Author Topic: brushbeater blog post discussion  (Read 26053 times)

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #90 on: March 08, 2018, 05:36:23 PM »
The latest:
Jailbreaking DMR
It's not my thing, but there it is for those so inclined.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #91 on: April 09, 2018, 07:26:31 PM »
New one up, first in a while:
https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/guidelines-for-inter-team-communications-and-integrating-it-into-your-kit/
This goes even more tacticool than usual.  Lots of little hints and techniques, worth a quick read if only to get how others are thinking.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #92 on: April 29, 2018, 08:19:24 AM »
Catching up a little on recent posting over at brushbeater:

Updates on CommRadio’s CTX-10
It's a QRP rig.  'nuff said.

Ground SIGINT: Low Noise Receiving Loop Antenna
OK, this one's a little more interesting.

The Brevity Matrix
Honestly, the ARRL standard Q's and #'s (links below) are more practical for normal and survival situations.  Maybe in a true hog-wild SHTF situation something like what brushbeater's talking about would begin to make sense, but that's getting out there.
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Get%20on%20the%20Air/Comm%20w%20Other%20Hams-Q%20Signals.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARRL_Numbered_Radiogram

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #93 on: April 29, 2018, 09:31:01 AM »
Catching up a little on recent posting over at brushbeater:

Updates on CommRadio’s CTX-10
It's a QRP rig.  'nuff said.

Ground SIGINT: Low Noise Receiving Loop Antenna
OK, this one's a little more interesting.

The Brevity Matrix
Honestly, the ARRL standard Q's and #'s (links below) are more practical for normal and survival situations.  Maybe in a true hog-wild SHTF situation something like what brushbeater's talking about would begin to make sense, but that's getting out there.
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Get%20on%20the%20Air/Comm%20w%20Other%20Hams-Q%20Signals.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARRL_Numbered_Radiogram

What's not to love about a thousand dollar QRP rig?  It's ruggedized too! What if I built 10 uBitx transceivers and just threw them away when they failed?

For the RX antenna, maybe if I retire on a ranch where I have 70'x 70' I can dedicate to an antenna I'll try that out.

While the budding boyhood secret agent in me enjoys the idea of covert words to communicate, the two obvious blocking problems are:

1) we cannot legally obscure the meaning of communications on amateur bands (encryption or code words)
2) the understanding is not ubiquitous.  Of course if everyone knew the secret code words they would not be secrets, but this stuff only works for a pre-arranged group.

Sorry for the snark, I haven't finished my coffee as I write this.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #94 on: April 29, 2018, 10:06:01 AM »
Sorry for the snark, I haven't finished my coffee as I write this.
Snark on, Smurf.  brushbeater occasionally has something relevant to say, but lately he's been more infrequent and more out-there.

In the meantime, instead of making up a set of secret squirrel codes nobody else is using, it's an idea to spend a minute to print out the standard Q-codes and radiogram message numbers to put in a shack notebook.  Yes, we all have them in a book or two on the shelf, but they'll be more handy in the notebook.  Even brushbeater can spur a good idea, even if he doesn't directly hand them out.

You got your second cup yet?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #95 on: April 29, 2018, 05:14:08 PM »
Snark on, Smurf.  brushbeater occasionally has something relevant to say, but lately he's been more infrequent and more out-there.

In the meantime, instead of making up a set of secret squirrel codes nobody else is using, it's an idea to spend a minute to print out the standard Q-codes and radiogram message numbers to put in a shack notebook.  Yes, we all have them in a book or two on the shelf, but they'll be more handy in the notebook.  Even brushbeater can spur a good idea, even if he doesn't directly hand them out.

You got your second cup yet?

A more likely scenario is that some foreign land has a calamity and they are desperately calling DX to get some news out. Could be a political revolution, natural disaster, etc.

For example, while my contacts to Venezuela have been limited to concise digital modes like PSK31/JT65/FT8, and it's been nothing but a signal report exchange, I have to think we could get accurate intel more readily from a fellow amateur on the ground compared to CNN/FOX/MSNBC. 

Or less dramatic, you might pick up a may day call from a blue ocean sailor in distress, injured hiker, etc..  These sound a bit dramatic, but they are probably much more likely than another American Civil War or whatever the crisis du jour is.

Good tip on printing out the Q codes and radio grams forms.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #96 on: April 29, 2018, 06:17:43 PM »
A more likely scenario is that some foreign land has a calamity and they are desperately calling DX to get some news out. Could be a political revolution, natural disaster, etc.
Definitely.  Last September, for example, there was a ton of health & welfare traffic out of Puerto Rico.

Quote
Or less dramatic, you might pick up a may day call from a blue ocean sailor in distress, injured hiker, etc..  These sound a bit dramatic, but they are probably much more likely than another American Civil War or whatever the crisis du jour is.
The check-ins go on every day on the 14.300 maritime mobile net, and occasionally they handle emergency traffic.  Seems like more regular activity than the other events you mention.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #97 on: April 30, 2018, 05:35:15 PM »
AmRRON Dark Labs: ADL-1 OTP Generator
An automated one time pad generator? :tinfoily:
Scroll down for the comments regarding EMP-proofing the thing.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #98 on: May 01, 2018, 07:36:04 PM »
Well that was grim.  Realistic though.  Of course, brushbeater's going to some dark places.  Go dark places, expect dark stuff.

Is that blog (and by extension this thread) getting too weird for the forum?  I mean, when the guy's reminding everybody about Winter Field Day and suggesting that people get out in the great outdoors and operate, that's pretty positive.  Then he goes off into Secret Squirrel Land with OTP generators.

So... is the discussion of that blog getting too far afield here?  Mods?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #99 on: May 01, 2018, 08:33:27 PM »
Well that was grim.  Realistic though.  Of course, brushbeater's going to some dark places.  Go dark places, expect dark stuff.

Is that blog (and by extension this thread) getting too weird for the forum?  I mean, when the guy's reminding everybody about Winter Field Day and suggesting that people get out in the great outdoors and operate, that's pretty positive.  Then he goes off into Secret Squirrel Land with OTP generators.

So... is the discussion of that blog getting too far afield here?  Mods?

In of themselves skills like OTP or lockpicking can be positive pursuits, but context is everything.


Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #100 on: May 01, 2018, 09:46:18 PM »
In of themselves skills like OTP or lockpicking can be positive pursuits, but context is everything.
Yes, context seems to be the key.  Let's keep this thread rolling then.  Besides... it's fun to learn some of this stuff even if we never need it.

Offline Carl

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #101 on: May 02, 2018, 06:18:07 AM »
Well that was grim.  Realistic though.  Of course, brushbeater's going to some dark places.  Go dark places, expect dark stuff.

Is that blog (and by extension this thread) getting too weird for the forum?  I mean, when the guy's reminding everybody about Winter Field Day and suggesting that people get out in the great outdoors and operate, that's pretty positive.  Then he goes off into Secret Squirrel Land with OTP generators.

So... is the discussion of that blog getting too far afield here?  Mods?

Even when digging in pay-dirt, a miner must still separate the dirt from the GOLD nuggets.


And as far as the code pad / secret squirrel stuff....I long ago learned that plain English with no 10 code.Q-codes,or techno babble was always most efficient at getting the message correctly to the recipient.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #102 on: May 11, 2018, 05:56:59 PM »
The Pirate Radio
A sort of down-and-dirty version of some things Steve Harris discussed on Jack's show a while back regarding little FM broadcast transmitters.

Offline NC Scout

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #103 on: May 14, 2018, 05:49:45 PM »
Interesting thread. As the name would suggest, I'm NC Scout of the Brushbeater blog.

Looks like some good commentary (thanks)

*EDITED BY MOD*
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 07:08:13 AM by Chemsoldier »

Offline NC Scout

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #104 on: May 14, 2018, 07:22:50 PM »
Now that I'm here, if anyone wants a topic discussion or just bounce swap ideas, feel free. Solid feedback is always welcome. I only do what I do to help preppers, patriots and good folks out. I've got some upcoming posts that I think y'all will like. A fairly positive review of an inexpensive dual band mobile, some signals collection stuff, and a current buyer's guide (by reader request). Got some bugout/EDC survival things wrapping up also that I think y'all might find interesting.

There's a whole lot that can be done with a 4 watt Baofeng and a wire, and we're gonna talk about that too.  ;D

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #105 on: May 14, 2018, 08:20:18 PM »
Welcome NC Scout. This is funny and awesome.

I feel like we've had a long time book club here. 
You'll find some critique and deep relections on topics.  But generally we wouldn't bother discussing if these subjects weren't important or interesting.

Thanks for making an appearance and I hope you stick around.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #106 on: May 15, 2018, 05:49:33 AM »
Hello NC Scout and welcome.  We've learned a lot from reading and discussing your blog, and it's good to have you stop in.  Thanks for giving a few previews of upcoming posts, they all sound interesting.  I'm sure we'll have a lot more to discuss in the future. 

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #107 on: May 15, 2018, 06:14:19 AM »
New as of yesterday:
Guerrilla Radio: Getting Your Local Station Running

Some interesting advice that I can get onboard with:
  • a repeater should never be part of your communications plan
  • first time around, skip digital voice and stick to analog.  simpler & more reliable
  • think past handhelds, and toward mobile radios and base antennas
  • primer on coax and coax types
  • some useful discussion of line-of-sight and power considerations

I can see where "never repeaters" applies to guerrilla comms.  For more general disasters, repeaters are OK and useful at the primary level.  Better have the alternate, contingency, and emergency plans lined up though if the repeater's power goes out.

In my relatively radio-impoverished region, it's hard enough to scrape up enough people on 2m & 440, let alone with the newest whiz-bang digital voice modes.  Simplicity rules if only by default.

It's a big step for a lot of people to put up an antenna in the yard (HOAs, spousal conflict, gray man considerations, etc.), but the payoff is enormous.

Offline Carl

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #108 on: May 15, 2018, 06:48:53 AM »
NC SCOUT I enjoy your posts and often find nuggets of wisdom along with perspective on some things I had little prior thoughts on.

Offline NC Scout

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #109 on: May 15, 2018, 07:14:07 AM »
New as of yesterday:
Guerrilla Radio: Getting Your Local Station Running

Some interesting advice that I can get onboard with:
  • a repeater should never be part of your communications plan
  • first time around, skip digital voice and stick to analog.  simpler & more reliable
  • think past handhelds, and toward mobile radios and base antennas
  • primer on coax and coax types
  • some useful discussion of line-of-sight and power considerations

I can see where "never repeaters" applies to guerrilla comms.  For more general disasters, repeaters are OK and useful at the primary level.  Better have the alternate, contingency, and emergency plans lined up though if the repeater's power goes out.

In my relatively radio-impoverished region, it's hard enough to scrape up enough people on 2m & 440, let alone with the newest whiz-bang digital voice modes.  Simplicity rules if only by default.

It's a big step for a lot of people to put up an antenna in the yard (HOAs, spousal conflict, gray man considerations, etc.), but the payoff is enormous.

I hear you, especially on LOS simplex. The downturn in the solar cycle has helped a bit.

The problems with repeaters, in general, are this:
1. There's a wide variety in build quality, location, power source, and coverage. So while the repeater everyone hangs out on is great for the morning commute, and might even have awesome coverage, using one for disaster preparedness is really a case by case basis. Simply relying on it because it's there and convenient might be an issue. That goes with what you said regarding power.
2. Everything might be great with the owner today, but next week he has a falling out with the club and yanks the cord. It happens.
3. Repeater traffic can get plugged up in an emergency. Even if there's a designated net control, things can get out of hand in a hurry.
4. Sometimes they just break. It happens far more often than not.

That said, there's nothing saying you can't build your own low powered repeater-especially a cross band type. Plans are pretty abundant out there to do it even on the cheap. Its not something I talk about much because I prefer mitigating the probability of interception when it comes to tactical use. But if you're living on a fairly large or rural homestead, it can be a good option. The rule of thumb is to listen for a while for traffic patterns to see what you can do and not bother anyone.

Talking about outdoor antennas, etc, there's nothing saying you can't paint up that J-pole and mount it in a tree.  You'd be shocked how easily they vanish.

Offline NC Scout

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #110 on: May 15, 2018, 07:15:37 AM »
NC SCOUT I enjoy your posts and often find nuggets of wisdom along with perspective on some things I had little prior thoughts on.

Thanks man. I appreciate the compliments.  :)

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #111 on: May 17, 2018, 07:42:55 PM »
Fresh up today:
The Prepper's Signal Kit: Line of Sight Equipment Suggestions Based on Requests

Kind of like the title says, gear recommendations for VHF/UHF radios.

Just to pick out one item among many for comment, I was a little curious about the recommendation for the Yaesu VX-6R for the HT over the "old reliable" FT-60R.  Looking up specs & features, with a lithium battery, tri-band (2m, 220, & 440, and with MARS mod, 6m) capability, and AM MW/SW receive, yeah, it's a better radio.  Time marches on.

Good all-round read even if you've been radio for a while.  It's especially good if you just got your Tech license and are looking around at gear.  It is a gear post, and while skills are in general more important, it's still good to look around at gear occasionally.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #112 on: May 18, 2018, 09:34:52 AM »
Fresh up today:
The Prepper's Signal Kit: Line of Sight Equipment Suggestions Based on Requests

Kind of like the title says, gear recommendations for VHF/UHF radios.

Just to pick out one item among many for comment, I was a little curious about the recommendation for the Yaesu VX-6R for the HT over the "old reliable" FT-60R.  Looking up specs & features, with a lithium battery, tri-band (2m, 220, & 440, and with MARS mod, 6m) capability, and AM MW/SW receive, yeah, it's a better radio.  Time marches on.

Good all-round read even if you've been radio for a while.  It's especially good if you just got your Tech license and are looking around at gear.  It is a gear post, and while skills are in general more important, it's still good to look around at gear occasionally.

I really enjoyed this one.  I think more discussion about alternative vhf/uhf bands would be interesting.

Tomorrow I'm volunteerin at a municipal 5k fun run event.  As I'm one of the younger and more fit in the ARES team (terrifying to consider both), I'm at he far end of the course.  I know from past experience I cannot hit our reprates due to the local topography.  So we use the repeater output on simplex and relay as needed across check points.  Crude, but almost idiot proof.

Last time I worked this event I got to practice my first aid.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #113 on: May 18, 2018, 05:00:27 PM »
As I'm one of the younger and more fit in the ARES team (terrifying to consider both),
Even more terrifying is that I can say the same, and I probably have 10 years on you!

Quote
Crude, but almost idiot proof.
Exactly as it should be.

Quote
Last time I worked this event I got to practice my first aid.
Bonus!

Good going and good luck on tomorrow, Smurf.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #114 on: May 18, 2018, 05:39:34 PM »
Thanks.  I may post an after action report if anything of interest happens.

Offline NC Scout

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #115 on: May 19, 2018, 09:13:46 AM »
Fresh up today:
The Prepper's Signal Kit: Line of Sight Equipment Suggestions Based on Requests

Kind of like the title says, gear recommendations for VHF/UHF radios.

Just to pick out one item among many for comment, I was a little curious about the recommendation for the Yaesu VX-6R for the HT over the "old reliable" FT-60R.  Looking up specs & features, with a lithium battery, tri-band (2m, 220, & 440, and with MARS mod, 6m) capability, and AM MW/SW receive, yeah, it's a better radio.  Time marches on.

Good all-round read even if you've been radio for a while.  It's especially good if you just got your Tech license and are looking around at gear.  It is a gear post, and while skills are in general more important, it's still good to look around at gear occasionally.

This one was an answer (actually three answers) to several emails I've had. Much of my own focus is on getting the new folks on the air or more capable than they are currently, and they keep asking about gear. My opinion, and something I state in class, is that no matter what you have, one 2m radio is pretty much the same as any other while transmitting. The real difference comes down to build quality and versatility. I mean an FT-270 or IC-80 are absolute tanks, but are limited in being one band only. Yaesu's VX series are built very rugged and are DC to daylight, so I tend to favor them. That's not to say other options are no good, because that's definitely not the case.

I didn't mention the old standby, the FT-60, because one of the questions I had was regarding current production gear. From my source at Yaesu, the last of the FT-60s are on the shelf now. The FT-65 is phasing it out, much like the FT-891 will eventually for the 857. It's unfortunate, because a local friend here has one and it's been nothing but problems. Motorola owns a large chunk of Vertex now (which is the parent company of Yaesu) and amateur radio takes a backseat to public service equipment.

For the moment they have no plan to discontinue the VX-6R, so I mentioned it for a couple of reasons- the stated versatility and durability (it's mil-spec rated for IP and shock resistance) but what I didn't say is that aftermarket batteries- the FNB-80 -have been around a LONG time and can be found very cheap. They work for the VX-5, 6 & 7, so you can stock up inexpensively and each of those radios can be run via a SLA battery the same way you can with a Baofeng UV-5R's extended battery.  Believe it or not they all use the same plug as the Yaesu  817- so if you've got a power cable rigged for one you can run them all off-grid. That's another idea if you're building a solar power QRP repeater...but that's a whole other topic entirely.

The VX series also have great receivers for their size. A lot of handhelds, even dedicated communications receivers, have marginal performance on the lower end of the spectrum, but each of the VX models do pretty well, even receiving WWCR and Radio Havana with the stock duck. With the addition of a loop you can do some nice RDF stuff if you're into foxhunting. They are somewhat complicated to use though, especially if you're coming from the relatively straightforward Baofeng menu system.

Based on y'alls needs for Ares, doing simplex on the output frequency is a quick solution. The only thing I'd worry about is if you get some jackwaggon wanting to QSO on the repeater in the middle of your transmission. It may or may not be an issue, that's a local thing, just know it *could* happen. What you might want to do instead as a group is build antennas you can string in a tree at your positions.

https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/the-jungle-antenna/

Build it for the input frequency and it should have no problems hitting the repeater. Even if you just build a dipole and suspend it vertically, you're averaging 2.15dB of gain which is a huge advantage over the stock duck on that HT. Some folks like roll up J-poles for the same purpose, but you can build your own for much cheaper than what they sell for and learn quite a bit in the process.

Anyway, running long here but I hope the ARES event goes well. God bless.  :)

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #116 on: May 19, 2018, 11:36:43 AM »
So for the folks that buy a case of Baofengs on Alibaba and then never take them out of the box, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

the absolute 1 thing that isn't said enough!


Offline Carl

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #117 on: May 19, 2018, 11:57:56 AM »
  SKILL must be kept in an ever expanding box.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #118 on: May 20, 2018, 02:26:59 PM »
Thanks.  I may post an after action report if anything of interest happens.
How'd it go?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: brushbeater blog post discussion
« Reply #119 on: May 20, 2018, 10:02:29 PM »
How'd it go?

Pretty uneventful.  This time I brought my FT60 with a high(er) gain whip antenna.  I was prepared with a roll up j-pole I might throw into a tree.  But as it turned out all of us could hit the repeater.  I'm not sure if the FT60 or the whip I used was just a bit better radio than the baofeng uv5r I used last time.

Also, the weather was fair, and no injuries or other incidents.