RTO Course: A Student’s Review

Every class I’ve run, be it Commo-related or SUT, has been impressive as far as the people who are serious about training. As I tell every class, working with civilians is a whole other animal from training soldiers, but a great one and in many ways, even more rewarding. Bulleit, the nom de guerre of a student in last weekend’s class, was kind enough to take the time to write a review- I am humbled to have such a positive influence especially for a guy who’s got the level of training and experience as he. My lone goal is to make the student more formidable than when they arrived, pack as much practical knowledge as I can into a weekend, and treat you like family in the process. We’ve got more courses on the schedule including one for all you Redoubters, more winter dates inbound, more topics for open enrollments coming soon, and some other projects I think you’ll appreciate.

July 14-15 RTO class review

Let me start by stating who this class is for: If you are a prepper that has figured out how important the ability to communicate is to virtually everything you do then you need to attend this class. If you are someone that doesn’t really have any interest in radios or incorporating comms into your preparedness plans then you REALLY need to attend this class! In short this class is for everyone and I recommend everyone (or at a minimum at least one person from every preparedness minded group) attend. As to the price, when was the last time you bought something whose value far exceeded the cost? This class was that for me, it literally would have been a bargain at twice the price for the reasons I will explain below.

So how much will someone new to radios learn? A lot. But what if you are a 15-year Army veteran that deployed to Afghanistan as a Tactical Psychological Operations Detachment Commander that also is an Extra class ham radio operator that gets on the air regularly both on VHF/UHF and HF like me, how much will a person like that learn? The answer is the same, A LOT!

The intent of the class in my opinion was twofold, first to provide a basic overview of how radios (and radio signals) operate and second how to integrate them operationally. So starting with how radios work, as I mentioned I have passed 3 amateur radio exams and I regularly setup my equipment and transmit yet there is still a lot I don’t really understand as to the “why” of how it works. Brushbeater rephrased several concepts I had heard before but couldn’t grasp and they finally just clicked the way he said it. For me a lot of this was around what was really happening in the antenna and how that effects optimizing its design. Which gets to another point, this was meant to be a basic sort of starter class but when many of my questions strayed into more advanced subject matter I was amazed at how much more information he had at his fingertips. I can tell you very confidently, THIS GUY KNOWS HIS STUFF! As an instructor his depth of knowledge is unusually good, especially considering this is the often-neglected world of comms.

Next he makes that link between radio operations (as in how AC current radiates off a wire) and tactical operations. He really drove home the tradecraft we all need to develop to make the equipment we use be as effective as possible. In other words without the software all the hardware in the world doesn’t do us any good. Imagine the guy who has never shot before with a $10,000 custom build precision rifle with top of the line optics, now picture a guy with a stock Remington 700 and a Redfield scope but who has had hours of precision shooting instruction. Which one do you want to be? Remember it was the Indians and not the arrows that killed the settlers. Circling back to the instructor’s expertise here, he lived this daily in both Iraq and Afghanistan where not getting the tradecraft right (especially thorough planning) was more likely to get him killed than the radio malfunctioning.

Now let’s forget for a moment everything related to what is taught in this class and review the overall experience you’ll have over the course of the weekend. I was lucky enough to book early and was able to stay in the on-site lodging which was fantastic but even if you can’t stay on site you’ll quickly be made to feel at home whenever you are there. I can’t underscore the hospitality Brushbeater provides as part of the class and if anyone is a fan or Carolina style BBQ then the dinner they cooked up for us Saturday night was worth the price of admission alone. Next maybe others are blessed with being surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers that all get it, but I find myself more often than not the minority in the room when it comes to taking preparedness seriously. Getting to spend a weekend with a group of intelligent like-minded individuals discussing everything from radios to firearms to geopolitical current events was like vacation to me which again was another reason in and of itself to make the 900 mile round trip drive!

If I can leave one take away with anyone reading this it is that you need this class, you need it even more than you realize you need it for reasons that will be abundantly clear by the time you finish on Sunday. Make plans to work this into your budget and get a date on the calendar soon, the hour is later than you think.

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6 thoughts on “RTO Course: A Student’s Review

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