AmPart: Why Intel Matters

Yesterday, we posted another article from American Partisan on building an intelligence fusion center for your group. Today, we post an article which Sam Culper of Forward Observer wrote for American Partisan entitled The Decision Advantage: Why Intel Matters. Sam lays out why it is so important to be able to gather information and produce intelligence.

Several years ago, I had the great opportunity to train at an elite facility in the Carolinas. Throughout the training sessions, our instructor spoke of the ‘psychological advantages’ of why and how we do things in a gunfight. The goal of these courses wasn’t just to produce individuals who can shoot, but to graduate individuals who can think and shoot — in other words, to teach people to make sound decisions in a high stress environment like a gunfight.

Close your eyes and put yourself momentarily in a gunfight; it doesn’t matter if you choose an active shooter situation at your work or you wind up on some side street in Baghdad. What goes through your mind as you realize someone is shooting at you? Where is your nearest cover? Where is the shooter? Where are your teammates? How many shooters are there? Should you fight through the ambush?

Your brain is trying to process very quickly lots of different operations, which is why most people freeze in a situation like this. Overwhelmed by this massive problem it’s never seen before, the brain just shuts down. It doesn’t know what to do or how to respond. It’s not fight or flight — it’s fight, flight, or freeze. Humans are generally good at solving problems that we’ve solved before, but relatively few of us are good at solving problems they’ve never encountered. This is why we train.

Now let’s take this same concept — that access to information helps you to maintain situational awareness and make better decisions — and move it up one level. Aside from a beating heart, the brain is the most important part of you, and the brain is the most important part of an organization. A preparedness group, a community security team, or neighborhood watch needs a brain: a command center where information is received and intelligence is produced. Just like we can’t make sound decisions in a firefight without access to information, we can’t make sound decisions for our security as a family, group, or community without similar access to information. You’d never go into a firefight wearing a blindfold, so why would anyone go into an emergency situation without knowing how to collect timely intelligence information? It seems like a very rudimentary concept — that navigating a complex threat environment requires the ability to gather tactical intelligence on what’s going on beyond your line of sight — yet many Americans are prepared to remain blindfolded.

Let’s go back to an infrequent but still likely scenario — there’s civil unrest following a natural disaster. Think Hurricane Katrina. There’s no power, no public utilities, catastrophic damage, and lots of needy people, many of whom are out looking for targets of opportunity. If we’re interested in the security of our family and/or community then we need to gather intelligence beyond your line of sight and hearing ability; anything less and we should consider ourselves blindfolded, which would be a mistake of our own doing.

I’d hate to beat a dead horse like the OODA Loop, but it does bear repeating. The OODA Loop concept was developed by Col. John Boyd (USAF, Ret.), a fighter pilot interested in how his pilots could make better and faster decisions while in a dog fight.  OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, and it describes the process by which humans make decisions. (Observing in this case is really a misnomer. We need to be observing, listening, and sensing. We also need to ensure that we’re connected with others who are also observing, listening, and sensing.)

The ultimate goal today — that goes doubly for combat shooters — is how to speed up our own OODA Loops while disrupting the enemy’s OODA, thus slowing down his decision-making process. In the case of intelligence, what we’re achieving by speeding up our OODA Loop is a ‘decision advantage’ for our commander or decision-makers.

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: Building Your ACE/Fusion Center

We’ve heard a lot in the past from Forward Observer about building up your intelligence capabilities. Just in case you dismissed that as one organization crying out in the wilderness, here is an article from Gray Man at American Partisan on how to build an analysis control element (ACE) for analyzing the information that you have collected and turning it into actionable intelligence, whether that is for a disaster, civil unrest, or other purpose.

In the intelligence world, we have to coordinate all of the intelligence coming in, obviously. Intelligence drives the mission. In the civilian world, you could stick with that or change it to “information dictates action”.

In order to coordinate and analyze the information coming in, you’ll do yourself a favor to set up what is called an analysis control element (ACE). You could also refer to it as your “fusion” center, seeing as you should be able to fuse together and analyze all of the intelligence you collect and compile it into useful products to drive your activities. All-source, for my current purposes, consists of using HUMINT and SIGINT to the best of your abilities.

HUMINT is human intelligence, intelligence gained by interrogation, elicitation, debriefing, source running, surveillance, reconnaissance, tradecraft, etc. Basically, you’re using yourself (your brain, ears, eyes and your words) and other people to collect intelligence.

SIGINT is signals intelligence, and covers a wide array of electronic intelligence collection techniques. This includes things like electronic surveillance, hacking, wiretapping, etc. For our purposes, it involves monitoring radio traffic and listening in on signals using basic AM/FM radio, satelitte radio, shortwave receivers and police scanners and if you’re so inclined, CBs and ham. You’re going to want to visit the Brushbeater website by NCScout for the best SIGINT information available.

In order to build your ACE, you need to have some equipment. There is a bare minimum amount of equipment you’ll need in order to have what I would call a functional ACE.

Police scanner. My recommendation mirrors that of several other bloggers. That is the Uniden Home Patrol II scanner. Use this as part of your early warning system (EWS).

A decent AM/FM radio. This is good for open source radio news collection and some weather reports. Another point for your EWS.

Shortwave receiver. I recommend the GP-5. Credit for that recommendation goes to NCScout. That’s three pieces of EWS gear.

– Topographical and street maps of your AO and any AO relevant to you. 24 inches by 36 inches is a good size. Check this piece on topo maps recently posted by our own NCScout. USGS Store and MyTopo are two other good sources for maps. You need to know the terrain features and routes in all relevant AOs. Get some Duralar plastic film or something similar to create overlays using dry erase markers so you aren’t writing on the maps themselves.

– Get some folders and start keeping files on relevant people, places and things in your AO. A police chief who sees himself as an overlord as opposed to a public servant is a good subject to keep a file on. A nearby neighborhood with a history of drugs and violence would be as well. Don’t just keep files on potential adversaries though. Keep files on people who might be sympathetic to your cause and purposes for future use.

– Get a binder and keep track of current and potential sources of information. This will help when you have a specific intelligence gap you need filled, and you can thumb through your sources and see who can provide that information to you. It’s also useful when deconflicting sources. You don’t want the same person telling you and your neighbors multiple different stories just to gain favor with everyone.

– Obviously I would recommend a good laptop with reliable internet access. This will enable use of Google Earth and other mapping systems, open source intelligence (OSINT) collection via the web, etc. I’m sure no more explanation is required as to why you’d like to have a web-connected computer in your ACE.

Obtain a copy of FM 2-22.3. This is the US Army manual on HUMINT operations.

– Newspapers are generally slow and full of propaganda, but I can’t tell you how much OSINT I was able to collect from newspapers, especially during my time in the Far East. If you’re so inclined, subscribe to some, online or on actual paper.

– If you’ve got the budget and skills, CB and ham are great options for SIGINT collection and I highly recommend you obtain some capabilities in those areas. Another EWS force multiplier.

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan. And you can read and learn plenty more about intelligence collection and analysis at ForwardObserver.com.

AmPart: Training – It Takes Work

This is a little reminder from NC Scout at American Partisan that you can’t just buy some stuff and say that you’ll be ready when disaster strikes and you need to use it. You need to train with your gear to find out what it and you can do together, and what may need to be tweaked or improved.

Training Notes: It Takes Work

Training Notes: It Takes Work!

We’ve all heard the people who say “I’ll be ready when the time comes!” or “They better not come to my front door!”

I got news for you, the time has come, and they are on your front door. Maybe not physically, yet, but that’s coming. If the lessons from Virginia are a bellwether for the near future, the communist machine at work will not allow American voices to win a so-called election again. And they don’t have to physically come to your door, because they can just legislate your rights away and you’ll do nothing. You’re a rule follower, and they make the rules.

So if there’s anything to objectively be gained from the legitimacy of government being ripped away in public fashion, its that the time has indeed come. We are living in an area absent the rule of law. The fantasy land nonsense of people running around in glorious combat and living in a Rothbardian voluntarist paradise is just that- an escapist fantasy that in no way mimics real societal breakdowns. But when you’ve got a very clear picture of a dual system of justice coupled with a common view that these people will never see punishment, you are indeed living without a rule of law. The only question then that should remain is what happens now that the velvet glove has exposed the iron fist? Neither legitimacy nor objectivity can be regained once lost. A failure of ruling hegemony thus requires force.

Do not forget that Brennan was a declared member of the communist party before joining the CIA. And of the feeder groups indoctrinating minds into the tenets of Marxism was the SDS, with their mantra of “Bring the War Home!”; code for invading the US with populations (in their logic) marginalized or exploited by US policy. Top among them, Central and South America. Ortega, Castro and Guevara are heroes. Groomed by the University system, Brennan finds himself atop the very bureaucracy created to entrench these communists for an eventual overthrow of the US government. These people are desperate to remain in control and they want you gone.

That’s outside our realistic area of influence, but does not ignore what we indeed can do.

What’s to be done on our end is preparing the mass base and guerrilla auxiliary for the next step; training and equipping the people in your area. The Left has indeed been doing that for some time now. Those networks need building, the information exchanged, and working hard to perfect the techniques now in order to save lives later.

In the last Advanced RTO it was commented to me by a longtime Extra-class ham, Engineer and Appleseed Instructor that the more covert ends of the communications training pipeline- data bursts, directional transmitting and physical encryption– takes a large amount of time just to comprehend let alone the training time to perfect. Far more than what can be done in just one weekend. And the same could be said of pretty much anything else I cover in my classes. I give you the basics, but it’s up to you to practice, perfect, and most critical, share it.

Making things work in the real world are the only way to continue to develop those skills. Two of the students from the last RTO and Advanced RTO Courses are doing exactly that, commenting,

Hey, I got the antenna up and working. DVM and I were able to make contact on 80M at around 1630. He has a different HF setup than I do – different antenna and less power, and I think the F layer was not helping at that time – it was a pretty weak signal. With the antenna I built (I built the same one you used in class) and pushing 100W, I was able to make a contact in GA on 40M very clearly. I also heard plenty of people from NY and CT to FL to OH and Chicago.

That’s regional capability that they’re actively creating, that they otherwise may not have been able to achieve. And most important, they’ve got the proper context to use those skills that they definitely won’t get anywhere else. For the people that we’ve all heard saying “I’ll be ready when the time comes”, if that’s your attitude, no, you won’t. All of this is hard enough when conditions are good. If you haven’t been actively training, been sitting on the couch living in a fantasy about fighting the good fight against the Reds while doing literally nothing but wasting time, you will reap exactly the results you’ve put into it. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Take control of your own destiny. Get trained, get supplied, whether that’s arms, ammo, magazines, food or medical gear, and don’t let it be wasted on you alone.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

AmPart: Simple Rainwater Catch System

American Partisan has posted a useful article for addressing your water needs – Plans and photos of a simple rainwater catch system. Rain catchment systems work most easily in areas that have rain fall throughout the year. If you live in an area with mostly seasonal rainfall, then you’ll need to empty your rain barrel into some kind of cistern in order to have water through the dry months.

When I think about preparedness and survival, I think about the primary priorities in order like this: Shelter, Water, Food and Security. The secondary priorities, once you’ve handled those first four, go like this: Medical, Intelligence, Communications and Transportation. I’m going to give you some plans for a simple way to start a rainwater collection system to allow you to check your water needs off the list. Try to remember as a starting rule that your survival group is going to need to plan for water usage to the tune of one gallon of water per person, per day. Sometimes this will obviously include some adjustments up and down for different cooking needs, sanitation, medical, etc., but generally speaking, that rule is a good starting point.

Before we start, also take into consideration your local water sources. I personally live in a very riverine area, though I’m not right on the water. So as long as I’ve done well for myself with transportation, that might be a good option for collecting water. However, I’ve also got a pretty reliable rainfall pattern (or so I say, as we are currently experiencing our first night of rain in eight weeks). Some of us can often count on decent rainfall, but it would behoove you to store water in the largest amount you can for those weeks (or months) when rain is scarce.

This type of simple system will allow you to funnel rainwater into your reservoir, and also collect from other sources and deposit it in the reservoir yourself. When it’s time to use it, or if you want to drain it into smaller ready-to-use jugs or bottles, it’ll need to be filtered/purified. My unpaid recommendation is to use a Berkey water filter for that, simply because the “black” filters that company uses are able to filter a very large amount of water before they need to be replaced. Simply take the water from your collection system, pour it through a Berkey or some similar filtration system, and it’ll be ready to drink. Without filtering, the water can be used for garden irrigation, pets, possibly even hygiene.

Below you’ll see the parts you’ll for this simple build laid out on our table. There we have a 1/2″ metal hose adaptor and a 1/2″ spigot. You’ll need two PVC bushings to go onto those and a pair of rubber washers, one for each bushing. Get some Teflon tape to wrap the metal threads of the hose adaptor and spigot. Get a length of garden hose to attach to the hose adaptor later as an overflow valve. I have some black plastic mesh screen and a couple of bungee cords to make a top screen. Use a power drill and a 13/16 spade bit for drilling holes in the barrel. My barrel I’m using is a food grade 55 gallon barrel that I’m told contained Mountain Dew before it came to me. Some sources will have the top cut off for you, but you can use a jig saw or a saws-all to remove if you need to. I advise using food grade plastic rather than something that could rust. Lastly, you need a short length of garden hose, at least three feet, and make sure it’s still got the attachment on one end.

 

Use your drill bit to drill out two holes in the barrel. One hole needs to near the bottom, which is where the spigot will eventually go. Three inches from the bottom should be ok, but don’t go too much higher. You don’t want to lose access to several inches of water in the bottom. The next hole needs to be near the top, offset at least 90 degrees from the bottom hole. This will be your overflow outlet, hopefully overflowing into another container via the hose you’ll attach later. It needs to be offset because we will assume that you will eventually pair this barrel with a second one catching your first barrel’s overflow, and you don’t want it blocking the spigot below.

 

With the only section of this project that I would call “work” behind you, you’re ready to attach your pieces. Get your Teflon tape and wrap the threads on the narrower end of the hose adaptor, the threads that are going inside the barrel. Take your hose adaptor and push that side through your top drilled hole. If the hole is tight, you might have to screw it in. Reapply Teflon tape if you have to. On the inside, place a rubber washer and then screw the PVC bushing onto the metal adaptor.

 

 

You’ll follow the same process for the spigot at the bottom. Wrap the metal threads with Teflon tape and push the spigot into the hole. You may need to screw the spigot in if the hole is a tight fit, and if so, make sure the Teflon tape is still in place afterward. Position a rubber washer on the inside and screw the bushing into place.

 

 

Take your overflow hose and attach it to the hose adaptor you installed at the top. This hose will drain water into a second container when this container is full.

 

Secure the mesh screen around the top of the barrel using your bungee cords. You’ll need to purify this water coming out before drinking it anyway, but this mesh can prevent leaves, sticks and some bugs or animals from getting inside.

 

Here is your finished product!

 

Some notes:

Once you get the system built, fill the barrel all the way up to the overflow hose and let it run out for a few minutes. You’re checking for leaks, especially at the bottom around the spigot. That kind of water pressure is likely to cause a leak in that bottom area, so then drain the barrel and take some silicon, caulk or other sealant and seal the leak on the inside and outside. Your overflow hose attachment isn’t nearly as likely to leak, nor will it matter as much if it does. There is much less pressure at the top hole than at the bottom. Once your sealant has dried, fill the barrel again and look for leaks…

Click here to continue reading at American Partisan.

Related:

PennState Extension: Rainwater Cisterns: Design, Construction and Treatment

State of Texas: The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting (pdf) This is an eighty-eight page manual covering many aspects of rain harvesting. A little of the data is Texas-specific, such as rainfall maps.

AmPart: An SHTF Perspective on Commo

NC Scout at American Partisan sends some communication insights from someone on the ground in the Ecuador civil unrest – A SHTF Perspective on Commo.

In a real deal SHTF situation, such as a nation in turmoil and civil chaos, how would you fare? When the infrastructure goes down and there’s dead in the streets, what will you do?

That’s a reality for one of AP’s readers living in Ecuador, who’s been giving me steady updates on the deteriorating situation there. He first contacted me over a year ago trying to get their communications up to speed at the local Red Cross chapter. Years of neglect and a focus on more convenient systems caused their antennas to deteriorate and a lack of any knowledgeable operators. If that was bad enough, Simply getting equipment into the country is a challenge…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Protests, Strikes, Riots, Blockades and Violence in Ecuador

Since President Morena of Ecuador passed some measures last week to address the country’s fiscal deficit and debt burden, which included rescinding a significant gasoline/diesel fuel subsidy, the country has been rocked by protest. The protests are getting some mainstream press, but there isn’t much information on how the typical Ecuadoran is being affected by the unrest. NC Scout at American Partisan has been publishing updates from a local with whom he has been working on some Red Cross communications who has been keeping NC Scout apprised of the situation.  The updates give some insight on what civil unrest can do – downed communications infrastructure, how the government is trying to airlift needed supplies for citizens in towns which have been cutoff from truck resupply by the many protest blockades, and so on. Will this be a passing unrest? Or could Ecuador follow the path set by Venezuela for a longer-term shtf situation?

NC Scout’s updates are currently in twelve parts. Surviving Real SHTF: Chaos in Quito. Part 0. Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V. Part VI. Part VII. Part VIII. Part IX. Part X. Part XI. Part XII.

…Stopṕed by the only gas station here. They are done as of today, tanks dry. No more gasoline even for the locals running around the immediate area.
Blockade continues…

Part of the public market is open as of a couple of hours ago but less than yesterday. Meat, fruit, vegetables in some of them but not much and half the stalls closed. No chicken anywhere. Still staples and from my conversations there a few more locals are thinking they might lay in a supply but NOT very many…

Ecuavisa signal in Ambato is out of the air because dozens of indigenous protesters mobilized to Pilisurco Hill to force the antennae of the channel’s repeater…

Red Cross ambulances were attacked by protesters yesterday in Quito, so not much respect for emergency services. As local food stuffs run out without re supply, then attacks on shop keepers are going to increase…

About 180 protesters on Monday forced the security of the warehouses of a dairy company in the town of Lasso, about 60 kilometers south of the capital, and stole products after assaulting employees…

Locally everything is closed. I have not been to centro today but talked to the woman who owns the apartment I rent who is also indig and a shop owner. No more milk, eggs, cheese or bread. When the shops that dare to, open, the police generally tell them to close. She hasnt been able to resupply, everyone else here is in the same condition. This morning I was surprised that there was garbage pickup…

planes of the Ecuadorian Air Force, make the air bridge from the city of Quito to Cuenca in order to supply the population of this sector of the country with essential products…

there have been problems with the reception of medicines for some of the hospitals and medical centers of the city and the province we will give priority.

…From internet sources, 2 deaths in the last 24 hours from injuries suffered in the Quito protests. No accurate info on the total number so far…

In the midst of the violent protests that have surrounded Ecuador , the Red Cross announced that it suspends its attention in the middle of the demonstrations for not being able to guarantee the safety of the volunteers…

Red Cross. No blood supply.   No emergency services anywhere.  Really important for people here to realize this…

 

Mainstream press coverage:

Wall Street Journal: General Strike Paralyzes Ecuador as Protests Continue

RT: Ecuador Protesters Storm Parliament Building Amid Chaotic Street Demonstrations

A substantial police presence was seen in the areas surrounding the national assembly, where security forces clashed with demonstrators wielding stones, sticks and other improvised weapons. The police – some on horseback, motorbike, or in armored vehicles – responded with tear gas and billy clubs.

A larger gathering of several thousand met near the parliament building, defying Moreno’s national emergency decree, which banned public assembly and put restrictions on press freedoms. Many of the demonstrators come from poor and indigenous communities across Ecuador, where the spending cuts have taken the highest toll, particularly the elimination of fuel subsidies.

Voice of America: Crisis in Ecuador over End to Fuel Subsidies

AmPart: Community Security Toolkit – SPACE

Sam Culper, chief intelligence analyst for Forward Observer, has written an article for American Partisan on the intelligence tool called SPACE analysis for signature, profile, associations, contrast and exposure.  He explains how to use this tool to identify weakness in an opponent’s security measures or to evaluate your own. Who are your opponents? It could be gangs, political extremists, criminals, competitors for scarce resources or any number of other groups.

During my last tour in Afghanistan, Palantir was quickly becoming the sweetheart analysis software suite of the Army and Marine Corps. Before I deployed, I sat through a class offered by the company, and immediately recognized that it’s great software. Intelligently designed, easy to use, top notch functionality, and categorization options allow an end-user to drill down and really dissect the adversary and surrounding events. It is, however, only as powerful as the end-user allows it to be.

By the time I left the Intelligence Community, I had become disillusioned with the state of the average analyst (though not every analyst) and much of leadership which was more interested in developing the latest technology instead developing the minds of their analysts.

Intelligence analysis is, and likely will be for decades to come, 80% investigation and 20% technology; but tools like Palantir are trying to invert that ratio. Without a highly inquisitive mind motivated to find the solutions to unanswered or seemingly unanswerable questions, and the proper analytical methods to pick apart your adversary, your analysis of information of intelligence value will be found wanting. Still, for all the faults of technology, Palantir made SPACE analysis way easier.

SPACE is an acronym that every good analyst should use, especially where it concerns community security. Its roots are in our operational security (OPSEC) manual, and when the adversary doesn’t care enough to implement SPACE into his security considerations, it’s our job as intelligence analysts to exploit their mistakes. (That road goes both ways, by the way.)

One of the things an analyst should consider of an adversary are his vulnerabilities, which makes OPSEC so important to both parties. In SPACE, we’re presented with invisible vulnerabilities: indicators that aren’t often considered and don’t appear to be vulnerabilities at face value, but are useful nonetheless when applied to the enemy’s operating picture.

Keep SPACE in mind when inventorying your own security measures…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: Signals Intelligence – Electronic Isolation Of A Target

NC Scout at American Partisan has written an article on signals intelligence and how to exploit it to disrupt an enemy’s communications. Please note that disrupting someone’s radio communications during peacetime is usually illegal. The FCC can fine you thousands of dollars, revoke any radio licenses you have, and confiscate your radio equipment.

Signals Intelligence: Electronic Isolation Of A Target

Not too long ago I ran a short post over at Brushbeater noting a story from the Marine Corps, pairing signals collection guys with Scout Snipers in a somewhat new small unit strategy. Building on the successes SOF units have had for a long time now in recognizing the rapid value of SIGINT in the field, pairing the two elements only makes sense. The idea is to isolate a target where they’re most vulnerable- electronic communications- in order to end the fight quickly with as few casualties on our side as possible. And working from a prepared citizen’s point of view, those same capabilities can and should be reflected in your own training.

It’s not enough to simply have a scanner, however nice it might be, and call yourself good on signals intelligence. Situational awareness, maybe, maybe, but none of it will do you much good without a means to exploit what ever it is you’ve collected.

The purpose of intelligence is exploitation. 

Recording voice traffic with common items makes exploitation easy

What that means in practical terms is that unless I can do anything with what I’m hearing, its completely useless to me. So what if I hear some traffic on a random frequency. Did I take the time to record it? What did they actually say? What is their level of training or discipline? Who’s the person in charge on the mic?

We can listen to all the traffic we want, but if we have no way of exploiting that, then we’re wasting our time.

Some of the equipment you’ll need for a signals collection package at the small unit level includes a decent scanner capable of decoding P25, a communications receiver, an inexpensive analog radio,  a recording device, a Yagi, and a frequency counter. Most of the higher end scanners on the market have up-gradable firmware that is enabling the decoding of P25 modes in use with public service as well as DMR which is very common today in the US as well as being used in Ukraine and Syria among guerrillas. A communications receiver, while similar to a scanner, will tell us the exact frequency the traffic is on, unlike most digital scanners today. We need to know this in order to have the operating frequency- its not enough to know what they’re saying, but we need to know what frequency they’re on so that if we decide to shut down their communications, we can effectively attack.

Our inexpensive analog radio enables us to not just have additional redundancy in our kit, but it’s also a useful exploitation tool. Depending on what type of gear your opponent has, something like a UV-5R can become our weapon in shutting their communications down. Using a Yagi to first get a bearing on their direction and then focus our signal in their direction, overloading their radios. This is beginning what’s known as isolating the target…

Click here to finish reading the article at American Partisan.

AmPart: RTO’s Guide to Connectors

NC Scout at American Partisan has a nice, short article on radio cable/antenna connectors and what is useful for improvising antennas — RTO’s Guide to Connectors.

One of the common questions I get before, during and after the RTO Course is “how in the heck do you remember all those different connectors?” Well, the answer is nothing more than repetition- I know them because I’m built so many antennas over the years and needed the various connectors you come to know what they’re called.

Its a good idea to have a large number of spare connectors and adapters on hand. If you’re making external antennas for your equipment, they’re an absolute must have item. And unlike pretty much everything else we make our antennas from in the RTO Course, they’re the hardest to source in a working environment, so knowing what they are and having a bunch on hand now makes too much sense.

Cobra Heads make improvised antennas fast and simple.

The Cobra Head 

A story I tell in class is exactly how I discovered the real name for what I always knew as a Cobra Head. The Split Post BNC Adapter, or BNC Banana Jack Adapter, is widely known to Army guys as Cobra Heads- in fact, I never knew they were called anything else and couldn’t find them for a long time after I got out. I found them at a Hamfest in a big tray of connectors and felt like an idiot when I was told what they’re really called. It didn’t matter- I found them.

Why they’re important is that its the easiest connector to use when building improvised wire antennas. We were given them by the bagful in the Army to practice antenna building, and I came to really appreciate it. Simply cut your wire, match the radiating wire to the red end and ground side to the black, loop it around and you’re good to go. If you want to get the most secure with it be sure to use some ring terminals to connect the wire to the connector. Attaching BNC coax can’t be easier and more secure…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: So What’s the Matter with Universal Gun Registration?

Author and former navy seal Matt Bracken has written a short post at American Partisan on some twentieth century firearm registration history – So What’s the Matter with Universal Gun Registration?

To say that Turkey did not enjoy a smooth transition from being the seat of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, through World War One and into the modernist Ataturk era, would be a massive understatement. In those turbulent times, ethnic Turks, Muslims composing the vast majority of the population, considered their Christian minorities, especially the Armenians, to be disloyal and treacherous.

In 1911, a national gun registration law was passed in Turkey, with no apparent ill intention beyond increasing public safety. In 1915, during The Great War, these gun registration lists were used to disarm the Armenian and other Christian populations. Army battalions cordoned off entire towns and did gun sweeps. Once disarmed, the official state violence visited against the Armenians ratcheted up to murderous levels. Typically, on town-wide sweeps, all of the men and boys were taken away by the Turkish soldiers, never to be seen or heard from again…

…A new low standard had been set. A nation’s leaders could commit genocide against a despised minority, murder two million living souls in full view, and the world would not give a good damn. It was an important lesson for future dictators, leading to even greater mass murders under the Nazis and Soviets.

And the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists learned another crucial lesson from the Turks: national gun registration laws could be passed easily in the name of dubious “public safety,” and the registration lists could be used later to disarm selected minorities and then subsequently to arrest, deport, and murder them by the millions after they were helpless to resist…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: Living Off the Land – Gardening

JohnyMac at American Partisan is starting a series of articles on living off the land. His first installment is on the topic of gardening.

…This series of articles will cover gardening, protein raising, spirits making, among other fun things that you and your group will need to do to survive. Since we are now in harvesting time the first item will be about gardening.

I know the topic of gardening isn’t as exciting as the new XYZ carbine review however, if you think you are going to survive a job loss, economic downturn or even a SHTF scenario without food you are truly mistaken…

Let’s first talk about hitting the mountains and living off the land, ala Jeremiah Johnson. I will use my AO area as an example because it is truly rural.

We are located in a small hamlet surrounded by thousands and thousands of miles of woods among mountains and more mountains. The town of 500 or so is about 5-miles away and the residents are made up of farmers, blue collar workers, retired, and unfortunately living off Uncle Sugar too. If things went south everybody would be hunting and fishing. You must ask yourself, “how long would the critters living in these mountains last?” I remember one of the old timers here telling me that the deer and bear really didn’t come back into these hills in any kind of quantities post the Great Depression until the late 1960’s.

Once the deer, bears, and other four-legged critters were hunted out what will one do? …How many of us could gather the needed vegetables from the surrounding area? Once someone learns that you can eat cat-tail roots everybody will be digging around the ponds in the area. Again, how long will cat-tail roots last before they go the way of the game.

My point is that you nor your family will not survive. Therefore we have a garden. Not just for food today, but to practice growing food tomorrow…

Our garden is approximately 1,800 sf and is made up of raised beds with seedlings, and seeds planted directly into the tilled ground. The research that I have done is it takes about 900 sf at our latitude per person to grow enough veggies for one person. The current goal is to grow 80% of the veggies that we eat within a year. The best to that goal has been 70% due in part to the fact the vegetable garden is self-tending. We do not spend a lot of time weeding, watering, or general maintenance. I know though that if our garden was the only source of food, we would be in that garden every day weeding and doing general maintenance…

Click here to read the rest of the article at American Partisan.

Related:

Gardening KNow How: Survival Garden How To

Vegetable Gardening with Lorraine: Survival Gardening

AskAPrepper: Post Apocalypse Gardening

John Mosby: Guerrilla Gardening

John Mosby: Permaculture

AmPart: Forming a Community Survival Group

A new writer for American Partisan, using the pseudonym Gray Man, has written a brief introductory article to Forming a Community Survival Group. The Gray Man is Southern born and raised, a Christian American family man, an Army combat veteran (OEF) and former intelligence collector. He is currently an ER nurse and a homesteader living in the rural Deep South.

In the events that are coming, whether it’s an economic collapse, a major natural disaster, societal breakdown, or any other unpleasantness, being part of a solid group of people is going to be your best bet to get through. Studying the work of “Selco” (Yugoslavia), Fernando “FerFal” Aguirre (Argentina) and others who have actually been through a modern economic/societal collapse is invaluable because it shows us an example of what a modern societal collapse may actually look like here. Preppers and survivalists will always be able to come up with ideas of what things are going to be like, but unless those ideas are based on events that have already taken place somewhere, they’re less likely to be accurate. Studying those past events, it becomes clear that people who are part of a cohesive group survive the best, and the groups with some semblance of a plan to begin with will fare even better. While it’s true that no good plan ever survived the first enemy contact, having a solid plan for your group fosters confidence in that group, allowing the members to keep their head in the game when the going gets tough, and drive toward an objective.

When building your survival/partisan/neighborhood security group, you’ve got to tailor your group to your objective, situation and capability. What are you building a group to do? What size group is practical for your situation and location? How many people can you actually find to join? I am currently located in the rural Deep South, a few miles outside of a town of about 300 people. Am I going to build a battalion-sized survival group that will save the U.S. from the Communist threat?

Don’t hold your breath, mate. That’s not realistic…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

American Partisan: First Aid in a Wilderness Setting

American Partisan has a two part article on wilderness first aid by former combat medic.

First Aid in a Wilderness Setting, Part I

Wilderness First Aid, Part II

After having a Positive Mental Attitude to survive, and once you’ve located Shelter, the next on the list of priorities is First Aid. This will likely be in a wilderness environment. Just so we can put a label on this, lets look at some definitions.

Wilderness is defined as “An uncultivated, and inhospitable region.”

First Aid is defined as “help given to a sick or injured person until full medical treatment is available.”

I’ll go a step further with defining this by saying wilderness, medically speaking, is an hour or more from the time the incident occurred, to treatment in a definitive care facility. Wilderness First Aid is also all about Improvising. We often can’t lug around an ALS ambulance with us or pack our gear with with the contents of a paramedic’s trauma bag. We can take minimal supplies and the rest is improvising. We can splint a leg fracture or configure a c-collar with a sleeping pad. We can use a bandana as a trauma dressing.

In a wilderness medical setting as well as the urban setting, we can categorize our patient as either Medical or Trauma. A medical patient in my experience as a former Combat Medic and Wilderness EMT seems to be more subjective, which means they tell you what’s wrong with them more than you can see it objectively. With trauma, it’s the opposite. A person who crashes their mountain bike on a trail and has an open fracture to an arm is pretty self-explanatory.

S-A-B-A

S-A-B-A stands for “Self-Aid / Buddy-Aid”. Self-Aid sounds easy when we know how we feel and pretty much know we crashed a bike or twisted an ankle on the trail. Except for that, we might have to perform some functions with only one hand, reduced or no vision, and not being able to move around because of trauma to our bodies. I would emphasize to practice applying a dressing & bandage to yourself with the use of one arm or blindfolded. This can be done while sitting on the couch watching TV. Buddy Aid is being able to medically assist another person…

Related:

American Partisan: The Partisan’s First-Aid Kit

American Partisan: Home Brew – NVIS Antenna

Johny Mac at American Partisan has an article up at American Partisan on making your own NVIS antenna. A near-vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) antenna is used in the high frequency (HF) spectrum from around 1.8MHz to  10MHz in order to cover an approximate radius/range of 300 miles. HF is usually used for long distance communication around the world, and most antennas are built to maximize range, but those antennas can often cause the radio signal to skip or make a gap in the range from about fifty to three hundred miles.  The NVIS antenna redirects the radio signal in such a way that it covers that gap at the sacrifice of the longer distance contacts. This makes the NVIS antenna ideal for communications during a regional disaster.

If you do not know what a NVIS antenna is and why it is a great addition to your antenna farm, go and read these four articles. The first being from NC Scout titled, Near Vertical Incidence Skywave – Simplified, then NVIS I, NVIS II, and NVIS III authored by Key Pounder and published on NC Scout’s site, Brushbeater.

At a 100,000-foot level though, a NVIS antenna is a dipole antenna that has a steeper transmit angle than a traditional horizontal flat-top dipole antenna and is located closer to the ground at between 8 to 15-feet Vs. a traditional 1/4λ height; let’s say 30 to 60-feet over tera firma. This allows you to transmit to other stations closer to your AO that you may skip over using a flat-top horizontal dipole antenna. Think of the skip bounced off the ‘F’ layer of the ionosphere being 25 to 50-miles Vs. 200 to 300-miles. The German Army developed this procedure during WW II to communicate with troops via the airwaves closer to the transmitting station.

Traditional dipole antenna radiation Vs. NVIS radiation

I started out building my NVIS antenna using the directions posted on the DX Engineeringsite as my blue-prints for the project. Although you can buy a kit from DX Engineering, I had plenty of hardware around the redoubt so I decided to save a few bucks. Below is my Mise en place for this build. Hams are the true scroungers of this earth…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: Directional Antennas for the Small Unit, Part I and II

NC Scout at American Partisan has started a series of articles on antenna theory called Directional Antennas for the Small Unit. If you’re just getting started in radio communication, or you’ve been using it for a while but haven’t spent much time getting to know your antennas, this is a good start.

Directional Antennas For The Small Unit, Part 1

One of the biggest misconceptions behind communications security revolves around misunderstanding not just the role of the equipment but also how it functions. A big part of that is the basics of antenna theory. For most radio seems to be a plug and play kinda deal- it either works, or it doesn’t. Antennas are a type of voodoo magic and the solution to security is electronic encryption. Except it isn’t, and doesn’t do anything except mask what you’re saying, but not the fact you’re saying it. Guerrillas must rely on not being detected- and no matter how high tech you think you are, it’ll not solve a tradecraft issue.

The reality is that we’ll be working with equipment that is common and off the shelf- no matter how much we want those microwave NSA-encrypted troposcatter radios made of unobtanium, a big part of local networking is done via plain old VHF and UHF amateur and commercial gear that’s common. Guerrilla communications have to be harder to detect. And at the strategic level when building an underground network, you have to understand how to plan. Even with the cheap equipment most of you likely have, incorporating a level of planning into your local communications will yield a much higher level of security and success. Knowing and understanding directional antennas becomes a key part of that planning, and as we cover in the Advanced RTO Course, there’s several options that each get the job done.

Directional Antennas such as this Yagi seen here offer security by ‘beaming’ our transmission in the direction its pointed.

Directional antennas accomplish two goals for us. First, generally speaking, if you’re not in the direction of the transmission you’re not going to hear the traffic. Because of this it offers a big advantage in the security department. If two directional antennas are transmitting toward one another, they’ll be able to communicate with the only people hearing the full conversation being in the middle of the two people. The second advantage is that instead of all our energy going in all directional at once, as with an omnidirectional antenna, a directional antenna sends the same amount of radiated energy in one direction- greatly increasing our range and signal strength in that direction, so we won’t need nearly as much power to accomplish to reliably communicate over a distance you might not have thought otherwise possible…

 

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Click here to read Part II at American Partisan.