Resolving the Clandestine Radio Question

Continuing on from this original question from Keypounder, several close answers were posted, and generally the logic was in the right direction. That being said, here’s the correct answer:

“You are the lead station operator in the Resistance receiving station
mentioned in the first question.  You have received the message sent by
the operator in the capital at 1 pm local time in the first example on
160 meters and must now forward the vital information received to
Resistance HQ via HF radio.  Once you transmit this message, you will
immediately relocate to another predetermined location you have selected.

Assume the following:

-your station is located at approximately 65 degrees West and 10 degrees
-Resistance HQ is located somewhere in the Intermountain Western united
States, New Mexico to Montana, Eastern Oregon to the Western Dakotas;
-Resistance HQ has receive capability 24/7/365 and will be waiting to
copy your message during whatever window you have told them to listen on
whatever frequency segment(s) you have specified;
-The message from the capital of Slobovia consists of 25 each 5 letter
encrypted groups.  You will re-encrypt the message prior to
retransmission using a OTP, but there will still be a minimum of 125
random letters to transmit;
-You are required to use any of the ITU region 1 authorized amateur
radio frequencies and modes from 1.8 to 29.7 mHz;
-You will have been onsite for at least a week prior to receiving the
message from the capital of Slobovia, and will have access to a small
house nearby the station site, but are forbidden to set up equipment at
the house;
-You are required to complete the transmission to HQ in less than 20
seconds, and to evacuate the transmit site in less than 15 minutes after
completing the transmission leaving no material behind.  You have 4
dedicated helpers with no electronics or radio training available;
-You have a compact 4wd crew cab pickup truck for transport, and
everything, your crew included, must fit into the truck.  No radio
equipment may be visible from outside the vehicle;
-Assume the ground is level farmland with very rich loamy soil planted
in low-growing crops or grass, with tall trees (>50′ high) at the field
boundaries with steel t-post electric fences around each field, and that
the field lines run north-south/east-west.  Further assume that each
field section is 8 hectares in area square. The surrounding general area
is agricultural, both crops and stock.”


What frequency segment and time will you select to minimize DF
likelihood and maximize the chance that HQ will acknowledge it?  What
will your alternate(s) frequencies be, and under what circumstance will
you use them?

>Keypounder sez>  OK.  this is about a 6,000 kilometer short path, which
means about 2 hops.  One will be hitting the ionosphere about 1500 km
away, over the Carribean.  The next will hit the ionosphere somewhere
over the central US.  You could do this easily on either 40 or 80 meters
at night, but 40 and 80 meter antennas are big, and it is hard to get
them high enough off the ground to get good low angle propagation.  For
longer haul comms, we need to be looking at 10 mHz and up.  The higher
the frequency, the easier the contact as long as the band is open.  At
this time of the year and at this stage in the solar cycle, what are the
FoF2 readings over the south central and central USA?

Checking the Austin TX, Boulder CO and Idaho Falls ionosonde data, we
find that the FoF2 around local noon is between 5 and 6 mHz.  Puerto
Rico or Florida will give me a pretty good idea of what can be expected
for the first bounce;  these readings are around 6mHz, too.  The rule of
thumb is that the MUF will be around 3x the FoF2, so the maximum useable
frequency is going to be somewhere around 15 to 18 mhz, barring solar
activity.  For this purpose, we want to use as little power as possible,
which means as high a frequency as possible, but no higher than
propagation will allow.

I would expect that 20 meters (14 mHz)would be open for this path, and
maybe 17 meters, at about 1 pm in Colorado, or about 2000 Zulu;  we
still have good ionization over the Caribean at that time, so my
frequency band choice is 20 meters primary, with a backup of 17 and 15
meters if there is solar activity, in the digital portion of the 20
meter band.  (14.060 to 14.080)

Q>What antenna(s) systems will you use for transmitting this message?
How high will they be placed?  How will you orient and erect them and
take them down to minimize possibility of observation? Explain in
detail, including specifics of antenna and transmission line.

>Keypounder sez>  So, we need a directional antenna that is relatively
narrow in transmit mode, low profile, easy to take down quickly,
unidirectional with reasonable gain and a good front to back/side ratio.
Ideally this would be something that does not look like an antenna at
all.  My choice would be a terminated Vee-beam fed with window line; a
secondary choice would be a long wire. Reasons include:
– easy to fabricate in the field;
– forgiving of layout and construction errors;
– can be made using common electrical fence materials;
– When properly configured, capable of high front to back and side
ratios with reasonable gain.
-Easy to install in the field, and very quick to take down.

The feedpoint would be strung from the tallest tree I could get a rope
into on the south side of one of the plots with the least visibility
from the road or other houses.  An 8 hectare plot is about 20 acres, or
around 880,000 sq ft; this is about 900+ feet on a side, so I could use
up to 900′ legs.

If you look at an azimuthal map centered on the specified location in
Venezuela (see you will see
that the ‘intermountain west’ runs from about 305 degrees to about 328
degrees true bearing from 10 d N/65 d W.    This means that your antenna
should not have a 1/2 power beamwidth pattern any tighter than 23
degrees. Realistically, 30 or 35 degrees 1/2 power beamwidth is probably
a good idea to allow for inaccuracies in pointing, and the center line
direction should be about 315.5 degrees true bearing.

Classic amateur radio designs are intended to cover the maximum azimuth
possible with the maximum gain. From the Wire Antenna book, vol 1, page
5-2 figure 3, we see that a 23 degree 1/2 power primary lobe requires a
leg length of 3 wavelengths with an angle between the two legs of the
antenna of 60 degrees.

However, although the gain is decent, it is very broad in azimuth, with
lots of relatively high powered lobes off the sides and rear.  Once
again, the difference between amateur radio requirements, and resistance
operator requirements becomes apparent.  For OUR use, a better solution
would be to spend some time with EZNEC and look for a vee-beam solution
that provides reasonable gain with fewer sidelobes and better front to
back and sides to reduce the probability of being DFed.

EZNEC shows that a pair of 370′ long wires, feedpoint up 50′ high, with
500 ohm resistors to ground at the lower ends, and those ends separated
by 130 feet, an included angle of ~21  degrees, gives only about 4 to 5
db of gain, but much more importantly yields a very well defined beam
with side and back lobes down well over 20 db and a half-power beam
width of about 38 degrees.

Now, we need to figure out how to use a magnetic compass to set the
antenna legs. Magnetic bearing = True bearing – magnetic declination;
we consult the declination maps shown at  and find
that the declination is about -12.3 degrees.  To be really sure, since
the local declination can vary considerably, one could check the compass
bearings against various stars, but this will do especially since your
antenna has ample beamwidth. So, true bearing for the center of the vee
beam is 315.5 degrees -(-12.3) =~ 329 degrees to the centerline. Add 11
degrees for one leg and subtract 11 degrees for the other;  the ground
rods should be driven 360 feet from the feed point and at a bearing of
340 and 318 degrees respectively.

I’d use high strength aluminum electric fence wire for this antenna.
(When my transmission was complete, I’d re-roll the antenna wire onto
the rolls it came off and throw it in the back of the truck with the
rest of my electric fencing materials, insulators and such.) Ideally,
I’d use 450  ohm ladder line and a tuner, but I could use 14 gage
landscape wire for a feedline.  Lay this out with two of your helpers,
and drive ground rods at the terminus of each leg.  Attach the 20 watt
500 ohm carbon resistors to the each of the lower ends of the wire and
the ground rod.

Q-What mode will you use for transmitting the message?  If digital,
which specific mode and why?

I’d use PSK 250, because of the high transfer rate and low power
requirements; 20 watts will do nicely.

Q-Before you leave for Venezuela, you will be given an opportunity  to
study data available through NOAA on radio propagation.  Which ionosonde
stations will you study, and why?

As stated above, I’d study the ionosonde data from Florida and Puerto
Rico, as being indicative of the first ionospheric reflection
conditions, and the ionosonde data from Texas and Colorado for the second.

Q- What will your cover story be if you are stopped by Venezuelan security

We’re just on our way to install some more electric fence!

Q-What are three non-radio related personal essentials that you should
bring with you? (arms of any sort are not on this list.)

Insect repellent;
water disinfection tablets;
a good hat!

And that’s my answer, NC Scout!

A long wire would be another antenna possibility, as it also uses only
one pick point.  Everything else starts to look too much like an
antenna.  With this setup, you can leave the wire down on the ground
until the minute before you want to transmit, then pull it up into the
air, transmit, then drop it again and roll up the wire.
Yagi or quad antennas look like exactly what they are.

And there you have it. Where the Technical meets the Tactical, right were we want to be.

Fun Wisdom from a Couple of Folks-

karlhess.jpgPictured here is Karl Hess, a rather interesting and colorful guy. A lot of the ‘survivalism’ and ‘prepping’ trends have been run before, by Hess and others. Hess had a history of activism through his association with the Right as Barry Goldwater’s speechwriter, then the New Left and the SDS, and then the Libertarian Party.

Check out this recording of his commentary with Robert Anton Wilson on social movements, subversive stuff, gun running, and Libertarianism in general, courtesy of the Cato Institute.

A fairly unique personality, whom offered many sound ideas (rooted in something other than liking the label) on Libertarianism and many lessons which ring just as true today as they did at the time, Hess found himself with a 100% IRS tax lien and a need to make money ‘off the grid’. Unlike most wanna-be ‘anarcho-capitalists‘(or is that, market anarchism? Maybe one should reference Smith, then Tucker, versus making up one’s own definition), he did it out of necessity and even wrote about it in a couple of books. Most importantly, he was out there furthering his cause- not sitting around bitching about it. There’s a lot of lessons from the past that are entertaining as hell and just as informative on a bunch of levels. It might be the best thirty minutes you waste all weekend.

Nothing’s new under the sun.

“…and the powers not delegated…”


The early history of what would become the United States is fraught with stories of folks breaking away out of want or need, in each case being built on Men ready for a fight. Never did such a move happen peacefully, even those relatively minor, normally with violence incurring nearly immediately. In each case, these moves were caused by little representation of economic interest from centralized power, weak or ineffectual defense by that power in their daily lives, or the notion that self-governance was more fit to the frontier than from a King afar.

Such is the fascinating history of pre-Revolution  North Carolina and present day Tennessee. Not usually told outside of academic conversation among Historians, even then limited to footnotes, the story of the Regulators, later the Watauga Association, and the rise of the Overmountain Men Militia just prior to and early within the American Revolution provide a historical context not only relevant today, but also lessons of the cost incurred by effective, and conversely ineffective, movement formation and means to attain goals.

The Regulators and the Battle of Alamance

alambatAround 1765, a large social rift was emerging amid the planters and urban aristocracy. A continuing drought made crops unprofitable and led to rampant poverty. In Orange County alone, arrests for debts increased tenfold, leaving many with few options. The local governance was largely ineffective. County Sheriffs and officers of the Court were increasingly viewed as corrupt, with the political apparatus providing little respite for the worsening conditions as a large immigrant population of Scots-Irish began to settle the western regions and further strain the already fragile situation. Small scale populist resistance ensued, and independent militias were formed. By 1770, tax resistance was encouraged, rhetoric galvanized to action, and the popularity of the Regulator movement was growing rapidly along the north central NC border, being the modern day Granville, Person, Caswell, Rockingham, Guilford, Alamance, and Orange counties. Their aim was not to break away, but rather draw attention to the increasingly disproportionate distribution of law concerning property rights. Being the financial stronghold known as the tobacco belt, the crisis had reached a tipping point, with Royal Governor Lord Tryon pleading with the leadership of the Regulators to disarm and diffuse while threatening force. The situation came to a head at the Battle of Alamance, with the NC colonial militia marching on the independent militia of Herman Husband and his fellow landowners in present-day Alamance County. Husband, a Quaker, departed. The theory of ‘Armed Nonviolence’ was proven to invite such violence, and his loss of control of subordinates was the result of his internal moral crisis in conflict with his pacifist beliefs.

The battle was over before it began. Outnumbered and outgunned with no plan beyond getting into a fight at a single point, the Regulators suffered nine dead with the Lord Tryon’s militia suffering the same. Once overrun, one Regulator was summarily executed in camp, with the remainder of the leadership taken into custody. Six were hanged, with the rest issued pardons for treason. Having captured the interest of several northeast newsmen, the rebellion became a sensational story, inspiring other acts of rebellion more famous. Also interestingly, several anti-Regulators became Patriot statesmen, most notably Richard Caswell, delegate to the Continental Congress and future Governor of NC.

The Watauga Association

On the heels of the War of Regulation, many settlers of early Appalachia had found governance from afar weak, restrictive, and not in their interest. Settlers within the Cherokee Nation boundary with North Carolina and Virginia. Needing expansion for economic survival, the inhabitants of the Watauga region defied the orders to abandon their settlements by Virginia Governor, Lord Dunmore, and led the settlers to negotiate independent terms of settlement with the neighboring Cherokee Confederation whom legally had claim to the territory. The Cherokee were torn on such a move. The local tribes saw economic benefit from their neighbors, while a rising, young Cherokee Chief known as Dragging Canoe who had proven himself as an effective Leader in the previous Anglo-Cherokee War only saw encroachment as an act of war.

fortcaswell.jpgBeing largely out of the effective reach of Colonial Forces, the Wataugans formed a Compact for an Independent Republic having negotiated their own terms for existence with the Cherokee. Immediately the frontier stronghold constructed for protection was christened ‘Fort Caswell’ (after statesman Richard Caswell), later to be known as Fort Watauga, and came under attack by Dragging Canoe and those Cherokee loyal to him, likely instigated, understandably so, by Royal Agents. A Rifle Company was formed and successfully defended the stronghold, resulting in Dragging Canoe’s retreat and subsequent decline.

Amid the larger Revolution brewing in the Colonies, the Wataugans, coming to be known as the Washington Republic, sought integration into North Carolina’s borders and pledging support to the Patriot cause. Their model inspired the later Cumberland Compact which led the way to Tennessee’s formation as a state and many settlers who would move on to Kentucky and with them carried the ideals of self governance ingrained as a result of their experiences. Theirs was a story of fierce independence and the willingness to do what it took to carve it. Independence is not won from words, but from action, a concept understood by those with the courage to engage in it with both its rewards and ramifications.

The Overmountain Men

overmtn2From the ranks of that early Wataugan Rifle company came the Overmountain Men Militia. The majority of the Appalachian region settlers were Whig Party members and generally opposed to the Monarchy of Britain. Sourcing fighters was easy to do among the Wataugans, rapidly building a capable light Infantry force on the natural skills required of living in the region.

By 25 SEP 1780, General Cornwallis’ invasion of North Carolina proved a grave threat to Patriot forces in the region and dire consequences should the rebellion fail. The decision to take action was made, and at the conclusion of a sermon by Reverend Samuel Doak, several hundred Overmountain Men started their movement southeast concluding in the battle of Kings Mountain on 10 OCT, the day after their fight at Cowpens, cornering Loyalist militia forces atop the mountain commanded by Loyalist Militia Major Ferguson. Consistently firing accurately at Loyalist positions, they managed an effective attrition, killing 157 and capturing over 600 of a 1,000 man strong force while only losing 28 of their own during the battle. Both a healthy knowledge of effective use of terrain and disciplined marksmanship played large roles to their advantage, winning quite literally an uphill battle. Of this militia came such notable figures as John Sevier and John Crockett, the former being a highly influential Tennessee statesman and the latter fathering David Crockett. Again, the measure of Men required for such feats did not come by accident, it was required not for simply for success but for survival.

A Modern Perspective

It would be easy for us, amid the facade of modernity and the normalcy bias of the past century to assume such turbulent times are behind us. Quite the contrary. The seeds of secession and the questioning of the status of government is perpetual, following the outcomes of elections. For the Left, the furthering of the Hegelian dialectic never stops no matter the outcome, it merely removes the facade in between failures. Texas grumbled of secession post-2008; many theorists have offered, to varying degrees of validity, models of balkanization of the American nation, and contemporary local level scizms are threatening from both the Left and the Right. California is moving, with the State of Jefferson yet again gaining steam amid more draconian laws, with the emerging State of Liberty seeking independence from Washington’s Seattle Communists and northern Colorado having one bad election cycle away from becoming two states. I assert that none of these moves, however welcome they may be, will occur without significant levels of violence and economic fallout.

Be that as it may, such movements are made by determined Men. Lip service and words are exactly that- with no demonstration of skill they contain no teeth. Without prior demonstration of useful skill in praxis that lip service serves no purpose and thus should be squelched. These movements described within this text were made by Men of skill, on both sides of that conflict, understanding that force is not something to be teased. The ‘patriot movement’ from the Right is in dire need of reform, and now is the prime opportunity. You have won nothing but time, and the Left’s effeminate facsimile, while at its outset humorous, should not be taken lightly. They will act, of that I’m certain. Marxists are, for all their faults, inherently predictable should you actually read their guiding texts. Take each of those tidbits of history above for the implied lessons contained; compare them to contemporary events, and the broader implications of those moves with the ones of today. Only then will the lessons of history remembered ring true, in both victory and defeat, erstwhile hardening yourselves for the road to come.

Icom 7200 is back, for Now


The 7200 is back- for now- so take advantage of it. I think someone at Icom read this blog when I bitched about them discontinuing anything suitable for field use- GOOD!

This is probably the best HF set for the money out there, bar none, for its impressive receiving capability alone, in addition to its simplicity and direct digital interface. It’s simplicity is a giant asset for new users, and while not the most power-friendly set made, it’s positives far outweigh its drawbacks. Mine is the go-to base unit, and I think yours will become that too.

Remember 7 December


Being stationed in Hawaii for a time, every Serviceman regardless of Branch is ingrained with respect and reverence for this day. It is as much a part of Oahu’s identity as it is military history as well. From the stories told by the bullet holes still in the walls of E and D Quad Barracks on Schofield to the ghostly hangars on Ford Island, each a subtle reminder of a day frozen in time which changed the course of the world forever. From where it began most exemplified in the Arizona above, to where it ended on the deck of the Missouri, below, the strength of a nation is measured by the resilience, fortitude and force of its people.


May God continue to Bless this Nation.

More notes on Community Networking

20151013_153203 Sometimes its important to strip down to the bare essentials in order to refocus on why we do what we do. It doesn’t matter what the task is, be it in a professional sense or the survivalist sense, everyone (myself included) can get lost amid distractors, detractors, and shiny objects that pry our attention away. Its understandable; things happen, situations and equipment evolve, as do the requirements justifying their need. But at the core, there are two differing ends of needs which we identified in the last post- Survivalist and Tactical, with Survivalism being far more important in the long run.

Yeah, the election happened. “Our guy” (or the man who seems to be anyway) won for the moment. Maybe. Somebody go get Auntie Em out of the dugout, it looks like the tornado passed. Or did it? I’m of the opinion that the long messy divorce is just getting going; we’re in the domestic shouting phase right now, just prior to throwing random objects at each other. It doesn’t matter who’s actually right or wrong, the marriage is over and we’re gonna fight about it. And that’s ok. Its gonna suck but it happens, its needed to happen, and we’re in a much better position forcing the opposition to its extreme ends.

While it’s important (somewhat) to focus on all the doomsday civilization collapse kinda stuff, because it very well will affect you should all that happen and you are still living in your slothful suburban enclave, it’s a myopic view that’s reactionary in nature. People react to fear; they’re scared of variable-X happening, which apparently gets assigned a corresponding political party usually opposite of your particular lane. The Left does it, the Right does it. You’re all missing the larger point. Why not do for yourself that which you take for granted?

One way we do this by creating resiliency. One of the big things the far ends of the spectrum have in common is a general mistrust of what’s accepted- whether that’s your food, water, beer, security, and yes, communications; resiliency becomes control over the means of production; that is, the ability to produce. This concept should be applied to as many areas as possible, going beyond a hoarding mentality that many of us become subject to and focusing instead on the underlying values associated with contemporary Tribalism.

Survivalism then becomes not about having a large amount of stuff but rather a living version of Merton’s Retreatists in perfect form. It used to be difficult (and often still is) for Right-leaning Survivalists to understand how the Left could believe essentially in a mirror of these views, but they can, and they do. anarcho-primitivistTheir label is Rewilding. Its underlying philosophy lay with a Marxist rejection of Industrialization, while Right-leaning Survivalism is more John Locke, William Godwin, and possibly to a lesser extent Henry David Thoreau in its Individualist philosophy. While differing in its rejection of material goods in lieu of feralizing themselves, or at a basic level, simply rediscovering more primitive ways, the parallels to Survivalism in the Right-leaning sense are fairly strong. And a lot of lessons can be gathered from both angles. The Left however generally has a stronger focus on independent community, whereas the Right caricatures Survivalists as some sort of one man army fending off the world through a sense of ‘armed rugged individualism.’ This cartoonish image has traditionally been a vehicle for the Right’s detractors burtmeanwhile the Left encourages similar behavior but in a collective fashion, often going unnoticed among the masses. Those lessons of community building is a critical one that in nearly every way is neglected among the Survivalist circle. It then must become more of a matter of perspective and re-discovering the ways of yore.

Survivalism then is not about a Right-Left divide so to speak; the divorce is coming, and you very well may be caught up in it. Neither the mainstream left or right brands will last long (although the Right might last a bit longer). But there’s plenty of lessons to be gathered in the meantime, which we have a bit more of now. A Survivalist in the individual sense cannot lose sight of the very real danger of which our contemporary world resides, and that apathy is the danger we’re currently in. We are still in an economic death-spiral. The weight of the Max Weber-inspired bureaucracy that comprises the Colombia leviathan will not stop with one man, although that helps. One way to diminish the blow at the local level when the hammer finally falls is to identify the local sources for the required means of production and embrace them; in doing so, you’ll build ties with your neighbors, appreciate the world beyond the closed walls we create for ourselves, and most of all, begin to rediscover the skills required to not jut survive but thrive. Self sovereignty may start with attitude but it hardly ends there. One must not only have the resolve but the means.

Make a list of the items you consume most often. Whatever that is, is what you should either focus on creating for yourself, sourcing locally, or stacking deep. You’re probably going to be doing a lot more eating, building, and pooping than you will shooting. You’ll very, very likely need a way to communicate with neighbors that works without cell phone towers or switchboards. You’ll need a way to keep warm in the winter. A way to stay cool in the summer. Home are built much differently these days than they were 30 years ago based around certain assumptions and completely reliant on outside infrastructure. A means to clean water is critical and often completely misunderstood. A means to medicine. A knowledge to put all this to use. And people. This stuff all matters far more than the simplistic paradigm of ‘I got a room fulla guns…‘ because even though those are important too, they’re tools, just like anything else.

Go out this weekend and find a community market or a yardsale. If you can’t find that, go to a thrift shop. Browse around, find old stuff, and think outside the box as to how you’ll put it to good use. Find locally made food, talk to the person producing it. Get their phone number. Make friends. Meet a local fabricator, mechanic, or small engine specialist. Find out what they like to do. Think about how you’d keep them on your side should Variable-X happen.

Do not lose sight of the very real dangers facing civilization. Use your time wisely. Most importantly, rediscover the sense of community we’ve lost among the advent of technology.