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.

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.

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.

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

OH8STN: Emergency Power for Communications

Amateur radio enthusiast, blogger and vlogger OH8STN (Julian) has posted the second video in his Grid Down Communications series. In this video he addresses peoples’ concerns with how they will keep their communications online when the grid is down, including batteries, solar generators, solar panels, and other alternative power.

AmPart: RTO’s Guide to Connectors

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

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

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

Cobra Heads make improvised antennas fast and simple.

The Cobra Head 

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

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

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Hurricane Watch Net Now (Not) Active for Dorian

Hurricane Watch Net is now active (Update: no longer active) on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz as tropical storm Dorian, expected to reach hurricane strength before landfall, passes to the north of Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Dominican Republic before heading for the Florida and/or Georgia coast. (Update 8/29/19: Tropical Storm Dorian was upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane around 2pm Eastern time today. It is expected to make landfall in the US as a Category 4. Update 9/3/19: Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded from a category 5 to a category 2 hurricane. Update 9/4/19: Hurricane Dorian has re-intensified to a category 3 hurricane. Update 9/6/19: Dorian is now a category 1 hurricane.)

From HWN:

he Hurricane Watch Net has been in continuous operation since 5:00 PM EDT – 2100 UTC Saturday afternoon and will remain in operation until further notice.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall around 11:00 PM (0300 UTC) Sunday evening along the east end of Grand Bahama Island as a strong Cat 5 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. After landfall, the storm all but stalled. 12 hours later with little to no movement, the storm still had Cat 5 winds of 155 mph.

After being over Grand Bahama Island as a stalled Hurricane, after 36-hours of barely drifting across the island, Dorian finally began to move away with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.

Member of the Hurricane Watch Net have been reading the latest bulletins and updates as well as making calls to the islands for any reports…checking on their well-being, any weather data, damage reports, etc. However, when a storm is stalled over an area beginning with sustained winds of 180 mph and slowly dropping to 110 mph, that amount of high wind and continuous storm surge, major catastrophic damage is to be expected.

Video recorded by recon helicopters over Abacos Island on Tuesday began to reveal the extent of damage caused by Dorian. What we saw is just absolutely heartbreaking. Overnight, Dorian pulled away from Grand Bahama Island. I’m sure we will get an idea to the extent of damage to the island by way of recon aircraft today as well as feet on the ground with help.

The Hurricane Watch Net will continue to make calls to the Bahamian Islands for survivors and to collect and pass any and all emergency or priority traffic from the area…

From Florida Division of Emergency Management:

Residents should have 7 days of supplies in preparation of hurricane . A stocked supply kit has water, nonperishable food, prescription medications, flashlights and extra batteries…

From the ARRL:

Over the weekend, on Saturday, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) Commissioner Carlos Acevedo urged the island’s resident to put into effect the Family Plan the agency has suggested for emergencies. This includes ensuring a first line of defense in terms of water, canned goods, medicines, batteries, and fuel for power generators. Residents heeded the advice, heading out to markets around the island to purchase water and supplies, and later that day, hundreds of people went to supermarkets to buy water and other supplies in larger-than-usual quantities. By Sunday, vendors were limiting bottled water to between two and five packages, depending on locale.

The government of Puerto Rico is assuring the public that it’s better prepared than it was for Hurricanes Irma and Maria 2 years ago. New Commonwealth Governor Wanda Vázquez has been meeting with agency heads to make sure storm preparation plans are in place.

“About 30,000 people still have blue roofs installed in the wake of Irma and Maria,” Puerto Rico PIO Angel Santana, WP3GW, told ARRL. He said this situation presents a primary safety concern for those affected residents.

8/29/19 Update: Parts of Florida are already experiencing bottled water and fuel shortages as people prepare for the coming storm.

Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando resident Nicholas Boyd said during the last storm, the art teacher had put off stocking up on supplies a little too long,

“Last time, I put it off a little too long, and there was none left,” the 35-year-old Boyd said, adding that he wanted to be “a little more proactive” this time around. And he isn’t alone: Home Depot said it had already sent some 160 truckloads of various products to stores in Florida so far.

“We have five distribution centers in the Southeast working to get more materials to stores as quickly as they can,” a spokesperson said, adding that the chain is “prioritizing those in-demand items like generators, batteries, water and plywood.”

Reporting from a Publix in Baldwin Park, the Orlando Sentinel noted that shelves of water were left largely empty, and employee were offering customers bottles of Fiji water instead of the large multi-gallon jugs they were looking for.

“We like to get the 5-gallon jugs because we have a dispenser at home, but they’re out of those,” said 37-year-old Orlando resident Shannon Taylor, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s college of business. “So instead I went into the aisle with the bottled water, and they didn’t have any, but right when I was walking out of there, one of the Publix employees came with a cart of a few extra boxes of Fiji.”

OH8STN: Grid Down Communications for Preparedness

Amateur radio enthusiast, blogger and vlogger OH8STN (Julian) has posted a video on Introduction to Grid Down Communications for Preparedness. As he says, planning for a grid down scenario covers around 99% of the scenarios that a person may face (earthquake, pandemic, civil unrest, etc.) Julian covers a lot of useful information in the video, not just for amateur radio operators but anyone trying to prepare to communicate in such a scenario.

Here is the first video of the series:

Related:

Suggested Radio Equipment for Community Safety – but there is no “one size fits all” communications solution as pointed out in OH8STN’s video above. Julian’s video discusses some of the assumed background information of this article in more detail. This article discusses the equipment that is working for the LVA.

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//

Related:

AmRRON: T-REX “News” Has Begun

AmRRON: T-REX “News” Has Begun

AmRRON has released the first TEOTWAWKI Readiness Exercise (T-REX) 2019 related news. You can find the T-REX news page here. The active exercise begins on July 26th, but you can expect escalating drill news to be released periodically, ramping up to the main event.

15 July 09 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//

Here is some background for this year’s T-REX:

This years T-REX is primarily centered around a cyber attack on PLC’s (programmable logic controllers). These small devices provide computer control of many of our industrial and infrastructure mechanical devices. You may remember the “STUXNET” virus that struck Iran’s nuclear program. The virus attacked PLC’s that controlled the speed of uranium centrifuges and caused them to spin out of control resulting in failure and damage to the centrifuges. It is hypothesized that the STUXNET virus was introduced into the Iranian computers through a compromised USB drive.

In addition to the cyber attack on the PLC’s, this T-REX will incorporate other types of cyber attacks into commercial infrastructure and ATM’s, medical devices and communications services.

The following link will give a good overview on how to prevent cyber intrusion into infrastructure devices and is worth reading. Overview of Cyber Vulnerabilities

Recommended Reading: Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet World’s First Digital Weapon
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