65-150 lumens.
Hard Core working (plus self-defense)?
A 6 D cell Full Maglite, CREE LED? 600 Lumens.

What I needed was battery standardisation across all my battery-powered systems, in a torch, and whatever else I use.
For example:-
My CB, 8 x AA, (note optional 12 volt cigar lighter lead supplied).
Local PMR, 4 x AA per handset. (I can charge those in the CB with the above lead.
Night vision, 2 x AA, never was a heavy user of power.
Broadcast FM receiver 2 x AA, same as above.
My back up runs off a single CR2032 mercury cell and,
A Single point QR scope which also runs off a single CR2032.
Changed every couple of years or so.

My conclusion was to buy a torch that runs off the common AA battery. What did I buy?
A 2 x AA,  2 watt,  (180 lumen by calculation) no fuss metal body IP55, fixed focus torch. Push button on the base, a simple on/off job.
As for a beam? about 30 meters usable light.
(Usable light? Able to pick put a bunny when clipped to the rifle).

Where from? I never say as I don’t believe in advertising.

PLUS a  couple of simple key fob 3 standard LED’s running from the same CR2032.

Batteries?
Everything works off All AA,  Ni.Mh, plus 4 more as spares and 6  CR2032. Total weight? 640 grams (23 oz)
Good job I split that load with SWMBO isn’t it?

Any questions? Feel free to ask.

Alternative power?

There comes a point when you’ve got to think outside of the box. Long ago I needed to power a little broadcast receiver (a £1 ‘cheapie’ from the local discount store) when camping as I stupidly left the ear pieces in place which drained the battery. 

Powered by a single CR2032 mercury  battery, the power consumption was never going to be excessive, but when you haven’t got a spare, what are you going to do?

Me? I went to ground.
Or, to be more precise, four potatoes, and a bit of school science.

I always wanted to try this for real and besides that, I was way desperate to check on the weather forecast.

I carry a coil of 2.5 mm copper wire in my kit (and a few other bits and pieces essential for foraging) and there was this lovely stock fencing alongside me.
Why lovely? It was nailed with zinc dipped staples.


After that it was a simple case of cobbling a few together and make a 3 volt battery. The problem was I had no meter to check what was going on so guessing that each spud would generate about half a volt, I started with four ‘cells’ knowing I could eventually go to eight.
And it worked (just) with 3 spuds cut in two, 6 pieces in all!  I think the secret was to make sure the spuds were dry on the outside because it didn’t seem to work well until the spuds got hot by the camp fire.

There wasn’t a load of power (current) available which I proved by putting the two wire’s into some fine wire wool from my fire tin.
It didn’t even get warm.
So I guess powering a CB hand-held would have been ‘doubtful’ with a whole field of spuds.

Now the funny bit. All that effort but me completely forgetting the key fob LED torch I carried was run from . . . . A CR2032 battery.

Confusing terms simplified

It’s time to talk about radiation and fallout and what’s bad, apart from all of it? Some will argue that no radiation is safe.
Not possible in real life, we have to reduce it to a level where it won’t ‘do much damage’.

That level has a value and, as per anything scientific, there are a number of confusing measurements that apply.

Most modern Radiation detectors are calibrated in Sieverts.
Old school like me used Rads, newer school Gray, and modern school, Sieverts.
A RAD is equivalent to 0.01 Gray
100 Rads = 1 Gray = 1 Sievert = 1000 milliSievert
Confused?
So was I, so to simplify things, here comes the scary chart!

Rads Gray mSieverts Effects
5-20 0.05-0.2 50-200 Possible late effects; possible chromosomal damage.
20-100 0.2-1 200-1000 Temporary reduction in white blood cells.
100-200 1-2 1000-2000 Mild radiation sickness within a few hours: vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue; reduction in resistance to infection.
200-300 2-3 2000-3000 Serious radiation sickness effects as in 100-200 rem and hemorrhage; exposure is a Lethal Dose to 10-35% of the population after 30 days (LD 10-35/30).
300-400 3-4 3000-4000 Serious radiation sickness; also marrow and intestine destruction; 50-70% die after 30 days (LD 50-70/30).
400-1000 4-10 4000-10000 Early death; 60-95% die after 30 days LD 60-95/30.
1000-5000 10-50 10000-50000 Early death; everyone dies within 10 days (LD 100/10).

Movement

Tread slowly, move wisely, and never run, or you’ll either die, or arrive with nothing left for a fight.

When I heard this I thought my DI was joking.
Don’t run? Are you shitting me!
If someone is throwing lead, you run and roll into cover.

There was a reason but I didn’t get it (young and stupid), that needed to be demonstrated, so they did.
I ran, they shot, I dived, and the ground opened beneath me into a hole half full of shit they had covered up.

Me, in my haste, missed seeing the sack cloth covering it.
Lesson learned.
React by all means but do it wisely and in a controlled manner.

Only there was more to it than just that.
The eye is built to catch movement, especially in low light. The more rapid or bigger the movement, the easier it is to see it.

If you stalk deer you’ll know what I’m on about.
If they can’t smell you, you can basically just sit there and wait for them to come calling, (neophobia aside). That’s a posh name for something that saves animals and birds from a lot of human mistakes and aggression.
It’s a fear of something new, different, or just picking up on something out-of-place.
For us mere humans it’s a good “fear” to learn.

So where does that leave us?
When people don’t see movement, they rarely see the person, especially in low light. If you are moving with the crowd, you’ll also be more difficult to pick out. The next observation is when everyone is running, the quiet person watching will attract attention.

If this sounds a bit like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
You’re probably right.

The saving grace in all of this is the untrained eye of civilians.
It takes training to spot controlled movement and most civilians will either be in a state of panic or in transit.
It’s damn hard to spot movement when you are moving yourself.
That’s going to be useful to you and something a practitioner of the grey man exploits.

Fog, eyes, and IFF.

Isn’t technology wonderful.
It gets dark and you can see everything if you fork out a couple of hundred notes for a decent Night or Thermal vision system.

Then along comes nature and screws it all up and once again I get to chuckle at high-tech.

Take night vision. We’re up to Gen 4  now, digital if memory serves me well. Crystal clear (but still in green) views of people like me stumbling around.
Only that’s not quite right is it, as night vision won’t see through fog, heavy rain, thick snow, or other obscurants like smoke.

Thermal however is brilliant (not).
It can see through plain old smoke and other obscurants, but not well through weather like driving snow or rain, or the thickest of fogs where it works, sort of,  with a reduced range.
Only the chances of a user positively identifying friend or foe without a strobing IR IFF tag is remote.
The heat blob through a POS1 scope as an example.

IR strobes was something I picked up years ago and took it with me into deer stalking. Home made (as always), I had a simple clear IR LED pulsing at 5 beats a second. The idea was to let clients track me as I stalked in low light.

BUT it made me stand out on EVERYONE’S night vision.
Whoops, and the reason why IR strobes for IFF didn’t catch on in combat. Even worse, some wildlife were reacting to the IR.
I speak of mosquitoes and gad flies.
Ouch! It got so bad that I had a cloud of the little sods above my head waiting their turn to tuck in.

Defeating both is still easy though and some carry a pocket full of flares to ruin your night vision as you intently stare through the tube.

This is highly effective in fog, heavy rain, or snow as the light scatter from the flares is usually enough to swamp lesser grades of NV. Gen 0 to 2 for instance with 3-4 still unable to clearly differentiate targets if the flare is between them and you.

Note:- This might sound a bit ‘different’ but I found that those multi-shot fireworks very effective when poaching and being tracked.
(Misspent youth).
The gamekeepers, farmers,  and police couldn’t keep using NV and the intermittent stars and flashes ruined their natural night vision.
Plus, in the main, dogs don’t like whistles, shrieks, flashes, and bangs.
All in all about a minute of chaos to allow you to slip away.

Still back to fog and what other benefits has it when covering movement?
Sound attenuation. Yep, it does that only selectively.
Attenuation of sound waves in fog is all about the frequency, or pitch of the sound. The higher the pitch, the better the attenuation.
This is why fog horns have a very low pitch.
Now it’s not perfect but if you can dig a generator, radar or missile system, into the ground, it reduces scatter noise and it’s IR signature.

Right up until some jerk of a MOD weenie moved away from the humble IC engine and into small jet turbine powered ones. If the howl wasn’t loud enough, the expansive heat plume was spectacular on IR let alone Thermal.
Can you guess the weapon system I’m talking about??

Get close enough and you’d still be able to zero in on it.
Or if you have a dog, and they will lead you straight to it. Their hearing being way better than ours and you don’t need batteries.

Are there many types of fog?
You bet there are and in low lands it all depends on a low if nil wind speed. Fog forms when the difference between air temperature and dew point is generally less than 2.5 °C or 4 °F.

Now I had absolutely no idea that there were so many “official” types of fog.

Radiation (Winter) fog.
Clear cold night sky’s.
The ground chills down, the moisture condenses.
Rather than fog I tend to treat this like a heavy dew.

Valley or basin fog.
Think temperature inversion.
You have a cold basin of air and the wind blows warmer moisture laden air across it. It’s a bitch as unless the wind picks up a lot or the temperature increases (sunlight), it can last for days.

Advection fog.
This is sort of the same thing without the need for valley’s or basins.
If you have snow cover which hasn’t melted, warm moisture laden air over it will chill down and drop its moisture. You also get this a lot at sea and (unfortunately) for those who live on or near water.

Evaporation fog.
Is caused by cold air passing over warmer water or moist land.
Slightly different and again an inland boaters fog.
Warm river evaporating away and a cold wind over it causes the water laden moisture to condense. Thus is it possible to be on a river in fog, walk a couple of hundred yards in land and it’s gone. Your day starts damp and wet until the sun warms everything up.

Up slope fog.
That wind blowing across hills.
Warm air from below rises, it gets cold, it “rains”, or more accurately condensate.

Now here’s another a sort of fog.
High rise apartments and low altitude clouds.
Fog for the top few dwellings.
You paid all that money and all you see is damp grey. (Chuckle). Having said that it’s sort of useful for collecting water on drip clothes and nets but nearly always short-lived as the streets warm up, hot air rises and drives away the moisture laden air.

Freezing fog.
Composed of supercooled water droplets forms rime.
Fluffy soft ice that forms on all posts and lines on the windward side of things. I really hate this type of fog!

Personally I do love a good pea-souper.
Dulling noise, reducing visibility, making prey less jumpy for some reason. Like they feel safe wrapped up in the gloom I suppose.
As for foraging / scavenging. Even with IR supported CCTV security, fog is your friend. Only don’t forget some nice hot, bright, flares for when you get into the mire.

Low light and humans.
Humans are at a distinct disadvantage to many animals in low light conditions. Our eyes are more biased towards colour NOT extracting the maximum light from any scenario. I touched on animal vision and freely acknowledge that most wild life have stunning vision, just not in infinite colours, but where it matters, in low light.

ANIMALS AND
WHATEVER
THE COLORS
THEY SEE
COLOR RELATIVE TO HUMANS
SPIDERS ULTRAVIOLET AND GREEN Different
INSECTS (bees) ULTRAVIOLET, BLUE, YELLOW Different
FISH MOST SEE JUST TWO COLORS Less good
AMPHIBIANS MOST SEE SOME COLOR Less good
REPTILES SOME COLOR AND IR Different
BIRDS FIVE TO SEVEN COLORS More
OWLS POOR REDS GOOD GREENS, BLUES, UV, NO IR Poor colors BUT they own the night
MAMMALS
(dogs, cats)
POOR REDS GOOD GREENS, BLUES plus UV Less good,
NV GREAT
MAMMALS (rabbit) BLUE AND GREEN Less good
MAMMALS (rats) POOR REDS GOOD GREENS, BLUES plus UV Different, NV GOOD
MAMMALS (squirrels) BLUES AND YELLOWS Less good

Yet it doesn’t stop there.
Gifted night vision is a given and they can detect movement (both slower and faster) better than us mere mortals. They can also pick out short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors, but they’re less sensitive to long wavelength colors such as red and orange.
Hang on though, less sensitive doesn’t mean they can’t see reds, it’s just they aren’t so prominent.

Plus White. Where would the world be without white?
Those eyes specially adapted for night work love white.
So either stop blinking, net up, or wear tinted glasses!

Or, as one expert put it, “In the main most animals are  essentially red-green color blind,” BUT have good to excellent UV vision.
Which means, AVOID BLUE and ditch the denim jeans !
Blue is the perfect mirror for ultraviolet and as such you will stand out beautifully to a deer who also possess UV sensitivity.

Finally, do you wash your outer layers, your camouflage?
If you do you might also like to avoid using commercial washing liquids and powders. Some of them contain ultraviolet (UV) enhancers. How else can they claim their white is whiter than white!

Field Expedient Antiseptics

  1. Salt water to flush. Dry salt burns bacteria.
  2. A cut finger dipped in sugar aids recovery.
  3. Iodine cleanses but also damages tissue. Never use neat.
  4. Boiling works on bacteria and viruses as does UV light.
  5. 5% bleach 1 to 10 parts water, for a minimum of 10 seconds.
  6. Pool Shock. One gallon water to:-
    20 oz 60% calcium hypochlorate, or
    32 oz 40% calcium hypochlorate.
  7. Hand sanitizer. It’s 60% ethanol.
    Some have a softener agent, Don’t use those.
  8. Hard Spirit 100% proof.
  9. Rubbing Alcohol, 70%
  10. Wind shield wash, very weak but as a flush it works.
  11. Formaldehyde. Kills bugs but destroys skin.
  12. Apple Cider or most plain white vinegar.
  13. Boiled Honey is hostile to bacteria and viruses.
  14. Sugar dries out excess fluid in wounds and promotes healing.
  15. Lemon is antibacterial and is beneficial for the skin.
  16. Pineapple is antiseptic and astringent.
  17. Tea Tree Oil 5 to 15%. Antibiotic and antiseptic skin disinfectant.
  18. Lavender. A natural antiseptic and astringent properties
  19. Eucalyptus. Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, an insect repellent.
  20. Cauterisation. Questionable effectiveness on infection.
    Stops bleeding but damages surrounding tissue.
  21. Wild Onion and Garlic
  22. Antifungal. Oak bark or acorns. Boiled, use the juice.
  23. Plain old soap and boiled water.
  24. Carrot (antiseptic)
  25. Clove oil (strong germicide and local pain-killer)
  26. Clover (broad spectrum antibiotic)
  27. Colloidal Silver – Silver and most silver compounds are toxic for bacteria, algae, and fungi. and many organisms can only live for a few minutes  Colloidal silver is basically silver in suspension.
    Silver is capable of rendering stored drinking water potable for several months.
    For this reason, water tanks on vehicles are often “silvered”.
    Simply produced using pure 99.999% silver (not sterling silver) wire, three 9 volt batteries, 2 x 12 volt bulbs, and a glass of purified water. Caution. Run it for about 20 minutes BUT you will have to keep cleaning the electrodes as one of them will “BLACKEN” as the silver dissolves in the water. The water is best kept hot and stirred frequently. External use only.