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  • Dial-Up Redundancy

    Just a reminder that at least one of your computers should be set up with a modem and a dial-up account. For business purposes, you might even go further and also get set up on satellite (e.g. Hughes), if that works in your area.

    In terms of keeping your business operating during disasters, it's cheap redundancy at $0-10/month for the dialup account and $40 for satellite, but I think that everyone should at least set up dial-up access for one or more of your personal computers because land lines often keep on ticking when other forms of com fail.

    Most computers do have internal modems, even if you never noticed yours. To verify this, look for an RJ-11 phone type female port and/or check Control Panel-->Device Manager-->Modems (highlight the entry, right-click and select "Properties"). If you don't have an internal modem, you can get an external modem very cheaply (and in fact, I prefer them anyway for several reasons - especially US Robotics).

    For a dial-up account, check out Netzero, basicISP, etc. or Google "dial-up ISP". I recommend that you use a national service with many access numbers outside your geographical area, rather than a small hinky-dinky local dial-up provider. Especially since their power might very well go down when yours does.

    And, speaking of power, you'll want at least some minimalist backup power. If you don't want to go full-bore on this, here's a reliable small inexpensive unit that will keep your stuff powered up for 5 hours or more (continuous at full load, much longer on lower load) on 1 gallon, and which you can also use for camping or other outdoor activities (e.g. tailgating). Works very well.

    Oh - and don't forget to keep some gas around, or at least some tubing and your high-school siphoning skills, updated for newer vehicles And for those of you who watch this video and think "Hey - Catch 22 - they're using an electric drill to run that cute little drill pump, and I'm trying to siphon gas for my generator, so I don't have power, so I can't run the drill until I get the power, and I don't have power because I don't have gas, and I can't.......!" - umm, there ARE battery-powered drills, you know. Yeah, uh-huh. There are. (By the way, that little pump might come in handy for other things during an emergency (or campout) as well. You might prefer the Craftsman pump from Sears for $10.)

    And boo-hoo. You do have to think about this stuff IN ADVANCE instead of waiting until the quake/riot/blizzard/hurricane/tornado/flood/chlorine cloud/nuclear blast/Apocalypse. I can't do nuffin bout dat, bro. The only thing I can say with near 100% certainty is that one of the above or something else IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU, and there's only two kinds of guys when that happens: The he-man hero types who can take care of their families, and the namby-pamby, lily-livered, panty-waisted, yellow-bellied, wishy-washy, smarmy-marmy, spineless, lame-brained, knock-kneed, gutless, feeble-minded types that look for the instructions every time they unwrap a new roll of toilet paper (thank you, Billy Connolly). Now I ask you: Which type would you rather be?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 03-19-2011, 11:47 AM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

  • #2
    Good advice ST. One small problem, since I do not own a car I don't think my neighbours would like me stealing gas from their cars

    It's sad how underprepared we are for emergencies. Quebec was hit hard by the ice storm of the late 1990's. The government reacted. A 2nd transmission line was run onto the island. the hydro towers were changed so that they would not fall down as easily. A huge diesel powered generating plant was built at our water filtration plant. (We came within hours of loosing all water both for drinking & firefighting). Yet on the personal level hardly anything has been done.
    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a gasoline generator I had converted to run on natural gas. The generator is connected to the house gas line. This way, there is no hazard from storing gasoline at home, and I don't have to worry about bad gasoline gumming up my engine. And, depending on the emergency, I won't have to leave my family home alone while I scrounge for gas. If I were to lose my natural gas supply, the generator will run on propane. I have 3 portable propane tanks that will run the generator for about 4 days at 12 hrs a day.
      My generator is hooked up to a switch to keep current from my generator from leaving my house and energizing the power lines. I only use the generator to power a few lights, battery chargers, gas space heater, and refrigeration.
      I'd be careful using small gasoline generators to power electronic equipment such as computers. They're very sensitive to dirty power and require "true sine wave" ac current. I don't have my generator hooked up to our furnace because it's a high efficiency unit and I don't want to chance burning the circuit board. Some day I'll install a filter to clean up the power so I can run my furnace and computers on the generator.
      Last edited by Badge714; 03-19-2011, 08:42 PM.
      "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
        I have a gasoline generator I had converted to run on natural gas. The generator is connected to the house gas line. This way, there is no hazard from storing gasoline at home, and I don't have to worry about bad gasoline gumming up my engine. And, depending on the emergency, I won't have to leave my family home alone while I scrounge for gas. If I were to lose my natural gas supply, the generator will run on propane. I have 3 portable propane tanks that will run the generator for about 4 days at 12 hrs a day.
        My generator is hooked up to a switch to keep current from my generator from leaving my house and energizing the power lines. I only use the generator to power a few lights, battery chargers, gas space heater, and refrigeration.
        I'd be careful using small gasoline generators to power electronic equipment such as computers. They're very sensitive to dirty power and require "true sine wave" ac current. I don't have my generator hooked up to our furnace because it's a high efficiency unit and I don't want to chance burning the circuit board. Some day I'll install a filter to clean up the power so I can run my furnace and computers on the generator.
        You sound more prepared than most of us. A small question. Why would you need a gas generator to power a gas space heater? I grew up in appartments that were heated by gas or oil space heaters & there were no electronic parts on them.
        I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
        Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

        Comment


        • #5
          Are you sure ST that I need to think about such things now? I mean I got my beans, bullets, bandaids AR in 6.8 SPC and G21 what else do I need right now right?
          Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

          The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

          My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by FireRanger View Post
            Are you sure ST that I need to think about such things now? I mean I got my beans, bullets, bandaids AR in 6.8 SPC and G21 what else do I need right now right?
            Ummm, maybe....
            Attached Files
            "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

            "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

            "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

            "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
              I have a gasoline generator I had converted to run on natural gas. The generator is connected to the house gas line. This way, there is no hazard from storing gasoline at home, and I don't have to worry about bad gasoline gumming up my engine. And, depending on the emergency, I won't have to leave my family home alone while I scrounge for gas. If I were to lose my natural gas supply, the generator will run on propane. I have 3 portable propane tanks that will run the generator for about 4 days at 12 hrs a day.
              My generator is hooked up to a switch to keep current from my generator from leaving my house and energizing the power lines. I only use the generator to power a few lights, battery chargers, gas space heater, and refrigeration.
              I'd be careful using small gasoline generators to power electronic equipment such as computers. They're very sensitive to dirty power and require "true sine wave" ac current. I don't have my generator hooked up to our furnace because it's a high efficiency unit and I don't want to chance burning the circuit board. Some day I'll install a filter to clean up the power so I can run my furnace and computers on the generator.
              Thanks for mentioning "dirty power", which I failed to mention. I charge batteries (e.g., laptop, phone etc) rather than powering these things directly off the generator, so no problem there. Even so, I think the AC power adapters would probably be okay although I'm certainly not an electrical engineer so I could be wrong. Anyway, except for small appliances like a coffee pot, I plug electronic devices like a small TV, ham transceiver, etc. into a high-quality filtered power strip running off the generator.

              And no, I'm not a licensed ham, but I picked up a cheapie surplus unit at a swap meet and would use it in a dire emergency - mostly for RX to stay informed, since hardly anyone uses code anymore, but I'd certainly TX if I absolutely needed to. If there's still a federal government in place after the Cyborgs and the Overlords have been defeated, the FCC can come and hit me with a fine. I don't care - I'll gladly pay it. My call sign will be FLIP999 (which translates to "666"). <....evil laughter...>
              Last edited by SecTrainer; 03-20-2011, 02:43 AM.
              "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

              "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

              "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

              "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HotelSecurity View Post
                You sound more prepared than most of us. A small question. Why would you need a gas generator to power a gas space heater? I grew up in appartments that were heated by gas or oil space heaters & there were no electronic parts on them.
                The gas heater I use is intended for heating a large area, such as a garage. The power is for the fan behind the unit that pushes air through the heater.
                "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                  And no, I'm not a licensed ham, but I picked up a cheapie surplus unit at a swap meet and would use it in a dire emergency - mostly for RX to stay informed, since hardly anyone uses code anymore, but I'd certainly TX if I absolutely needed to. If there's still a federal government in place after the Cyborgs and the Overlords have been defeated, the FCC can come and hit me with a fine. I don't care - I'll gladly pay it. My call sign will be FLIP999 (which translates to "666"). <....evil laughter...>
                  I am not sure where exactly it is, but there is an FCC regulation that stipulates that anyone can transmit on any radio frequency during a real (read life or death, something that 9-1-1 should have been called for) emergency. In any event, whether its breaking some federal regulation concerning radio transmission or using my firearms in self defense. I will take being judge by 12 over being carried by 6 any day.
                  Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

                  The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

                  My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                    And no, I'm not a licensed ham, but I picked up a cheapie surplus unit at a swap meet and would use it in a dire emergency - mostly for RX to stay informed, since hardly anyone uses code anymore, but I'd certainly TX if I absolutely needed to. If there's still a federal government in place after the Cyborgs and the Overlords have been defeated, the FCC can come and hit me with a fine. I don't care - I'll gladly pay it. My call sign will be FLIP999 (which translates to "666"). <....evil laughter...>
                    You should get a license. Ham radio is a great hobby and sometimes the only way to communicate during a disaster.
                    Even though there has been no Morse code requirement for amateur radio for some time, the interest in code among hams is very high.
                    I know a few hams who build tiny low power transceivers for under $20. They sometimes build transceivers small enough to put into an Altoids tin! With less than one watt of power, they can transmit and receive Morse code over 200 miles! You can't do that with FM voice.
                    With the sunspot cycle on its way up, long range communications on the CB bands will be possible using 4 watt mobiles. I have a SSB rig ready to go when that happens. My CB handle is "Hard Times."
                    "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
                      You should get a license. Ham radio is a great hobby and sometimes the only way to communicate during a disaster.
                      Even though there has been no Morse code requirement for amateur radio for some time, the interest in code among hams is very high.
                      I know a few hams who build tiny low power transceivers for under $20. They sometimes build transceivers small enough to put into an Altoids tin! With less than one watt of power, they can transmit and receive Morse code over 200 miles! You can't do that with FM voice.
                      With the sunspot cycle on its way up, long range communications on the CB bands will be possible using 4 watt mobiles. I have a SSB rig ready to go when that happens. My CB handle is "Hard Times."
                      Yeah, I know I should. The local club has license classes once a month or so, and it's lots easier now that you don't have to do the -.. .- -- -. . -.. code, at least for the Tech license. 2 meters, here I come! I had heard about some of those "matchbox" CW rigs. Cute!

                      Ah, the CB days! I installed a rig in my county patrol car (which was assigned to me full-time) and went by the handle "Bear Trap", which amused the truckers (reference to Smokeys, as they called us). It was very useful to me in my work. Seemed like almost all of the residents in my part of the county had CBs and talked to me regularly, reported stuff they saw, etc. Once they helped me locate a stolen car. Of course, more than a few times I had to politely decline to answer their friendly "How about that one Bear Trap? Dogface here. Gotcher ears on, Trap? What's yer 20?"...just when I'd set up a particularly sneaky speed trap which I didn't care to advertise, especially since I knew that Dogface liked to put the pedal to the metal if he thought the coast was clear. They never minded when I'd reply, "Um, that's a negatory, Dogface. Catch ya on the flip side." Us CBers talk funny.

                      One thing I learned was the value of getting my CB antenna "tuned" professionally. It doubled my range, at least. The trouble is, are there still any radio guys out there who know how to do this? I don't know all the tech terms, but he used an SWR meter, I think it's called?, and it seems he adjusted the antenna with an allen wrench? It's been quite awhile since I watched him do it, obviously. Anyway, it sure made a difference in how that Cobra "cooked". I guess SSB is also good for distance but don't know anything about it. Can't you only talk to other sideband rigs? I wouldn't care for that. And another question - is anyone but truckers running CB these days? Seems like it's sort of gone out of favor.
                      Last edited by SecTrainer; 03-21-2011, 02:01 AM.
                      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                        One thing I learned was the value of getting my CB antenna "tuned" professionally. It doubled my range, at least. The trouble is, are there still any radio guys out there who know how to do this? I don't know all the tech terms, but he used an SWR meter, I think it's called?, and it seems he adjusted the antenna with an allen wrench? It's been quite awhile since I watched him do it, obviously. Anyway, it sure made a difference in how that Cobra "cooked". I guess SSB is also good for distance but don't know anything about it. Can't you only talk to other sideband rigs? I wouldn't care for that. And another question - is anyone but truckers running CB these days? Seems like it's sort of gone out of favor.
                        You can buy an SWR meter at Radio Shack that will work. Some radios, like my Cobra SSB, has an SWR meter built in that works pretty well. Using an SWR meter isn't hard to do, just follow the instructions that come with the meter. I'm using an 8 foot whip for an antenna, tuned to the center of the band (channel 20).
                        You can talk to AM CB operators with a sideband unit in the AM mode. Single sideband suppresses the carrier so you use less power and less bandwidth to get your signal out. AM uses twice the bandwidth that SSB uses. Most ham radio operators use SSB exclusively on the ham bands for that reason. Some hams like to use vintage AM rigs, but there aren't that many.
                        I don't even hear many truckers on the radio anymore. The bands are pretty quiet. I certainly don't miss the idiots playing music and whistling on the mic like the old days! I started in CB back when they still licensed CB operators. My old call was KAWK5821 but I never used it, preferring to use the "Hard Times" handle.
                        '73 and keep the shiny side up Good Buddy.
                        "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                          Ah, the CB days! I installed a rig in my county patrol car (which was assigned to me full-time) and went by the handle "Bear Trap", which amused the truckers (reference to Smokeys, as they called us). It was very useful to me in my work. Seemed like almost all of the residents in my part of the county had CBs and talked to me regularly, reported stuff they saw, etc. Once they helped me locate a stolen car. Of course, more than a few times I had to politely decline to answer their friendly "How about that one Bear Trap? Dogface here. Gotcher ears on, Trap? What's yer 20?"...just when I'd set up a particularly sneaky speed trap which I didn't care to advertise, especially since I knew that Dogface liked to put the pedal to the metal if he thought the coast was clear. They never minded when I'd reply, "Um, that's a negatory, Dogface. Catch ya on the flip side." Us CBers talk funny.
                          LOL. When we were kids, my parents would sometimes talk to us in CB code, which amused us to no end. Then, when my dad joined the FD, we would listen to the radio and we learned the 10 code. My wife thinks it's "adorable" (her word, not mine) that I occasionally still talk to my father in 10 code, especially over the phone.
                          The CCTV Blog.

                          "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

                          -SecTrainer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dial up redundancy.

                            Good post ten years ago.

                            POTS lines are going away. ATT reports cutting 700,000 per month since 2009. They estimate in 2014. they will be gone. It is a shame because we cannot learn from our mistakes. Being from Oklahoma during the May 3rd tornado of 1998, cell phones were useless. Everyone and their dog was on a cell phone talking and you couldn't get a signal even trying 911. The phone just said no signal when you turned it on.

                            Same thing with the Murrah bombing in 95.

                            Cable TV and satellite internet were present but crude because of low bandwidth. No one had internet phone. Telephones were the only thing that worked.

                            Imagine a small disaster without a public phone system.

                            Imagine the Japan earthquake in L.A. without a POTS line. The internet is not reliable and old telephone lines would come in handy.


                            Ham and short range CB's would rule. My handle is Snattlerake. We be 10-10 on the side...
                            I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              After yesterday's bus bombing in Jerusalem, all cell phones in the area were simply shut down. The police do this to prevent cell phone triggered secondary devices from taking out first responders.

                              My grandfather, aunt, and three cousins were all in the bus station at the time, but they had to get to a pay phone to call my parents and tell them they were okay (my parents are in Israel for my cousin's wedding).

                              Honestly, I don't even have a land line at home. My wife and I both have cell phones, I just can't see the utility in spending the... twenty bucks a month? What does a land line cost, anyway? But I'm reconsidering now.
                              The CCTV Blog.

                              "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

                              -SecTrainer

                              Comment

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