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. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This week the focus is on components for mobile photovoltaic power systems. (See the Gear & Grub section.) Books: The new coin …




An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 2, by Rocket J. Squirrel

(Continued from Part 1.) There is a DeWalt 6 kW generator with a Honda gasoline engine that was purchased used. The local Stihl dealer gave it a tune up. Spare spark plugs are kept in the tool box. I have very limited gasoline storage but do have a tri-fuel kit. The tri-fuel kit from www.uscarb.com enables the generator to use gasoline, propane, or natural gas for fuel. Make certain you buy the kit which matches your specific engine model. I need to get the kit installed as well as the natural gas fittings for our current home. Natural gas may …




Propane and Compressor Refrigerators, by Tunnel Rabbit

This is a brief analysis of propane and compressor refrigerators in long term grid-down appplications. In Northwest Montana life has not changed radically during the Coronavirus lockdown, and there are plenty of used freezers, and fridges available on Craigslist.  However, demand for propane refrigerators is on the increase as there is marked rise in interest in self-reliance.  If nothing can be found in your area, then be willing to travel to buy a used propane refrigerators before they are gone.  These are expensive and hard to find. At the least, these can preserve meat while you jar it up, and …




A Prepper’s Primer on Renewable Energy – Part 2, by Kevin R.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) If you are preparing a retreat to be abundantly supplied when you bug out, but are not always using and replenishing wood, make sure that the wood is protected from rain and snow. Rotten wood does not provide as much energy. Also, make sure that you know where you can get more wood, should you start living in your retreat full time. Do you own your own timber? (Good thing to keep in mind when buying land.) How will you transport your logs to your home if you are in a crisis …




Generators for Family Readiness – Part 2, by Greg X.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Starting Electric starting is a nice feature. An electric starter motor spins the engine faster than pull starting increasing the probability that the engine starts. The starter keeps the engine spinning longer because a starter rope always runs out of length. My wife can push the start button and if your back is hurt “the button” still works. Gasoline engines are easier to pull-start than diesels. There are some small diesel engines with compression release that can be pull started, but it can be tough even for a 3-kW engine. We put …




Generators for Family Readiness – Part 1, by Greg X.

Many of us own a generator. But how much research did you do before purchasing yours? Generator system integration into you home power design is frequently a series of tradeoffs. I’m going to cover how generators work, potential design features, trade-offs, and strategic considerations. I actually own four generators of various capacities, fuel types, and features, each for slightly different purposes. I also work doing generator fleet maintenance. Key Components I like to break generators down into an alternator, and engine, a DC control system, an AC control system, a fuel system and a cooling system. Generator sets are typically …




Practical Survival Radio Communications – Part 2, by G.H.

CONTROL THE AIR Controlling the air often means transmitting, when necessary, large quantities of information accurately in poor conditions in a short amount of time. Even operators that are interested only in the hobby side of radio may fall into an emergency with the radio being the only source of working communications. Communications in an uncomfortable situation or actual emergency requires a much different style than “ragchewing” with friends on the radio as a hobby. If an emergency is the first time an operator faces a communication challenge, the likelihood of successful communications is poor. Practice, Practice, Practice Radio operators …




Rocket Water Heater – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The Finished Project Since there is a lot of information on building rocket stoves on SurvivalBlog and elsewhere, I have not described any construction details on the stove itself. The following photo shows what my working rocket water heater (RWH) looks like, with an explanation of the number and letter annotations. This small building was later covered with bat and board siding, with a small door covering the on/off switch and thermometers. Here are all of the key bits and pieces: 1. Inflow and outflow water temperature thermometers. (Thread these into the …




Rocket Water Heater – Part 1, by St. Funogas

Have you ever considered the things you’d miss most in a TEOTWAWKI situation? I think a nice hot shower has to be pretty high on my list. It is right up there with coffee. So, once I got my nearly-off-grid little cabin built, I set out to build a prototype rocket water heater. There are a hundred and one different ways to make a rocket water heater (RWH). But as an introduction, I’ll show you how I built mine. I’ll also mention a few things that I wish I had done differently, just to give you some ideas on how …




Living Off The Grid – Part 2, by V.F.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) In October of the first year, I remember going out to take a shower in the “shower room” outside. By the time I had finished I was sobbing, crying incoherently, full of pity for myself. You see, it was already freezing cold and while I thought of solutions like adding a heater and so forth, I realized that I just didn’t want to have to deal with this anymore. But I had made my bed and I was going to have to sleep in it as the old saying goes. I let …




Living Off The Grid – Part 1, by V.F.

When I was a child, my mother moved to a very remote area of Eastern Washington and we lived off the grid. This was long before the term had been coined, as far as I know. The property did not have a house. We lived in a little travel trailer. We went to town once a month and did laundry at the laundromat. We boiled water from the creek to wash dishes. The creek was also our refrigerator. We ran a PVC pipe in the creek and placed a horse trough in the creek. This is where we kept drinks …




Powering Tube Radios with Batteries, by Brian H.

DISCLAIMER: USE THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HEREIN AT YOUR OWN RISK. HIGH VOLTAGE DIRECT CURRENT, SUCH AS DESCRIBED BELOW, CAN BE LETHAL. IN ADDITION, EVEN SMALL GEL-CELL BATTERIES CAN PRODUCE HIGH CURRENTS WHEN SHORT-CIRCUITED AND QUICKLY MELT WIRE, DESTROY COMPONENTS, AND START FIRES. IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH ELECTRICITY, THEN ASK SOMEONE QUALIFIED TO CHECK YOUR WORK BEFORE ENERGIZING ANY OF THE CIRCUITRY DESCRIBED. Older vacuum-tube radios are popular in the prepper world (and rightly so) for their resistance to EMP damage. One useful fact about them that is often unrealized is that many of them can be powered by …




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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This week we shift the focus more toward  potential Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. Pictured is a Goal Zero Nomad 7 folding …




Getting Out of Dodge – Part 3, by Doc

(Continued from Part 2.  This concludes the article series.) Getting back to the construction details:  I welded up a steel frame and built hinges using 1” bolts and pipe and 3/8” steel plate for the roof of the patio on the East end of the building. I used metal roof material supported by 6”x2” heavy tubing and 2” angle and a lot of rebar and a 3/8’ steel plate for the hydraulic cylinder to lift against. I bought a 5” diameter hydraulic cylinder 48” long and welded a trunion to steel plates on both ends. With the cylinder attached to …




Getting Out of Dodge – Part 2, by Doc

(Continued from Part 1) Two slanted walls were poured on the East end. They were 22′ wide at the building and 14′ wide at the East end and went from 8′ to nothing at the end. This was for a roof for the patio and security when I was traveling. Then I had the messy job of coating the outside with tar to seal it. Next a layer of 2″ closed cell styrofoam was installed on the outside walls. Then part of the ditch was back filled to hold the foam in place. The temperature was hot and I was …