“I’m not interested in a hobby- I just want my stuff to work.”
This is, far and away, the most common comment I get when people reach out to me for help or come to class. They’ve read all the stuff, bought books, read the forums, and maybe punched that ham ticket a time or two but its still not clicking. Talking to Joe Fudd complain about the local eatery on a repeater or hearing signal report exchanges over HF on the weekends starts to seem like little to no value for the investment of equipment. And for their buddies, whom they’ve told that this stuff is important but don’t really see the value to start with, well, they tend to tune out. Unfortunately many of the “Have Another Meal (HAM)” clubs offer absolutely zero help, often being a retirement community of anti-social types with about as much personality as the dead standing oak I’m looking at while I write this. Not all, but more often than not. Its enough to turn away those on the fence but looking to learn.
There’s a steep learning curve to all of this. And not only that, it’s a hard topic to grasp when you’re not even sure where to start. It goes back to the comment above- folks just want their stuff to work, for their own objective, in the best way possible. This blog exists in part as a way to fill that gap. Cut through the BS and resolve those questions. The class exists to make it work live and in person. Take what’s off the shelf and create ad-hoc networks, with whatever you might have. We work based on my experience doing it in the real world in improvised environments, both building them and intercepting the ones the Taliban had built. It’s one thing to talk about theory, it’s quite another to demonstrate exactly what we were doing and then do it as a group. We can create a perspective on the tactical value behind the working knowledge gained rather than buying a bunch of stuff, shoving it in the ground, a bag, or an ammo can and calling it a day. But the people only doing that don’t come to my classes or generally anyone else’s. And that’s fine. This class is about operator skill over any piece of equipment, plain and simple.
I frequently make the analogy to handgunning- its akin to buying a pistol and then never going to the range or taking any classes with it, while saying “I know how to use it when the time comes”. Pistols have a deceptively steep learning curve and it’s a highly perishable skill. Reality will bite you at some point. Tactical communications are exactly the same. And just like pistol proficiency under duress, effectively communicating without any sort of operator training is probably not happening. Other things like knowing how to effectively set up a TOC and efficiently pass traffic, or even how many people your group really needs to be effective and why, rapidly take shape in a way that gets little to no attention elsewhere in prepper circles.
I had the honor of teaching a very tight knit, well prepared and well-trained group of folks in Tennessee over the weekend who’ve had classes with many of the best known and accomplished names in the training industry, including Thunder Ranch and Suarez International. What they have to say:
I just wanted to say a quick thanks for coming and teaching the class this weekend and that I really got a lot out of it. Hopefully we will be able to take more classes in the future as this is by far one of the best ones I have ever taken.
I hope you had a safe trip home yesterday. Take care.
This weekend I was privileged to be able to participate in Brushbeater’s RTO class and I have to say it was well worth the money. A very relaxed atmosphere and easy, class driven pace almost hides the fact that you get a ton of knowledge and experience driven your way.
In addition to class time where we learned about different types of radio equipment and the operation of it, we also got to spend some time with hands on activities where we scratch built antennas from commonly available materials. Think the comms version of Macgyver. It’s amazing what you can do with bamboo, paracord, and wire.
One of my favorite parts of the class was the practice sessions where we took what we learned and what we built into the hills and woods and ran scenarios where we had to communicate using what we had. Transmitting reports and information and learning how to do it efficiently was especially useful. Plus we got to feed the ticks and mosquitoes (taking care of the local wildlife is an important social responsibility, you know).
A HUGE thanks to the guys who put all this together. Our location was top notch and our hosts were no less impressive. Most of all, a massive “Thank You” to NCScout for taking the time to put the class on and listen to our antics for a whole weekend. Hopefully we didn’t scar him for life.
Who knows, you might just read about some of what I learned in an upcoming book.
You can check this and other courses out here:
The course is designed to take what’s complicated and make it simple while creating a starting point for you and yours, no matter what your skill level is, whether you’re a beginner looking for the relevance, a guy who did the ham-cram and still ain’t sure why, a career electrical engineer or anywhere in between. The class is about what you can do with what you have, how to improvise what you don’t and adapt to wring the most out of it. What’s most impressive and continues to amaze me every class is the quality of students I get. That has nothing to do with me, that speaks volumes about you. There’s amazing people out there seeking good training and diversifying their skill sets; people who don’t live online, keep a low profile and would rather accomplish goals in reality while tolerating absolutely no nonsense. Y’all out there know the gravity of the situation and take it seriously. And that’s what motivates me.
We’ve got some open enrollment dates coming up, some upcoming dates out west to be announced very soon, and regional travel for private groups is always an option. It is an honor and a blessing to be able to train with you, and not one I take lightly.
God bless, and we’ll see you out there.