Beverages for Listening, I

This is a re-print of Keypounder’s article on Beverage Antennas that originally appeared in Sparks31’s Signal-3 in the same issue my article on Afghanistan was published. In my assessment, its a very well written introduction to not just what Beverages do and why they are important, but how to build them. He very generously allowed it to be re-posted here. Use it!

My Sunday School teacher always taught us that it was better to give than to receive, but when I got into amateur radio as a teenager, I quickly learned that receiving and listening are much more important than transmitting. If you can’t hear them, you can’t work ‘em! I was also taught that the key to successful listening was having good antennas; good receivers were important, but good antennas were essential. On the upper HF bands, say 20 meters (14 mHz) and up, this is relatively easy; get a good dipole or longwire 35 or 40 feet up and you’re set.

But the lower HF bands are different, because of the size of the antennas required, the low effective height of the antennas, and the physics involved in propagation on the lower HF (40 and 80 meters); the Medium Frequency bands, (160 and the AM broadcast bands) much more so. One consequence of these factors is that most low-band transmitting antennas emit primarily high-angle RF. This in turn means the following:

  • low-band transmitting antennas disproportionately pick up high angle atmospheric noise;

  • Low-band transmitting antennas put most of their RF into higher angle paths, with a much smaller proportion of the transmitted energy going into the low angle RF needed for long haul communication.

  • Low band signals do not usually propagate as well as upper HF does when the upper HF bands are open. 160, in particular, is noted for odd ducting propagation modes, but in general the greater signal attenuation and greater difficulty in propagation on the low bands make low band operation more difficult. Long-haul signals received on transmit antennas challenge the limits of modern receiver technology.

Well,” I can imagine some readers saying, “Why operate on the low bands, especially in the summer, anyway? They’re fine for NVIS, but if I want to talk to the opposite coast or overseas, I’ll get on (upper HF band of choice) and work them with no trouble!”

It is true that when the upper bands are open, you can work the world on a few watts. Some time back, I made a transcontinental contact using a wire beam antenna hung from two trees on 10 meters, using SSB and 8 watts. My signal report was 10 db over S9; the operator on the other end was surprised when he was told what sort of setup I was using. When the propagation is good, and the bands are open, upper HF is very efficient. In the context of a hobby, waiting for good conditions is fine. But when your safety and well-being, or that of your family and friends, requires being able to provide communications at need, you may not be able to wait, and this is where operating on the low bands becomes important.

We’ve passed the peak of Solar Cycle 24, and we are headed back down to the bottom of the sunspot cycle; mediocre as the peak of SC24 was, in just a few years even 20 meters is likely to be dead except during broad daylight, and possibly dead even then. Cycle 24 is now confirmed as one of the lowest in over a hundred years, and 25 may be lower still. During the bottom of Cycle 24 and the buildup to the peak of Cycle 25, the low bands will be the backbone for night-time reliable long haul communication, 40 and 80 meters especially.

If you are serious about being able to communicate effectively locally, regionally and internationally under all conditions, then the low bands have much to offer, if you have the knowledge and skill to use them. So, what factors contribute to successful low band operation?

Even though my first operating experience was on 80 and 40 meters, it took me a while to notice that all the really successful operators on the lower HF bands (160, 80 and 40 meters, or 1.8, 3.5 and 7 mHz) all had one thing in common; they all had listening antennas. We’ve discussed the issues with using transmitting antennas for reception on the low bands; why are listening antennas so important? Why spend the time and go to the bother of putting up a listening antenna when you already have an antenna?

Because, especially on the lower HF bands, the requirements for hearing a signal, for receiving, are different from the capabilities of most common transmitting antennas. As mentioned above, the lower bands are noisier, both from atmospherics and man-made noise, and what makes the difference when listening is the ability to improve the signal to noise (S/N) ratio. Most modern receivers have plenty of gain, so signal strength is not as big an issue.

S/N defines how well you can pick out the signal that you want to hear. Whether the received signal is weak or very loud, what really matters is how much louder it is than the noise. It is not at all unusual for the base noise level on a nice summer evening on my elevated 80 meter dipole to be a steady S9 or even 10 db over that, with static crashes peaking at 20 to 40 db over S9. In order to be readable, the signal, even a CW signal, has to be louder than that. This is where the listening antenna comes in.

In many ways, listening antenna requirements are the opposite of everything one wants in a good transmit antenna. Good listening antennas are low to the ground, to minimize noise pickup, and they are directional, to reduce both noise and unwanted signal levels. If you can reduce the noise your receiver hears by 40 or 50 db, even if the signal you want is reduced by 20 db, the net gain in S/N is 30 db, which makes it easy copy. That is why the good operators spend days and weeks setting up listening antenna arrays; they WORK.

There are all sorts of listening antennas to try, but in the context of grid-down long distance communications, one stands out. I suggest you consider the Beverage, and specifically the Beverage On the Ground, or BOG antenna. No, I am not talking about spilled beer, but about a long wire antenna, lying on or just above the ground, named after its inventor, Harold Beverage. I’ll have some links for those who are interested in doing more research in the bibliography for this article.

If you are like many people, (including many licensed radio operators!) you have to be asking yourself, “Is this guy joking? An antenna ON THE GROUND? Nah!” No joke, it really works, and it is amazingly inexpensive, quick and low profile. All you need is about 100′ or more of almost any kind of insulated wire, a simple transformer, a ground rod and enough coax to connect to your receiver. This simple directional antenna, which can fit virtually unseen onto a modest suburban lot, will allow you to pull in distant low frequency AM broadcast stations, signals from ham operators and shortwave broadcast stations on frequencies up to 10 mHz or so, despite the summer time noise.

Being able to reliably receive news and information from around the world in the aftermath of a grid down event is a huge advantage. The very first Beverage I ever deployed, built for a friend from a book, took about 3 hours from a standing start to complete and on the air, including a trip to Home Depot for materials, and the performance was amazing. My buddy was able to copy stations using the BOG that he could not hear through the noise on his transmit antenna, a ¼ wave vertical.

So, what do I need for a Beverage On the Ground?

A simple Beverage on the ground requires the following-

-100′ to 150‘ of insulated wire (doesn’t need to be all one piece or even all the same size, but joints should be insulated);

-Ground rod(s) or ground radials, or both;

-A simple impendance transformer;

-enough coax or other transmission line to run from the antenna wire to the receiver;

-misc tools and connectors.

(A detailed material and equipment list follows the text of this article.)

Question from a Reader, II

Hello

I’ve been following your blog since it started and is a fantastic read.
I’ve also been following sparks blog when he had his own wordpress site.
I’ve also jumped into amrron corps last year and have been active in
that along with getting my general license.

I’ve followed your advice on uhf for squad comms. I have been able to
acquire 4 EF Johnson 5100’s. They have P25 capability along with
DES/AES, and a freq range of 380-470, so I can use all of 70cm, bubble
pack radios, and I have a GMRS license. I do understand the FCC’s rules
on encryption and digital use on GMRS/FRS so I wont get into that.

I have no experience as far a DFing and foot print size of the radios.
Will running narrow band p25 at 1 watt leave as big a footprint as
analog at 1 watt if I were on an extended walk?

Also, not relying on anyone else’s infrastructure, I had considered
setting up my own DTMF activated repeater for UHF use only to be used by
myself/group for our area. Is this a good idea, or should I stick to
NVIS if I need to reach our main living area and I’m out of range for 5
watts UHF?

Thanks for your time

SB

Sxxx,

Thanks for reading Brother. You have a bullet-proof setup with those EFJs. For your active footprint, I would say that you have it covered. While a ground unit could DF your signal, it’d be awfully damn tough to first get a bearing then decode it, if that group/unit is new to the area. As for bubba, forget it.

To your question regarding the GMRS repeater vs. NVIS, it really depends on how far you’re actually looking to cover. NVIS is normally a regional thing, and the repeater is definitely more reliable for community networking as we pass into the solar minimum.

You’ve definitely paid attention to what we’ve been saying, and I think its awesome. Many, many thanks for reading, and God bless you.

NC Scout

Beverages for Listening, II

Contained is the second half of the article, due to the overall length limitations of wordpress.

Wire-

For my simple BOG antennas, I use 14 gage THHN house wire, which is sturdy and double insulated, and comes in a variety of colors. If you want the antenna to stand out, use bright red or orange; I usually prefer the brown wire which blends in nicely with the ground. If you are piecing wire together, make sure the connections are soldered tight and that they are fully and completely waterproof.

Ground rods-

I take an 5/8 diameter 8‘ ground rod and cut it in half; this gives me two ground rods for about $12. If your soil is not rocky, you can use copper pipe for a ground rod, reinforced with a wooden dowel at the top to reduce mushrooming, and if budget is a particular concern, scrounged 1/2“ galvanized pipe will work too, especially with a couple of bare copper wires looped through the pipe and up the outside. If really stretched, a piece of rebar would probably work, too, although I have not tried it.

Enhancing the conductivity of the ground is a good idea; Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) solution is the ‘school answer,’ and it works very well although I would not use it with a few feet of any concrete structure, but urine works too, and so does plain water. If you use urine, keep in mind that if you are moving around you’ll be handling the box and the ground rod, so remember the restroom sign- “We aim to please- we hope you aim too, please!”

Impedance transformer-

transformer.pngThe impedance of a BOG antenna runs from about 200 to 300 ohms, depending on soil type, height above ground, and other factors; you’ll need to find an approximate match between the antenna impedance and the transmission line you are using. If you are using 75 ohm RG6 television coax, as many do, then an impedance ratio of about 3 or 4 to 1 is about right. This is what one looks like; I use a 73 mix binocular toroid (Fair-Rite p/n 2873000202) with 24 gage teflon and 26 gage enameled wire. You can buy these from Mouser or Allied very inexpensively; I get a couple dozen at a time and they cost 50 cents apiece in bulk. A group buy will save money over one-at-a-time, or you might find them at a hamfest. For less than a dollar you can make a good BOG transformer.


Some folks directly connect the coax to the antenna and ground, but there are a couple of issues with this approach. One is that doing that couples the outside of your coax to the antenna and enables your coax to become part of the receiving array, eliminating the directional ability of the Beverage and increasing reception of unwanted signals and noise. The other is that the significant mismatch in impedance will reduce the already low signal level still further, and may make your beverage a bit ‘deaf’. It can and has been done, but such shortcuts do significantly impair the perrformance of the BOG. Better to make a transformer, even a field expedient out of a nut or a small piece of pipe.

trans2.pngDon’t get too panicked about making a transformer or impedance matching. If you don’t know what impedance coax you have, then do this: put three turns of insulated wire through both holes of the binocular core and leave 4“to 6“ legs. This is the primary, and hooks to the coax, one side to ground and one side to the center conductor or hot lead. Then run 5 turns of wire through both holes of the binocular core and leave 4-6 inch legs. This is the secondary and one leg goes to the Beverage wire terminal and one goes to the ground clamp. If I had to make a BOG from field expedient materials, I’d use a chunk of Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable for wire, and a steel hex nut for a transformer core. As good as my ferrite binocular toroid? No, but it will work.

It is a good idea to weather proof the transformer assembly and the connections to the antenna and the coax; here is how I do it.

I spent about $6 for the box, $2.50 for the SO-239 connector, about $3.50 for the two zinc ground clamps, and about $2 for the brass nuts and bolts from Home Depot. I put the SO-239 on the bottom of the box (3/4“ hole with 9/64” for the brass attachment bolts) , the ground clamps on the back (1/4“ holes) and I pick a side for the Beverage wire terminal (3/16“ hole) Here is another view –

trans3.png

As a field expedient one could do well with a cottage cheese container or any sort of plastic container sealed with tape or silicone sealant.

One needs transmission line to go from the transformer at the end of the BOG to the receiver; typically this is RG58 or RG6 coax, but you can use twisted pair line or even 16 gage insulated landscape wire which has an impedance of around 125 ohms; if you do this, then adjust the transformation ratio accordingly when winding your transformers. I ran across a 500‘ roll of new old stock RG6 for $20 at a ham-fest recently and this cheap coax works just fine for short term use. Longer term, the flooded quad shielded coax sold by DX Engineering and others is a better bet, as mice and other vermin apparently don’t like the taste of the goo that fills the coax.

RG6 is bigger and heavier than RG58, so if weight is an issue, use RG58. If you scrounge around you can often find perfectly good used coax being pulled out of a remodeled home; if you ask the electrician he may simply give it to you. Home Depot sells a 500‘ roll for $50, or 10 cents a foot. If you are on a typical suburban lot, you probably won’t need more than 100‘ of coax; another opportunity for a group buy.

When using coax, I use coax connectors to join things together, as this makes it easy to disassemble and relocate the antenna system; RG59 adapters for solder connected pl-259 (common VHF connectors) work well for RG6, and RG58 adapters are readily available commercially. These are probably cheaper for lower volume operators to do, but you do need to solder the connections, which may take time and if you haven’t done it, you are likely to ruin some cable and connectors learning how. I messed up my share of connectors learning how, but after over 40 years in radio and electronics I can do a good soldered PL-259. (A quick tutorial- the secret is being able to apply LOTS of heat very quickly and precisely to avoid melting the insulation of the cable and the connector. Silver plating helps, and so does Teflon insulation…)

These days, though, I don’t solder most of my connectors. I make a lot of cables and antennas, so I bought the required commercial crimping tools, and I mostly use crimp-on connectors for my cables as they are much quicker to produce, especially with the commercial coax prep tools available for RG-8, RG-6 and the smaller cables. You may have somebody local to you that has these tools and can make your cable up for you, or you can buy commercially made coax assemblies from dealers. Any PL-259/SO-239 connector/connection is NOT waterproof, so I waterproof these connectors and their connections with a combination of liquid electrical tape, Coax seal (moldable rubber tape) and regular hand wound electrical tape.

So, you have your BOG wire, your transformer box, your ground rod, and your coax with appropriate connectors. Drive the ground rod, attach the Beverage box to the rod with the ground clamps, attach the wire to the box and stretch it in the desired direction, and attach the coax and run it to your receiver input. Waterproof your connections if they are going to be there for more than overnight. Don’t get too hung up on maintaining a perfectly straight antenna; minor zigs and zags make no difference, and some up and down in the wire run doesn’t much matter either.

Compare the signal with what you hear on an elevated dipole or vertical transmitting antenna. Be prepared to be amazed at what you hear, and DON’T hear! You will hear broadcast band stations in your chosen direction that you cannot otherwise hear, day or night; you will hear 150, 80 and 40 meter amateur signals that were otherwise unreadable; and you will be able to pick up shortwave news broadcasts that have information you will never hear on the mainstream media. What you won’t hear is about 6-9 S-units of noise, and that is the best part. Comms UP! Enjoy your Beverage!

73, Keypounder.

Material list Cost

100-150 feet of insulated wire $7 to $15

4“ x 4“ x 2“ insulated PVC electrical box $6

1 ea #10-24 2“ brass bolt

3 ea #10-24 brass nuts

4 ea #10 brass washers

( the #10 hardware makes up the Beverage wire attachment point)

2 ea #6-32 3/4“ brass machine screws

3 each #6-32 brass nuts

4 ea #6-32 brass washers $2 or less net in bulk

(the #6 hardware holds the SO-239 socket to the PVC box)

1 SO-239 socket (recommend silver plated with Teflon insulator)

2 each PL-259 VHF plugs with adaptors $6 net

2 zinc ground clamps $4

50-150‘ of RG6 coax cable $5 to $15

Misc electrical tape and liquid tape, allow $5

Ground rod $0-$12

Tools-

Multimeter (check coax and beverage box for connectivity)

Soldering iron (100 watt plus recommended for PL-259 connectors)

60-40 electronic solder (DO NOT use acid core, get rosin core flux solder)

Drill bits- 9/64 for the #6, 3/16“ for the #10, 1/4“ for the ground clamps.

Reloading reamer to widen the hole to 3/4“ for the SO-239 mount.

Screwdrivers and nut drivers for the screws and nuts (Leatherman tool works)

Pocket knife or coax prep tool.

Bibliography-

Low Band Dxing” 5th Edition by ON4UN, John DeVoldevere.

Chapter 7 is on listening antennas, and section 7.2 is all about Beverage

antennas. The BOG section is 7.2.12, page 7-84.

The ARRL Antenna Book” 13th Edition. If you are interested in antennas, this is a must-have reference. If you are buying a used copy, make SURE that you get the CD-rom that comes with it; EZNEC and much good added information is on there.

Web links of note-

http://www.antennasbyn6lf.com/2015/04/nec-modeling-of-wire-close-to-andor-buried-in-soil.html (Rudy Severns, N6LF, has done some very good work on antenna research and design; his whole site is of interest to any antenna afficianado)

http://www.qsl.net/wb5ude/bog/

http://www.qsl.net/k1fz/bogantennanotes/

Keypounder sends-

“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
North;
-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 Venezuela 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 Venezuela, 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.”

Questions-

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?

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.

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

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?

What will your cover story be if you are stopped by Venezuelan security
forces?

Thoughts?

Question From a Reader-

Hi NC Scout.

Could you consider the  scenario below and provide your thoughts and opinion? I’m curious what you think about this subject with your background. Thank you in advance.

We are starting to research the possibility of using a carbine line instead of an AR line for out main patrol/carry load.  Our thought is that we can have a carbine/pistol combination that accepts the same magazine/ammunition, so that if, during a fire fight, the carbine becomes inoperable, we can switch to our pistol without losing our capacity (so we start the fight with 300 rounds, and we can switch guns and finish the fight with 300 rounds).  Right now, if our AR goes down, we only have 50-ish rounds of pistol ammunition to finish off with, which could cause us to abandon an assault that we were close to successfully completing.

Other considerations:

  • We only have to carry/stock up on one type of ammunition.
  • Carbine weighs less than the AR (most likely).
  • Most likely all of our encounters will be within 100 yards, which the carbine can handle.  Obviously we lose the ability to reach out and touch someone with a carbine. But we also believe most fights will be short range encounters, less than 200 yrds.
Just curious as to what your thoughts are on this topic, and which (if any) carbine/pistol combinations you would recommend, and why. Or do should we just stick with our current setup. All this assumes a 2 person buddy team with limited or no resupply as defined by JC Dodge at MasonDixonTactical.
Thanks (name witheld)
I’m assuming by your question that you mean ‘pistol caliber carbine’ by carbine. I’ll state up front that both a PCC and a combat carbine (AR, AK, etc.) have advantages and disadvantages. The largest limiting factor to PCCs are the engagement range and power- you’re essentially entering the fight with a longer-barreled submachine gun.  Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, if:
1. Your role is not primarily actively fighting, but defensive in nature.
2. You understand the limitations of the chosen pistol round (which it seems like you do).
From a logistics standpoint, supplying common calibers is paramount, but not so much as to justify hampering your overall capability. Sure, SMGs were great primary weapons in the WWII-early Vietnam era, but the advancement of intermediate caliber carbines (7.62×39, 5.56, 6.5, etc) really rendered pistol caliber SMGs irrelevant to everyone except Police forces concerned with over penetration in urban areas or special military units for hostage rescue.
From a Survivalist standpoint, I would focus much more on a standard rifle cartridge, and the ability to carry more of it if I’m planning on getting into a fight, rather than stepping down to a pistol round out of a long gun. Both the 5.56 and 7.62 (x39 and x51) have so much more utility that I wouldn’t consider any common autoloading pistol cartridge over them. That being said, if my role is not retreatist in nature, but more in line with an Ulster-style fight, a PCC might have certain advantages. This however is a question concerning METT-TC (MISSION, ENEMY, TIME, TERRAIN, TROOPS, CIVILIANS), and not the weapon itself. In that case, the weapon is usually irrelevant and should be disposable.
As far as ammunition concerns go, in a real, live shootout, you’re gonna burn through a lot more ammo than you realize, a lot faster than you realize, especially if it’s your first rodeo. A secondary arm is exactly that, secondary, for breaking contact if the primary no longer works or a more specialized role (much more preferable, like a Ruger MK3 for example). If you’re currently armed with the AR, and you’re not sold on its reliability, look at another platform (like the good ol Kalash). In my experience, I’ve only had two real-world issues with AR malfunctions- a bolt override from a worn out magazine and two lugs sheared from a high-round count class. These were on issued Colt M4s…other brands may be different. On the magazine bit, nearly 100% of the AR-15 malfunctions I’ve observed (from others) are magazine-related, or in the rising case of the $500 special, out-of-spec parts. In either case, concerning reliability, confidence in your weapon system only comes from one source- your experience, and cannot be substituted by anyone else’s- so that means getting out and running the weapons.
So, all this being said, in a grid-down, ‘me and my buddies out on our own protecting ours’ situation, I can’t advocate limiting yourself to a PCC for commonalty’s sake. Should everyone have matching sidearms? Yep. Should everyone have the matching primary arm (except for specialized roles)? Yep. Don’t undergun yourself. Just because heavily dated stats may evaluate combat at 0-200m doesn’t mean your weapons should only work within that envelope.
Hope this didn’t muddy the waters too much-
NC Scout

Revolution in their Minds, the Children Start to March-

streetcommiesHeh. Ok. A couple of things on this- I described this collective action in my Leaderless Resistance post, and I told you that this would happen and get worse when Trump won in the post on philosophy. In the first, I described a domestic color revolution based on Marxist social structure, which is tried and true, and the second a prediction based upon living in the real world with these people and knowing their group-think.

Which is a good thing.

They are overplaying their hand in the streets. Let them.

Meanwhile, if you don’t know the differences between labels, don’t actively promulgate them to yourself, while self-affirming your own status. Calling yourself ‘anarcho-whatever‘ while aligned with the Right proves you know neither about yourself or them- meaning you should probably just close your mouth and keep your powder dry.

Second, I’m going to lay out very simply the response to this post over at WRSA. Mosby by way of Bracken is correct in his assessment. It’s all certainly true, but there’s another sociological fact to be pointed out. The Right, whether Pre-Industrial Revolution (adhering to Monarchism) or Post (adhering to Monarchism’s heir, Capitalism), does not and will not fight the Left in a proactive manner because the system works for them. Law, finances, social rewards- all work, hence why one adheres to the belief. The duty of repression is left to the Government, no matter who is in charge. Taken into one’s own hands, the means to life will be removed- thus one does not act on one’s desire.

The Left’s mass base is made of those who see no benefit to the current order whether real or imagined. Thus, conflict. Thus, ambushed Police. Thus, flash mobs. Thus, insurrection. Organized violence in whatever form necessary. And it’s going to get worse. We’re talking about people already normalized to violence and extreme living conditions- working a hard labor job with little pay or operating clandestine networks on the side running dope and stolen goods just to make ends meet. Most of you ain’t doing this, no matter what you call your little kitted-up elks lodge meeting in the woods.

For this reason the Left claws and claws and claws, until the weight of the Right, usually through the force of government (but not in every case),  crushes it into submission at some point.Certainly this is an oversimplification, but it is no less true. For the Left, the guns don’t matter. The results do.

Localism, neo-tribalism, and community standing are all effective counters, not found in suburbia. These are not labels- these are ways of life. I suggest if you don’t have a strong amount of social capital, you had better work on it. And you don’t get it from ‘bugging out’ some-fucking-where when variable x happens. Neither is sitting on your ass bitching about it, self-applying stupid labels and saying “I’m Ready!”

Winter Field Day 2017

BRS1Winter Field Day 2017 is upon us! I had aimed to get this posted long before now, but, there’s only so many hours in the day, and things have been busy as of late.

Either way, this year will (mostly) be a TOC-operation, working from the command post here at FOB Cedar. It would be a great time not only to make some contacts on the air but also to get some training in other critical areas, like information handoffs (if working as a group) and plotting points of contacts on a map to measure your propagation.

For myself and the crew, we will be testing:

  • The MiniPro SC Data Interface: Half the size of a SignalLink and more simple in setup, this may be the go-to interface for the Yaesu and Icom rigs out there. SurvivalTechNord has tested this successfully in his youtube videos for both a computer interface for Android’s port of the FLDigi program. We’ll see how it goes- and get back to you.
  • The Wolphilink Data Interface: Another soundcard for the 817/857, but the smallest of the bunch, by far. I haven’t had much luck running it on Android, so hopefully I’ll have time to get the kinks worked out. It is a very promising option for ultralight data interfacing for the 817.
  • The EARCHI End-Fed: The workhorse is still at it. No complaints so far, and it’ll get another activation under it’s belt.

If for nothing else, test your kit this weekend- a lot of folks will be on the air, the event is growing, and networking just to know your signal package works is definitely worth the time. Listening matters too.

I’ll hear you on the air.

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…”

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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.