Comms for the Road Warrior

If you look back a bit on the blog, you will see a fairly decent gap in posting. This happened for several reasons. Some I will eventually go into and comment on as they speak to the liberty movement and PATCONs as a whole, while others deal with my day to day career and family situations.

During the gap, I sold my current company to a larger (much) larger organization and was given the option of staying on in a much larger role. To be honest, I kind of dig what I do day to day, and this was a big opportunity for resume fodder. I took it, and it came with a ton of business travel. Most of the locations are CONUS, and static – meaning the teams at those locations won’t change and I will visit them on a semi-regular basis. At some point, should continue on in this role, I will have to stage get home gear and weapons at these locations, but as it stands today, that is not the case.

Which leads me to the topic at hand…

Road Warrior Comms. I read this post from PJ this morning and it got me thinking. Good stuff.

Here’s my take:

Now, why?

Truth is, weight and hassel.

Since I fly out on Tuesday and come back on Thursday of almost every week, I’ve paired my kit down to what can fit in my GR1. If it doesn’t fit in this, it doesn’t go. Period. The DV Dongle does. Couple that to my ever present laptop, and you have radio comms that can reach around the world. Past that, it’s the mobile phone with mobile broadband.

I know what you are thinking: “But the cell towers and Net connections will be down during a disaster!”

Yeah, *maybe*, but not likely. Cell towers, like most major connection and MUX points for Net connectivity are unbelievably redundant. They are built to withstand storms, power outages, and everything in between. I have this pal who does tower maintenance and after long conversations with him, I’m sold on this. And, while you might have coverage gaps or traffic congestion, you will be able to get SMS and data through 99.99% of the time.

Would I consider dragging one of my many HT’s along for the ride? Yep, but it would depend on what the socio-political landscape looked like prior to the Delta departure. There is something to be said for VHF/UHF analog comms while out here on the road, but where I go on a week to week basis, the Net and digital make more sense. The weight savings are priceless.


Survival: Backup Comms

Read Part I, Part II, Part III, & then come back.

Cellular networks are robust. They are essentially radio networks with different backend connectivity via IP & digital voice. Cell sites are usually backed up with batteries and natural gas generators making them extremely fault tolerant.

That being said, they have a tendency to be overwhelmed during times of crisis. Bad weather in here in Atlanta will overload the mobile voice and data networks for even the three largest carriers making calls and data usage all but impossible until the congestion clears.

So, what do you do when you need to communicate with an individual or group when this happens?

Analog or digital radio.

I’ll talk more about digital in future post, though it needs to be taken into consideration as a means of communication.

Using the venerable and shockingly flexible Wouxon, my wife knows that she can reach me on a certain emergency 2 meter frequency in lieu of reliable cellular comms.

We have established an EMCOM protocol as a household. This includes frequencies, call signs, procedures based upon circumstances.

Natural Disaster Scenario Example:

  • Emergency declared by the Matson household based on established protocol
  • Radio’s tuned to specific EMCON channels
  • Charger linked to specific generator for this purpose for EMCON gear
  • Contact attempts made until contact established

Simple, cheap, effective.

Mrs. Matson holds an amateur radio call. Depending upon which protocol is engaged will determine if we decide to stay out in the public space or go with a more stealthy means of communicating. When going for cover, we stay off the major amateur thoroughfares and public safety space. Our goal is not to interrupt but to sidestep these heavily trod frequencies. This is illegal, but hey, I gotta be honest. If dotgov wants to stop me and my family from communicating, they are welcome to try.

Comms for Hacking & Profit Part III: Being Digital

My life priorities have a very explicit order:

  1. God
  2. Wife
  3. Kids
  4. Work
  5. Everything else

The above, of course, is idealistic versus realistic. Ask God. He will tell you.

Currently, the Everything Else is being occupied by amateur radio. I recently invested in Icom’s D-Star and have been, like a dictator drunk with power, allowed free reign into a world that is at least to me, endlessly fascinating.

See below:

Let me preface what I am about to say with this – using this technology outside of the scope for which it is licensed and governed in a federal violation. Ok, now, on to what is possible.

Like the Net, just about everything with regard to this digital mode is logged, tracked, and easily queried by the authorities. However, there are ways around that system of logging, mush like the Net as a whole.

Imagine what FREFOR could do with a global, digital, and encrypted radio net. Just imagine the possibilities. One could even envision the possibility of our very own Darknet.

As I go down the digital radio road, I will do my very best to elaborate on what I figure out what is possible. It will be up to you to determine the application and ultimately, the value.