In this Radio Contra podcast, NC Scout of Brushbeater and American Partisan interviews K of Combat Studies Group. This topic is Biden’s recent executive order on cryptocurrencies, what this means for the market long term, and what measures you can take to protect yourself from intrusions by Big Brother.
Through the link below to American Partisan is NC Scout’s (of Brushbeater and American Partisan) recent interview of K from Combat Studies Group. Some of our local community members have been lucky enough to train with both of these people.
Crusoe at American Partisan has several articles about building mutual assistance groups (MAGs) which may be worth your time to read. Crusoe mentions this, but know that the examples of standards and equipment which he mentions are what his specific group decided. Your MAG may have different goals which will dictate more or less stringent standards or entirely different standards and/or equipment.
I believe it is important to build a mutual assistance group (MAG) based upon sound principles and shared values. Using history as a guide, it was bands of people who gathered that ensured survival. Quite frankly, hiding in a bunker by yourself is one of the quickest ways to get rolled up, all your stuff taken, and ultimately killed. Humans are tribal by nature and require community to function optimally. We were not made to exist within a digital world, and it is human-to-human interaction that brings out the best in us. I commonly say, “practice analog leadership in a digital world.” For a great (and fun) book to read that illustrates the need for community defense check out Warwolf by Hermann Lons.
Building a MAG takes a lot of work, but in the end will be worth every minute you spend building it. Whether you are creating a new one or trying to gain purpose with your existing group there are key steps to take. For the purpose of this article, I will talk about the initial steps of building a charter and why this is important.
A charter is nothing more than the guidelines on how your group is structured and expectations of each member. It really is not rocket science; it just takes a lot of thinking to get it right. If building a new group, I would recommend you start with only a couple founding members that share your values and basic expectations. When trying to do anything with numbers greater than that it quickly devolves into ‘group think’ and bickering over minor details. Remember…this is your group, and the end results will be influenced by these first steps. The ultimate goal is to build professionalism which spurs deliberate actions. Professionalism is also how you will recruit worthwhile members as they will see you are not a bunch of old fat men who only shoot guns and talk about the impending apocalypse. Instead, they will see you as squared away and thinking about the bigger picture.
When starting to write your charter I recommend you buy a big white board and brainstorm your purpose. If you have read any of my other articles you will know I am a proponent of defining requirements before doing anything. Ask the questions: Why are we building this MAG? What is our overall purpose? What does the end result look like? and What do we value? From this mental exercise the next steps are to build mission and vision statements. This is important because it will define what it is you are trying to accomplish.
NC Scout of Brushbeater and American Partisan recently appeared on The Gunmetal Armory Podcast.
I had the awesome experience of being on with The Gunmetal Armory podcast last week. It was a kick-ass time and I’d like to give a big shoutout to Dane for being an excellent host and all around good dude. Its likely we’re going to have a course or two out in AZ this coming Fall- so if you’re out there, I’m looking forward to training with you.
NC Scout at American Partisan talks about the supposed compromise of the secure messaging app Signal in Signal App Compromised? Not So Fast… Remember that encryption works, and because encryption works the people who want your data will do anything they can to convince you to just not take the effort to use it.
Much has been written about the supposed compromise of Signal as a so-called ‘secure messaging app’, with some sources being a bit better than others on the matter. I’ve had a ton of questions about it over the past couple of days, and almost all of it doesn’t revolve around the issues with an app itself, but rather, the tradecraft errors behind using it.
First things first, almost everyone I come into contact with in the Liberty community, absent those with serious .mil backgrounds requiring at least a primer in tradecraft, have no idea what they’re actually doing. That statement is not meant to deride, far from it; its simply the truth. When it comes to communications, most are looking for a replacement: a methadone for a heroin addiction, if you will- to their incessant need for a phone. This is especially true when it comes to the instant gratification of messaging. I’m reminded of Russell Crowe’s line from a movie long since memory-holed, Body of Lies, saying “we just need al Saleem on the phone. Langley’ll do the rest.”
And they did.
Signal, as a software, does what it claims to do. On top of that, the source code for the app is open source and subject to anyone’s audit or modifications, should your skillset include the expertise in that area. And should you have that level of ability, you can even modify it to suit your needs running a code off the beaten path while still utilizing Signal’s network. It is end-to-end encrypted, after all. And what exactly does that mean? It means that the administrators can see that someone is accessing the network, but not what is being passed along it, much the same way that TOR actually works. Even with audio calls, the system does what it claims to do.
So let’s discuss the actual vulnerability in question.
According to documents filed by the Department of Justice and first obtained by Forbes, Signal’s encrypted messages can be intercepted from iPhone devices when those Apple devices are in a mode called “partial AFU,” which means “after first unlock.”
When phones are in partial AFU mode, Signal messages can be seized by federal authorities and other potentially hostile interests. GrayKey and Cellebrite are the tools typically used by the FBI to gain this sensitive information, an expert has explained.
“It uses some very advanced approach using hardware vulnerabilities,” said Vladimir Katalov, who founded the Russian forensics company ElcomSoft, believing that GrayKey was used by federal authorities to crack Signal.
So its not the app after all, but rather the hardware’s setting. A vulnerability which, since its a hardware exploit, likely applies to every messaging app. So tradecraft, or the lack thereof, is the heart. As per the usual. And the hardware in question is the hipster device of choice, an Apple iPhone. Shocker. But I thought Apple prided itself on user security?
Maybe at one point. But clearly no longer. Must be all that CCP money. And the real kick in the groin is that (shocker, again!) the FBI (or any other domestic security agency) can get into your phone without your handy little thumbprint. And just because they didn’t mention Android, don’t think its not every bit as vulnerable. It is.
So let’s talk about how to mitigate it.
First, understand the levels of data collected from cellular devices. I’ve discussed this ad nausem in the past. Your phone is constantly tracking you, no matter what you do absent putting it in an EMP bag, and if you cannot fully comprehend this reality then you’re really, really far behind the power curve. The lone answer is moving to using wi-fi only mobile devices for communications using open source apps. Wifi is common enough even in rural areas and if the technology is beyond you, so is your usefulness in a direct action cell.
Second, understand how to properly message people. The magic blanket of encryption may conceal our message but it neither conceals our presence nor our patterns of life- and in particular, who’s being messaged. This requires first discipline, and second, a pre-arranged (and trained on) code. One Time Pads work quite well, but a pre-configured Trigram or Brevity matrix works as well. On top of that, messages should be set to delete after a short period of time. Signal enables this, and if the message is important (it should be if you’re using Signal to send it), write it down. Clandestine messages are usually one-way as it is, requiring no overt response. Or if a response is necessary, respond through another backchannel (the same way I teach communicating on two different frequencies simultaneously in the RTO Course). Further, group messages of any more than two individuals is an instant non-starter. This violates even the most basic rules of clandestine cell organization and why Liberty groups feel the need to broadcast everything to everyone, I’ll never understand. Maybe you’ll learn one day. Domestic Black Sites are real.
Last, what you’re using as a so-called daily driver, ie your surface phone, is absolutely not used for this role. One of my own personal objections to Signal is and has always been the requirement of a phone number for registration. My Sudo allows us to bypass this by generating another phone number, but alternative apps such as Wire and Threema register via an email account…far, far better. And on that note you did install it on your own, absent Google play, correct?
So with that said, what do I think of this so-called ‘compromise’? It think its a smoke screen for CCP / Apple to keep their own compromise hidden in the details, as well as a smoke screen for disgruntled feminist intersectionalist IT workers behind the scenes at Signal unhappy that anyone other than AntiFa degenerates and washed up Agency Spooks would be using their app. For me, Signal is the C in my PACE plan- the ability to contact those using cell phones from my own wifi device, should the need arise. I don’t hang my hat on its ability outside my control. Neither should you. And the fact that a lot of people in this community do underscores just how behind the curve some of the louder voices really are. No matter what you’re doing, the correct answer is always using open source systems, have a PACE plan, follow the Moscow Rules and if there’s any doubt, there is no doubt.
Johnny Paratrooper at American Partisan has a cleaning item list and linked firearm cleaning video. Firearm cleaning is always a good topic for knowledge expansion. It seems like most of us aren’t very good at it. Even the military often isn’t very good at teaching how to do it. My experience comes pre-WoT, so maybe the army has gotten better, but at the time they pretty much handed you a cleaning kit, taught you how to break down and re-assemble your firearm, and just told you to make it shiny. There was little to no instruction on lubrication of parts or where lubrication was desired and undesired, or avoiding damage to the crown, weather effects on lubrication, or really anything else. Cleaning and lubricating your firearm is important; learn to do it well.
“For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider, the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
At AP, we believe in proper equipment maintenance. Without it, you lose. Period.
Cleaning guns isn’t very cool or sexy, but it’s my favorite part of shooting. Right next to after hours barbecue and whiskey. Cleaning weapons is about as cool as the “Department of Horseshoe-Nail Acquisitions”, but, I take this time to inspect and tighten up my gun. I even marvel at my weapon’s utility, our birth rights, what they represent to our nation, and the meaning for western civilization. I take pride in all my gear, especially if it’s made in America. I fix all problems immediately. Consequently, I saw two guns go down because of poor maintenance during the last “Fighting Kalashnikov Course” offered by Brushbeater Training. 100% operator error. Totally avoidable. Properly torque your optics, stocks, pistol grips, and muzzle devices. You need a torque driver, or torque wrench for this. There are many different brands. The engineers didn’t make these numbers up for no reason. I use the one linked below. Buy once, cry once.
During normal business hours, AKA peacetime, the average shooter doesn’t use much in the way of patches, solvents, or gun oil. I can assure you, when you are running around in the woods getting rained on and sleeping on the ground, you will go through patches, solvents, and oil with regularity. Multiply that by two, or three, and you have a bit of a logistics problem on your hand. When you sleep on the ground, the moisture from the ground is drawn to your weapon because of the difference in temperature. This will cause your weapon to rust even if you live in the middle of the high & dry deserts of Wyoming. Plus, you will spend time near the water. For obvious reasons…
You’ll go through all your field patches pretty darn quick. I went through 40 or so patches the other day cleaning 2 Carbines. That adds up… The patches I use come in 200 piece packs(Linked later in the article). That’s 5 days of cleaning during periods of overtime and night shift. BTW, bore snakes are almost useless. I keep one handy, only if I have water, or dust, in my barrel from a mounted patrol and/or a swim. Then you will want to give it a good sweep or three with a snake. Cleaning corrosive ammo with a bore snake isn’t a good idea, if so, mark that bore snake with some pink nail polish as a warning, and remember to wash it out with hot water and some light soap. A bore snake won’t remove a mud plug from your barrel. You need a cleaning rod for that. Cleaning rods are mandatory field kit. You’ll never get a stuck case out of your chamber or a mud plug out of your gun without a cleaning rod of the proper length.
Logistics win wars.
A rusty barrel in the field=First Round Point Of Impact (FRPOI) shift. Which means you just missed your bad guy, his buddy, his truck, and the machine gunner. Plus a large, bright, red rust cloud flies out the end of your gun. You can see the problem here adds up real quick. All for lack of a proper weapons cleaning kit and some discipline. Firearms aren’t cheap, and the ammo isn’t either. It’s poor practice to not care for our tools, toys, and training aids.
Yesterday, after cleaning a few guns in storage, I threw away a 12 gauge bore brush, a handful of old 5.56 bore brushes, a 5.56 chamber brush, and a few .30 cal brushes. I don’t normally clean my 12 or 20 gauge shotguns after every single trip to the range, but I do use the 12 gauge brushes for cleaning other parts of my guns. Just the same way that I don’t own a .17 HMR caliber firearm, but I keep those little bore brushes around because those things are great for cleaning those little hard to reach places.
You’ll also need targets and a couple extra rounds nearby to keep those weapons zeroed. A site sponsor, Brownells, has great deals on cleaning supplies and targets. I probably have $1,000 in cleaning supplies and targets laying around. Here are some of my favorites. Targets are my next topic, for another post later this week or early next week.
1) Let’s start with the first thing I was ever issued by Uncle Sam to clean an M4. The not-to-bad “Militec Oil”. This stuff works pretty well, but the cap doesn’t stay on. It literally just comes off for no reason.
2) Next, we have the ever faithful “Break-Free CLP”. CLP stands for Cleaner, Lubricant, and Protectant. It is probably the industry standard for cleaning weapons in the field. The carbon just falls out of the firearm. It’s pretty amazing stuff. But it’s pricey and like most “all-in-one” products, it fails in some areas, like cleaning, and excels in others, like pack weight and volume. I primarily don’t use it anymore because its not a good bore solvent. It takes a while to act on the copper and lead fouling and it’s frankly a little time consuming. Good for packing into the woods, not so good for the work bench and target shooting.
3) I personally use this product linked below. Lucas Oil Gun Oil for the field/kit/vest. These things are great. I keep one in my field cleaning kit. It hasn’t leaked or bent or broken to date. It’s wrapped up in a few rags just in case it does. That seems to keep it safe and sound from the harsh world. The cap is similar to the Elmer’s glue “screw top” cap. It works great. “Field-Proof” is a word that comes to mind.
4) I use these needle oiler bottles linked below. I ordered the 3 pack, but I should have ordered 6 of them. They work great, are pretty small, and the cap stays on surprising well considering the size and the contents. Any small needle oiler will work, but these are well made and appear to be quality. I keep High Performance synthetic motor oil in them. I have no shortage of HP Mobil One laying around.
Gun oils have rust protection additives, so motor oil isn’t a true substitute during long term field use, but it works just fine if you regularly clean your guns at home or in the field. I try to clean one of my guns every other day or so. Just to inspect them and practice my manual of arms. It keeps me dangerous.
5) My favorite solvent is this stuff below, good old Hoppe’s #9, I like the the smell and it works great. Let some marinade in the barrel for a few minutes, or maybe 5-10, if it’s really cold out, and keep running patches through till its clean. Dedicated bore solvents are the best, they work very well because they have a high molar concentration of additives and solvents. You can use the bore mops, or cattails as some people call them, those are the furry bore brushes that don’t work very well in my personal opinion. They come in most combination kits. I think it’s best to just scrub your barrel a few times and run a patch covered in solvent down the barrel. Repeat till the barrel is bright and shiny. This stuff comes in cases of 6 bottles. You should buy a whole case. It goes pretty quick, but you only need to use it after you fire live ammo or blanks. I remember cleaning .22s with my grandfather using this stuff. Reminds me of the Maryland Eastern Shore on the Wye River every time.
On to the topic of patches. These things can be hit or miss. I’m gonna let you know how I feel about bore brushes soon enough, but the damn patches are my least favorite cleaning accessory. First, Let’s talk about thickness; There needs to be a standard, but there isn’t, so you can waste a bit of time dealing with this. I prefer to use the “Allen” 3 inch Shotgun and General Cleaning Patches from Amazon or Chinamart.
6) Type this into Amazon, using our link in the sidebar, I had trouble linking for whatever reason “Allen 200 Cotton Gun Cleaning Patch Absorbent General Cleaning” Get the 3 inch patches. Trust me, I love cleaning guns. I wrap them around used bore brushes sometimes and use them as half brush/ half jag combo. They work great. These patches are tough, they scrub nicely, they are big enough to get around the bull barrel on my free-floated bolt guns, can be trimmed to size, and they don’t leave cotton threads on everything. They come in a resealable bag of 200. They survive multiple passes down a barrel, so you can really make sure they are dirty before you toss them out. They rock. 10/10
Remember, one pack of 200 patches is only enough patches for you, two buddies, and two-three gunfights or range trips. It’s that simple. You can’t beat logistics.
7) On to bore brushes, chamber brushes, and jags. There are two things to know. First, there are two different thread pitches for brushes and rods. The military is a bunch of geniuses and had to have their own thread pitch. Second, don’t buy the cheap brushes at the gun show. They are almost worthless and you pay top dollar. Check your thread pitch first. One is military; The other is commercial. The military guys probably noticed that sometimes their brushes fit, and sometimes they don’t. Now you know.
These 12 packs of Brownells house brand linked above are the way to go. $20 bucks for 12 brushes? Yes please. I ordered one pack of damn near every size they have. And I ordered 6 5.56 and 6 7.62 AR chamber brushes. You can clean basically any weapon chamber with these things, and detail quite a few other hard to reach places as well. Some people argue that the “Nylon Brushes” and the tornado style brushes are good. Maybe I’m just old school, but I frankly haven’t noticed a difference, and you pay more.
8) The brass/nylon brushes on the twisted wire stick/loop work well, I have a few of those that I bent at a 90 degree for cleaning my M1A chamber because it’s not an “open style” of action. I run it like a ratchet, It works better than you think. That’s linked below. This is a good tool for field use with a pistol.
9) On the topic of tactical toothbrushes and detailing wire brushes, I have never noticed one is significantly better than the other. (Link Below) When I clean my piston head on my piston guns, I use a small wire wheel on my cordless drill, and it works like a beast. That’s not a good solution for the field, obviously, but I can not carry enough ammo to notice anyway. So that’s not an issue for me personally. Very clean, bright, and shiny is perfect before the big game(or preseason kickoff) These brushes below are industry standards right here. You’ll get years of use out of them.
10) For cleaning dust off my gun, and my optical lenses, I use a small, clean nylon paint brush that I cut the handle off of. Plus the countless lens polishing wipes I have. This saves weight and space. I had a few of the military barber brushes laying around, but they started to rot and fall apart so I threw them away and use a small nylon paint brush like the one I use on my work tools. The nylon paintbrush is much, much better for sweeping your gun and optic. Make sure you brush the gun BEFORE you put oil all over it. You don’t want oil on your gun mixing into your brush. Works good for brushing electronic screens and keypads too.
For optics, I make sure the battery cap is tight and the lens is clean. Wiggle the optic to check for loosening. During the winter, and summer, you will notice that if you run outside with your firearm, the optic fogs up immediately. Test this right now. See what happens. I already know the answer. I promise your optic fogs up in 30 seconds. It also happens during mounted operations in vehicles with A/C or heat pumps. I had it happen to a hunting revolver I had under my riding jacket once, and one time I checked the horses and had a very foggy rifle optic.
Good luck keeping the wolves away with a foggy optic… This problem is caused by the temperature change. Military optics are dense, and have a considerable heat sink. You’ll spend a considerable amount of time wiping fog from your optic, your eye pro not so much. Have you factored this into your home defense plan? The waxes that are used by divers and snorkelers are the best. I like the little jars of green/blue/yellow wax. They work great. And I use a soft clean, optics wipe to clean off the excess goo. Eventually the wipe gets enough wax on it you won’t need to add much for it too work. So the process speeds itself up. If you acclimate your weapon, by an open window for instance, this can be avoided if you lack the proper anti-fog.
11) Type this into Amazon “Z Clear Lens Clear 3 pack”. You need this stuff. Good luck responding to your neighborhood defense plan with a foggy lens, foggy eye pro, and foggy NODs. Have fun unscrewing your killflash, wiping the lens, and screwing it back on before reacting to contact. I learned this lesson in Baghdad MANY times. You should too. It can occur during ANY time of the year especially after a rain with a temp shift.
12) Cleaning tools and cleaning rods come in a mix of quality. All things Amazon and Walmart are basically junk, but not useless. Unless you have spares, I wouldn’t risk my life on that stuff. Buy some quality rods, and a good set of jags. I don’t care for the loops. They take WAY too long to clean a weapon in my experience. The style linked below is best, in my opinion. I bought two sets just in case I misplace or lose one. But you can wrap an old bore brush in your solvent patches and skip the extra weight and have less items to keep track of on your kit. One or the other works in my experience.
Any style of rod, preferably extra long for rifles, and short for pistols is best. There are free spinning versions, with bearings, and fixed varieties for different tasks. The free spin variety prevents the brush from unscrewing in your barrel. This is a safety issue. I have seen an AR pop because a bore brush unscrewed from the cleaning rod. The weapon completely detonated, and the shooter lost a few pieces of his hand, and some dignity, in front of 200 shooters. The fixed variety is nice for scrubbing chambers and those other nooks, niches, and notches in your firearm. You don’t have to worry about damaging your barrel or chamber. The amount of energy you are exerting on the weapon is nothing compared to firing a cartridge. Just be careful not to excessively offset your rod from the centerline, and you’ll be just fine. The important thing is to clean your weapon, because this is the best way to extend the service life of your investment.
13) Remember, You need to clean your weapon three or four times to fully detail it after hard field use, or an expensive day at the range. Don’t forget to pick up some packs of 500 cotton swabs. They are cheap and have a million uses.
The most important thing to remember is to protect your barrel, lube your weapon, and fog proof your lens. That’s 90% of the struggle right there. Your eye pro, and your NODs too, but I’m not gonna ask you to do that. Call the manufacturer first and listen to their directions for fog proofing NODs. Honestly though, the product is just wax. It provides a hydrophobic coating to the glass.
Don’t forget to wear eye pro when working on weapons with liquids and springs under pressure.
14) Also, wear latex or nitrile gloves. Anything that touches your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream within 30-60 seconds. Solvents full of lead powder and sulfurs included. Don’t die of liver failure or some horrible brain disease. We are trying to win; Not lose. This is a long-term struggle gentlemen. Expect to spend somewhere around $500-$1,000 bucks when this is all said and done. It’s worth it. My weapons and optics are better than brand new, they are clean, well worn, accurate, and shiny in the right spots.
The video below is great. I use the same presoaked patch trick he uses. Great Idea.
NC Scout of American Partisan talks about the HF NVIS Antenna. Also check out a follow up post here.
In the last Radio Contra I discussed a simple way of rigging up an antenna for NVIS HF use. Its a topic that gets a lot of attention, and in turn, a lot of confusion. But trust me, its simple. The whole point behind HF is creating regional communications- anything that’s beyond line of sight– and while you can spend a heck of a lot of money in a hurry and not get a lot, you can spend just a few bucks and with a little knowhow I’m about to impart here, have a great setup.
NVIS relies on sending as much of your radiated energy skyward as possible, with as close to a zero degree takeoff as possible. So, this means a horizontal antenna close to the ground. In case you’re wondering, the takeoff angle is perpendicular to the orientation of the antenna- so, if the antenna is vertical, you’ll have a very shallow takeoff angle, aka groundwave, if its horizontal, the radiation goes vertical. NVIS generally works best between 1.8-8mHz, with the higher frequencies working better during the day and the lower ones at night.
I’ll also add to this that the direction finding threat almost exclusively comes from groundwave. So on HF, NVIS is what you’re looking for. As little groundwave as possible.
So with that said, let’s talk about this antenna.
The first thing to know is that its built out of dirt cheap materials. 128ft 14AWG stranded wire, a Cobra Head, and ten plastic electric fence posts. Less than $25 or so.
For an 80M dipole antenna, each leg is going to be roughly 64ft long. You can make a loop or use a ring terminal to secure the wire to each end of the cobra head. Stretch it out- now you’ve got a dipole. Those plastic fence posts serve both as a suspension for the antenna and as an insulator. All you have to do is wrap the ends in a loop, and boom, you’re ready to rock and roll.
The antenna itself is roughly 2ft off the ground. This creates a high amount of reflectivity from the ground, sending your radiation almost completely vertical.
And with that, you’ve got a dirt cheap antenna that works pretty well. If you want to see how it works and get hands on building one, come out to class.
NC Scout at American Partisan answers some radio communication questions from readers, including one about terrain/vegetation and the effect on signal in Commo Questions Answered.
I’m starting up a regular post series where I field your questions on communications-related topics. There’s a TON of questions I get emailed every week that normally revolve around the same concepts or topics, so this is going to be a good way to get them out there for more people to index and use. Keep in mind none of this is a replacement for what you’ll get in the RTO Course, where I literally take you from basement-level knowledge and build you up to creating communications infrastructure where there otherwise would be none, taking it up a notch in the Advanced RTO Course teaching you techniques on operating in non-permissive environments.
I know we practice the jungle antenna in the scout course, and course graduates talk a lot about using it. I’ve attached a photo that shows they type of terrain and vegetation that covers the majority of the area where I live, aside from agricultural fields/orchards. It seems like the jungle antenna is not the ideal choice in this terrain. Should we consider ourselves lucky that our signal won’t be blocked by trees? Should be use portable yagi antennas like the Elk antenna line? Is it better to just keep with the rubber ducks? My assumption would be rubber ducks for intrasquad comms and yagi for squad to HQ. We’re also experimenting with some AREDN mesh for certain digital/computer network communications, but aren’t to the point of using it portably, yet. Just wondering your thoughts. I know that most of your posts are going to be tilted toward your local terrain and vegetation, but if you need an idea for a post maybe one on radio or scout operations in more open terrain.
This is an outstanding one. Taking it from the top, vegetation absolutely has an impact on your signal. The higher in frequency you go, the worse it gets. (reference: PRC-64 report in Jungle conditions and tactical jungle communications study) This is one of the reasons why VHF is a better choice in rural terrain over UHF. But then again, that might also be a reason to choose UHF in a rural area. Your signal won’t be blocked completely, but it will get scattered, and possibly to the point it won’t be readable. This makes a big difference when using digital modes, especially DMR. Either way, as you know from the RTO Course, a 4-5w handheld radio can do much when coupled with an antenna purpose-built for the frequency. Jungle antennas are omni-directional, meaning they transmit in all directions at once (as well as receive), so they’re best suited for two tasks:
- When you’re needing communications over an entire area, such as a retreat setting.
- When your patrol is literally lost (can’t get a fix on your location) and you need to make communications with a Recovery team.
Regarding directional antennas, this is ALWAYS the preference when transmitting to mitigate the DF threat. Not to jump on a rant here, but there’s a reason patrol planning takes as much time as it does in the real world (usually a week, sometimes longer). Among those tasks is mapping out transmission sites and planning the azimuths to transmit your communications. Yeah, its a lot of work. Yeah, its hard. This ain’t for everyone. And if your life depends on it you learn to do it right. You know this, but a lot of other people reading this probably don’t (and will LOVE to comment about exactly how much they don’t know). But long story short you should always be communicating with directional antennas provide you have the ability to do so. In your environment (sagebrush), it’d be a good idea to add a cheap camera tripod to the mix and run your antennas off that.
Inter-team communications are at the Tactical Level– meaning they’re immediate in nature, coordinating fire and maneuver in real time. The range needed is usually short, less than 1km or so, and the standard duck antenna is fine in this role. And contrary to popular belief, only one person on the team needs a radio- the element Leader. That’s it. Anything more than that leads to a breakdown in the command and control capabilities. When you’re going beyond that, to relay critical information to and from a central command point, such as a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) in a Guerrilla Base, this is where the directional communications become a requirement.
On the mesh networking topic…this is a good one. For a local use setup, its good for linking. Just keep in mind you’re not gonna get a ton of range out if it- its meant for a local area, such as a retreat or G-camp. And the second someone attempts to link it to the regular internet, its potentially compromised.
YT asks:Check the answer in the last paragraph above.
Another topic that I would like to learn about: covert antennas (at home and on vehicles). I live in a subdivision that has nosy neighbors and a restrictive home owners association, so Ham antennas aren’t allowed.
Are there relevant use cases for remote transceivers? If we don’t want to radiate from home, but our gear’s at home, how can we transmit without undue DF risk?This is actually a very common question. Check out this reference: https://amzn.to/3pvVUQxIt was one of the references we used when learning about HF antennas in non-permissive environments and one that I still reference today. That’s the central idea behind teaching students to build antennas in class, so they understand the underlying concepts behind them. Couple that with John Hill’s excellent work on wire antennas: https://amzn.to/3mQZ4fCAnd finally, Sandman sends:
So I’ve been thinking about adding a man portable 11m rig to my signal repertoire to add a way for field ops to establish comms with a fob or hq. Also been thinking about fldigi over 11m. Do you have any experience with this?
11m, also known as Citizen’s Band (CB) radio in the US, is quite a capable tool for use in the field and one that won’t attract a ton of attention when used for underground purposes. FL Digi absolutely is capable over it, especially with some of the narrowband modes such as PSK-31 or RTTY.
If I were rigging up a manpack, I’d bypass kludging a mobile unit into service and simply run a handheld. They fit fine in a surplus MBITR pouch. Just make sure you build a REAL antenna for it. The stock rubber duck on handheld CB antennas are garbage at best. To run FL Digi over them it can be as simple as holding the mic up to the audio on the mobile device and transmitting, but its much cleaner (and less headache) to rig up a dedicated audio output to audio input (on the radio). We so this in the RTO Course with Baofengs using the APRS K1 cable, which makes it pretty simple. I’ve never built one for a handheld CB (or any CB for that matter), but they’re plentiful for a MARS/CAP modded Amateur radio rig (and I have done that).
Anyhow- great questions and as always I look forward to hearing from y’all.
American Partisan is hosting this CounterThink video interview with NC Scout (from Brushbeater and American Partisan) from Dec. 9th. He discusses a possible split of the country between two Presidents and resulting breakup/civil unrest.
2 Meter Radio – A Primary Tool is a brief primer on the utility of amateur radio use in the 144-148 MHz range. It has considerably more utility than a phased plasma rifle in the forty watt range.
Originally appeared on Signal Corps Ministry. – NCS
2 meter band radio (referring to the electro-magnetic wavelength) for amateur radio operators are the frequencies between 144.000 mhz and 148.000 mhz. The modulation most commonly used today is FM. and packet (data). There are amateur radios that are capable of SSB which is permitted but not as widely used. The band (part of the VHF range of bands) is divided into segments for different uses phone (voice), packet, and repeaters being the most common. In emergency radio communications (referred to as ECOM) the 2 meter band is often called the ‘first mile/last mile’ band, meaning it is the communication link between local events and personnel on the ground to their command and control centers (2 meter band for public safety and first responders is more commonly referred to as the public safety spectrum, starting where the amateur radio band ends at the top end) . For local amateur radio operators and first responders, it is probably the most used and most valuable resource for communications in the community. It is also the one of the primary bands you get access to with the easiest and entry level Amateur Radio Technicians license. Most 2 meter amateur radios available today include the public safety spectrum along with the amateur portion but without the ability to transmit on the public safety spectrum unless the radio is modified for use by authorized persons. For situational awareness in your community, having public safety frequencies programmed in the radio’s memory allows one to monitor events, especially using the scan setting most radios today have. While a strictly 2 meter/public safety spectrum radio is highly useful, many people get radios that also include the 70cm band (in the UHF range, also typically used with FM and phone signals). These radios typically add a broader range of frequencies that can be received and monitored but not transmitted on, such the AM airband and other agencies and utilities that use the remainder of the upper VHF range and the lower end of the UHF, sometimes including the 1.25 meter amateur band which a small segment of frequencies from 222Mhz to 225Mhz. Radios that have 2m and 70cm capability are commonly called ‘dual banders’; less popular are ‘tri banders that include 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm.
Having a 2m radio in your vehicle is a must, a dual bander is even better. It is extremely popular and versatile. You can communicate and move in real time, an essential capability in responding to your community’s needs. Having one in your home is almost as important, to be able to make calls for assistance, and to be the reciprocal base station to the mobile stations. In fact I would highly recommend having 3 radios to fully take advantage of 2m and 70cm bands: a home/base dual bander radio, a mobile dual bander, and a HT dual bander (HT is short for handheld transceiver, also more well known as a walkie talkie.) With each household having a base station, mobile vehicle, and a handheld for each individual, you are more prepared to handle any situation by magnitudes. Repeaters for the 2 meter band and 70cm bands are quite literally everywhere (see the Repeater Directories entry on the resource library page of this site). If your interest in this site’s articles were to stop after reading this article, you would have awareness of one the most important communications tools available for maintaining safety, security, community interdependence and cohesion there is, one that is strictly maintained by the community and will work in a grid down situation which would deny cell or internet traffic.
Generally speaking, the 2 meter frequencies are a ‘line-of-site’ radio wave which means exactly as it sounds: a FM 2 meter signal will propagate through clear air until topography interferes or it goes out into space. If you imagine a tangential line from a point on a circle, that point being your antenna and the circle being the surface of the earth, that is how this signal basically works. A FM signal can, potentially, follow the curve of the earth over the horizon by as much as 15% as the bottom of the radiowave drags on the surface of the earth. Transmitter height, signal strength and atmospheric conditions are always a factor as well. 70cm signals have less range, but do have a particular advantage of being more viable inside building and structures. They are a good choice for shorter range communications (shorter than 2 meter) which can be used for the advantages of security and privacy in conjunction with other practices. Antenna polarization plays an important role in FM transmissions: the vertical antenna transmitting a signal is best received by a vertical antenna. Although there is a significant loss in power, a horizontal antenna will better picked up by another horizontal antenna. It is not commonly done, but this technique also can create a security advantage. In an area with a lot of topographical changes, a 2 meter FM radio wave will drag, reflect, and bounce; this can result in an elliptically polarized wave. This can be best observed when holding a HT radio: while receiving a transmission, slowly rotate (up and down, left and right) your antenna to see if your reception improves. Also requesting the transmitting party to ‘better their position’ can improve how well their signal is getting out, the major adjustment is holding up the HT higher. A HT held directly in front of your body restricts transmission and reception by 180 degrees; this could be desirable, but if you’re trying to get help from anyone available, holding your HT high and using a speaker/mic can incredibly increase the reception of your signal.
Quick recommendations: the Yaesu FT-2980R is an incredibly robust and powerful radio. See my field deployment radio ‘Go’ Box:
It also has a packet TNC and USB interface but more on that later. It is a great mobile unit and base unit. Kenwood also makes a great 2 meter only radio: TM-281A
I also use the FT-60R and in my truck a FT-8900R Quadbander as well as the FT-7900R in my shack. Again, there are many good models out there, I just have used these mostly and can recommend them based on my use of them, not for any other reason.
As a member of the Body of Christ in your community, a person whose role is to acquire the skills and capabilities to serve, lead, and minister to your church, it is imperative to get the licensage and radios necessary. Action item: lead your community by studying for your Technicians license, get your license, and budget your resources to get radios. Then help others to do the same. Train and use these tools regularly. When you train, do not just chat on the radio; practice all the skills you would use in a very bad day scenario. As an autonomous communication infrastructure in your community, any member may have to respond to an urgent need, and so everyone needs to have the complete skillset at their fingertips and be able to use it competently. This is no light matter as radio use and net discipline (to be discussed further in another article) can be the difference between life or death, no joke.
If you are called to serve then let nothing stand in your way of being a proficient and professional radio operator (this applies to any role and function in your community; this is the fallen world and corruption abounds, the great opposer is always working to deceive and mislead. We must be out front. Put on the Armor of God and stand!). It is incumbent on each of us to acquire the skills and hardware, learn and train how to use it, and teach and train others how to use it. Then continue training regularly.
American Partisan, among others, made note of the Nov. 19th press conference with “Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and a host of other lawyers who are representing President Trump and the American people who voted for him.”
…To be quite frank, I was mesmerized as I drove around and at one point when my errand list was done, I parked in a shopping center parking lot to listen to the end of the press conference.
Giuliani started out saying that he called the news conference because he was tired of the press saying that the Presidential election was not stolen. “Show us facts” the MSM keeps shouting…
In case Youtube removes the above video, it may alternately be viewed at Breitbart – Trump Campaign Holds Press Conference to Outline ‘Viable Path to Victory’
NC Scout at American Partisan writes When the Fight Comes To You: Why the Pump Is Primed For a Rural Conflict
There’s a common misconception in the Survivalist community. “I’ll retreat…get away from the major population centers…work to live off the grid…and let the urban hellholes rot.”
Rural living is, for all intents and purposes, a better way to live. We’re more in tune with the natural world by and large, not in spite of it, and for the most part the lifestyle lends itself well to harder people used to doing without. And for people like me, there’s nothing that replaces the generations-deep connections to your homeland. The people there are your people- and in spite of differences, there is a deeply ingrained love of place. It is home.
Sounds good until the problems begin to bubble up. The first issue is questioning exactly how many in those rural areas are actually self-sufficient. That answer is probably few. And the rates of addiction and substance abuse is in turn shockingly high, correlated with the inevitable poverty rate. This was not by accident. The trailer-hood is a thing. Opioids were dumped on our population by Big Pharma, just as with the rise of decentralized meth manufacturing two decades earlier, and the crack epidemic which made its way into rural America just the same as the well-publicized urban epidemics during the 1990s. Home invasions and thefts are the norm.
No, not quite the retreat paradise the suburbanites had envisioned…is it?
Dusting off the old sociology coursework, I’d argue rather convincingly that this creates a populace primed for violent revolution. Decades of institutionalized poverty have created a primed pump. This in turn is a reality that one group on the Left whole-heartedly is attempting to exploit (albeit self defeated at times): Redneck Revolt.
Redneck Revolt is active in spaces in which white supremacist groups also often recruit, including country music concerts, flea markets, gun shows, NASCAR events, rodeos and state fairs. Chapters provide firearms and first aid training, food and clothing programs and community gardens and host needle exchanges, potlucks and educational events.
Interesting bit there. While the Left is no stranger to infighting, at a possibly even worse level than their counterparts on the Right, Redneck Revolt admittedly is correct in focusing on rural areas as a vanguard for fomenting revolution. This is reflective of the strategy employed by Che Guevara’s opinion on the same from his work Guerrilla Warfare. They are seeking to exploit the social and economic realities for their benefit. While the gun community snobs look down on guys with inexpensive gear, cheap weapons and optics, and a general lack of cool-guy bravado, they wholly embrace it. Its a more effective recruiting model than belittling a guy to whom $20 may mean the difference between if his kids eat why he can’t afford a NightForce and BCM AR-15.
This creates a serious potential in the rural areas. For all those I’ve personally heard claiming ‘that can’t happen here’, I argue that not only can a rural area be overrun quickly, but, without training and networking small isolated homesteads are easy pickings for a small team of determined attackers. With only one or two real trigger pullers in a home and little to no warning against a force that likely is well equipped with enablers such as night vision and thermal, you’d be easy pickings in the event that big balloon goes up.
So this begs the question as to mitigating this threat.
- Take every opportunity to get to know your neighbors and bring something of value to the table. Understand that if you’re an outsider to a rural place, you’ll be exactly that for years. Rural folks are slow to warm up to new people. Be quick and receptive to taking advice and rare to give it yourself.
- Take every opportunity to embrace the tradition of a place. The Left abhors tradition and the authority inherent in it. They exist to destroy it, viewing it only as an oppressive force maintaining status and social domination. Celebrate traditions and be a fixture in Church.
- Stop saying ‘it can’t happen here.’ It absolutely can, and likely will, post-election. A normalcy bias exists, especially among rural areas and so-called retreatists, that they’re somehow exempted from all this. You’re not. The Left has been laying the groundwork for their revolution for well over 100 years and despite a few setbacks, plan to steamroll ahead.
- Build an off-grid communications network. This is invaluable for early warning and critical for rural defense. Reliance on phone networks is problematic for a lot of reasons but central to that is its inherent fragility. I’ve been re-running old American Partisan communications articles on Brushbeater to refresh that knowledge, but nothing replaces training. Get some.
- Get Training. This is the urgent one. Whether its from a course I’m running, or one of the many run by fellow American Partisan contributors and trainers such as Sam Culper or JC Dodge, you owe it to yourself to learn from those that have the real-world bona-fides in their specific areas of interest. In fact, JC Dodge has a course coming up just after the election- go train with him.
The next seven days in America will tell us much about the shaping of our future as a nation, but the days after it will tell us much more. The Left sees an opportunity, and while many on the Right have completely written off the threat posed to rural areas by Redneck Revolt, I contend, with a substantial amount of history to back it up, that for rural areas the threat may very well be the highest.
Be a hard target.
NC Scout at American Partisan has a post on Surveillance Detection Routes, with his comments on a video from The Kilo 23 Group. Kilo 23 interviews people from the intelligence community, the defense industry and also does gear reviews and some espionage related tradecraft. NC Scout is a former infantry scout in a US Army reconnaissance unit.
Surveillance Detection Routes (the OTHER SDR) is a critical personal protection skill and a good practice to make a habit of- whether you’re politically active, involved in a covert group or just an average joe looking to enhance your own security, its a good idea to take some notes. A few of my own rules:
- Never, ever be in a hurry. When we’re in a hurry, we turn the blinders on to the rest of the world and we make mistakes.
- Always be early and back into parking spots. Observation of an area is critical and often enough this begins in the parking lot of a place. Backing in allows us to do two things: observe and make a hasty exit.
- Make random stops in open, highly trafficked places while traveling and take mental notes of who’s around. Who belongs and who doesn’t?
There is a proliferation of low powered variable optics (LPVO) across the spectrum. Military, civilian and police are all making moves in that direction. When asked why, the common response is “its magnified…duhh” or “I can PID further away”. Most however employ the LPVO like a red dot with magnification
I had heard long ago a quote (I cannot substantiate it) from Erwin Rommel. When asked what his most important weapon was, he replied “binoculars”.
Why? Seeing first, more or farther allows us to begin to make decisions and take action, earlier than the opposition. In some cases, the opposition does not even know.
While most people know the answer to why the LPVO is gaining in popularity, few understand or conceptualize the magnitude of the capability they bring to combat.
Using the suspected Erwin Rommel quote earlier. The LPVO means each rifleman can have a set of binoculars (well technically monocular). However, a tool is only good if you use it.
So, what does seeing first, more and farther actually mean.
If I have detected OPFOR before they have seen me (first) my decision making process is much different than if I walk into a drag race to the “up-drill”.
Seeing first allows me the possibility to:
-Array my forces to maximize my chances of success (ambush, occupy prominent terrain)
-Deliver organic fires (cause a casualty to limit their mobility or limit/force their decision making)
-Deliver supporting arms
-Begin to maneuver (the essence of gun fighting is maneuver, the essence of maneuver is movement under load)
-Break contact and fade away without him knowing
Or you can do any combination of the above (and more). But that first detection, is brought to you by seeing first.
Seeing more can be hard to explain in writing. If anyone has watched war footage from Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Africa. It is exceptionally rare to ever see an enemy combatant. This may be because its video. However I would wager, the guys in the videos had a hard time seeing as well. Any historical study of combat often annotates how hard it is to see the enemy. The LVPO gives us the ability to see more. Some examples:
-Modern Afghan war footage always shows the massive expanse of fields separated by 5-10m thinly packed treeline. LVPO make it significantly easier to see through one of those treelines and into the field or next treeline. Think about this both offensively and defensively
-Syria and Ukraine footage often shows soldiers engaging from deep within rooms. LVPOs allow me to see from external to internal of a room and potentially identify whats IN the ROOM not just in the window
-You are not always presented the target you want. Elbows, Knees, ankles and feet are often forgotten about when people are being sneaky. They leave these out from behind trees, walls, cars etc. This may or may not be a target, but it certainly tells you someone is there.
-If people are using cover you usually only get very small glimpses of them. At 100m I doubt I can reliably identify a guy peaking the left edge of his head out from a wall. However at 4x, I absolutely can see that. And I have a system that is easy enough to be precise with, to score that hit.
Seeing further also goes hand in hand with engaging further. Lots of shooters adopt LVPO, but then say “I’m not a sniper” or “I’m not trying to do sniper things”. Snipers primary job is usually observation. A Rifleman’s primary job is to reduce point targets with rifles… That sniper math everyone is scarred of, is easily learned and applied to 5.56 carbines using 4x or higher optics. Which means you have increased your threat ring.
Now all that said, the employment of the LPVO is a skill that needs to be trained. I have taken courses by 2 “national level” instructors and was sadly disappointed with the material.
The obvious skill that needs to be trained is marksmanship. I am not going to dive too deep into that.
The other skill (seeing first, more and further) needs to be practiced as well. The logistical problem usually encountered with this type of training is space/terrain. Its not very culturally appropriate to do this type of thing in your back yard. However some skills to sharpen this include
-Just look at treelines from 100m+ through your optic. Do not just look though. Actually see. See the stumps of each tree, identify likely firing points, identify what spots would be cover, determine how far back into the treeline you can see, make some guesstimates on what your hold and sight picture would be
-Go bird watching….with your LPVO…
-Using safely UNLOADED weapons, play hide and seek or set up stalking lanes with your friends.
-Go hunting… using your LVPO
Analysis or planning of modern combat always comes down to both sides overlaying the ranges they are effective to, and what they think their enemy’s effective ranges are. The goal, is to be outside the enemy’s threat ring, while they are inside yours. Extend your threat ring and see first. For the same reason night vision and thermals are such a force multiplier, the LVPO can be also.
I will leave you with:
Look deep and in. NOT “at”
Look at it from a perspective of “where would I be”. Identify those points, prioritize, scan and move on.
NC Scout at American Partisan has a brief article on the inexpensive Chinese radio Baofeng BF-R3 and its increased utility over the UV5R model. Besides signal intelligence value, having a third band can make a difference operationally as well. In an RTO class that I attended, we found that one of the bands did not work reliability in the terrain and among the structures where we were operating, but switching to the alternate band worked fine.
As I tell students in the the RTO and Signals Intelligence Courses, its not necessarily what can be monitored (everything has the capacity to be monitored) but rather, how your adversary can exploit it. This in turn points to the criticality of the ability to plan and act based on that plan. And often enough, the difficulty lay not just in detecting an adversary to monitor, which can be hard enough, but taking that a step further into implementing tools that are outside his capabilities.
In the last RTO Course out West, a couple of the students had brought in a new model of Baofeng- a triband model called the BF-R3– a tri-band radio that matches all of the functions of the old UV-5R but with an additional spread of transmitting capability on 220-260mHz. This enables users a whole third option for receiving and transmitting in a vastly under-utilized frequency spread.
It is backwards compatible with all of the standard Baofeng UV-5R cables, batteries and accessories, including my favorite, the H-250 dogbone mic. On top of that, its fully Chirp supported for all of you that use that software. At about the same price as the standard two band Baofeng but with expanded capabilities, its hard to see why you wouldn’t want to have a few.
Get ’em while you can and while you’re at it, come get training on using it in a tactical environment. Might be important here soon.