This weekend I participated, with a group of fellow amateur radio operators, in an event called Field Day. Field Day is where you take your emergency equipment out and contact other amateur operators using that equipment. To increase emergency preparedness points are given to stations that use non-commercial power to energize their equipment, such as solar cells, batteries, portable generators. Just like you would use in a major disaster.

This is the first time in years that I have participated and there were lessons learned.

Lesson one is having good pre-planning. We had a plan for where each station would set up on our remote (well sort of remote) location. Except the plan was on the web and we had no internet connection at the remote location. Next time we will have a paper copy of the plan in hand. Why? One of the disaster we were simulating could be an outage or break down of the internet. Our phones are now run by and on the internet. Trucks are routed by the internet. Many police and other agencies have radios that synchronize with the internet. If the net goes down it will be a big disaster.

Lesson two, bring knife, fork, and spoon. We ended up without eating utensils. It’s a long story, but the person in years past that did the cooking could not make it this year. So next year we will have more than one person bring eating utensils. We also did not have salt and pepper. Oh, it ws rough out there. We sent one person out for pizza and they couldn’t find the pizza place. Next time we will have maps to the nearest pizza place.

We did have enough paper towels, but only because one person brought plenty. Need to share the load so if he doesn’t make it next year then someone else will have some.

We had plenty of antennas and radios. We did not have enough coax (a type of wire that connects radios to antennas) with the right connectors on the ends. Lesson learned, make up some jumper cables of various lengths. Check to make sure I have the right connectors on the coax to connect the antennas to my radios.

We had equipment failures and no circuit diagrams to help fix the equipment. Next time make sure everyone brings manuals for their radios, power supplies, and equipment. Have everyone read and then study their manuals. One group was off the air for hours because a switch had been bumped and the radio was in the wrong mode.

We barely had enough rope to guy the mast that hold up the antennas. Next time bring even more rope. We did mark the ropes and masts so next time there will not be as much confusion when putting up the antennas and their masts. I brought what  I thought was enough rope, but I was wrong.

The list goes on.

What does this have to do with writing Steampunk?

Do you have enough coffee or tea to keep you going if there is a big storm?

Do you have enough lighting so you can write well. What if the power goes out because a tree branch drops across a power line? Do you have spare batteries? Do you have a way of charging up your lap top if the power goes out.

Your writing is your life. Make sure you can write if things go wrong.

Do you have enough blankets if the power goes out and it’s cold outside?

Do you have enough food to last three or four days if you get stranded in your house or living space?

Do you have enough of the simple things like toilet paper if things go bad?

Do you have enough printer paper and toner cartridges? The office supply store could be closed by a disaster and Amazon may not be able to deliver even with drones.

It’s your writing, your life, your livelihood, and your passion; be prepared.

Stay strong, write on, be prepared.

Professor Hyram Voltage