Student Testimonials from the Last Class

I’m always humbled to be able to provide instruction to good people, and the last open enrollment class was no different. But instead of me telling you about it, I’ll let them.

From a well-experienced guy at Carolina Firearms Forum:

I have been following the Brushbeater blog for a while now, enjoy the articles
posted on there, and signed up when he posted up an course here in NC.

The title of the course is RTO (Radio Telephone Operator)

The course is conducted on private property, and has opportunity for accommodations for out of town folks that wanted to camp(we had attendees from as far as Northern Pennsylvania, and as far south as Georgia), and also had options of rooms for rent on site.

Saturday morning started with classroom training, where it initiated by
discussing equipment needs for ham radio/emergency/prepparedness comms.

We transitioned to a discussion on SOI (Signals Operating Instructions), and their
importance for sending/receiving consistent concise radio traffic. This included PACE plan,
Challenge/Passwords, message formats for radio traffic based on different criteria.

The class moved outside and participated in an FTX relaying different message traffic based off of the formats we worked with earlier, and was also able to experience how terrain can effect signal propagation with UHF and VHF modes.

The class moved back inside where we worked on antenna design, and radio wave theory, assisted by visuals and a white board. To solidify the afternoon’s training, we made VHF omni-directional and direction antennas before testing them in the field. By dark we were working on building an 40m/80m NVIS antenna.

Saturday came to a close with the class being served smoked chicken, and chopped bbq that
was cooked on site. To say the meal was just good would be an understatement!

Day 2.

We kicked the day off with discussion with follow ups from previous day’s instruction, and an
introduction into the day’s hypothetical scenario in which conventional comms were down(no cell phones). At this time the class broke into elements, part being security patrols that would go out, assess, and relay intel gathered back to the TOC(Tactical Operations Center) using the SOI’s we had established on day 1. Both groups were able to step off during this FTX into the large acerage provided at the property, and put to test what they had learned, by observing OPFOR and using the information

The curriculum was well prepared, and NCS provided great instruction for anyone looking to
sharpen their radio skillset. This would be a great course for someone (or group) who is interested in the benefits that improved radio proficiency, understanding, and operation can provide to their community, group, or tribe. Comms are a vastly overlooked and under appreciated item in the world of preparedness.

I very much enjoyed the course, and look forward to some of the future offerings that are coming down the pipe.

And from JohnnyMac at his site, Unchained Preppers:

This AAR (After Action Review) is to briefly outline my attendance of a RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) two-day class facilitated by NCScout blog owner of Brushbeater.

Who: Facilitator NCScout and ten students. The Students amateur radio skills ranged from Technicians to Extra class level. Military skills of the students ranged from current military operators, Reservists, retired, and several with no military experience – Like me.

When: Saturday March 3-4, 2018. Classes started at 0900 hrs. Saturday the class ended for the day at 1900 hrs. and Sunday at 1400 hrs.

Where: North Central North Carolina

The class started at 0900 hrs. Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast put on by NCScout’s family.

The items initially covered were SOI’s (Signal Operation Instructions), P.A.C.E. and the use of specific report formats used in the field. Upon running through these reports, we broke out and moved into the bush to practice, using VHF (Very Hight Frequency) HT’s (Handy Talkies).

Lunch was served upon return.

Then each member of the class but one, built a ¼ ƛ 2-meter (146.000 Mhz) portable antenna and one student built a slanting, directional, 2-meter antenna. Once this was done we went into the field to tryout our home brew creations.

Once that was accomplished we returned to the class room and proceeded to learn about NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antennas and their practical use for every day and/or war time communication.

Upon learning about NVIS antennas we built one as a class, took it outside and proceeded to put it up for trails.

Dinner was provided by NCScout’s family (North Carolina Barbeque – Yum) and the evening training began.

That evening, discussions ranged from the USA today, what is coming down the pike, and other philosophical discussions along with practical solutions on gun fighting. All from men who are and have been there. Along with these great discussions, beer, wine, bourbon, and scotch tastings were taking place.

Sunday morning was started with a heartfelt prayer for the safety of our collective family’s, the troops in harm’s way and our long drives home. Followed by another fantastic breakfast provide by NCScout’s family.

At the end of breakfast, we broke into two groups. One group operated as a reconnaissance patrol and one group stayed at the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) behind the wire. I was part of the first reconnaissance patrol.

We moved off in patrol formation to about 1 Kilometer from the TOC, to look for people who had reportedly infiltrated our AO. Hoisted one of our home brew 2-meter antennas we had built the previous day, got into security positions of our OP/LP (Observation Post/Listening Post) and sent a report back to the TOC letting them know of our location and status.

After a few minutes a single camouflaged person was seen walking about 70 meters in front of our position. After seeing this person, we wrote up a short report of our encounter which included description of the individual, uniform, weaponry if any, their location in reference to our OP/LP, number of individuals, et cetera.  Once this was accomplished we sent the report back to the TOC via a HT connected to our antenna.

Once accomplished we then wrote and sent back another report letting the TOC know we were returning to base and how we would approach complete with visual recognition and passwords.

Once ‘back behind the wire’ we reversed rolls with group two and we became the TOC while group two went out onto patrol.

Post this exercise we regrouped had lunch and then did a AAR. By 1430 hrs. most of us were motoring ourselves home.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in no particular order:   
➢ I highly recommend this class to folks who are preparing for a SHTF situation. Most of the students were current or retired military who appreciated the class as a refresher too. If you are busy preparing just for a gun battle and not Comms, you and your group will die.
➢ There is a RTO 201 class being put together as I type. So get RTO 101 done and under your belt.
➢ The food and hospitality were astounding. NCScouts father did 90% of the cooking and his skill in cooking for a large group was awesome – True North Carolina hospitality.
➢ This was the weekend that the Nor’easter roared up the coast. Although the days were sunny it blew a steady 12-mph with a lot of gusts in the 20-mph range. This made the 45-50-degree midday temperatures seam a lot colder. At night it got down to below 32 degrees.
➢ There was a house at the facility to crash in, however most attendees set up tents and slept outside.
➢ The classes flowed well especially with the planned segments that got us out of the class room to try out what we made, send in different reports, and patrolling.
➢ The members of the class blended well by lunch of Saturday. The ‘after dinner discussions’ certainly cemented the group. In my opinion, what I learned from my fellow classmates was just as valuable as what we learned during the day in the classroom.
➢ Although this was not an amateur radio class and you  did not have to have a license to attend, in my opinion , attendees should at least have a Technicians Class License. Having this license or higher really enhances what you learn in the class.
➢ During the AAR Sunday afternoon, NCScout truly wanted enhancements from the class on how to make the class even better for the next batch of students and to solidify the RTO 201 curriculum.
➢ About NCScout: He is a soft spoken natural trainer. He is quick to not correct but instead make suggestions. Most important he explains the ‘why’ you do something X way. If you have attended similar military style training and are use to being screamed at, and like that kind of autocratic training, you will be sorely disappointed. You are treated as what you are – An intelligent adult.
➢ One of my suggestions is if your whole group can’t get away to take the class it is taught in a way that you could easily take it, go home, and then teach it to your group.
➢ In closing, I am going to reiterate this thought again. If you or your group is spending all your time and money on fire power with little thoughts to Comms, your group will die in a SHTF scenario. If you recognize this hole exists in your plans, contact NCScout TODAY to find out when his next RTO, 101 class is scheduled and sign up!

God Bless & 73,

The next Open Enrollment RTO Course is 14-15 April. If you want the best prepper or small unit-oriented communications training available, bar none, come on out. If you can’t make it and want this training for a group, I’ll do my best to bring it to you. Contact me at for more details.


15 thoughts on “Student Testimonials from the Last Class

  1. Jamie Ridenour

    Sorry to be a grammar Nazi but isn’t it spelled Testimonial? I wouldn’t write to you if it were not the title line.
    As I recall comments are moderated so hopefully this will never be seen by others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Henry Bowman

    I’ll chime in as a student of this class as well.

    I can and will second the points made above and add additional points.

    First, as stated, one DOES NOT need to be licensed to take this course, it helps to a degree, but not required, as this is about basic RTO skills, proper report formats, message handling, sequencing, basic hands on antenna design and theory and field usage, HF theory as it relates to NVIS and being able to use what one has, whether an expensive Icom, or Baofeng HT or 857

    My main takeaways skill set wise, were the reporting formats/message handling, much more detailed than i was used to back in the day, and found very valuable. I can see and will be able to implement and more importantly, replicate to users in my AO.

    Being able to make field expedient wire antennas, the inverted directional sloper being the main one, that take the place of a couple of my factory/pre-made rigs, especially the YAGI’s, is a big plus for me.

    Of course we talked gear, and being the kit whore that i am enjoyed listening to, and speaking with, others on their various rigs/setup and operational needs. Being in a suburban HOA community presents challenges for me vs others who have land/acreage or no such restrictions on visible antennas, so it was good to exchange on our set ups.

    I won’t drill down into the pros and cons of various gear, the goal was to learn how use what you have, can afford, and at the end of the day, the 80/20 rule comes into play with respect to this level of comms, good ’nuff being the operative word and NCS did great job detailing that.

    His training and communication style was knowledgeable, professional and that of a patient priest, go forth and sin no more, but get it right. It was enjoyable, and he allowed us our various tangents, had one or three of his own, but kept the agenda and training on track.

    A huge takeaway was the confirmation of knowing, that we are not alone in our endeavors, their are like minded individuals out there, experiencing the same or similar issues, at various levels of knowledge/experience who want to better themselves, and help others, and NCS genuinely reinforced and encouraged that. After all, that is one of the major points of attending this class, and others he will put on.

    Think of it like Kudzo training….Once we, the little piece of Kudzu gets planted, then we slowly spread out to our AO, and help one more person at a time or in LGORTO’s (little groups of radio telephone operators)…Inch by inch.

    Now, the facility was perfect, weather optimal, and the host, Big D, was more than one could ask for, plenty of space to roam, set up my one man TCOP, nice grill and smoker to let the carnivore out, and imbibe with some wine & whisky and good conversation and camaraderie. Fine Eastern NC BBQ…

    Personally, I would like to see an urban/suburban version of this, but that’s because i live in such an environment, but do believe i can make the training comport with my situation. Other than that nit picky point, i can’t ask for anything else.

    At the end of the day, was it worth it? Yes, I’d do it again and am looking forward to the next level of training.

    Kit is nice, but skills and knowledge are priceless, and you will get both from this class.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josh

    Man, I wish you were further west. NC is a steep drive from Washington. Any chance you may have some future classes in like the Midwest? Or maybe a sort of online format like mountain Guerilla recently did. It sounds like you have some awesome classes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man! The class is awesome because of the great people attending it. I’ve been blessed between the wonderful private groups I’ve trained and this open enrollment. While it’s a formal class setting, I work very hard to address every student’s needs and expectations while keeping everything relevant in a hands-on manner. It’s summed up in a tactical environment and in a way you’ll get nowhere else in the civilian sector. But unfortunately, because of the hands on nature of the class, I don’t think it would translate well to an online format.

      As for a class in the NW- I’ve got a lot of interest for one. Later in the year it very well may occur. What I would like to do is run two classes back to back to maximize the number of people I can get trained up. I can’t make any promises and it’ll be later in the year, but I would love to bring it to y’all.


    2. Daniel

      I second Josh’s comments about distance. I’m in Illinois and looked hard at attending your April class, but 1100 miles each way is too much time away and mileage. I went to see John Mosby in both Iowa and Missouri so I’ll happily travel if something pops closer to the Midwest. Until then, I take the Technician test on Saturday and have plenty to try just from your blog posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Host a class. We can definitely make it happen. But what I will say is that while having a license is one thing, and a big step forward in capability my class is a whole other thing entirely.

        But if you make a class and gather the prerequisite number of people for me to travel, I’ll definitely do so. I’d love to hit the midwest for a class.


      2. Daniel

        Understood and agree. Let’s see if we can put something together here. Is there an email address I can send to so we can begin figuring it out? Or ping me at the address required to comment – it’s legit.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Josh

    Yeah that makes sense. If you have any classes in the nw, I would definitely be interested. Running several classes back to back up here would definitely be good. Maybe check out by Idaho Falls possibly or CDA, people seem to have good luck in those areas. I’ll definitely keep my eye open and you have an open enrollment class up by here I’ll be there for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Brushbeater: More AARs | Western Rifle Shooters Association

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