Brushbeater: The Brevity Matrix

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has an article up about using brevity codes in your communications and how to do it. These are like amateur radio Q-codes or police 10-codes, but tailored to your own needs. Here’s an excerpt from The Brevity Matrix.

20151013_153203…[O]ne of the common questions I get is regarding the length of the reports when they’re sent. If interception is a concern, and it always is, how do we shorten this up or obscure it to the point of being useless to listen to? There’s a few answers to this question, including going high tech/more complicated/more expensive with equipment, more efficient antenna construction for directivity, and finally, creating a BREVMAT.

A Brevity Matrix, or BREVMAT, is a randomly generated series of codes that are commonly understood by your group and shorten the transmission. In the amateur radio world we use Q codes, and 10 codes are the most widely known in both the CB and public service realms. Like I state in class, what you and your group do is up to you- if the basics are observed and everyone is on the same page, then it’s not wrong.

remote setup.jpgTactical BREVMATs are created and included in your Signals Operating Index (SOI), they are recycled each time the SOI changes (which is usually a set period of time, and for missions, mission-specific). This information can then be encoded into a One Time Pad (OTP) message and sent to higher analysis and control element (ACE) if coordinated over a region.

The following is a sample BREVMAT sent in by a very well seasoned reader (it’s much appreciated my friend, stay frosty) and a template for you to follow:

Continue reading at Brushbeater by clicking here.

Liberty and Lead: Reality Check

Are you and your friends ready? From the Liberty and Lead 2.0 blog:

Reality Check

This post is going to be a bit personal. It may however help someone who is going through something similar.

I have been prepping and preparing with the same 2 other families for a decade. We have been very close, like family but…

Something has been off for a good while. It has been increasingly hard to get everyone together for almost any purpose. Training opportunities have been given to us only to end up with us passing on them because we simply could not get everyone to commit. Because of other things going on in life we failed to capitalize on some terrific potential learning.

Increasingly it seemed that my wife and I were the serious ones, the folks trying to herd cats so to speak. Again and again our own progress in what we needed was hampered because of schedule conflicts and other commitments by our partners.

This year I have committed to prepping me. Along that vein I realized we needed to get out in the open what we felt and see what was the will of the others involved. I called a meet for this purpose.

We laid it all out. It did not go the way I had hoped.

People who we believed were just as committed as we were to continue toward building a resilient tribe relocated at property already secured have lost their desire. They have lost their sense of urgency. They have succumbed to normalcy bias. Living in this false reality has taken priority away from preparing to live a more primitive and self sufficient life. They were honest and we appreciated it but…they simply are not going to be the people we continue building with.

So today I feel a little like I’ve been slapped back a decade.

Yesterday I thought I had it figured out. Today I am trying to get a grip on the new reality.

My wife nor I slept well. This morning she stated flatly “we have a lot of decisions to make” and added “what do we do?”

I don’t know.

What I do know is that this changes my personal goals not one tick. We are still on a countdown to moving our family to the lifestyle we want. We are still on a mission to learn all we can, acquire what we need and be ready to weather all storms. We just won’t be doing that with the now broken tribe we have had for many years.

It is disappointing, but not devastating.

This is too important to have to herd people. Too critical a commitment to have to try and pull people along. Everyone gets tired and needs encouragement and that is part of tribal life but once you have realized that other’s hearts are no longer in it, it is time to check yourself. YOU are the only person you can control. YOU have to make a decision…

FO: More on SALUTE Reporting

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has an article up, expanding upon SALUTE reports titled Building Blocks of Intelligence: SALUTE and SALT Reporting.

…Today we’re talking about SALUTE reports. Every member of our community is a sensor. These people are constantly collecting information; seeing things, hearing things. The question is where does this information go? If they’re not reporting it to the neighborhood watch or community security team, that information on potential threats, suspicious individuals, and potentially criminal behavior is going into a black hole. That’s why it’s incumbent on us to get into a position to receive that information. We’re not doing our job in intelligence and improving community security if we’re not on the receiving end of their information. This may sound bland and routine now, but during an emergency where we’re faced with a real likelihood of threats and criminality, this suddenly becomes critically important.

So here’s the scenario: it’s the aftermath of a hurricane (or tornado, earthquake, etc.). There’s widespread systems disruption, there are people in need, there are people displaced, there are otherwise decent people engaged in criminal behavior, and there are long-time criminals engaged in robbery, looting, and all the other crimes we see during a disaster. Your job is to protect your family, and that includes teaming up with your neighbors to share information and provide for community security. At the risk of beating a dead horse, the greater access to information we have, the more we’ll know and the better decisions we can make. Because of our efforts before the disaster, we have a a handful of neighbors across the community who have agreed to contribute by reporting information of intelligence value: a suspicious vehicle, a group of displaced people, someone engaged in criminal behavior, someone who needs to be rescued, or a number of other pieces of information. But how best do these intelligence gatherers report their information? Enter the SALUTE report.

SALUTE is an acronym that stands for Size, Activity, Location, Unit/Uniform, Time, and Equipment. A neighbor sees a potentially dangerous situation and calls or radios over to the ACE. The reporter says, “Prepare to receive a SALUTE report” and the receiver prepares to copy down the information (I recommend having a stack of 5″x8″ index cards for this)…

Read the entire article at Forward Observer by clicking here.

The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper

BJ Campbell over at Medium has written an interesting article about the mathematically sound basis for being prepared. The title sounds more sensational than the content. The article isn’t really about firearms, but about how statistics show that really bad events, for which you should be prepared, happen with higher probability than most imagine.

…There’s a common misconception in the media about the eventuality for which the preppers are exactly prepping. That’s because they’re a diverse group, and prep for many different things. No, they aren’t planning for a revolution to overthrow the government. (Most of them, anyway.) Mostly they’re planning to keep themselves and their families safe while someone else tries to overthrow the government. That or zombies. More on zombies below.

While we don’t have any good sources of data on how often zombies take over the world, we definitely have good sources of data on when the group of people on the piece of dirt we currently call the USA attempt to overthrow the ruling government. It’s happened twice since colonization. The first one, the American Revolution, succeeded. The second one, the Civil War, failed. But they are both qualifying events. Now we can do math.

Stepping through this, the average year for colony establishment is 1678, which is 340 years ago. Two qualifying events in 340 years is a 0.5882% annual chance of nationwide violent revolution against the ruling government. Do the same math as we did above with the floodplains, in precisely the same way, and we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.

This is a bigger chance than your floodplain-bound home getting flooded out during your mortgage.

It’s noticeably bigger.

Read the entire article by clicking here

Sparks31 Releases Commo Book

Sparks31, a frequent internet writer on emergency communications, has released a new book titled Commo.  It is available in print and as an eBook on Lulu.com.

Hardcopy – http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/commo/2…

Digital (Free Download) – http://www.lulu.com/shop/sparks31/commo/ebook/prod…

Sparks31 has previously written Communications for 3%ers and Survivalists and also Down-Grid Communications.

Follows an excerpt from the introduction:

Imagine, for a moment, that right now the grid goes down, either accidentally or by design. Would you be able to:
• Communicate with family members to determine their safety/well being, and have them initiate contingency plans?
• Alert and mobilize the members of your group?
• Collect intelligence information to find out local conditions?
• Collect intelligence information to find out the geographical extent of a disaster or similar event/situation?

Now lets go to the actual present, our status­quo dystopian reality. Are you able to:
• Communicate with family and group members in a manner that minimizes your footprint?
• Collect intelligence information to find out local, regional, national, and worldwide conditions/events via alternative means?
• Minimize or eliminate your surveillance footprint when necessary for privacy reasons?

Communications skills in a down­grid situation, meaning both now and in an uncertain future, is an essential survival skill for anyone interested in maintaining control over their own destiny. You don’t need to be an electronics expert, although your group or tribe will
certainly need one. You do need to have a certain level of
knowledge, dependent on your aptitude and general skill­
set.

April 19 – National Gaurd Troops Ambushed – 72 Confirmed Dead – 200+ Injured

BOSTON, 4/19 – National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw. Speaking after the clash Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Gage also blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order. The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.” Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans.

During a tense standoff in Lexington’s town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists.

Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange. Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units.

Colonel Smith, finding his forces over-matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat. Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops.

Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as “ringleaders” of the extremist faction, remain at large.

April 19, 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord

ARRL: 2017 Hurricane Season After-Action Report

The ARRL released their after-action report on the 2017 hurricane season. Click here to download the pdf. (11MB file)  This is actually a bunch of separate reports glommed together, so it doesn’t read very smoothly. Much of it does not get into very good detail on what went wrong and what could be improved, but it looks like they spent more time on that at the ARRL level rather than the responder level.

From the Puerto Rico response, what amateur radio equipment did you need but not have?

Items mentioned included electrical tape/duct tape, volt-ohm meter, cable ties, SO-239 connectors, insulators, soldering iron, 50′ runs of coax and barrel connectors, mini mag-mount VHF/UHF antenna, VHF/UHF J-pole antenna, compass, headset with boom mic and footswitch, extension cords, power strips, hook-up wire, wire strippers, end-fed antenna, cheat sheets for radios.
From the Puerto Rico response, what did you add to your kit and where did you get it?
Generally, additional equipment was acquired through the Red Cross, FEMA, fire stations, local radio amateurs, or home improvement stores. Items acquired were left with the Red Cross in San Juan. Items included: Extension cords, antenna wire, car battery, hex nuts (used as weights for antennas), rope, notepads, pens, markers, electrical tape, crimpers, wire connectors, pulleys, shackle, slingshot, power strip, coax seal, HP OfficeJet printer, printer paper, headphones, batteries, terminals, PVC pipe, hose clamps, tape measure, power inverter.
The key observations offered on lessons learned included (Puerto Rico):
  • Clearer chain of command
  • ARRL representation at the staging point
  • Deployable VHF repeaters
  • Better screening of volunteers
  • Screen out those who have no experience in Amateur Radio disaster communications
  • Screen out those who have no experience in the needed forms of communications
  • Factor in personality to the screening process; some personalities are not suitable for such deployments
  • ARRL needs to provide education to Red Cross on the capabilities of Amateur Radio
  • ARRL representative on site during deployment (at JFO/EOC)
  • Form a national response cadre that is pre-screened for deployments such as this
  • Smaller and lighter Ham Aid kits
  • Encourage radio amateurs to volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Services Technology
  • Language was a barrier; being bilingual is important
  • Clearly defined list of capabilities of all deployed volunteers
  • Substantive pre-deployment briefing
  • Substantive debriefing
  • Better net structure
What do we need to change? (Irma and Maria)
  • Radios worked well. Possibly replace Icom IC-7200s with IC-7300s for consistency and ease of use.
  • Make sure every radio is digital-capable, with all needed cables and accessories.
  • Vetting process.
  • Improve training, especially with digital communications.
  • Multiple band antennas or several antennas for individual bands.

Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself

From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth:


Charles Sprague Pearce Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt 1877In Matthew 12:22-28, Jesus tells the Pharisees:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

…While Americans believe so strongly in their supremacy, and have grown so accustomed to the idea, that they no longer see having the best weapons as a matter of survival for the nation. They have come to see their superiority as something automatic and natural.

The attack on Syria is seen as a sign of weakness. Because there was no need for it. Because the evidence is flimsy at best. Because the world has international bodies to deal with such issues. Because there is no logic in allowing the blood to flow in the Gaza and Yemen but cite humanitarian reasons for bombing alleged chemical facilities elsewhere.

What the world sees is bluster emanating from a deeply divided nation (and we haven’t even tackled Britain). It sees that less than 48 hours after the airstrikes, a former FBI chief talks about his former boss in terminology that nobody would dare use in most countries, and throughout most of history,

James Comey is beyond Shakepeare. And in America, the issue is who’s right in the Comey-Trump conflict. In Russia, China et al it’s not. They see a house, a country divided. A weak country has no diplomacy.

That’s how all empires end. Complacency and division. That is what North Korea sees when it watches America, what China, and Russia see. And they may even know how Jesus put it. He didn’t just say a kingdom divided would become less powerful or wealthy, he said:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.

World Amateur Radio Day, April 18, 2018

Every April 18, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris.

Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the short wave spectrum — far from being a wasteland — could support worldwide propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, Amateur Radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio worldwide.

Just two years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Since its founding, the IARU has worked tirelessly to defend and expand the frequency allocations for Amateur Radio. Thanks to the support of enlightened administrations in every part of the globe, radio amateurs are now able to experiment and communicate in frequency bands strategically located throughout the radio spectrum. From the 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925, the IARU has grown to include 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. Region 2 covers the Americas, and Region 3 is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific island nations, and most of Asia. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized the IARU as representing the interests of Amateur Radio.

Today, Amateur Radio is more popular than ever, with more than 3,000,000 licensed operators!

World Amateur Radio Day is the day when IARU Member-Societies can show our capabilities to the public and enjoy global friendship with other Amateurs worldwide.

Northwest Regional Patriot Academy, Idaho, June 20-22, 2018

The Northwest Region Patriot Academy will be held June 20-22, 2018 in Boise, ID.

Patriot Academy is a three- to seven-day “boot camp” in leadership and government open to students ages 16 to 25 and held every summer in various state capitols throughout the country. Students delve into the political process from the inside out as they file legislation, debate bills, campaign for office and pass laws. In between legislative activities, they receive training in media skills, public speaking, leadership, current issues and America’s heritage–all from a Biblical worldview. Conservative leaders from all areas of the political field mentor students through the process, sharing their experience and wisdom. Patriot Academy offers students the most realistic, condensed, conservative political training that we know of. The Regional Academies in Arizona, Idaho, Florida and Delaware are 3-day sessions, while the National Academy in Texas is a seven-day session open to all qualifying students from around the country.

Patriot Academy has a single, bold vision: to equip a new generation of leaders to champion the cause of freedom and truth in government, media, entertainment, and education, as we help bring our nation back to the principles on which we were founded. Patriot Academy has a proven track record of excellence through a simple four part strategy:

  1. Train students to understand and influence government policy with a Biblical worldview
  2. Demonstrate the principles of ethical servant leadership from the Founding Fathers’ perspective
  3. Teach the political process and essential leadership skills through intense hands-on training
  4. Inspire students to be salt and light in every area of society and culture

DA-SC-90-03096President Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Unless we motivate and equip the next generation to take up and advance the torch of freedom, it will extinguish. We desire to help students be positive change agents, and give them the tools needed to successfully engage in the political arena and every area of the culture. Our prayer is that every young person who attends Patriot Academy will understand it is their duty and privilege to guard the precious legacy of liberty. By God’s grace we will raise up a generation who will leading the change in both the public square and the private sector.

 

Rick Green and Nathan Macias are invited speakers for this year’s Northwest Regional Patriot Academy.

AmRRON Moves to AmCON 3, Apr. 13, 2018

UPDATE: AMCON has returned to AmCON 4 since this was posted.

From the folks over at AmRRON (the American Redoubt Radio Operators’ Network):

*13 APRIL 2018 UPDATE: *

//All Stations// Due to increased tensions and the maneuvering of military assets by multiple nations in and around Syria, we are raising the AmCON to Level 3. This increase in AmCON is to increase awareness of an increased probability of an event which could disrupt conventional communications. We will continue to monitor the situation. At this time, no immediate action is called for beyond the general guidance outlined for AmCON 3. More guidance will be forthcoming and will be posted on AmRRON.com. We will continue to evaluate and assess. The Staff, AmRRON

Action In Syria Coming Amid Expectations Of Air Strikes
Haifa orders townspeople to prepare for emergency
Russia says the US is about to strike Syria — and that it will strike back
Russia, Syria: Israeli Jets Strike Air Base After Alleged Poison Gas Attack In Douma
Russia TV Instructs Viewers How to Prepare Bomb Shelters For Nuclear War (Video)
Nuclear ‘Doomsday Plane’ Goes Airborne As War Fears Grow

***Information Alert***
– Russian UN Ambassador warns “cannot exclude” possibility of direct conflict with US over Syria.
-UK Cabinet gives PM May approval for action.
– Russia moves Backfires (SU-22 Bombers) into Iran

2018 NW APRS Summer Gathering, North Bend, Sept. 7-9th

From the folks who run the NW APRS Summer Gathering:

Summer Gathering 2018!
As I type this, the NW APRS Summer Gathering is ~ 5 months away. As usual, SG will be held the weekend after Labor Day. In 2018, that’s:
Friday September 7
Saturday September 8
Sunday September 9

Valley Camp
NW APRS Summer Gathering is held at Valley Camp in North Bend, WA. If you’re interested in camping at, or just getting a bunk in the bunkhouse at Valley Camp during SG 2018, please contact Teena at Valley Camp directly, via email: teena@valleycamp.org.

Summer Gathering Bulletins
The next bulletin will have a link to the signup form to register your interest in attending SG 2018. Look for more bulletins, monthly (minimum) through July. In August the bulletins will become more frequent with more detailed information about SG 2018.

Feedback, Presentation Suggestions Requested
We’re interested in feedback about SG 2017 – what went well, what went not-so-well. Please email me with your feedback: steve.stroh@gmail.com

The SG 2018 “Committee” is open to suggestions for educational sessions at SG. For those on this list that are new to SG, the educational sessions are usually about APRS or a related Amateur Radio data communications topic such as packet radio, digital voice, or science / technical topics that might be of interest to an Amateur Radio audience. The speaker needs to be from, or willing to travel to (at their own expense) the Pacific Northwest as we don’t have a travel budget, nor sufficient Internet bandwidth for a remote presentation.

ARRL Event Request Submitted
As with last year, we have submitted an application to the ARRL for SG 2018 to be an official ARRL event (hopefully, with some ARRL prizes being donated for raffle).

Demonstration HF Station – Data Modes?
We would love to have a demonstration of HF data modes at SG 2018. There is a good HF beam antenna at Valley Camp, and ample electrical power. At past SGs, it’s always been fun to demonstrate the use of HF data modes. This year, considering the rise of the low-transmit-power, “high compute” data modes like the FT8, perhaps a modest station running FT8 would be the most instructional. If you’re able to show off your HF data station at SG 2018 running FT8 or other data modes, please consider doing so.

Help Out, or At, Valley Camp
Lastly, if you have some spare time this summer and want to get away from the city for a while, consider helping out Valley Camp. Summer is their very busy time, and they provide a very welcome respite for the increasingly busy pace of life in the Seattle metro area. Some pointers:

FO: Five Reasons Why We’ll Have Another Domestic Conflict

Sam Culper over at the Forward Observer intelligence shop has a new article up titled Five reasons why we’ll have another domestic conflict.

Demographically, culturally, fiscally, we’re hemorrhaging as a country. Studies show that most immigrants, legal or illegal, have a political predilection towards larger, more authoritarian government. They do or will vote Democrat. That’s why amnesty is the death knell for the right-leaning electorate. And amnesty is only a matter of time, which means the GOP as a nationally viable party could have an expiration date within your lifetime. Several states, including Texas, were decided by fewer votes than those states have illegal immigrants. Amnesty pushes those states blue, which then push a far Left agenda in a Democrat-controlled Congress. That writing is on the wall.

Without amnesty, studies show that larger percentages and greater numbers of future generations are slightly or consistently liberal. Millennials are the least white voting generation on record; Generation Z is less white than Millennials, and these two groups are or would vote for Leftist populists (like Bernie Sanders) in far greater numbers than previous generations. If we look at political leanings by generation (graph below), we can see the decline in percentage of those mostly or consistently conservative. (Look at each generation in 2017, for instance.) The opposite is also true: the Baby Boomer generation in 2017 had a greater percentage of mostly or consistently liberal than the Silent Generation; Generation X had a higher percentage than the Baby Boomers; and the Millennial generation has a higher percentage than Generation X. Each generation is becoming more liberal due wholly to immigration. Because immigration is little more than importing future Democrat voters, I don’t see how the GOP hangs on to anything outside of regional power without a cultural resurgence (like Reagan, for instance).

Click here to continue reading at Forward Observer.

Olympia Gun Rights Rallies, April 14th and 21st, 2018

Two rallies are planed in Olympia to support Second Amendment rights.

The first is organized by The National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans and will be help Saturday, April 14th from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm on the capitol steps. Contrary to the graphic below which shows 11:00 am, a competing event moved the WA rally to 5:30 pm. You can visit their site on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/162140641170312/

The second rally will be held on April 21st from 12:00pm – 3:00pm also at the capitol. Visit their page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1661802327190025/

Speakers for this rally include:

Organizer/ MC: Tessa Ashley
Opening Prayer: Chief Ben Charles, Lower Elwha Tribe
***National Anthem: Kerry French
***Pledge of Allegiance: Aryeh Rohde
***Seattle Pink Pistol- Sharyn Hinchcliffe
***Robert J Sutherland- 39th District Candidate
***Marty McClendon (Former Lt. Gov. Candidate)
***Jered Gavin- 05 District Candidate
***Elizabeth Scott- 39th Senator Candidate
*** Rep. Jim Walsh – 19th district
***Tiffany De Leon- Libertarian State Vice Chair
***Joey Gibson- US Senate Candidate
***Tyler Miller- Initiative 1621 Secure Safe Schools
***Naomi Davis- 26th District Candidate
*** Aryeh Rohde- Highschool Student that led a counter protest for “March For Our Lives” @ S.Whidbey Island H.S
***Allen Acosta- Libertarians MC/ Gun Rights Coalition
***Isa Cline- Long Beach City Councilman
***Kyle Paskewitz- Founder of Family Court Reform Nation
***Randy Vanaddisson- Former Air Marshall