Letter Re: Expedient Field Telephones and Lightweight HF Transceivers

Mr. Rawles, I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I noticed that many references are made using the surplus TA-1 telephone. A household telephone can be used for a point-to point two-way communications by using 4 wire cable, a 9 volt battery (better 12 volts) a 300 ohm resistor, two momentary switches and two signal devices such as a piezzo device or buzzer. A 9 volt battery will furnish telephone comm. for several miles but have never used one over two miles. I am also a Amateur Radio Operator, (57 years) and if you must …




Two Letters Re: David in Israel on Mobile Multi-Mode Survival Communications

Jim: I would just like to point to a very nice (if somewhat costly) piece of radio equipment, The Buddipole from: http://www.buddipole.com/  It is an extremely flexible antennae system, which gives you coverage from the 40 meter band through the 2 meters – it is possible to tinker with a lot of different setups and it has a proven track record and is currently in use with your Special Forces teams as well as numerous hams. Budd Drummond who runs the company also has a very good customer service and is a great person to discuss antenna needs with. (Just …




From David in Israel: Mobile Multi-Mode Survival Communications

The following is an example of a pack-portable Ham station that is usable in most modes: Icom 706 MK2G HF/6M/2M/440 bands in SSB, FM, CW, and AM MFJ travel antenna tuner MFJ Mighty Mite 110-240 to 13 Volt 25 Amp power supply SGC ADSP2 digital noise reduction (DSP) and filter speaker Morse Code Key [JWR adds: Preferably with a detachable thigh-mount clip or thigh strap for use in the field.] Spool of antenna wire Hamstick antenna HF Dipole Antenna VHF/UHF antenna Toshiba MobilePro sub-laptop (an inexpensive serial terminal for TNC) KAM Kantronics TNC Solar panel 16xD cell NiMH battery Lightning/EMP …




Letter from Mark G. Re: The Army Aviator on HF Radios

Howdy Mr. Rawles, I have been reading your blog for the last week or two, and I also read your book [Patriots] last week (lots of good info, thanks!) I have a question regarding the post referenced in the subject line: Are the GRC-215 radios available surplus, or is there something similar available on the commercial market? Since I have been following your thoughts I have become more interested in communications (never thought too much about post-SHTF comm before), and I would like to eventually get something similar, although a SSB capable CB will probably come first, and I will …




Letter Re: More on Survival Communications and Six Meter Propagation Oddities

Howdy Mr. Rawles! One frequency [band] that I have had good results from has been 6 meters. This frequency is really unique. It may not be suitable for every situation, however its properties can be of use. It has the ability to become a national frequency when the E layer of the atmosphere is active. I have talked to HAMs from Washington state, to San Francisco, California down through Texas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Haiti, parts of South America, Vermont and above the Arctic Circle in Canada, [and] among adjacent states. Lets just say I am …




Letter Re: Amateur Radio in Survival Planning

Jim, I wanted to add that I think it is a great time now to test for Amateur radio license (“Ham” radio.) The entry level test is apparently quite simple and there is no longer any requirement for morse code (although that is a good skill to acquire.) [JWR adds: IIRC, that applies only to “No Code” license classifications, which have band restrictions.] I have been routinely listening to 75 meters at night, here in Coeur d’Alene {Idaho.] I here people as far as San Diego, California. Those broadcasting within 800 miles (Nevada, Oregon and all over the northwest) come …







Two Letters Re: A Dedicated SurvivalBlog Amateur Radio Net?

Jim: A good frequency for two-way radio communications is the little-used [amateur] FM radio band on 220 MHz. (See: http://wireless.fcc.gov/220MHz/)  Very few scanners cover it–only the most expensive scanners do which most people won’t buy. The reason scanners don’t cover 200 – 300 MHz is because its [mainly] used by the military. For example, the control tower at Moffett Field Naval Air Station is on 301.something MHz. In my research, I noticed that there are only two repeaters in Idaho that are on 220 and they are both in Boise. Outside of the big cities 220 is hardly used.  One …




From David In Israel: A Dedicated SurvivalBlog Amateur Radio Net?

James: It might be worthwhile to have a dedicated SurvivalBlog radio network. We could set up something on several HF bands. I am thinking it would be nice to have a way for SurvivalBlog readers to contact one another, even if and when the Internet and/or the phone system goes down. I think that there may be some interesting news will be coming from here [in Israel].  OBTW, the new year is 5766 from the creation of the world, the world is being closely judged for the next few days as Hashem re-coronates himself as the true King over kings. …




Letter Re: Inexpensive HF Transceiver?

Could you give me some advice/direction on purchasing a HF Transceiver for use in emergency communications events. Money is limited (like when is it not) but I want something that is a good all around investment. Most bang for the buck so to speak. I have background in radio/tv. Thank you so much! JWR’s Reply: Your best bet is a probably a “pre-digital” vintage rig from the 1970s–perhaps a Kenwood. Just make sure that it is set up to run on 12 VDC so that you can use a vehicular mount or run it from a retreat solar power/battery bank …




Letter From Dave Martin Re: Communications Infrastructure Rebuilding in Louisiana

Hi Jim, Your novel Patriots was revisited in New Orleans! I thought I would fill you and your blog in on the Blessings For Obedience ministries mission to Mississippi, and Louisiana this past week, It all started with a question to Kelly Coleman our president like… “Are we going to do anything for the stricken area?” Kelly and Tina were fishing in central Texas at the time, and having a nice time I shouldn’t have disturbed them with such a question. Sorry Tina. After about twelve hours of communications with the FCC, the head of the FCC decided it would …




Letter Re: AA and AAA Batteries by the “500 Pack”

I should point out that the battery offer by Botach is a high risk issue. Botach is a scum sucking bottom feeding scammer! Check the comments at subguns.com and Sturmgewher.com – They have a horrible reputation. I can also attest personally that they and have ripped me off (on an expensive rifle scope deal) as well as two of my associates (various rifle parts). I strongly encourage folks to slit their wrists before buying from Botach! – A.M. JWR Replies: Don’t hold back, A.M., tell us how you really feel! (Seriously, I appreciate your advice. I’ve removed that post.)




Letter Re: EMP Protection

Jim, I have been thinking about EMP damage to circuitry. Am I correct that it only damages computer-chip circuits, or does it also fry transistor type? It won’t harm old type ignition (with points) systems, right? If this is the case, a generator would become just as useless as anything, unless it is stored in a metal cabinet of some kind, right? How air-tight would it have to be to be effective in EMP suppression? (would it need to be totally welded, or just tacked good enough to keep it together? I am a welder, and am thinking about making …




VHF Marine Band and Out of Band (“Freeband”) CB Radio Modifications

Proviso: The following is for informational purposes only. Do not modify radios as described unless it is a dire emergency. (FCC regulations do not permit out of band transmissions except under emergency situations.) One aspect of preparedness that is often overlooked is secure radio communications. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous blog posts, buying a pair of VHF Marine Band radios makes sense if you live in an area that is both inland from the coast and away from the Great Lakes. You will essentially have a band all to yourself. Another approach to increasing communications security is …