Keypounder Sends- Radio Question III

guerrillaradio

Rather than present a situation and require a complete response, Question 3 will be presented with a background brief, statement of conditions, and then a series of questions, with Q&A in between, for the reader to evaluate and answer. Injects will be made as this process continues. You may ask questions, but expect that answers may be incomplete, either because of lack of information or because you do not need to know.

TSHTF a year ago. An un-Constitutional regime has invited an Occupation force from a number of mostly socialist or communist countries to subdue the Resistance that arose after TSHTF. You have volunteered for duty with the Resistance, and after vetting and interviews, you have been assigned as the local communications coordinator for a new Resistance outpost being sent from the Appalachian Redoubt area, which is firmly controlled by the Resistance, to set up in the Asheville NC metro area , which is probably not. The Occupation has attempted to expand its influence in the Carolinas during this past winter, leapfrogging from the coastal areas around Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington, major coastal port areas into Raleigh, Charlotte and Columbia. The move inland is presently occurring along the I26 and I40 corridors towards Asheville North Caroline area, and the Resistance is attempting to stem that expansion. You will be approaching the area via mule pack train from Resistance held areas to the southwest and northeast of the Ashville Metro area.

Local radio transmissions and possession of any radio transmission equipment is forbidden under the ’emergency regulations’ promulgated by the Occupation except for cooperating law enforcement and Occupation forces, and all amateur radio licenses have been revoked. Local broadcast media are broadcasting only Occupation propaganda; national and local news is fabricated. The Internet in the occupied area is down except for ‘approved’ content, and registered access points, and Resistance Intelligence has confirmed reports that any user attempting to access unapproved Internet sites is arrested and removed from the area, whereabouts unknown. House to house confiscations of prohibited equipment, including firearms, radios and similar, together with arrests of those holding them have commenced in Greenville and Spartanburg to the southeast, and in Morganton and Statesville to the east. Scouting parties of Occupation troops have been seen in the Asheville area, but no Occupation in force has yet occurred. Information is fragmentary, but Resistance Intelligence believes that the Occupation intends to move into the Tennessee Valley area, possibly to regain control of the power generating facilities there. Asheville appears to be the next target in the Carolinas.

There have been numerous but unconfirmed reports of loud explosions in the area around and to the east of Asheville, and unconfirmed reports of Predator drone and other UAV operation based out of the Greenville and Charlotte airports. There have been rumors of the use of poison gas against civilian populations in the Charlotte and Columbia areas, which are held by the Occupation, but these rumors have not been confirmed to your knowledge, and Resistance Intelligence is not aware of any use of lethal gas in the Asheville area. There are believed to be at least two companies of air-mobile troops armed with Warsaw Pact caliber weapons, with a mix of helicopters of unknown type based at RDU airport, and another in Charlotte . Light armored vehicles of unknown type are reportedly active throughout the area.

Gunfire, including automatic weapons fire, is common. Occupation forces appear to be primarily attempting to maintain control of the cities via control of food distribution and to a secondary extent to control the food producing areas, but there is considerable unrest and widespread random violence.

Shipments of food to Occupied cities arrive by truck and rail from the Coast; there has been no observation of rail traffic on the line north from Spartanburg, but Intelligence states that the Occupation is bringing more troops in from other countries in response to the stiffening resistance. Back country patrols are not common, but do occur primarily along main roads. It is late spring/early summertime; weather is generally warm to hot, with good visibility.

Intelligence believes that the local authorities are not aware of the presence of Resistance operations in this disputed area, and it is imperative that they NOT get any idea that the organized Resistance has any presence here at the present time. Discovery of Resistance operation in other locations has been met with deployment of significant EW assets by the Occupation and loss of Resistance assets. Cruise missiles using EMP weapons are confirmed to have been employed against Resistance communication sites both here on the East Coast and at Resistance HQ in the West. This new outpost will immediately include an NVIS transmission station and HF listening post for communication with Resistance HQ, and will eventually include Resistance radio broadcasts and VHF links to the east if and when capable. Discretion is paramount.

Your duties include but are not limited to:

  • You will report to the Comm Boss for this outpost, who in turn reports to the local commander.

  • Coordinating communications with the 3 security (covert observation) checkpoints overlooking the access routes to the HF operating location. These checkpoints may be up to 1000 meters away from the HF station;

  • Coordinating communications with the HF operating position from the local communication station you are in charge of, which is NOT co-located with the HF station, and organizing and setting up that post upon your arrival;

  • Coordinating relocation of your VHF post as required by the local commander to support the HF station, or as needed for local communications capability.

  • Training your assigned personnel and ensuring their fitness for duty;

  • Monitoring local communications, from 25 mHz up, for indicators of interest, including but not limited to:

    • CB.

    • low band VHF (State police, highway and local government public works departments, etc.)

    • airband comms, including Asheville and Charlotte international airport ground operations and other local airports especially Greenville and Spartanburg as well as air traffic control;

    • MURS, FRS, GMRS.

    • Asheville, Henderson and other local police frequencies.

    • AM and FM broadcasts.

    • Local railroad radio communications, especially the Spartanburg yard.

    • Satellite communications from birds orbited prior to TSHTF.

  • DF of various local RF sources ranging from local MURS/FRS/GMRS to local police to various encrypted Occupation sources to locate radio transmission sites in the greater Asheville and Henderson area.

  • Monitoring and communicating with the area security patrol (s) as needed.

  • Set up and testing of an emergency channel transmit/receive link to preset coordinates which can be anywhere from Asheville to Walnut along the highway 25 corridor relocating on an irregular basis.

You were told prior to your departure for Asheville that you have the following equipment available in the Asheville Metro area, some donated by the family of a recent Silent Key murdered by Occupation forces, and some donated by other supporters in the area or otherwise acquired. This equipment will be stored in multiple safe houses in the area, and will require a week’s notice to be delivered to whatever pickup point you designate.

Electronics:

  • One (1) IC-R7000 receiver in good apparent working order.

  • One (1) Yaesu FT-736r with the 220 and 1296 modules installed. The 144 output is nominal, but the 440 output is reportedly low, only 2 watts out. No other issues are known.

  • One SDR Play receiver;

  • One 500 channel BearCat scanner BC-780XLT;

  • One Uniden BearCat scanner BCD-396XT;

  • One home-brewed transverter for 900 mHx operation with 10 watt output, using a 51 mHz IF;

  • One Uniden President transceiver that has been freebanded;

  • One Yaesu FT-1802 2 meter FM radio, with mic and Anderson power pole feed.

  • Two laptop computers with 120v chargers, further details unknown;

  • (4) Four Motorola DTR-550 radios and 1 DTR 650 radio with programming software and cable; each radio has a spare battery and a working 120v charger.

  • Seven (7) Baofeng UV-5R radios, two with after-market dual band long whips, and the rest with stock antennas. 3 operating 120v chargers.

  • Two TH-F6a Hts, with aftermarket long whips, speaker mics, rechargeable batteries w/120v chargers, and AA battery packs.

  • 1 IC-3AT with AA battery pack and rubber duck antenna.

  • 1 IC-02AT with rechargeable battery, condition unknown, no antenna, no charger.

  • I IC-2AT with rechargeable battery, condition unknown, with rubber duck antenna, no charger

  • 12 Motorola FRS radios.

  • 3 milsurp sound-powered telephones and a Ta-312 in functional condition.

Cable and wire:

  • 5 1000′ rolls of 75 ohm quad shielded commercial RG6 coax.

  • 4 terminated pieces (PL-259) of LMR-400 coax ranging in length from 50′ to 120′

  • Pieces of random RG-8x cable, total about 200′. The longest piece is 55′.

  • 4 ea 500′ rolls of 14 ga THHN standed house wire.

  • Power transmission wire, 2 solid copper strands twisted with one 10 gage copperweld strand, about 150′ long.

  • 6 400 meter rolls of electric fence wire, 100 fiberglass electric fence posts, and several bags of electric fence insulators.

  • 2 500′ rolls of 14 gage stranded landscape wire.

  • A partial roll of LMR 195, about 220′ long.

  • One full DB8 roll of milsurp telephone wire, with a reel, and several empty spools.

Power-

  • Three 12v car batteries, reportedly charged and holding a charge;

  • One deep cycle group 27 marine battery, same;

  • 1 Kyocera KC-130 solar panel;

Personnel-

  • 2 20-25yo formerly licensed Technician class amateur operators who avoided capture by the Occupation. They have donated their Baofengs to the cause and are currently assigned as members of a scouting group working in the area between Henderson and Asheville

  • 1 35-40 YO formerly licensed General Class licensee who worked as a computer technician and who operated mostly VHF contests and satellites when TSHTF. (He had just upgraded to General immediately prior to TSHTF) He is currently working with the vanguard HF comm team already in the area.

  • You have been assured that you will have your choice of up to 9 additional members from an unknown number of teenage Resistance members, many who have fled the Spartanburg and Greenville metro areas.

Questions for Round 1:

What equipment will you have delivered first, and why?

How will you provide power to your equipment? Provide a power plan, including contingency for weather, and including risk assessment for enemy detection.

What equipment, if any, will you want to bring with you beyond what you have been given so far? What antennas do you need to have, and how will you provide them if they cannot be locally acquired?

What cables, connectors and adaptors are you likely to need? Training materials?

Assume that resupply will take a month, minimum, after your arrival. You have an equipment budget of an ounce of gold or 20 ounces of silver, and no more weight or bulk than one mule can carry. Assume that retail prices in Federal Reserve notes are 10x what they are today and that the price of gold and silver are 20x what they are today. In other words, your gold and silver buy 2x what they do today. Max size is 4′ for each piece and not more than 200 pounds total.

What Say Thee? Having equipment is one thing, working knowledge is another, keeping it supplied is critical. Provide answers, and as always, show your work!

resistor

Setting Up a Practical Combat Rifle

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Durendal.

I don’t typically like writing about firearms on this blog, as there’s a lot of other outlets that do that, and I think that guns get WAY too much focus in the Survivalism and Preparedness community. They’re important and fun, but other stuff, like growing food and having a good store of tools, is just as important. That being said, like with all things, a baseline must first be recognized and then built upon, never detracted from- in order to maximize our capabilities.

Hanging out on the sidelines of a public range can be a hobby all to its own; watching the tacticool budget gun bunnies, the 500lb know-it-all benchresters, and even the undergrad Hipster, replete in leather buckle shoes and skinny jeans mastering his fundamentals with a .22. I’m not here to knock them at all, I enjoy the company (it beats the snot out of my other option I would have been doing that day), it’s just an observation. But another parallel observation was the sheer number of AR-15 type rifles on the line- every stall had at least one- and I think, at this point, it’s safe to say that Eugene’s garage project, once a taboo kinda-deal everyday folks thought ‘put you on the list’ has firmly cemented in its place as ‘Murica’s gun.

The fascination with the Stoner platform is largely due to it’s efficiency and ease of use, coupled with the fear of suspension of niceties and social issues reaching critical mass at some point down the road. A fear that is certainly not illogical. Regarding this however, there’s a few guidelines that don’t exactly transition from the hunting/range gun to a weapon you plan on defending yourself and posterity with- in fact, there’s a tremendous difference. Recognizing this need while honestly evaluating your skill and role within the Group/Tribe is paramount to building an efficient platform without dumping lots of money finding out what you thought worked in theory actually really sucks in practice.

The Rifle as a System

Much of the thinking (and writing) concerning combat-oriented weapons get hung up on the platform itself- and that’s a problem. The thing that goes Bang! is one part, but each component of your weapon is a piece of a larger system, each having a specific place and purpose, not there for winning the cool guy contest. The weapon, optic, ammunition, magazine, and sling are each interdependent- and this is a tough concept to learn just sitting on a square range. Some require more attention than others, with a few components being a matter of preference, but that preference only comes with experience built on an established baseline. All of this however is predetermined by our mission, and in this context, that’s a simple, reliable general purpose carbine that could be pressed into combat service from 0-600M.

The Rifle

If you’ll notice from the rifle pictured above, the weapon is kept pretty slick. Save for a couple of small add-ons (more on this in a second), it’s basically a bone-stock mid-length gas system gun. I strongly encourage a 1/7 twist barrel to stabilize both common 55gr and heavier 77gr SMKs. The mid-length gas system runs a little slower and cooler over the shorter carbine length. This means a little less wear on the bolt lugs in the long run, meaning a little more reliability. The maximum barrel length needed on a fighting 5.56 is 16 inches- there’s nothing a longer barrel will do for 5.56 that stepping up in caliber would do better. Everything else is basically what you’d expect from an off-the-shelf rifle. This is done for a couple of reasons. The first is that more modifications lead to shortcuts in training- bad, bad, bad. These take away from the muscle memory of running a stock weapon, and should the need arise to run one that’s not yours, you’re gonna have problems. The second issue is that modifications to the manual of arms or internal components leads to unpredictable reliability. This is the major qualm I have with homebuilt guns- if they’re sourced from a variety of makers, then there’s no established standard. Issues will result, being far harder to isolate and remedy amid various tolerances. So in short, every weapon of that type in an arsenal should match, both for interchangeability and mastery of the manual of arms.

Along with the focus on barrel twist is the need to wring the most accuracy possible out of our platform. To do this, while minimizing weight, I prefer a slim free-float tube (I can feel a certain former Sniper Instructor is slapping me in the back of the head as I wrote that…I can hear him screaming ‘Auto rifles CAN’T BE FREEFLOATED!!! ONLY ACCURIZED!!!’ while ‘helping’ us naturalize our ghillies) with a machined rail at the 12. I’ve never seen much need to go beyond 12 or 13 inches on a tube- everything longer, in my opinion, is just weight, as is extra rails. But to each their own in that respect, I like keeping as light of a weapon as possible for something I may have to carry long distances- even the diminutive M4 starts feeling like a cinderblock after multi day long range patrolling up and down mountains. It’s slick, but I can add rails if need be (I don’t ever foresee that need, unless someone has a AN/PSQ-23A STORM system they wanna donate). Generally I like everything centerline to the bore no matter the weapon, as close to the center of gravity as possible. This keeps the weapon balanced and the same when fired from either shoulder.

The Optic

Notice the AR pictured doesn’t have iron sights. I haven’t used AR irons since my days of rolling in PT pits at Sand Hill, and in this day and age, with the overwhelming number of quality optics out there even at relatively low prices, I don’t think they’re relevant. Now in saying that, there is a value in training with irons. Not too long ago MSG Paul Howe did a video of a shoot and move drill of varying distances with only irons. A lot of the youtube comments were hilarious- filled with apparent tacti-range nozzles ridiculing him for using irons, while failing miserably to realize the point. If you could run that drill with irons, doing it with any sort of optics would be a breeze. And MSG Howe, by the way, is not a man I question when it comes to training, and sure as hell is not a man you’d ridicule to his face.

Most people running red-dot sights maintain irons as a backup, and that’s understandable, as I’m not running to chop the irons off my AKs with red dots mounted. But the AR-15, at least in my experience, is a different animal. If the round allows my engagement range to go to or beyond 600M, which heavy match 5.56 does, a magnified optic, even low powered, is the way to go. I like as simple and rugged as possible- and that’s Trijicon’s engineering marvel, the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG). So while the ACOG may be a bit dated in some circles, I know for a fact the ACOG is bomb-proof. As in, blown up in an IED along with me, and still holds a zero. It’s a fixed four power, has very few points of failure, and requires no batteries.

TA-01.jpgI’m partial to the TA-01 reticle v. the TA-31 or the others since,  because I have lots of experience with it, it’s fast, efficient, and I can rangefind with the reticle. The stadia lines of the bullet drop compensator (BDC) represent 19in (the average size of a man’s shoulders) at the associated ranges, allowing the shooter to rapidly rangefind and engage. The system works very, very well in practice, and while the BDC is tuned to 62gr m855, it’s perfectly acceptable to the heavier bullet weights with training on a Known Distance (KD) range to verify the drop.

On a general purpose weapon, a simple, rugged optic beats the tar out of irons, and is far easier for new shooters to master. If you don’t feel like coughing up Trijicon cash (the TA-01 actually is not that expensive for what you get, with the TA-01 being around $800, but, I digress), Burris makes a great prismatic optic as well, in 3x and 5x varieties. I owned the 3x for a few years, selling it to a buddy to fund another project (the  rifle I bought it for was stolen in a break-in, so I used it on an AK with a TWS top cover after that). I really liked it, and would have no reservations about buying another one. Vortex makes one that looks identical, and given that its Vortex, is likely good as well.

The optic placement is very important. Not only is the eye relief/eye box critical to shot placement, it should be set right for your eyes with your nose to the charging handle, so that when you bring it up there’s no shadow at all keeping both eyes open. This is different between optics, so knowing where yours will be, repeatably, is critical. Associated with those fundamentals is bringing the weapon to your head, not vice versa, so training with someone beyond Bubba the Benchrester (or the clown spotting for Bubba claiming his shot went over the 30ft berm…think about that one, and yes, he really did say that) is recommended. A combat optic differs from any other in employment, so keep that in mind.

The Sling

A sling’s just a sling, right? Well, yeah, technically. They are however a requirement for a combat weapon. I like to keep them simple- I absolutely hate anything other than two points of attachment. A single point sucks for anything other than in and out of vehicles, and a three point sling gets hung on gear, loosens up on its own, and pinpoints you as a clown (seriously, you’ll look like that cherry Joe who’s trying WAY too hard). A two point, with a simple tension slide to tighten it on the fly (helps with steady aiming and keeps your weapon from flopping around during movement), works great. Viking Tactics, run by CSM Kyle Lamb, and Larry Vickers, both veterans of CAG, have their marketed versions that are good quality but the basic design has been around for a long while. I bought the one pictured many years ago before attending a school, used it in Afghanistan on both the M4 and M249, and since have picked up a couple more for my other weapons.

Speaking of Afghanistan, there’s a little story. Once upon a time there was this TL who was 100% squared away, 100% of the time. He had one of those push-in QD sling swivel thingies, just in front of the delta ring on his M4. Then one fine day, about day three of one of our multi-day Long Range Patrols, the little rollers keeping the swivel in place broke. Thoroughly PO’d at this cheap POS, he slung it into the desert of Afghanistan, never again to be used, replacing it with a hasty 550 cord loop. Since then, him and all of his associated miscreants (us) discovered the Magpul one piece sling rings, which bolt on and are infinitely more rugged. It is the only add-on thing, besides a simple sling, I really think is essential as the GI-standard M4 sling ring, 1 each, causes shifts in zero if yanked on hard enough and usually gets thrown out when you put a 12in rail to accurize (yep, there we go, I can climb out of the cold mud now) your rifle. On my weapons it gives me a memory point for hand placement as well, and I placed it far enough behind the first rail to mount my tac light ( Surefire G2 in a Vltor offset mount I’ve had for eons) in order to maintain that muscle memory and sameness across platforms. While I don’t look like some sorta Chris Costa wanna-be range knob, the manipulation is efficient and repeatable.

Magazines

In the tens (maybe hundreds, I dunno) of thousands of rounds I’ve shot in training (and the handful while deployed), the source of malfunctions I’ve observed from the AR platform have been overwhelmingly from magazine issues. To the contrary, there was one catastrophic bolt failure (two sheared lugs), but that was during a 5 day high round count class, at the very end, resolved by simply swapping the bolt. Getting back to magazines though, the AR mag was originally designed to be mostly expendable; and without a doubt, the first time one gets into a firefight, they will be. So have a lot of them. The aluminum GI mags have always worked well for me, as they’ve always been free and when the feed lips get bent on them I can throw them away and not shed a tear. The plastic ones from Magpul and a few others are ok too, but not above issues and are not the second coming, as the marketers would have you believe. The Magpul 7.62×51 SR-25 mags for example, suck (but that’s another topic, on a whole other animal), and the HK steel mags are neat, but I’ve always just kept with what I have boxes full of from my time in. The point is when a magazine starts giving issues, trash it…like the stuck up girl who turned you down for a date, it ain’t worth your time.

Concluding Thoughts

This is a baseline- something to be added to, but never detracted from. My experience has taught me that like everything, simplicity is best, and quality is King. For a general purpose weapon that one intends to use, the parameters are certainly different than those filling other roles. You’d certainly be very, very capable in keeping a stripped down rugged weapon that is practical for most purposes versus a rifle at home only on the range, provided you do your part in training. Because of this, it might be a good idea to take a step back and reevaluate the purpose behind your weapons, and reevaluate how to maximize your potential. You were granted a temporary reprieve, but socially as well as economically, things are not looking rosy. If you’re still fence-sitting, or still in need of that all knowing clue-bat, get on it. Simple, rugged, reliable, effective.

Communications in a “Come As You Are” War

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Download and keep a paper copy somewhere safe. As we were discussing Common/Off the Shelf (COTS) gear being pressed into service and integrated with .mil kit, as is happening in other hot spots, having a decent reference (even if a bit dated) will be golden.

Map out your Signal (S6) plan and your footprint. It’s not like the movies. I promise.

Resolving the Clandestine Radio Question

Continuing on from this original question from Keypounder, several close answers were posted, and generally the logic was in the right direction. That being said, here’s the correct answer:

“You are the lead station operator in the Resistance receiving station
mentioned in the first question.  You have received the message sent by
the operator in the capital at 1 pm local time in the first example on
160 meters and must now forward the vital information received to
Resistance HQ via HF radio.  Once you transmit this message, you will
immediately relocate to another predetermined location you have selected.

Assume the following:

-your station is located at approximately 65 degrees West and 10 degrees
North;
-Resistance HQ is located somewhere in the Intermountain Western united
States, New Mexico to Montana, Eastern Oregon to the Western Dakotas;
-Resistance HQ has receive capability 24/7/365 and will be waiting to
copy your message during whatever window you have told them to listen on
whatever frequency segment(s) you have specified;
-The message from the capital of Slobovia consists of 25 each 5 letter
encrypted groups.  You will re-encrypt the message prior to
retransmission using a OTP, but there will still be a minimum of 125
random letters to transmit;
-You are required to use any of the ITU region 1 authorized amateur
radio frequencies and modes from 1.8 to 29.7 mHz;
-You will have been onsite for at least a week prior to receiving the
message from the capital of Slobovia, and will have access to a small
house nearby the station site, but are forbidden to set up equipment at
the house;
-You are required to complete the transmission to HQ in less than 20
seconds, and to evacuate the transmit site in less than 15 minutes after
completing the transmission leaving no material behind.  You have 4
dedicated helpers with no electronics or radio training available;
-You have a compact 4wd crew cab pickup truck for transport, and
everything, your crew included, must fit into the truck.  No radio
equipment may be visible from outside the vehicle;
-Assume the ground is level farmland with very rich loamy soil planted
in low-growing crops or grass, with tall trees (>50′ high) at the field
boundaries with steel t-post electric fences around each field, and that
the field lines run north-south/east-west.  Further assume that each
field section is 8 hectares in area square. The surrounding general area
is agricultural, both crops and stock.”

Questions-

What frequency segment and time will you select to minimize DF
likelihood and maximize the chance that HQ will acknowledge it?  What
will your alternate(s) frequencies be, and under what circumstance will
you use them?

>Keypounder sez>  OK.  this is about a 6,000 kilometer short path, which
means about 2 hops.  One will be hitting the ionosphere about 1500 km
away, over the Carribean.  The next will hit the ionosphere somewhere
over the central US.  You could do this easily on either 40 or 80 meters
at night, but 40 and 80 meter antennas are big, and it is hard to get
them high enough off the ground to get good low angle propagation.  For
longer haul comms, we need to be looking at 10 mHz and up.  The higher
the frequency, the easier the contact as long as the band is open.  At
this time of the year and at this stage in the solar cycle, what are the
FoF2 readings over the south central and central USA?

Checking the Austin TX, Boulder CO and Idaho Falls ionosonde data, we
find that the FoF2 around local noon is between 5 and 6 mHz.  Puerto
Rico or Florida will give me a pretty good idea of what can be expected
for the first bounce;  these readings are around 6mHz, too.  The rule of
thumb is that the MUF will be around 3x the FoF2, so the maximum useable
frequency is going to be somewhere around 15 to 18 mhz, barring solar
activity.  For this purpose, we want to use as little power as possible,
which means as high a frequency as possible, but no higher than
propagation will allow.

I would expect that 20 meters (14 mHz)would be open for this path, and
maybe 17 meters, at about 1 pm in Colorado, or about 2000 Zulu;  we
still have good ionization over the Caribean at that time, so my
frequency band choice is 20 meters primary, with a backup of 17 and 15
meters if there is solar activity, in the digital portion of the 20
meter band.  (14.060 to 14.080)

Q>What antenna(s) systems will you use for transmitting this message?
How high will they be placed?  How will you orient and erect them and
take them down to minimize possibility of observation? Explain in
detail, including specifics of antenna and transmission line.

>Keypounder sez>  So, we need a directional antenna that is relatively
narrow in transmit mode, low profile, easy to take down quickly,
unidirectional with reasonable gain and a good front to back/side ratio.
Ideally this would be something that does not look like an antenna at
all.  My choice would be a terminated Vee-beam fed with window line; a
secondary choice would be a long wire. Reasons include:
– easy to fabricate in the field;
– forgiving of layout and construction errors;
– can be made using common electrical fence materials;
– When properly configured, capable of high front to back and side
ratios with reasonable gain.
-Easy to install in the field, and very quick to take down.

The feedpoint would be strung from the tallest tree I could get a rope
into on the south side of one of the plots with the least visibility
from the road or other houses.  An 8 hectare plot is about 20 acres, or
around 880,000 sq ft; this is about 900+ feet on a side, so I could use
up to 900′ legs.

If you look at an azimuthal map centered on the specified location in
Venezuela (see http://ns6t.net/azimuth/code/azimuth.fcgi) you will see
that the ‘intermountain west’ runs from about 305 degrees to about 328
degrees true bearing from 10 d N/65 d W.    This means that your antenna
should not have a 1/2 power beamwidth pattern any tighter than 23
degrees. Realistically, 30 or 35 degrees 1/2 power beamwidth is probably
a good idea to allow for inaccuracies in pointing, and the center line
direction should be about 315.5 degrees true bearing.

Classic amateur radio designs are intended to cover the maximum azimuth
possible with the maximum gain. From the Wire Antenna book, vol 1, page
5-2 figure 3, we see that a 23 degree 1/2 power primary lobe requires a
leg length of 3 wavelengths with an angle between the two legs of the
antenna of 60 degrees.

However, although the gain is decent, it is very broad in azimuth, with
lots of relatively high powered lobes off the sides and rear.  Once
again, the difference between amateur radio requirements, and resistance
operator requirements becomes apparent.  For OUR use, a better solution
would be to spend some time with EZNEC and look for a vee-beam solution
that provides reasonable gain with fewer sidelobes and better front to
back and sides to reduce the probability of being DFed.

EZNEC shows that a pair of 370′ long wires, feedpoint up 50′ high, with
500 ohm resistors to ground at the lower ends, and those ends separated
by 130 feet, an included angle of ~21  degrees, gives only about 4 to 5
db of gain, but much more importantly yields a very well defined beam
with side and back lobes down well over 20 db and a half-power beam
width of about 38 degrees.

Now, we need to figure out how to use a magnetic compass to set the
antenna legs. Magnetic bearing = True bearing – magnetic declination;
we consult the declination maps shown at
https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/historical_declination/  and find
that the declination is about -12.3 degrees.  To be really sure, since
the local declination can vary considerably, one could check the compass
bearings against various stars, but this will do especially since your
antenna has ample beamwidth. So, true bearing for the center of the vee
beam is 315.5 degrees -(-12.3) =~ 329 degrees to the centerline. Add 11
degrees for one leg and subtract 11 degrees for the other;  the ground
rods should be driven 360 feet from the feed point and at a bearing of
340 and 318 degrees respectively.

I’d use high strength aluminum electric fence wire for this antenna.
(When my transmission was complete, I’d re-roll the antenna wire onto
the rolls it came off and throw it in the back of the truck with the
rest of my electric fencing materials, insulators and such.) Ideally,
I’d use 450  ohm ladder line and a tuner, but I could use 14 gage
landscape wire for a feedline.  Lay this out with two of your helpers,
and drive ground rods at the terminus of each leg.  Attach the 20 watt
500 ohm carbon resistors to the each of the lower ends of the wire and
the ground rod.

Q-What mode will you use for transmitting the message?  If digital,
which specific mode and why?

I’d use PSK 250, because of the high transfer rate and low power
requirements; 20 watts will do nicely.

Q-Before you leave for Venezuela, you will be given an opportunity  to
study data available through NOAA on radio propagation.  Which ionosonde
stations will you study, and why?

As stated above, I’d study the ionosonde data from Florida and Puerto
Rico, as being indicative of the first ionospheric reflection
conditions, and the ionosonde data from Texas and Colorado for the second.

Q- What will your cover story be if you are stopped by Venezuelan security
forces?

We’re just on our way to install some more electric fence!

Q-What are three non-radio related personal essentials that you should
bring with you? (arms of any sort are not on this list.)

Insect repellent;
water disinfection tablets;
a good hat!

And that’s my answer, NC Scout!

A long wire would be another antenna possibility, as it also uses only
one pick point.  Everything else starts to look too much like an
antenna.  With this setup, you can leave the wire down on the ground
until the minute before you want to transmit, then pull it up into the
air, transmit, then drop it again and roll up the wire.
Yagi or quad antennas look like exactly what they are.

And there you have it. Where the Technical meets the Tactical, right were we want to be.

Open Sources- 14 FEB 2017

RT-DAPL.jpg

RT: ‘Veterans’ return to Standing Rock

CNN: Veterans unite for second ‘deployment’ against Dakota Access Pipeline

So while the ‘Liberty’ movement was still trying to figure out just how the Bundys got infiltrated while learning how not to get things done, your Marxist counterparts were faring better. And none payed any attention at all.

This ‘protest’ is a classical manifestation of Marx- the marginalized, phony-proletariat ‘scapegoat’ vs. the Bourgeois oil company. At its heart, this is all the ‘environmentalist’ movement is, has been, or ever will be. It’s not about the environment- it’s about overthrowing the existing order. What’s significant is that these ‘Veterans’ are returning with spring coming, and we know that to some degree, there are folks with some level of military training involved in the emerging antifa movement. They’re armed with sour outlooks from two wars run amok and likely a healthy dose of VA prescribed antidepressants and Marx-thought from the local University. Because what else would you do? Think on that one. If you think all vets are gun totin’ chaw spittin good ol boys waving MAGA flags, you got another thing coming.

All of this is going to have a major flashpoint, and right now the Left smells serious blood and are gaining momentum with the downing of LTG Flynn. Think about what might happen when Prof. Raul X meets disgruntled ex-Joe.

Situational Awareness and Wargaming Your AO

The most important questions you should be asking right now are not the hypothetical or abstract simply naming ‘SHTF!’, rather, it needs to be rationally rooted in the MOST LIKELY and MOST DEADLY courses of action. In a meeting over the weekend, discussing the growing local antifa movement and (somewhat) wargaming/red cell-ing capabilities, the emergency services communications systems were brought up (because it is me, after all). Think on that one for a second.

Just merely saying ‘well, when the S-hits the fan, I’ll do this‘ doesn’t cut it. For starters, its ridiculously lazy. It takes absolutely no work to come to that conclusion, and the answer usually is just to buy another widget from your favorite online vendor. These views are  adjacent to the ‘mental militia‘ that normally follows, about imaginary acts of bravado and ‘saving the Union from the clutches of the commies!‘. Calm down there Audie Murphy Jr…with your tricked out AR that you can’t zero. A smarter position to take would be to put into context what actually is possible in your AO, and what targets of value could come under attack. ‘But that’s the Police’s job!’…so is fighting off the Reds but that’s not stopping you from buying more stuff.

Looking back in a historical context, contemporary lessons from outside our borders might give a better view. Boko Haram, a name you all should be familiar with, has followed a historical pattern of violence not quite unlike what we are seeing the genesis of currently. It began in 2002 as a social movement among ‘repressed’ muslims in northern Nigeria. The real goal was growth of the Caliphate, but near term, it was ‘social equality for muslims’. Eventually, after organizing years of riots and small scale civil unrest, the group killed their original leader and broke 105 of their buddies out of prison. IS did the same in Iraq prior to seizing Fallujah and Ramadi. Immediately they began attacking infrastructure, in part to cause disruption of services and in part to discredit the government’s ability to protect and provide. Critical to this was the communications infrastructure- mass coordinated attacks against the cell phone network and government radio repeater systems- forcing the Nigerian government to first protect those before it could tend to the people under attack. And Nigeria is a country that is still quite rural in the North- imagine the magnified effect on a people spoiled by instant information access.

Let’s take a step back from the cell network and focus on something really more important- public service communications. Over time, the systems have evolved from a simple low band VHF affair to sophisticated digital networks out of the need for maximum bandwidth and additional over-the-air security. But there is a tradeoff. Both Project-16 (analog trunked systems being phased out) and Project-25 (digital trunked systems now in Phase II) require a networked series of repeaters to function and is not usually able to be troubleshot in the field. If those were to come under attack, what is plan B? Do you know? Do the end users know? What are the actual frequencies they work on (this is why just entering your zip code on a home patrol scanner, while convenient, is a bad thing)? Why should you care? Because if you’re a regular scanner junkie, notice things getting worse in your area socially, and then public service frequencies begin to act strange, there might just be something larger at work. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight.

In our discussion this very issue came up for a particular area of serious concern, identifying the weak points and potential backup plan (Remember PACE??? Primary, Alternate,Contingency, Emergency? Yep, still important) all the way down to the role Amateur repeaters would play (They would be the E…a distant E, but still an E). This is where knowing a bit about about all communications systems (or networking with folks who do) beyond the theoretical end comes in handy. It just so happens the area in question has a history of building public sector hardened systems, and many of the engineers are also avid radio amateurs. Having access to simple and well-built equipment is a plus, and having a group who knows their ass from a hole in the ground is a plus as well. Of course, you won’t know any of this if you’re of the ‘I got mine…screw you‘ attitude a lot of preppers advocate, even if you do get that ham license and go back home.

Building independent, resilient communities are paramount, as well as the strongest survivalist plan, but its important to recognize that threats are more than just simplistic catch phrases. You still live in the real world, not that lustful libertariatopia, and are subject to the ramifications of threats external to you. I take people at their word- and the Left’s core, the ‘instant gratification‘ groomed social justice warriors, a manifestation of all of the fingers that threaten Western Sovereignty- are the future of their movement. They see no benefit to the current order and through willful ignorance find solace amid revolutionary ideals whose only logical end is violence. I believe them. And instead of useless projecting, caterwauling and naysaying, one should be asking serious questions about what they’re capable of pulling off. I bet some folks in Nigeria today wished they had done a bit more in retrospect.

 

New from Yaesu

ft-65.jpgUninspired, Baofeng-looking HTs. Two of them, to be exact. A 2m only and a dual band model, that (at least from what they say) are rugged. Well, who knows. No wideband RX is an issue for me, and the styling makes me think they outsourced production to the same place that builds Wouxons. Maybe I’m wrong.

That being said, this is yet another (at least in my opinion) a big misstep by Yaesu. The 991, 891, and now these are all steps in the wrong direction, at the cost of the great radios they replaced (or are replacing). The VX-3R has been discontinued, signaling that Yaesu likely has plans to retire many other older models, including the venerable FT-60 and one of my top pics for a general purpose Survivalist radio, the VX-6R.

Having general purpose RX capability is a huge asset in a handheld package, really setting the Yaesu models apart from their cheap imitations and making the price of admission definitely much more than worth it. Listening to everything from SW to Airband to all our two way needs are worth it. If you’ve been on the fence about stepping up in quality, gaining much in capability as well as durability, do not wait.