Who are we trying to reach?

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by William Warren, Dec 28, 2013.


  1. I'm new here, so please excuse what might have been covered before: I didn't see any similar subject in the archives.

    As it happens, I know a lot about two-way communications, but that's not why I'm posting this. What I'm trying to figure out is just who I'm supposed to be communicating with during an event.

    Some communications are very useful in emergencies: those that tell us which roads are open, or where there is emergency shelter, gas, or food, for example. However, the question is "Which stations will have accurate information which they will share with me"?

    Broadcasts won't be very helpful during a civil emergency: the stations found out a long time ago that they can't suggest alternate routes in their traffic reports, because so many people would take their advice that, just be making the suggestion, the broadcaster would create a traffic jam. In addition, broadcasters aren't able to point us to food, shelter, or aid; their advice would overload any facility they mention. Not only that, but the government may mandate that all broadcast stations issue blanket denials of any problem, or "remain calm" messages, etc.

    Next on the list are family and friends, but here again the question is not only "Who has the real dope"?, but (more to the point) "Who has information that will help me"? They may tell you what they think is the truth, but they probably know only what the radio and TV told them, and so that's not likely to help.

    I'm sorry to ask such vague questions, but I think it's important to talk about this kind of thing before we go out and buy radios that can't put us in touch with someone who has what we'll need in an emergency.

    So, I'd like to talk about what a "prepper" network would be used for, instead of how to set one up. For every two people with two-way radios, the question isn't "Can they talk to each other?", but rather "Do they have anything to say to each other"?
     
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  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Excellent questions, WW. Some of that is why we are trying to get a comms method (more or less) in some kind of format that will work across the prep spectrum. Let's face it, if we cannot talk to each other, it makes no difference if we have something to say or not.

    Accuracy of info, well, that cannot be known early on. To my way of thinking, if I don't see it with my own eyes, or hear it from someone I trust, I will not pass it along as truth. I will be as interested in info that will help others as I am in info that will help me. YMMV.
     
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  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'm looking at comms as a way of getting the truth out, if there is another Ruby Ridge, or something of that nature. Some way to call for help, if I need it from someone I know, or to answer, if it is someone I know in need.
    When the twin towers when down, my sister was nearby, and left with no phones, and no transportation home. All public transport was shut down, and cell towers came down with the buildings! She was on foot, with no way to let us know if she was alive or dead.
    Family, truth, and knowledge, why else would you want comms?
     
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  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    In the sense of a militia or home defense group, you have scouts out reporting, with comms that gets it back to their local control. Local control needs a means of distributing that Intel to the regional eyes and ears... and from there a broad spectrum blast to those in the loop to do something about it, or be apprised of the situation in a tactical sense. Regardless comm's have an important contribution to society within any of those profiles to help one another.

    If you have established your comm's within your group, you are many steps ahead of those without any means of operating outside of their immediate AO. Start small and grow as you are able within your comm capability... think unit, company, and so on... and you will reach out to touch those that need to know..
     
  5. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    I think you bring up a very thoughtful and relevant point that I have not seen addressed to any great detail in any prepper forum before.

    You are wise in questioning the value of being able to reach beyond the day to day local comms needed within your own group or family. For my own purposes, I don't have much to say that any outsider would care about. It is much more important for me to hear than to be heard. I do have a full service ham radio station capable of worldwide communication. But if society implodes, what do I gain by talking to some dude in Brazil? Answer: Not a hell of a lot.

    However, it will be very useful to monitor local police and fire channels and know what they are doing. Both public and ham/utility transmissions may not be trustworthy, but it does mean something if they are all saying the same thing, or giving conflicting information, or information that I can independently verify as true or false. Taken as a collective whole, intercepted messages can be extremely beneficial. That's why I have several scanners and receivers but only one HF transmitter.

    To answer your question, I can't see myself doing a lot of transmitting to anyone outside of local family/friends in a SHTF scenario.


     
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  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    There are so many ways to more completely answer your question, I am wondering why someone didn't suggest the most obvious answer. You are new here and that along with survival suspicion of who newbies may be, might be why you didn't get a direct more informative answer. OPSEC here on this subject may be the issue, but I just did a search of "communications" and found 196 posts. The info you seek is here if you look for it. make sure you do not limit your search to a specific thread or forum. Uncheck those boxes if they are checked. Good luck finding what you are looking for.
     
  7. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Or click on the subforum "survival communications", then click on one of the three threads there, read it in its entirety and then move on to the next thread, etc etc. We have tons of archives with tons of info.
     
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

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  9. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Part of any communications group, be it prep related or not, is to get to know the folks on the air. It will become obvious rather quickly which ones are more...stable...than others. Chances are good that these are the folks that will be a treasure trove of info, rather than the person that is always stirring the pot and/or going off on wild tangents.

    There are also some that have links to local, state and federal EOCs and other sources of info...but take that data with a grain of salt.;)

    Bottom line I suppose is to determine your likely sources now, rather than after the fact.
     
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  10. That sounds like very good advice!

    At least in ham radio, I found out when I was a kid that other hams sounded a lot different on the air than they did during an "eyeball QSO", and (more to the point) many who talked a great game on the air turned out to be unable to follow through in the real world.

    It's one of those things that kids have to learn: folks not only sound different on the phone or the radio, they are different. It's one thing to know how to "stack" two beam antennas on paper, but quite another to be forty-six feet in the air trying to solder a PL-259 in November: theory never matches practice!

    The long and short of it is that, just like the ham bands, you can only rely on those whom you have met in person and whom you know, vice versa. The rest is just talk.

    William Warren
    (Insert witty .sig file here)
     
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    In. SHTF Senerio, there are two Mutually Exclusive ideas that must be considered in the Comms realm.
    1. Do you want to advertise your presents, via your RF Signature?
    2. What can you learn, from others, outside your local AoO?

    OPSEC says you should be very careful about revealing your location, by ANY means, including your RF signature. So, if you follow that, you should remain in Passive Mode, and gather what Intel you can by monitoring your local AoO. Public Safety, Ham, FRS/GMRS, CB, Marine, Aircraft, and of Course Broadcast Frequencies.

    However, if you have KNOWN members of a Group, both local and outside, you can increase your knowledge of the situation considerably by having SECURE Comms with known Members of your Group, or known Members of an Extended Group. This is the basic Premise of MonkeyNet. To facilitate SECURE Comms between Monkeys, that may be local, but much more likely to be widely separated. Using the SECURE Phones Units gives an outfit, local AoO Comms that are unScannable, and unDF'able. This gives a local Scouting Party a Giant advantage over any group with no, or UnSECURE Comms. Having SECURE Comms with known Groups outside your local AoO is a bit more tricky, in that HF Comms are pretty much all DF'able, but that only gets the OpForce so far, and does NOT get them inside your SECURE Messaging System. Therefore limiting the Intel gained thru monitoring. With HF Stations located in very REMOTE locations, that are in-assessable by roads, that can act as Hub Stations, for a network, lots of information can be disseminated with little chance of loss of OPSEC, locally. Always remember, the BBC One Way Broadcasts into Occupied Europe during WWII.

    .... There will always be some Good Folks around... The idea is to build a TRUST with them, before the SHTF...
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  12. Well, I wouldn't go out of my way to advertise my address, but my ham call sign is my address for anyone with a computer or Callbook, so that's a moot question.

    I don't know how much monitoring I'd be able to do other than my local ham radio repeater: public safety (at least in this area) is now encrypted using P25, and the old scanners are now able to receive only NOAA Weather broadcasts and a little ship-to-ship traffic on the VHF marine band. I've never heard anything on FRS but kids playing with vacation radios, although of course that might be different in other areas.

    I'm sorry to say that CB isn't usable in this area: the channels I can hear around my house are all just noise and squeals and obscenities. I have an emergency CB transceiver in the trunk of my car, just in case my cell phone is dead when something happens, and it came in very handy when I witnessed an accident on a remote road some years ago, but I don't think that CB is reliable for any distance longer than a few truck-lengths.

    I'm leery of setting up secure networks for prepper comms. Security adds brittleness, i.e., it makes things a lot more likely to fail, and it requires special-purpose radios and special training, both of which mean money that could be better used elsewhere. Most preppers who have been in the military have experience with secure comms, but not with the very large price of the equipment, and even for those with access to P25 radios which can be quickly reprogrammed and cloned, there will always be the question of what, exactly, we're trying to protect.

    Security is, in other words, one of the "How?" questions in prepper comms. It comes later, but I started this thread to begin a debate about the "Why?" and "Who with" parts of the problem. That we'll want to support our families is obvious; that we'll need friends is also clear. The question that I don't see being asked are the ones I want to talk about.

    William Warren
    (Insert witty .sig file here)
     
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

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  14. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    I'll leave the security aspect alone for now, since it isn't your primary concern in this thread...but BTPost's links are worth the time to read and digest. :)

    "Who" I personally communicate with for somewhat reliable info is a network of locals...three nets per week. Two go through our 2 Meter repeater (yes, there is redundant backup power, and a backup repeater on a separate tower) and one in on 10 meters. Additionally I have 2M packet to and from the NWS forecast office, several parish (county) EOCs, and the state office of homeland security. Alternate pathways are also in place for this system. This has taken time and, in all honesty, a sizable investment to ensure a network that can endure power outages and hurricanes, but the ability to remain on the air during times of trouble is worth it IMO. The memories of "normal" communications failures during Katrina, Rita, Ike and Isaac have not been forgotten...at least not in this area.
     
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  15. No offense, but I feel that's putting the cart before the horse. The prep spectrum, as I see it, is a lot of people like me who have more knowledge than money, and the biggest "force multiplier" I can think of is that I can think; about if I need to talk to a certain person or place before I spend the money and time to make it possible. I hope I'm saying that clearly.

    You're preaching to the choir on this one: we both know that we'll need lots of friends to survive any major catastrophe, and that we'll have to have a good history with them and long-standing relationships that benefit all involved.

    It's understood that info which helps others is as important as info that helps oneself, sometimes more so. Even for those with limited resources - e.g. no car, no way to help others "hands on" - they can still play a very important role as a switchboard operator, passing on what they hear to those who can make use of it. If we stiff our friends, they won't be our friends for long, will they?

    William Warren
    (Insert witty .sig file here)
     
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  16. I'm sorry: your reply makes me realize I haven't framed my thoughts as clearly as I had hoped.

    I, too, am part of various ham radio traffic nets, and we get on the air every week and pass messages. I understand that being prepared for EmComm is an important part of ham radio. However, those nets are already set up, and everyone involved is already trained to use them, by definition. I'd like to talk about the communications networks that preppers will need, and the (sometimes hard) questions we'll need to ask before designing them.

    What I'd like to talk about are the things we'll need to know before we think of how to set up a network:
    1. Are we able to talk to people who will depend on us?
    2. Are others able to reach us? (Seems redundant, but it is a separate question)
    3. How can we bridge the gaps?
    4. How much is it worth to prepare the network we think we'll need?
    William Warren
    (Insert witty .sig file here)
     
  17. Thanks for the suggestion. I did the same search, and I'll pass along a list of some posts I found, with my comments on each.
    (Apologies to the moderators if I'm doing this in a non-standard way.)

    What Preppers Should Know About The Communications Network. | Survival Monkey Forums
    Concerns PSTN reliability. If the phones aren't working, then we'll need a prepper network.

    A Governmental Conspiracy So Vast..... | Survival Monkey Forums
    About NSA monitoring, not prepper communications networks, and the NSA has been listening for years. It's not a conspiracy, and it's too vast to do anything about, so why agonize?

    The Unwelcome Sign | Survival Monkey Forums
    Work of fiction

    Spread spectrum started with a skin flick .. In 1933 | Survival Monkey Forums
    It may have started with spread arms, for all we know. This is about "how", not "why ?", or "should we?".

    How does the NSA break SSL? | Survival Monkey Forums
    I could write a book, but the way NSA monitors isn't germane to the question of how preppers
    will decide on the networks we'll use and the best ways to set them up.

    Search Results for Query: communications | Survival Monkey Forums
    Computers are immune to decryption /now/, provided they're using a valid algorithm, but
    that's not what I'm asking about.

    Did you know..... Little Know Facts in US Communications Law | Survival Monkey Forums
    I think they're "little known" for a reason ... ;-)

    Pilots flying Boeing’s massive 747 Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport yesterday ........
    (Not about comms, just included for completeness)

    Fourth Amendment - smart phones can help the JBTs send you to prison | Survival Monkey Forums
    Your life can be profiled by traffic analysis, but that's not about prepper comms. What, by the way, are "JBTs"?

    Fear of the Dark | Survival Monkey Forums
    Not about comms in any way related to the "IF?" and/or "WHY?" questions. Power
    grid reliability is a serious issue, but it's outside the prepper sphere.

    Military Bunker Missile Silo Base Communications Center Home House Kansas City Area
    (Not relavent)

    Darkmail: Most Impenetrable Email Ever? | Survival Monkey Forums
    This is just PGP with a public-relations spin. PGP is over thirty years old, and there is open-source software compatible with it, called GPG, that is free-as-in-speech. BTW, the answer is "No": the NSA has not broken PGP if users pay attention to the underlying algorithms.

    This network depends on the Internet, so it doesn't really matter, although it's possible to make your own "darknet", for free, with GPG and ordinary email clients: prepper comms can't depend on email, or at least not on the Internet as we know it. It's something to talk about if there's a group of hams with TNC's and a BBS, but that's not going to be a common occurance, and hams aren't allowed to encrypt anyway.

    Coded Communication
    (included for thoroughness, but not applicable. Having a code won't help when you're
    trying to locate a supply of baby formula or medicine.)

    Google Accused of Wiretapping in Gmail Scans | Survival Monkey Forums
    Quoting Scott McNealy: "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." (I'm not allowed to post external links yet, but a Google search will turn up the citation I used from Wikipedia.) Not applicable to prepper comms in any case.

    NIFOG Document...... | Survival Monkey Forums
    The info in NIFOG (a.k.a. National Interoperability Field Operations Guide) is about interoperation between public agencies, so it's not about prepper comms.

    Big brother errrm... make that the school system is watching you.... | Survival Monkey Forums
    They say "Even paranoids have enemies". It's not applicable to prepper comms, though.

    TOR - Uh Oh | Survival Monkey Forums
    TOR is a nice idea, but doesn't apply to prepper comms.

    Free... MultiScan 3B SSTV made for Mac | Survival Monkey Forums
    There are some things preppers can do with sstv, but it's a low-bandwidth mode and it doesn't deliver anything like actual TV resolution. Suitable for scanning runner ID numbers at marathon check points, etc., but I don't see much use in prepper comms.

    Digital Comms for the Survivalist | Survival Monkey Forums
    Well, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of encrypting ham traffic, or running without a license, but TNC's are both reliable and plentiful, as are HT's. There's also an element of stealth, since scanners hear only the data burst and most listeners would just hit the "lockout" button after the second or third time. It's still a "How?" question.

    GPS Jammer, Busted......... | Survival Monkey Forums
    This incident shows how people fight back when their boss puts a "tattler" on the company vehicles to keep track of mobile workers, and it's something to be aware of if you're in that situation and you need to "reroute" your company vehicle to pick up prepper supplies or transport people your boss doesn't want to know about. The jammers are expensive and illegal, though, and there are "social engineering" ways to get the same result. But, as with other posts, it's about tactics, not planning.

    The Sun's Magnetic Field is about to Flip | Survival Monkey Forums
    Happens every solar cycle. No practical value.

    Liberty’s Backlash | Survival Monkey Forums
    I thought our constitution protected me from unreasonable searches. The NSA's mission,
    however, isn't about prepper comms.

    Digital Chinese HT's with encryption | Survival Monkey Forums
    Encryption is a tactical tool, but it's not viable for prepper comms. I'm trying to get people talking about who should be involved, not "how".

    Feds Tell Firms to Turn over User Passwords, Including Encrypted Ones | Survival Monkey Forums
    The internet isn't germane to prepper comms. Maybe to prepare for situations where a prepper comms network is needed, but not during actual events, when it will likely be down.

    Town Wants to Let Hunters Shoot Down Drones | Survival Monkey Forums
    Sounds like someone on the town council was up for reelection and wanted some free publicity.

    U.S. FACES BRAND-NEW CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS | Survival Monkey Forums
    Nothing the ordinary guy can do about that. Plus, it's not related to prepper comms.

    Detroit Trunked Comms, crashes and burns.... again...... | Survival Monkey Forums
    Trunked systems suck. They are brittle, too complicated, and a lot more expensive than the older analog radios they replaced. Not for preppers, although analog ham repeaters are an option.

    Yet another reason for Linux and open source software | Survival Monkey Forums
    Linux is nice, especially if someone wants encryption that the NSA hasn't buggered, but the subject of prepper comms has to be done at a lower level before we get into discussing PC's.

    Need More Sheriffs like this | Survival Monkey Forums
    No, Pandora, I DON'T want to open that box ...

    more LEOs behaving badly | Survival Monkey Forums
    Doesn't have anything to do with prepper comms.

    Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau | Survival Monkey Forums
    AFAICT, it's about allocating the 700 MHz public-safety channels in a way that allows different radios and different PSAP's play nicely with each other. I doubt it would affect prepper comms.

    Fourth Amendment - The Truth Shall Keep Us Free!! | Survival Monkey Forums
    Snowdon and the NSA revalations. Big brother is watching us. Who thought he wasn't?

    Verizon(NSA/USA) offers 700m for Canadian Wireless Wind Mobile(Egypt) | Survival Monkey Forums
    Cellular isn't something preppers can depend on.

    Just because the local police | Survival Monkey Forums
    Traffic analysis is an art, and it's for experts. Anyway, encryption isn't for prepper comms.

    Obamacare's Army | Survival Monkey Forums
    Not about prepper comms.

    if u had and extra 500 USD | Survival Monkey Forums
    "What prepping items would you purchase besides GUNS AND AMMO????" I'd
    forego the guns and look into getting some extra canned goods. Maybe a waterproof copy of the Bible, but that's really a luxury.

    Fourth Amendment - Big Business and Your Privacy | Survival Monkey Forums
    The NSA hires contractors. Eisenhower warned us about the Military-Industrial complex.
    Nothing about prepper comms.

    Gear Review for the Kenwood TS-590 HF Radio... | Survival Monkey Forums
    OK, at last an article that says something about prepper comms. The nice thing about ham
    radios is that they are interoperable by definition, and any computer interfaces can be
    bypassed in favor of a push-to-talk switch if you don't have a computer. Of course, specific radios
    aren't nearly as important as knowing who is behind the mike ...

    Best commo options without a license? | Survival Monkey Forums
    Truth be told, licenses are relative: in a widespread emergency, nobody will be checking. I'm not advocating getting on a ham set without a license, but anyone in danger of life or limb can use one without it.

    With that said, I'd recommend getting one: whether you're a prepper or a relative of a prepper, it's a much easier way to go about prepper comms.

    The Earl Tablet... an interesting Comms Device | Survival Monkey Forums
    I'd much rather have ten simple handi-talkies available than one complicated one-of deus ex machina. YMMV.

    Freedom of the Press No More | Survival Monkey Forums
    Not applicable to prepper comms.

    Are All Telephone Calls Recorded? | Survival Monkey Forums
    Probably. Not germane to prepper comms, though.

    Threat Coming To The Door- What Do You Take | Survival Monkey Forums
    No offense, but if it were me, I'd take a chill pill and stop anticipating the apocalypse.

    It doesn't do any good to set up "straw men" scenarios that have no realistic answer outside of a Hollywood scriptwriter's office. They just detract from the time available to deal with real problems, and discourage people from taking the steps to be ready for things they really can do something about.

    In Pogo's immortal words - "We have met the enemy, and he is us": let's keep the doom and gloom down to a low level, you know?

    'Dead for now:' CISPA halted in the Senate | Survival Monkey Forums
    Not about prepper comms.

    Three Tragedies | Survival Monkey Forums
    Not about prepper comms.

    iDen/ISm Secure Comms.... UpDate... | Survival Monkey Forums
    Secure comms isn't a good idea for preppers IMHO. YMMV, but it's another
    cart-before-horse kind of thing: /who/ you'll talk to has to come before
    /how/.

    Saw this at survival blog... | Survival Monkey Forums
    "Most preppers are integrating some type of VHF/UHF communications into their plans."
    Some possible ways to pass info. More /how/, but I still want to talk about /who/ and /why/ first.

    Grew up a little today (at least I think) | Survival Monkey Forums
    Facebook isn't about prepper comms. It may be about keeping your prepper assetts to yourself, though, but that's a down-the-road issue. I want to look at the basics.

    We all grow up a little every day - the trick is to keep growing straight.

    Mid-long range wireless mesh data comms. | Survival Monkey Forums
    Mesh networks are another /how/ subject: how-to communicate using computers tied to radios, etc.
    The OLPC project includes mesh capability in every laptop, and there are many examples of mesh
    networks being used to share Internet bandwidth. Those working on the "How" subjects can
    do a lot of good work on mesh networks.

    What "Doomsday" are you prepping for? | Survival Monkey Forums
    "Righthand" poses an important question, and the title says it all. The first step, to my mind,
    is to decide on what you're willing AND ABLE to face, and after that the "how" questions are
    fairly easy to answer.

    This is where I stopped going through the archives. There are a lot of posts about "how", but very few about "why" or "who", and those are the questions that must be answered first. They are also the toughest ones: nobody wants to admit that they don't have as many friends as they'd like, that they're not going to be invited to the city hall basement to get their share of the emergency rations, or that they won't be part of any decision-making process other than their own.

    That's the denial phase: let's try to get by it quickly.
     
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  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

  19. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually the answer is: " A Modified, Yes....." The GPG/PGP Encryption System has been cracked, Period. The modification to that statement is that it took 10 Months, and was done by a couple of Hundred Thousand distributed computers, all working on the same problem, in a Virtual Online effort. It was widely Reported thru out the Encryption and Cypher World, a few years back. Which prompted the move to 2048 Bit KeySets, and better Random Number Generator Algorithms. It is just NOT practical, or timely, for Realtime Message Cracking, YET. HOWEVER there has been considerable speculation on the NSA's New Dedicated Multi-Million Node Cypher Cracker, that this may actually make 2048 bit KeySets vulnerable, in less than a Month of computational Processing. ...... YMMV.....
     
  20. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    That was done well @William Warren though I am sorry for the wasted time you endured with those futile threads... and not providing you the nugget of wisdom you were searching for.[applaud] Either way I am sure you are a smart fella, which your initial post did bring up a great subject.

    I do not think there is a simple answer to your question, of who one should be communicating with to get the information needed in an emergency. Each person has a different set of circumstances due to their location (urban/rural), communications skill sets, social presence within their local community and so on. I think one of the most important ways to find out who to have in your communications group, is via networking in your local groups you participate in, and of course you can take that to the next level regionally and nationally. Any group may have someone that you trust, has a set of skills relevant to your needs, knows your local AO/community leaders or key folks...that could keep you apprised of activities, conditions, resources through sitreps and so on. The time is now to work on those relationships in whatever is the best method for you. Some are social butterflies that run amongst many circles, other talk across the airwaves & then their are others that watch/learn/share intently and pick out deliberate partners to communicate with, within their means available.
    YMMV
     
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