Destruction Aftermath, Book 1
Copyright© 2010 by radio_guy
"N4SAA, this is K0EGR, Michael, in Kearney, Nebraska. Please come in."
"Michael, this is Shirley. I have you five by six. We can read you. How are things where you are?"
"We are okay but there are only four of us. We need to join with more people. Go ahead."
"Michael, we have a good sized group here and I believe you would be welcomed. Please tell us the makeup of your group."
"I'm Michael and forty-two. My wife, Cindy, is forty-one. Our two children are Mike, eighteen, and John, who is sixteen. Our parents are both dead in accidents before the Day. We haven't found any of our uncles, aunts, or cousins. We are both only children and so have no siblings."
I nodded at Shirley. Janice and Michelle were both smiling happily. She said, "That's great! Michael, what did you and Cindy do before the Day?"
"I was a mechanical engineer working for a machining facility. Cindy was a dietician for a large company running their cafeteria and internal food services."
"Michael, I have to check with other family members in our community but would be shocked if there were a problem. My husband and I are also engineers. The area here is primarily farming and we are trying to form a community big enough to survive long term as technology ceases to be viable."
"That sounds good. We have been planning to leave for somewhere. We are in contact with one other family here or, at least, part of it and they want to leave also. The mother died of the virus but the father was an employee at the machine shop where I worked and is a great machinist. He has two teenagers, a girl and a boy. They would come with us, too."
"Michael, that sounds great! While I must still talk to the others, start the process of heading this way. I suggest that you use one or two trucks and mount HF and two meter radios in each of them. Please check in with us each night at eight o'clock eastern time on 3.970 on eighty meters."
"Roger, Shirley. We will do all of that and I will talk to you tomorrow evening. Michael, K0EGR, will be clear on your final. 73."
"73, Michael. Shirley clear and QRT."
She turned to me, "Wow! That will help things a lot!"
"Huh?" I intelligently replied.
"Think about Janice and Michelle." she whispered.
"Oh!" I responded. "It will good to get another engineer, a machinist, and a dietitian to help out with skills. It's a long way from Nebraska though."
Janice grinned at Shirley big time and she grinned back.
That was it for the day and we all disbursed to our homes and beds. Shirley and I said that we were going into town tomorrow to start our hunt for water wheel parts. As we went into our room, Janice said that she was going to work the radio for new contacts. As I loved Shirley that night, I had an appreciation of what Janice and some of the others were missing.
The next morning dawned with bright sun and we cleaned up and dressed. Janice was in the kitchen when we came in. We joined her for coffee and instant oatmeal. As I drank hot coffee and ate my oatmeal from the microwave, I realized how dependent we were in so many small ways for electrical power. We cleaned our bowls and cups and left Janice to call "CQ" for the day.
We went into Carrollton and stopped at a hardware store that also sold solar accessories hoping that they would have or would have leads on water wheel generation. We were in real luck as they had a small water wheel generator in parts complete in the back of the store. We would need more if we wanted to power more than our house. However, in reading the materials with the kit, Shirley and I ran the numbers and confirmed that it would work for us.
"Jack, once we get one working and are off the power grid, your folks and the rest will get on board."
"I agree, Shirl. Let's look at this as a pilot program. Eventually, we will wind up in Atlanta or somewhere for more or bigger pieces. I think if we can get bigger generators, we will have learn more about power generation because there would be more power than one farm would use. It would not efficient for one household to have a big generator."
We loaded what we found into my truck and headed home. Once there, we checked with Janice. She hadn't made any new contacts but had heard from Ollie. They were in a big SUV with radios and all their belongings headed our way.
They had seen no one in getting the SUV and supplies though they could see some signs of others scavenging. They figured two to three days for the trip. Her contact was on forty meters and they weren't sure they could get through on eighty meters tonight but would try and listen anyway. She said she told him she would call after the net on forty for him.
We unloaded the truck and I looked over two projects that needed attention. I decided to move on the computer project first because I could finish it quickly and others could do the rest of that work. Once that had begun, I figured to start on our dam and water wheel.
I told Shirley what I was going to do and went in the garage and got started. A few minutes later, Shirley and Janice came in and started helping. It was obvious that Janice knew a lot about computers. As she worked, she told Shirley and me that her school had a lab and she was allowed to work in it to help. She smiled sadly, "I performed oral sex on the teacher and he was always willing to have me help and to teach me about computers. I enjoyed learning about the computers and he was not nasty to me nor did he make a lot of demands upon me. I already had a reputation so it didn't really make any difference. My mom found out but didn't do anything after I asked her not to."
Shirley was close to her and gave her a hug. "Well, that won't happen again. Jack is a good man and has a jealous wife." She grinned. Janice's smile back was much less sad. We all continued to work and soon had everything hooked up and working. We set up the computers without passwords so using them wouldn't be difficult. I hooked up the router and connected it to our home connection to the internet. It all worked which was a nice surprise. It took so long because we had to put together desks and mount the computers for use. Shirley got our papers and laid a big subject page upon each desk.
She said, "With a page on each desk, you know what you should be working on and there will be little, if any, duplication of effort." I went over to one and started it up. I networked the units and set up a directory structure to ease the work. I also set up a central file for tracking what we were doing. It wasn't hard since I had done a similar thing before at Tech for a project.
I set up each computer this way. It was time for supper so the three of us went in and fixed our meal and ate. After cleaning up, we went into the radio room to prepare for the net. Shirley called CQ on different frequencies on a couple of the bands with no result. We started the net and everyone checked in. There were no problems and we could even hear Ollie though his signal was not strong. Michael checked in and told us he was getting ready to travel to us. Shirley looked at me and I said that they would be welcome. She told Michael that and his relief could be heard through the speaker. He said that it should be day after tomorrow before they would be ready to go. Cindy then came on the radio and talked with Shirley about our community and its size. She was glad to hear that we were growing and that there were other teenagers in our group. After a while, we signed off. We worked on the computers for a while and then headed for bed.
At breakfast the next morning, the three of us talked about projects.
"I think I need to start on the dam and water wheel." I said.
"We will help you when you need it, but we are going to work the radio and the computers. I am also going to call Mary to join us along with Charlie, Sylvia and Michelle. If Mary comes over, we should also get Robert and Ted." Shirley said.
"That works for me. I may need the guys for some muscle, too."
Janice spoke up. "What about the drive? We are wide open. Do you think that Sylvia and Michelle were the only ones who might check us out?"
"You're right." I said. "We need some type of security system. While this is quickly becoming a meeting center, we should get some type of early warning system. Shirl, what do you think?"
"We need access in and out. On the other hand, we could put together a passive warning system with motion detectors and cameras to cover the road and hide everything back in the brush. It does mean we will need to monitor it somehow and will need a procedure to use when an unknown does enter the property."
"What do you mean, Shirley?" Janice asked.
"Initially, I think covering the drive will be sufficient if we do it far enough from the house. Someone may turn on to our drive to check us out and stop just inside the tree line for cover. We need our sensors closer to the main road probably further from the house than the tree we had felled to balk Sylvia and Michelle. Then, we need to know what the sensors saw that set them off and a procedure to follow if the strangers are truly strange. I would like to know if someone we know is coming down the drive, but I really want to know if someone we don't know or expect is coming down. We know that some looting has occurred and some of those looters have been violent. We have a nice thing going here that someone might want."
"Also," I added, "there are two very pretty ladies who could attract attention simply by existing. I think that we need to have a group discussion on this. We are all affected by the possibility and should think it through."
"Jack, I should have thought about that some, too. On the other hand, we can't monitor every road into the area."
"I agree, Shirl. What we can do is set up some sensors and backup cameras on the roads from Carrollton and the interstate. People who are out searching will not try every farm road initially. They will come into town and use the main roads for that purpose. It's like when Robert and Mitch came in, Mary directed them using the main highways. Dad and I go a slightly different route from here to I-20 west and still another for I-20 east. They are quicker but you have to know them. Not even all the locals knew those roads."
"Okay, Jack. So, are there places where we can pick up sensors and cameras? How do we route the signals?"
Janice said, "Okay, we need to do some research. First, we need sensors and cameras for our little road. Then, we need to look at how we can cover other roads. Last, we need to have done all this yesterday! Waiting for someone evil to drive up will not be good."
"Agreed," I said, "and we will go in and start on this before we go on to other projects. It looks like the dam will wait. After all, the dam will not shoot at us."
We all went into the garage and started performing research on the computers. I went to the web site for a Carrollton store that handled security items. Janice went to a general net search and Shirley started to look at using radio equipment to handle transmission. "Jack," Shirley asked, "how many separate locations should we need?"
"Let me think." I said and paused for a moment. "One for here initially and figure on two more for later. All of those should be battery operated. For further out, umm, let's start with six but figure on more later."
"Okay. Thanks." She replied.
"After ten minutes of going over the web site, I had a list ready for a shopping trip for our drive's sensors and cameras. I called out, "I have a list for here. How are you two coming?"
Janice said, "If we have power lines, it's pretty easy and there are lots of products. With batteries or solar, it gets more difficult and there are fewer choices."
"That's very true." said Shirley. "We will have to have power initially for the more distant units or have to run transmission lines which really won't work. Fortunately, we can put the sensors and cameras out and run up to five hundred feet of line to the control points. The potential problem is that, at best, we will have to hunt around Atlanta for what we will need."
"Okay, let's put that off for a few days. We can go into Carrollton and get what we need for the house and get back and start the installation." Both Shirley and Janice nodded in agreement.
"Let's go, then." We went out and got in my truck. Shirley called on two meters to let folk know where we were going. We could go by my parents' house and I went by. We went in and visited a few minutes with my mom bringing her up to date on what was happening. She was happy to hear about Ollie and his daughter for she had concerns about medical people being needed. She admitted that she wanted some security for our area without it being too obvious. She said that she and my dad would help when or if we needed it. With a hug and kiss for each of us, we left her and went on in to Carrollton and our shopping.
In Carrollton, we went straight to the security company and to their stocks in the back of the building. We quickly found four cameras and three sensors that were battery operated. We also located control boxes, transmitters and receivers. We loaded everything into the truck and started out of town. I saw a truck coming but recognized it as Uncle Marshal's. We stopped in the middle of the street to talk. Things had been quiet and he was happy to hear our news about new residents as well as more coming. He was particularly happy to hear about two doctors coming to our community. We said our goodbyes and went home as he went about his errand.
Arriving at the house, we emptied the truck and I started to go over our sensors and cameras along with the manuals for their installation and operation.
"I knew he was smart, Janice." Shirley said. "He even reads instructions before he breaks things." Janice giggled and I blushed as I concentrated upon not looking at them while I carefully read how to put the sensors together and get readings from them. The sensors put out an electrical charge and we used that to trigger the cameras. It worked in the garage in testing. Now, we would have to pick our places and try it out for real.
The three of us loaded everything into the truck along with some more tools and headed out the drive. Our drive was long with an outgoing curve to the right. When you came to our drive from the road with our drive on the right, you would turn right into our drive or continue on and the road would curve to the left away from our property. We put a sensor and camera set about thirty feet in from the road before the curve started but into the tree line where it couldn't be seen. I had wished for an infrared camera but we would have to make do for now. We mounted the sensor and aimed the camera a little further up the road toward the house so a moving vehicle could be seen.
"Shirl, I have an idea. Why don't we put a little gate across right about here? You could see it from the road like it was intentional but it would be far enough in so we could set the sensor and carefully aim the camera to see who is opening or at the gate. Then we can set another sensor and camera pair to track anyone who comes in."
"I like it. What if we put an intercom here so guests could announce themselves?"
"It would work but would be a bit much even if we do have to get out to open the gate manually. I don't want to make it hard to get in. I just want to know when someone comes in so we can be prepared. I still want to think that there are few enough people around that looting well off the main roads isn't going to be a problem any time soon. As time goes on, we will have to be more careful about visitors coming in unannounced. Right now, the pickings are too easy to have to hunt for things."
"Jack, that's okay for now. Hmm! I have another thought. What if we set a sensor with a radio signal to catch us if we are followed?"
"What do you mean?" Janice asked.