Saturday, December 14, 2019

Super Grand Solar Minimum Radio Store

Radio and Personal Survival Equipment

Thanks for looking at my store and for supporting the Surviving the Super Grand Solar Minimum Blog. This blog contains many of the things I recommend or personally use. All are available at Amazon and if you purchase through this blog you are supporting me and my blog.

Note: you can email me at where xxxx = mail. I will be happy to talk about any items listed below


BF-888 FM Radio

Info: Walkie Talkie Model: Baofeng 888S. Frequency Range: 400..470MHz; 16 channel; 50 CTCSS/105 CDCSS Noise Reduction Function. Rechargeable 1500 mAh Li-ion battery.
Automatic power saving mode. Comes with everything seen in the picture. Gas a removable antenna.

I have about 12 of the BaoFeng BF-888S radios. Please note that I would not recommend any radio that I have not used, or knew friends who had used them. This radio on my Watt Meter puts out about 2 watts of RF. Programmable with FREE Chirp software. Requires a PC or labpop and a USB programming cable. Cable is extra.

You can take a more detailed look and order at this URL.

You can get them for about $15.00 each or less. If you purchase in bulk (Amazon) you can get the cost down to around $10.00 which is amazing. The BF-888 has 16 programmable channels. I program them for ham radio repeaters in my area. I have them all over the farm, Home, office, green house and two cars and van. I get really good performance from them and good audio reports all the time. I have even use one as a base station. The HTs have a removable antenna and I connect it to my high gain vertical base antenna. I also have a microphone for the HT.

Programming Cable

To program your BF-888S you will need a programming cable and software. The cable displayed on the left is a Amcrest FTDI USB Baofeng Programing Cable for Baofeng Radios – and has an  Authentic FTDI Chipset. This cable also works with the BaoFeng UV-5R as listed below.

You can take a more detailed look and order at this URL.

BaoFeng UV-5R

I have a few of these hand held radios as well. I have never had any problems with them. I use this radio in my car when I take trips or vacations. This radio is a dual band (VHF / UHF).

You can take a more detailed look and order at this URL

The 5R has 128 programmable channels and costs under $25. As I pass through towns that have repeaters, I just select the channel I programmed before I took the trip. As I travel a lot, I have many files that I have saved on my PC that I can load on the HT. I also use a microphone on the HT. If you get your Ham License, it will not cost much to get started.

Note: the power output for this radio was between 3.5 and 4 watts as measured on a watt meter.

128 Channels 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS. Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby, A/B band independent operation | High/Low TX power selectable: Busy channel lock-out (BCLO)
Keypad Lock: Channel Step: 2. 5/5/6. 25/10/12. 5/25 KHz | Voice companding: 50 CTCSS/ 104 DCS coder & tone searching. Tri-color background light selectable: 0-9 grades VOX selectable | FM Radio (65.0 MHz -108.0 MHz): Large LCD Display
Emergency Alert: 25 KHz/ 12. 5 KHz Switchable | LED Flashlight: Hight /Low RF Power Switchable. Support manually program. Easy to program via PC. Support CHIRP quick programming.


This microphone will work with the BF-888S and the UV-5R.
Most Hams when they are walking around with their HTs, clip their radio to their belt and use a microphone which also has a built in speaker. Also if you are using this in the car, you will not want to hand hold your radio unless you are stopped.

You can look and order at this URL.

Baofeng Handheld Speaker Microphone for FRS 2 Way Radio, Remote Shoulder Mic, Compatible with Long Range Walkie Talkie, Reinforced Cable, Noise Reduction, Spring Clip, Mirkit Edition USA Warranty.

Mobile Dual Band Antenna

If your using the above radio's you want to get into repeaters that may be 30 or 40 miles away, you will need an external antenna as shown on the left. It has a magnetic base so you can move it or put in your car or truck when not using it or to prevent theft. This antenna cost less than $40.00.

You can look and order at this URL.

Antenna Info:
2.4 Dbd gain on 144mhz-148mhz, 1/2 wave
5 Dbd gain on 440mhz-450mhz, 5/8 over 5/8 wave
Pre tuned for ease of use. 180W power Rating
Quality 1-piece coil & 3 1/2 inch Magnet housing


You will need this adapter to connect the coax from your magnetic mount antenna to the above BF-888S or BaoFeng UV-5R. These work great. You can also use then to connect your home base station to the above radios.The price is under $6.00 and you get two

You can look and order at this URL

Free Radio Programming Software.

The free software I am talking about is called CHIRP. It is available for Windows, Apple and Linux.

This software can program huge numbers of radios and I have had nothing but great satisfaction when using this software. To use this software will require of course a computer or laptop that has a USB port and the above USB programming cable. You can download this software at the following URL.

CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats. It can also import data from the ARRL repeater CD. You can generate visually your trip, and create a file that contains all the repeaters over your trip. This can then be downloaded to your radio. Note the BF-88S only has 16 channels and may not be practical.

If you get your Ham License, be sure to join the ARRL. Info here at this URL.

Other Radios I use and recommend

All Band radio for local and global communications

If you want to listen or talk to others, you will need some low frequency equipment and a Ham Radio License. While VHF and UHF radius can be used for local communications, only lower frequencies can be used for skip communications. Depending on the solar and geomagnetic conditions. It will be possible to communicate with other Hams all over the world. Yes, even the suns cycles can make for bad or good radio communications. Some low band frequencies are 3.5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 MHz. For long range conditions to be possible, you must know the MUF frequency. MUF is the Maximum Usable Frequency. Frequencies above the MUF are not usable for long range communications. The MUF varies during the day and over solar cycles. Below is my equipment that I use for long range communications. .  

Description: The Yaesu FT-857D is the worlds's smallest HF/VHF/UHF multimode amateur transceiver.

You can look and order the FT-857D at this URL. This radio runs under $850.00 but will be the only radio you will ever need as it does it all.

The above transceiver, while is expensive, it does just about everything and is the reason I purchased it. It covers all the low bands as well as VHF and UHF frequencies. It's a all mode radio and can do side band (LSB/USB), code and FM, repeaters and others. This radio runs off 12 volts DC.. I have a power supply to run the radio, but could be run off a battery if needed.

Mobile FM Radio Or Base Station 

Below is my Base Station Radio. It can also be used in my van. Here is the advertising on this radio. The Yaesu FT-8900R quad bander gives you incredible power and flexibility on the road. Operate 10 meters, 6 meters, 2 meters and 70 centimeters. High power output is featured with 50 watts on 10, 6 and 2 meters and 35 watts on 430 MHz. It is like having two radios in one with dedicated Volume and Squelch controls on each side. Built in features include: duplexer and CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode. Over 800 memories are available. It is WiRES compatible.

See the FT-8900R at this URL. This Radio runs about $360,00. It is a very high quality radio and very enjoyable to use.

Low Frequency  Dipole Antenna

I have used this antenna for years and works very well. It is a  Multi-band center-fed dipole antenna capable of handling 1500 Watts. It consists of 52 feet flat-top fed with 17 feet of 450 Ohm matching section ending in an SO-239 coax connector. This antenna can be purchased for under $60.00. I like this antenna because of it's performance and it's small size. I have been using MFJ poroducts for many years.

You can look and purchase this antenna at this URL.

DC Power Supply

Most Ham Radio equipment (transcievers) use DC voltage and power to operate. Your best bet is to purchase a power supply that is capable provideing more power than needed. This keeps the supply cool and has capacity for other items you may want to attach to the supply.

Samlex SEC-1235M Desktop 30A Switching Power Supply, Advanced switch-mode technology, Reliable power with minimum weight and size, Circuit innovations minimize output voltage ripple and RFI.  This DC power Supply can be purchased for less than $125.00. You can look and purchase this supply at this URL.

Get your Ham Radio Licence. I will have more blogs on the subject.


Ruth Stout Book

While Ruth has made her way to her rewards in the big garden in the sky, you can still listen to her words in her book at this URL. The book is available as digital, hard cover or paperback. 

Personal Protection Items

Knifes - The KA-BAR. I own both of the knifes below. One for my personal use in my car and on my belt and the small KA-BAR that I put around my neck and under my shirt. Very sharp and well made. The main feature of both of these knifes that they are small, sharp and easy to carry and quick to deploy.

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knifes

Large KA-BAR

You can look at this knife at this URL

Small Personal KA-BAR

You can look at this knife at this URL

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

I have a few of these and they work great. I like them because of the small size. While I don't have a large bug out bag, I do keep these in a small backpack in my car along with some other items below.

You can review this water filter at this URL.

While the above is a great personal water filter that you can pack with you and is light weight, the one below will produce water that you can store. 

Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue

I have two of these and they work really well. I also use it for my coffee in my office which is located in a small RV next to my home. The water here on the farm is OK but this filter really cleans it up. You can back flush these filters. Again highly recommended. 

You can review this filter at this URL

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier for Emergency Preparedness and Camping

For those who really need a  a larger water filter here is the answer. Also it is portable. I own two of these. One is a backup I store away and the other I use. These filters are used all over the planet especially in places with water that is not healthy to drink. Again these are highly recommended.I have mine mounted in the wash room which is located next to my kitchen.

You can review this filter at this URL.

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 - Inflatable Solar Light

I gave these out for Christmas this year. I have about 8 of these. All my family has and uses them. Some of mine are 5 years old and are still working great. Highly recommended. I have one in my backpack in my car and toss it on the dash board as I drive around to keep it charged. This is a must have light that you will be really happy with. While I am not absolutely sure, I think that the lights don't use batteries but super capacitors to power the light. They hold their charge and work as advertised.

You can review this Solar Light at this URL.

Grow Bags

Viagrow Nursery Grow Bags (25 Pack), 7 Gallon

I have used these for years. The 7 gallon size is great as it can be folded back to a smaller size. I have grown most every thing in these bags. My 30 x 90 ft. greenhouse used 350 of these growing peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and egg plant. You can hand water or drip water these bags. Again highly recommended. The holes at the bottom help drain the bags if over watered. They also pull oxygen into the bag when watering.

I just ordered the 10 and 20 gallon sizes. I will be growing potatoes and sweet potatoes in these in the spring. I am using the 5 gallon sizes for growing winter squash around the perimeter of my Ruth Stout garden because of all the vines. 

You can review these bags at this URL

Going off grid?

I have used solar power for the past 4 years in my barn and in one of my kids home here on the farm. We run the lights in his house and a ceiling fan. It's nice to have light in our really large barn. All of this is just run on batteries and of course solar panels. I am thinking of going wind this year. Wind is not as reliable as solar, but it can be a really good option, especially on cold windy nights here in Central Texas. I have about 500 watts of power from the panels below. It is incredible how the price of solar has become in the last few years. It is now under $1 a watt now. The following panels are well built and work as stated. Eventually I hope to have about 2 KW of solar power and 1.2 KW of wind here on the farm. Note the panels below are 12 V, but may up placed in series for a 24 volt system

HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel with MC4 Connectors High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications

You can view information on this panel at this URL

Solar Controller

Sun YOBA Solar Charge Controller Solar Controller 60A 12V 24V CM6024Z

I own three of these controllers. One is a backup controller I keep in a Faraday cage and the two others are in use around the farm. My son has used this controller for over three years with no problems. The other one was just recently installed on a second system and works just fine. 

You can view information on this controller at this URL.

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