Note from JWR:

Today we present the final entry for Round 20 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include: First Prize: The writer of the best contributed article will be awarded two transferable Front Sight  “Gray” Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value! Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. Third Prize: A copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing Round 21 begins tomorrow, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

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Building a Low-Cost, Low-Profile Shortwave Dipole Antenna, by Jerry the Generator Guy

First, you decided to get your own shortwave receiver. You wanted to be able to listen to unfiltered worldwide news. Applause, and a pat on the back, for taking a positive step. However, an unexpected problem may soon surface. Any internal ferrite or wand/rod antenna, like what the radio came with, will only effectively receive strong signals. Unfortunately, it can’t do a good job on weak signals. The obvious solution is to add an external antenna. But it may be spotted by the neighborhood or local “whiners” may complain that your obnoxious visible antenna is interfering with their television or radio reception. The fact that you are only receiving won’t stop their perception that it’s your fault. A second issue is that the “typical" outdoor antenna may not survive severe weather. It may fail in high wind/snow/ice. Another negative is that any antenna wire in the wind will pick up static charges when dust hits the antenna. This dust hitting the antenna is what causes the “pop” sound in the audio during a storm. This electrostatic discharge (ESD) travels down the lead in wire and may weaken or damage the front end [electronic section] of the receiver. If you have … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Advice on AR-10 Rifles (Updated)

Mr. Rawles: I’m thinking about buying a Bushmaster AR-10 type rifle that comes with with one clip. What features should I look for, especially these days? Are the magazines an issue? Thanks, – C. in Oregon JWR Replies: Let me start with a pet peeve. The terms clip and magazine are not synonymous. A clip holds cartridges only at one end, whereas a magazine complete surrounds a cartridge. In the context of modern detachable magazine battle rifles, a clip is what is used to fill a magazine. Please do not call a magazine a clip, especially around children. They are impressionable, and I ‘d hate to see another generation growing up to use faulty nomenclature. In today’s frantic market the over-riding concern for AR-10 buyers is interchangeability of magazines. Some brands of AR-10s will accept inexpensive metric FN-FAL magazines, while others will accept only purpose-built AR-10 magazines. Let me explain: Only a few brands of AR-10s take the plentiful FN-FAL magazines. The brands that can accept FAL magazines are American Spirit, Bushmaster, and Rock River Arms (RRA) . (BTW the new RRA LAR-8 will take metric FAL mags and “inch pattern” L1A1 magazines, with the large forward locking lug.) FAL … Continue reading

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Four Letters Re: More Predictions for 2009, by Roger Wiegand

Mr. Rawles- In response to “More predictions for 2009”, reader Jeff K writes, “There has never, ever been hyperinflation with deflating real estate prices.”. This is simply false, and a surprisingly common misperception. Zimbabwe is hardly a ‘red hot’ market for residential (or commercial) real estate, yet that country is an example of extreme hyperinflation. When Turkey went through its period of massive inflation it too suffered declining real estate values. South America, plagued with inflation during much of the past century was also a black hole for real estate investment. Ditto for [much of] Africa. Weimar Germany, a famous example of hyperinflation in a modern, western state was, similarly, anything but an appreciating property market. What one may observe during a hyperinflationary event is the dramatically increasing cost of assets denominated in the hyperinflating currency. The real value of the domestic assets (such as real estate), however, is not increasing but rather decreasing as assets are constantly being revalued in terms of the inflating currency’s loss of value. This loss, counterintuitively, manifests as a “gain” in the form of more zeros on the notes. Similarly, real estate deflates in periods of hyperinflation even as its price “rises”. This is … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

In Texas, they wouldn’t call this a “weapons cache”, rather they’d describe it as a “a good start at a gun collection”: Weapons Cache Found Near Home of Former N.J. Cop (A tip of the hat to Hawaiian K. for the link.)    o o o Florida Guy sent us this bit of anticipated news: Zimbabwe abandons its currency. So it seems that that via hyperinflation, Comrade Mugabe and his cronies have effectively fleeced the entire life savings of virtually everyone in that once-prosperous nation. The only value the Zimbabwean dollar now has is as a novelty item for currency collectors. (A crisp new Z$100 Trillion note might fetch a few US Dollars on eBay. But on the streets of Harare, a Z$100 Trillion bill might buy a few cigarettes.) The nation has plunged into utter hopelessness.and despair.    o o o In case you missed the announcement, the WRSA is offering their excellent yet inexpensive Grid-Down Medical Course again this year. Classes are scheduled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – (February 7-8), and Peyton, Colorado (February 27-March 1)    o o o Camping Survival (one of our advertisers) is having a big seasonal Blowout Sale. Check out the many bargains, including … Continue reading

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“I figured out when I was a little kid that it was better to be a pessimist than an optimist. You see, when you’re an optimist, the best that happens is that things go as you planned, and half the time you’re bitterly disappointed. But when you’re a pessimist, the worst that ever happens is that things to exactly the way you were prepared for them to go, and half the time you’re pleasantly surprised.” – Massad Ayoob , January 1, 2009

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Note from JWR:

Because we phased out our old Earthlink e-mail address, we’ve had to update our PayPal account. Our new PayPal account address is: james@rawles.to Please use this new PayPal address for any 10 Cent Challenge voluntary subscription payments or advertising payments. (I’ve updated the relevant links.) As I’ve mentioned before, I strongly prefer AlertPay or GearPay because they don’t share PayPal’s anti-gun political agenda. Our AlertPay address is: rawles@usa.net Our GearPay address is: rawles@usa.net We are also gradually transitioning to our Tonga (.to) domain for our primary e-mail address: james@rawles.to. Please update your address books. Thanks!

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The New Washington, DC Paradigm Does Not Bode Well for Economic Recovery or Gun Ownership

Wednesday’s news of passage of the “supplementary” TARP II $900 billion stimulus and bailout legislative package in the House of Representatives is noteworthy. The fact that it passed with hardly a whimper is evidence that Congress cannot be trusted to show any fiscal restraint. According to the Wall Street Journal only about 12 cents of every dollar appropriated in that legislation will go for something that can be considered a growth stimulus, yet there was no lengthy or substantive debate on the bill. The floodgates of the Treasury have been opened! The Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) is now sure to further expand, to heretofore unimagined proportions. Henceforth, each time that there is a new “crisis” or “emergency”, or a “threat” to a vital industry, Uncle Sugar will dump veritable truckloads of magically-created money on the problem. What will be deemed a “vital” industry? Car makers have already been deemed vital. So why not truck and heavy equipment manufacturers? And the steel mills? And the airlines? And the aircraft makers? Ship builders? Why not yacht builders? The newspapers? (“They’re really hurting, so let’s just print more money!) Despite the fact that every Republican congressman voted against it, the bill was … Continue reading

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Letter Re: A Handy Book for Boys

I’ve only recently become a SurvivalBlog reader, but I thought I’d share some info about a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for quite some time. I’d never really put any thought into its usefulness until lately. It’s called The American Boy’s Handybook. I first caught sight of it several years ago, way back in Elementary School, when I was just a little cuss, not the full sized cuss I’ve grown up to be. Like the title says, the book itself is geared toward the younger generation, ages 8 – 18+. But there is a wealth of information that even the oldest of us kids can make use of. Originally published in 1890, the book is packed, cover to cover, with projects and activities that require no electricity, no high tech spare parts, and perhaps most important, no advanced tools. Nowhere, in the entire book, will you find a single request for a band saw, circular saw, arc welder, hammer drill, or power tool of any sort. I would say that 75% of all the projects inside can be built with a hand saw, hatchet, hammer, and some simple elbow grease. All four seasons are covered, with different projects … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: More Predictions for 2009, by Roger Wiegand

Good Morning, Jim! This is a response to “More Predictions for 2009”: We can’t make other peoples’ choices for them, but we can be affected by them. We are our brothers’ keepers, but not their masters. Governments will always do what they always do. You need to be concerned with your “mini government” – your own household. Wherein the adults are the governing body and are also constituents (along with any dependents). I choose to focus on what I can control and not toil and spin about the stuff I can’t control. My predictions for 2009? – My wife and I will finally take an NRA rifle safety course (already in the works). – Depending on how our marksmanship and safety progresses, we might hunt for food. – We will evaluate how much wood we burned through winter and adjust accordingly. – We will increase the size of our (tiny) gardens with knowledge from last year. – We continue to diversify our income streams and savings (between the two of us we have five incomes: two main, one moderate, and two minor). – We will reduce expense by finding cheap alternatives to everything and continuing to make our house efficient. … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

“The Survivalist” mentioned this article: More than a million wait in icy darkness across US    o o o As most SurvivalBlog readers surely deduced long ago, I am an inveterate scrounger. I scan through Craig’s List with the same regularity as the Bald Eagles that cruise up and down The Unnamed River here at the Rawles Ranch do, at this time of year. So I was delighted that while doing some web wandering today, I found a link over at Keep and Bear Arms to this inspirational article: Praxis: Scavenging as a Guerrilla Art Form.    o o o Eric flagged this update: Peanut butter recall expanded to two years’ worth of products. Here is an FDA web page with a searchable list of hundreds of recalled peanut butter products.    o o o The latest huge dose of gloom-‘n-doomage from the Economatrix: Global Unemployment Nears 50 Million — OPEC Warns of More Oil Output Cuts — BP Sees Further Crash in Oil Demand — Can the Market Avoid a February Fold? — George Soros (the Billionaire) Selling Off Sterling — Europe’s Winter of Discontent — More Job Cuts (Boeing 10,000; Starbucks 6,700, etc.) — Billions More Needed for … Continue reading

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“One aspect of the red state versus blue state dynamic of the country which is often overlooked, is that while the Blue States have come out on top politically, the red states are much more self-sufficient in resources and infrastructure. In a time of crisis this underlying dynamic would become painfully obvious, as overpopulated and undersupplied states in the North and Midwest began demanding resources from politically disenfranchised states in the South and West where most of the agricultural and energy resources are located. When the force of the federal government is turned to massive redistribution of wealth and resources, those who are on the losing end of that redistribution are going to be very disgruntled. When a central government which you feel does not represent you comes to take the food from the mouths of your children and give it to someone else, suddenly concepts like secession and civil war seem more appealing than they might under ideal conditions.” – Dave Nalle

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