Letter Re: States Plans for Asian Avian Flu

I was looking at the Texas State Department of Health and Human Services home page this morning and saw a link to their state plan for a flu pandemic. I thought our fellow readers might like to take a look. Probably would be a good idea for us all to see what each of our states have in mind for us. Here is the URL: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/influenza/pandemic/

Long Life, – “Overhill”

Note from JWR:

Today we feature another entry for the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The deadline for entries is November 28th. Get your entry in soon ! The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight! (An up to $2,000 value.)

Intelligent Consumerism for the New Survivalist by “A. Friend”

Reduce, re-use, and recycle. This article addresses intelligent consumerism for the new survivalist. You’ve heard it many times before: you get what you pay for. As consumers in a global economy we have more choices than ever, but perhaps not as many wise choices. Imported junk fills the shelves of many stores and being a smart consumer is not as easy as knowing a few brand names. Once upon a time you had a general sense of quality by the brand name of a product but the new global economy has made brand names largely irrelevant outside their use as a marketing tool. If you want to be a discriminating consumer in the modern age you need to ask yourself; what is this item worth? Is a knife worth $6.95 because you can always run to the store and by a replacement, or should a knife be worth $75 because you will never need a replacement? The smart consumer will chose the latter. Granted we can’t all afford to buy “the best”, but nearly everyone can afford to be a smart consumer. It is wise to place the proper value on things we need. As survivalists we need to think beyond our next trip to the store or the bargain of the day. We need to think long term and we are all aware that many, many things in our society are built for the short term. From the latest plasma television, to disposable razors, to tennis shoes, these things are not going to be here for long. Many high-tech items are not made to be repaired at all, if something happens and it is out of warranty it must simply be discarded and replaced. A time will come when simple replacement is out of the question – so choose wisely.
I recently decided to see how long a “disposable” razor would last. I shaved with it once a week for six months! It’s nice to know I can get a lot of use out of a disposable item if needed. Yet to too many people it’s a single use “disposable” item. I have broken regular non-disposable razors as well, after hitting them against the side of the sink many, many times, so I know they won’t last all that long either. Short of an actual straight razor, they are all basically “disposable” items. I’m not an earth-hugging-greenie-weenie mind you but I don’t much care for our “disposable society” attitude either. Firstly it is wasteful of money and resources, and secondly it is unwise especially for anyone concerned with their long term survival.
How many things do you throw away every day? How many of those things can be re-used? We can reduce our use of packaging by buying food in bulk quantities. We can reduce our use of natural resources by buying quality first and cost second. We can reuse many items like plastic bread bags and water bottles, and we can recycle almost anything.

The way that I shop is by first looking at where something is made. As a general rule I don’t support communists so about half of all goods in any given store are off limits because they are made in communist China. I realize that many times I don’t really have a choice and my kids do need shoes so I pretty much have to get shoes made in China for them. For adults we can still find shoes made elsewhere, but I haven’t seen the same options for kids. If I can find what I want and it is not made in a communist country then I can compare quality, features, and value. Too often cost is an overriding factor for many people and I try not to fall into that trap, I prefer to shop for value. To do this I ask: how important is this item to my/our survival? If it is truly a needed item and not simply a luxury I can justify nearly any cost to make sure that I get a quality item that will perform as needed and have a long service life. Luxury items like an auto-drip coffee maker are of far less importance in our household than any survival plans. By being smart consumers and thinking about ways to reduce  / re-use / recycle, we are enforcing good practices that will help ensure our long term survival. Survival for us is not just about being  prepared, but being well prepared, not just about having the stuff, but knowing how to use it, and not just talking about surviving a long term crisis or TEOTWAWKI but by implementing intelligent, purpose driven strategies in our everyday life that make a difference. – “A. Friend”

Clarification on Pre-1965 Silver Coins

There was an interesting thread of conversation over on The FALFiles Forums about the U.S. 90% silver coinage that was minted up to 1964. The thread began:

> Talk about coincidence, I was given two silver quarters im my change from a local McDonalds [the] day
> before yesterday. I knew there was something good in all that change as soon as she dropped
> it into my hand by the distinct difference in sound the old coins made, the cashier never batted an eye.
>I got one 1965 quarter in very good shape and one 1942 quarter that looks as though it went around the world,
>its very worn.

The thread later continued:
>> $1,000 worth of dimes, quaters and half dollars contained 723.4 ounces of

>>silver when minted.
> Because of wear most have less silver now

I replied:
That is correct. Most coin dealers assume that a $1,000 face value bag of circulated pre-1965 coins has just 715 ounces of silver, due to wear. That is assuming typical wear for a bag that is composed of nearly one-half of the coins with a 1964 mint date (the largest–and last–minting year of 90% silver coins), and a mix of earlier dates. A lot of the really early quarters (such as Walking Liberty quarters) in a typical bag are so badly worn that you can hardly read the dates. A bag of those woudl probbaly have less than 700 ounces of silver.

So, assuming 715 ounces of silver at the current spot price of $8.12 per ounce, that makes a $1,000 face value bag worth $5,805, wholesale. (Or just think of it as about 5.8 times face value.)

As for the date confusion: The proper term is “Pre-1965”–coins with a mint date of 1964 or earlier. All of the dimes and quarters minted in and after 1965 show a copper edge–they are a phoney sandwich (“clad”) copper token rather than a proper silver coin. It is no wonder hat they drove the old 90% coins out of circulation so quickly. There was quite a coin shoratge from 1965 ot 1967.

The 1965-to-1970 Kennedy half dollars are not clad coinages. They are a debased 40% silver alloy. BTW, I still occassionally find those circulating (rarely) in rural areas. They mainly get back into circulation via schoolchildren who break into the wrong piggy bank, and don’t know the difference. (Probably the same source as those quarters from McDonald’s.)
I recommend that folks get their “beans, bullets and band-aids” squared way first. Then, you might want to purchase one $1,000 junk silver bag per adult family member, for barter purposes. Above and beyond that, any “investment” silver should probably be in the form of 1,000 ounce Englehard or Johnson-Matthey serialized silver bars. That is the least expensive (lowest premium) way to buy bullion silver that does not require an assay upon resale.

OBTW, if you have the storage space, I strongly recommend silver over gold. I believe that silver is far more likely to double or triple in price than gold. (It isn’t very far from $8 to $16, but psychologically it is a lot farther from $490 to $980!)
I still predict silver at $40+ per ounce by the end of the second term of the Bush administration.


The Army Aviator on HF Radios, Field Telephones, and “Shoutcasting” Parabolic Dish Communications (SAs: Survival Communications, HF, Radio Propagation, Parabolic Dish Voice Communication, Shoutcasting, Field Telephones)

A HF network is a good idea. A local network also has its merits. There are lots of methods and frequencies for local area usage. Some use military surplus equipment, some CBs, some ham, some TA-1 field phones with wire, some use Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) access points (a great idea if you’ve planned ahead for electricity and it actually works.). I know three people in Colorado who use old solid satellite dishes to be able to stand on their hills and talk to each other over several miles using a normal speaking voice. Must be strange facing away from someone several miles away and having a conversation. It works surprisingly well, but I was told that the rare scream of a hawk flying between the dishes can be slightly unnerving. Many people aren’t aware that the Atlanta, Georgia ham community has a city wide internet that’s not part of the [International] Internet. All courtesy of Wi-Fi. Now that’s an interesting concept. Voice, Phone, Data and Video on a parallel internet. Kinda like the Fed, huh?

Lots of ideas and most are good for their particular arena. But here’s the but). But HF can link the continent together so you know what is happening all the way across the continent, even to the other end of the continent. It beats restricting yourself to only knowing what’s going on 20, 40 or 60 miles away.(Not to mention talking worldwide or just listening worldwide, Hmmm?). Check out http://www.matf.org/albums/grc215.htm to acquire an idea of how the government planned to use HF to provide trans and post attack communications among nuclear capable units in the European Theater and then applied the concept for use in CONUS for FEMA.

Excellent idea overall. {For example,] I look forward to seeing where people suggest landing. One suggestion might be similar to the HF Backpack net, all USB. Geared to HF with less than 20 watts and the ability to carry it on your back while talking on the radio. Rough times? Conservative power requirement! Excellent capability. Perhaps someone will show up there and suggest moving to a quieter spot to start a discussion?

OBTW, the web page cited above states the units could regularly communicate over 400 miles. Not quite accurate! From Colorado, I regularly talk to San Francisco, San Diego, Maine, and Georgia [the U.S. state]–all from this little radio which fits in a flight bag. It is 20 watts and has a 10 foot vertical whip antenna powered by a 28 volt, 7 amp battery which I can (and do) recharge with solar cells. And it’s about the same size as the venerable PRC-77! Best Regards, – The Army Aviator

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 on the opposite side of the country from Washington State and California. I did these contacts on a wire sloper antenna cut for the mid portion of the 6 meter band. One day I will get my 5-element beam antenna up which should at least triple my [long range propagation] capabilities. Six Meters has the ability to use AM, FM, SSB (upper and lower) and is repeater system capable. I actually talked for thirty minutes to a fellow in Mississippi on the AM side (which I rarely use). I was just goofing around on AM just to see who was transmitting, if anyone, and I heard his CQ. I have collected QSL cards from all the varying points I have made contact. Granted, 6-meters is subject to atmospherics and sun spot cycles, but it does offer a very private local and potential national and international communications capability. I have heard stations from Spain as well as Africa, but I did not have a path back to them. Once I was monitoring 6 meters and heard a conversation from two other HAMs, one located in Texas and another in Cuba! The fellow in Cuba had to have been a higher up in the government as the conversation turned toward atmospheric science. The Cuban mentioned that he was monitoring, yes monitoring, the progression of an E layer cloud that was passing over parts of central Texas. He mentioned that a particular path to South America should open up and the HAM in Texas could make a contact in South America to get a QSL card. It would take the cloud about 20 minutes to move into position. Sure enough about 20 minutes later I started hearing the Texas HAM making CQ calls to a station he could hear in South America. Now the very interesting thing is this. For the Cuban operator, who was doing HAM work while at work, to “see” an E layer cloud over central Texas; he had to be sitting at an over the horizon radar station. Leastwise, this is the only thing I could figure. This means that in all likelihood he was military. So my question has always been, “What else, other than atmospheric research, would Cuba need over the horizon radar for? Makes you go, “Hmmmm.” The six-meter band should be on the list for monitoring of atmospherics at least, and a potential communications band. Other frequencies such as 10 meters are more “stable” in many ways. But what I have noticed is when 6 meters becomes active for distance communication, the other bands ‘open up’ shortly after. If my memory serves me, I think 6 meters can be used for data (NOS or Packet) communications. I don’t have my ARRL Handbook handy to look it up for sure, perhaps someone else knows for sure offhand.

Speaking of Packet and NOS, lets not leave these out also. It could be quite useful to connect computers into a ‘chat’ mode or a BBS as the old original text based BBS were in the early days of computer communications when you had to dial directly into a server to post messages, etc. For those old enough to know about Fido[net] and other BBS Programs, these too would offer a point to point BBS provided the grid is not totally down or has been fried by EMP. Check Hamfests for good used equipment as well as eBay. These “fallback” technologies aren’t as pretty and slick as all the bells and whistles of the Internet today, but they do offer a method of communication that does not have a lot of equipment overhead. Granted they are slower than the Internet today, but so long as the word gets through; that accomplishes the mission. A patchwork quilt approach to communications where one area relays information via Packet or NOS to another area so it can forward that information via voice or morse (yes, MORSE CODE) and back to a different Packet station is what we are looking at. Yes I said that bad word Morse code. It is the only method that you can transmit on 1/10th of a watt on a particular frequency and reach around the world. I had a HAM buddy who was my Elmer (volunteer who helps a new person interested in HAM) sit at my kitchen table with a transmitter he built in a sardine can. He used a short wave radio as the receiver. We sat there and with him using Morse code he ‘talked’ [in manual morse code] to a HAM in Siberia. This was long before the fall of the USSR. The Siberian HAM had built the ‘sardine can transmitter’ on the sly from spare parts that he had scrounged. And since it operated on such low wattage and used Morse code, which takes way less power than voice to travel around the world, it was hard for the ‘authorities’ to find him. Hence information from behind the Iron Curtain could get out regardless of the government’s best efforts to prevent it.

[JWR adds: HF transmissions propagate with near vertical incidence skywaves, which are nearly impossible to locate via traditional radio direction finding.  Yes, there is my old favorite, the Track Wolf HF-DF system, but that requires a much longer tale that I’ll reserve for a subsequent blog post. And the full story will have to wait for declassification, probably sometime late in the century.]

Mobility may also be most valuable. Having a HF rig in a mobile platform (car, boat, etc.) makes it difficult to locate. During the invasion into Kuwait by Iraq, a HAM in a van managed to get information out to the rest of the world while constantly moving and keeping messages short. Basically he followed the snipers rule. One shot, then he moves to another location, and takes another shot or transmission in his case. You can get devious about things also. With the data capability why not integrate the use of PGP or other encryption software along with packet, a Network Operating System (NOS), or even over voice. So long as the person you intend to transmit to has the encryption key to decrepit the message. That person passes information along to another node in the net under his or her own unique key. No one could decode it. But you would have to remember about RDF (radio direction finding) if things were real hot. Follow the sniper’s rules.

If you are new to HAM Radio or want to start, then find the ‘old heads’ who have a very broad knowledge of radios. Even tube radio repair will be a useful skill to learn (tube radios aren’t subject to EMP as long as they don’t have any integrated circuits, but they will suck power like there is no tomorrow.) Also check out an ARRL Handbook and look into the Amateur Satellite Radio aspect. The problem is with EMP, but I have no idea how EMP would affect the satellites themselves. But Sats can also be utilized for particular situations. Amateur Television can be utilized to monitor your property or remote areas, but there again EMP is your enemy. And if properly put together they can be run off Solar Panels with battery backups.

Explore the totality of HAM, it offers a lot. If you are an ‘old head’ in HAM, become an Elmer. [A mentor to beginners.] If you want to learn more about the capabilities of HAM, check the ARRL website for ARRL clubs listed near you http://www.arrl.org/. Most HAMs are geared toward disaster communications instead of “rachetjawing” all day. When there is a disaster, you will find a HAM trying to get the information out. OBTW, Another interesting technology that was pioneered by HAMs is communication via laser for point to point communications. There was a club out west that was experimenting with utilizing laser communications between two distant mountains or mesas. This area would be ideal for such communications because of the lack of humidity and pollutants in the air. Dust may be a problem but I never heard of any. I don’t remember the name of the club but will try to find out through my HAM buddies. The use of IR laser would make it invisible except for NVGs.

Going on the concept of ‘burst’ communications may provide another mode for communications in some areas. From what my Elmer told me about 20 years ago, they were having some pretty darn good reliability. So with today’s technology it should draw much less power and be viable. Granted, it won’t be for every sector of the country but may become part of the patchwork quilt communications we have to rely on.
73s, – The Rabid One

JWR Replies:  Remember that we are presently on the down slope of the 11 year solar cycle, so don’t depend on reliable 6 meter propagation via the sporadic E-layer skip.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"If I can recognize the danger at long range, I’ll deactivate it from a safe distance. The rifle is one of the better long range danger deactivators." – Jim Woods.

Note from JWR:

Pardon me for getting off topic “chasing rabbits”, but I will be posting some more articles and letters on secure communications, encryption, and privacy in next the couple of days. Encryption and cryptanalysis have been interests of mine for many years–even before I was an ASA officer. I hope that you can appreciate the utility of secure communications in retreat planning and in organizing survival teams. If not, well then humor me…

David in Israel on Practical “Pocket” Cryptography

In the absence of computing power if we are reduced to using tiny QRP [low power] transmitters for communication, then there may come a time where some messages require heavy duty encryption. This is the easiest method I know of the Solitaire card deck encryption method. A group could even generate one time pads which would be starting order for a deck and store them in a secure location. See: http://www.schneier.com/solitaire.html Here is a snip from this site:

“In Neal Stephenson’s novel Cryptonomicon, the character Enoch Root describes a cryptosystem code-named “Pontifex” to another character named Randy Waterhouse, and later reveals that the steps of the algorithm are intended to be carried out using a deck of playing cards. These two characters go on to exchange several encrypted messages using this system. The system is called “Solitaire” (in the novel, “Pontifex” is a code name intended to temporarily conceal the fact that it employs a deck of cards) and I designed it to allow field agents to communicate securely without having to rely on electronics or having to carry incriminating tools. An agent might be in a situation where he just does not have access to a computer, or may be prosecuted if he has tools for secret communication. But a deck of cards…what harm is that?”

[See the URL cited above, for the details on this enciphering system]

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending that, David. In the near future I plan to post a brief article about “book codes” –using two identical books as one-time pads. This method is called a Buchspiel (“book game”) by the German spymasters that perfected it.

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 in so clear and strong it seems as if they are down the street!) Most of these fellows willing to help out and share their knowledge. This is a lot different from CB radio where there is usually so much vulgarity and bad behavior it makes you want to keep that radio turned off. There are plenty of amateur radio clubs that are willing to help people out (the Spokane area alone has 10 or more clubs). A visit to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) web site  [www.arrl.org] will provide tons of info. If people are serious about surviving any type of calamity then the ability to communicate is going to be vital. Best Regards,  – Jason  in North Idaho

Letter Re: Request for Blog Reader Recommendations–Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM?

Hi Jim,
I’m writing to see if you, or any of your readers, have any input re: Springfield Armory’s M1A SOCOM. I am considering putting one on layaway as a bugout rifle, but have read mixed reviews. I seem to remember that I saw a recommendation on SurvivalBlog to dispense with the full size version (my MBR) and go with the SOCOM, but I can’t find it. Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Letter Re: Diatomaceous Earth and “Nano Masks”

Mr. Rawles:

Regarding the by another SurvivalBlog reader that mentioned that she had purchased Nano mask:  They have major flaw, so I’d rather choose [a full mask with] 95 filters: The Nano mask offers NO EYE PROTECTION. Think about it, if it can get into your mouth or nose, it’ll get into your eyes too.

Secondly, [swimming] pool grade diatomaceous earth will work too, contrary to what the website says. (I used to own a pool building business for nine years.. – Tamryn

JWR Replies:  I agree with both of your points. There are differences between natural diatomaceous earth  and the heat-treated (calcined) diatomaceous earth that is used for swimming pool filtration. Swimming pool diatomaceous earth can have a higher crystalline silica content (about 60%) and could be dangerous if taken internally. But it is still fine fro virtually all of the other typical uses–and the markup per pound can be 1000% higher for “store bought” diatomaceous earth. Any other touted difference consists primarily of packaging, marketing, and a bigger mark-up.So I recommend that you buy just a small quantity of “food grade” diatomaceous earth, and a much larger supply of typical swimming pool diatomaceous earth for killing pests and for water filtration. OBTW, diatomaceous earth has 101 uses around the house:  You can uses it to kill insects as a non-toxic alternative to poisons, in water filtration, hydroponics, to dust your chickens for mites, et cetera.


Letter Re: “Nano Masks”  (SAs: Asian Avian Flu, Protective Masks)

Hello Jim,
I saw the post on the blog about the Nano Mask and had to write in to offer some concerns about this system for LONG-TERM usage during an Avian Flu outbreak.

First, as their own web site discloses, if the Nano Mask filtered anything smaller than .027 microns then you would not be able to breath through it as the filter pores would be too small to handle the air flow of our inhalations. So, what they are telling us is that this “nano” filter media ultra-fine filter. Keep that in mind as I discuss the concerns I have…

Nano-Mask concern #1:
The Nano-Mask does not have an EXHALATION VALVE! This means, as their web site confirms, that both air coming IN (inhalation) and air going OUT (exhalation) are both equally filtered through the nano filter media. Unless I have someone in my household that has a weakened immune system, why on earth would I want to FILTER the air coming out of my lungs? Moreover, if properly prepared for a flu pandemic, my home would be a “CLEAN” area where the donning of protective masks would not be needed. Therefore, the only time I will need respiratory protection is when I go out where public contact may or will be expected, so why, again, would I want to filter my exhalations? This makes no sense for “survivalist-type” scenarios…

Nano-Mask concern #2:
MOISTURE!!! Since the nano mask has no exhalation valve and filters both inhalations and exhalations, all that hot, moist air I am exhaling is now DIRECTLY IMPACTING the nano filter media. Add in heavy breathing from physical exertion or stress and you are talking about a huge moisture problem! Unless specifically designed to do so, such as a water filter, moisture DESTROYS a filters ability to operate properly by CLOGGING the filter media with water. Gas mask filters are a great example! There is not a gas mask filter anywhere that I know of that works properly when WET, which is why ALL quality gas masks have EXHALATION VALVES. Think about that!

Nano-Mask concern #3:
SMALL FILTER MEDIA! Take a look at the Nano Mask replaceable filter media; it is a small triangular patch that mounts on a mask assembly. Since the Nano Mask does DOUBLE DUTY by filtering air coming in and air going out, this ultra-fine filter media will CLOG UP at least TWICE AS FAST as a comparable mask with an exhalation valve. Add in the moisture variable from your exhalations upon a small filter media and you have serious EFFECTIVE FILTER LIFESPAN issues!

In conclusion, the Nano filter technology is very promising, but let us keep in mind that the H5N1 virus is not like a “weapons-grade” biological agent as it always needs a CARRIER, such as water droplets (spit, tears, mucous or phlegm) or airborne dust where these water droplets attach themselves. This small virus IS NOT just floating around in the air by itself! Since this small virus, just like the common flu, is always attached to a LARGER PARTICLE, the CDC and WHO are justified in promoting N95 filters as effective protection from the H5N1 virus. Lets be real; does anyone really think the CDC and WHO would send in their staff, researchers, nurses and doctors into an H5N1 hot zone without EFFECTIVE protection? THEY are the ones who know the threat, not a company trying to market their masks to a fearful public with misleading information and a questionable product for the intended application.

I think your readers should be aware of the DOWNSIDE to the Nano-Mask as very few think and analyze the LONG-TERM feasibility of a protection product. I personally am recommending to friends and family, similar to the CDC and WHO, any N95 or N100/P100 mask with an EXHALTION VALVE (I like the 3M 9211 N95 mask) combined with lab-quality, shielded eye protection. In a truly contaminated environment (hospital during pandemic), I would not consider myself safe unless I was wearing full-face protection (eyes, nose, mouth) with HEPA filtration that a good quality military gas mask would provide (I like the Canadian C4 or Scott M95). Then comes DECON.   Baruch HaShem Yahweh, – Robert

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be self-sufficient." – Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592), French Philosopher and Essayist

On Cellular Phone Privacy

I’ve been asked by several readers for their advice on cellular phones. First, I should mention that the cellular revolution still hasn’t made its way to the Rawles Ranch. Perhaps it never will. I’d appreciate your e-mails with comments on this topic. (As a non-cellular kinda guy, I will surely leave out some important points.)

The general rules of thumb on cellular phones are as follows:

All cellular phones are vulnerable to interception–some are just a bit more secure than others. There is no privacy with a cell phone–or in essence with any other radio transmitter. None. Don’t kid yourself. Take my word on it–back when I was an intelligence officer, what I did for a living was supervise troops that did primarily did voice intercept and direction finding. Please don’t write to tell me that you saw on television that characters from The Sopranos use encrypted cell phones to talk with their mob buddies. Yes, it is possible, but there are three big problems with this: 1.) It is illegal for private Citizens to do so. 2.)  Doing so will instantly raise your profile in the eyes of authorities. Instead of being just one nondescript cell phone emitter in an ocean of emitters, your cell phone will suddenly become an “signal of interest.” (SOI)   3.) Even an encrypted signal can still be DFed.

Regardless of the type of cell phone that you use, if you remove its battery pack then it cannot be tracked. It ceases to be an emitter. (Without a battery it will not even produce local oscillator noise.)

Privacy and anonymity are worthy goals, but consider that their may be situations where you will want to have your location known–such as when you are calling 911 in the event of a car accident, or in a wilderness rescue/medevac situation. IMHO, to the ideal solution would be a cell phone on which you can selectively disable the GPS circuitry.

When the U.S. FCC mandated “Enhanced 911”  (“E911”– a.k.a. cell phone tracking), they set a standard for direction finding (DF) accuracy, but they left the method implementation up to the major cellular service providers. Some providers chose location schemes that depend on GPS chips. Others use time-of arrival radio direction finding. (The latter approach uses cell phone towers as the DF sites–creating a DF network with a very long baseline.) For details, see: http://www.edn.com/contents/images/198901.pdf  Because of this diversity of approaches, there are still many “loophole” cell phones that cannot be tracked or triangulated.  These include pre-GPS phones or phones with their GPS receiver disabled, subscribed in Sprint, Verizon, or Nextel service plan. But be advised that there is essentially no way to avoid tracking if your cellular provider employs time-of arrival radio direction finding. Do some research the next time that you change cellular providers.

The other important  aspect of cellular phone privacy is protecting your identity. Most cellular phone service plans require that you provide detailed billing information, a physical street address, and a credit card number. But what about those nifty “pre-paid” cell phones that you can buy at you local drug store?  For now at least, most pre-paid cell phones can be purchased anonymously.  They only lose their anonymity if and when you “recharge” their minutes with a credit card. (OBTW, I’ll discuss anonymous credit cards in a future SurvivalBlog post. But here is a hint to get you started: the Simon’s Mall chain sells anonymous pre-paid VISA debit cards.)

For more information, see: http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,114721,00.asp  and http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/47369