Contact Medicine

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Fact #1- If you’re planning on taking up arms, plan on getting hurt.

Fact #2- Statistically speaking, 10% of those injured will die from injuries sustained. Nothing you will do can change this. These casualties will be dead usually from first contact.

Fact #3- Of the 90% who don’t die, without a tiered response plan by trained and seasoned pros, many of them will die also.

Fact #4- In this era of government sponsored public endangerment, most public places are now an asymmetric battlefield.

Now that may not fit into your 3%er Rambo paradigm, but its the truth. So if you haven’t been a) networking, b) networking with the right people and c) training, you might just want to get on that. We are going to deal with how to stock a realistic personal kit that will actually save lives and won’t kill you or your patient in the process of using it. Simplicity is the watchword here.

Not long after I got out of the Army I was contacted by a local milita-type, who was a little too eager to show off his field kit seeking approval. What he called an ‘IFAK’ was stuffed to the gills with all sorts of crap that couldn’t be accessed when needed and was otherwise generally erroneous even if he could. This individual had no other training aside from a long out-of-date CPR course, which is to say, none at all. I tell you this story to illustrate a painful reality for many; not only is there little to no concept of what defines individual trauma response, but there’s even less of a concept of how to implement  a basic treatment plan. From here we will address what goes in a real Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK), how you implement it into your kit, and guidelines for use.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

The IFAK is not for treating others. It’s for others treating you. It is not for treating minor booboos and earaches, it’s for trauma that follows a strict definition based on the MARCH acronym, which we’ll talk about in a bit. The contents of the IFAK must be standardized across the board. We do this so that we know what’s in them, what each of those components do, and so that the next echelon of care can get a visual idea of the wounds by what items have been used. The IFAK is an immediate response to trauma in order to increase wound survival, hence it is very simply constructed and organized. This simplicity, like all things, is key to effectiveness under duress.

MARCH is the acronym to follow for treating trauma in order to save lives. CLS, or the Combat Lifesaver Course the Army teaches everyone in the Infantry (and probably everyone else too) is very outdated, or at least was according to the last doctrine I saw before I got out. The medics emphasized Responsiveness, Breathing, Bleeding, Fractures, Bruising/Contusions (as a sign of internal injury), and Head trauma, followed by treating for shock (which was very vaguely defined). The problem is that following that paradigm first takes too long and second is not placed in the order of what will kill you the fastest. MARCH is more logical and is as follows:

  • Massive Bleeding: While you won’t bleed out quite as fast as what’s commonly thought Arterial wounds, while they do gush for the first bit, are marked by very bright red blood will clot faster and re-route themselves. I’ve actually seen arterial blood clot to itself on asphalt in a street. Venal wounds which are dark blood take much longer to clot but bleed slower. Despite this, blood loss is the fastest killer, especially when dealing with blast injuries. The primary item that belongs in your IFAK is a tourniquet. You should have one in the kit and two more on your your person. There are two types of tourniquets you should consider. I know there’s a bunch of other ones that I’m sure work just dandy, but these two I’ve used and it saved the respective lives of those casualties. Don’t ask me about the other tourniquets.
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    CAT

    The first tourniquet is the Combat Application Tourniquet, or CAT for short. It’s a long strap of velcro with a plastic windlass for tension. Because it’s plastic, it works just fine for arms but I don’t trust it on legs. Muscles sometimes spasm uncontrollably from blood loss or shock, and plastic doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy. That being said, the CAT is the fastest and simplest for self-aid, AKA putting it on yourself, so it’s likely the first one to be used.

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    SOF-T

    The second design is the Special Operations Forces-Tourniquet, AKA SOF-T. It’s a little more complicated, being a thick strap of nylon with a screw down strap tension and metal windlass. This is the one you use on legs(ideally) because once it goes on it will not come off by accident. A note on using tourniquets- they do NOT go, as erroneously taught in Army CLS, two fingers above or below joints. They are placed on single bone structures as close to the top of the limb as possible (to use the single bone as a compression point) to immediately stop any bleeding. Conventional wisdom used to teach that everything below the tourniquet would get amputated, and this is 100% false. Arteries love to roll and move, and slip in between double bone structures of lower limbs.The higher you go, the better the tourniquet works, meaning as close as possible to armpits and crotches. Roger?

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    Compression Bandage

    The second item to go in your kit also addresses bleeding. The Compression Bandage,seen above, sometimes also known as an Israeli Bandage, is the most versatile bandage on the market and allows for a high level of compression second only to a tourniquet. In addition to stopping the bleeding, it also covers wounds, can be used as a stabilizer for fractures, and be made into a sling if need be. These three items alone, if you have nothing else, are a huge step to saving lives.

  • Airway: The second fastest killer is blocked airways, common in blast injuries and other facial trauma. There’s two steps to address this- lifting the chin of a casualty in the supine position (on their back) while clearing the lower airway (throat). NPA.jpgNext you’ll insert a nasopharyngeal airway, or NPA for short. It’s a small green or blue rubber tube that goes up the nasal cavity and and into the throat, creating a clear artificial airway from an otherwise damaged path. (Yes, it sucks. BAD. Every CLS trained Infantryman knows, because they all had to do it. If you’re prone to fighting, like I am, and have a deviated septum from a broken nose they suck that much worse. They universally suck so bad, that I had a SGM that loved to give them to soldiers who fell out of formation runs and ceremonies. He kept it in his pocket and made that soldier’s NCO put it him in as a sweet reminder to not do that again.) This being said, an NPA needs to be in your kit. It WILL save a life.

With these two areas addressed we’ve increased the odds of a casualty surviving many times over. Even if you forget the rest, a casualty stands a good chance of survival with the appropriate follow-on care. An additional note on hemostatic agents (such as Celox and Quik-Clot) because I know someone is going to ask- I don’t recommend using them unless you’ve been trained on their use by a professional. I have, and I don’t tell you carry them individually without training. Do they work? Yes, and quite well. But there’s a caveat. First, the untrained go for them primarily whenever they see blood. Wrong. That should be the tourniquet. Second, Celox is made of shrimp shell, so if your casualty is allergic to shellfish, guess what- you just killed him. Third, and this has to do more with Celox than the others (when used improperly) it can break off and cause an internal blood clot killing your patient sometime down the road. It is only used as a LAST RESORT in places a tourniquet cannot otherwise go, such as groins or necks. Last, higher echelon care now must take it off, causing more problems. So in short, use the tourniquet. Its simple. It will do what it’s supposed to, and let those with more training take it from there. 

  • Respiration: This is where CPR comes in. Get them breathing.
  • Circulation: We’re looking for swollen limbs, which indicate internal trauma. You’ll want the follow on medical aid to know about this, but there’s little you can do as a primary responder.
  • Head Trauma (H1): For head trauma, like circulation, you’ll want to make a note of it, then cover any open wounds to the head to prevent possible encephalitis. Further, upon recognition of head injuries, prevent the casualty from moving around. I’ve been that guy (catastrophic IED, I was in the turret nearly completely exposed) as well as treated that guy and he’s gonna say and do some strange things. Keep them as calm as possible if they’re awake.
  • Hypothermia (H2): The injured get cold FAST. It’s something we don’t think about, but open trauma causes the body to lose heat at an expedited rate which will kill an otherwise stable casualty very quick. The easiest way to address this is with a simple space blanket, available pretty much anywhere that has a sporting goods section.

So as a recap, our new acronym for treating casualties is MARCH- Massive bleeding, Airway, Respiration, Circulation, and Head Trauma/Hypothermia.

But wait- you didn’t talk about abdominal injuries- gunshots, sucking chest wounds, etc? No, I didn’t. The reason why is that there’s not that much without extensive training you can do for this type of injury. You can pack it with gauze (or a tampon) to keep it from getting worse, but the best thing to do is close it with a safety pin. You should not consider a needle decompression for a sucking chest wound if you have little medical training either. Doing so incorrectly or overestimating your skill can cause many more problems than it solves, possibly killing your casualty. Understand? Extremity wounds are the ones you can treat the easiest and also kill the fastest if untreated. So focus on what you can do (unless you’re trained in advanced medicine by an accredited institution) and leave the rest to people who know what they’re doing. I also didn’t reference pushing fluids- that’s left to those with training for not only administering fluids but for monitoring the patient for shock possibly induced by those fluids.

Your IFAK is built along this paradigm, stocked with a CAT and SOF-T Tourniquet, a Compression Bandage, a NPA, medical tape (to better secure the tourniquet and NPA- make sure it’s 3M and not the cheap crap), space blanket and a safety pin. It’s not expensive, the equipment is available on Amazon and should be on the hip (or accessible in a standard place) of every person on your patrol. Ideally it should be on your belt and not your kit (because your kit might come off of you, your IFAK is Line 1) and in the same position on each person, so they can each be accessed without searching for it.

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You’ll never know these days when just a tourniquet and an NPA might come in handy. I bet Boston’s responders would’ve greatly appreciated a few more among the crowd.

Since apparently everywhere is a potential battlefield in this era of government sponsored public endangerment, these basic techniques will be likely be needed in the near future. Act accordingly.

Pressure Bursting a Pipe, and other thoughts

Note- I’ve been swamped with duties elsewhere for the past couple weeks, between extensive studies in a foreign language and preparing for the winter (I heat with wood). I have a lot on tap, including a review of another higher power capacity End-Fed Antenna option (Marshall, you’re the man! Just bear with me Brother.) but for the moment I simply haven’t had the proper time on my hands to do it right. The world will spin properly shortly.

Pressure Busts Pipes

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Oil Spill and Gas Shortages

If you’ve ever wondered why a general Survivalist rule is in keeping at least a half tank of gas in your car, now you know why. By now you should be aware of the Colonial Pipeline gasoline rupture in Alabama, as it’s kinda a big deal and worse than what you’re being told. I have family that work in the fuel shipping industry, and they warned us based on what they know. Yesterday the public story was they were re-routing gas through the parallel diesel pipe, and today it’s that they’re building a temporary pipe. The truth is they still don’t have a plan. Gov. McCrory declared a State of Emergency but you wouldn’t know it by the lack of local news coverage. (They’re more worried about placating to males who wish to use the ladies’ room.) This could be due to not wanting to incite a run or the subsequent price gouging, but normally when the media keeps mum it’s bad. CP will get around to fixing it, once the EPA approves a plan and it satisfies the correct government oversight regulations and environmental concerns for non-offensiveness, but in the meantime, there’s gonna be a lot of sad pandas and short tempers next week(s).

But you should have at least thought ahead. I was talking about all of it while hauling wood with my Dad yesterday. He was telling me about the gas rationing of the 70s, and how my Grandad and many others beat it by storing their own. Many old houses still have in-ground gas tanks around here that long predate the 70s and were put in because it was simply cheaper to buy fuel in bulk for agriculture use. You won’t find this in suburbia. If you find an old farm house for sale, you just might find a buried tank (don’t tell the EPA). We just recently found a tank last winter by accident on a property my family’s owned nearly all my life. Large poundage tobacco farmers usually store red-dye diesel in bulk around here too for the same reasons today.

Does this mean bury a tank in your backyard on top of everything else you should be doing? No, because for most this isn’t an option. But it does mean if you call yourself a Prepper or Survivalist or whatever label you like, you should be aware of your surroundings and know where to source what in an emergency as well as being on good terms with the people from which you’re planning on sourcing. Trade and barter is important here, as is being versatile. (And if you’re planning on stealing it just know this- the meanest SOB I’ve ever known is an old Tobacco farmer who won’t hesitate to kill you should you threaten him. He’s got plenty of shovel and lime folks on his payroll too. All of the small towns around here are like this.)  I own an older 4X4 diesel truck that makes finding fuel pretty easy. Red dye diesel runs just as good as green dye (don’t tell the tax man) but in the newer trucks, I dunno as they have a lot of EPA mandated crap that gets finicky when something isn’t exactly right. And no, my truck doesn’t look like some gawdy jacked up safari wagon. That crap ruins efficiency unless you’re actually driving a lot off road. As it sits, it’ll get anywhere I need it to and a few places I don’t. I also own two very fuel efficient cars that average 30+ MPG as commuters. Large SUVs and other gasoline guzzlers are kinda silly unless they’re diesel from an efficiency standpoint. But don’t mind my opinion, I’ve only grown up in the rural life and experienced both it’s rewards and hardships. Maybe that $60K + 12 MPG soccer mom grocery getter makes more sense for you.

…And more hardships are coming.

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…Because pressure, per se, busts a pipe.

NY & NJ pipe bombings, MN mass stabbing, and a ‘transformer’ explosion in Charlottesville VA with no resulting smoke or fire. That’s a bit odd.

And not surprisingly, nothing is being said or done about any of these incidents within close proximity outside of local emergency responses. Because obviously it’s not a budding insurgency becoming increasingly brazen with each new step. Each of these locales have a population of folks willing to use violence, especially this pattern of violence, to further their aim as well. When I wrote my critique of ‘leaderless resistance’ as a concept, I pointed out that step three of a culturally directed resistance following frequent ‘isolated’ incidents would be overt warfare. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s getting close. And multiple factions who have demonstrated a propensity for violence are getting pretty po’d right now. Wait till this time next month if Hillary flounders further, when the Jill Stein anarcho-greenie crowd proxies go full retard (and who knows, maybe they already did with CP 48hrs ago and Duke Energy last year. The coal ash spill wasn’t investigated by LE, just by the EPA, who’s agents’ aim is in line with the goals achieved by the incidents. Monkeywrenching is an old-school Leftist favorite, btw). Because her crowd didn’t just threaten another oil pipeline last week. None of these could be considered ‘on the Right’ either, no matter how much our media gaslights us to think ‘Alt-Right’ is the new AQ.

But don’t worry suburbia, the government has top people on it- so don’t worry, because worrying is bad, so nobody panic, because we say so. Now let’s all huddle around and watch multi-millionaire athletes spit on our values while they make more money playing a game than we could ever hope for in ten lifetimes.  Drink your Bud Light and eat your Nachos and laugh at the talking dog in the commercial.

Get your stuff straight. Go meet your neighbors today, at a minimum, or have a meal at the local greasy spoon. Read the flyers on the billboard or taped to the door. Get involved with the local Church congregation. Start meeting the wheels of your community and figure out how to contribute. Build networks. Figure out how they stay in the loop independent of conventional means, and get into the chain. Bum around the flea market or go to a fall gathering in town (every small rural town has one). Go shop at the local hardware store, even if he’s more expensive than Lowes. You’re paying for more than a product. I promise you it will get you a lot farther than just retreating and writing everyone off as some are so fond of telling you to do. It’s about to get more ‘interesting.’

May God continue to bless you and keep you. Stay safe.

LNR End-Fed Trail Friendly Antenna

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Compact, light, robust and stealthy- a good combination for HF in the field.
The antenna I used with the Youkits TJ2B review is a relatively well known and very well made antenna from a company that caters to QRP and SOTA operators- LNR Precision, made right here in NC. I purchased up one of their antennas a short time ago on a recommendation from a buddy who’s big into NPOTA and has had hands-on input with LNR’s product development.

Wanting something ultra compact for trail use, I’ve normally always built my own antennas out of whatever I can source at Lowes, Harbor Freight, Sears, and Hamfests. I like building antennas, as long-time readers know, but my aforementioned friend talked me into trying one of LNR’s designs and promising he’d buy it if I gave it a thumbs down. Thinking it’s simply an end fed with a small matchbox, why bother buying? Well, after a few runs with it, I’ve taken some notes.

Built with very good components, the antenna is worth the money, and is on par with the issued HF long wire antennas I used in the Army, but much, much lighter. The total package weighs in at just a few ounces, and can fit in a pocket without you knowing it’s there. The matchbox is super compact, and features a BNC connector, which not only makes a more compact coax interface, but is easier to attach or take down in a hurry. On the matchbox is two tie down points for hoisting lines. Tarred bankline works well and is cheaper than 550 cord for stringing it up in a tree. The wire is very compact polystealth, and is extremely flexible, making it quite durable. This is an asset. The end of the primary section houses a plastic spool with another short run of wire and terminated with a small insulator. Again, bank line works very well to hoist the antenna end.

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The tiny matchbox mates well to RG-8X fitted with BNC connectors. I use RG-8X because it’s the best medium between weight and durability and has very little loss on HF. Many SOTA and ultralight operators like RG-174, which is a super-compact and lightweight coax. I don’t run it because with the advantages of lighter weight comes a tradeoff with durability- the connectors vastly outsize the diameter of the wire and looks like it could break if moved the wrong way. RG-8X, while heavier, is more durable with its attachment to either BNC or UHF connectors, so I’d rather trade a bit of weight for hardiness on the safe side. A 25ft run of RG-8X is nothing to complain about weight-wise anyway, so it’s no big deal.

The antenna configuration was one that should be familiar to any HF-capable RTO- a simple horizontal longwire-2longwire with a counterpoise strung relatively low, in order to allow for strong NVIS propagation characteristics. The counterpoise is simply a 40ft run of 14AWG THNN, available anywhere and cheap, strung out on the ground to give the hot wire (radiating element) something to push off of- a reflector.

An end-fed antenna is essentially a dipole with one end chopped off, so the use of a counterpoise makes for an even stronger radiation pattern, roughly broadside to the antenna wire. In plain terms, this means your pattern will move at 90 and 270 degrees to the antenna direction. Raised to just above head level, the antenna will have a very tight radiating pattern which is exactly what we’re looking for when we need NVIS propagation on 40M.

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See the antenna? Yeah, it’s kinda tough, and I’m standing next to it. It’s running to the cedar tree just in the distance- and the counterpoise is laying on the ground. Very, very stealthy.

Performance

The LNR raises fast- I had it up and running in under 5 minutes, and I was taking my sweet time and enjoying a fine pilsner while doing it. In a hurry, I could have it up much faster. Running the antenna roughly N-S, East and West stations were coming in strong in both directions, especially from the West. Using the LDG QRP tuner, the antenna tuned very fast for both the 817 and the TJ2B, presenting a low SWR to protect the radio.

The antenna presents very low noise, which is surprising considering it’s compact form factor. Shortwave stations were very loud and clear, which was also surprising considering the noisy atmospheric conditions present. I had no problems making 5w SSB contacts into TN, which is a testament to both the radios I was using and the antenna itself. As a complete system, it works, and works well. One station in TN was surprised I was only running 5w, and even more surprised I was on a field-expedient setup. With both radios I had no issue making solid contacts, even in the deplorable band conditions present on 40m.

Concluding Thoughts

Why pay for something I could make? Because it works. And works well. At $75, it’s worth the money especially for the beginner who’s new to making antenna, and likely would spend twice that on trial and error. While I strongly advocate building your own antennae to learn the underlying theories, engender a sense of accomplishment, and most importantly, gain the know-how that can never be taken away, this antenna is a great example of something done right, built by my neighbors just a few counties over.

For a compact, stealthy antenna system, the LNR is a good choice and a solid performer. For 20w and  under, this is a definite performer and one you should be eyeing for a simple, rapidly deployable antenna in the field. Pick one up- you won’t regret it.

Youkits TJ2B

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The Youkits TJ2B, pictured beside the venerable Yaesu 817ND and LDG Tuner, along with 25ft of RG-8X coax and my awesome resistor commo patch from our friends at 144:1. 

Youkits has made a name for themselves in the inexpensive QRP market with small transceivers that originally were imported in kit configuration and presented fun projects for the amateur operator looking to build something and get on the air. Not breaking the bank, these sets offered a lot in the cost-to-ratio department, and as such, caught the eye of the Prepper/Survivalist radio market. But being from China and having little to no information and no big name backing them, many frugal-minded folks have been understandably cautious to spend hard-earned money on something possibly of dubious quality. Henry Bowman, a frequent commenter, contributor, and friend, had the testicular fortitude to pick one up, and dropped it off with me for an eval. This is nothing but objective and there’s no personal benefit involved, other than spreading the word on how to spend/save your money on field gear options, because people are buying this radio and more needs to be said about it whether good or bad. He owns the radio and wanted to know what I think of it. So here goes.

The TJ2B model offered a form factor not seen in the states for a long while- a QRP HT. That alone attracted the attention of a few, desiring a simple form factor and ease of use in the field. I’ll state up front that the thing looks like an PRC-148 MBITR- and is similar in size and weight. It comes stock with a 1600mAh internal battery, charger, external battery hookup, external mic, and Henry’s came with a 40M BNC whip antenna which reminds me of something from an old 80s bag phone. The radio itself is a tri-band, covering 40/20/17m and working in USB/LSB and CW. There’s no AM for those hoping for SWL in this set, and no coverage in between the bands. It is exactly as it appears- a bare bones, no frills, uber-simple HF set that pushes 5W.

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The TJ2B being powered by a 3aH SLA battery- a very light, compact, simple solution for powering a QRP rig.

The TJ2B uses around 350mAh on receive and just over an Amp on transmit, so for a short activation such as SOTA or NPOTA, a small battery will work just fine coupled with the internal battery, and for pre-arranged Commo Windows (or a RaDAR activation) it’s well suited. As previously stated, this radio’s sole purpose is transmitting and receiving- no SWL or scanning the spectrum, just working the allocated bands this set covers in a minimalist fashion.

Performance

For this evaluation, the TJ2B was rigged up to an Endfedz Trail Friendly End-fed wire antenna around 5ft off the ground (for NVIS testing), which is the perfect mate for QRP and low-profile operations. Fed with 25ft of RG8X, the setup was very quick to raise and tune. Total time rigging was around 5 minutes. My 817 was used as a control for this experiment, as I know it works, have made lots of contacts with it, and it sets a benchmark to be measured against. For this test SSB was used, as it’s the hardest mode to make contact with at QRP power levels on a good day, much less days with little to no propagation as we’re seeing currently. I rigged both radios to the LDG tuner during operation to protect the radios. First, the 817 was tuned to 40M and the first person I heard calling CQ I answered- and got a response, to my surprise, as band conditions are abysmal right now. My rig works, the antenna works, life is Happy, Happy, Happy.

On to the TJ2B. I connected the LDG, switched it to CW, transmitted the carrier and re-tuned the antenna, then went back to LSB to make another contact. No high power, no problem. Made several contacts in TN relatively easy, despite the noise on 40M and overall tough HF conditions. But that makes for the best testing environment, right? ‘Severest school’ and all that jazz? The radio works, and pushes the advertised 5w, so yes, QRP is definitely possible even in the Maunder Minimum.

Quirks

This is, hands down, the simplest HF rig I’ve ever used. There’s two knobs up top, for volume and tuning, with the tuning knob being able to change the tuning step as well. The whole process is very simple. There’s two VFOs, three modes, and three bands, topped with a BNC connector for the antenna. It’s all very, very straightforward, with nothing to confuse a user unfamiliar with this radio. Along the side is a switch for external power, internal power, and cutting it off, along with the mic jack and a small PTT button, which leads me to my next point.

The PTT is a tiny little piece of plastic, almost like an after-thought. The appeal of an internal mic (which it has, but I experienced little modulation gain, meaning little power was going out, so I went to the external mic and had no more problems) is neat for the whole HT thing, but seriously, it just gets caught on stuff and feels like it could break really easily. It’s the only thing that feels like it can break, as everything else is pretty solid, more so than the knobs on my Yaesu rigs. They could either do away with switch like this or make it an actual PTT button like on real HTs, flush with the body and shielded. But with the non-existent mic gain, it could be done away with and save production cost and lower the retail price.

There’s no SWR or voltage meter, but there is a power meter that reflects the gain on SSB. A SWR meter is far more important, especially considering that some other Chinese HF rigs suffer from blown finals on even small degrees of mismatch (the Xiegu X1M, another QRP set, reportedly blows finals on 2:1 SWR) and I doubt this rig implements any sort of fold-back protection for poor antenna matches. I STRONGLY urge you to use a tuner, even with resonant antennas, as a blown final is not a field expedient fix. Keep all of this in mind when running not just this rig, but any radio.

On the internal speaker, I’ll be blunt, it flat out sucks. Strong stations come in OK, but something down in the noise won’t be heard without sticking your ear right up to the speaker. Like the PTT, I feel ‘why bother?’, when YouKits could shave a few dollars off and just not include these features. Plain ol’ earbuds from the gas station work much better.

Finally, this rig, while solidly built, has a lot of holes in the case, so it’s not remotely weatherproof if in case you were wondering. I’d strongly recommend using a small Pelican or Hardig case for weatherproofing. This is obviously the same with the 817 and every other commercial oriented rig on the market,  but it needs to be said should anyone buy under falsely conceived pretenses.

Versus The 817

So by this point I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is “well, how does this compare to the more expensive 817 you’ve got sitting there?”

That’s a complicated answer. As an HF rig, it seems by my ear to be just as sensitive and matches the capability on the three bands they both share. The 817 is a vastly more versatile rig- offering all bands(except 220) and modes(SSB, CW, CW-R, AM, and FM) versus the TJ2B’s three, the ability to listen to Shortwave, and have a large company that stands behind it’s product when something goes wrong and a recognized name to protect. That being said, and all valid points, the TJ2B offers a few things the 817 does not. It is, by far, the simplest radio I’ve ever operated. At $329 or so, it’s around half the price of the 817. In addition, being that it’s half the price, one might in theory be more prone to using this in the field and not being heartbroken when it inevitably gets beat up, as, try though we might, happens often.

The TJ2B consumes less power, has less moving parts, and offers simplicity that can be appreciated when one is cold, tired, wet, and unable to process simple functions. Those that know this feeling and have driven on through it appreciate simple stuff- I certainly do, as does Henry Bowman, which enticed him to purchase this rig. The 817 can be a complicated animal, with several menus controlling functions that may be needed at zero-dark-thirty and cannot be readily be recalled because you’ve frozen or sweated your ass off in a hide site for three days. The TJ2B on the other hand, is more simple than a Baofeng to get up and running, provided you’re well versed on rigging an HF antenna.

Concluding Thoughts

From a utilitarian perspective, or rather, the ‘one rig to rule them all’ paradigm, the TJ2B loses out by a fairly wide margin to the numerous shack in the box rigs that have been on the market since the original Icom 706 hit the scene many, many moons ago. It’s not built for that segment of the market, and if you buy this thinking that it’s your one-and-done rig you’re in for a big disappointment. In addition, the radios are offered from a Chinese company with little presence in the US aside from a website and a smile- which leads one to gamble with money, not an attractive prospect for those on tight budgets and unsure of how to maximize every penny. This rig is somewhere in between an LNR mountain topper CW-only set and an far more sophisticated (and expensive!) 817 or KX3, with an attractive price point to boot. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of data out there on this rig, aside from a few reviews on Eham, and the obligatory ‘prepper’ review which contains little if any substance other than taking said item out of a box, it remains largely an unknown quantity. But it’s not bad by any means.

You’re not going to win any contests with this rig- it’s bare bones, no frills, and not built for those new to HF operation. No QRP rig is, for that matter, but it is a small form, efficient, and packable little rig that definitely has it’s place in the tactical HF realm. While I cannot attest to its long-term durability, it is indeed well built and when coupled with a necessary tuner and the proper weathering precautions are taken, should give little issue for years of use. I’m impressed with its performance, and when paired with the tiny 9v battery powered Elecraft T1 tuner and a good wire antenna, can become a fairly tough, very compact, dead simple little patrol HF rig for use in the field. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick one up for myself, and just may do so in the near future.

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Baluns

In the second article Keypounder has generously blessed us with, the issue of Baluns are covered. Baluns are most often (but not always) used as dipole centers to match BALanced antennas to UNbalanced feed line. (see why it’s called Balun?) While his article explains the nuts and bolts, in this abstract I’ll state that the effects are improved radiation efficiency (through impedance matching) and cleaning up noise that otherwise would be heard in the receiver coming from a variety of sources. Keypounder, as always, does an excellent job explaining the why and how through enabling the aspiring homebrewer. Take notes, knowledge can never be taken away.

Baluns and impedance transformers 101

By Keypounder

So, the NVIS article posted recently mentioned baluns, and in that article I mentioned that I homebrewed my own baluns and impedance transformers. So, what does a balun do, and why do I spend my time making my own? Hmm, complicated question. Looks like we’ll be peeling some more onions again!

The word balun is a contraction of the phrase “balanced to unbalanced;” the essential function of a balun is to provide a balanced output. The reason that you want balanced output is that many, but by no means all, common antennas are balanced antennas. Any center fed dipole (inverted vee, vee, flat-top) is supposed to be a balanced antenna, and so is anything made up of arrays of dipoles (Yagi antennas and wire beams like the Lazy H or the W8JK come to mind.)

Back before coaxial cable was common, most ham operators used balanced feedlines to send power from the final stage of their transmitter to the antenna. The idea was that since the antenna was balanced, and the feed line was also, with both legs of the feedline connected to the same impedance on each side of the antenna the RF signal from the transmitter would be the same on both legs and the feedline would not radiate RF. Although both the antenna and the feedline were balanced in theory, in the real world, minor differences in antenna length, proximity of the antenna to houses, trees, and other antennas, as well as differing ground conditions caused some degree of imbalance, with different impedance on each leg of the antenna, and resultant difference in signal on the feedline. Usually, as long as these imbalances were small, and the rules of thumb on keeping antennas and feedlines separate from conductive surfaces were obeyed, the impact of these imbalances was minor, and nobody worried much about common mode on the feedline.

With the advent of inexpensive coaxial cable after World War 2, amateur operators moved more and more to using coax and as they did they began to notice that their antennas did not work as well as expected. The outside (shield) conductor of coax actually carried two currents; one on the inside of the shield, 180 degrees out of phase with the center conductor, the signal being fed to the antenna by the transmitter; and the other, on the outside of the coax, picked up from the RF radiated by the antenna itself, called common mode. All the books tell you to route the transmission line directly away from the antenna at a right angle to the antenna, to reduce this pickup. Easy to say, not so easy to do in the real world. The leg of the antenna that was connected to the center conductor got an undistorted signal as intended, but the other side, which was now sourced to TWO usually out of phase signals did not. All sorts of problems resulted, including RF in the shack and on the audio, and distortion of the antenna pattern among others.

Rather than give up the convenience of coax cable, which unlike balanced feeders (ex: twin-lead, window line and ladder line,) is insensitive to proximity to metal and can be run virtually anywhere, even under ground or under water, amateurs sought to find a way to prevent the common mode current from becoming a problem. At this point, those seeking a more detailed description of the problem and the solution are invited to take a detour to K9YC’s website and check out this presentation-

http://audiosystemsgroup.com/CoaxChokesPPT.pdf

It will take about an hour to go through this, but it is worth your time to do so. Go, read, and check back!

To summarize the information K9YC presents so well, what was needed was a way to stop or “choke off” the common mode radiation on the outside of the coax, and ideally, to force equal currents to be fed to the antenna regardless of the environmental effects on the antenna, which induce different currents on the two legs of the dipole.

There are a number of ways to do this, some better than others-

  • Make a coil of coax, either scramble wound or a single layer solenoid, to create inductive reactance to inhibit the common mode current induced on the outside of the coax shield layer.

    • Pluses- all you need is some extra coax, and possibly a form on which to wind the coax. This is a decent field expedient.

    • Minuses- The impedance of the coil is relatively low, and may not be effective in correcting significant common mode imbalance. Weight and bulk can also be an issue, especially on the lower bands where you need a pretty big coil to get enough inductance to make a significant choke. This also only addresses the common mode on the outside of the coax and does nothing for environmental imbalances.

  • You can put a series of small ferrite toroids or ‘beads’ on a section of coax, which will provide some inductive reactance to reduce the common mode current.

    • Pluses- Such chokes are commonly available commercially, which saves time, and they are simple to make; you string the beads on until you run out of beads or coax!

    • Minuses- The impedance of a string of beads is simply additive. If you get 10 or 20 ohms of impedance from each bead, you’ll need a lot of beads to get over a thousand ohms of impedance, which can get expensive, and heavy! Again, this only deals with common mode on the outside of the coax.

  • You can place a ¼ wave conductive sleeve on the outside of your coax.

    • This is common at VHF and UHF where the physical length is short, and the high isolation provided by a ¼ wave sleeve is easy to get.

    • At HF these dimensions can be very long; at 80 meters the sleeve would be over 60′ long, so this is not usually feasible.

  • You can run multiple coils of coax through one or more larger ferrite toroids. Inductance increases as the square of the number of turns, and the effect of the ferrite material multiplies that.

    • Pluses-This can provide higher impedance than any of the previous methods, and is relatively easy to do, although there is a limit to how many turns you can get into a 1.4” ID toroid.

    • Minuses- These chokes can be bulky and heavy, and the price of toroids purchased in small quantities can be fairly high. Coax with connectors already installed can further limit the number of turns, unless you purchase the clamp-on types, which are significantly more expensive. Again, these only deal with common mode imbalance on the outside of the coax.

  • Finally, you can use one ferrite toroid and some solid copper wire to build a 1:1 common mode choke. This is my preferred approach for both listening and transmitting antennas.

    • Pluses- capital outlay is low, even buying materials onesy-twosey from local shows and at Home Depot. It takes me about an hour to make one, and I can wind it to optimize which frequencies I’ll use it on, and whether it attaches to coax on both ends or to an antenna. I often use THNN for common mode chokes, and use enameled copper for some impedance transformers. Most importantly, this type of choke balun suppresses both interior and exterior common mode currents

    • Minuses- these baluns take some planning ahead; the ferrites are not found in most local shops, even most electronic shops.

As I consider the last option, the bifilar wound ferrite core 1:1 choke balun, to be decidedly superior that is what I am going to show you, in detail, how to build.

First things first; we have some essential design decisions to make.

  1. What frequency band or range do we want the choke balun to cover?

Most commercial baluns have a frequency range that they are rated to handle, but very few will tell you exactly what impedance they provide at different frequencies. This choke balun will be for 40, 80 and 160 meters.

  1. What power level is the balun going to have to handle?

This will affect what size toroid you’ll need and what size wire to use, too. I build most of my antennas and baluns, listening antennas, and 30 meter and backpacking transmit antennas excepted, to take the legal limit, so this one will be made to take 1.5 kw.

  1. What sort of enclosure do we want to use?

I have used everything from PE freezer cartons to PVC pipe to PVC electrical boxes. For the most part I have standardized on 4” x 4” x 2” PVC electrical boxes for my baluns, but there are times when other enclosures, or even no enclosure, are used. This one will be a 4” PVC box.

  1. What kind of connections are we going to install?

I’ve used stainless eye bolts for baluns that are going up as feedpoints for antennas, banana jacks for baluns connecting to window line, 10-24 brass screws for Beverage antennas or ladder line, and SO-239 or N connectors for coax connections. I’m making up some isolation chokes for some of my low band antennas, so this one will be coax to coax using SO239 jacks.

Material parts list

1 ea 4” x 4” x 2” PVC weatherproof box with cover and SS screws $7 ea $7

2 each SO-239 sockets silver/teflon (hamfest) $2 ea $4

1 each Fair Rite #31 material toroid (bulk) $5 ea $5

8′ approximately 14 ga THHN $0.09/ft $0.72

#6-32 screws nuts and washers, about net $1.25

Total cost ~$18

You will also need some silicone window or tub caulk, which any self respecting DIY type will already have about, or should, and some liquid electrical tape comes in handy, too. I have and use both of those.

If you shop around and buy in bulk, going in with friends, you can do a bit better than this, but if you allow $20 for components you ought to be able to stay in budget. Occasionally the large home improvement stores run a special, so much off a given sized purchase, or my wife will get double credit card bonuses in gift cards. Those are good times to stock up on things like wire and PVC boxes if you intend on experimenting with antennas. If you have friends who are electricians, ask them to keep you in mind when they are renovating; a little bit of used wire will go a long way in making choke baluns, and if you ask the superintendent and get permission to scrounge the dumpsters when a job is wrapping up you can find all sorts of treasures.

Here is what the parts look like:

balun-1.jpg

The first step is laying out the holes in the box; we’re making an inline choke balun, so I’m going to put a coax fitting on opposite sides of the box. You could put the fittings on adjacent sides, or maybe even on the same side, with no noticeable difference in performance, but I like my inline filters to be, well, in line! I drill a pilot hole on each side, a 1/4” or 3/16” works well, but use what suits you. You can see that I centered the holes L-R and up and down; there is some advantage in being a bit closer to the front of the box, but on balance I think this works a bit better in the field. Off center attachments seem to encourage the box to get all twisted up if there is any wind.

balun-2.jpg

Then I ream the hole using this 5/8 reamer. I think I paid about $4 or $5 for it a number of years ago, and it works perfectly for this. Don’t think I will ever wear it out.

Once I have the hole reamed, I put one of the SO-239 panel connectors on the box, mark one of the small holes and drill it, then I put the SO-239 and one screw on to secure it temporarily so I can drill the other hole in just the right spot.

balun-3.jpg

A 9/64” bit works well to drill this hole; do both sides at the same time, because it is a pain to have gooey silicone get on you when drilling the other side. For this sort of balun, I don’t typically drill more than two holes on each fitting for this purpose; for antenna baluns, where I’ll be suspending the coax for some distance, I usually use all 4 holes on the SO-239. Once you have all the holes drilled, go ahead and get your silicone out, and put a small bead around the large and the small holes.

balun-4.jpg

balun-5.jpg

You want a little silicone around every part of a hole to the outside. Set the connector in place, insert both 6-32 screws, and put the washers and nuts on the inside of the PVC box. Snug them up and repeat on the other side. It should look something like this-

balun-6.jpg

Set the box off to one side and let the silicone cure while you wind the toroid.

Cut two pieces of 14 gage THHN solid wire about 42 inches long. Straighten them out gently and tape them tightly together about every three inches. When you are finished, you will have a short piece of transmission line that ought to look like this, with the #31 toroid-

balun-7.jpg

Take the #31 material toroid and stick about 3” of line through the middle, then hold it there with one hand. Take the long end with the other and feed it through the hole on the other side. Best not to try to bend it too closely to the toroid; I have found it best to leave the wire in as large a loop as possible and draw it up as tightly as you can, in one motion. Here is what the choke looks like at the start:

balun-8.jpg

Note that the wire is inserted into the center of the toroid and pulled tight. Don’t bend it around the toroid as this will cold-harden the copper and make it much harder to get snug. Also, DO NOT overlap the turns on the inside of the toroid.

This is what it looks like about halfway wound:

balun-9.jpg

15 turns is all that is required for this choke, intended for 40 through 160 meters. (A turn is one insertion through the center of the toroid.) This is what it looks like when you are finished winding.

balun-10.jpg

Once the toroid is wound, then trim the ends to fit, strip them, and solder them into place. Here is what that looks like:

balun-11.jpg

And then install the cover, label it, and you’re done!

balun-12.jpg

After I attach the coax fittings, I use liquid electrical tape to seal the fittings and the outside edge of the box to keep moisture out. This one took me a bit longer than usual as I had to stop and take pictures, but if you allow an hour or so for your first one that ought to be plenty of time; they get quicker as you practice. Hope to hear you on the air.

Keypounder.

Bibliography-

http://k9yc.com/CoaxChokesPPT.pdf

http://k9yc.com/RFI-Ham.pdf

http://www.introni.it/pdf/Amidon%20-%20Transmission%20Line%20Transformers%20Handbook.pdf

https://archive.org/stream/fe_Transmission_Line_Transformers/Transmission_Line_Transformers_djvu.txt

Brand Marketing and Guerrilla Movements

ISIS-MIG

Yahoo News- Effectiveness of ISIS Marketing

Take a few moments and read the above article. Ponder on it a bit, and when you’re done, read it again, in the context of another guerrilla movement- your own. Or the one you want, at least.

You say you want a revolution yeah, well you know- we all wanna change the world…

Any movement requires propaganda for two reasons:

  1. Brand Advertising and Recognition
  2. Spreading a message to a target audience

Let’s discuss the first one from a marketing perspective. A brand is created. A brand needs a recognizable name, logo, and goal. Nike shoes don’t make you an athlete, but you think they do by the advertising. The name, the logo, and the goal (athletic ability) are all clearly stated. And when you think Nike, you think athletic shoes, nevermind the fact that many brands are not only better but cheaper too. Their marketing is effective.

Take international Marxism.

FLN.jpg
FLN, the Marxist movement of Algeria’s symbol is seen here. Notice the symbology used which is fairly simple to recognize.

That’s a brand too. People’s popular movements, logos involving raised fists, farm or industrial tools, and names that are easy to remember. It doesn’t matter that these groups are responsible for far more bloodshed than their envisioned oppressors, or that the end goal is far greater oppression than what their fighting against, the common name and symbolism, at least on it’s face, serves as a rally for it’s followers, an attraction for the passe support, and a calling card to those it fights. To the terrorist, or more correctly named non-state actor, the symbol becomes a mark of recognition for every action it takes working towards a goal. The trick lay with the action taken behind that symbol. Take the logo of the FLN seen here. It roots Marxism with a symbol of national future, being the children’s faces in the flame, and the crescent, the symbol of Islam, together in one logo, implicitly stating the  goal of the organization. If you know anything about Algeria (which I most seriously suggest you should, starting with the film “The Battle of Algiers”) you’ll instantly know the effectiveness of their campaign and the new era of African wars of liberation which followed.

Propaganda can work two ways. When a brand suffers irreparable damage, it usually goes away. Think of any company out there who suffered some sort of brand damage of which it failed to recover. Almost always, it eventually dies a slow, miserable death. K-Mart comes to mind here. Bear in mind the media assault against the militia movement of the 90s…I was a kid, but vividly remember the all out assault on everything and anything ‘militia’ related concerning Ruby Ridge, then Waco, then OKC, then Eric Rudolph, and all of the all-out media blitz against the ‘militia’ who were usually comprised of just about anyone opposed to the policies of the Clintonistas and happened to be armed. With all this, ‘militia’ became a bad word. The propaganda worked, at least for the time being, and the opposition presented on the far-Right was for the time effectively crushed.

Propaganda comes in two distinct forms

As I pointed out a while back concerning the fallacies/fantasies of ‘leaderless resistance’, propaganda is purveyed in two very distinct forms- Interior and Exterior.  The former is intended for those already within a movement, having adopted its ideology, goals, and language. It speaks in readily identifiable terms for those familiar with them, and assumes the reader is in common agreeance with those goals. Interior propaganda is used to spread messages directing a common goal, build morale, recruitment of lesser actors into more serious echelons of action, providing information on possible future action, and creating symbols that serve as rally points. These can be physical symbols, common locations, or martyrs. Remember this. The latter is intended to be consumed by the masses; it is concerned solely with advancing the brand. Victories, whether actual or imagined, are lauded up front, atrocities of the enemy are widely lamented and viscerally displayed,  martyrs are created, causes are identified, moral dualities and dilemmas are raised, and the front groups forming supporting arms are advertised. Meetings, rallies, marches, and public anchor points are usually always identified.

For example, in Iraq, al-Naqshibandya identified itself with a bright red hand print painted on meeting places and caches. Their primary means of attack involved throwing RKG-3 anti-tank grenades at passing convoys in tight spaces. Unfortunately for us, it worked well. Associated with those attacks were a lookout with a camera filming the whole thing and distributing it underground to potential recruits and sympathetic TV outlets. On the ground, I caught one of these guys and along with the MFT team with us rolled up an entire network within the afternoon. Months later, while flicking through local TV channels, film of one of those attacks in Samara was being broadcast. So while one got rolled up, others continued on. It’s all about the ‘street cred’…proving you can do what you say you can. And with that, the message is sent.

In the linked article, both are discussed. Exterior propaganda is referenced through the quote:

In home-base countries like Iraq and Syria, ISIS propaganda often depicts ISIS’ governance successes to reinforce support from local populations. When fomenting hatred of Western governments, ISIS relies on highly sophisticated, multilingual content intended to outrage the public and get picked up by the mainstream press.

Foreign recruits in ISIS’ media department are critical to ensuring that the content targeting a specific region has the substance and timing to achieve maximum impact. These recruits provide basic translation services, monitor the reaction to ISIS’ propaganda, and use that feedback to tailor future content.

Examples of interior propaganda are given as well:

But ISIS moved beyond al-Qaida’s private online network. Recognizing the desire of its audience to leverage mobile platforms for media consumption and engagement, ISIS developed a decentralized and diverse network of free file-upload sites, social media platforms and messaging apps to ensure continuous and cost-efficient access to a global audience. Offline, inside ISIS-controlled territory, ISIS still relies on traditional media like print publications and broadcast radio to target local audiences while also removing competing alternatives. This diverse set of distribution channels enables ISIS to reach an equally diverse set of target audiences, including opponents, the international community and potential recruits.

The messages are diverse, but unified in their goal, and difficult if not impossible to stop. As long as there’s propaganda, there will be willing consumers, and as long as there’s a means to meet that need, potential recruits will always exist. It’s for this reason that recent attacks are indeed associated with ISIS- because they say so, the actors themselves say so, both serve the end goal, and that’s all that’s needed, ‘counter-terror experts’ be damned.

So all of this being said, it’s important to recognize that the Left in the US are very, very effective propagandists,

communist.jpg
Remember me? I’m a professor of journalism. I’m also the communist at U of M who called for violence at a BLM rally against student journalists, probably my own. There’s lots more of me out there, too. I’m very good at what I do. Keep that in mind, Prole.

possibly even better than the old Pravda masters, and certainly better than anything heard on Radio Havana or the old Deutche Welle. After all, the Left dominates every formal Journalism school in the US, and as such, will continue to define the news in their terms. So how does one fight it? Taking the lessons of the Opposition and creating your own. It all starts local and builds from there, identifying a target audience and  moving forward with both interior and exterior messages. The Right, historically, is terrible at this, almost exclusively concerned with maintaining a status-quo at the macro level. Seeing that this also is historically a losing endeavor, a change is required. The first step is creating a better propaganda model than the worn-out militia memes and blowhards with NRA stickers on their trucks. If you’re a ‘prepper’ or survivalist or milita member, your job is first networking then brand creation, and in doing so, creating solid brand ambassadors. It’s not nearly as hard as you think, but it goes far beyond running around in kit with an M4gery or posturing yourself at someone else’s party in front of the opposition’s propaganda machine. If you want to win, effective propaganda is required. There’s no way around it.

A SIGINT report from the RNC

Compiled and submitted by an anonymous donor:

2016 RNC Cleveland, Ohio SIGINT

The Republican National Convention was held in Cleveland, OH on July 18-21, 2016. Officials began implementing the security zone and closing areas off to traffic on the evening of July 14th. Monitoring of communications began on a periodic basis on 7/14/2016 and continued until 7/21/2016.

Equipment used was a Yaesu FT2900R with an Arrow J-pole antennae, A Kenwood TM-V71A, and a Uniden BCD436HP.

The following frequencies were observed to have active traffic during this period.

136.3750 AM USCBP Air to Air clear (Two UH-60 Blackhawks relieved each other to provide constant aerial support during hours of activity, Omaha 1 and 2). Usually at around 5000′

139.875 NFM Civil Air Patrol analog Tac #1 (Constant flight operations in the TFR zone utilizing a typical search pattern flight route) Usually around 12,000′

156.120 Unknown Encrypted

160.735 Unknown Encrypted

160.800 Unknown Clear

161.025 Unknown Clear

161.8750 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Clear

163.6250 USCBP Digital Clear and Encrypted

163.6750 USCBP NFM Analog Clear and Encrypted

164.400 Unknown Encrypted

165.2375 USCBP Tac Digital Encrypted

165.295 Unknown Encrypted

165.785 Unknown Encrypted

167.635 Unknown Encrypted

168.500 Unknown Encrypted

168.835 Unknown Encrypted

168.8375 USCBP Air #1 Encrypted

170.145 Unknown Encrypted

170.550 Unknown Encrypted

170.860 Unknown Encrypted

170.880 Unknown Encrypted

171.250 Unknown Encrypted

171.3125 USCG NET 131 USCG Nationwide VHF

172.410 Unknown Encrypted

172.900 Unknown Clear and Encrypted

173.525 Unknown Encrypted

252.1000 USAF Reserve Command Post to CAP

282.8000 AM USAF CAP

298.950 AM USAF Aerial Refueling Routes, AR-217 Entry

348.9000 AM USAF Aerial Refueling Routes, AR-206H Primary

376.0750 USCBP Air Interdiction Blue 4 Encrypted (Believed to be a digital link)

Additional Notes

  1. Scan of 411.000 to 419.000 revealed no traffic.

  2. City Police Used the Regional APCO P25 system

  3. On the ground intel units initially using an unidentified encrypted frequency later began switching back and forth to the P25 regional net. Total of 21 teams identified (“Oscar” units) that blended right in with the demonstrators.

  4. OHP Ground and aerial units utilized their existing system throughout.

  5. City and OHP aerial units kept below the Blackhawks

  6. Despite all the planning many ground units were without water, food, and battery resupply for up to 18 hrs per day until nearly the end of the operation.

  7. Encryption only works when everything is working perfectly. This operation was in a built up urban area with easily available support. In rural or rough terrain areas it would be hit or miss. Often if the units were encountering problems communicating they would break into clear mode. OTAR (over the air rekeying) effectiveness is unknown to this observer.

  8. Optimum monitoring of this situation would have required a minimum of four trained SIGINT collectors to gather all the available communications.

  9. County EOC (Seperate from P.D. JTOC) was manned 24hr per day with EOC operators and ARES volunteers.

  10. A Second back-up EOC was also manned 24/7 at the American Red Cross in Akron, Ohio about 30 miles South in case primary EOC went down.

  11. Very very slow response to potentially serious info. Example, Out of State troopers reported seeing a male sticking his head in and out of a 7th floor building where all the other windows were closed. Also reported seeing a bright green light periodically from the same window directly overlooking parade route of BLM with P.D. Foot and bicycle units flanking, tailing and leading. Almost 3 hours later before a regular zone car responded to check area.

  12. Did not observe any use of federal or local inter-operability frequencies in the clear.

And there it is…done with simple, off the shelf equipment and good observation.

Open Sources 19AUG16

PLA Chinese Army Snipers 5.jpg

China steps up military aid to Syria

The visit may be intended as a diplomatic poke in the eye for the United States amid mounting tensions over Chinese territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, Ms Meidan said.

This is important on a number of levels. The PLA has been shipping arms and supplies to Syria for a long while now, but this ‘greater military cooperation’ has more to do with exploring the Russian and PLA coordination. It remains to be seen how that’s going to work and what weapons will be put in place. It’s not a stretch to guess that a lot of new equipment will be fielded, such as an update to this story from a year ago, so it’ll be a good idea to keep a periodic eye here.

Good thing they don’t have any TS/SCI emails from our former SECSTATE. Good thing she wasn’t running arms to found what’s known as ISIS today either. Because that would be, well, stupid.