The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. Venezuela is back in the news this week again.

Explosive-Carrying Drones

The Explosive-Carrying Drones in Venezuela Won’t Be the Last

JWR’s Comment: I first mentioned the emerging threat of UAVIEDs in SurvivalBlog back in 2006. Frankly, I’m surprised that it took this long for someone to use one against a head of state.

Baofeng Radios

Reader JMD wrote in to let us know of this upcoming change by the FCC that will make it illegal to sell radios (like the popular Baofengs) that can operate in the FRS radio band (462.5625 – 462.7250 MHz) and any other licensed band in a single device. Manufacturers will have to either quit selling them or block the FRS bands like they do for the current cellular bands. This is the relevant verbiage:

§ 95.591 Sales of FRS combination radios prohibited.

Effective September 30, 2019, no person shall sell or offer for sale hand-held portable radio equipment capable of operating under this subpart (FRS) and under any other licensed or licensed-by-rule radio services in this chapter (devices may be authorized under this subpart with part 15 unlicensed equipment authorizations).

Editor’s Comment:  I strongly recommend stocking up on dual band Baofeng handi-talkies before this regulatory change takes place. If bought in a set of five, the cost per transceiver is only around $23 each, postage paid!  By law, these presently may be bought by any adult. But a license is needed to operate them outside of the no-license  FRS, GMRS, and MURS bands. (That is, in the amateur operators’ bands.)


Crackdown Looms As Maduro Survives Assassination Attempt Maduro has survived an assassination attempt in which his attackers flew a series of drones carrying explosives towards him, an attack that is likely to cause yet another security crackdown in the country

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Wait Until You See The Price Of Gold In Venezuela Right Now Venezuela is on track to become the next model for hyperinflation. Last month a cup of coffee cost 2 million bolivars. That’s up from 2,300 bolivars 12 months ago – A whopping 87,000 percent. With prices doubling about every 18 days, the IMF projects Venezuela’s inflation will reach 1 million percent by the end of this year. Just like Zimbabwe, the country’s answer to inflation is to announce the removal of several zero’s from the currency. Despite the fact that you can’t eat gold, this article shows that the demand for gold is outpacing inflation. An ounce of gold has increased in price over 3.1 million percent from just the beginning of the year.

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Reader G.P. reports that Brazil closed its border with Venezuela. Brazil initially closed its border to help deal with the flood of mass migration, but that order was overturned by a Supreme Court Justice. An estimated 500 Venezuelans cross the border every day and the nearby cities are struggling to deal with an increasing number of refugees. The order was overturned based on the idea that most of those who were crossing were refugees, but it turns out that most actually are not refugees. They are just wanting to escape the continuing political and economic crises back home.

Calculating the Date

Reader C.D. has a question for SurvivalBlog readers:

I have always wondered about this, and have given it thought. Assuming that we got to a point that electronics became inoperative I was wondering how one could tell the date. While if you had a group of people, would could be assigned the task of keeping track, but in a prolonged situation you may find that the day you think it is may start to digress from the actual day, which knowing when to plant crops, and other task are dependent on having a good idea for the date. I was wondering if you had anyway to “check” the date and correct any errors in time keeping.

Survival Realty

There is an earthship style earth sheltered home for sale on Survival Realty with 20 acres in Idaho this week. The property actually contains two homes so you can have a guest house as well. The guest house is “straw bale construction” and has an attached garage and carport. There is also a third building that is currently being used as an office. There is also an easement to power, but the property is currently served by solar.

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Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. On the date thing
    I imagine people would have to go back to tracking and living by seasons. I would think that solstice and equinox could be determined without a calendar. Or a sundial could be built in place that could give the month and date. I saw one at the VLA in New Mexico once. The position of the sun at each date of the year was determined and marked on the ground. It was like a piece of art.

  2. Electronics are a recent innovation. The date was correctly determined for thousands of years before computers or phones. Calendars, astronomical observations, manual-wind watches, and atomic clocks are all operative, even if the internet goes down. Just observing the equinoxes and solstices will give you an accurate date. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, worry not. There are still plenty of people who do.

  3. “Maduro has survived an assassination attempt in which his attackers flew a series of drones carrying explosives…”

    And in completely unrelated news, nothing to see here, the us bans the radio type that can be used to set off a charge from miles away, you know, like a charge in a drone.

    Nothing happens in a vacuum. They didn’t ban the radio’s because they are stupid, or idiots, and I’m certain that they have a plan to sell the (OUR) spectrum to pals that they can control, such as large corporations. And of course, a very well rationalized story as to why the ban needs doing, that doesn’t include their increasing fear because tyrants need to fear the people and benign kings do not.

    Just as a side note: you can tell how tyrannical a governments intents are because it directly relates to the amount of fear it has of it’s own people. If we were a free people why would government fear us?

    1. Fred: We ARE a free people and that is exactly why all these new laws and regulations are being enacted. The gubmint does indeed fear its people, for a little while yet.

      On a related note (or not): If a person had an unregistered MG or bumpfire stock that they had paid cash for and no one knew about, what would be the benefit to registering it?

  4. You can make calendar corrections using the sun and stars. Note true north by sighting Polaris and then make a permanent marker. When the sun rises and sets due east and due west, respectively, it’s either the Spring or Fall (vernal or autumnal) equinox. The spring equinox is on March 19-21, depending on leap years. The fall equinox is on September 22-24, depending on leap years, too. There are 186 days from the spring equinox to the fall equinox.

    You can calibrate your calendar close enough with this method. Using the solstices is more difficult, because the sun changes position very slowly around the solstices, but quickly at the equinoxes. There is a marked difference of the position on the horizon where the sun rises (and sets) from one day to the next around the equinoxes.

  5. The easiest way to keep track of the date, is on paper. Put a check mark on paper for each day of the month. When you reach the end of the month, for ex. August, after 31 days, move on to the next month.

  6. Re: calendars…
    Many years ago (I’m 60+) in the back of the phone book(s) there was (we’ll call it) a ‘perpetual’ or ‘perennial’ calendar(s). There were several pages of 1 year calendars and on page one, it had several (maybe hundreds) of years listed, you picked the year you were interested in and went to that page and Viola!… the year you were looking for, and now you can see what day of the week you were born on or what day of the week your father went ashore during the D-Day invasion or what day of the week gold was discovered in California, etc)

    There are only an X number of different years, (I have no idea how many), the rest then duplicate past or future years (as an example… 1849 might be the same date/week day as 1922 or 1951 or 1968 or 2035 or 2071).
    I’ve tried to do a search for this type of calendar but since I don’t know the proper name for it, I’ve had zero results. (maybe someone has an early 1960’s phone book they found in grandma’s basement and can look in the back to see if there is one in there).

    1. There is a little desktop gadget my parents would give my kids called a perpetual calendar in the 80’s. It was a circular piece of marble, with imprinted months, days, years that you would line up to serve as your calendar. They are accurate and won’t rot as fast as paper. Of course, you need to set it accurately initially.

  7. Re: BaoFeng Radios:

    Just jumped over to Amazon to check out the BaoFengs, and there’s a comparison chart available with all the different features for each.

    Being a total Luddite about programability, frequencies, wattages and the differences between Commercial, Business, Amateur, Public, Family and Enthusiast users….

    Which of these would be preferable for getting whatever news and information would becoming in from the outside world, and for communicating with others over, say, a 20 acre site?

    Anyone have favorites or things to avoid?


    1. Gene, I can only relate my experiences with the GT-3 model, which is comparable to the UV-5 series. I would look to the higher power option (up to 8 watts) because you never know when you will need longer range to get across a ridge or through dense timber (or across several city blocks). I would recommend buying a package with several extra radios than what you think you need now. Get the 15″ whip antenna for each handset because the rubber ducky one supplied with the radio really limits your range – my radios with the whip antenna can reach 7 miles from the plains into deep mountains. Get extra batteries, I can’t stress their importance enough because a radio with a battery that won’t take a charge is useless.

      Take your HamTechnician’s license test, it’s ridiculously easy. There are online study guides (free) to help learn the basics you need to know to pass. You do need to be licensed in order to transmit legally.

      HTs should be one part of your comms set-up. Consider CBs also, and probably a Ham base station for your home. Of course, then you need reliable power, an antenna…and you’re off to the races.

    2. The Baofengs can be a little bit of a hassle to program. Be sure to get the Baofeng PC connection cable, not a knock-off, and their programming software CD.

  8. You can get the date/time/location for every solar and lunar eclipse and transits of Venus and Mercury for the next few centuries.
    They were calculated before even slide rules.
    With the list, you can set your clock.

  9. You can get the list of every solar and lunar eclipse with datr, time and location for the next centuries, and the transits of mercury and venus (where they cross the face of the sun).
    Also the moon phases, but they would be less precise.

  10. Baofeng Radios,

    I can’t understand why folks aren’t more enthusiastic about the Bf radios, especially after having to carry a PRC-77/KY-38, decades ago. And always, more batteries….

    Now, if someone would just invent a very small cheap encryption device, like the KY-38, for the Bf radios…

    1. Anon,
      I, too, carried, used, and repaired, the AN/PRC-77 for too many years. But you have to be an oldster to appreciate the advance in technology with the shrinking of the hardware and the increase in capabilities.

      I can’t answer for the use of encryption/decryption for the other band services (FRS, GMRS, etc), but for Ham radio, the FCC has ruled something to the effect that you cannot use a private encryption/decryption to send and receive messages, but you CAN use “encryption/decryption” that is publicly available, i.e., PSK-31, WSJT series, CW, etc. The encryption/decryption used by “hams” isn’t for privacy, but to increase efficiency of communications over standard SSB voice.
      Hope this helps.

  11. To get a copy of the calendar on google enter- gregorian calendar lookup- when it comes up scroll down to- gregorian calendar wiegmann. There are only 14 different calendars so you look at the year to see what number of calendar applies.

  12. Reading the Amazon reviews on the Baofengs leaves me confused. The top review seems to compare Kenwood to Yaesu, nothing about Baufeng. Another review talks about the radio having an aluminum case and an incuded rechargeable battery, which the listing says it does not come with.

    Does anyone actually own any of these radios, and are they any good?

    1. Yes they are that good, and for the price- unbeatable. I bought 4. Get the Nagoya whip dual 440/2M antenna, get the roof mount antenna ( “2 is 1”) for your vehicles, get the 2 extended use rechargeable batteries for each handheld, get the programming cable, get the 12V cigarette plug back so you can run directly off a 12V battery, get the female cig plug with clips so you cab hook to a car battery (then plug your cig plug- backed radio into it), get the back that allows use of AA batteries (buy Eneloop rechargeables).

      But most important, get training with a live teacher on these. You will be happy you got 4 ways to power your battery, program it, and use it effectively. A radio is like a firearm in that if you buy it and never train with it, it will be just another boat anchor as far as you are concerned.

      You tube videos help but are done with the assumption you have basic knowledge, know how antennas propagate, etc,

  13. I’m not so sure about that particular interpretation of the FCC rule change. Baofeng radios are not generally capable of operating under either the FRS or GMRS subparts of Rule 95, because of their power, programming, and antenna capabilities. They are capable of operating on frequencies allocated for FRS and GMRS use, but the new rule appears to specifically target combination radios that are designed to be capable of legal operation within both services. Baofengs don’t fit the bill.

    That said, the rule is vague and poorly drafted, and reasonable minds could differ as to its meaning. I don’t think the sky is falling just yet, but prudence is always a wise course of action.

    1. Read the rule change…..Now radios programmed for FRS frequencies can operate with up to 2 watts. B F radios can be set at 1watt on the low power setting. Now I can let unlicensed family members use the BF radios which I can program for FRS frequencies, and be within the FCC constraints. I just ordered 2 more.

      Yes the writeup of the proposed rule is pedantic, and also full of names and company influence. Ride the horse that is winning the race.

  14. I have both Baofeng 82 and 5R
    the 82 is slightly more powerful.
    I have used both to Support Cross country bicycle an foot races .
    the 18 inch whip Na-771 is better than base u-v antenna
    Better yet is Mag mount 2 meter ham antenna and a adapter to use on hand held

    Rosco KG7___

  15. As far as I can see the radios are made in China and I would like a different option. Any suggestions for brand made in US or a country other than China? I realize that principle costs $$.

    1. The only ones are those made or sold by Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, form ham radio dealers they are Japanese companies. Their cost are in the $300-$400 ranges. Then you go to Motorola, and a few commercial companies. But their radios are probably actually made in China to, and the start at $1500 and go up to around $4000. Hopefully you will realize these radios are an excellent deal extremely versatile. I have Two Kenwoods I paid about $350 each for, and some older Icoms that still work fine, the IC2AT you can buy them for about $30 bucks a piece now at ham swaps. And the capabilities are way less. I have owned them all, the BF is a really good deal, You get way more radio than any of the other brands, that are type approved and followed the original FCC rules. But when you can purchase a radio with the capabilities that the BF has, for less than $35 It make since to me to pay less for more.

  16. I just read the article on the BF UV5R radios, I have been selling them at ham swaps for a couple of years now, along with accessories, the large battery pack is a real plus, I find last about 3 days.
    if the ban doesn’t start until Sep 30 2019 then by all means get all you can. A Chinese seller will sell them at just under $16.00 (if bought in batches of 50), I’ve been reading about the ban for about a month now. I am sure they will eventually come out with a version that will pass muster with the FCC, but what amazed me was they were type approved and now they’re not. Sounds like the FCC engineers failed to do their jobs.
    Anyway you look at it they are on their way out, but we have a year. I recommend we enjoy the stay of execution of the FCC and buy as many as possible now. I am sure there will be FCC reps at all the ham swaps nailing everyone the can in a year from now.
    These radio’s are really perfect for the PREPPER community, and when the SHTF, the usefulness will be even more evident depending on how much damage is done to our nation, or how bad the collapse of our government and resources who will give a rip about rules. When I was in Vietnam, I ran a MARS station, we used to move up and down from our assigned frequency to run phone patches, to avoid jamming. Totally against the rules. The FCC and military Frequency assignment folks in the five sided house used to squak. Our response was “WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO? SEND US TO VIETNAM?” Needless to say we were all also armed to the teeth. We ran our calls.

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