Icom R6 programming

A year or so back I decided that I wanted a small scanner that I could keep in my Bag O’ Tricks ™. The notion was that in a crisis I wanted a way to monitor what was going on around me. The criteria was that it had to be of good quality, run on AA batts, have as broad a range as possible, and be extremely compact. I eventually settled on the  ICOM R6. 

It is indeed small and handy. But thats part of the problem. To pack in all those features into a tiny little envelope, there’s a good deal of button pressing and less-than-intuitive key-combinations. I’d been meaning to take advantage of the radios ability to interface with my computer and use the computer to program the bloody thing. To that end, I wound up with this.

Basically, what I wanted was something that was menu- or spreadsheet-driven where I could just enter a list of frequencies, delegate them into selectable banks, and label them as necessary. This software does a pretty good job of that.

I’d been meaning to get around to getting the software but I had blown it off as other things in life took precedent. However, after being flat on my back last week during the earthquake and having no idea what was going on, a little pack-of-cigarettes size receiver would have been exactly what I needed to find out how the situation was forming up.

Ticom, of Sparks 31 fame, is my usual resource for info on all things radio but he can be a little tough to find sometimes. If you can find him, or find his blog (which seems to move around from time to time), he’s a wonderful like-minded individual with an expansive encyclopedic knowledge.

So…I reprogrammed the R6 with all the info I had on local fire, cop, EMS, sheriff, and other freqs…threw in the FRS range of freqs as well…and feel a tad more confident to be informed should we have another event where I am caught absolutely flat footed.

Preparing against the last disaster

Annoyingly, I have a tube and plastic bag hanging out of me to allow my ..whatever it is…wound, injury….to drain. It’s a very inconvenient thing.


Check it out…I make my own gravy!

It collects whatever it is that’s sloshing around in my abdomen. To me, it looks like I’m thawing a steak. I’m hopeful it’s outta me by the end of the week.
So, last week’s earthquake has me thinking. I succumbed to normalcy bias and dismissed the idea of earthquakes being any real threat around here. I distinctly recall rolling my eyes when I had my hot water heater replaced a few years ago and all this stupid mandated earthquake-proofing stuff had to be done. Now I’m think about having the other water heater earthquake-proofed.

Also, a lot of my day-to-day stored food needs to be secured better on the shelves. Especially the glass jars of stuff.

And I suppose I need to do some research on other specific-to-earthquake issues that I should probably address. There’s a saying in the military that you’re always planning to fight the last war, I suppose it could be accurate to say that in preparedness we are oftentimes preparing against the last disaster.
And we are also often preparing against the last gun ban. I’ve 30 of the 10/22 mags left, and 35 of the Pmags left. Email me if you’re wanting to get on board.


As you may have read, Montana had one of the bigger earthquakes its had in a while last night.

Where was I? Funny you should ask. I’m actually back in the hospital with an abdominal infection from having my appendix kaBoom two weeks ago.

Yes, thats right. The biggest earthquake to hit Montana in a long time and I was flat on my back in a hospital bed watching and hearing all the equipment swaying and wondering if anyone else appreciated the irony. You spend a lifetime preparing for a disaster and when it happens….you’re too sick to even sit up in bed and look out the window to see if the power is still on.

My room was on the fifth floor, and that made the effects of the earthquake seem more pronounced. So…there I am…self-described survivalist with a home full of everything I’d need to get me through a crisis like this and………..I’m trapped in a hospital bed. I very much had visions of Rick Grimes from the first episode of The Walking Dead.

I’ll be getting out tomorrow, ideally. I have a catheter in my arm and have to self-administer some IV antibiotics for the next week. Annoying.

Summer complacency

Mags, mags, mags.

Man, it is so bloody easy to get complacent when the electricity is on, the gas is flowing from the pumps, the internet is up, and WalMart is open for business. That sort of day-to-day normalcy makes it easy to forget that for the large part of recorded human history, this sort of relative comfort and ease is atypical.

You don’t think about going hungry when you have a fridge full of food and a McDonalds on every corner. Same for gasoline when every gas station in town is open 24-hours. Ditto for flowing, potable water, relative public calm, mostly unhindered communications, and all those other things we take for granted.

I’m so bloody busy these days it’s hard to remember that there are still gaps and holes in my preparations that I need to fill.

Tuesday is Independence Day which I usually use as an excuse to go to the range, but I suspect this year I’ll only put in a token appearance there and use the ‘day off’ to try and get caught up on prep-related things I’ve let slide as of late.

Anyone else having trouble staying on point with regards to preparedness these days? It must be the ‘easy living’ of summer or something.

Generator Day

Still have mags: Pmags/$10 , 10/22 Steel Lip mags/$11
Buy some mags…those dang anesthesiologists don’t work cheap.


Today was generator day. Pull the EU2000 out of its protective Hardigg case, start it up, hook up a few goodies to it to give it some actual work to do, and then after about a half hour turn it off and pack it up.

I’ve had the EU2000 now for a few years and have only had one occasion to need it – big windstorm back in 2015 that knocked out power for around ten hours. But that doesn’t mean something longer and worse isn’t coming down the pike. Gotta be prepared.


Speaking of prepared, my mailman told me about an experience he had last weekend. He and his wife were out on one of the logging roads way in the middle of nowhere when he came across a couple who, somehow, both rolled their fourwheelers off the road and down a ravine. The guy was pinned under his vehicle with a compound fracture to his leg, his wife was further downhill with a punctured lung, broken bones, and was basically an hour or two away from needing a priest more than a doctor. Mailman was driving along the road and saw the something in the heavy brush…the man had fastened a piece of clothing to a long stick and was waving it for help. They’d been out there, in the sun, bleeding and dying, for about an hour and a half.

Short version: mailman was able to climb up a hill and get a bar or two on his phone and dial in the local SAR. Not one but two helicopters managed to get there and find a landing spot, but it was tough describing exactly where they were in all that mess.

This is why whenever I go off the pavement I keep smoke and flares in the vehicle. Big ‘ol cloud of orange smoke, or a red cluster flare will do a good job of showing the guy in the door where to point the nose of the helicopter. Of course, knowing the UTM coords for where you are andbeing able to give that information to someone on the other end of your phone is pretty helpful, too.

Article – The Deadly Choices at Memorial

Buy some 10/22 or Pmag mags, kids. I got surgeons bills to pay.

The smell of death was overpowering the moment a relief worker cracked open one of the hospital chapel’s wooden doors. Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets. Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung akimbo. A pallid hand reached across a blue gown.

Wikipedia entry.

An old article I found buried in a blog post. Having spent a night or two in the hospital as of late, I am kind of interested in the sorts of disaster planning that goes on. Hospitals, as opposed to, say, long term care facilities, clearly have different budgets and requirements. I do recall that some states mandate a certain amount of emergency food (Mountain House, in case you didnt know, actually sells a special line of regulation-compliant meals just for this sort of thing), generators, or that sort of thing, there’s always that big question of what to do when the power goes out, the looting starts, and grandma is trapped in Shady Acres on the other side of town.

On the one hand, it’s hard to argue that in an environment like that there weren’t going to be cases where there was nothing else to do but watch someone die. On the other hand, while I have no trouble with someone wanting to die of their own volition, I have a problem with a medical professional making that decision for someone else.

The article, though eight years old, is a real edge-of-your-seat read and definitely worth reading if you’re in the health field.


By request

20170618_141335Later under medication/dose/due I put ” Pizza 1/4 pie 5pm”, “Ice cream as indicated 5:07 pm”. Under “Family Contact” I’d written “Frankly, theyre pretty much done putting up with him too.” I left “Oral Care” alone because, frankly, it was too easy. No honor in it.


Alright, I’m trying to put out fires as best I can..what with my guts feeling as they do….and trying to get caught up on things.

First and foremost: I still have a little less than a case of Pmags, and a case and a half of Steel Lip 10/22 mags. Get ’em while they’re hot, kids. Everyone seems to be pleased  with their purchases and more than one person has come back for seconds (or thirds). It only gets more expensive as time goes by, so get ’em now and get your Alpha Strategy on. Email me. (And at least two of you made out pretty well on the deal because in my narc’d state I used the wrong pricing schedule and you got them at $1/@ off.)

Summer is officially here in western Montana, which means at any moment things will burst into flames and we’ll be breathing extra chunky style air until October.

I have a bunch of catching up to do on preparedness related materials and whatnot, but I also have to reconcile that with a metric buttload of school, work, business, personal, and other obligations that I need to get caught up on…so, as busy as I can be at a moment when Im least able to do it. Yay, status quo!

Bonus: I have a nice 15 second video of the nurse pulling three feet of plastic tubing out of a hole in my belly. This video is not for people with slow connections or who are squeamish. It’s like some dirty magic trick! (Best to let it load and then play..otherwise its just annoying.)