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 and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. This week the focus is on the Uniden Bear Tracker 885. (See the Gear & Grub section.)


Setting Up Shop: The Practical Guide to Designing and Building Your Dream Shop

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It is high time to get educated about antique guns! Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values. Since they will probably continue to be exempt, pre-1899 antique cartridge guns will have much greater importance (and value) in the soon-coming era of “Universal Background Checks.”

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I’ve mentioned this book before: Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

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Preserving Wild Foods: A Modern Forager’s Recipes for Curing, Canning, Smoking, and Pickling

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I’ve mentioned this great book buy Claire Wolfe and Kit Perez before, but it bears repeating: Basics of Resistance: The Practical Freedomista, Book I


No Greater Love. A documentary about a deployment of the 101st Airborne Division in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan. The film was made by a U.S. chaplain with the unit. Available for free streaming with Amazon Prime.

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Reader Richard T. wrote to recommend the movie Sobibor. This is not to be confused with the 1987 movie Escape From Sobibor, starring the late Rutger Hauer. I had previously mentioned that film, which had its merits.

Instructional Videos & Vlogs:

Black Pilled:  Intro to Ham Radio

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13.7″ Do it all AR15 (Sons of Liberty Gun works AR15)

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Tom C. e-mailed me a recommendation for Hillsdale College’s free Constitution Series lectures.

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And from Tim J.: Guerrilla Gunfighter – Preparedness Rifle and Carbine


Reader Bob M. suggested: Armed Lutheran Radio

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Library At The End Of The World.

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The Joe Gardener Show – Organic Gardening – Vegetable Gardening – Advice From Joe Lamp’l

Gear & Grub:

J.T.M. suggested the Uniden Bear Tracker 885–a clever combination CB radio with trunked scanner.

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And if all that you need is CB, then I like the Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB 40- Channel SSB CB Radio. It has Single Sideband (SSB) capability, as well as the ability to receive NOAA weather alerts.

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Condor Double M14 Mag Pouch – Gen II

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McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract

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American Cream Ale Homebrew Beer Ingredient Kit

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. Concerning CB radios. Yes they are cheap but at what cost? I know it’s probably been mentioned hundreds of times but ANY ham radio will be better than ANY cb radio. In an emergency anyone can talk on any ham band. In the case of a shtf scenario who will be policing the airwaves anyway?
    Highly effective antennas can be built for pennies that will reach around the world. I routinely talk 3 to 5 hundred miles on 3 watts with a homebuilt antenna.
    The license fee is $10 to $25 depending on where you look and training can be had for free online. You really don’t need to know about all the electronics that are talked about on the licensing procedures you just have to have the correct answer (Multiple choice 1 of 4 ) to the questions.

    1. I bought boxes of CB’s for 5 bucks each. If they do not work, the antenna can often be converted to a VHF/UHF antenna. If the antenna is bad, a dipole can be made that can also extend the range. These boxes of CB’s can be used in several ways. One way is to give them to a select few within the community, so that they can have a network that may be used for their collective defensive, and other purposes. It may also strengthen my front door. I do not necessarily have to know their names, and they do not need to know mine.

      CB is the ‘bolt action rifle’ of radio. They have a place in the radio arsenal, and if used appropriately, it could be a valuable tool. Would I use my AK for a 500 yard shot? No way. But I would use a bolt action for the job. Most folks how to use a CB.
      Whatever they can competently use under stress, is the best tool for them. A community will likely have bolt action hunting rifles, but without communications, a defense would be disorganized and slow, and not effective. Five dollars a piece is the usual yard sale price around here, often for the radio and it’s antenna. And there are many other jobs a CB can do too. We are only limited by our imagination.

    2. I am a Ham radio operator. Been licensed since the 70’s. I agree that HF radios can talk around the world. Twice I spoke with KC4AAA in Antarctica from my home in Alaska – 100 watts on 20 meters. That being said, my station includes CB radios because everyone has one – not so with Ham gear. CB’s only transmit and receive a short distance but chances are strong that they would take care of most SHTF communications.

      Better, I believe, is Marine VHF. Instead of 2-5 mile range like CB it will have 20-40 mile range. They are cheap, too. You can get one for less than $100. Also, the newer ones have an option that allows you to speak with the station you want to but others cannot listen in. Mobile antennas are about the size of mobile CB antennas but, because of the higher frequency are much more effective.

      The Training for ham radio teaches you how to make very effective antennas for almost nothing. For that reason alone it is worth studying.

      1. Hello Mr. Wilkens,

        The point about the ability to make antennas is indeed an important one. Even a CB’s range can be greatly improved for only a few dollars worth of material. A vertical 2 element yagi can be made simply by adding a reflector, a length of wire that would be approximately 114 inches long, doubling the ERP, to almost 8 watts with 3dB of gain. Use Yagi Cad, or simply experiment to determine the distance between the radiator and the reflector, using an SWR meter and a Field Strength meter if available. The same can be done with 10 or 20 meter.

        Yes, the ability to make inexpensive and field expedient antennas could be a game changer.

      2. Here is a very wide banded 3 element yagi that the builder believes will cover 10 and 11 meters (CB) that requires no matching device, and is 50 ohm. Only an air choke is needed. This an example of a dual purpose and easy to build antenna. Any one with a Tech license can operate on 10 meter, and why not use it for a CB as well. These direct connect yagi’s sacrifice a little gain to get their wide band width, a very worth while compromise I believe. I am considering doing this build for one station, because CB will likely be common again.

        Hopefully I can trade for CB with SSB as well. I suspect the gain would be at most 4.5dB, but it is the directional that makes it useful, as it would be hard to DF. Avoid using an omni directional antennas at the base station. This would boost the signal from a 4 watt CB to almost 10 watts ERP (estimated radiated power), after line loss is considered. This would make the lowly CB even more interesting. 100 watts from an old hybrid would really be kicked up to almost 281.83829 watts ERP. That might put one on someone’s radar. Not good!


        1. I think you are on the right track in addressing gain antennas. The lowly center-fed dipole is better for both transmitting and receiving than any mobile antenna. And, as you state, they can be built with pennies worth of material.

          By adding a reflector to the dipole and one or more directors you can improve upon the dipole’s performance. Designed by a Japanese fellow named Yagi the name has stuck to this kind of antenna. If I remember correctly he designed the gain antenna with the collaboration of a man named Uda. For years the multi element gain antenna was called the Yagi–Uda. Common usage shortened that to just ‘Yagi’.


          Many operators believe that the way to make your radio transmit farther is to attach an amplifier, boosting the output. While that works for transmitting it doesn’t help you hear any better. A gain antenna will help both and they are much cheaper than amplifiers.

  2. “Since they (pre-1899 antique) will probably continue to be exempt…”
    The “probably” condition exists because of the whims of politicians, an uneasy one to bank on. What are the odds?

    1. The odds are VERY good. The “antique” threshold has been arbitrarily frozen at December 31, 1898 for 51 years, because the Gun Control Act of 1968 was poorly worded. (Properly, the definition of “antique” should have rolled forward one year, every January 1st.) To now claim that 122 year-old guns are somehow magically “affecting interstate commerce” is a long, long stretch. The basis of all Federal gun laws is the Commerce Clause. I don’t think that the courts could possibly see any Federal nexus of how the constantly dwindling number of antiques “affect interstate commerce”. They represent less than 1/4 of 1% of guns in private hands.

      1. You are probably right…but…that depends on the composition of the Supreme Court at the time that some future case lands on their desks. A 2030 Court that is listing left could wreck it all. God forbid.

      2. At your fine recommendation I obtained a copy of flaydermans book and am thinking of concentrating on a certain firearm type. The thing I wonder about is if ‘authorities’ are in confiscation mode, what’s to stop them at antiques? Depending on mood or circumstance I can picture them finding the exemption humorous or worse.

        1. The law is not about moods. It is the Black Letter Law. What it says is what it says. Granted, some individual LEO may say “so what”, and seize them anyway. But when you have your day in court, the law is still the law, and you will prevail. You’ll also have grounds for a deprivation of rights civil suit against the officer and/or his department. Make them pay for their arrogance.

  3. Vanilla: Variety is the spice of life. In a grid down, survival situation having a good variety of spices on hand will be extremely valuable. I do not mean for trade or barter but rather to enhance the quality and variation in your own foods. There is a reason that spices were so incredibly expensive in the days of old. After all, Columbus left Europe in search of a new way to reach the spice lands of the East.

    What once was measured in gold and silver can now be had for pennies or perhaps a few dollars. Some spices will store for decades if not yet ground up. Stock up while it is still an option. Your family and your own taste buds will thank you heartily!

    ps: Don’t forget the salt also.

    1. Everyone may already know this, but for those who don’t, AVOID buying Penzey’s Spices. Buy from any other source. They are a rabidly Leftist Spice Company whose owner & CEO hates Pro-Lifers, Christians and Republicans, are anti-conservative, anti-rights, anti-Trump, pro-impeachment, and are actively funding some seriously bad political activism.

  4. Vanilla: I agree with BGF spices are very important, I buy large packages or bulk whole spices and repackage in half or quarter pint canning jars sealed by oven or dehydrator heating to drive out air so lids can seal. Be sure to label and date, and store in cardboard boxes (for darkness) and then put the boxes into totes (for moisture and pest control). I also have a supply of herbs that are packed the same way, but I grow many herbs and dehydrate them for using now. You can make Vanilla by tincturing vanilla beans with vodka or everclear, but beans are very expensive. I read somewhere I don’t remember exactly where, that this woman used burbon or whiskey instead of Vanilla for flavoring, so I tried it. I think it tastes better than vanilla and it is a lot cheaper. I put it into my empty vanilla bottle and keep the burbon bottle in my “back pantry” tote, that has the opened to refill from items in it, like worstershire sauce, vinegar, dry coffee creamer etc. I started it one year when I was organizing my pantry and realized I had 3 open one gallon jugs of cider vinegar. It is very handy because when you run out of something in the kitchen your usually in the middle of making something and hurry in and grab the first replacement you see. I use the Jim Beam brand, and I bought a quart, I figure at a teaspoon or less at a time it should last a long time.
    Hope everyone is buttoned down for winter, keep warm.

  5. I’ve had a Uniden 980 in my daily driver for years now, along with a Bearcat Trunk Tracker III. This 885 would be a lot easier to mount in modern vehicles especially, than my 2 radio setup. If I didn’t have a cb & scanner already, this is the route I’D go. Might stick one in the wife’s minivan…

  6. RE: Guerilla Gunfighter books, thanks for the heads up and review link. I purchase it today. Lulu currently has a 15% off printed books, (that is the best they every give, I believe), with the code: ONEFIVE so now is the time to buy. Thanks

  7. JWR, LOL,about the “law” it is just what the mood of a particular magistrate is on any day or what is convenient to TPTB. Basic tenets of common law are routinely dismissed,ignored or actively punished. The Sullivan act was solely to make armed robbery safer for criminals. Illegally obtained evidence and coerced testimony is widely used. Your person,papers and property are not safe from warrantless,unreasonable intrusion(stop and frisk,unchecked government surveillance,asset forfeiture,police murders). How many instances of judges refusing citizens to use the Constitution or the Bill of Rights as evidence or overriding law in cases or basic human rights does it take? Will it take more citizens gagged amd chained to chairs,drugged into incomprehension or just excluded by video conference from a private for profit(or for sheriffs profit by starving prisoners and stealing the food budget) jails. 2-3 years for a speedy trial,incompetent over worked public defenders(if you can’t afford one) and excessive bail,charge stacking by prosecutors to coerce pleas. The system never worked well and is now a travesty and a farce. DO NOT FORGET the “Law” or “Bar” association is a private club and only those in the club can participate,you used to be able to join if you “read in” or apprenticed under a competent attorney but now you must be selected to attend a approved school,pass the scrutiny of agendaed professors,pass a test that may or not be relevant then the club decides if you are politically correct enough or not.

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