Saturday, September 7, 2013

Equipment Review: Yeasu VX8-DR Quad Band Handheld Transceiver

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I told you guys yesterday that I purchased a new handheld transceiver to replace the 10 year old Icom T7H dual band my wife bought me for Christmas back in the day.   I love the Icom but it is certainly showing it's age.

The radio I picked up is the Quad-Band Yaesu VX-8DR Submersible VHF/UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver and let me tell you...I absolutely am a Yaesu convert at this point.   I used to buy all Icom stuff but after I picked this thing up I went out and immediately bought the Yaesu FT-7900R Mobile Dual-Band Amateur Ham Radio 50W/45W VHF/UHF Transceiver for my car.

The first thing I really like about the Yaseu is the form factor, it is small...but it isn't too small if that makes any sense.   The radio feels well built although the move by radio manufacturers away from mil-spec stuff makes it seem like it would be less tolerant of abuse than my old Icom T7H.   This radio is SUBMERSIBLE though!   I personally am not going to test it that with mine :)

The second thing I really, really like about the Yaesu is that it is QUAD BAND!   For the money you just aren't going to find another quad band radio like this.   If you are a technician this radio is a perfect starter radio because it covers 6 meters/2 meters/1.25 meter aka 222 band/ and the 440cm band.

The radio has many, many features but some of the ones I like are:
- Memory stations may be displayed with 16 digit Alpha-numeric tags
- CW Training
- Emergency Automatic ID system
- Emergency Strobe/Beep and Busy strobe LED functions

The alpha-numeric tagging is great.  You can label both memory banks AND individual memory slots.   I personally have 1 bank for each band and than one unified bank for NE Ohio.   I have also programmed all the repeaters in memory with their assigned call signs, so those appear on the display along with the frequency and I can always tell what repeater system I am on.

Below are the frequency ranges for receive and transmit:

Frequency Range Receive:
0.5 - 1.8 MHz

1.8 - 30 MHz

 30 -  78 MHz

 76 - 108 MHz

108 - 137 MHz

137 - 174 MHz

174 - 222 MHz

222 - 225 MHz

225 - 420 MHz

420 - 470 MHz

470 - 800 MHz

800 - 999 MHz
Frequency Range Transmit:
 50 -   54 MHz

144 - 148 MHz

222 - 225 MHz

430 - 440 MHz 

Overall the radio is put together well.   I think it is a really great piece of does have a few weaknesses that I feel I need to disclose to you.

My biggest gripe with the radio is the 7.4 volt 1100 mAh is OKAY but I bought the upgraded 7.4 volt 1800 mAh and that is WAY better.   The latter battery lasts twice as long and in my opinion is the battery Yaesu should INCLUDE with the radio not make you purchase separately.

The other gripe I have is the programming software is a necessity in my opinion because it makes the alpha-tagging thing way easier and it is not included with the radio.   To be fair, most radios do not come with programming software but Yaesu could really stand out here if they bucked the trend because let's face it...this ain't exactly a cheap radio.

Those are really the biggest gripes I have with the radio.  So to sum it up, I wholeheartedly can recommend the Quad-Band Yaesu VX-8DR Submersible VHF/UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver as a radio that I use and love.   I give it the BeASurvivor stamp of approval without hesitation.   As a side note if you haven't gotten your Ham ticket I really would urge you to do so, you will learn alot about communications and better prepare yourself for the shit hit the fan event that is inevitably right down the road.

That is all....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Update on Stuff...

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Man have I been busy...

Being in Ohio has been good thus far but I do miss South Carolina.   I finally did a few things I have been meaning to do for a long time: get my CCW and upgrade my ham ticket to general (many more high frequency channels available to me).

The CCW thing was painless save for the ridiculous wait to get an appointment with the Sheriff.   I got my training done, 10 hours classroom and two hours range over a weekend.   I then had to wait 3 months to get an appointment with the Sheriff!   The good thing was after the appointment I had my CCW mailed to me within 7 days.   I currently carry a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 with built in laser...nice gun.   I hardly can tell I am even carrying anything.   I carry it in a pocket holster.

Next, I upgraded my technician ham license to general opening up a world of HF bands to my grubby little fingers.   Was painless, studied for a month, took the test and passed.   I hooked up a 10 meter dipole antenna in my attic and I have a nice 10 meter rig setup as well as my VHF/UHF (2m/440cm) gear.   The big acquisition for me was a new handheld to replace my 10 year old Icom T7H.   I picked up a Yeasu VX-8DR QUAD BAND HT...yes I said quad band (6m/2m/220/440).   This radio is the cats meow and will be doing a review of it eventually.

Some misc stuff I picked up:
Colt M4
Baretta M92
S&W M&P22

All cool little toys to talk about soon...

That is all...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Way To Price Gouge Cheaper Than Dirt

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Nuff said...I won't be buying from these criminals ever again.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Situational Awareness

By Flea - Be A Survivor

One thing that I believe is an oft overlooked part of a survival strategy is situational awareness. Becoming attuned to your surroundings and being able to notice the little details of what is going on around you can ultimately make or break you should the situation become perilous. In many cases there are small clues that seem obvious after the fact, but during a stress situation are often overlooked. These clues can tip a person off to what is about to happen and possibly even help them avoid it altogether.

One important aspect of situational awareness is the “gut feeling”, we all have it, sometimes we listen to it and sometime we shrug it off as paranoia. I bet all of you can think of situations that have occurred in your lives where you had a gut feeling and it turned out to be right. That is a natural part of our survival instinct endowed to us by our creator. Do not ignore it. Listen to your gut and if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about a person, place or thing. At the very least you will have mentally prepared should you have to react quickly.

Always be on the lookout for potential hazards, understand the situation around you, take in all the information you can about your surroundings, and thoroughly understand the situation you are in. Make predictions about what is going to happen next and go through scenarios in your head on how you should react. This is difficult, no doubt, but the only way to get better at situational awareness is to continually practice it so that ultimately it becomes second nature to you. We are bombarded with stimuli that can overwhelm our senses if not we are not careful, the key is to focus on the things that matter most.

No one is saying you should be on high alert every moment of the day that would certainly be stressful. You should establish your own situational awareness threat levels and adjust your level according to how you perceive the current threats in your environment. Obviously, the more unfamiliar a situation or environment is the higher your situational awareness level should be. The more comfortable with the environment or situation you are the lower it will be. The key here is there always needs to be some level of situational awareness, even in your comfort zone so you don’t take things for granted and pay for it is some negative way later. Lastly, always listen to your gut, it is speaking to you as part of a complex system that was designed to protect your body from harm or even worse death.

...That is all

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Alive...Alive!

By Flea - Be A Survivor


I have been through a bunch the last several months and that is most of the reason for my silence.  My company relocated me from South Carolina to Ohio.  I know I must be crazy or something moving back up north but Ohio is OK in my book.  They have very similar guns laws as South Carolina so I wasn't adverse to coming up here.

I am living in a suburb between Cleveland and Akron and so far I like it.  The weather sucks but hey you can't have everything.

In some other news, I finally obtained an "evil black rifle", a Colt Defense M4 Carbine "Talo Edition".  Pretty sweet.  I will be posting more on that in the future.  I have sold a few guns, namely my AK-47 and my SKS.  I am settling on three calibers moving forward: 22LR, 9mm, and 5.56/.223.  The Colt I purchased is chambered for 5.56 so I can use either that or .223 but I have been trying to stick with buying 5.56.

Now that I am settled in Ohio and my studies for my masters degree are underway, I am very hopeful that I can get back into the swing of things with the blog.  I have been a bad boy for not posting and for that I am sorry.

I want to start squaring away some preps because that took a serious back seat for about 6 months or so while I took my new position and was selling one house and buying another.  Look for an upcoming post on my new Colt, as well as a Crimson Trace Laser Grip I got for my S&W M&P 9c.

...That is all

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

WSJ - For a Nation of Whiners, Therapists Try Tough Love

Sharon Rosenblatt was talking to her therapist fast and furiously about her dating life, when the woman suddenly interrupted her. "Haven't we heard this before?" the therapist asked.
Was Ms. Rosenblatt offended? Not at all. The 23-year-old, who works in business development for an information technology company, says she specifically sought out a tough-love therapist after graduating from college and moving to Silver Spring, Md., two years ago.
'No more complaints. I don't want to hear about this one more day.' —DOUGLAS MAXWELL, New York
"When there's unconditional love from my therapist, I'm not inclined to change," Ms. Rosenblatt says. Previous therapists, she says, would listen passively while she complained unchallenged.
Whining, as defined by experts—the therapists, spouses, co-workers and others who have to listen to it—is chronic complaining, a pattern of negative communication. It brings down the mood of everyone within earshot. It can hold whiners back at work and keep them stuck in a problem, rather than working to identify a solution. It can be toxic to relationships.
How do you get someone to stop the constant griping? The answer is simple, but not always easy: Don't listen to it.
Moms, and bosses, are good at this. Some therapists are refusing to let clients complain endlessly, as well—offering up Tough Love in place of the nurturing gaze and the question "How does that make you feel?"
They're setting time limits on how long a client can stay on certain topics and declaring some topics off-limits altogether. Some are even taping clients so they can hear how they sound and firing clients who can't stop complaining.
"Talking endlessly about your problems isn't going to help," says Christina Steinorth, a marriage and family therapist in Santa Barbara, Calif. She tells her patients in the first session: "If you are looking for the type of therapy where I am going to nod my head and affirm what you are feeling, this isn't the place to come."
When clients whine, Ms. Steinorth has them make a list of how their life could improve if they stopped complaining and started working to solve their problems. She suggests they set aside a 10-minute window every day and do all their whining then. For clients who still won't stop, she suggests they consider discontinuing therapy until they are ready to move forward.
'I want whiners to ask themselves: "Would I hang out with this person?" ' —JULIE HANKS, Salt Lake City
Sometimes it feels like we're a nation of whiners. Many of us learned this behavior as children, when we got what we wanted by wearing our parents down. In adulthood, whining—or venting, as I like to call it when I'm doing it—can be a coping mechanism, allowing us to let off steam.
"A lot of whiners don't know they whine," says Julie Hanks, a licensed clinical social worker who has a therapy clinic in Salt Lake City. "I want them to ask themselves, 'Would I want to hang out with this person?' "
Television encourages us to whine, thanks to shows like WE tv's "Bridezillas" or A&E's "Monster In-Laws," about people who do almost nothing else. Technology, meanwhile, has trained us to expect instant gratification and become frustrated when we have to be patient. Facebook can make us feel that everyone else has it easier.
According to the Seattle-based Gottman Institute, married couples who flourish have a 5-to-1 ratio of positive-to-negative interactions within "conflict conversations." In couples who divorce, the ratio is less than 5 to 1.
The good news is that it is possible to get whiners to stop. Ms. Hanks, who takes a tough stance on whining, says it is critical to build a rapport with a client. She often challenges patients to go an entire session without talking about pet topics, such as their mother or their ex. You can ban overvisited topics at home, too, she says, as long as you pay attention to real problems. She sometimes audiotapes sessions, so clients can hear themselves whine. She has even taped herself at home, to learn how she relates to family members.
'Sooner or later, the listener tunes out your whining.' —FRAN WALFISH, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ms. Hanks says it is important for the listener to understand that whining masks a deeper, more vulnerable emotion. For example, a person might complain about a boss, but what he is really feeling is fear that his career is stalled. "Whining is just a powerless complaint," she says. Understand this and you can get to the root of what is wrong.
Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills, Calif., licensed psychotherapist, has a three-step stop-whining program. First, she points out the behavior, sometimes mirroring it back to a client, using both the same words and tone.
"The goal is to create self-awareness," Dr. Walfish says, and in a neutral way.
Next, she points out that there's a pattern to the complaining. Finally, she asks the whiner what he or she plans to do about it.
"When someone whines to you, it is an indirect way of saying, 'You fix it,' " Dr. Walfish says. "You want to put the responsibility back where it belongs, in the whiner's lap."
Some people create a no-whining zone.
Douglas Maxwell, a licensed psychoanalyst in Manhattan and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, says constant complaining is often a "resistance," and the person whining is often unaware of it.
With a client who gripes incessantly about a problem without making progress, he will say: "Stop. No more complaints. I don't want to hear about this one more day. You must talk about something else."
Often, clients don't take this so well, Mr. Maxwell says. They resist his attempt to break through their barriers and even transfer their anger onto him. But he holds his ground—and says he is prepared to repeat his ban as often as he has to.
Sometimes, Mr. Maxwell will use humor. "Here we go again," he might tease a patient.
"Once you draw the line in the sand, you have to hold that line," he says. "Otherwise, anything you say as a therapist loses its effect."
Crybabies, Be Gone!
Often, people don't realize they are whining. The trick: Raise their self-awareness without using accusatory or sarcastic language.
Go gently: Even therapists say this conversation sometimes ends with the client walking out. Start by telling the person who is whining how much you appreciate him or her.
Use a tone of genuine curiosity. You want to get to the bottom of the problem together. You may want to mirror the negative communication. 'I don't know if you hear yourself, but listen to what you just said.'
Point out there's a pattern. Say, 'Do you realize it's the fifth night in a row you've talked about this?' Offer to tape future conversations so the person can hear for him or herself.
Open up the conversation. A person whining about work may be feeling unwell, or stuck in his career. Ask, 'Is there something else that's wrong?' Explain that it is hard for you to hear the real issue because the person's tone and attitude are getting in the way.
Ask the person what he or she plans to do about the problem. Hold them accountable.
Suggest alternatives. The person might want to write down a list of complaints and leave it in a drawer. Or keep a journal and circle repeated complaints in red pen. Or spend an hour at the gym, or do something outdoors with you.
Set a time limit. For 10 minutes a day, the person can whine unfettered—and you will listen. Then time is up. Do this once a day, once a week—or challenge the person to a 'whine-free day.'
Give positive reinforcement. Say, 'I love to hear good things about your job.' Praise each increment toward healthy communication.
Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at or follow her column at
***This article is reprinted from the Wall Street Journal and is their property***