Keypounder Sends- Radio Question III

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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by the Occupation except for cooperating law enforcement and Occupation forces, and all amateur radio licenses have been revoked.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

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64 thoughts on “Keypounder Sends- Radio Question III

  1. Rather than present a situation and require a complete response, Question 3 has been presented as a background brief and statement of conditions. The first round of questions at the end is the first of 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, O gentle Reader, may ask questions, but expect that answers may be incomplete, either because of lack of information or because you do not need to know, as it is likely will be the case if and when TS does HTF.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. s6cnrdude

    Equipment to be delivered/picked up first: R7000, 12V batteries, solar panel (w/ charge controller?), sound powered phones (TA-1’s?), TA-312; hookup wire for phones, receiver, batteries, solar panel, and to make a field expedient antenna for the receiver.

    And if I had a wish list: ammo can and anti-static bag/wrap to store/carry the R7000 in case of an incoming EMP or for a jump TOC mission.

    Although wire takes longer to deploy/recover than radio, they are much less likely to be intercepted. I would train any assigned personnel to deploy and recover it quickly. I also believe this equipment is already EMP resistant.

    I would also try to get the 12 FRS radios in the 1st shipment.

    Why the R7000 1st? It seems my mission is heavily slanted toward monitoring a wide slice of the spectrum. The phones and FRS radios can be used to net with FF that I’m supporting in the AO.

    Other training would include FM 24-33, Communications Techniques: Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (mine is an old copy – but still relevant). Also, training in the use of an SOI. If one did not exist, I would develop one and give it to the commander for his approval.

    I’ll detail my 2nd equipment shipment in another reply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. keypounder

      S6cnrdude:

      Good answers. You have correctly IDed the need for a charge controller for the solar panel. What about risk and weather assessments, and mitigation measures for the solar panel? Do you want any other power source?

      You have four points of connection ( 3 security checkpoints, plus the HF station) and only three TA-1 phones. What will you do? How will you power the TA312?
      How will you connect three security posts each up to a kilometer away with only one roll of wire?

      You have requested the FRS HTs. How will you power them?

      You have correctly identified the threat from chemically pumped EMP. What size ammo can, and what else would you store inside it?

      What antennas will you need for the mission? Please provide a list of antennas, as requested above, along with any other equipment you want to bring in with you one your one mule. LOgistics will tell you what they have been able to scrounge, and what they can’t.

      On that note, what cables, adaptors, and connectors will you bring in with you?

      You have correctly IDed the need for an SOI. What would yours look like?

      You have correctly identified the need for training and have specified some training materials required. Any other sources for training materials, or reference books you’d bring to the field?

      Very nice beginning,S6cnrdude, I see why you were selected.

      Keypounder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. s6cnrdude

        I’ll tackle the SOI first: it would be broken down into time periods (TP1 onward). time periods would change at 2400 hrs. it would have the Net ID, for example Y3C. It would have a sign/counter sign for each TP. It would have a list of suffixes, for example, commander 49, HF node 87 etc. It would expanders, for example SEC/TM LDR J. It would also have the frequencies (primary frequencies and alternate frequencies).

        So if I wanted to talk to the team leader of the HF node, his call sign would be C87J for TP1. You could use words for your call signs if you wanted.

        For the HF station, a runner could be used.

        I would procure locally batteries for the FRS (AAA size?) and D size for the 312.

        After my node site selection is made, the primary goal would be to establish then maintain comms. This would also include site security. I would make a work plan/schedule for assigned personnel including operators, messengers, security, rest etc. We would also practice noise and light discipline.

        We will need rations and water on going.

        Additional references: FM 24-20, Tactical Wire and Cable Techniques. FM 24-19, Radio Operator’s Handbook. And GTA 11-1-7, Send a Message.

        As for the charge controller: solar panels that I’m familiar w/ produce voltages that are greater than 12VDC, 18V or higher depending on sunlight. So the controller regulates the voltage to keep the battery at 12V. In my experience, letting a battery discharge below 11V greatly reduces its capacity to recharge efficiently and maintain a healthy voltage level.

        More specifics on antennas, connectors etc in another reply.

        I will also have my 2nd equipment request in another reply.

        One thought on EMP. If they use it on us, it would also impact any OPFOR in our AO.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. everlastingphelps

      Ditto all of this. Security always comes first, and that means getting the LP/OPs up and running. Field phones as Primary, DTR-550s as Alternate, Runners as Contingency, and (to be requested) flare guns as Emergency.

      If your HQ gets overrun before you can bug out, everything else is a loss. Security and a basic scanner first. If there’s room/weight in the first delivery, I would add a laptop and the SDRplay. That gives you a fast sweep spectrum analyzer that you can use to start getting a 30K foot view of what your spectrum looks like, and the laptop itself gives you far superior logging efficiency. It also gives you a head start on decoding digital modes you might run across.

      Also special requested — an efficient laser printer and a few reams of paper. With the EMP threat, you need to have paper copies of all intel (with a good quick-destruction plan, fire is always a winner). I’m working from the idea that they use EMP because they can DF the general area of the HQ, but they can’t pinpoint it for a ground attack. That means that if they manage to pop you with a surprise EMP, you can still tote out the paper copies back to Kentucky.

      Final special request — the best pair of headphones you can find, and an old hand-cranked air raid siren.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. EverlastingPhelps, good start.

        You have also recognized the threat from EMP, and your approach is one possible solution. There are others. While high altitude nuclear pumped EMP is a continental threat, chemically pumped EMP weapons have relatively limited range, and a lower peak induced voltage.

        Laser printer is a good idea, but how will you power it? How will you power the laptop, for that matter?

        keep up the good thinking!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. keypounder

      Hf station is NOT co-located with the VHF/local comm station, as stated above. HF station power is handled by the HF station, and power from the HF station is not available to the VHF station, or vice versa, per instructions from the Comm boss, whose intent is for each piece of the comm setup to be independent of the others insofar as possible. A strike on the HF station will not disable the VHF, and vice versa.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Brushbeater: Scenario-Based Training | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. While I identify as liberal,I have a thing for lost causes and underdogs.I served 3 years as a Medic in Rhodesia.If things go south for you guys,and I pray they don’t,I’ll be along side you.

    PS.My preference is 7.62 NATO!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OvermountainComsGuy

    /What equipment will you need delivered first and why?/
    For the Observation Posts around the HF station:
    • Field Phones and the reel with phone wire plus electric fence wire and stakes. Reason: this is the most secure means of communications offered and while it takes time to set up, these posts will be in a fixed position. The electric fence is easy to set up while providing cover of some guys just out mending fences on the farm to any patrolling badguys. These will link the HF site and the observation posts. HF can communicate with me if needs be.
    • DTR550s and DTR650s with all goodies. This will be the backup coms between the observation post. These will be programmed with the laptops prior to use. This is the second most secure means of communications on the list. They should work on the relatively short distances between the OPs and the HF station as well as my position high on a mountain west of the French Broad and South of Walnut.
    For the HF listening post and DF teams
    IC-R700, Bearcat396 would be the first two radios to have out. I’d also want the solar panels and as many batteries as the mule team can carry. This would give the team the very broad range of the IC-R700 plus the P25 capability of the 396 (which also has closecall for DF work). I believe Ashville already has P25 implemented, so this will hinder the IC-R700 somewhat. A field expedient discone for the bands required can easily be made out of pretty much any wire laying around, including coat hangers, and the RG-6 so that’s a great thing about scanning. For DF work, a loop antenna should be able to be cobbled together from some of the LMR-400. We appear to need SMA adapters, though.
    If room is available, having the laptops to run the SDR with to capture the transmissions would be nice, especially if we could get a man in a safehouse in town to provide intel from the city (with a hidden discone in an attic). The laptops of course should be wiped, airgapped, wifi disabled, Bluetooth disabled, camera taped over, and mic turned off if not in use via inserted external mic plug that has been chopped off at the wire. Running the real OS on a bootable Full-disc encrypted USB with the tools installed.

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

    • Power for the VHF listening post, the primary power will be from the deep cycle battery which will be charged with the solar panels. Given the spring/summer time period, sufficient daylight should be usable most days. We’d need an inverter and I’m not sure how to properly do the calculations…but power is going to be a beast.
    • Power needs for OPs. I believe that the DTRs have 14 hours of battery life, so they should be good to go with a charge back at the HF station or my position from time to time. Since they are backup radios, they will not be on constantly. Only the radios at the HF position and my position will be on and we have power as discussed. Field phones don’t need power. Double plus good!

    Anti-detection measures: most of our operations will be passive with the exception of the secondary contact with the OPs. Keeping messages short will help with that, too.

    /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?/

    Having sufficient wire to make antennas should be easy with the listed wire types and random things like coat hangers which should be obtainable without raising suspicion. A good supply of adapters for all radios and soldering gear is a must to assemble antennas. A ham tool kit needs to be assembled. The computer tech General should have a good cover story as to why he has it, assuming being a computer tech is still legal.

    Having the Marine manual on antennas and their radio operations book has been keeping me busy lately. I’d love to have those. A big plus with building your own antennas is that it’s a lot easier to hide and pack in on a mule than a completed antenna.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OverMountainCommsGuy:

      Very good response.

      You have correctly identified the potential use of the electric fence wire and the stakes as a potential phone line. What will you do for the required 4th telephone? First thing I’d do is see if there were any TA1s available to take with me. Next option would be to repurpose some old rotary phones to connect the HF station and the VHF station. IT cable, CAT 5 or CAT 6 cable can be useful for all sorts of things, and it is widely available. I’d ask around and see what might be available through local contacts.

      SMA connectors are helpful, but I’d include a variety of connectors, including but not limited to UHF, F, N, BNC, RCA, banana (M and F) and the SMA you mentioned. I’d include the appropriate crimping tools, too. Your point about having a tool kit is well taken. I’d also include a variety of adaptors, covering all of the permutations of the above connector types.

      What power connectors will you use, and how will you attach them? What will you use for power wiring?

      Nice job, OMCG.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OvermountainComsGuy

        Falling asleep last night, I realized that I lacked a power inverter or anything else to control the charging of anything….then I thought, well yeah this is a great question. Question 1 made me realize that my ham skills were focused on getting as much signal out to the most people…which is not ideal in all TSHTF situations. This one has driven home that just having enough power to “be enough” to power my packable HF rig is not going to cut it. Not by far. So, thanks!

        The SMA connector I was thinking more for the DF guys, but the more the merrier. We had a local Radio Shack closing down a few weeks ago. Guess what they had on deep, deep markdown? All the connectors and random parts you can shake a stick at. Cleanup at the parts bin!

        So, home work is to beef up on my power calculations skills and figure out what my own ideal setup would actually require in grid down.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. OK, folks, seems like most responders understand that the limiting factor here is NOT equipment. Most folks also clearly understand that the primary function of this station is listening. All good, but folks seem to be ignoring power. Where does that come from? I did not say this in the backgrounder, my mistake, but there is no grid power a year after TSHTF.

    So let’s talk a bit about power.You have about 650 watt hours of power generation per day; (130 watts per hour x ~5 hours per day) how much power do we need a day? If we run the R7000, the SDR Play with laptop, and the 396XT, 24 hours a day, how much power is that? One person suggested a laser printer; what does that draw?
    Go check this website for part of the answer-
    http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_laptop.htm
    and here for another-
    http://icom.custhelp.com/ci/fattach/get/1260/0/filename/R7000_Instruction_Manual.pdf
    Where will you get 117 VAC?

    Assuming 80 amp-hours for the car batteries, and the need to limit the draw-down on those to ~ 20 amp hours, you have 60AH available times 12.6 volts = ~ 750 watt-hours of power from the car batteries. You have 1/2 of 100 AH in a typical deep cycle battery x 12.6 volts, or 630 Watt-Hours from the deep cycle battery all by itself, about the same as the solar panel.

    if you draw down the car batteries and the deep cycle battery on a regular basis, this is more than the solar panel can reasonably provide, especially considering that aiming the panel directly at the sun, which provides the greatest nominal output, creates a GUARANTEED reflection visible from many miles away. In these circumstances, one would want to angle the panel so that the reflection was caught in a nearby moving blanket or some similar lightproof material. This reduces both the risk, and the power output. Try it and see.

    Unless you can get another solar panel, the three car batteries are going to be hard to keep charged. Given the risk, it would probably be a good idea to separate the solar panel and battery under charge from the rest of the operation. We are used to having abundant grid power available 24-7; if TS ever does HTF, that will change. Power will become very precious. So how would a Resistance operation do this? Give this some thought, folks. Power will drive operations AND equipment selection, too.

    And always keep in mind those drones looking down from above…………..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. everlastingphelps

      The Brother printer I have now (which I consider “efficient” — the reason I specified that) runs

      .8 watts sleeping
      58 watts ready
      468 watts printing (at 20 ppm)

      That draw (as you can see from the sleeping/ready rates vs printing) is VERY bursty, but can require a medium load inverter.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. OvermountainComsGuy

      RE: location and position for charger station….

      This is Ashville area. there are lots of cabins and lots of green/hippie types in the hills who probably won’t be using their stuff. Putting the solar charger up on the roof of an unoccupied cabin (and watching it) would provide great cover and even if discovered wouldn’t raise suspicion from any patrol or drone. Neither would teens poking around cabins off of trails, really. You could also put the solar charger set up with the electric fence to look to the casual chicom patrol to be part of an electric fence setup. It’s better than nothing, even if it wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny if someone knew anything about fences or electricity.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. OvermountainComsGuy

      So, using the electricity usage site, you’re looking at 10 hours of laptop use a day on each deep-cycle battery. I’m not sure how efficient an inverter is for your laptop/car battery hookup, so it would probably be less than that to be safe. So, let’s say 8 hour shifts on the SDR per battery before it has to be charged. So, that would put a crimp on 24-hour operating and recording everything. However, using it during peak traffic time would definately be feasable, or the whole 24-hour cycle could be covered over a 3-day period if you could run the laptop while charging during part of that cycle.

      Charging the HT of your choice should only pull about the same as a cellphone charger, I suspect, so 5 watts over at energy use calculator seems about right. Having the ability to charge via USB is nice (I really like it with my GP-5 SSB, which opens up a world of charging options with solar backup), but the HTs listed I believe all require the old fashioned way. So 5 watts for 3 hours of charge (a bit long, I would think) gives us 10-15 watthours Easily handled by any of the batteries and probably by the solar panels as well, even while charging another battery.

      The 396XT can run on 3 recharghable AAs. Looking online, I see that people can run it 24-7 on 2 sets of batteries. Rotating these out (with spares, of course), you can charge them in a (requested) solar charger very covertly.

      Our IC-R7000 pulls 1.7A max on un-squelched receiving as per the manual. It’s at 117 or 220 Volts, so 1.7 A x 117 V = 198.9 watts. or 1.7A x 220V = 374 watts. You’d need a power inverter that can handle that step up from 12 V to 117 or 220. They’re pricier than your average inverter, but I know they’re out there. It will also mean that our car batteries are going to give us 3.5 hours of runtime.

      All told, you’re looking at 6,228.6 watt hours just with the laptop, IC-R700 and charging an HT daily for 3 hours. You’ve only got about 3500 all total between the batteries and assuming you can use the solar panels to directly power something. No way that’s going to happen.

      The BC-780XLT is only drawing 700mA it looks like (http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/BC780XLT#Power_Requirements) so 8.4 watts at 12V. That gives us 80-90 hours of runtime on a car battery. This lowers our total power needs to 1656 watts/day for a 24 hour cycle, which is actually doable even saving the solar panels as a dedicated charging station.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OvermountainComsGuy

        Also, if we can tap into the power at Hippy Jack’s cabin without raising alarm, or even put our General down in Ashville operating the SDR/laptop (airgapped) on grid power running a covert attic-based antenna system, we’d be even better set on power. Of course, having General down in Ashville would require a secure system to transmit anything. Depending on how dicey messenger transfer is, you could send stuff via hidden USB drives that have hidden VC volumes on them with a messenger.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Vince

    First sorry if I repeat anyone elses comments or ideas I have intentionally not read the comments for the purpose of this exercise.

    My Assumptions
    1. Local & Federal Government and Law Enforcement are functional, however they are mostly likely overwhelmed as evidenced by the involvement of foreign troops?
    2. A greatly reduced day to day normalcy for civilians is in effect, the power is still on, water still runs, however it is unlikely that anyone who is not in an essential industry is going to work and road traffic is probably either impossible or heavily monitored. TSHTF is most likely a softer economic collapse (i.e. the Great Depression) mixed with civil war that is increasing rapidly in intensity (The Troubles)?
    3. We are not seeing massive refugee movement or evacuations of cities, population is sheltering in place?
    4. Resistance Forces are operating as an underground insurgency and are avoiding overt activities?
    5. The use of Military force is being hidden by News Media?
    6. UN troops most likely have limited access to battalion level EW assets (due to training level, equipment expense, and mission profile), however regional EW assets are monitoring and forwarding intelligence to commanders on the ground and to Air Assets. All VHF and UHF communications risk immediate DFing.
    7. A means of encryption is available to the Comms Group (i.e. One Time Pads, AES 256 Data, Predetermined Code Words)

    Clarifying Questions
    1. Does Local LE operate on either VHF or UHF, analog or digital (assume that I will find out after arrival?)
    2. I will be bringing my own HF Transceiver and Power set-up? Do I have one?
    3. What is the total length of wire in a DB8 roll
    4. Will the site be located within the city or in a rural zone, will 120v electricity be available even for just the begin phases.

    Exercise Questions

    1. What equipment will you have delivered first, and why?
    1. The Entire Power Set
    2. IC R7000 & Both Scanners
    3. Both Laptops
    4. Boefeng Radios & Chargers
    5. Field Telephones & Telephone Wire
    6. All the Wire if Possible

    2. How will you provide power to your equipment? Provide a power plan, including contingency for weather, and including risk assessment for enemy detection.
    1. As a charge controller is not available the batteries will be charged with alligator clips and monitored with a Volt meter (which will need to be brought).
    2. All equipment that can be charged via 12v will be converted or modified to do so.
    3. A inverter will need to be brought or supplied. It will only be ran at the height of the day to hopefully mask any spurious emissions from it with spurious emissions from A/C units in the area. If possible it will not be used at all or will be moved to another site.
    4. The laptops may be able to be charged directly with 24 volts we don’t know yet
    5. Given the large size of the solar panel as compared to the batteries it can be placed flat and half covered, either with forest canopy or debris to avoid aerial detection
    6. The deep cycle shall be kept in reserve and fully charged as a bad weather back-up, in the beginning phases I expect power consumption to be limited, later though we will require more power.
    7. The liberation of batteries from cars and any additional solar panels will be on the list to do.

    3. 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?
    1. Equipment to bring
    1. Electrical tools and small parts, as much as I can carry or find (i.e. soldering iron, volt meter, watt meter, swr meter, crimpers, stripers, loggers tape measure, ect)
    2. HF Transceiver with its own power system if possible
    3. TNC to connect Laptops to some of the radios
    4. Flashdrive with software for Packet radio
    5. Necessary Crypto gear and keys, as well as check in frequencies and times
    6. Any charge controllers, inverters or extra solar panels that can be obtained.
    2. Antennas
    1. High Gain Yagi’s in 900mhz (Possibly made with provided wire, coat hangers, and a 2×4) note: 900mhz will still reflect off of metallic objects and can be DFed to what it reflected off of. VHF would not do this but the yagi would be bigger and harder to conceal.
    2. HF Dipoles both for listening and for transmitting (Made from provided wire)
    3. VHF and UHF J-poles (Made from provided wire)

    4. What cables, connectors and adapters are you likely to need? Training materials?
    1. SMA to BNC, PL 259 ends, ring terminals, butt terminals, spade connectors, cigarette lighter adapters (any and all that I can find), anything else that looks useful and the mule and me can carry.
    2. Multi-wire control cable, for setting up crossband radios and TNCs
    3. Motorola RIBs, and a box of programming cables and CPS software
    4. Any training materials I can find or have on me.

    5. 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.
    1. Charge controllers
    2. Several Motorola Astro p25 radios of the same band from the used market (fairly cheap if they are in bands that hams can’t use)

    Note: If stealth is the most important objective I would avoid as long as possible issuing any VHF or other personal radios to the main resistance fighters, setting up the CB could provide plausible cover and allow emergency comms. For anything else I would use couriers if possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Vince:

      As promised, here is the response to your post from this morning:

      Clarifying Questions

      1. Re local LE: A>The Resistance does not know what is going on; your job is to find out what is going on with regard to local communications from 25 mHz on up.

      2. re HF: A> your job does NOT concern HF at all.

      3. What is the total length of wire in a DB8 roll?:
      A>Should read “DR8 roll”, my error.
      A full DR8 roll holds about 500 meters of WD-1 field phone wire. A RL-159/U roll of WD-1 military phone wire holds about 2 kilometers of wire, but is extremely heavy.

      4. Will the site be located within the city or in a rural zone, will 120v electricity be available even for just the begin phases?
      A>See notes elsewhere with regard to power; The comm site will be determined by the Comm Boss, but probably will NOT be in an urban area.

      Exercise Questions

      What equipment will you have delivered first, and why?
      1. The Entire Power Set
      2. IC R7000 & Both Scanners
      3. Both Laptops
      4. Boefeng Radios & Chargers
      5. Field Telephones & Telephone Wire
      6. All the Wire if Possible

      2. How will you provide power to your equipment? Provide a power plan, including contingency for weather, and including risk assessment for enemy detection.
      1. As a charge controller is not available the batteries will be charged with alligator clips and monitored with a Volt meter (which will need to be brought).

      KP sez> Why assume that no controller is available? Did you request one? You probably can bring one with you….. How will you keep the batteries charged? See comments on power elsewhere. What will you do with the 7 Baofengs and how will you program them?

      3. A inverter will need to be brought or supplied. It will only be ran at the height of the day to hopefully mask any spurious emissions from it with spurious emissions from A/C units in the area. If possible it will not be used at all or will be moved to another site.

      KP sez> You have correctly identified the need for an inverter. Followup questions: What sort of inverter has fewer spurious emissions? How does one attenuate these?

      4. The laptops may be able to be charged directly with 24 volts we don’t know yet.

      KP sez> do you know what OS the laptops run on? Would it be a good idea to bring as OS with you that you are sure does not have spyware installed on it (like W10, for example….)

      5. Given the large size of the solar panel as compared to the batteries it can be placed flat and half covered, either with forest canopy or debris to avoid aerial detection.

      KP sez> You have correctly identified the risk from reflection from the solar panel, but covering it enough to prevent detection keeps it from working. Angling the panel and catching the reflection works better, see comments elsewhere.

      6. The deep cycle shall be kept in reserve and fully charged as a bad weather back-up, in the beginning phases I expect power consumption to be limited, later though we will require more power.

      KP sez> See separate comment elsewhere regarding power budgets.

      7. The liberation of batteries from cars and any additional solar panels will be on the list to do.

      KP sez> Absolutely! Getting adequate electrical power to run a VHF/UHF LP is a challenge operation in these conditions. Keep in mind, though, that car batteries left uncharged for a year are likely toast, and you will not make friends with the locals by stealing a good battery from their car, even if you survive the attempt. In such circumstances, ASK, don’t take. The Resistance is NOT a government; don’t steal!

      Equipment to bring

      2. HF Transceiver with its own power system if possible
      KP sez> No need for HF

      3. TNC to connect Laptops to some of the radios.
      KP sez> excellent! what radios in the equipment list are compatible with a TNC? Which one would you bring?

      4. Flashdrive with software for Packet radio
      KP sez> What other software would you bring?

      Antennas
      1. High Gain Yagi’s in 900mhz (Possibly made with provided wire, coat hangers, and a 2×4) note: 900mhz will still reflect off of metallic objects and can be DFed to what it reflected off of. VHF would not do this but the yagi would be bigger and harder to conceal.

      KP sez>Why 900 mHz?

      3. VHF and UHF J-poles (Made from provided wire)

      KP sez>J-poles are fine for transmit antennas, but you are primarily receiving. You know neither the frequencies nor the directions, yet. What is a better choice for an omni-directional, wide band receive antenna?

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

      4. Any training materials I can find or have on me.
      OK, specifically what ARE those?

      Note: If stealth is the most important objective I would avoid as long as possible issuing any VHF or other personal radios to the main resistance fighters, setting up the CB could provide plausible cover and allow emergency comms. For anything else I would use couriers if possible.

      DING DING DING! bingo! we want to avoid creating any signature if possible.

      A number of excellent points and some more questions….
      Regards, Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Walter Sobchak

    This is a great exercise with so much for a noob to study and learn. I’m Not the guy who would be picked to put this together. I first came across this site via WRSA. I really didn’t know anything about radio. This site convinced me to study and get my tech license. I passed and got my call sign only a couple of months ago. A few guys I work with are hams and they donated a baofeng (I know) and a magnet antenna to help me get started. I’m working on building the jungle antenna. I also have a j pole im putting up and I’m saving for a dual band HF rig. I’m slowly putting together some stuff as best I can for a guy on a really limited Budget. Thank you ncscout for such an important site with so much information. Sorry if I’m too off topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walter…MARK IT ZERO! (I had to ;))

      I’m really glad you’re getting so much out of this. It sounds like you’re definitely on the right path. If you ever have any questions or need guidance, feel free to let me know.

      Like

    2. Walter:

      We are all students; technology evolves as humans innovate, and so there is always more to learn. Remember that everyone involved in radio communication at whatever level all started at the same place; we didn’t know, and often we did not know what we did not know.

      Glad you decided to dive in, Walter, and look forward to some good questions from you. If you are wondering about something, somebody else probably is too, so ask!

      Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Vince:

    Very detailed response- first a clarification on the situation.

    For purposes of this thought problem, assume the TSHTF situation is an economic crisis, collapse of the dollar, and resulting decline/collapse of Federal authority, and to a large extent, State authority. Where it has not been destroyed by the inhabitants, infrastructure is more or less intact, degraded by a year of lack of maintenance. Conditions vary widely depending upon local mores and attitudes. In rural areas, LE is part of the Resistance. In urban and metro areas held by the Occupation, LE is a mix of some local personnel and imported troops.

    In Resistance held areas, assume that local utilities are online insofar as possible. If there is local hydro-electric power, those facilities are likely to be operational; if there is gravity-fed water supply, that is functional. The power grid is mostly offline where dependent on non-local resources (oil, coal, pipeline NG). In areas where power is available, it is likely to be rationed and made available on a rotating basis.

    In Occupation held areas, grid power is being restored to selected areas deemed ‘pacified.’ These are usually surviving suburban areas around large cities.

    In disputed areas, there is little to no grid power, and no ROL apart from what local groups can enforce. Again, things vary widely. Answers to specific questions below:

    1.Re LE/Fed Gov action: See above.

    2. Civilians: it depends, see above.

    3. Refugees: Most of the refugee movement has already occurred. There has been significant population loss, especially in the larger metro areas. Current US population is not known but estimated to be less than 150 million.

    4. Resistance Forces : Depends.

    5. The use of Military force is being hidden by News Media? Yes.

    6. Yes. ALL electronic communications risk immediate DF and Occupation response.

    7. A means of encryption is available to the Comms Group (i.e. One Time Pads, AES 256 Data, Predetermined Code Words) Depends, you tell me!

    More later, gentlemen and ladies, a response this good deserves more attention and will receive it later today.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. nick flandrey

    WRT obtaining locally available gear…

    Antenna search shows Asheville being served by Mountain Area Information Network, providing fixed wireless internet access. That’s a lot of antennas in residential areas that could possibly be repurposed for point to point links.

    There are dozens of VHF radios and antennas, and probably remote power systems deployed by the Metro Sewer District presumably for SCADA monitoring of river levels. Unlikely that they are in use in the current scenario given the level of collapse. Grab ’em. At the very least, they are accessible by land or water, in rural and semi-rural locations. Use them for charging stations, hiding in plain sight.

    Carolina Light and Power also has VHF radios antennas and possibly power deployed throughout the area, again for SCADA reporting.

    The water company has transmitters in the surrounding hills, 900 mhz, potentially a site for a point to point antenna, esp if theirs is currently in use. DF just yields an existing RF source.

    Co-locate any TX antenna with existing towers or other infrastructure so as to muddy the DF picture as much as possible. Yagi antenna and feed line can remain in place while TX comes and goes.

    There are lots of business radio users and even The New Life Church of Asheville has a 440mhz setup. Some of those are going to be operating, or if not operating, overlooked by the authorities. Who expects a church to have a radio?

    nick

    Also, pretty much every national chain store, gas station, etc has a satellite or microwave connection presumably out to the rest of their org. Gonna be hard to restrict traffic on those links (if the users can keep them up) particularly if they happen to be from one “freefor” area to another. Seems like there should be a way to ride along on those network connections, or that unaffiliated personnel will be using them either for comms or for info access. All assuming there is SOME level of connectivity left.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re asking all the right questions. 😉

      BTW, that wifi network that’s operational could very easily be adapted to 23cm- not to throw a yet another variable into things, but 23cm has only one HT available I know of and sees very little real use in the mainstream US…

      Like

  11. So, we touched on power earlier, and the importance of having enough to sustain operations. Folks seem to be beginning to understand the importance of power and how to provide it. There is plenty of ground to plow there yet, but let’s talk about the other big thing besides power.

    Antennas.

    Your duties include monitoring a wide range of frequencies; as discussed elsewhere, one antenna type that is both broadbanded and omni-directional is the discone. MFJ makes a decent one, and Diamond makes a better one with N connectors. I own both. It is possible to homebrew a discone, and to modify these two commercial products to better suit higher frequencies, but another advantage of the ‘made’ antenna is that it is designed to be transported in a small package. Keep in mind, folks, that this is a station that is going to move. A lot. I can tell you that moving an assembled discone is a good way to risk getting poked in the eye, so an easily disassembled antenna is a distinct plus.

    Another of your duties is DF. Again, you do not know what frequencies are in use. What is an antenna type that is directional and ALSO broad banded?

    Further, you do have some duties requiring highly directional transmission on VHF. While I am a fan of not re-inventing the wheel, there are times that new innovations really are a significant improvement on prior art, and directional VHF and UHF antennas are one of those instances. The new Yagi antennas detailed in Antenna Book #23 are a huge improvement on prior art, with MUCH lower side lobes and significant improvement upon past Yagi performance. Take the time to read the section on high performance antennas there, but suffice it to say that *I* am planning to redrill the boom on my 30 element 440 mHz Yagi to match the new layout shown in that article, and to rebuild that Yagi.

    Finally, there is a requirement to maintain satellite comms and monitor satellite comms. What are the two most popular satellite bands used by amateurs today? What antenna type can be used for such communications without a rotator?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mike

    just as a side note for power.
    while not ideal if you adapt a automotive alternator to be powered by a bike on a frame that can be a quiet means of power and a time killer while on radio watch. a small inverter for the printer and dc power converter for laptop. DC to DC converter can be salvaged from late model heavy equipment if you know what to look for.
    tools would include a true RMS digital volt ohm meter an analog triplet and related 12volt soldering gear

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bicycle or hand cranked generators are a good idea, and date back to at least WW2. I have no doubt that some folks will use this kind of power generation. What other power creation ideas are suitable for covert portable operation?

      WRT soldering- One of my gadgets is a butane powered soldering iron I got on clearance from Radio Shack. I’d hesitate to use it for surface mounted component replacement, but for soldering antenna connections in the field it is perfect, and probably could be used for point to point repair…..

      Good comments, Mike.

      BTW, what about 12 power connectors? Lots of options, what will you use?

      Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mike

        Ok here we go. I am a diesel tech with an electronics heavy back ground and i work on the road and in semi remote sites so in my job I have found a few things that will make this remote station LP/OP a cinch.
        NOCO makes a boost pack that will jumpstart a 6.0 liter diesel cold iron, this thing is the balls and it only weighs a couple of pounds it can be charged in a couple of hours in a cigarette lighter It has USB ports and 12 volt out and in port and comes with adapters the model i use is about $240from and auto supply. specs for the gb70 are. https://no.co/products/power/jumpstarters

        12v in 14v 3 amp max
        12 v out 1`2.8 15 amp max
        12v jump 2000 amp max
        batt is a 56 wh lith ion
        Now a pair of these could run alot and add to battery capacity greatly
        power pole connectors would be my choice as kits are available now.https://powerwerx.com/anderson-power-powerpole-sb-connectors?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=%7Bkeyword_text%7D&utm_campaign=Anderson+-+BMM&utm_adgroup=Powerpole+Connectors&mkwid=scamqRfDU_dc&pcrid=177596663488&plc=&pkw=powerpole%20connectors&pmt%7C=p&gclid=CMHA6dam8NICFQaHswodaS4AQw

        now if you don’t mind building things an outboard starter motor can be made to work as a generator if we have a stream or river you can make a small hydro plant to keep you in power indefinitely and silently and this terrain is noted for its hollers and mountain streams so a hidden plant would be ideal even if you had to pull batteries a couple at a time and hump to the charge site which could serve as a back up LP/OP to watch your back trail and provide rear security to the primary LP/OP.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mike: Small hydropower is a realistic option. As you will see below, Intelligence is interested in finding out about the Tuxedo Hydropower station in Henderson County, but on a small scale, I’d be looking to scrounge a small pump, which is much more efficient than a prop.

        See link here-
        http://www.hydroworld.com/content/dam/hydroworld/downloads/Q%26Aturbine6.pdf

        Wind may be also, but is much higher profile, and thus off the table.

        WRT batteries, the issue facing you as the local comms boss is that you need to GENERATE more power; storage is not the limiting factor presently.

        Hint- how did the Swedes operate vehicles during WW2 without access to fossil fuels?

        Regards, Keypounder

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mike

        My first choice is hydropower, a small pelton wheel driven gen set.
        but a gas powered genset converted to work on a downdraft wood gasifier would also provide near indefinite power.
        How ever your noise and thermal signature is greatly increased
        one way around that issue is to set it up near a small stream and build an enclosure to deaden the sound and direct thermal observation lining it with foil backed insulation then ducting some water from the stream to use what we in the boat business call a water lift muffler making sure the discharge pipe is under water and down stream of the site.
        if set in a good thicket and some cammo netting that should allow you to run the unit all day to charge your batteries to run at night as the aural and thermal risk at night is just too great

        Liked by 1 person

  13. nick flandrey

    Hmm, broadband yet directional? I think Loop antenna, about the size of a hula hoop?

    Monitoring satellite, sdr on a laptop with a UHF eggbeater? Gets you a nice omni pattern, is small, lets you decode weather maps (big bonus if you are by yourself in the sticks.)

    Working satellites can be done with the UV-5Rs, and a hand held yagi like something from Arrow antennas. There is a nice youtube on it.

    For covert TX out of the area, I was thinking about EME in a digital mode for short bursts. Meteor scatter might work too (no experience of it) but EME, satellite and meteor all depend on closes coordination between TX and RX don’t they? (again, no experience) and have limited msg length. Need to have the ephemeris program pre-loaded on the lappy.

    For some other supplies, every Telco cross connect box (the big square boxes with doors) used to have a spool of 22ga twisted pair hookup wire in the door. A ‘can wrench” or IIRC 11mm deep socket will open the doors. It was a several hundred foot spool. As a bonus, if the telco is still up, you can clip onto a hard line and make calls with either a buttset or any old touch tone phone, like a princess phone. Used to carry all that in the car before cell phones, just in case….

    nick

    Also wrt power, every cell tower that’s still functional will have convenience 120v outlets in the gear cabinets. They may be under remote observation (cams) or intrusion detection, but they aren’t typically. It’s also possible they will have UPS systems that even if abandoned can be raided for batteries.

    Traffic signal boxes also have 120v outlets inside.

    Mosquito Magnet brand mosquito traps have a thermo electric generator that puts out enough to run the fan. Might be enough to charge a gel cell. Might work in the sun.

    Wrt batteries, exit signs often have a small 12v gel cell battery. There are a LOT of exit signs…

    Road department “arrow” signs have batteries and solar panels and are very often deployed in remote areas.

    If your team is willing to scavenge and or raid, there are lots of batteries around. Charge controllers and solar are much less common, and would be in demand and high value items for everyone if power is down or unreliable.

    One last thought, for several years costco has been selling solar powered, motion activated security lights. Solar panel. Charge controller. Battery. Motion sensor… stuck on garages, sheds, and other easy to access places… lots of them around too…….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nick-

      Good job! Ding Ding Ding!! we have a winner!
      Yes, for satcomm, I think I’d pick an eggbeater. M2 makes a nice one, and it disassembles into a compact package for transport. The ground plane does add performance but it has the disadvantage of making the antenna MUCH more recognizable. A quadrafilar helix is another possible option.

      For all around wide-band reception, I’d bring at least two discone antennas. One for 100-300 mHz, and another for 300 to 900+.

      As regards long distance comm, that is not within your purview for this exercise. The HF crew will be running NVIS back to the local base once you have assessed the area and provided sufficient sigint to permit operation.

      Thanks for participating!

      regards, Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sig357

    Trying to avoiding other comments. Seems like cheating… but if you aren’t cheating you aren’t trying.
    Love the exercise! Making me think, learn, relearn and remember.
    Questions for S2:
    Describe any specific travel restrictions that are in place in the greater Asheville area. Which of these transportation modes are impacted: Vehicles, Bicycle or Pedestrian. Any Curfew? Exclusion zones? Are there any specific Occupying Force controls or activity in place that would prevent the use of couriers?
    Describe the availability and any controls over POL assets in the AO. Specifically: Gasoline, Diesel, Propane and Natural Gas.
    Describe the Grid power availability in the Asheville area. Reliability? Blackouts or brownouts?
    Describe availability of AA batteries and other common sizes in AO.
    Is there any cellular, landline or snail mail still available in greater the Asheville area? Reliability?
    Regarding the RDF tasking: What level of accuracy is required? 10 meters, 100 meters or 1KM? Provide a rank order of importance in the target list.
    Describe your collection delivery requirements (Flash, Immediate or Routine?) for each of the section tasking’s.
    SOI? What crypto will we use? OTP’s
    Can you share the approximate locations of the safe houses in the Asheville area? Do you have any specifics of safe house building construction such as metal roofs or siding?
    Do you have a contact information or club rosters or newsletters for hams in the Asheville area?
    What SIGINT assets if any does OPFOR have in area? Fixed or mobile?
    Until I receive specific orders to the contrary, I will source common needed items from the AO. For example, every golf course is a great source for T-105 deep cycle batteries and charging equipment. Standby generators are found on rural roadways supporting utilities, cellular towers and other infrastructure. Solar panels and batteries for electronic signage can be located in State and County Road service yards or along the road. Every hillbilly in the state has a bass boat with a trolling motor, deep cycle battery and charger.
    I would like an additional roll of (DR8) WD-1 / TT (48 lbs.). Could substitute (or scrounge locally) CAT5 wire in the appropriate length.
    MPPT 12 V 30 Amp charge controller (5 lbs.).
    750-watt inverter (7 Lbs.)
    CHRIP radio programming software (or suitable substitute), SDR Sharp Software, Air Beacon Decoder, RTL Scanner SW, FLDIGI. All SW Loaded into both laptops. 4 Memory sticks with same SW loaded (1 lb.)
    2 X Ear phones ¼”, 10 X ear buds for Baofengs and other HT’s with appropriate connectors. (5Lbs.)
    Sound Card Interface and appropriate cables for R-7000 (3 Lbs.)
    Power budget will be an issue. Power budget calculations: 130 Watt panel produces approximately 9 Amps X 5 sunlit hours = 45 AH per day Polycrystalline panel is more shade / cloud tolerant.
    R-7000 will consume 25 AH with 1 Hour TX + 2 Hours RX = 25 AH
    Baofengs will consume .8 AH X 6 radios TX + .22 AH X 6 radios RX X 12 Hours = 16 AH
    2 BC scanners 1.6 AH per 24 hour day = 3.2 AH
    Subtotal = 34.2 AH
    Laptops 5 AH
    FT-736R 8A TX / 1.5A RX
    DTR-550 1W / 3.8V = .26A TX
    More later. Sig357

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sig357:

      This is clearly not your first rodeo. Cheating? in war?
      “War does not determine who is right; war determines who is left.”

      Excellent questions- please see response below:

      Questions for S2:
      Q-Describe any specific travel restrictions that are in place in the greater Asheville area. Which of these transportation modes are impacted: Vehicles, Bicycle or Pedestrian. Any Curfew? Exclusion zones? Are there any specific Occupying Force controls or activity in place that would prevent the use of couriers?

      S2 sez> Intelligence has no information at present re Occupation sustained activity in Asheville/Henderson area. It is known that there have been what appear to be scouting parties in and around Asheville and Henderson, but nothing past that is presently known. There has been a significant loss of population in the metro area; Intelligence estimates a population of between 10% and 25% of pre-SHTF numbers.
      There is no effective control of the city proper by anyone apart from a few gangs who are now engaged in endless blood feuds, and there is no rule of law. Daytime pedestrians are rare, and often shot at. Vehicular movement is essentially nil.

      Q-Describe the availability and any controls over POL assets in the AO. Specifically: Gasoline, Diesel, Propane and Natural Gas.

      S2 sez> North Carolina before TSHTF was highly dependent upon interstate pipelines for POL. One of the Resistance Intelligence assets is a retired NG pipeline manager with copies of the maps available to operators through the NPMS. Presently the Asheville area is without either ROL or any reliable supply of POL. Known storage supplies have largely been looted; there are some private stores and Intelligence is attempting to discover sources. Occupation forces are gaining acceptance from survivors in part because they are bringing in limited supplies of fossil fuels, especially gasoline and diesel fuel, much of which is reportedly coming from Mexico and Venezuela.

      Q- Describe the Grid power availability in the Asheville area. Reliability? Blackouts or brownouts?

      S2 sez> Nil in Asheville proper.

      The grid went off-line for good about 5 weeks of TSHTF, and has not been back up in the Asheville metro area since. The Asheville plant is coal fired and the stockpile ran out; the Duke Energy operators whereabouts are not known. Status of Asheville plant is not known. Intelligence is interested in locating any survivors. Tuxedo Hydro Plant in Henderson County is not presently running AFAIK, but there have been no floods or other events since TSHTF that would indicate it was not repairable. Intelligence is interested in developing more information about this 5 MW installation.

      Cowan’s Ford hydropower station near Charlotte is reportedly under renovation, and sources indicate the Occupation is providing limited power to the Charlotte area from that and possibly also from one or more of the Yadkin River hydro plants between Charlotte and Winston-Salem. Resistance held areas in extreme Western NC and eastern Tennessee are functional.

      Q-Describe availability of AA batteries and other common sizes in AO.

      S2 sez> Barter only, no regular stock or commerce. AA Eneloop batteries are reportedly trading for 5 troy ounces of silver or 50 rounds of rifle ammo. Each. Functional AA alkaline cells are trading for 2 for an ounce of silver or 10 rounds of rifle ammo.

      Q-Is there any cellular, landline or snail mail still available in greater the Asheville area?
      S2 sez> “Unknown, but not likely. We’re using NVIS to get messages in, and Intel is coming out on mule trains.”

      Q-Reliability? S2 sez> “Nil”

      Q-Regarding the RDF tasking: What level of accuracy is required? 10 meters, 100 meters or 1KM? Provide a rank order of importance in the target list.
      S2 sez> “100 meters preferred; for initial assessment 1km will do.”

      Q- Describe your collection delivery requirements (Flash, Immediate or Routine?) for each of the section tasking’s.
      S2 sez> “Intercepts of amateur, CB, MURS and FRS are routine.
      Any intercept of air band, or VHF/UHF police, railroad, or local LE regardless of mode is Immediate. Suspected Occupation intercepts even if encrypted are Flash. DF locations of above items are the same.

      Any satellite communication is Immediate; any receipt on the emergency channel is Flash.”

      Q- SOI? What crypto will we use? OTP’s[?]
      S2 sez> “Son, this is why we selected you. This is your purview, what SOI will you use? As far as crypto is concerned, we’ve got a selection of encryption software from before TSHTF- what do you plan to take?”

      Q-Can you share the approximate locations of the safe houses in the Asheville area?
      S2 sez> “You have no need to know at this time.”

      Q- Do you have any specifics of safe house building construction such as metal roofs or siding?
      S2 sez> “What part of ‘you have no need to know’ don’t you understand?” ()

      Q-Do you have a contact information or club rosters or newsletters for hams in the Asheville area?
      S2 sez- “damned good idea, and we’re looking into that already, but right now, I have nothing. We are discreetly talking to the widow who donated her late husband’s equipment, but she’s old and pretty broken up about his death. If we can develop any information on that, your local intel guy will let you know.”

      Q-What SIGINT assets if any does OPFOR have in area? Fixed or mobile?
      S2 sez>”unknown, we are looking to you to tell us that.”

      GREAT questions,Sig357, keep them coming!

      Regards, Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Doc Raydio

    Learning a lot – thanks for the exercise. I’m just adding to the mix here with misc tidbits.

    The R-7000 can run directly on 12 VDC. Although ICOM used to sell a kit with a Molex jack that screws into the small hole in the back covered by a blank plate, the connection points are already available inside the case.

    Do NOT trust the Advanced Encrypted Standard (AES aka Rijndael) in any flavor – ever! My cryptography professor in grad school who used to work for THE three letter agency, said that they knew how to do the factorization when they accepted the algorithm at the onset. It is not secure!

    A good broadband directional gain antenna is a log-periodic. It’s very easy to build – or acquire an old TV antenna.

    A simple satcom receiving antenna that doesn’t need steering is a turnstile – crossed dipoles ~ 1/4 wave above a reflector screen.

    Partially covering a PV solar panel will result in almost no output.

    Like

  16. Keypounder with a recap so far:

    Power:
    So, we’ve had some very good discussion and analysis of power system requirements.
    To summarize:
    – most folks responding see that we need more power GENERATION capability.
    – a number of options were presented, including some very creative options I had not thought of; Good job, and thanks!
    – So far, nobody has suggested an internal combustion generator, which is wise; I would think a year into a SHTF scenario that most supplies of gasoline and diesel would have been used up.
    – Wood gas is an option for a fixed site, (or a vehicle) as is steam or hydro, but for a covert portable station that moves frequently, solar seems to be the least bad option, and we need more of it.
    -Standardized power connections are desireable, but one needs to be prepared to deal with a wide variety of connection types and either change or adapt them. I like Anderson Power Pole connectors, but there are others.

    Antennas:
    For a listening and DF post there are several antenna requirements:
    – Need at least two, probably more, general purpose very wideband omni-directional antennas that are readily portable. The discone was suggested by one contributor, and this was a good suggestion. The discone will cover a wide range of frequencies, with decreasing performance as the frequency goes up. Generally, the discone will be effective and low angle over a range about 3x the low end design frequency.

    Two of the commercial versions both start around 100 mHz and continue up to around 300 mHz. I trimmed my MFJ discone to better serve the UHF band and kept the Diamond factory stock; this will cover the 50 mhz ham band all the way to 300 with the stock Diamond, and from ~ 300 up to a gigaHertz or so with the shortened MFJ. The drawbacks of the discone are that it is difficult to make it stealthy, and it is difficult to transport while assembled; give thought to both of these issues.

    Fan verticals are possible, but typically do not provide consistent smooth coverage over the wide range needed here. A field fabricated vertical is a workable option, though, and MUCH better than nothing! Always remember, having any antenna beats having nothing. Upgrade when you can, but get an antenna up!

    -You will want at least two broadband directional antenna for general listening and DF. So far, nobody has responded to this, but the textbook answer for this is a log-periodic dipole array, or LPDA. These can cover several octaves of frequency; there are commercial versions (expensive!) that cover from 50 to 500 mhz. These typically have modest gain and modest F-B ratios, but can be used to provide general LOP. In this thought problem, one possible way to conserve assets might be to co-locate a DF post with one of the security LP/OP positions; a baseline of 1-2 km can provide useful if not definitive data, and once you have a general idea of location then you can start to narrow things down.

    -You will need at least one high gain high performance Yagi for monitoring and/or transmitting on the emergency channel. It’s worth noting that for specific frequencies, one can get a pretty good (+/- 10 degrees) LOP with a high gain Yagi antenna. I have personally used this technique on some jammers harassing a local 2 meter repeater; two or more intersecting LOPS allowed deployment of a local listening post to precisely locate two of the jammers.

    -for quick close range DF, one of the Ramsey pseudo-Doppler DF units is pretty handy, but is NOT at all stealthy. You might as well hang out a sign- “I AM DIRECTION FINDING”; there are also various units using two rubber duck antennas or small loops. On a bit larger scale, an interferometer is much more precise, but it does require a long duration signal, not likely in this scenario. Another possibility, which I have not tested, but theory suggests might work, would be a VHF/UHF array of electronically switched Vee beams. One might be able to get at least a general direction (NE, S, etc.) using that approach. While it would be much higher gain than the vertical elements, the classic Vee beam is horizontally polarized, so any gain would be given up by the cross polarization losses.

    The classic DF techniques for HF involves using arrays of vertically polarized elements, either loops (Belini-Tosi) or vertical monopole or dipole elements (Adcock). Some of these can be adapted to VHF and possibly UHF; I have this on my schedule but haven’t yet experimented with this, since my local DF needs are currently met with Yagi antennas combined with the pseudo-Doppler mobile DF unit, small hand held Yagis and small hand-held loop and rubber duck units. On that note, I’d encourage anyone interested in DF to read the 1947 4th edition of Keen’s “Wireless Direction Finding” in which you will find an encyclopedic listing of DF techniques as well as descriptions of things like Loran.

    Equipment-

    Most folks recognized the need for basic tools and supplies, as well as the power issues mentioned already. In addition to the electronic stuff, it is always worth considering some personal items like bug spray, water purification (it’s likely after TSHTF that any open water is contaminated…) personal meds, first aid/GSW kit, and maybe a gas mask or three. (Having a go-to-hell plan ahead of time isn’t a bad idea, either, both for the approach to the area, and for ops once there. More later)

    We’ve had some great questions and interesting responses. Stay tuned!

    Keypounder

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Because I believe this issue should not be over looked, I would like to make some clarification before moving on. Of course PV would be the most desirable, yet if not available in this environment, then a wood gas genset can be made portable by mule. For example a Honda 1000 ex generator weighs no more than deep cycle battery, and the wood gas generator is compact and weighs less than the same battery. Solar output is greatly reduced in cloudy conditions, so it is a good idea to have a generator to take up the slack and provide back up, redundancy… The mission is very dependent on power production, so it should be the priority after security. A small light weight portable wood gas generator is relatively EASY to make, but my friend tells me his is it is a bit tricky to operate requiring frequent spark plug cleaning… Because power generation is critical to this mission, and others like it, I would investigate this option. BTW, I just completed this morning a very light weight homemade discone antenna that can be easily taken apart for transport, and hung in a tree to conceal if desired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PrepperRadioBlog-

      I’d love to see a lightweight portable wood-gas generator. So far nothing I have seen qualifies, but there is a lot I don’t know; send sketches or photographs to NC Scout. Filtration and cooling of the gasogen output are the big problems with wood gas; the particulates are an especial problem, as they can wear an engine.

      It ought to be relatively easy to modify a gasoline generator to use propane, but I don’t know if Honda offers a kit to do that, or whether there are aftermarket kits for that motor-generator set. I say propane, b/c I think propane or diesel are somewhat more likely to be available a year after a SHTF event like an economic collapse than gasoline, and more likely to be useable, but any fossil fuel is going to be scarce.

      There is no ‘right’ answer with regard to power, only a series of tradeoffs between availability, resource cost, financial cost, transport cost, personnel cost and risk. The only thing an operator in a SHTF event must acknowledge is that he needs power to operate, and all the fancy equipment in the world is useless without power, which we in this day and age take for granted. If you don’t have a plan right now on how to operate with sustainable power, you are failing to plan properly. Can be any one of a number of approaches; PV is only one arrow in the quiver, but you had better have a plan.

      Keypounder

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry I do not have easy access to that wood gassifier, but it does exist. It is a prototype. It is not perfected and has the issues you mentioned. Too much creosote clogs the plug, and eventually the head would have to come off to be cleaned, especially if pine is used. Better filtering and cooling would help. Wood selection might be as important. You could probably build a better one. I have the parts to build a bicycle powered generator that I would consider to be more reliable at this time. So we have 3 sources of alternative power, or redundant redundancy. Not the ‘best’, yet there is redundancy. A small diesel powered generator would be the better fossil fuel option, as diesel would be more prevalent as it would be needed to run trucks and trains, but small diesel generators are rare. Grab it if you find it. I believe I could run my generators on propane, have the fittings, but have not tried it. I also have 2 small 1984 Honda EM500 gas generators that sip fuel $125 each, 60 pounds). 400 watts continuous output is correctly sized for the maximum charge rate for two 105AH rated 6 volt deep cycle batteries. The EM500 with a 20 amp charger, can fully charge two deep cycle batteries from 12.3vdc without the assistance of solar using 0.6 gallons. ortunately one can save lots of gas by doing the bulk charge with the generator in the morning, and let the solar do the rest. I used about a quart per day in the winter running a laptop about 12 hours per day. A netbook consumes much less power, roughly half.
        There are plenty of examples of gassifiers on the net. I’ve downloaded hundreds of articles, plans and videos. If a farmer could do it successfully back in the 40’s with scrap parts, then we can do it better. This exercise has help to to see my own weakness. I should build a better wood gassifer than my friend did. For most, including myself, I would say that the bicycle-generator would be the best second option after solar, with the wood gassifier, propane (theoretical), or gasoline powered EM500 generator, a trailing third option. As you say, there is no ‘best’ way, but it is best to recognize the power problem now, and get to work to solve it any which way they can. For them, that will be the best solution. We are mostly limited by our imagination and determination to get it done.

        Last night, made another yagi, a 7 element OWA for 70cm. My cost, next to nothing. Will test it today. Another one to follow…. The SWR on the 6 element OWA VHF is flat from 142 to 148Mhz, less than 1.8:1, 142 to 150Mhz. The homebrew discone appears to be good for 27 to 520Mhz or higher? BTW copper pipe slim jims make good listening antennas because of the 5.5dbi gain, and the low signal to noise. IMHO, if one has a particular interest in a segment of the spectrum, the slim jim would likely be better able to hear weak signals better than a discone.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. B Woodman

    My 2 cents on power…….
    Most equipment, especially radio gear AND LAPTOPS, runs on DC at some point. Even the printers. That’s what the little power supplies (wall warts) are, that connect between the 120Vac wall plug and the equipment. So why have a (battery) DC->AC inverter, they’re lossy, RF noisy, and inefficient. Better to have a series of DC->DC converters (similar to switching DC power supplies). I’m seeing them on eBay for cheap, 200W – 250W – 300W.
    Yes, it will take some advance planning and work to build and convert the communications (radio, laptop, etc) equipment to these converters, but if you’re preparing for a SHTF scenario, these are worth looking into.
    As for connections, why re-invent the wheel? Anderson Power Pole PP15-45 connectors (andersonpower dot com), one style of housing in a variety of colors, bi-“sexual” (no male vs female, almost foolproof to connect), in current ratings of 15A, 30A, 45A. Used by amateurs everywhere. Say what you will about the ARRL, good or bad, but in recommending these as universal power connectors, they got this one right. Cheapest place I’ve found to purchase is mouser dot com.

    And yes, I’m working on a few of these to experiment with, to be able to power a small laptop (for digital VHF and/or HF communications) from a “small” battery out on a backpack field ops. Right now budget and time restrains me, I still need some small aluminium boxes to house the converters.

    B Woodman
    KC7JDS
    (working toward my General Lisc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully this exercise will help us with that planning. We can take care of the issues now while it cheap and easy… First we take care of the basics and improve from there. Power production has surfaced as the primary technical problem to overcome, however apart of the problem is consumption. When living with alternative power, it is easier and cheaper to conserve than to produce power. Any effort to conserve and improve efficiency adds up, and collectively can be come significant. Inverters are power hogs, and good sine-wave ones are expensive. The cheap ones may fail sooner, so have several. Yet the affordable and relatively common modified sinewave inverters produce power that may eventually do harm to sensitive electronics and fans. I have several modern, and one bullet proof antique from the 70’s, small and inexpensive inverters just in case, but I found that I do not use them. Not only do these create a signal, but there is a significant loss in power, around 10 to 15%. In a small solar system, this is a huge loss. And if the inverter fails, all of the devices dependent on it become useless. This is a big reason to get rid of it, or reduce it’s role. Devices that can independent of a primary charging station can be run more efficiently, reliably, and perhaps autonomously. So how is the situation improved?

      Everything in my shack runs on 12vdc, including this computer for the last 3 years. This includes handheld chargers. The now ubiquitous Boafeng can be run on a battery eliminator that can also take 19.5volts and convert it to the the 7 to 10 volts that radio uses. This means my light weight 4,0AH lithium-ion battery from my Makitia can run the Boafeng, or it can be powered directly by a 10 watt solar panel (19 VOC), or any combination of lower voltage panels wired in series that do not exceed 19.5 volts (measured in full sun , no load), but at least 2 watts to run on standby (RX only). But what if I need to charge the Baofeng battery? The easy way is to buy a voltage converter that will feed the Baofeng charging base no more than 10 volts. they offer select-able voltages types, but these are not cheap. If the charger fed 12vdc, it will fry it. Been there, dunn it. One of the cheapest ways to get a variety of converters is at the thrift store. I grab all I find for .50 cents each and test their output at home. If the Boafeng charger has been fried, then solder in the converter directly to the charger pins and trash the guts. The battery will need about 2 volts, but no more than 2 volts above it’s rated output to fully charge it. Less than 2 volts will however charge the battery to a lesser, but useful and safer degree. Error on the side of caution and lower voltages. This can be done with most hand helds, but do not leave them in this field expedient charger indefinitely, or battery life will be diminished, possibly fried. Cook the battery just like it was dinner, nice and slow. All kinds of devices can be converted to running on 12vdc with thrift store purchased converters for next to nothing. Often the thrift store will throw these away, so tell them what you are looking for. Last time they offered me the whole box for free. Every scrap of wire, and the variety of connectors in that box could be useful down the road.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. nick flandrey

    WRT power connectors, I’m asking for or sourcing locally, a bag of mixed wire nuts. No need for fancy, esp. if using found wire, etc. Strip the ends and wire nut them.

    n

    Liked by 1 person

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  21. Henry Bowman

    Fantastic mental FTX, in prep for actual FTX…

    Thanks to KP for the exercise and BB for the forum..Much to learn here..

    I am taking all this in, and cherry picking out pieces that apply to my situation here in opfor controlled, Charlotte…

    I view my position as a “stay behind,” operator of sorts, trying to keep my little tribe alive and well, yet contribute what i can to the overall mission/goal, all as covertly as possible….

    i’ve all the goodies, from vhf/uhv/frs/gmrs to hf, and various scanning options from sdr to handhelds and the like…

    i do have solar kits/batteries and other kit required to power rigs, already doing it when i go camping/trout stalking and participating in various field day exercises…

    got mobile comms, ht’s (analog & digi) and various antennas, from j poles, to dipoles to end feds, discones and yagis….

    lots of wire, both 14ga stranded and insulated, to rolls of cat5/6 (IT guy here by profession, lots of “computer stuff” in home office workshop/comm shack) connectors, crimpers, soldering irons/etc…

    good amount of various rechargeable batteries, all sizes and various chargers and smaller folding solar panels to charge em, not to mention my larger 20-100w panels and controllers, etc.

    my goal has always been to be as self sufficient as possible, stealthy as possible, real world living in an HOA restricted sub division, so have to be crafty.. (turned neighbors gutter system into hf antenna)

    all of my antennas are in attic, scanner, j-pole and hf….not the best, but it works…

    so, given the above for me, and the initial mission/situation outlined, i’m best suited to provide material support/training, and whatever sigint i can gather and pass along….

    this is the scenario i am envisioning for myself, doing whatever to further our cause and not get myself rolled up in the process…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. IIRC, NC Scout, Henry Bowman usually didn’t need much rescuing.

        Kidding aside, I expect that in a SHTF situation there’ll be a lot of ‘Henry Bowman’ types around to provide discreet assistance. I’d not put any weight on this situation as having any sort of relationship to what may happen if TSHTF for real; my goal with this is to get people to think about how they’d handle things, and what they’d wish they had if TSH did HTF. Power’s a big issue that lots of folks haven’t spent enough time on.

        I’m a very big advocate for doing for yourself and being able to improvise, but there is a lot to be said for buying what you need to get the job done, especially when time is the limiting factor on activity.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. HIT

    What do we have packet or data equipment? Any contact with Resistance HQ would best be sent via packet to reduce transmit times (reduces used power and DF risk). My packet experience is limited to VHF/UHF, I’m assuming HF packet is still much faster than voice. Don’t think that you are the only one with SDR and any unusual transmissions will eventually be noticed.

    I would recommend using gpg for encryption if packet is possible. It comes installed on many Linux OSes and is easy enough to use with a cheat sheet. Wikileaks recently leaked that gpg type encryption might not be completely secure. Considering that the collapse has happened and you have some security through obscurity I doubt that you will be worth the computing power it takes for the CIA crack it. Of course rotating keys would still be a good idea.

    OTPs were previously mentioned. While they have the potential to be very secure they are hard (or at least time consuming) to make correctly. If you are thinking about using a computer to make them you run into the same problem that gpg has. In my opinion they are closer to the E than P in PACE.

    I would also look for an HF frequency used by the Occupation, preferable one used by the least disciplined troops. A quick data burst from a mode different from the OPFOR could be interpreted as someone sitting on their mic or faulty equipment. Anyone using an SDR may ignore it.

    I would like a spool of solder and a rod along with the assorted wires mentioned in previous posts. I can put the rod in a fire and use it like a soldering iron to help make cables and antennas.

    Liked by 2 people

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