Mike from Tactical Wood Gas (Transcript)

(Full Show Audio)

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Alright folks, the Download Button of Survivalist Podcast. Today we have a special show today

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because I’m going to play an older episode that I have from Mike from Tactical Wood Gas. I interviewed

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him a while back in another podcast that I do and I’m gonna play that for you guys today. And sorry

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we were off this past week but had a lot of stuff going on. But we are back and like I said this is

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an episode with Mike from Tactical Wood Gas. It’s about a 45 minute episode or so. Again you can find

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all of our old episodes at survivalistpodcast.org. Also to go on iTunes and rate and review the show.

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We are up to about 50 or so reviews so I appreciate you guys keep doing that. The more reviews we get

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the higher up the show goes on iTunes. So I do appreciate that very much. And like I said I want

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to thank you guys as always for listening and we will see you on the next episode. Again this is a

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really great episode with Mike from Tactical Wood Gas. He does a wonderful job with talking about

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alternate power sources and all that and he really did a wonderful job and a great episode with me.

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Like I said it’s Mike from Tactical Wood Gas and we appreciate him being on the show and as always

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I want to thank all of you guys for listening and we will see you on the next episode. Thank you.

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Again this is Mike and he is from… Well Mike why don’t I let you tell us a little bit about your

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company and what you do. Okay yeah we’re in the Pacific Northwest. We do all our manufacturing

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outside of Spokane, Washington just on the Idaho border. And a big thing that in our personal

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preparations my family and I and my brother and I who are confetti with me on this realized was

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that energy was a big shortcut. We had our food, our cooking ability, our first aid, things to help

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family and friends. But a lot of convenient things work out when you have energy. And I had a kind of

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awakening a few years ago when I discovered that I had diabetes. And for a while there I was on… It looked like

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type 1 and I was on all kinds of insulin and it had to be refrigerated and I thought oh crap you know

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this is something that has to be resolved. From a health standpoint I got pretty drastic and

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moved into type 2 and now I’m off my meds. But you know still it woke me up to the need for power for a lot of

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things. For people who don’t have the option of their type 1 or they’ve got children with special

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medicines or things like that where you really really can’t have the temperature to get out of control

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without some help from social. So we looked at you know what are our options. We looked at generator

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first of all. And you know that makes sense to me and how to start small engines and look there and do that sort of thing. But my brother-in-law and I

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travel for work a lot. And neither of our wives were fans of pulling on cords to get engines

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back. So we actually looked at it and switched over to battery banks. And that’s kind of what…

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you know there’s several products that we come out with that we think are a little bit unique. But it’s all about you know we solve our own problems.

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We let you know first of all by trying to buy it. And we couldn’t find what we wanted so we went and looked at how do we do it and we figured it out and we brought it out.

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So I guess the big first thing was we’ve got hogs, we slaughter, we got chickens, we’ve got cattle. And we’ll do that in

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basically the week of Thanksgiving. And so we’ll have a year’s worth of meat put away. And between the families involved it’s thousands and thousands of dollars worth of meat.

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And once that comes back up and it warms up it goes bad pretty quick. So the big thing to do is we put four batteries together in a big battery bank, put an inverter on it which takes the 12 volt DC, turns it to 120 volt unless you’re running the generators.

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Or your appliances rather. And in Spokane where we do our manufacturing we have this last year like one official tornado and two funnel clouds that you know did enough damage.

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They were knocking down you know high-pitched wires and such. We were able to put it to the test. We had it to the test. So three freezers and a refrigerator and a heat lamp for some chicks that needed to stay warm otherwise they were going to die.

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Were all powered for 12 hours off that battery before we had to blow and charge it. So what we thought is let’s bring out a single battery with a charger and an inverter built into it so that someone who’s maybe a little less technology oriented or kind of in strength is looking for a solution to solve their problem.

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Do you, Brandon, have a battery bank as part of your preparations?

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I do have several batteries set up here. Mostly to run my ham radio unit and things of that nature. But we do have two generators set up that are for battery backup for running our refrigerators and some other essentials that we’ll need.

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My mother is actually a dialysis patient so it’s very important for us to have a generator here so she can run her machine. I got a bit of any type of outage or anything like that. So that’s one of the reasons why it brought me to your product actually.

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Right. So, yeah, for things like saving your food or things like dialysis where you’re keeping people alive, the energy that’s stored in lead-acid batteries is just enormous. What we recommend and we set up the battery bank kit for is a Model 29B 12 volt. It’s a deep cycle marine/RV battery.

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It’s the Walmart chasm for like, I don’t know, $85, $90, something like that. We call it a kit because the battery itself is quite heavy. And shipping, you know, basically shipping it to us, us assembling the thing into the kit and then shipping it out would basically double the price of the product.

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We put three videos up on the site and it shows basically how to select a battery, what amp hours are versus peak hours and old cranking hours.

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There’s a lot of, basically the more they throw out something that’s not amp hours, the more you know that the amp hours are actually proving. We took a look and you see how we’re priced compared to our competitors and we didn’t really find any competitors because none of them put out amp hours.

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That means they’ve got little exit signs on theaters that have the little lead-acid 7 amp hour batteries in there. That’s what they’re putting in this. There’s a power guy who refers to them as the mythical light-saver battery.

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There’s no such thing. If it’s got 100 amp hours in it, it weighs 70 pounds, it’s full of lead and it’s full of acid and there’s no way around it.

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So this is a neat little kit that all you’ve got to do is go out and get your RV deep cycle battery, stick it in the box. The video shows, you just know the plus goes on the plus, the minus goes on the minus, so you tighten it up with a wrench and plug it in the wall.

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There’s a couple of things that we did with that. One of them is we stuck a microprocessor controlled charger on the thing. It only does 2 amps.

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So for a 122 amp hour battery, it doesn’t take a while. In fact, it will time out about 80 hours and it will say, “Oh, it must be a bad battery.” If you drain it down to 50%, which is all the inverter will let you drain it down.

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You’ve got to, about 8-10 hours into it, it will say, “Oh, there’s some wrong with the battery.” You unplug it, replay it back in and it will keep on going at 200 amps.

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But the easiest thing to do is, since there’s one battery that’s in the box, it’s all stuffed with games. You unplug it from the wall, pull it out to your car, use your jumper cables, and you’ve got a separate video that explains that.

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You just run your car for 45 minutes with jumper cables down to the thing and bring it back in. On the dialysis, I don’t have close contact with anybody on that. How many times a day do you need to use that? Do you know anything about the wattage that requires?

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I believe she runs it for 3 hours a day. I’m positive of that. She actually does the hemodialysis. The other thing with that is that it runs off just a regular 12 volt that plugs right into the wall. So, 120 volts or whatever, I believe.

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Right, okay. And the wattage, you’re not sure what the wattage would be on that thing?

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I probably could look. The machine has tons of writing on it. I probably could look under the machine and see. I mean, it is writing on this thing for everything. They have a support number. I probably could find out with a very little effort if I really want to. I’d be curious myself, actually.

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Yeah, I was going to look for an example that would be kind of meaningful. So, 122 amp hours is a fully charged big RV type 29 battery. And the deeper you discharge it, the more you degrade the light.

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So, the best thing to do is don’t discharge it more than half way before you recharge it. Now, the inverter that’s part of this kit that’s built into it, basically an alarm will go off saying, “Hey, you can go recharge your battery.” So, you don’t have to worry about, “Do you need to charge it?” There’s an alarm that does that.

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And then, so, we’re looking at really usable before you want to recharge it. We’re looking at about 60 amp hours. And so, that’s really 700 watt hours. So, if you had a 100 watt little liquid pump to pump the blood transfusion through, that would give you, what, six, seven hours.

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So, you could do two full cycles of dialysis before you had to go recharge it.

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I can just ask you one question. Now, I know you’re saying don’t discharge the batteries more than half way. Now, I know they say for battery health, you’re supposed to discharge a battery.

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I think they sell us on our ham radio rigs that we’re supposed to discharge them fully, maybe once every six months to keep them healthy. What is the life of a battery in the situation where you’re only discharging them half way?

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I’m just curious about battery life and all that, even if you’re not discharging them all the way.

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Yeah, so we’ve got battery banks, because we’ve been at it, you know, better years old. And, you know, I really don’t, I’d have to look into the science behind deep discharge of a battery.

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Because what I’ve read really doesn’t align up with that. So, now, you may be referring to a NiCAD, and those have memories, and if you don’t do a deep discharge on that, to kind of reset it, it will charge part way up, and then you don’t get much use out of it.

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So, it could be that NiCAD, what’s true for NiCAD was kind of lumped in with the lead acid in the night. I’m not sure that that may be true.

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Now, you know, I’ll be watching the comments, I guess, in your post to see if people can point me to how wrong I am on this. And if so, great, because, you know, I don’t pretend to be the guru and expert on all things.

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If people are wanting to correct me on that, please do. More knowledge is better, and, you know, do your thing.

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Well, this will also be up to, by the way, on our site, thetechnologygeek.org, under our videos, as well as in our podcast version. So, if I do get any comments there, I’ll forward them over to you.

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I’m sure there’s some hams right now listening that are probably either going to need more clarification like that, which is perfectly fine.

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So, some other things, too. I’m looking on your site. I see you do have a backpack, like a backpack-type setup where you can actually hook a radio to that. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

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Right. So, there’s, well, it’s more of a bug out when it’s a larger ammo can. You’re talking about the tactical.

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Yeah, and the reason why I’m bringing that up is I actually tweeted a link, our link out, probably maybe two or three days ago to let them know we’re having an interview.

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And that was the number one question, is he going to talk about that? So, that’s why I’m bringing that up.

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Okay. Sure. Okay. So, that one has a smaller battery because it’s designed to be a little lighter, a little more, you know, you can strap it onto a pack and bring it into a cabin.

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You can, you know, hike it up through a hill. You know, I would recommend not holding it by hand, but, you know, the old military alice packs that have the shelf for putting on military radios.

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You know, I’d put it on something like that because it’s about 40-ish pounds. And so, hiking up a hill with just that, you know, you want your hands free.

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Okay. So, what do we have with that guy? In that case, in order to fit inside the can, the ammo can, we’ve got a long tractor bed.

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So, it’s really sitting about 35 amp hours of capacity. So, it’s, you know, a lot of it is longer.

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What is that one like weight-wise?

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Oh, the whole thing, including the battery, sits at about 40 pounds.

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That’s not too bad, though, for a set like that. I’ve ran into ones that are a lot heavier than that. That’s actually not too bad weight-wise.

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Yeah. Yeah. It depends on what you call tactical. You know, for me and, you know, my background early on, this is the thing that I’ve been talking about.

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When I was in the Marine Corps, I got into a unit where, you know, I basically had waterproof and HF radio.

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We’d swim into shore. We’d kind of sneak past the boots to benches and get up on a hill and stick a little whip in the air and call in intel to perform, you know, enemy strength and movements.

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And then do close air support as, you know, the landing happens.

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And, you know, so that’s my most tactical, you know, where you can carry all your gear, all your food and everything.

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And so that solution for me really is right here. This is a KX-3 aircraft.

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If I flip it up here.

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That’s a beauty right there. For those of you that are watching.

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Yeah, let me bring it up a little closer.

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My camera hanging up here.

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Okay, so, yeah, this is an aircraft KX-3. On the back, I put a, this is an Anker 10 amp hour battery.

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Although 10 amp hour at 5 volts at USB.

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But it happens to have an optional output. It’s got the USB for your phones, but it’s got a little 12 volt output.

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And so that comes around. I’ve made a short little pigtail to get it into the radio.

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So I can run this thing for hours and hours on that.

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So that’s the most tactical.

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So if I’m doing, you know, long range heights and, you know, where I’ve got plenty of gear.

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I’ve got all my food and all my stuff to keep warm.

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Or, you know, if I’m doing a snowshoe, you know, and I like to set up the, well the most fun is an igloo, but it’s kind of big for one person.

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So mostly snow caves. And do a snow cave, run a, you know, a feed line out to a dipole.

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That’s what I care. So that’s the most tactical.

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The next level of, you know, closer to kind of the car camping is something like this tactical battery pack.

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This is something where you can throw it onto a bag, you know.

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If you’re going to go and set up a hilltop relay and you’re going to bring out, you know, you may take three, four trips to get your food, your beer, your equipment all up there.

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This is the solution for you, I think.

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It’s got the, it’s got an 800 watt inverter.

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So in case you’ve got any AC stuff that you’ve got to have up there running.

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It’s got a USB for recharging batteries or, you know, even like the newer Anker’s charger, I think, the USB micro.

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You can get the thing up there.

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It’s for those who are worried about, you know, the more extreme things, you know, it’s a, it’s a full metal pan that’s sealed.

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When the lid is on, it’s fairly, so you don’t have EMP or criminal mass ejection issues.

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Now, if I get a lot of flames on EMP proof, my brother-in-law does this with me, is an FAA certified avionics tech who’s done just tons of military stuff.

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And has done actually quite a bit of research on this.

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So he’ll go toe-to-toe on something that says that, you know, unless they invent a new type of EMP, this battery box would be just fine.

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And then, of course, you’ve got the 12 volts to run straight off the thing.

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And then you’ve got an inverter there for any equipment you need up there that just has to run on a 120 volt.

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It’s got cigarette lighter ports, so you could have multiple rechargeable mobile devices on your laptop.

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I waited and waited for something with a, you know, built-in USB port, nice and light for backpacking.

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And the new 8-inch Windows tablet.

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So the one I’m on right now, if I could use, an Acer IKONIA W4.

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And it’s just been awesome.

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I was kind of jealous of my wife’s iPad keyboard.

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It has, you know, a nice tight fit, everything’s kind of built for it.

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But there’s so many Windows tablets that there’s kind of no one standard.

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So I got a Belkin Bluetooth keyboard for the thing.

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It’s got these bungee cord things that are supposed to hold the tablet and they don’t work at all.

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So you cut those things off and use double stick velcro and you stick the thing on there.

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And then actually my tablet is being charged through this conversation with, there’s a new anker.

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The old guys here, these were my standby and I’ve got like, just as backups, only did two amps.

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But that’s going to barely charge the tablet.

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So anker’s got a new 4-amp version and that’s actually velcroed on the backside of my Bluetooth keyboard stand here.

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And that’s part of the tactical thing.

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I don’t expect any kind of issues here in the United States.

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But coming from having a radio set up and having to collapse it and pack it up and get out of there really fast from the change to me,

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it’s kind of led me to design things that can still do that.

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Actually that was in Korea, just south of the DMZ.

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We were on a hill doing some, basically, sitting with some binoculars and keeping track of what was going on.

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And basically some troops came up the hill and chased us off.

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And I basically had to tear down a dipole and get in my pack and run down the other side of the hill ahead of those guys.

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So everything that I have is designed to either cut and leave or tear down real fast.

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So your set up would have made your time in the military a lot less intense, huh?

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Oh yeah. What I have now, my Elecraft, and it sits in a nice scuba dry box.

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I can’t say the headaches of pee, it was just in the pack there.

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My whole entire set up weighs less than one of the batteries I used to have to carry.

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It was ANPRC-104. It was just a big piece. And the batteries were literally fixed.

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So yeah, if I had this back then, I would have been sweet.

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Those things were only like 25 watts. The Elecraft was 10, but since I do a lot of PSK-35 binhole mode on the jet,

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you can punch through a lot just like most of it.

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Now let me ask you another question. Do you charge this thing fully?

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Do you get your batteries charged fully?

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Realistically, if you had to, how long could you get out of a charge if you were hiking or something like that

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before you even need to recharge running with the set up that you have?

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You’re talking about the Elecraft one? Or are you talking about the tactical battery pack, the 40-pounder?

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Well, let’s say both.

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Okay. So with the tactical wood-based gas, tactical battery bank there, if you’re running, oh, let’s say,

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I think 25% duty cycle. And if you’re going to have that guy there, you’re probably, like for me,

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if I have that battery pack, I would be bringing my Yaesu FD 8×7, which can do 100 watts.

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But if you’re doing 20%, I’d say you could get 14 hours, 16 hours of pretty heavy duty.

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The scenario, I guess that’s not a good scenario.

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The scenario in my head was you’re on top of the hilltop and you’re calling close air support

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and you’re bringing your phone back in town, basically you’re on the thing all the time.

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With that battery, I’d expect to get 12, 14 hours of use, I would think.

00:23:23.120 –> 00:23:27.120
And that’s as soon as you don’t just peg the thing at 100 watts.

00:23:27.120 –> 00:23:31.120
You would use the power that you need to get to where you need to go.

00:23:31.120 –> 00:23:36.120
I didn’t mean to cut you off. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

00:23:36.120 –> 00:23:43.120
Okay. And then the fourth, gosh, I haven’t actually run one of these anchors dry before I thought,

00:23:43.120 –> 00:23:49.120
let me just re-charge it. Because it’s only 10 watts, and sometimes you can bring it down.

00:23:49.120 –> 00:23:53.120
I’ll put it down to 5 watts and I’ll just do the PSK step on it.

00:23:53.120 –> 00:24:00.120
And I turn the backlight off, especially when I’m remoted into it from my tablet.

00:24:00.120 –> 00:24:05.120
You don’t need to have a light on there because it’s displayed on the FODG or Henry A.

00:24:05.120 –> 00:24:13.120
Gosh, that’s the 10 amp hours. I probably only want to use 6 or 7.

00:24:13.120 –> 00:24:25.120
So that’s about 7 hours. Maybe 7 hours of use before I pull it off and do the other one.

00:24:25.120 –> 00:24:34.120
Or an alternative. It’s a long trip. I’m bringing a cooking pot with me anyway.

00:24:34.120 –> 00:24:39.120
This one happens to have a USB output. I don’t know if you’ve seen these power pots,

00:24:39.120 –> 00:24:46.120
but let me hold it up kind of close there. It’s got an aluminum bottom and then it’s got a Peltier junction.

00:24:46.120 –> 00:24:53.120
And then it’s got the pot. And it works in reverse of the way those really small refrigerators cook.

00:24:53.120 –> 00:25:00.120
And a Peltier junction is something that if you put current through it, it takes heat from one side and pushes it to the other side.

00:25:00.120 –> 00:25:05.120
Which is exactly what you want for a refrigerator. But they did the opposite here.

00:25:05.120 –> 00:25:12.120
What you do is you put cold water in the pot, you put a fire under it, so you get a temperature differential.

00:25:12.120 –> 00:25:17.120
And so what your Peltier junction does is it works in reverse. It actually puts out, ah, you know,

00:25:17.120 –> 00:25:24.120
if you’ve got really cold water, especially like in the snow, you’ve got like ice-y cold water and a nice fire underneath it,

00:25:24.120 –> 00:25:29.120
you can get an amp out of it. As the water warms up, the temperature difference is less and so the power goes down.

00:25:29.120 –> 00:25:33.120
But anyway, this is how I charge the anchors in the field.

00:25:33.120 –> 00:25:41.120
Especially when I’m in coastal Washington where there’s plenty of rain and plenty of clouds.

00:25:41.120 –> 00:25:47.120
When I’m on the east side of the mountains, I just have a little gold-rilled solar thing.

00:25:47.120 –> 00:26:00.120
Solar I guess I’m not as much a fan of, other than, you know, if it’s only got, it’s gold, right?

00:26:00.120 –> 00:26:07.120
But what I’ll do is I’ll use the Gold Zero to charge my spare like all day long.

00:26:07.120 –> 00:26:11.120
And then that’ll be my battery for tomorrow while I’m using the one.

00:26:11.120 –> 00:26:17.120
When I use, after I install it, I bring two of my little batteries back.

00:26:17.120 –> 00:26:19.120
You got a question on it?

00:26:19.120 –> 00:26:24.120
Yeah, I was going to ask you, when we’re on a, we do field day and we do special events,

00:26:24.120 –> 00:26:30.120
you know, obviously they always tell us when you’re running, you know, PSK 31 or anything like that using FL Digi,

00:26:30.120 –> 00:26:38.120
they always tell you that to get the best out of your batteries, because I mean, we probably will run quite a few batteries,

00:26:38.120 –> 00:26:44.120
but we always seem to say, you know, try to actually, don’t be the one doing the calling, being the one receiving,

00:26:44.120 –> 00:26:47.120
because I guess it gives a battery life.

00:26:47.120 –> 00:26:50.120
Now, I know you do a little bit with PSK 31.

00:26:50.120 –> 00:26:53.120
What do you recommend? How do you extend the life of your batteries?

00:26:53.120 –> 00:26:56.120
Do you use somebody that does a lot of calling or do you wait to receive?

00:26:56.120 –> 00:27:03.120
What do you think is best as far as handling, you know, working digital using batteries?

00:27:03.120 –> 00:27:13.120
Right. So, for my favorite mode is, you know, the field day for me, I pull up the car and I sit up.

00:27:13.120 –> 00:27:19.120
Field day for me is where the car is at the trailhead and I hike my equipment up onto a hill.

00:27:19.120 –> 00:27:22.120
And so, in that case, I’m running QRP.

00:27:22.120 –> 00:27:29.120
And in QRP, it’s a lot easier to, you know, find a nice strong station and call back.

00:27:29.120 –> 00:27:37.120
One of the things I found, when we try to be the one that everyone comes to, ours is kind of where it’s at.

00:27:37.120 –> 00:27:41.120
And people, you know, they won’t hear you and that stuff right on top of you.

00:27:41.120 –> 00:27:47.120
So, you’re just trying to slip into the, you know, someone’s just starting to call out there or, you know,

00:27:47.120 –> 00:27:50.120
there’s a lull and you just put yourself in there.

00:27:50.120 –> 00:27:55.120
I’ve had actually a lot of good luck, you know, with that method.

00:27:55.120 –> 00:28:00.120
So, for me, my duty cycle is, you know, and I don’t rack up big points.

00:28:00.120 –> 00:28:09.120
Because for me, it’s, you know, it’s about the original intent of field day, which is check out your gear.

00:28:09.120 –> 00:28:18.120
You know, and for me, it’s all of my gear, including, you know, cooking gear and how to keep it dry and warm and all that kind of stuff.

00:28:18.120 –> 00:28:26.120
So, for me, it’s more about go find a nice strong station, you know, find a little gap to fit in there.

00:28:26.120 –> 00:28:29.120
And also, you know, a good location.

00:28:29.120 –> 00:28:33.120
One thing I’ve got where I’m on foot is I can get to the top of the thing.

00:28:33.120 –> 00:28:39.120
You know, and I set up a real nice, you know, antenna station there.

00:28:39.120 –> 00:28:49.120
I spend more time worrying about my antenna than I do about anything else as far as I set up this.

00:28:49.120 –> 00:28:55.120
>> So, I guess the other question I had, too, some people had asked me this on Twitter.

00:28:55.120 –> 00:29:01.120
I guess they were curious about what exactly was a full kit, like the little dragon kit.

00:29:01.120 –> 00:29:07.120
I guess a lot of people were the kits and how exactly they worked.

00:29:07.120 –> 00:29:19.120
>> Okay. So, that gets on to, I guess, I got partway down our energy path along the lines of, you know, starting with the generator and then, hey, you know,

00:29:19.120 –> 00:29:26.120
you know, not everyone who needs to run that thing when we’re away is really good at small gas engines.

00:29:26.120 –> 00:29:28.120
How to make it easier and so the battery bank.

00:29:28.120 –> 00:29:34.120
And then the next step was, hey, you know, storing gasoline is a challenge.

00:29:34.120 –> 00:29:37.120
How do we do that properly?

00:29:37.120 –> 00:29:43.120
And one of the things we did was we said, hey, you know, and people would be shocked to hear this.

00:29:43.120 –> 00:29:46.120
And they’re going to run out and check their owner’s manual.

00:29:46.120 –> 00:29:51.120
But go check your generator’s, you know, usable hours.

00:29:51.120 –> 00:29:56.120
And most of them are rated at 8,200 hours.

00:29:56.120 –> 00:29:58.120
And that’s like not very much time.

00:29:58.120 –> 00:30:02.120
And that is a reflection of how reliable power is.

00:30:02.120 –> 00:30:07.120
I was in India, well, I’ll tell you the name of it.

00:30:07.120 –> 00:30:09.120
This spring.

00:30:09.120 –> 00:30:11.120
I was in India this spring.

00:30:11.120 –> 00:30:16.120
And every single floor has a generator.

00:30:16.120 –> 00:30:21.120
And they have, you know, multiple power outages every day.

00:30:21.120 –> 00:30:26.120
And so they can’t afford to have a 100-hour engine on that thing.

00:30:26.120 –> 00:30:32.120
So, you know, a lot of them have oil filters and there’s a lot more maintenance available.

00:30:32.120 –> 00:30:37.120
So I guess I’ve gone off in the weeds a little bit.

00:30:37.120 –> 00:30:41.120
But we looked at that and said because of that, because of the low hour ratings,

00:30:41.120 –> 00:30:49.120
that all the, you know, under $1,000 generators are rated at, we’ve made our own.

00:30:49.120 –> 00:30:53.120
And so it’s basically — and we said, hey, we’re charging a battery.

00:30:53.120 –> 00:30:56.120
We need 12 volts or 15.1.

00:30:56.120 –> 00:30:59.120
It doesn’t make sense to make 120 volts just to turn it back into 12.

00:30:59.120 –> 00:31:07.120
So we made a — the generators we’ve got for wood gas started out as just regular gas engines

00:31:07.120 –> 00:31:10.120
to where you can get a Harbor Freight, you know, $100 engine.

00:31:10.120 –> 00:31:13.120
There’s a full replacement engine right there.

00:31:13.120 –> 00:31:15.120
And it just spins an alternator.

00:31:15.120 –> 00:31:17.120
And it charges your battery base.

00:31:17.120 –> 00:31:20.120
And then we looked at it and said, hey, what happens when we run out of gas?

00:31:20.120 –> 00:31:24.120
Or do we really need the gas for us?

00:31:24.120 –> 00:31:26.120
And then we looked at our options.

00:31:26.120 –> 00:31:29.120
And the only one we really liked was wood gas.

00:31:29.120 –> 00:31:34.120
Wood gas is — it goes back to like 1880.

00:31:34.120 –> 00:31:42.120
It was invented just before oil in the ground was discovered and having turned that into gas.

00:31:42.120 –> 00:31:51.120
And it’s a way of burning wood so that you have leftover hydrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide

00:31:51.120 –> 00:31:55.120
that were burned in a regular gas engine.

00:31:55.120 –> 00:31:58.120
And so we looked at the options that are out there.

00:31:58.120 –> 00:32:02.120
And at the time, I don’t think we found any less than $5,000.

00:32:02.120 –> 00:32:07.120
And then we had to move it on a pallet.

00:32:07.120 –> 00:32:10.120
We had to have a — basically, we couldn’t move it on a pallet.

00:32:10.120 –> 00:32:14.120
So we said, can we scale this down to home generators?

00:32:14.120 –> 00:32:19.120
And that led to the Big Dragon and the Small Dragon.

00:32:19.120 –> 00:32:31.120
The Big Dragon is kind of the original targeted design for — initially, we designed it for like six to seven kilowatt generators.

00:32:31.120 –> 00:32:41.120
But it turns out that we have actually helped customers who are local to us get 12, 15-horse generators running on this thing.

00:32:41.120 –> 00:32:42.120
And it supports that.

00:32:42.120 –> 00:32:51.120
So we — kind of the upper end is 18, 20 horsepower, which is — you know, that gets you 15 kilowatt generator, which is a lot.

00:32:51.120 –> 00:32:58.120
And then the Little Dragon was an experiment in how small to make it if you had to pack it into a pit.

00:32:58.120 –> 00:33:07.120
And that one — we recommend that one for three, three and a half, maybe up to five-horse generators, which would be a couple kilowatts.

00:33:07.120 –> 00:33:10.120
Which is a couple kilowatt.

00:33:10.120 –> 00:33:24.120
But it’s lighter and it’s thinner metal and there’s — you need to take care of all of these as far as protecting rust and that sort of thing.

00:33:24.120 –> 00:33:35.120
The one thing that people ask about the gas spec I took, and that’s the Big Dragon, the Little Dragon, the difference is in the gas spec and how big it is.

00:33:35.120 –> 00:33:49.120
The burn area where the wood is actually on fire and creating the heat that’s cooking the wood above it, that burn area there is made out of stainless steel.

00:33:49.120 –> 00:33:53.120
So you don’t have to worry about the thing burning or rusting through.

00:33:53.120 –> 00:34:01.120
We’ve never actually had one of ours have any kind of issue like that and we’ve never had a return because of that.

00:34:01.120 –> 00:34:11.120
So there’s the gas fire stage where you load the wood in the top, you light the thing on fire and you use a fan initially to push the smoke through.

00:34:11.120 –> 00:34:15.120
As it heats up, it turns into wood gas.

00:34:15.120 –> 00:34:20.120
But at that point, it’s kind of damp and dirty and it’ll develop your engine.

00:34:20.120 –> 00:34:26.120
So the next stage is common between the Big and the Small Dragon systems.

00:34:26.120 –> 00:34:30.120
Everything after the gas fire is the same.

00:34:30.120 –> 00:34:34.120
The next stage is a water jacket cooler.

00:34:34.120 –> 00:34:36.120
So the gas goes into the cooler.

00:34:36.120 –> 00:34:43.120
It stays inside this metal contraption that we’ve got in here.

00:34:43.120 –> 00:34:52.120
We call it “little boy” because it looks like, before you put the unit in there, it looks like kind of a little baseball.

00:34:52.120 –> 00:34:55.120
It’s a different looking thing.

00:34:55.120 –> 00:35:01.120
But anyway, it’s what it took for us to get the baffling light to get it extracted.

00:35:01.120 –> 00:35:06.120
So the cooler, you fill it with water, you run the gas through this.

00:35:06.120 –> 00:35:13.120
The gas doesn’t touch the water, but it touches the metal wall, transfers the heat out.

00:35:13.120 –> 00:35:16.120
That condenses the cars and they run out into a patch jar.

00:35:16.120 –> 00:35:19.120
It actually looks like cooler.

00:35:19.120 –> 00:35:22.120
It’s thick, blue-black stuff.

00:35:22.120 –> 00:35:27.120
And if you don’t remove it there, it ends up in your engine and then your engine is gone.

00:35:27.120 –> 00:35:32.120
And the next thing is you want to protect your engine from particulate.

00:35:32.120 –> 00:35:38.120
Little chunks of ash or anything that gets through.

00:35:38.120 –> 00:35:40.120
So the next stage is the filter stage.

00:35:40.120 –> 00:35:45.120
That removes all of the particulates.

00:35:45.120 –> 00:35:54.120
And what comes out, you just mix that 50/50 with regular outside air into your carburetor and run with it.

00:35:54.120 –> 00:35:55.120
So I’ve talked for a long time.

00:35:55.120 –> 00:35:57.120
Any questions on that?

00:35:57.120 –> 00:36:03.120
Anything you think I missed out on that?

00:36:03.120 –> 00:36:07.120
No, I think you explained it really well.

00:36:07.120 –> 00:36:09.120
It’s very interesting.

00:36:09.120 –> 00:36:13.120
I’m actually getting quite a good education just sitting here listening to you.

00:36:13.120 –> 00:36:15.120
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about about your company?

00:36:15.120 –> 00:36:22.120
Anything that ham radio operators like myself or anybody techy or anything that’s a basis prepper could benefit?

00:36:22.120 –> 00:36:26.120
And maybe what we should do, what we should look at?

00:36:26.120 –> 00:36:29.120
From the standpoint of what your company does?

00:36:29.120 –> 00:36:30.120

00:36:30.120 –> 00:36:39.120
So I guess the big thing is when we did the wood gift, we assumed a lot of preppers had,

00:36:39.120 –> 00:36:47.120
folks who lived out of the country or had long power lines coming to the house or either generator or battery bank.

00:36:47.120 –> 00:36:50.120
And we found that not very many people.

00:36:50.120 –> 00:36:56.120
There was a little bit of concern and worry over how to safely do that.

00:36:56.120 –> 00:37:08.120
So if someone was wanting to get started, I would get started with either the tactical battery bank or the battery kit,

00:37:08.120 –> 00:37:10.120
where you go and get your own battery for it.

00:37:10.120 –> 00:37:11.120
Either one of those is going to be great.

00:37:11.120 –> 00:37:20.120
If you’re not looking at moving it, the higher capacity of the kit would be the way to go.

00:37:20.120 –> 00:37:28.120
For field day type operations, if you want something really rugged, then the tactical would be a really good idea.

00:37:28.120 –> 00:37:34.120
For my kind of radio operations that I do, that would last a long time.

00:37:34.120 –> 00:37:39.120
In fact, I’ve got a niece who has one of the tactical systems in the house.

00:37:39.120 –> 00:37:45.120
They live in an apartment and they have quite a few power engines.

00:37:45.120 –> 00:37:51.120
Just a little 35-amp-hour battery ran their refrigerator for about eight hours.

00:37:51.120 –> 00:37:55.120
So if you’re going to start anywhere, I’d start.

00:37:55.120 –> 00:38:03.120
If you’re going to go for the wood gas, especially here in the Northwest where trees grow like wheat,

00:38:03.120 –> 00:38:09.120
the fuel is free except for the labor it takes to process it.

00:38:09.120 –> 00:38:14.120
I would start out by becoming really good at small gas engines

00:38:14.120 –> 00:38:19.120
or get someone who’s very competent at small gas engines.

00:38:19.120 –> 00:38:25.120
Because the batteries, they just work and you don’t have to think about it.

00:38:25.120 –> 00:38:30.120
You need to train and become an operator for the wood gas.

00:38:30.120 –> 00:38:38.120
It’s not something you can buy sitting on a shelf and then it will instantly work for you in an emergency when you fill it out for the first time.

00:38:38.120 –> 00:38:42.120
It’s something you want to practice with and get through that.

00:38:42.120 –> 00:38:49.120
And then I guess the last thing I’d say is I got tired of…

00:38:49.120 –> 00:38:58.120
I had a wad of wires twice as big as this to carry with me and I wasn’t very happy with that.

00:38:58.120 –> 00:39:05.120
And I also, in my tablet I found I needed a USB mic and stuff.

00:39:05.120 –> 00:39:10.120
There’s a new product that we’re coming out with. I haven’t got the stickers on here.

00:39:10.120 –> 00:39:15.120
It’s basically got a micro that goes into your tablet.

00:39:15.120 –> 00:39:22.120
It’s got a 3-port hub. This 4th point is a charging thing but I don’t use that.

00:39:22.120 –> 00:39:37.120
And then I’ve got a little mouse which when you’re doing a fast field digital operation, you know, a keyboard and a mouse really is a mouse.

00:39:37.120 –> 00:39:49.120
The next one is a shrunk down USB to scale the telegraph cable.

00:39:49.120 –> 00:39:57.120
I whacked it off and I stuck a bungee stereo on the thing to get it small.

00:39:57.120 –> 00:40:03.120
And the last thing is the microphone in a tablet is not as good as you want.

00:40:03.120 –> 00:40:05.120
I want to be able to put…

00:40:05.120 –> 00:40:08.120

00:40:08.120 –> 00:40:15.120
So this goes down with the stereo for the mic and speaker.

00:40:15.120 –> 00:40:21.120
So I’ll put out a video on that or I’ll talk to you and we’ll make a video on that.

00:40:21.120 –> 00:40:29.120

00:40:29.120 –> 00:40:32.120
>> That would be really great if you want to do something like that.

00:40:32.120 –> 00:40:36.120
That would be really good if we can do another session on that.

00:40:36.120 –> 00:40:38.120
That would be really great.

00:40:38.120 –> 00:40:40.120
Just a quick question for you.

00:40:40.120 –> 00:40:47.120
It’s interesting in listening, do you have any special offer code or anything that you could offer our listeners today?

00:40:47.120 –> 00:40:49.120
>> That’s a good question.

00:40:49.120 –> 00:41:02.120
We’re a young company and let’s see, right now I don’t have anything that I can kind of do off the cuff.

00:41:02.120 –> 00:41:07.120
Margins are pretty tight until we get our volumes up.

00:41:07.120 –> 00:41:18.120
So what I can do is not to do, hey, if you’re interested in supporting me, US-based manufacturing,

00:41:18.120 –> 00:41:21.120
I’d appreciate that help.

00:41:21.120 –> 00:41:32.120
And what we had been having through the end of December was all of our battery bank kits came with a,

00:41:32.120 –> 00:41:38.120
what do you call it, 400 million.

00:41:38.120 –> 00:41:43.120
We’re throwing that in for free for any orders that come in through the end of the month,

00:41:43.120 –> 00:41:50.120
although I’m not sure how fast you can invest it.

00:41:50.120 –> 00:41:51.120
>> Okay.

00:41:51.120 –> 00:41:52.120
No, I did not have to put you on the spot or anything.

00:41:52.120 –> 00:41:54.120
Believe me, I wasn’t trying to put you on the spot or anything like that.

00:41:54.120 –> 00:41:57.120
It was just a question that a couple people had, so I was just figuring I’d throw it out there.

00:41:57.120 –> 00:42:02.120
But you know what, Mike, I have to tell you, it’s great to deal with people that are made in the US,

00:42:02.120 –> 00:42:08.120
and I think there should be so much more of that, people supporting American-made companies,

00:42:08.120 –> 00:42:13.120
which is why I’m very glad you came on the program today, because so much stuff is ham radio and stuff.

00:42:13.120 –> 00:42:15.120
It’s all overseas nowadays.

00:42:15.120 –> 00:42:21.120
It’s great to see a young company right here in America putting out good products.

00:42:21.120 –> 00:42:23.120
It’s really great to see.

00:42:23.120 –> 00:42:24.120
>> All right.

00:42:24.120 –> 00:42:25.120
Well, thanks, Brandon.

00:42:25.120 –> 00:42:32.120
If people want to get ahold of us, it’s www.tacticalwoodgas.com,

00:42:32.120 –> 00:42:39.120
and then if they want to get in hold of me, it’s mike@tacticalwoodgas.com,

00:42:39.120 –> 00:42:43.120
and then we’ve got an 800 number listed on the page there,

00:42:43.120 –> 00:42:46.120
and then we’ve got a bunch of videos up there as well.

00:42:46.120 –> 00:42:48.120
>> Mike, I appreciate you being a guest.

00:42:48.120 –> 00:42:51.120
Would you be willing to do something with this again in the future?

00:42:51.120 –> 00:42:52.120
>> Oh, absolutely.

00:42:52.120 –> 00:42:53.120

00:42:53.120 –> 00:42:57.120
Especially as you get questions back or comments back,

00:42:57.120 –> 00:43:01.120
we can fine-tune it for whatever one is looking for.

00:43:01.120 –> 00:43:05.120
>> Mike, I just want to say thank you very much for being on the program with us today,

00:43:05.120 –> 00:43:06.120
and again, good luck.

00:43:06.120 –> 00:43:07.120
I know you’re a young company.

00:43:07.120 –> 00:43:10.120
I know you guys are still growing, some of that,

00:43:10.120 –> 00:43:14.120
and if you guys are interested in never doing another show with us again,

00:43:14.120 –> 00:43:16.120
we’ll contact you or you contact us.

00:43:16.120 –> 00:43:17.120
We’d be very happy to do it.

00:43:17.120 –> 00:43:18.120
Thank you very much for your time.

00:43:18.120 –> 00:43:20.120
I do appreciate it today.

00:43:20.120 –> 00:43:21.120
>> All right.

00:43:21.120 –> 00:43:22.120
Thanks, Brandon.

00:43:22.120 –> 00:43:23.120
>> Thank you.