Sunday, November 16, 2014

Improvements on the USGI Poncho Liner

One of the most popular pieces of gear issued to American troops is the poncho liner, or “woobie.” Developed in the 1960s or 70s, it’s basically a lightweight quilt with ties around the perimeter, allowing you to tie it into a poncho and use them together as a warm weather sleeping bag. It can be used to add a bit more warmth to a sleeping bag, and you can also use the ties to secure the woobie as a sunshade.

I’ve used an old ERDL camo VietNam-vintage woobie for camping off and on since the late 1980s. Lately, I’ve been sleeping in a recliner at home because of back issues, and dug it out of my camping gear to serve as a blanket.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Brigade Quartermaster offered a poncho liner with Thinsulate instead of the old fashioned polyester batting insulation. They are long out of production, but other vendors now sell poncho liners/woobies that are both warmer and more compressible than the GI poncho liner.  Among them are:

All of them are quality pieces of gear.  The Woobie Express and Mountain Serape are designed so that can wear them as a great coat. Of these newer designs, I decided to try out the Jungle Blanket.

I chose the JB for its reasonable price, the good reputation of the manufacturer, and it’s feature set. Specifically, I wanted a blanket, I don’t mind the lack of ties, it’s very compressible and comes with a stuff sack, and one side is wind proof and water resistant.

Snugpak gives it a comfort rating of 45 degrees with a low of 36 degrees.

Even using it in the house, the increased warmth of the Jungle Blanket over my four decade old GI poncho liner is noticeable.

I also took it out on my back patio while it was in the upper 30s, and wrapped myself up, using it like a matchcoat over just a T-shirt and dress shirt. There wasn’t much of a breeze and after a few minutes it warmed up nicely.

Due to the texture of the material, I had to hold the JB in place.  With a belt or cord to hold it in place around your waist, and maybe a safety pin to keep it up around your chest, it would make a pretty decent survival blanket/coat down into the upper 30s.

I remain a fan of the GI poncho liner for warm weather or for adding a little bit of warmth to a sleeping bag, and doing it at a low price. However, the Snugpak Jungle Blanket is a definite improvement offering more warmth with less bulk, and at a price point just a little north of the old woobie.

CCI Quiet .22 LR

I got the chance to fire off a few rounds of CCI Quiet .22 LR yesterday. It's a 40 grain lead round nose bullet at 710 FPS. Last month I got 2 bricks of it from Midway.

From my daughter's Savage Rascal with a 16.25" barrel, it makes less noise than a high powered spring piston air rifle. Remington CBee loads are louder.

From my Beretta 71 pistol it's a lot louder and sounds like a gun. It did not have enough oomph to cycle the action. I'm looking forward to trying it in my Ruger 22/45 with suppressor. I'm hoping the can will add enough back pressure to allow the gun to cycle.

I didn't test for accuracy as we were in a friend's yard plinking.

If you can find some and you have a gun that shoots it well, the CCI Quiet should make a good load for discrete pest control or small game hunting.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Survivor Library

This site has a ton of old books on everything from farming to Boy Scout manuals, engineering, chemistry, education, and radio. They can be downloaded as PDFs or ePub files.

http://www.survivorlibrary.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kovea LPG Adapter

About a month or so ago I got a Kovea LPG adapter to use with my Kovea Spider stove. The little butane canisters that the Spider is intended to run on are handy, but sometimes they aren't available locally. In contrast, 1 lb. propane bottles are available pretty much everywhere, including stores like Target, Walmart, and local supermarkets. This weekend, I had the chance to test the LPG adapter for the first time.

Friends and I went on a camping/hunting trip in Tioga County, PA. The temperatures ranged from the upper 30s to the 60s. Most of our stove use was probably when it was in the 40s. I used the Spider with the LPG adapter to make coffee in my percolator and warm water for dish washing.

When using butane or butane/propane mix canisters, the stove makes a noise a bit like a jet engine. When using the 1 lb. propane bottles through the adapter, it sounds like an jet with the afterburner kicked in. When using the adapter the stove's flame needs more attention to prevent flare ups. I may need to tweak the pressure adjustment, which is done with a very small flat bladed screwdriver.

I didn't do any scientific testing to see if the stove boils water with one fuel or the other. My reason for getting the LPG adapter was to improve the stove's versatility, and in that it succeeded quite well. For that purpose I recommend it, even though I expect that going forward, I'll probably use the butane or butane/propane mix canisters for convenience, and keep the LPG adapter in reserve.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

ARRL Web Server Breach

10/07/2014

Late last month, a security breach occurred, involving a web server at ARRL Headquarters. ARRL IT Manager Mike Keane, K1MK, said that League members have no reason to be concerned about sensitive personal information being leaked.

Link.

If you have a login at arrl.org, I suggest you go change your password.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Free Book: Radio Monitoring A How To Guide

N2EI has made his book, Radio Monitoring A How To Guide, freely available under the Creative Commons License. Go download it here.

{Hat tip to Sparks.}


Friday, September 19, 2014

Baofeng UV-5R with Extended Battery

It was just brought to my attention that Amazon carries the Baofeng UV-5R with a 3600 mAH battery included, instead of the 1800 mAH battery. At $38 shipped, that’s a great deal.

Don’t forget to order a better antenna than the stock rubber duck. If I were buying now, I’d order a SMA-female to BNC-female adapter and find a highly rated antenna that uses a BNC connector. By doing so, you eliminate wear on the radio’s antenna connection, and make it much faster to change out antennas.

An N9TAX roll-up slim jim antenna with a BNC connector would be a good match for the Baofeng when operating from a static location.