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.

YMMV…

Once again: Comms for Hacking & Profit

NW Digital Radio.

Additional capabilities. More than you could ever imagine.

I’ll buy one in the fall and give it a trial run.

Conceivably, you could set these up all over the place as ground control comms and for drone ground control repeaters. More later, but this is will be a massive scale power up for comms. Think distributed, mesh based data networks that can carry both data and voice.

 

E&E – Getting to the Truck

The objective here is not to do a gear rating and bashing. I’m complete gear whore, I freely admit to that, but the purpose of this post is to share with my three readers how a glorified tech guy plans on surviving and thriving during adverse conditions.

Depending on what day it is – client meetings, executive playbook, interaction with my betters – will determine my dress. Most of the time this will be some kind of executype business dress – meaning: sport coat, shirt, pants, sans tie. I hate ties. They are a noose of mediocrity. I digress…

Below are my usual pocket contents, though being a knife person, the EDC blade does tend to change. It is one of many and they are similar. Notice the light, Exotac firestarter, and lip balm. Also notice how the lip balm is petroleum jelly and is a rather nice compliment to the Exotac. Get it?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I carry this in my backpack.

Here’s a shot of the thing. It’s a tank, built to take unbelievable amounts abuse:

A note about the carabiners. They are almost as useful as paracord. Besides, chicks dig ’em.

Here’s a content shot:

Notice the fixed blade and embassy pen. I am never without a fixed blade, no matter how small. This is a Bark River Bravo Necker. This is the one I stuck in my hand. Also contained in the bag are:

  • Medkit stocked with first aid gear, BOK, and OTC meds for travel.
  • Q-Tips (ever been on the road, needed one, and didn’t have one? that is a new level of hell.)
  • Accessory kit (yellow flag) containing the detritus of a information worker.
  • Paleo Trail Mix
  • The EDC kit from a few posts ago.
  • A pair of smartwool socks (thought i rarely wear boots and hikers anymore, having a clean pair of socks and drawers is a good thing).
  • Raingear.
  • Stainless water bottle or vacuum bottle – not pictured.

With this kit, I can survive for a couple of days given I can find shelter. Considering that I will be in an urban or suburban environment 99% of the time, that would be a true statement. Though, as I mentioned before, the goal here is not to be Bear Grylls and drink my own urine. The goal is to get to my truck, and in turn, get home.

One last thing not pictured is my sidearm.

Moving on, the truck. 4×4 (is there any other kind), reliable, and paid for. Debt is cancer BTW. Also, not new, trendy, and flashy. Nothing wrong with that, and I would again heartily agree that the concept of the gray man is ludicrous at best. I do however maintain that to be less of a target, you need to not stand out so much.

I have posted a few times on comms. See below:

This radio offers a lot for the investment. Digital for talking around the world and country. Analog for everything else. Lots of features.

Now that we are at the truck, the components for a longer term scenario, plus defense come into play.

Backpack, boots, range bag, toolkit, all on top of a genuine wool blanket.

A word on the redness of the pack. If you as an individual, during a time of crisis, strap on your AR, combat vest, milspec pack with molle attachments, you will not only attract the attention of those around you who are suffering and without, you will also attract the attention of the ones you really have to worry about – dotgov, dotmil, only ones, and their minions.

Contained in the above pack:

  • poncho
  • woobie (poncho liner)
  • 550 cord
  • firekit
  • several MRE’s
  • a really good fixed blade – ESEE6
  • hike stove & isopro
  • change of clothes (cargos, long and short sleeve poly shirts, drawers, socks)

Range bag hold what you think it would. I keep it in here because I never have it when I need it.

One thing you might notice is the ‘toolkit’. See below:

Kel-tec Sub2000 that uses Glock mags. You know, the same kind that feed my daily sidearm.

I’m pretty sure I can hear your inner ninja going, “Pfft, kel-tec. If you were a real tier 1 operator, you would have an SBR AR with an ACOG.”.

See, here’s the thing. I’m not a tier 1 operator. I’m a glorified network administrator who wants to get home to his wife and kids. This setup allows me to do so while still retaining the ability to lay down suppressive fire. Again, while interdiction and engagement are always something to prepare for, it is not the primary objective. The primary objective is to get to the truck and get home to the family and all the preps I have put in place over the years that we have lived there.

Look for the home load out version of this post in a few more days.

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.