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

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. – David

JWR Replies:  Okay readers, to get this net “off the ground” please e-mail me with some suggested HF frequencies.  It is probably also apropos to pre-designate a sideband CB channel (or two), and some FRS, GMRS and 2 Meter frequencies. Please don’t just send me a random list of frequencies. Rather, I’m looking for your real world expertise on un-crowded frequencies, particularly east of the Mississippi, where spectrum occupancy is more dense.

Letter from Mrs. Victor Re: Initial Results of the Ten Cent Challenge

>RE: Note from JWR: Many thanks for your support Thusfar, we’ve had seven responses
>to the SurvivalBlog Ten Cent Challenge. Special thanks to David M., who pledged $100.

Come on people!!! Pony up for a valuable resource like this! Seven people? On a site with over three million hits? I’ve been a lifelong survival/self-sufficiency buff, thanks to my upbringing. I felt that I was totally s**t-together and was operating in a fairly low level maintenance mode with my preparedness supplies. Since finding I have:
1. Heard about, found and ordered Jim’s book Patriots.
2. Heard about, found and obtained Sambucol for fighting Avian flu WTSHTF.
3. Heard about, found and obtained fresh antibiotics from a vet supply site for TEOTWAWKI.
4. Heard about, found and obtained canned meats and canned butter from a wonderful site.
5. Heard about and joined the linked discussion forums (The Claire Files) where there are many like-minded individuals sharing experience, strength and hope.
And all of this took place in just under two weeks since discovering SurvivalBlog!  For those out there who read this site regularly and are out stocking up and preparing, don’t forget that information is your most valuable resource. Thanks for your time and attention. Sincerely, – Mrs. Victor (in the retreat owner profiles) and “colordohermit” at The Claire Files

JWR Adds: We’ve now had 14 donations since I first announced the Ten Cent Challenge, including seven that were for the full $36.50.  Many thanks for your support, folks.

Odds ‘n Sods: An “Easy” Quiz

I found this short quiz floating through the ether of the Internet:

The world’s easiest quiz:
1.) How long did the Hundred Year War last?
2.) Which country makes Panama hats?
3.) From which animal do we get catgut?
4.) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5.) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
6.) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7.) What was King George VI’s first name?
8.) What color is a purple finch?
9.) Where are Chinese Gooseberries from?
10.) How long did the Thirty Years War last?

1.) 116 years, from 1337 to 1453 2.) Ecuador 3.) From sheep and horses 4.) November. The Russian calendar was 13 days behind ours. 5.) Squirrel fir 6.) The Latin name was Insularia Canaria – Island of the Dogs 7.) Albert – When he came to the throne in 1936 he respected the wish of Queen Victoria that no future king should ever be called Albert. 8.) Distinctively crimson 9.) New Zealand 10.) Thirty years, of course! From 1618 to 1648.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them
to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan

Note from JWR:

Many thanks for your support  Thusfar, we’ve had seven responses to the SurvivalBlog Ten Cent Challenge. Special thanks to David M., who pledged $100.

Today, we present yet another entry in our writing contest. There are just 10 days left to send your entries. The prize is a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (Worth up to $2,000!)

High Performance Low Maintenance Clothing for Troubled Times–by “Springmtnd”

What clothing do you pack in your bug-out-bag and for long term wear in troubled times? One of the things you can count on in trying times is limited access to shower and laundry facilities. Most clothing you wear next to your skin gets pretty skunky after a few days, especially synthetics. What’s a survivor to do? You want something soft and comfortable, light weight, warm when cold or wet, cool when hot, wicking, doesn’t stink, doesn’t get dirty, easy to wash, and while we are wishing–how about cheap?
I am into ultra-light backpacking. I used to wear a long sleeved dress shirt during the day to keep the sun off. It wasn’t very warm and it got so nasty after hiking in it all day, much less after 5 or 6 days, that I certainly didn’t want to wear it to bed at night. This necessitated carrying another shirt to wear in camp and to sleep in. Another shirt added weight I didn’t want to carry.
Enter Merino Wool. Merino wool has a very long and fine fiber. A long fiber results in fewer fiber ends for a given unit of fabric. It turns out that the fiber ends are what cause wool to feel itchy against the skin. Merino wool is naturally bactericidal and fungicidal (doesn’t stink and protects you from infection). My understanding is that this is somehow related to the wool’s property of having no liquid moisture on its surface. This property also keeps the wool from being damp, clammy and sticky against the skin. It also keeps the wool from flash cooling you when your activity level drops off like you experience when wearing cotton. Another advantage of Merino wool over synthetics is that it doesn’t melt or burn. This makes it suitable for high fire risk activities like flying or military operations.
The same features that make Merino wool the best choice for back country adventures make it a great choice for troubled times. Merino wool always feels good. It is a very comfortable fabric to wear against the skin. It is typically a very fine but open knit. When held up to the light you can see through it. This provides for good ventilation in warm weather. When I switched to a wool top for hiking I found that it was the only top I needed. I added a full length zipper to the front for maximum ventilation under heavy exertion when hiking away from the sun. When facing the sun it was easily zipped for sun protection or warmth when entering cool, shady, or windy areas. Wool doesn’t seem to get dirty. If you slop your dinner on your front you can just shake it and brush it off. It tends not to soak in. More absorbent finer woven fabrics get stained and dirty. It also helps that it generally comes in darker natural colors. I have worn a Merino wool top 24/7 for 6 days of strenuous hiking. It just doesn’t get stinky and foul like any other fabric. You can take a bath in a creek after 6 days of hard labor and when donning your Merino wool top it feels just as nice and cushy as when you put it on clean a week earlier. If you do decide to hand wash it it comes clean easily and dries reasonably fast. To speed things up I swing my socks or underwear around on the end of a string. At home I machine wash my Merino wool in cold water with the rest of my clothes. Just don’t put it in the dryer. And, lest I forget it is great for sleeping in. No need to bring another shirt.
Another issue is the message you sent by how you dress. Most Merino wool tops look a little dressier than athletic clothing. This could be an advantage when being approached by the authorities or if you need assistance.
Where can you get Merino wool? Smartwool and Icebreaker are major names. They make garments designed and cut for athletic activities. I have seen the tops for a modest $80! Also cycling shorts and tops are made from Merino wool. The performance of Merino wool has been well know to the professional cycling crowd for a long time. You can sometimes find Merino wool tops at Costco for $25 to $30. I just checked the Sierra Trading Post website and saw tops on sale in the $20 range. Where do I get Merino wool? I actually purchase Smartwool socks retail (retail, what a horrible word) form Sierra Trading Post. For tops, I shop at Savers. Savers is a chain of second hand clothing stores. They have 20 or 30 feet of rack space for sweaters. Once you know what you are looking for the Merino wool sweaters are easily found. They are typically finely woven, Italian made, in darker natural colors with a polo style button up neck and a collar. Occasionally the acrylics will fool you. Just check the label (it kills me when I see “100% virgin acrylic”). They have a distinctive symbol and say Woolmark and “100% fine Merino wool”. Savers color codes their tags so they can tell how long merchandise has been on the rack. Every week they put the next color tag on sale for 50% off. I move all the Merino wool to one spot on the rack and the day the new tag goes on sale I buy the half price ones for $3.50 to $4. The nice ones that are too big for me I give as gifts. The big ones I don’t give away I can make 2 or 3 sets of underwear out of. Yes, I wear Merino wool top and bottom.

For a bug-out-bag or for uncertain times Merino wool has a lot of advantages:

  • It is comfortable over a broader temperature range than any other fabric
  • If necessary it can go for long periods without being laundered and comes clean easily when washed – reduced laundering and minimizes need for extra clothing
  • Doesn’t support bacterial or fungal growth – stinky clothing and skin problems are two less things you need to deal with when trying to survive.

My bottom line advice: Pack and wear high performance minimum care Merino wool.

The Memsahib Comments: Wool has the distinct benefit over other fabrics of being warm even when wet. I once was out in the snow three hours but my feet stayed toasty warm in two layers of wool socks even though the socks were soaked through. Wool can be a life saver in foul weather and when there is risk of hypothermia. Thrift stores like Savers are a great place to find high quality clothes at great prices. Merino is the very finest and softest type of wool. Also note that most military surplus wool clothing uses low grade wool and is fairly itchy. If you’ve never worn wool, it is probably best to buy just one wool garment to start, to see if you are allergic–although most most people aren’t truly allergic but rather have just had the misfortune of  wearing a garment of poor quality wool. Oh, one word of warning don’t agitate your wool garments in warm and especially not hot water. And don’t tumble them in a hot drier. Wool felts with moisture, heat, and agitation.  And felting cannot be undone.

Sorting Out Fact from Fiction in the EMP Threat

There is a wide range of opinion on the potential implications of Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)–either that generated by a terrorist nuke ground burst, or a nation-state’s high altitude air burst(s). I’m convinced that the threat is real. But don’t just take my word on it. Back in 2004, the U.S. Congress commissioned a study by a prestigious panel of scientists to investigate the potential implications of EMP. I suggest that you take time to read the Heritage Foundation’s summary, which followed the release of the EMP’s Commission’s report. (see:  And if you feel so inclined, go on to read the EMP Commission’s report–most of it is written in layman’s terms. The text of the report can be found here:  Warning: Reading this report has been known to cause rational people to buy large food storage supplies and a spare 4WD vehicle with a pre-electronic ignition system.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Note that mere ownership of a firearm does not render the owner armed any more than ownership of a guitar renders the owner a musician. The wild cry, “My life is in danger, give me a gun!” is the plaint of a fool. The time to acquire one’s weapons and learn how to use them is before the riots start, not afterwards."
– Col. Jeff Cooper

The Precious Metals Bull Continues His Charge

I have a good friend with whom I chat on the phone quite regularly. I have been bugging him to hedge into metals for the past three years. When the spot price was $4.35 an ounce with the dealer’s commission a 100 ounce Engelhard bar was about $500. At that time, I suggested that my friend buy at least buy one or two $1,000 face value bags of pre-1965 “junk” silver coinage–just in case. He waffled. Then, when silver was $4.80 an ounce, I was practically begging him to buy.  Even though he was sitting on substantial dollar-denominated liquid assets, he kept coming up with reasons not buy. Once silver passed $5 per ounce, he claimed that he was waiting for “the next time that it dips below $5.” Then that dip came, and I pointed it out, and he came up with yet another excuse. This went on and on.  Once silver passed $6 an ounce, he claimed “I’ve missed the boat.”  I tried explaining to him that silver was heading well past $12 an ounce in this bull market, but he wouldn’t budge. I finally gave up trying to convince him. Some deer just can’t resist standing and watching those approaching headlights…

The recent spike in gold and silver prices is interesting, because it came at a time when the dollar was strengthening versus the Euro. In contrast, the previous recent rallies occurred when the dollar was losing ground to the Euro. Similarly, gold has traditionally gone up when he price of oil was climbing. But wait a minute–the price of oil is slumping. So why is gold galloping? Something has changed. Perhaps there has been a collective realization that all paper currencies are risky, and that it is therefore time to hedge. The only problem is that in the grand scheme of things is that there just are not a lot of metals to buy. The COMEX is a relatively small market. That is why it tends to be volatile–just a few investors making significant trades can move the market dramatically. If just 10% of  America’s stock and bond investors decided to hedge a fraction of their portfolios into metals, they could buy the entire COMEX inventory, several times over.

I’ve been surprised to see that there has not yet been any significant profit taking, which is the norm, following COMEX price spikes. If there is no pulback–just a staircase climb upward, –this could be a portent of a paradigm shift. As I’m writing this, (Friday evening), silver is at $8.03/oz., and gold is at $485.20/oz. If gold breaks out above $500 per ounce, watch out! It could be a precursor of a full scale dollar panic. For those of you that have read this blog regularly, you know the larger implications–at the societal level. Be ready.

Adjusted for inflation, even after the recent surge in prices, the price of silver is still near its historic low. The spot price of silver was as high as $45 an ounce as recently as 1979. (That equates to pre-1965 U.S. coinage being worth 32 times its face value.)  I consider silver at anywhere under $10 an ounce a real bargain.  For those of you that dawdled, don’t feel that you missed the boat.  Just wait for the next dip, and then don’t hesitate: Buy!

Letter from Goatlady Re: Miniature Goats and Canning Meat

Seems to me you would need quite a large herd of miniature goats to have chevron throughout the year using minis considering three meals per butchered animal, once a week = 52 goats just for butchering which means at least 26 females producing twins once a year plus being sure you have two bucks for service those females, plus enough browse for them to thrive on. Seems to me you would be much better off having two to three full size meat goat does to produce 4-6 butcher goats at (depending on the breed) 50-100 pounds of meat per animal. Can it, dry it, salt it, smoke it – 200 to 600 pounds of meat properly preserved should last you for the year. I’m sure you know to butcher in the cool fall weather NOT in spring or summer. This avoid avoids flies, contamination by bacteria, etc caused by warm/hot weather and believe me meat cuts a LOT easier when its VERY cold if not half frozen – doesn’t skitter around and mush out of the way of the knife when you are trying to slice steaks or even sized chunks for stew. Best, – The Goatlady

The Memsahib Replies:  Dear Goatlady, Thank you for writing. Most goats do come into season only in the Fall, but African pygmy goats are very unusual in that they ovulate all year round. They also have a strong tendency toward kidding triplets and quadruplets. The large herd of miniature animals is a benefit in my eyes because you spread your risk.  A loss of one goat from a flock of three could be devastating, but not that bad from a flock of 25. Also you will have have extra animals you can give to neighbors to start their own flocks. I don’t mind butchering little animals frequently.  Once you’ve done it a time or two you develop a routine and it is a snap. I already do this with chickens, rabbits, and ducks. But to each her own. And I completely agree with butchering large animals in the Fall.  That is the only way to go.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a
dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.”  – Alexander Tyler, on the Fall of the Athenian Republic.

Ten Cent Challenge

Today, I’m starting the SurvivalBlog “Ten Cent Challenge.”  If you value what you read on SurvivalBlog, then please help support our efforts, and help pay for our ever-growing bandwidth costs. (We recently had to upgrade our ISP account again, this time from a “Gold” to a Platinum” bandwidth plan.)  I challenge every regular reader to donate just 10 cents per day to support the blog. ($36.50 per year.)  If you don’t feel that you don’t get 10 cents worth of  information and entertainment out of the blog each day, then you can pass and forget that we ever asked–donations are purely voluntary.  But I have hopes that at least 5% of readers will pony up. (Statistically, the average sponsorship for free Internet sites like this one is just 2% of readers. I hope that SurvivalBlog readers defy that statistic. Your donations are gratefully accepted via PayPal, YowCow, cash, PMOs, or checks.

The Silver and Gold Price Spikes

Silver closed at $8.07 per ounce on Thursday, and gold closed at $485.70. Pardon me for rubbing it in a bit, but I told you so. (See my August 6, 2005 post.) Since $8 is a psychological barrier, there will likely be some profit taking for the next few COMEX market days, so if you missed the boat, you may be able to buy on the dip. But then get ready for the bull to resume his charge. I am still convinced that the metals are just a few years into a long term “secular” bull market. NewsMax reports Gold is already up more than 11% this year. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that gold’s rally this year has exceeded the paltry 2 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. U.S. Treasuries have returned 1.7 percent, heading for the worst annual performance since 1999, according to Merrill Lynch data.

My prediction: Silver at $40 per ounce by the end of the second term of the Bush administration. I’m not kidding.

Letter Re: South African 155mm Shells in Iraq–The Gerald Bull Connection

The South African arms industry was supplied shells and technology to produce the advanced 155mm during the Angolan Wars, by Space Research Corporation (SRC) of Canada/USA.
This landed Gerald Bull in prison for illegal export.(The PBS Frontline episode on same, or less-so the “Doomsday Gun” has some pretty general information on the subject.  See:
They got technology to produce Bull’s more up-to-date gun too (and produced two types: one a 155mm, the other a 210mm). It wasn’t necessary to have to use Bull’s 155mm base-bleed shells in his GC-45 as they could also be used to great effect in existing 155mms. It was called the G5 in South Africa (or GC-45, GN-H-45) it was a mobile artillery weapon with better ballistics and hence longer range – most importantly better accuracy than the conventional 155mm guns up to that time – early to mid-80s. The 210mm was self-propelled. It is true that Iraq may have gotten 155mms from SA, but they may have more likely gotten the shells only (still better in the “older” guns) – but what good were they to the Iraqis in the final math of the first Gulf War?

Gerald Bull designed this and other weapons and for a number of complicated reasons was assassinated in March, 1990 in Brussels.
The South African arms industry didn’t design it – this wasn’t suggested per se – just wanted to clarify where the design really came from. – Fitz

JWR adds:  This whole sordid saga is a fascinating bit of recent history. “Base bleed” technology is fascinating.  Most rifle shooters know that boat tail bullets have less drag, because with less rear surface area, there is less suction. Artillery shells suffer from the same drag, but on a grand scale. Gerald Bull’s solution: a small, slow-burning, rocket-like charge that counteracts the suction, and hence greatly increases the range of artillery shells. A brilliant concept.  

Coincidentally, this story is also a tie-in to another recent SurvivalBlog topic: border straddling. The SRC Corporation’s headquarters were on an 8,000 acre parcel that straddled the U.S. Canadian border.  I’m sure that made “import-export” issues a breeze. 😉

For more background, see: and