JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food as and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. This week the focus is on the soon-to-be-banned Baofentg UV-5R handie-talkie transceivers. (See the Gear & Grub section.)


Edward Snowden’s latest: Permanent Record

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Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values

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The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

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Hunting For Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game


A Quiet Place.  (The ending will make you want to take your Remington 870 out for some target work.)

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A dance classic, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: Flying Down to Rio

Instructional Videos & Vlogs:

Clint at Thunder Ranch provided this concise briefing on M1917 Colt and S&W revolvers: Old, But Useful. JWR’s Comments:  I concur. In fact, I even find some pre-1899 “antique” big bore double action top-break revolvers to be quite capable, for self-defense. These include the S&W .44-40 and .44 Russian DA revolvers, and Webley Mark I or Mark II military service revolvers–either chambered in .455 Eley, or the .45 ACP conversions that are commonly-encountered, here in The States. For the  latter, I shoot custom hollow point hard cast 210-grain bullet handloads that crawl out the barrel at around 825 feet per second. With those, there is no risk of a Webley eventually “shooting loose.”

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Cheap, Truly Unlimited Internet for Your RV.  (Something even better than Verizon’s now discontinued JetPack.)

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How to – Dying Sand colored Magpul PMAG’s with RIT Dye


If you like boogie woogie, then definitely take a listen to Henri Herbert. He now lives in Austin, Texas. There are quite a few of his videos available on YouTube. He takes boogie woogie to a whole new level!  His albums are available via download, CD, and vinyl.

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And speaking of boogie woogie piano, for sheer entertainment (but not quite the same technical precision or finesse of Henri Herbert or Oscar Peterson), don’t miss the videos of British street artist Brendan (“Dr. K.”) Kavanaugh. He is famous for his costumes and his “Can you show me Middle C?” pranks. This video is fairly typical of his style.

Gear & Grub:

There are just five days left until the sales ban on multi-band Baofeng UV-5R handie-takies takes effect. As of October 1st, 2019, it will be illegal to advertise or sell them in the U.S.. But they will still be legal to own and operate. Only licensed amateurs can operate them on the ham bands. However, unlicensed folks can operate with them on their FRS and MURS bands. So get yourself a six pack, ASAP!

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Explorer Tactical 12 Pistol Padded Gun and Gear Bag OD Green

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This American-made case sure beats paying $200+ for a Pelican: Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case, 42-Inch

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1 Case-Canned Turkey — Long Term Food Storage-Survival Cave by Survival Cave

Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. How to manually program a Baofeng:

    How to program a Baofeng using a computer:

    Download the free software called Chirp (not “chirps”):

    After punching in some frequencies, set the radio up for a ‘tactical’ setting by turning off the lighting in the display, and beeps, and setting the power level on low for all tactical frequencies. I use black nail polish to black out the LED light, but better yet is to use JB Weld or another epoxy, to form a cap over two of the small buttons on the side. Be sure not to do this to the big button in between the two smaller ones. That one is the PTT button, the Push To Talk button, unless you do not want that radio to transmit.

    Given the several antennas that [usually] come on these radios, I would test them, but if not, at least limit the range that the radio will transmit on in the ‘memories’ section in Chirp, to 144 to 154 Mhz, and 430 to 450 Mhz for the most common antenna. The shortest antenna it comes with is good for only 144 to 148 Mhz, and is no good for the 70cm band. We would not want to shorten the life of the radio by transmitting outside the antenna’s design range, except in a pinch. The external antenna that can be used on a vehicle, that best matches the Baofeng UV5R transmit range, is the Tram 1181. This antenna could also be is as a base station antenna for either a mobile or a handheld. To full make use of the Baofeng’s range, a discone antenna is necessary. This kind of antenna is suitable only for base stations. Use the correct antenna for the frequency, and the radio will ‘talk’ further away, and have a longer service life. If it is necessary to transmit on an antenna not design for a frequency, always use the lowest power setting. If you feel the radio getting warm, you are talking on it too much. The ‘duty cycle’ or the amount of time one should transmit on high power of 4 watts, is only a few minutes.
    Then let it cool off, lest it may over-heat, and break. However if a Baofeng no longer transmits, these make for good receivers to monitor a single channel, or to make slow scanner. I would limit it’s ‘scan’ list to 27 frequencies, or to a list of frequencies that it can scroll though in under 3 seconds. These 27 frequencies would be my first choice to scan, and are GMRS, FRS, and MURS. Using another Baofeng, I would also scan all the repeaters in the area, and especially the Amateur Radio repeaters, and the national calling frequency for the service, i.e. , 2 meter, and 70cm. Buy extra Baofeng to do service as scanners, and these can also be pressed into the rotation if necessary. Persons on’ look out’ can carry an extra Baofeng, in addition one for monitoring the primary frequency, and for only the purpose of scanning GMRS, FRS, and MURS, and radio traffic that would most likely be used by attackers. Of course a standard scanner would do that job better, but it would cost more, and it will never transmit. All Baofengs used for security work can be set up to scan the same list, so that if necessary, any one on the ‘team’ can scan even when not on ‘watch’.

    Well looks like this topic of how to set a Baofeng or any other radio, might be used in a future feature article in the distant future. Apparent there is more to say.

    1. Tunnel Rabbit,

      Having a ham radio license was a hole in my preps. One thing or another caused me to put off addressing that deficiency. The money wasn’t a big issue. I was simply uninterested in chatting with people a thousand miles away in normal times, although I understood that this capability would be useful in “spicy times.” I always understood that it would be particularly important to understand what was happening, say, in a 20 mile radius of my location if the world went all “Mad Max.”

      During the November fires in my area, a friend told me that he pulled out his Baofeng and he listened to fire units clearing the fire houses. I didn’t feel the need to do this, given that I could clearly watch the fire approaching my home, and I had two fire department pumpers sitting directly in front of my house. My focus really wasn’t on where other fire units were headed!

      I actually acquired some UV-5Rs before I obtained my license. Since then, I have taken JWR’s advice and acquired more. I have them stored inside plastic bags inside a Faraday Cage, a small Behrens trash can: https://www.amazon.com/Behrens-Gallon-Rust-Proof-Steel-Locking/dp/B0758G5HVF/ref=sr_1_4?crid=9XS9NCVUNFYU&keywords=behrens+4+gallon+locking+lid+can&qid=1569425451&sprefix=Behrens%2Caps%2C210&sr=8-4

      These cans can also be purchased at any Home Depot or Lowe’s.

      I finally obtained a ham license earlier this year. I still don’t know much about their operation. I attended a class and was told that the purpose of the class was to teach students how to pass the test only. After they obtained their license and were “legal,” I was told, students could then learn how to use their ham radios. I understand this philosophy, but it does leave a person feeling somewhat at a loss in figuring out how to get the best use out of the radios without appearing to be an idiot to other hams.

      What you said here is helpful. I agree with you about how a future article could be useful, so I’m hoping that an experienced ham radio operator who reads your suggestion runs with this idea and broadly covers the subject soon.

      1. Re: Baofeng Programing

        Hi Survivorman99,

        Thanks for the feedback that will help guild others who are willing to share. Yes, learning how to program your radio is a priority that I had over looked when composing the 4 different articles submitted last Sunday on radio topics. I’ve done enough of that, so I rather do something else. After that 24 hour marathon that spit out almost 12,000 words, I’m toast. And I have fall preparations and gun parts and ammo decisions to make, a buck to can, and wood to cut. I’ll be busy for awhile if it does not rain. And we have parties of hunters, lot of guys and gals with guns from out of state arriving soon hoping to bag elk, or anything else that moves, and many vehicles to repair etc. I’ve gotta get busier than a bear raiding a bee hive.

        Yes, give priority to learning how to program your radio, one way or another, even if you need to look like an idiot. We’ve all been there.
        Study YouTube videos on the topic, learn how to program it manually, and via Chirp. And if it is simply too technical for you at this time, approach a Ham, and offer them some radios or cash in trade for their services. Give them a frequency list that you would prefer, and ask for their suggestions. The radio is of little use otherwise. If the programming is not complete, then the radio will not serve at all, or to it’s full capacity. So why did’ja buy it for? At least one person in a group should have a functional grasp of how to operate the radio, so that they can train others. Without comms off some form, the ability to warn others of an attack, or danger, is a serious deficit that needs to be over come and solved now. I’d consider at least having one air horn, and whistles for all, as two back up means for that purpose. You need redundant means as part of a good commo plan any way. If the Baofeng is too much to handle, get FRS or MURS radio that are simple to operate. These can be another and inexpensive layer in your commo plan. FRS has the huge advantage of being very low power, but the disadvantage of being ubiquitous, or in that every body and their hunting buddy, and his kid has one, but if used only in an emergency, or rarely, it is worth the risk of short transmissions. Saying “help, come here” or such is good enough. If you suddenly realize that the Baofeng is simply too much for you, then I would consider the paying a more for the Midland GTX series of radio that has FRS/GMRS. The GMRS side puts out about 3 watts, so use that as your alternative frequency, and use a FRS frequency that is limited to less that 500mw, 1/2 watt ERP. The big advantage of the GTX in the lastest model is that it has a scramble feature. Using the scramble limits your audience, and using low power FRS and scramble make it’s really tough to for others to determine how close or far away you are and to understand what is being said. Baofengs are not for everyone. I might consider starting a side business where I would program Baofengs via USPS. Not sure how that would work. But it is better that the user learn how to use whatever radio they can master, even it is only an FRS radio.

        A Tech license makes it legal, but does not make persons necessarily competent. It can be like processing a surf board in the middle of the desert. The experienced Ham will understand that. Find a General Class Ham to help. Ask the guy who taught the class. I program radio for others often, cases and cases of Baofengs, Wouxons, mobiles etc, and more on the way. Provide the programming cable for your radio, and the software if it is not included in Chirp. For now, use MURS channel 1, enter, 151.820 into the VFO (variable frequency oscillator)(like you wanted to know), and you are good to go. Don’t not be afraid to turn the radio on, and monkey poke the buttons to see what it does. If the siren goes off, simply turn the radio off, and it will reset.

        Perhaps when canning up this buck, and I’ll spit out more on this. It is a big buck. And there is needs to be room for elk in the freezer, so this may happen soon. Got brakes, and 5 serious electrical problems to solve on an over engineered 2000 Yukon today.

        Tunnel Rabbit “out”.

  2. This radio will not operate on the regular CB bands.

    It will however operate in the VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx). These bands are wider than the amateur bands so you’ll be able to pick up governmental agencies and businesses. There is no law against receiving communications here, just against transmitting without a license.

    It will also allow you to listen to commercial radio band of 65-108 MHz.

    I’ve programed in the NOAA weather channels.

    In the FRS channels, you’ll be able to transmit with 5-watts instead of the 0.5 watts allowed.

    Also with a removable antenna, you’ll be able to get a much better range.

  3. Mr. Rawles,
    I can’t afford a “6 pack” of the UV-5r.
    When I look on Amazon, there are several different versions.
    Would you please link to only one, the version you would recommend?
    Thank you for your time.

  4. “However, unlicensed folks can operate with them on their FRS, MURS, and CB bands.”

    To clarify, it is technically not legal to operate a Baofeng on FRS or MURS. It isn’t Type 95 approved. The reality is that no one is going to know, no one is going to care, and the government has never even warned anyone that isn’t causing interference with other users. It is PURE technicality, but worth knowing.

    Anyone asks me, I tell them to always program FRS, GMRS, and MURS into their Baofeng, in the same way I tell them to remove the little plug in their showerhead and decide for themselves how much water to use when they shower.

  5. I actually purchased a pair of the bf-f8hp radios. They have 3 power ratings 1-5-8 watts. A friend of mine purchased the ones James recommended and he told me that they also receive a 3rd band that is seldom used.

    Next month I’ll be purchasing the 3800MAH batteries and the battery packs that used AA batteries.

  6. FYI, the 8 watt setting will not provide much more appreciable range using the provided antenna, and is not good for your health either, but it will consume more battery power, nearly twice as much, so you’ll need that 3800mah battery, and it may shorten the life of the radio. I would not use the 8 watt option, but only in certain cases. The 8 watts is an advantage if used with an external 1/4 wave antenna, and a significant benefit when use with a high gain omni directional antenna, such as a slim jim or even a j-pole, or better yet, a monster advantage when using a directional antenna that has a gain of 3Db or more. 3Db doubles the equivalent power from the antenna to 16 watts, if there is no line loss in the calculation. 10 to 16 watts is enough to communicate within a 25 mile radius in many cases. The higher the antenna the better. Pick up a slim jim, or yagi for any hand held, and a paradigm shift will occur.

  7. Purchased the 6 pack last month. I thought the cutoff was Sept. 1st. Bought my August 30th. Doesn’t matter, I finally have them. Been on a bit of a spending spree lately. Bought a universal gun cleaning kit and a tool kit. Also managed to get the AGI armorers courses for 4 of my firearms. I think I used JWR’s Amazon link, I’m not sure. I hope he gets the credit. Amazon sometimes cheats.

    This month is an addition to my small but expanding armory. I definitely used JWR’s PSA link. Again, hope he gets the much deserved credit.

    I have certain acquisition goals for the next few months. Don’t much like to elaborate, OPSEC you know. Maybe later, then I can explain my choices and the actions to support those choices. It might help others. My experience level is pretty much on the light side where preparedness is concerned. As an example, the last time I bought a firearm, there was no background check, the last time congress went insane, 1994. They never ever learn, do they? Making better choices this time.

  8. I would be slightly more willing to believe that Edward Snowden was a well meaning whistle blower if he hadn’t gone to China and spilled his guts and then gone to Russia to do the same. He is a traitor not a hero.

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