A Useful Online Tool for Line Of Sight (LOS) Communications

NC Scout over at the Brushbeater blog has a few words up about using online elevation tools to view your RF line of sight between two points.


One of the responsibilities of the RTO in a planning cycle is knowing what tools will cover the distances needed during the patrol. You very well may LOVE license free FRS handhelds, only to get two klicks into the bush to realize they don’t work like you thought they would. These problems are some of the issues we cover in class- and flexibility rules the day. One of the planning tools that makes life easy now is an RF Line of Sight (LOS) tool. Using this will give you an idea of your radius on your terrain, and you can see roughly what you’ll need as far as antenna height and direction. It’s a particularly useful tool for those incorporating sloping vees or yagis into a signals package.

directional wire

And if you wanna take your small unit capability to the next level, get a jump start on your signals skills…

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NC Scout Announces Radiotelephone Operator Course

**UPDATE** The class location is in North Caroling.

NS Scout at the Brushbeater blog has announced his new RTO Course. The first date is March 3-4th, 2018.  The location is not announced, but I would expect it to be somewhere in the South Atlantic states. If you’re in that region, or can easily get there, this should be some good training.

What the RTO Course is:

This course is designed to instruct students on the basics of effective communications in a tactical environment. Students will learn everything from how to create a proper Signals Operating Index and traffic handling to basic antenna theory and construction for local use as well as a primer on how HF works. All of this culminates in an FTX on the second day.

What this course is NOT:

This is not a ‘ham radio’ class. Strong emphasis is placed on ‘making your equipment work in a tactical environment’ versus bombarding the student with technical or hobby-oriented data. We will be working on a level most ‘hams’ never do. So while a license is certainly helpful, it is not required, but by the end of class you’ll come away with a real understanding of why it is an advantage.

While not designed to be physically intense, there will be field work on both days.

RTO Course: $200 per Student

This class will teach students the basics of communications at the Team or Squad Level in the field. Topics of instruction include:

  • Identifying Equipment Requirements
  • Writing a Signals Operating Index
  • PACE Planning for Communications
  • Basic equipment capabilities
  • Traffic handling
  • Improvised antenna types, uses and construction
  • Setting up and running an NVIS HF station
  • Message Formats
  • Setting up and communicating from a Hide site

Two day course will culminate in an field training event running a TOC station and Hide site in the field. Students will each build an antenna and demonstrate competency in team communications basics during the field exercise. Amateur Radio license qualification is helpful, but not required. This is NOT a ‘ham radio’ class but each student will come away with a basic understanding of a team’s communications needs in a tactical environment and how to best meet them under less-than-ideal circumstances. No equipment is required for this course; however, if students want to get field practice with their own gear, it is highly encouraged but done so at their own risk. Instruction is completely off-grid.


Update 2: Brushbeater has posted a student’s review of the RTO course. Click here.

Brushbeater: Reveille in America

Another good blog post from NC Scout over at the Brushbeater blog.

First Call, Americans. Out of your bunks. For a good portion of you out there, a year ago you went to sleep. That attitude driven by a very real fear of government out of control over eight years produced diamonds. For many, it meant getting serious about preparing yourselves, family and neighborhoods for uncertain times. And then, you went to sleep. Your guy got in, and he’d make it all right. Everything would be fixed, time to rejoice and rest on those laurels. He’ll undo all the wrongs and the lever pullers of power would truly yield to vox populi. And then, you went to sleep…

Rekindle that fire you had a year ago. Your five minute breather is over. Pick up your rucks and start walking again. You don’t have enough food or ammo for what’s coming. Prep harder, train harder. Go back to your Churches. And while your at it, seek out training from experienced folks even if you think you know it all- because I promise you, that outside viewpoint or different opinion may make a big difference. You can’t learn it by only reading a blog; you have to go and do. Your enemy is training, and they want you dead. Reveille is sounding, American. Do you hear it?

Click here to continue reading at Brushbeater.

Brushbeater: Better Things – Think Local; Act Local

NC Scout over at Brushbeater blog has this article out on taking action and working locally, Better Things, Or, Doing Versus Talking.  More people are waking to up to the realization that things just aren’t right in the world and feeling that they need to do something about it.

I know it’s all going straight to hell, it’s nothing new and it’s what many have been saying for a long, LONG time. We are a nation under Judgement. Don’t focus on the big picture. You can’t fix it. But you can fix your own situation locally. You can meet the good folks next door. You can meet the good folks raising their own food and selling it at the farmer’s market. You can meet the good folks owning the micro brewery and hosting the beer festivals. You can meet the guys testing the handloads at the range and swapping numbers. You can lane coach the couple struggling to zero that new AR while you’re at that range. You can talk to like-minded people on the radiowaves, like I do with my friends. You can go to church, even if it’s not ‘your’ denomination, just to meet people who live and do in your community. It doesn’t do anyone any good to simply read what they want to hear, channeling some useless venom that doesn’t do anything other than cause more of a problem- thus I stay above it, as do the wise. More often than not the stuff is written by people who can’t do, hence why they complain.

IMG_0410Get out there and do it, whatever it is. Stop making it a hobby and start making it a lifestyle. Take care of home and hearth along with your close ones, and don’t forget those close by. Even if you think they’re a lost cause, people will surprise you, with a lot more folks into this preper thing than you realize- with a lot of folks not calling it that. You can learn from them, and they you. And with every hurricane, earthquake or human disaster, more good people wake up. Those late to the game tend to prep even harder, because they’ve got even stronger motivation. Go drop a deer or two this fall, learn how to skin game, make sausage and fill a freezer without spending a bunch of money. Teach your kids the joy of eating wild. And while you’re at it, start figuring out ways to work independent of a grid- find out how folks did stuff back in the days before consistent power.

Click here to read the entire article

Brushbeater: Open-Source Drone Warfare

NCScout at Brushbeater has a post on using drones and electronic warfare against them. Employ a drone or worry about nefarious drone users? Read on!

But the technology over the past decade has experienced a renaissance. Rightly so. It has a number of significant advantages- namely, the eye in the sky provides a large force multiplier eliminating dead space (what groups on the ground can’t see), can in some cases provide a communications relay platform, and most significant, provides a weapons delivery system that attacks with little to no warning and carries with it no culpability. From the State’s perspective this reduces the human cost of war and is politically advantageous; from the insurgent perspective, a platform that kills without warning…

Finding all of that data via Open Sources, we now have a huge step towards doing two things: Intercepting Drone Data or Jamming and Disabling them. From knowing the properties of the frequencies themselves, we can say that the ground control is Line of Sight, meaning the operator is nearby and can be intercepted themselves. But this is not the only spread of spectrum Common Off The Shelf (COTS) drones operate on. Digging a little deeper, we also find them operating on 5.8GHz for real-time video, or First Person View operation. This means guiding it via a camera. But what if, in the field, drones are being built that don’t use this spectrum? These are for the off-the-shelf or open source models, but not necessarily for 100% of them in the air. The only way to know is to have the capability to monitor the airwaves in that spectrum

Source: Open-Source Drone Warfare