The sun was up, the mosquitoes were out, the BBQ was hot and the sweet tea ice cold- yes, it was another great Patriot Convention with Brock. The turnout was impressive; a fantastic number of good folks from a wide variety of places coming to enjoy great fellowship & food along with discussing varying aspects of preparedness in an increasingly unstable world. The prevailing theme this year, as with last fall, was keeping it local- focusing on not only the local aspects of community preparedness but going into what it takes to make it work.

For my part, the presentations done focused primarily upon taking the predominant equipment in use on the license-free bands and readying it for better use off-grid, slowly evolving into addressing the needs of those in attendance. We discussed why taking a CB antenna off a truck and trying to press it into service in the field is not exactly the right answer (limited/no sufficient groundplane) and overcoming it by building your own antenna fast and cheap. We demonstrated how to properly run the extremely common Baofeng UV-5R (or many other HTs, for that matter) off an external battery and why standardizing all of your equipment with Anderson Power Poles is a worthy investment. During that discussion I also explained the importance of marine shrink tubing as a waterproof protection and reinforcement for all of your connections, lest you get any surprises during operation such as antennas or power cables breaking while being carried. And of course, I placed a strong emphasis on why tiedowns on your kit, no matter how inexpensive it may be, are very important. Nothing you have is expendable and no competent Leader would ever utter that word.

While a lot was accomplished in a tiny amount of time, along with the primary importance of meeting good people and clarifying topics that are sometimes lost in the transition or can’t be explained simply from a blog, we found ourselves simply limited by time to really address all of the needs of the folks there- something I truly feel is needed in a broader depth. So if there’s one takeaway for myself as an improve, it’s dedicating a full day to communications training at the next PATCON. God willing in October we will be covering:

It’s going to at least be a full day of instruction, so make plans now and email me if interested and if there’s anything specific you’ll be wanting to see. Stay tuned for more details.

Above all, I’d like to thank Brock, Tom, Safetalker, LT, and CA for the tremendous undertaking that goes into putting this thing together. It is no small task. I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for the great fellowship and fraternity, while recognizing that all of our meeting was no accident; it’s the Lord’s will that good people can come together.


20 thoughts on “PATCON AAR

  1. PAPA-76

    Excellent AAR…

    Sorry I couldn’t make it but the crops won’t harvest themselves. Such is the life of a farm worker. I hope I can make it in October!!
    My buddies that were there said it was a great day. Especillay since one of them took home 1k of .223 ammo. Thanks for doing what you do!!! Keep the knowledge flowing!!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard all about it- trust me, I understand completely. It was the same way when we commercially grew hay.

      I’ll see you in October Brother when the other gentlemen drag you off that tractor!


  2. Ncscout,
    Do you have a date/location for Oct. PATCON? I assume it will be in NC.

    After scratching my head a bit and learning a whole bunch of “stuff” I finally made four contacts on HF tonight with my Dayton purchased 817nd radio. A bit different from my automated Kenwood 590S. Hi, hi. Any suggestions to get rid of that background noise? 😦

    My plan is to use the 817 it at this years field day and my Kenwood as a back-up.

    Now I just need to figure out the 2 meter side if the radio.

    Anyway, wish I could have been at this springs PATCON but the garden needed to go in. Heck it was 39 here this morning when I got up. Maybe I should have put it off another week.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s going to be in the same place as this spring but I do not have a hard date just yet.

      As for the garden, that’s the story here in the last weeks of April/early May…that last frost can be unpredictable.


      1. BOG stands for Beverage On the Ground, and it one of any number of listening antennas, but simple and easy to deploy. NC Scout has my article on this subject on this website. In a nutshell, it reduces the noise a lot while reducing the signal a little. Net result- better signal to noise ratio.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. black

    in the article you stated . you were running a external battery power on HT’s. how do you do that? i’m picturing something like a 7 amp hour gel cell, plugged into a charging base unit or the internal battery bypassed somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Ncscout, I got my General ticket over the weekend and ordered a QRP-ish (20w) rig for some field work. Can you touch more on how to build and work in the field with a resonate dipole antenna without a tuner? Will 468/freq x 0.95 (for inverted vee) give me a working total length with an air choke with no tuner? Also can the air choke be made with the same 50ft coax I plug into the radio? Forgive the basic questions. My local HAMs tell me the radio might as well be turned off if it doesn’t crank to 100w and are solely interested in fixed or vehicle mounted operation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keypounder

      Check out K9YC’s presentation on common mode chokes. Best option is a choke wound on a 31 material toroid, see the post on baluns I did here a while back, but if you have an extra 20 feet or so, depnding on frequency, you can wind a choke from coax too.

      You can tune an inverted Vee by moving the legs in and out…..start long and trim as needed.


      Liked by 1 person

  6. It was a great time. Met some cool people and learned a few things. It’s a shame you and some of the other experts kept getting interrupted for bad one-liners. Looking forward to the fall one.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. A Freeman

    It was a good time. If you don’t have a reason to come, come for the food, and come to meet Brock. That alone is worth the trip. I had good personal discussions with various characters, all of which know a great many more systems and skill sets than I. BB gave an great class on coms equipment with some general principles for all equipment, like; don’t lose it, use it, know how to fix it. BB, did you mention that you had a post on the ICOM 720? If not, running over the poor man’s Harris Falcon set up would be nice to see. Advice for the Oct Patton, bring bug spray, paper and pen, and maybe a comfy seat too. See you there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I put one up back when it became available again, but not one about it’s use specifically.

      I’ll definitely be bringing it in Oct to the full class for everyone to get hands-on with.


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