- Learning about Electronic Communications - A Primer
- Communications Monitoring HF-to-UHF
- Intelligence versus Information
- Intelligence Requirements
- SIGINT - Signals Intelligence
- Listening Posts and SIGINT Operations
- Communications Services
- Amateur Radio
- Part 95 & 15 (license-free or "license by rule" services)
- Communications Networks
- Interoperability - What it is, and how to make it work.
- Increasing System Performance
- Grid-Down versus Down-Grid Realities
- Basic Crypto Systems and When It Is Legal to Use Them
- Alternatives to Radio Communications
Saturday, January 5, 2019
NEW Class - Basic Grid-Down/Down-Grid Communications, Communications Monitoring, and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) - Watertown, CT
Friday, November 16, 2018
Thursday, November 15, 2018
- The lack of viable broadcast news media even at the present situation mandates that you conduct communications monitoring activities in order to get an accurate picture of activities in your area of operations (AO). During certain scenarios, this capability will become even more important. If you do nothing else in the way of radio communications, you must at least have a good communications monitoring setup.
- Your communications equipment will need to be capable of operating independent of the power grid.
- The lack of consistent reliable electric utility service in many scenarios means that you will have to produce your own power for communications.
- The limited quantity of electricity from self-generation means that you should use the lowest amount of RF power needed to establish reliable communications.
- Many scenarios will have you operating in field locations. Your equipment should be portable or at least easily transportable.
- Commercial electronic repair facilities will not be available in a long-term grid-down scenario. At best you may have access to a retired electronic repair technician or advanced hobbyist with a small collection of parts and basic test equipment. Some of your equipment should be capable of being repaired under these conditions.
- Socio-political effects of certain scenarios may make it necessary for you to implement some form of communications security (COMSEC). Depending on the specific type and severity of the scenario, you may be facing threats ranging from bandits with a police scanner to a professional signals intelligence (SIGINT) organization/agency.
This class has been the most useful information I’ve received since I received my amateur radio operator’s license. I took the class in April of 2016, and attended a refresher since.Thank you Wyowanderer for the review.
I was woefully ignorant of communications when I took the class, but learned a lot in the class, and much since then.
I took all the notes I could, and wish I’d taken more. Fortunately, that’s all you need-and an ability to learn.
If you’re hungry to get communication skills for the bad times coming, sign up. You’ll be thankful you did
The next class is January 6th, 2019 in Watertown, CT, and there are others scheduled across the country as well.
Monday, November 12, 2018
In the early 1990s it was considered a title of passage among radio hackers to "clip the diode" on their recently purchased HT. Many non-hams found themselves bootlegging on 151.625 MHz. and other low-power/itinerant frequencies where there were thousands of licensed users and no one paying much attention. This was before the creation of Part 95 services like FRS and MURS. CB skip shooters would buy a used Kenwood or Yaesu HF rig, clip the diode if not already done, and run 100 watts on 11 Meters and the 27.415-28 MHz range which is still a free for all today.
In regard to modified gear, the following provisions of Part 97 are of interest:
It is legal for an amateur radio operator to have a ham transceiver that will operate outside the ham bands, and in certain emergencies, it is legal to transmit out of band. Your typical HF-UHF amateur radio station, with the appropriate diodes/jumpers in the radios clipped or otherwise reconfigured, should be able to interoperate on CB, MURS, FRS, GMRS, and conventional analog LMR systems.§97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.
§97.405 Station in distress.
(a) No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station in distress of any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known its condition and location, and obtain assistance.
(b) No provision of these rules prevents the use by a station, in the exceptional circumstances described in paragraph (a) of this section, of any means of radiocommunications at its disposal to assist a station in distress.
While this is legal under §97.403 and §97.405, in reality YMMV and keying up on the local PDs' repeater (assuming they still have an analog conventional system up and running) may result in you getting a rash of s**t if their idea of what constitutes an "emergency" is different than yours. I wouldn't expect the FCC to go to bat for you if that happens. Put aside a couple thousand bucks in case you need to lawyer up.
Realistically, you can expect most 2m radios to stay in original spec from around 140 to 160 MHz., and 70cm radios from ~400 to 470 MHz. Past that you can expect progressively worse transmit power output and receive sensitivity the further you get away from the ham bands. TANSTAAFL. Furthermore, running them regularly on Part 95 or 90 allocations is a regulatory no-no as they aren't "certified" for those services. Again, this is what got that Baofeng in hot water. Yes, I know everyone does it, and for the most part the FCC doesn't pay attention until they get a few complaints.
For what it's worth, my opinion is that if you want to run on Part 95 bands, you should run Part 95 gear as it is generally simpler to operate than Part 90 gear. I've met many a no-code, single test session Extra who despite being able to memorize all three test pools was still unable to program and effectively operate his Baofeng HT. I expect his clueless Aunt Matilda would be even less successful if handed one, and that's not taking into account what might happen if the wrong button was pressed. The simple CBs and FRS handhelds I pass out to non-techies have a minimum number of controls to get confused on, and are simple enough for everyone to operate.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Running a stock HT in a vehicle sucks. You start with an inefficient rubber duck antenna, and add the attenuation from transmitting inside a vehicle. I knew a few hams back in the day who would run a 25-50 watt amplifier and external antenna when operating mobile. That setup will give you the equivalent of a regular mobile rig, although the ergonomics won't be as nice.
Running a mobile antenna is probably the easiest way to increase the performance of your HT when operating from a vehicle. Since most amateur radio mobile antennas use a PL-259 connector, you will need an adapter to connect it to the BNC or SMA antenna connector on your HT.
Here is a Weierwei V1000 2m amateur radio HT, one of the higher-tier radios coming out of China. Opening it up, we were pretty convinced its design was "borrowed" from an EX600 or Visar.
Looking at the antenna connector on the radio, we discovered it was an SMA male, which is pretty typical for commercial LMR and Chinese ham radio HTs.
The HT with a generic dual-band (2m/70cm) cellular look-alike magnet mount antenna. It's a quarter-wave on VHF and 5/8th wave (or so) on UHF. Cheap hamfest find. It uses a PL-259 connector, so we need an adapter.
SMA female to SO-239 adapter cable. I prefer using cable adapters as they place less strain on the HT's antenna connector.
Everything all put together and ready to go.
You can expect a noticeable increase in communication range with this setup because you are eliminating attenuation from transmitting through a vehicle body, and running a higher-gain antenna than the stock rubber duck on the HT.