Rainier Redoubt: Zello Emergency Communications

Rainier Redoubt has posted a brief article on using the Zello app for emergency communications. Zello is available for iPhone, Android, and for Windows PCs. The Zello app does require an internet connection, so why might you use it? In a disaster that doesn’t destroy cell towers or backbone fiber links, you may still find that you can’t make outgoing phone calls because all of the circuits are busy. You may be able to text or email, but using Zello may be your easiest voice option to contact someone outside of your area. It may also be available if authorities have blocked phone calls. If yu have radio mesh applications for emergencies in your area, you may still be able to get internet service even if the cell towers are down, but you’ll need to know about its availability.

Zello is an application startup located in Austin, Texas. The application emulates push-to-talk (PTT) walkie-talkies over cellular and WiFi networks. The app is available for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Windows PC, rugged mobile devices and two-way radios. Zello is free for personal use, while the Zello@Work application is free for up to five users. For more than five users Zello@Work costs $6.00 per user / per month. Perks that Zello@Work offers include private networks, dedicated servers, management interfaces for users and channels, higher security, cloud history and tech support.

Zello turns your phone into a walkie talkie and works anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to the Internet! Please note however that the Zello app cannot function without an Internet connection. According to the Zello Support page: “Zello cannot work without internet access, but if both you and your contact are within one network, the voice will be transferred using the shortest way – WiFi network in your case. Internet will be used only to log into Zello network and do some service data exchange, it will be less than 1 kiB per second.”

Once connected, users can join channels and instantly send voice messages or photos, and the app even works over older 2G networks.

…Zello made the news in June 2013 when Turkish protesters used it to circumvent government censors. As a result, Zello was the top most downloaded application in Turkey during the first week of June 2013. In February 2014, it was blocked by CANTV in Venezuela. Zello issued workarounds and patches to overcome the blocks to support approximately 600,000 Venezuelans who have downloaded the application to communicate with each other amidst protests. It “has been one of the most downloaded applications in Ukraine and Venezuela.” In April 2017, the Roskomnadzor instructed Russian Internet Service Providers to block mobile access to Zello. Under Russia’s data privacy law passed in 2016, all companies processing the personal data of Russian citizens are obliged to store it on servers within the country’s borders for a half of the year and provide it to law enforcement if necessary. Zello had more than 400,000 users in Russia. In August 2017 during relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Zello became a popular method for communications between volunteer rescuers and people stranded by the widespread flooding. The app received over 6 million signups in one week as Florida residents prepared for Hurricane Irma. In 2018 Zello had over 120,000,000 subscribers world-wide…

OH8STN: Radio Preparedness vs Emergency Communications

This information comes from Radio Prepper by way of introduction from Julian – OH8STN.

Hello Operators.

Today I’m sharing another video from Gil F4WBY, the Radio Prepper. The topic is disaster Communications. More specifically preparedness communications vs traditional amateur radio emergency communications. Gil does a very good job of going over the mission differences between Communications for preparedness, versus emergency communications for disaster relief. This is something we’ve all talked about on the grid down Communications for preparedness series.

It’s important to remember it’s not a competition. There isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be), a one or the other mentality here. Radio operator should be quite Versed in the guerrilla nature of preparedness Communications, in addition to the more structured and traditional emergency communications, as laid out by organizations like ARES. It’s a good discussion and one I think all of us should be watching.

OH8STN: Raspberry Pi Field Computer – Off Grid Communications

Julian, OH8STN, has added another video to his Off Grid Communications series. This one is on the Raspberry Pi field computer he has been working on for a while.

The video starts off with an overview of my raspberry pi field computer, the QRP GoKit used in the field test, and some of the reaities of field communications when off grid. The video then moves on to discuss the reality of off grid field communications, and why we need to be smarter operators, with smarter yet easy to maintain gear.

OH8STN: Ultimate Raspberry Pi Build for Amateur Radio

Julian, call sign OH8STN, posted a new video last week about Ultimate Raspberry Pi Build. He uses the AmRRON Raspberry Pi scripts for part of the process and praises their work. Julian is using the Raspberry Pi with his radio to build a very light and portable radio communication system that could be used for emergency response operations or just for fun, portable operation.

Hello Operators.
Each of us has a different idea about what the ultimate raspberry pi build would be or look like. For my station, reducing the cable mess, replacing a large audio interface with a low-cost usb audio codec, and creating a lightweight, energy-efficient configuration for ham radio data mode operations. Also important was getting my raspberry pi to work off os 12 volts, just like my Yaesu FT-818 and Yaesu FT-891. In this video, we will go through all the hardware, hardware mods, hats, and software used to make this station the ultimate rasberry pi build for ham radio data modes in the field.

73, Julian #oh8stn

OG Ham: The Transmitters of Freedom Get a Little Louder

In a follow-up to his previous article The Transmitters of Freedom Should Be Turned Back On, Chris at Off Grid Ham has some good and bad news about short wave broadcasting and a little on who is doing what to whom.

The Transmitters of Freedom Get a Little Louder

shortwave broadcasting

STOCK PHOTO.

First, the bad news…

Shortwave broadcasting is not dead, it’s just being kept alive by the wrong people. Shortwave broadcasting is almost exclusively the domain of sleazy oppressive governments and religious outliers. Communist-run Radio China International took over some of Radio Australia’s old frequencies when Australia discontinued their international shortwave service. And here’s something that should make shortwave fans seethe: The savings from shutting down shortwave saved the Aussie government…wait for it…was less than two million dollars.

That’s right. To save what isn’t even a budget rounding error, the Australian government killed shortwave to tens of millions of people. They probably could have raised that money from private donations.

When a pro-democracy voice leaves the platform, someone will step in to fill the vacuum. That “someone” is usually a bad actor. It’s unlikely shortwave broadcasting will ever completely die. It’s also unlikely shortwave will ever go back to the glory days no matter how obvious its practicality may be. Expect to see oppressive governments increase their presence on the HF bands at the same rate democracies abandon them.

The BBC increases shortwave broadcasting to disputed Kashmir.

The victims of tyrants, socialism, communism, etc., still clamor for the news of truth and freedom. They unfortunately have few options due to the rise of the internet and subsequent decline of shortwave broadcasting. Old school analog AM radio may seem like a quaint anachronism, but unlike the internet it requires very little infrastructure and is difficult to defeat.

The BBC has increased –yes, increased– shortwave broadcasting to the Kashmir territory in Asia. The backstory is somewhat complicated, but the short version is that India, Pakistan, and China each control a portion of the area. All three nations dispute the territorial claims of the others. India shut off the internet, some of the media, and phone service to the area.

To fill the information void, the BBC added one hour and forty five minutes of programming to the region. While this may not sound like much, put yourself in the people of Kashmir’s shoes. If you were living under a media blackout, having nearly two extra hours of uncensored news would be deeply meaningful.

Dissidents use shortwave broadcasting to reach Hong Kong and mainland China.

Sound of Hope started as an effort to bring homeland news to Chinese people living in the United States. It  has grown into a full-blown pro-democracy shortwave broadcasting network beaming to mainland China and Hong Kong. They have even found a way to evade the jamming of their programming by using a network of small transmitters placed in strategic places. Sound of Hope moves its signal to whatever transmitters are least effected by the jamming. It’s an effective system.

As one of the few media outlets that can defeat communist censorship, Sound of Hope has become a significant player in supporting the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.  Sound of Hope is not sponsored or funded by any government. It is run mostly by volunteers, many of whom are placing themselves at great personal risk by helping the network. It should be a national embarrassment that a group of volunteers with little money are doing what large governments deemed “too expensive” and “ineffective”…

Click here to read the entire article at Off Grid Ham.

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.

Off Grid Ham: Survival Skills – When It’s No Longer a Hobby

Chris Warren at Off Grid Ham has a nice article up for amateur radio licensees, talking about whether you know it or not when a disaster strikes you may become the person everyone around expects to communicate with the outside world. So it might be a good idea to do some planning even if preparedness “isn’t your thing.”

Survival Skills: When It’s No Longer a Hobby

Like it or not, you may become “that guy” (or girl).

Amateur radio means different things to different people. Some like to tinker and experiment. Others are into DX or contests, or maybe community service projects. No matter what your motivations are, amateur radio serves a secondary usefulness that goes far beyond just being a hobby or avocation. Threatening weather, fires, floods, civil unrest, large scale accidents, and a long list of other calamities can and do occur. No area of the world is truly safe from everything. The day may come when your pastimes are valuable survival skills. Are you ready to be the one others can count on when SHTF? You may get the job even if you don’t want it.

It’s not crazy doomsday paranoia.

You’ve probably heard all the stereotypes about survivalists and preppers. While it’s true a small but highly visible minority of survivalists have unconventional and even bizarre ideas, the survivalists’ root theme is perfectly reasonable and rational: Major disruptions in society can and do occur and it’s wise to have survival skills and supplies that will help you deal with the situation.

Do you have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in your house? Why do you have these things when statistically you’ll live your entire life and and never need them? Are you some kind of paranoid weirdo?

Do you see where I’m going with this? Being prepared for things that are very unlikely to happen does not make one a prophesying crackpot. To some degree everyone is a survivalist/prepper; at what point being prudently prepared becomes kooky is a matter of either naiveté or cynicism, depending on your perspective.

Amateur radio and survival skills.

survival skills
Hurricane Harvey. Photo courtesy of conservativetribune.com

The maxim that amateur radio works when everything else fails may be a cliché, but it’s not inaccurate. The average off grid amateur already has most of the required equipment. The only missing piece is coming up with a plan to apply those survival skills in an actual SHTF situation. Reviewing a few basic concepts offers focus:

Click here to read the entire article at Off Grid Ham

AmRRON: Quarterly Radio Exercise, Nov. 9, 2019

 

Emergency service drill participant.  Photo via Blue Mountain Eagle

AmRRON will be holding a 4th quarter 2019 Simulated Emergency Test on November 9th.

Quarterly Communications SETs (Simulated Emergency Tests) help AmRRON radio operators practice with skills, software programs, and procedures, preparing them for more complex training and real-world radio operations.

Get the website URL contained in the November 5th AIB, and on Saturday, get the ‘secret exercise code’ from the Situation Report. Then, fill out a super short survey online!

Who: AmRRON and all other orgs and radio operators wishing to participate

What: Quarterly Training Exercise (4 hours): Delivery of a single message, network wide

When: November 9th, 1800 – 2200 Zulu Time

Scope: Nationwide, beginning on HF using digital modes, and then filtering down to local VHF/CH3.

Objective: This is a one way traffic test. In this quarterly exercise, a single SITREP (Situation Report) will be generated at ‘AmRRON National’, and sent across the network to Net Control Stations (NCSs), nationwide. The NCSs will then disseminate the report across their regional network in each region on 40m and 80m using digital modes.

Local VHF/CH3 nets will then disseminate the report to the local radio operators. Then, all participants fill out a short online survey to verify receipt of the SITREP…

Click here for more details.

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.

Off Grid Ham: Grounding Your Off Grid System

Chris Warren over at Off Grid Ham has a nice article about the often confusing concept and execution of system grounding in Grounding Your Off Grid System. He’s not just talking about grounding your communications gear, but also your solar panels, and generators. Don’t get burned; learn to ground.

It’s hard to follow.

One issue that seems to come up a lot in the off grid radio realm is proper system grounding. The rules and expectations are hard to follow. There are a lot of opinions out there. Many of them are accurate, others are not. Today we’ll go over some basic grounding principles for off grid ham radio. This is by no means a comprehensive guide.

All the same basic grounding concerns with commercial power also apply to off grid energy. Electricity does not behave differently just because it comes from a renewable source. Finally, lightning does not discriminate!

What exactly is “ground”?

In the most simple terms, “ground” is a reference point. If you remember your basic electricity training for your amateur radio license, voltage is an expression of potential energy. However, potential doesn’t mean anything unless it is compared to something. For example, if you are standing on the roof of your house you have potential energy (via gravity) when compared to your yard. If you are laying flat on your back in your yard you have no potential energy compared to the yard because, after all, you’re already in the yard. You can’t fall if you’re already down, right?

Electrical grounding works the same way. Electricity needs a place to go, and it will not go anywhere without potential. Ground provides an electrical reference point. This has many implications for the operational effectiveness and safety of your off grid system.

Grounding outdoor equipment.

If electricity needs a place to go, it’s best for it to have a defined safe path instead of letting it find its own way. Off grid hams should place a high priority on grounding antennas and solar panels.

Connect (bond) solar panel frames together with 6 gauge copper wire attached to a conductive metal pipe or rod pounded into the ground. Be sure also to connect any metal support structures. Grounding lugs made specifically for solar panels are available from many sources including (of course) Amazon. Ground rods should be at least six and preferably eight feet deep. Getting a ground rod down that far will be a problem for many hams. You can substitute two or more shorter rods in place of one long one (be sure to bond the rods to each other).

GROUNDING

OFFGRIDHAM.COM ORIGINAL GRAPHIC ©2019

Click here to read the entire story at Off Grid Ham.

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.

2017 FCC Rule Changes for FRS Go into Effect 9/30/19

Back in 2017, the FCC reviewed the personal radio services which include FRS, GMRS, CB, MURS and more and made changes to the rules. Many of those new rules go into effect on Sept. 30, 2019 — or in two weeks from this publication.

Here are the main changes to the rules going into effect:

  • No FRS/GMRS combined radios can be sold after that date
  • No hand held radio capable of operating in both FRS and any other licensed service can be manufactured or imported
  • No voice obscuring radios operating in these services may be manufactured, imported or sold

Here are some additional details

2019 NW APRS Summer Gathering, North Bend, SEP 6-8

8/19/2019 Update:

The agenda has come together, with a varied list of topics providing lots of opportunities to learn about what’s happening today in digital radio. Time has been built in to get your questions asked and answered. Open social time will be available both days to help you put a face to the voice you hear on the radio.

Before we get to the agenda we have a few housekeeping items we need to cover:

  • If you plan to stay overnight at Valley Camp please contact Teena at info@valleycamp.org There are a few dry camping RV sites still available, several bunks in the lodge, and lots of tent sites. There is a new Hampton Inn and Suites on Snoqualmie Ridge, we hear it is very nice and not far away.
  • If you have a reservation already and have to cancel please let Teena know very soon, we have a wait list
  • If you would like to join us for meals watch for the signup survey coming out next week. This is required so enough food can be purchased for the 5 meals that will be provided
  • The Tailgate Swap-meet is scheduled for 1600 – 1800 Saturday but if you want to trade or sell Ham Radio related items at any time please do so from your campsite or vehicle so as to not interrupt the presentations.
  • Talk-In Frequency will be simplex 146.52 (everyone uses this, right?)

The current agenda. Also available here
Friday
Anyone wanting to arrive Friday and have made your reservations we will be hosting a social time at 1900 in the large pavilion and providing dessert. If you wish to bring your favorite delectable treat to share you will be greeted warmly.

Saturday
We begin at 0700 with breakfast at the large pavilion, serving until 0830.  Coffee will be served all day.
Then after a brief welcome and introduction to the event will begin:

0900 – 0945: DStar – Scott, N7SS
1000 – 1045: Digital Mobile Radio, (DMR) – Brad, N7ER
1100 – 1145: APRS – Tom, WA7TBP
1145 – 1250: Lunch (Burgers & brats)
1250 – 1300: 22nd Annual Group Photo in front of Pavilion
1300 – 1345: Balloon Launch. – L. Paul Verhage, KD4STH
1400 – 1445: HAMWAN update. – Kenny, KU7M
1500 – 1545: 9600 baud packet & DRAWS. – Bryan, K7UDR
1600 – 1800: Elmer stations, tailgate swap-meet & social time
* DStar – Scott Honaker, N7SS
* APRS – Tom Needham, WA7TBP
* DMR – Brad Estill, N7ER
* WINLINK – Bob Stephens, AF9W
* 3D Printing – Phil Moscinski, N2EU
* FL-DIGI – Bob Tykulsker, KM6SO
1800: Spaghetti feed at pavilion. Social time the rest of the evening
1900: APRS Bunny Hunt. – Tom Needham, WA7TBP

Sunday
Begins with a Pancake Feed organized by Brad, N7ER at 0730 – 0830

0900 – 0945: 3D Printing, Phil, N2EU
1000 – 1045: FL-DIGI. Bob, KM6SO
1100 – 1150: PAT Winlink. Bob, AF9W
1150 – 1300: Lunch provided
1300 – 1500: Elmer Stations and social time. This will be a great time to get specific questions asked and answered by the presenters as well as subject matter “experts” staying the weekend at Valley Camp.
We will introduce those “experts” to the group Saturday morning.

Wrap up and cleanup will begin around 1500.

Things to know

  • Summer Gathering is held at Valley Camp, 49515 SE Middle Fork Rd, North Bend, WA 98045, If you enter this into a GPS and it is something other than a newer model Garmin it will take you to a different place so be aware and check your Google Map to find the exact location. Sadly the Tom-Tom GPS has a bad database and will take you on a wild goose chase. Better yet use these coordinates:   47.46805° -121.68081° For us location precision nuts the GPS coordinates for a point near the center of camp are: 47.4662216  -121.6804046  (Highly accurate GPS control point)  The WA7VC Banner may be out near the entrance, this will confirm you have arrived.
  • When entering Valley Camp please stay to the left and keep your speed at or below 5 MPH keeping an eye out for small critters and humans crossing the road and remember only you can prevent speed bumps.
  • Cellular coverage is spotty in camp. If your phone has WiFi calling capabilities the Valley Camp WiFi will support that service. WiFi in camp covers just about the entire camp however due to bandwidth limitations of CenturyLink’s equipment the system can not support video streaming, or OS updates. Please turn off Automatic Updates on your equipment so there is plenty of bandwidth for Web searches and emailing for everyone. Please do not use WiFi extenders or personal hotspots as these interfere with the camp WiFi. Network login information will be available in the pavilion.
  • Valley Camp is a No Smoking facility. If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take sudden and appropriate fire fighting measures.
  • If you have a comfortable folding camp chair bring it along. The picnic benches are 60 year old very hard 2×12’s.
  • Pets – If you must bring your pet it has to stay on a 6 foot leash and stay connected to you at all times. We also expect you to clean up after it and be very careful feeding it, any spilled food attracts wild animals, some you don’t want to meet at night.
  • Parking while at the event – Please be aware that not all RV’s in the campground are attending the Summer Gathering so please do not block vehicles parked in front of RV’s. Parking is best accomplished west of the RV area along the road towards the Lodge and Roundhouse.
  • The Summer Gathering is funded only through donations of the attendees, no outside organization financially sponsors the event. Please consider what this event is worth to you and donate appropriately. In the past it was suggested that $25 per day for the event was appropriate, adding $30 for meals on Saturday, and $20 for meals on Sunday.  There will be several places to leave your donations, the main one being the green MAILBOX marked DONATIONS in the shelter and if you would like to make a donation using a credit card see Teena.
  • Valley Camp is the conduit for all donations and it is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.
  • Online donation opportunities can be found here on the first page:  https://valleycamp.org

More information and a signup survey coming soon!

See you in a few weeks,

73
WA7VC Group and Friends
https://wa7vc.org/


The 2019 Northwest APRS/Digital Summer Gathering will be held on Sept. 6th through 8th at Valley Camp in North Bend, WA. WA7VC is the Valley Camp Amateur Radio Group, serving the Upper Snoqualmie Valley community since 1995.

Valley Camp is location about 30 minutes east of Seattle. (Directions from their website are located below)

Address:
49515 S.E. Middle Fork Rd
North Bend WA 98045

Coordinates:
47.4680, -121.6806

WA7VC on air contact info:

There are a number of ways to reach us either via good ‘ol RF or the internet:

  • 70cm Simplex: 446.525 (no tone)
  • Echolink: Node 98045 (or Valley Camp)
  • IRLP: 7808
  • DSTAR: WA7VC B on 440.01250Mhz + 5.000Mhz
  • APRS: WA7VC 10 Digi-iGate 144.390
  • DMR: NorthBend-ValleyCamp 440.7250 + 5.000Mhz

Our on-site EchoIRLP node is powered by a Raspberry Pi. It offers the following commands:

  • Read the current time
  • Read data from Snoqualmie Falls river gauging station
  • Read data from North Fork river gauging station
  • Read data from Middle Fork river gauging station
  • Read data from South Fork river gauging station

 

Brushbeater: A Modern Look at Guerrilla Radio Equipment

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has a brief article up looking at some FARC equipment – A Modern Look at Guerrilla Radio Equipment.

Watching a recent media piece on the FARC, I noticed a few shots of their radio equipment they were using to communicate between camps.

farc817.jpeg

Look familiar? Its a Yaesu 817 being run from a Sealed Lead Acid battery. Here’s a better shot:

FARC817_2

Interesting layout by one of their RTOs:

FARC817_3,jpeg.jpg

The old 817 appears to be very popular among the communist guerrilla group, and if I had to guess (based on their geography) they’re using VHF single sideband and HF NVIS to relay camp-to-camp through the mountains where they operate.

I imagine they’ve learned a lot in the communications department over a half century of civil war, and it looks like they’re keeping it simple, analog and robust.

AmRRON: T-REX “News” 2019 Continues

AmRRON continues to release TEOTWAWKI Readiness Exercise (T-REX) 2019 related news. You can find the T-REX news page here. The active exercise begins on July 26th. This post will be updated as additional exercise/drill news is published.

25 July 2019 EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE AmCON
QST QST ALL AmRRON OPERATORS… Commercial power and telecommunications failure is imminent, and expected within the next three to six hours. nsur uo s S. I. n net ss reor.

25 July 2019 EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE*** Liberty State Beacon – Early this morning, the Securities Exchange Commission announced a bank holiday effective at the end of the business day. Additionally, all U.S. stock exchanges will be closed until Monday, July 29 at 9:00 Eastern. This comes as more ATM’s are now offline across the nation and law enforcement in several cities report an increased call load as customers make a run on banks.EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE***


20190725 – 1500z EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE*****AmRRON Readiness Condition has been raised to Level 2. Due to the pervasive cyber attacks on major infrastructure, coupled with increasingly widespread telecommunications and power systems failures, the AmRRON Network is preparing to activate.Persistent presence nets are in place by multiple volunteer radio operators on the HF bands. SIGCENs are mobilizing, either already establishing on-air presence or preparing for operations.
-Have plenty of cash on hand
-Store up on water and if able to do so safely, make last-minute purchases of perishable items, fuels, batteries, etc.
-If you have not been participating in on-air radio practice session, do so immediately.
-Be prepared to have your communications operational within the next 12 hours.
-Avoid metropolitan areas, public transit, and venues with crowds. -Avoid traveling beyond your vehicle’s fuel capacity to make your way safely home or other safe location.EXERCISE EXERCISE*****

*** EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE

AmRRON TREX19*** 20190725 – 1500z

Early this morning, several nuclear facilities throughout the US report cyber-attacks on their PLCs and resultant reactor “scrams”. These attacks were accompanied by widespread internet outages and cell phone service lost in several regions on the country.

EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE***

24 July 2019 EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE*** Liberty State Beacon – In a press release earlier today from the Securities Exchange Commission, authorities announced they were still working to restore all brokerage accounts after Monday’s lockdown.  While they are working diligently to resolve the problem an immediate resolution has not been identified and may require a shutdown of financial activity on the NYSE and other commodity exchanges.  Across the world, financial exchanges are reacting to the announcement with record losses.  Currency exchanges are fluctuating and the dollar is down by 40%.  In other news, sources near a nuclear power plant in Georgia report rumors of a reactor “scram” as a result of a failed PLC and false data.  Officials from the plant indicate they had some unusual readings and shut the plant down for recalibration but there is no immediate danger to the public.  They expect the system to be operational again within 48 hours.  Additionally in the East, power plants remain at reduced power output.   Several South Eastern cities are having intermittent internet outages and Cell phone companies have announced that several of their regional hubs have been hit by a cyber-virus. EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE***

EXERCISE**** ***EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE***** Due to the threats to the recently reported cyber attacks on banking and infrastructure computer systems, we are raising the AmCON to Level-4. There is an increased risk to the telecommunications grid across the United States. Inventory all communications gear, update software, print reference documents, and participate in all scheduled AmRRON nets to ensure your station is ready for service. EOM EXERCISE EXERCISE*****

AmRRON Intelligence Brief (AIB) 23 July 2019 Current AmCON: Level 5
*** EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE ***** 1. SEC announcement – NYSE and Chicago mercantile will delay opening for 2 hours to address cyber security measures. News reports of several brokerages are locked out of some of their accounts and are aggressively pursuing a solution. They urge clients to remain calm and not try and access their accounts until they announce a fix. Many ATM’s remain inaccessible. 2. News reports of several AEP power plants have experienced turbine failures due to PLC problems. They are rectifying the problem but will have to shut down operations for 72 hours. Expected brownouts and intermittent power outages are expected through the Mid-Atlantic states to include Metropolitan Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas. ***** EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE *****

23 July 2009 EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE*** Liberty State Beacon – Earlier today, multiple inside sources reported repeated attacks into commercial and private computer systems by an unconfirmed nation state. One of these sources, going by the code name “Big Al”, indicated a mutating computer virus has infected computer systems across the nation. “Big Al” reportedly works for a large bank in the IT Watch Center and has proof of this worm. He indicates that teams are in place to eradicate the worm but by the time they identify the virus, it has mutated and cloned itself to prevent eradication. Big Al stated that people should do everything they can to have cash on hand because things were going to become very bad, very soon. END T-REX TRAFFIC***

23 July 2009 Exercise,Exercise,Exercise
///MSG/// Disruptions to railroad operators computer systems have disruptions to the national rail industry. Operators have assigned personnel to manually operate switches along key rail lines but trains running these routes are forced to move at a much slower pace for safety purposes.Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. ///END OF MSG//
22 July 2009 Exercise,Exercise,Exercise

///MSG/// Liberty State Beacon – Today the Securities Exchange Commission announced both the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile will delay opening for two hours to address cyber security measures. Sources internal to several brokerages report numerous locked accounts and are aggressively pursuing a solution. Clients of these brokerages are urged to remain calm and delay access to accounts until a fix is announced. In a press release from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Chairman Maury Fifer promises the public that “everything is stable and not to do anything rash.” Mr. Fifer wants to remind the public that large withdraws from banks will only create more panic and lead to further instability. Patriot sources urge the public to have plenty of cash on hand as a reserve.Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. ///END OF MSG//
15 July 2009 Exercise,Exercise,Exercise-Traffic .

///MSG/// The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning advising all commercial and public internet users to be vigilant for possible cyber intrusion into commercial cyber controllers, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), and internet servers. All commercial and public internet users are advised to review the following document: https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/content/overview-cyber-vulnerabilities
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. ///END OF MSG//

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AmRRON: T-REX “News” Has Begun