Letter Re: New Zealand as a Retreat Locale?

Mr. Rawles,
Thank you again for your blog. It is a VERY helpful resource. I plan on becoming a contributor to your site soon. What are your thoughts on moving to New Zealand? Would it be an alternative ‘safe place’ to be located, instead of putting together a retreat here? You have chosen to remain in the states for certain reasons. What are those reasons? Regards, – Luke

JWR Replies: The mild climate, low population density, and low crime rate in new Zealand make it quite appealing as a retreat locale. I can say much the same for parts of Canada and Australia. The downside in all three countries is that their citizenries are unfairly subjected to draconian gun laws. (At least by American standards.) If you can live with registering all of your guns and some ridiculous restrictions on full capacity magazines, then by all means take a look in New Zealand. By reputation, the real estate firm to consider there is Bayleys. (http://www.bayleys.co.nz/)

Three Letters Re: Source for IM-179 Radiacmeter Batteries?


The IM-179 is a really neat little meter unless you need to measure background, but there are other meters for that. I’ve been using the following as replacement batteries for my IM-179:

#1 [Replacement for Mallory BA1312U]:

Batteries Plus: ALK 1.5V/325Mah Cat # DURPC640A Were $2.99 each
UPS #041333040431 Batteries Plus -91
On the battery it says:
PC640A China (Ha!) Alkaline

#2 [Replacement for Mallory BA1318U]: Batteries Plus DANTR164A Batteries Plus #90 Were $11.99 each
On the battery is says:
Excell A32 . A164 6.0V Alkaline
PX32A EN164A PC164A

Hope this helps. Isn’t it amazing how common pieces of equipment from divergent sources show up in the hands of people who read this publication. 🙂 Best Regards, – The Army Aviator

Mr. Rawles:

I have several the original [IM 179] units. Batteries are no longer manufactured. But Major Surplus has the replacements for about $19.00 plus shipping. Great little meters. The calibration is off a little and when you test the meter swings over too far. After test you must let meter reset for 10 minutes to clear the ion tube. You will have to make an adapter for the 640A cell that replaces the large round mercury cell. You can make one out of thick cardboard or fiberboard. The Units purchased from Major Surplus come with the adapter. Major has the Duracell PX32A, made for them buy Excell. Jordan Electronics in California calibrated them for Major and work great. The reason for the change was because the big cell was mercury. Best of luck. – JWH


The IM 179 is a nice little radiac set that it easy to use and handy but the batteries have been out of production for a long time. The good news is that commercial batteries can be adapted for it.

The information is in the book “Power up” that I wrote about 13 years ago. It has been out of print for several years and the publisher is out of business. About a year ago I found that the book could be downloaded from a web site in the UK called “Army Radio”. As I recall this site  is for collectors of military radios.

The adapter for the IM 179 used one Duracell PX32 & one Duracell R640. A little cardboard , masking tape & aluminum foil & you are in business. Note: You MUST watch the polarity as the suggested batteries have a “negative tip”!

BTW, the PX32 can also be used in an adapter for the old “Firefly” strobe.   At the time I wrote the book these were available at most Radio Shack stores but I do not know it this it still true. I hope this helps & if needed I can try to sent you the plans for this to share with readers. – Dave

Odds ‘n Sods:

The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist tell us that their new batch of 8 x57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser rifles is going fast. This is by far the nicest batch of Turks that they’ve ever acquired. Since they were all made between 1894 and 1896, they are Federally exempt “antiques” –which means no paperwork required for delivery to most states. (They come right to your doorstep, with no pesky 4473 form required!)

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Gold and silver aren’t the only commodities on a stratospheric trajectory. Copper and uranium recently hit all time records. Oil is very strong, too. Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens says that he sees $5 per gallon gasoline looming, worldwide

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Noah at the DefenseTech blog reports that the U.S. has done an about face on reimbursement for soldier-purchased body armor.  OBTW, in a recent issue, Noah has a link to an amazing video of an LPG tanker truck BLEVE explosion. Scary stuff.

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SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. recommends this article on currency inflation, by statistical analyst Jim Willie.

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Never one for subtlety, Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc recommends this device for rodent control.

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SurvivalBlog reader Rourke just happened across this North Carolina retreat property when surfing the net: http://www.greatcarolinaproperty.com/farms/112284d.htm

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." – Thomas Jefferson

Note from JWR:

I’m not much of a trickster, so I won’t subject you to any April Fool’s Day prank posts.

And the winner is…  The winner of Round 3 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is K.A.D., for his article titled: “Defending Your Home: An Outline of Security for Troubled Times”  The author will be mailed a four day &qout;gray” transferable Front Sight course certificate. Thanks to the contest sponsor, we will be repeating the contest, with the same valuable prize. The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006.

For this latest round of the contest, special judging consideration will be given to the article with the most useful and detailed information on a practical skill that is applicable to a TEOTWAWKI situation. Get to writing, folks!

OBTW, for convenient reference, we have created a new permanent archive of the contest winning articles

Note to K.A.D.:  Let me know your snail mail address and I’ll mail you your four day course certificate. Congratulations!

US Readers: Don’t forget to “spring forwards” tonight.

Letter Re: Varmints in the Garden

Mr. Rawles:
I recently attended a forestry conference where Doug Freedman of Harrisburg, Oregon was speaking. He is the owner of RCO Inc., a company that deals with varmint problems on an industrial scale. Here are some of the notes that were taken at his presentation: You start doing some of the math on the breeding numbers these guys could produce and it is flat scary. (Please note that if errors exist, it is due to my rapid note taking rather than a lapse by Mr. Freedman, who is an expert in his field. )

Pocket Gophers:
Tunnels: are 80-800 feet long-random in direction and consists of main and lateral tunnels. They make 2-to-3 mounds per day-moving two tons of soil per year.
Food: 3-5 food caches per tunnel system. They like tuberous plants ( particularly thistle he said ). They introduce their own habitat ( i am assuming ala war of the worlds )
Life cycle: multiple litters per year breeding starts in March and June. 19 day gestational period with 3-to-7 per litter. Mature dependency from adults in 40 days. Sexually mature in 1 year and they live 2-5 years.
Traps: control and trap both directions and place in main tunnels. Can use mouse traps on incline with strings tied to them. They patrol their tunnels 2-3 times per day ( very territorial ) if they see light they will investigate why a tunnel is opened.
Baits: Bait only main tunnels use strychnine and PREMIUM grade oats. Higher quality oats and freshness = palatability.
Control: remove forbes with tap roots

Habitat: Live above or below . Like a 14" canopy of grass golf ball sized holes. Can burrow 5-6 feet. Groups of 7-8 rodents nest together in winter
Food: tend to girdle seedlings and small trees. also may eat some grass ( unsure on this one )
Life cycle: 19 day gestational period. They have 6-to-7 litters per year. Can re-breed in 20 hours.
Control: cut grass below 10"
Baits: Zinc Phosphate.

Ground Squirrels:
Damage: They can carry the Plague. Forage on grain crops. Holes damage farm machinery. Have been known to damage dikes.
Habitat: Live above and below ground tunnels 15 feet long
Food Grass and grains
Life cycle: 1 litter per year usually 5 per litter
Baits: strychnine. Below ground only. Bait in summer to late fall. Place unpoisoned grain in an area to get them used to feeding in a spot. Then place the poison and get the whole family. can trap and shoot also can fumigate. Some have tried the ol propane wand and suffocation. Others have tried to ignite the burrows (Not suggested ).
Thanks Much, – E.B. in N. Idaho

Letter Re: Finding a Stable Country for an Offshore Retreat

You listed some criteria for countries suitable as offshore retreats. Unfortunately, I’m not sure there are any countries that meet all of them, in Central America–or North America for that matter! Having spent a lot of time looking into things, I’d like to share a few observations:
-Nicaragua is widely reported as having a low crime rate, plus they now offer the same immigration incentives that used to be available in Costa Rica. It is also noteworthy that most of the Nicaraguan crime is cross-border, into Costa Rica.
-Belize has a fair bit of crime, some political instability, and a bad attitude towards guns. Plus it’s relatively expensive.
-Costa Rica is going down the globalist path just as fast as the US and England–they are just starting from a freer level. The recent tax laws might make it the worst in Central America. Fortunately, the Supreme Court threw them out on a technicality.
-The folks I met who were evaluating both Costa Rica and Panama leaned strongly toward Panama.
-The weather and scenery in Costa Rica are great.
-Many expats who like Mexico see it as a snowbird destination; more like a modern-day Arizona.
-The visa (e.g., Pensionado) programs are really important. Belize’s retirement visa starts at age 45, which is quite generous.
Sincerely, – Pablo

Letter Re: Source for IM-179 Radiacmeter Batteries?

Where can I get replacement batteries for my IM-179 radiacmeter? It takes Mallory BA1312U or Mallory BA1318U batteries.  Thanks, – D.A.B.

JWR Replies:  Sorry, but I had no sources listed in my research files, and I struck out with web research. “Phone a friend” failed, so now I think it is time to “Poll the audience.” Lets see what they say. Collectively, there is some amazing knowledge out there, and they haven’t failed me yet.

Odds ‘n Sods:

A Blackwater Brigade for Darfour?

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U.K.’s Prime Minister Blair Calls for a Technological Revolution to Combat Climate Change

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SurvivalBlog readers in the Great Lakes region should consider getting training from Dave Schleicher of Eagle Personal Protection, in Michigan. Dave is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor who shares his knowledge gained at a wide range of schools including Lethal Force Institute(LFI-I and LFI-II certified), Options for Personal Security (Handgun Skills and Tactics, Carbine, Surgical Speed Shooting), Universal Shooting Academy, Gunfighters, Ltd., Suarez International (Low Light Gunfighting, Close Range Gunfighting, Knifefighting) and E.A.G. Tactical (Combat Carbine.) Dave really knows his stuff, and offers small class sizes with lots of individual attention.

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DefenseTech reports that DARPA is developing mini-sensors called “Camouflaged Long Endurance Nano-Sensors”:(CLENS)

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Here is a great web site on mortgage banking economics: Great Depression 2 (“Fannie, you’re in a heap-a trouble!”)

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." – James Madison

Note from JWR:

Tomorrow we will announce the winner of Round 3 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest, and award a four day “gray” transferable Front Sight course certificate. Thanks to the generosity of Front Sight’s Director, Naish Piazza, we will be running Round 4 of the contest, with the same valuable prize. (Worth as much as $2,000 if you were paying cash for a course.) The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006. Speaking of Front Sight, the 26 episode weekly reality TV series entitled, Front Sight Challenge will be aired soon on The Outdoor Channel. Check your satellite television guide for dates and times. I anticipate that the wide exposure generated by the TV series will likely result in full bookings for Front Sight classes al through the rest of the year, so book your classes early!

If you haven’t done so already, please add a link to your web site to SurvivalBlog. Pretty please?  The more links we have, the greater our visibility to the search engines. By
showing up at the top of the list in Google  when somebody searches on “storage food”, or “Bug out bag”, or “AR-15” means that we’ll gain another reader, and each  increase in readership makes us more attractive to sponsors. On and on it goes, in the chain of “Linky Love.”  Needless to say, if you add a link to us, we will be happy to reciprocate with link to your site, unless you are a smut peddler.  Links are more important to us than those 10 Cent Challenge contributions, and they cost you nothing. OBTW, if you want to be extra nice and put up a graphic (banner) link, we have lots of different sizes available: https://survivalblog.com/linktous/. Thanks!

Letter from “Mr. Coffee” in Costa Rica Re: Finding a Stable Country for an Offshore Retreat

Hi Jim,
I haven’t e-mailed you in a long while because I know you are really busy with your blog. I read your site every day and have implemented many of the ideas you and others have shared. Thanks. If any of your readers have specific questions about moving to Costa Rica I would be glad to answer them.  You can share my e-mail address: costaricakelly@yahoo.com. The info you shared in your March 30th blog post about Central America is accurate. I would stay away from the rest of Central America. Panama still has some nice areas up in the mountains. Belize is English speaking but it is also mostly black (I can’t use the term African American in this instance.) There are two other web sites that SurvivalBlog readers might find interesting: www.amcostarica.com is a daily newsletter, www.ticotimes.net is a weekly newspaper here in Costa Rica and has news online. Congrats on giving up your “day job” and concentrating solely on your blog. – Mr. Coffee

Odds ‘n Sods:

This story is amazing:  http://www.phishhook.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=550448  Of course this was criminal enterprise, but some of the same techniques could be used to conceal entrances for secret rooms and/or an underground retreat.

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Eric Fry of The Rude Awakening e-newsletter notes: “22-year highs in silver; 24-year highs in sugar; 25-year  highs in gold; 26-year highs in platinum; all-time highs in copper, crude oil
and natural gas…Welcome to the commodity markets of 2005-06.”

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Fred the Valmet-meister says: “If you liked Frontier House on PBS a few years ago, you’ll like the new “Ranch House” miniseries (eight parts) about life in the Old West. They are going to do the same thing they did in Frontier House, but do cattle drives and live in the high desert and Texas. It will be aired in May.”

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One last reminder that the big sale on Mountain House canned freeze dried foods at SafeCastle ends at noon TODAY (March 31, 2006). The sale pricing includes free shipping anywhere in the U.S.–even Alaska and Hawaii.

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A couple of stories on the recent run-up in precious metals prices, at Marketwatch and Reuters.

Note from JWR:

There are now SurvivalBlog readers in more than 60 countries. (See our hit map.)  BTW, you can now click on the map to zoom in for detailed maps showing hits in various regions.