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Fun topic - SHTF communications plans and equipment?


Lscott
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2 hours ago, tweiss3 said:

I believe you can direct kill/stun commands based on serial number, and provide a second layer of security with OTAP keys. This can all be managed via the RM software, and sent over wifi or pushed out over your backbone (repeater).

I just did a quick look at the CPS for the Kenwood TK-3170, analog only. A number of people on the forum use this radio.

The stun function is done by sending a series of digits using DTMF tones. If the stun feature is enabled in the target radio then it will react, otherwise it's ignored. Apparently they only way to target a given radio is it must be programed with a unique stun code. The radio has no idea where the codes originates from so you really need to keep the codes secret.

I haven't even looked at how the few Motorola XPR radios do it. I suspect it's like you and gman1971 mentioned.

What this clearly shows is anybody that has a mixed fleet of radios likely will need at least ONE radio of that manufacture, and likely model type, with the ability to send the stun command out. I think for operational simplicity any radio that is likely to get lost or stolen should be all of the same model and type. Then you don't have to worry in an emergency with fast changing conditions who has what type of radio and then trying to find one to send out the code before any major damage is done.  You should have each radio clearly labeled, lets say a unit number, on the case so everyone in your group knows which radio they have so if lost or worse it can be report accurately and quickly.

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On 11/3/2021 at 4:16 PM, axorlov said:

Indeed. All of this should be sorted out before the encryption. Some of this things (time protocol, frequency plan) also applicable to normal life situation: say, when somebody is lost in national park. Or trekking through national park and saving time and battery while keeping in touch with support crew.

In this case, I prefer the SHUN CODE! 🤣

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What's the plan for like Jammers/solarwind or emp damage? Im a new member just read this forum. my first thought was this all relies on I/C's or clear airwaves.  If you killed all the I/C's right this second what would the comm plan be? Maybe a solar wind that powerful is up there with zombie invasion but who knows these days..

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58 minutes ago, Horseshoe said:

What's the plan for like Jammers/solarwind or emp damage? Im a new member just read this forum. my first thought was this all relies on I/C's or clear airwaves.  If you killed all the I/C's right this second what would the comm plan be? Maybe a solar wind that powerful is up there with zombie invasion but who knows these days..

If all electronics are killed by big enough EMP or solar wind event, people would have bigger problem on hand than radio communications.

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Yeah thats about it , I'm sure there's some solution like keeping some backup equipment in shielded containers. I just threw It out there thinking somebody have a plan or considered it. Morse by light has a similar range to simplex GMRS line of sight. So That's my contingency plan It's not fast but you probably have a light and a pencil within reach.

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Smoke signals! No, not going to work, there will be a lot of smoke everywhere. Light semaphore is not going to work for the same reason. Flag and light semaphore might work for short distances, and just yelling silly is going to work too. Courier on a bicycle might be a reliable way to communicate, if not on a hostile territory. My bicycles are all lubed and inflated, and I try to keep myself in shape with weekly MTB jaunts just for that very reason. J/K, not for that reason. Still, I can do 10-15 miles in a challenging terrain off road, and pretty much infinite distance in the flat paved suburbia.

Seriously speaking, the kind of emergency you are trying to be prepared will dictate the details. I'm not trying to be prepared for a catastrophe of a planetary scale (biblical proportions). The big earthquake, or wildfire, or week without power are more realistic threats where I live. Communication plan is important, be it a radio, or light semaphore, or bicycle courier. Start practicing today with your family and intended correspondents. Radio-3-3-3 is a good start to create a plan, adjust to your own needs and means. Make sure you have time schedule, reserve frequencies. What to do when there is no contact is also must be outlined and understood by all parties. And keep these bicycles and comfortable hiking shoes ready.

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I think bringing up EMP is only partly useful here. 

Yes, it's ONE of a dozen or more possibilities that COULD happen.  But keeping a cache or radios in a metal box is all that is needed to prevent them from being damaged.

Should you have a spare stash of radios for that sort of thing, sure.  Being prepared is a multilevel thing that needs to happen over time.  And as said before,,, this is something that requires planning and considering what sort of situations are MOST likely and prepare for those first and then work down the list.   Someone brought up water.  That comes before radios, or anything else, even shelter.  Once you decide to prepare, before you go BUY anything, you need to look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

This spells out what we need to survive and thrive.  The basics have to be covered first.  Then you build from there. 

And another consideration that seems to have been missed here.  You need to first figure out what the threats are for where YOU are and where you will be.

You then need to consider your storage of your stash and how those threats can effect the stash and how it's stored.  If you have ammo buried in the back yard and you are in a flood plain for a dam, if that dam bursts, your buried ammo is useless because you will loose access to it.  Same thing if you are in an area that can have land slides.  ANd these are just two examples.  Point is that you need to think it through pretty well and cover all your bases.

 

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Well, truth is nobody really knows for sure what will happen if an EMP strikes... but we can say that some bad shiatz will go down...

Like WRKC935 said (thank you, btw), just have several spare radios stored inside ammo boxes should be good, also water is highly effective at dealing with EMP type of affects.  And I'll reiterate this once more: "WATER" IS the most important element in survival, without water we cease to function rather quickly... 

Good point on threats, WRKC935, I was afraid to bring that up since it could derail this into a gun thread... and we all know this is not ar15.com... :D but yes, I totally agree, and my belief on that is that you need to have enough deterrent to deal with small threats for a very, very long time.

G.

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12 hours ago, gman1971 said:

Well, truth is nobody really knows for sure what will happen if an EMP strikes... but we can say that some bad shiatz will go down...

Like WRKC935 said (thank you, btw), just have several spare radios stored inside ammo boxes should be good, also water is highly effective at dealing with EMP type of affects.  And I'll reiterate this once more: "WATER" IS the most important element in survival, without water we cease to function rather quickly... 

Good point on threats, WRKC935, I was afraid to bring that up since it could derail this into a gun thread... and we all know this is not ar15.com... :D but yes, I totally agree, and my belief on that is that you need to have enough deterrent to deal with small threats for a very, very long time.

G.

Yeah, thanks for 'the flowers' 

But I think we are referring to two different types of threats.  The two legged threat is a consistent issue in all areas.  The threats I was actually referring to were the natural disaster type stuff.  I am in OHIO so I really don't expect a hurricane or an earthquake as a primary threat source here.  We do gets some minor flooding, tornadoes.  Other stuff not so much.  I am fallout close to a major metropolitan area (Columbus) that may catch a nuke of things really got going on with a nuclear war situation, but we are not a dirty bomb target.  We are however a major hub for freight and overseas goods distribution as you can reach 80% of the population of the USA from Columbus, Oh inside 10 hours.  That could draw attention from those meaning to break the supply chain.

Other places have other threats.  If you go out to tornado alley, your primary threat is obviously tornado's.  But my point is that you need to prep for what YOUR area may throw at you. 

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While working on loan to the Department of State in a previous life, I always thought it interesting that they issued and stored slightly modified versions of Tecsun PL-360/365 and now PL-368 receivers for emergency preparedness. This of course was in addition to the food, water, weapons, and other items (in a foreign country that was at war at the time). The radios were receive only, and for use to listen for emergency messages, and when to leave if it became necessary. I thought the receive only part was odd, as a transceiver is much more useful, even if more expensive and requires more knowledge to operate. My emergency plan includes both receivers and transceivers, with cheat sheets and guides included with the radios.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/12/2021 at 5:59 PM, WRKC935 said:

We are however a major hub for freight and overseas goods distribution as you can reach 80% of the population of the USA from Columbus, Oh inside 10 hours.  That could draw attention from those meaning to break the supply chain.

This isn't a jab at you it's just something I noticed in general. Every city in the US has some kind of claim to fame about how they are such a valuable target to attack. Heck, Anchorage thinks it's some major strategic target b/c the airport serves as a layover for a large percentage of air cargo coming from Asia.

IMO the biggest threats which could threaten society as a whole in order of likeliness would be natural disaster, economic disaster, and societal unrest. Nuclear and dirty bombs are unlikely from a sovereign state but there is the off chance of terrorists. I don't have any hard and fast fact to back this but terrorists always seems to go for the target that will give the largest hit to moral of a country. These cities tend to be symbolic, think NYC, LA etc.

"Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a major cargo hub.[28] In 2020, it ranked as the United States' third-busiest airport and the world's fourth-busiest airport by cargo traffic. A reason is that cargo aircraft between China or Japan and the US prefer to have less fuel and more cargo and refuel on the way.[29]

FedEx Express and UPS Airlines operate major hubs at Anchorage International for cargo heading to and from the Far East.[24] NWA Cargo used to operate a major hub at the airport until December 28, 2009 when it closed all operations for Northwest Cargo at all airports. FedEx Express is the airport's largest cargo facility and can handle as many as 13,400 packages per hour, employing more than 1,200 people and providing a full customs clearance system. United Parcel Service's hub handles about 5,000 parcels per hour. Both companies forecast a large growth in traffic over the next several years as trade with China and other Far East countries increases and plan to expand their Anchorage facilities comparatively.[citation needed] The United States Postal Service also operates a large sectional center facility (SCF) for the 995xx ZIP Codes. It processes mail and parcels headed to and from all Alaska cities.

The United States Department of Transportation allows Anchorage and other Alaskan airports to be used as a transfer point for cargo between different aircraft of the same foreign air carrier without applying for special permission, a privilege not available at airports on the US mainland." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Stevens_Anchorage_International_Airport

 

 

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Good point on every city thinking they are the hub and prime target. Reminded me of the target list released by the Russian Federation a year or so ago, where a VLF radio station at Jim Creek MWR Station in Washington State was listed as target number one, for being a communications hub for ballistic missile submarines. From my own work in the nuclear triad, that is somewhat realistic, but less likely than the threat of both apathy and entropy.

Apathy has meant that many people do not prepare for anything, thinking the "government" will save them from disaster. In the 2016 Cascadia Rising exercise in Washington State, the Emergency Management mantra was changed from "Three Days, Three Ways" to "Two Weeks Ready" when it was realized how a large earthquake/tsunami could cripple the region. For others it is entropy, the collapse of infrastructure, morals,the economy, whatever. From my own practical experience in war and emergency management, most people would do well to have their: phones, radios, and medical alert devices and hardware charged, programmed and ready, as heart disease and medical emergencies are still the most realistic threat.

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All cities are a target, the bigger the larger the X on it. Honestly, I don't think bombing a city into oblivion will bring any benefit, except, well, maybe make the enemy more determined to end you. London 1940?

Radios in a movie? The shittiest and cheapest possible radios they can get away with... heck, I see modern movies where the SEALs or SpecOps teams use Baofengs... so that kinda puts things into perspective as to how cheap they are nowadays...

Now, In a real world SHTF? I think we'll see a lot of small coordinated groups with ham radios and CCRs in the beginning of a large SHTF, but most of the ham radios and the CCRs will stop working soon after they are abused for a few weeks/months in the field, water, cold, and batteries will probably die too... antennas will be damaged quickly since those are just a glued metal rod inside plastic casing in most cases, the microphones will stop working the moment some water ingestion happens (seen that)... etc...  so after some time, if things don't go back to normal, we will see most everyone fending off for themselves with very little comms, if any. Then after a while, the few groups left with comms will be the groups using military/LEO grade gear, like APX, XPR, Harris, PRC military radios, etc, and those will becoming prominent players, capable of projecting force via coordinated attacks with impunity. Those who have comms + pack heat will have a massive edge over the ones who only pack heat in a SHTF.

G.

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I'm enjoying this thread!

Personally I have a small solar/battery system (and my fiancee just bought her own). We field-tested it for a week this summer and were able to comfortably power a base station, several portables, and several cell phones. That's in addition to a decent amount of stored food, propane, water, individual equipment, and the means to protect all of it.

We went the P25 route for our private communications. AES is standardized across manufacturers so it's not a problem for subgroups to choose different equipment. Our gear is all EF Johnson and Motorola but integrating Kenwood, Tait, Harris, or BK gear is trivial. Subgroups get their own keyset that isn't shared beyond that group, along with a shared keyset for interoperability. A nice side benefit of this is that it forces you to get organized before needing to use the equipment for real.

Rather than relying on fixed repeaters, I have a simplex repeater that can operate off any of my portables. It will pass encrypted traffic and is small and light enough to carry and drop off anywhere. I need to set up a second unit and work on an extended battery.

Something else we've implemented is TMS. A quarter-second data burst can convey complex information while being nearly impossible to DF, and it seems to get out a bit better than voice. Between encryption, data, low power, transmitting while mobile, and terrain masking, it's not too hard to be miles ahead of 99% of potential adversaries.

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6 minutes ago, DeoVindice said:

I'm enjoying this thread!

Personally I have a small solar/battery system (and my fiancee just bought her own). We field-tested it for a week this summer and were able to comfortably power a base station, several portables, and several cell phones. That's in addition to a decent amount of stored food, propane, water, individual equipment, and the means to protect all of it.

We went the P25 route for our private communications. AES is standardized across manufacturers so it's not a problem for subgroups to choose different equipment. Our gear is all EF Johnson and Motorola but integrating Kenwood, Tait, Harris, or BK gear is trivial. Subgroups get their own keyset that isn't shared beyond that group, along with a shared keyset for interoperability. A nice side benefit of this is that it forces you to get organized before needing to use the equipment for real.

Rather than relying on fixed repeaters, I have a simplex repeater that can operate off any of my portables. It will pass encrypted traffic and is small and light enough to carry and drop off anywhere. I need to set up a second unit and work on an extended battery.

Something else we've implemented is TMS. A quarter-second data burst can convey complex information while being nearly impossible to DF, and it seems to get out a bit better than voice. Between encryption, data, low power, transmitting while mobile, and terrain masking, it's not too hard to be miles ahead of 99% of potential adversaries.

 

Totally agree with your last statement, about being miles ahead of 99% of potential adversaries.

 

 

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Recently toured a state Emergency Operations Center communications room. Having taxpayer funding, of course there was the generator, UPS, and redundant power supplies....spare parts and radios, and stashed food and water. What I did find interesting though, was the infiltration of TYT/Anytone/Radioddity radios, augmenting the Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood amateur radio gear. There was a DB25-D set up for DMR VHF and UHF use. Right next to a Costco sized contained of animal cookies and bricks of coffee.

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10 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

Recently toured a state Emergency Operations Center communications room. Having taxpayer funding, of course there was the generator, UPS, and redundant power supplies....spare parts and radios, and stashed food and water. What I did find interesting though, was the infiltration of TYT/Anytone/Radioddity radios, augmenting the Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood amateur radio gear. There was a DB25-D set up for DMR VHF and UHF use. Right next to a Costco sized contained of animal cookies and bricks of coffee.

LOL, Radioditty, TYT, Anyone... its like going to war with an airsoft... hahaha.... amateur stuff lasting in SHTF depends entirely on usage and price, I can definitively see HF amateur gear lasting a long time as a base radio (the expensive stuff, mainly), but the cheap stuff? for EDC by boots-on-the-ground, etc?, nope, it won't last very long. Battery quality control is also like non-existent on those CCRs, while you might get lucky with a radio that lasts the advertised figure, chances are the next one will not... 

G.

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14 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

Recently toured a state Emergency Operations Center communications room. Having taxpayer funding, of course there was the generator, UPS, and redundant power supplies....spare parts and radios, and stashed food and water. What I did find interesting though, was the infiltration of TYT/Anytone/Radioddity radios, augmenting the Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood amateur radio gear. There was a DB25-D set up for DMR VHF and UHF use. Right next to a Costco sized contained of animal cookies and bricks of coffee.

I just had this conversation with a EOC director about the amount of CCR junk in boxes. He stated thats what the ham guys wanted. The county spent alot of money on hardline and installs for the ham club to order and request a $60 antenna on the top of the tower. Its sad that hams are that cheap and they wonder why more and more they are shoved out of any large incident. Sorry your CCR isn't going to work better than my APX8000 in an emergency....

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I guess what does it mean by “a lot of money”? A lot of Hams are involved with professional communications and know the difference in performance between a CCR and commercial grade equipment. You give them a $50K budget you’ll get your APX radios. You give them $500 you get Ham swap “specials”.

I have a Ham buddy who is involved with commercial communications as a radio tech for a local city’s transportation department. He was one of the volunteers who worked on a mobile communications truck.

The truck was an old donated electric utility service one. A ground of volunteers completely refurbished it and built it with little money from the city that wanted it. They had to scrounge around for the best equipment they could find, or donated themselves, with the budget they had to work with.

Another buddy just put up a UHF repeater. He spent $300, out of his own pocket, just on a used multi-bay commercial grade high gain antenna. Then add in the cost for the hard line, Kenwood repeater, cavity filters, controls etc. it gets expensive very quick even buying used.
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