More On Equipment Criteria And Selection From Brushbeater

Brushbeater gives more points to consider in equipment selection.  They perfectly dovetail with points I made in the post here.

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Without good commo, your fate could be a question mark.

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Identifying Equipment Requirements

toomanyradiosAs with firearms, all too often Survivalists/Militia folks have a hard time separating what they need from what they want, or try to cover way too many bases, resulting in cutting off the nose in spite of the face. Communications are no different. Do you think the guy in the picture is effective with all this? (I know it’s meant to be a joke, but we all know THAT guy.)

For those who’ve been in the game a while, a few questions always seem to come up among new folks, along with the most common answer:

  1. How much range will I get with this? Well, that depends.
  2. I like the looks of this one radio- Can I do everything I want to do with this? Well, that depends.
  3. Once I buy this, is it all I’ll ever need? Well…that depends.

I get it. We’re all human, this stuff can get expensive in a hurry, and like most of y’all reading there’s little disposable income every month. After all, time is short, and getting shorter, and there’s more to building a resilient (or as resilient as possible) infrastructure than just communications.

Taking the Group Approach

mo-mo.jpg
Count all the things this guy is doing wrong. He is in severe need of guidance, as likely is his group. Don’t be this guy, he’s going to get himself and others killed.

Lone wolves die; they’ve been cast from the fold for a variety of reasons- they’re old, sick, or challenged authority and lost. As pack hunters, and humans are as well, the loner cannot last long. If you’ve not at least on some level networked with other like-minded folk, you’re woefully behind, Shirley. Each person brings a skill to the table, and the more versatile the skillset, the better. This does not however mean anyone is specialized, because after all we know that’s for insects. As the signal guy, or at least learning to be the signal guy, the first mission is recognizing what the individual requirements are and build your way up to regional and further. Once done, get your folks together at your meetings/training sessions/beerfests and go over what those are. Communications needs are different for just the group of Survivalists trying to make it through unpleasant times versus the Militia group planning to work in the Light Infantry paradigm. A resilient community must be established before anyone thinks about writing a Patrol OPORD. That being said, in this sequence:

  • Take out a map and plot where each of you live. map.jpegThe first requirement is communications between group members at their locations. Figure out how far the distance between your points are, and identify what may work best for your needs. This includes what equipment is required, what the minimum power levels are to maintain communications, and what possible alternates exist if need be. Hopefully your group is within a half hour of each other, possibly allowing use of Line of Sight communications without the use of a repeater. The person at the highest point should serve as net control or the primary relay. If you’re extremely close, you may get away with running license-free stuff, although I don’t recommend it as your sole means to communicate.  Check this post out from a while ago.
  • Standardize your equipment. This is a critical requirement for a couple of reasons. First, if everyone is running the same piece of equipment, it becomes a known quantity. For radios, everyone over time becomes familiar with all of the basic controls and know their functions. They’ll know and recognize when it’s malfunctioning, and repairing equipment off of one set standard is pretty simple. With HTs, battery commonality is an issue. Being able to build a common charger rack and stocking up on extra batteries is smart, and also enables you to stock caches simpler than if the group is using 12 different types of stuff. Most of this is the same for weapons and ammo.
  • Figure out what you need to maximize your capability. When establishing a relay network, as the designated signal guy, you now become the net control or at least you’re teaching the guy on the high ground how to fill that role. Signals come in from group members, and signals go out from you. Ideally,they’ll want Yagi antennas pointed towards net control, with you having a omni-directional antenna such as a 292 groundplane or a J-pole. Doing this, your group will minimize it’s signature using directional communications, but most importantly you’ll efficiently transmit, allowing for lower power consumption. If you’re new, QRP can have a steep but rewarding learning curve. Running kit in the field is also very different than doing it in the shack, and doing it in a tactical environment, more akin to SOTA activations, is nothing like the annual ARRL Field Day. Like any other skill, to be most effective you have to get out and do it to remain proficient.
  • Get on the air. Your group should hold practice nets every so often, it’s the only way you’ll know if your equipment works. Things often happen without you knowing it; feedlines crack, water gets in them, switches go bad, etc.  If you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, do like every other normal person does and call it “My XXXX local simplex net”.
  • Identify Personnel Roles. Not everyone needs a radio on a patrol, but should be proficient in its use. Not everyone needs to patrol either, but should be able to stand in the gap if need be. You serve a purpose inside your group, and your gear does too. If you’re looking to be in the field as an RTO, you need to study up on QRP, read about the options out there, make a selection and get to work. If that doesn’t interest you, and in the meantime you’re interested in just being a Ham till the good ‘ol bad days get here, obtaining a 100w set will be more your flavor, along with a setup more suited to a TOC or BDOC. Just know…should the grid become more 3rd worldish, we’ll all be running QRP.

It’s logical to first address why you’re justifying the expense of the equipment before you jump in with both feet, especially if you’re on a budget like most of us. But understand that cheap gear usually always gets expensive down the road, so buying a name brand for something you’re depending upon is pretty important. Taking a shortcut and settling for license-free solutions is also a bad idea- it limits options and teaches nothing. (it’s license free, after all…so just think about why that might be.) In following the aforementioned steps, you and your group will greater be able to recognize your needs and begin to build a procurement list from that. Signal is but one part of the equation, albeit a critical one, and most of the same principles can be applied to almost all of your other equipment.

It’s time to get organized, it’s time to get serious.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

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4 thoughts on “More On Equipment Criteria And Selection From Brushbeater

  1. Funny! Now what happens in the hypothetical civil war II with no working factory grid to resupply all the, as Sun Tzu put it, “10000 things”? All of this “advice” is dependent on a working PEACETIME factory and distribution grid. Most of it will be worthless when the TEOTWAWKI or CWII hammer falls. ALL OF IT. Every bit , of the recommended gear MUST be replaced , maintained, serviced or just have the batteries replaced. This is a form of dependence I want to do without. I’d much rather train to be effective WITHOUT the 21st century crutches. Another thing. “Bush beater” should dig up Carlos Hathcock and tell him loners are useless as 90% of his kills in Vietnam were made solo. In fact most of history’s best snipers (and most effective killers of men) worked alone and with nothing more advanced than optics and bolt actions or single shot rifles. Most of the ones killed or WIA throughout history were hurt/ killed when they were FORCED to work with regular troops.

    • Simce you obviously want to debate, I’ll give you an example of sustainability. I stick to electronic gear that uses AA or 123 batteries. I have rechargeable AA and 123 batteries, and solar chargers that are small and will fit in a buttpack. As to the Hathcock reference, I’m sure Brushbeater is aware of those facts. We are both also aware that Hathcock had specific missions to conduct, not just run around in the woods and shoot people. This is Survivalist oriented, and PLANNING to operate alone if given the choice as a Survivalist is foolish, and not taking realistic defensive considerations into account.

  2. No I’m not debating anything. I merely point out the obvious. That every bit of the training , equipment, and supply you and ALL of the other “III% trainers” advocate , is utterly dependent on a working global factory and supply grid and nation state level support. It MUST have a robust logistical train to be maintained and/or resupplied.(solar chargers, MUST be made in a “hi-tech” factory and have a limited lifespan JUST like batteries) You don’t have that without a working government. The fantasy of a “citizen support ” network is just that. A fantasy with no basis in fact. What you advocate works great for a guy with an army size supply and delivery network for backup . I AM NOT saying that you are wrong or a “bad” trainer, solder or cop. I AM saying that your mind set is oriented toward a military/ paramilitary concept predicated on the “mech. infantry”/patrol car / “on demand” supply system and support net. You only know your training. “Survival” has nothing to do with what guns you have , how much ammo you can carry , what radio you have , how much you can ruck or killing people and breaking things. That is ALL a MILITARY concept and mindset. SURVIVAL is the lifelong art of using nature and its bounty to stay alive even if all you have is pocket litter to start. They are two VERY different concepts demanding vastly different training and ways of thinking. Having read your blog I know that if the balloon go’s up you, and everybody like you will have whatever you can carry, but nothing more . You probably don’t have a big supply dump or the bodies to defend one, or people to get ammo up and wounded back, and none of you seem to have any viable plan passed the first fire fight other than “dig in and defend the preps”. You have NO logistics plan. NO plan for MEDEVAC. NO chain of care for your wounded.(how’s that for “planning?”) All of which are vastly more important than rifles or radio selection. Really you have nothing that makes an effective military/paramilitary unit. None of you in the III% do. Thanks but I’ll stay on my own for now. I’ll live longer. I hear you run a nice basic “boot” school Top. That’s cool. Good luck with that. But NOTHING that you advocate is “sustainable” without a modern working factory and supply grid. PERIOD..

    • So let me get this straight. It’s not a debate (or opinion) when YOU say it, it’s “Pointing out the obvious”? First off, it is a debate, unless you can show “Omniscient” status. All opinions are subjective.
      “Every bit of the training , equipment, and supply you and ALL of the other “III% trainers” advocate , is utterly dependent on a working global factory and supply grid and nation state level support.”
      I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you had taken one of my Wilderness Survival classes, and thus had an educated opinion on what I do, or advocate. I’m not a “III” anything, I’m a Survivalist and a defense and wilderness survival instructor. It’s called “preps”, “stockpiling”, etc., I guess you think that’s a bad thing? Yes, a lot of the preps are manufactured…go figure.
      “Solar chargers, MUST be made in a “hi-tech” factory and have a limited lifespan JUST like batteries”
      And only a fool doesn’t take advantage of technology while he can.
      “The fantasy of a “citizen support ” network is just that. A fantasy with no basis in fact. What you advocate works great for a guy with an army size supply and delivery network for backup .”
      Why, because you can’t get one up and running? It sounds to me like you think I’m teaching Guerilla Cell Development, and I think you have me confused with someone else. I support and advocate the concept of the Neighborhood Protection Team, look it up.
      “I AM NOT saying that you are wrong or a “bad” trainer, solder or cop. I AM saying that your mind set is oriented toward a military/ paramilitary concept predicated on the “mech. infantry”/patrol car / “on demand” supply system and support net.”
      Whew, that’s good, I was going to be upset! If you think you know my mindset only by what you read in my blog, you are assuming way too much, and should check yourself.
      “You only know your training”.
      By all means, tell me about my training.
      “Survival” has nothing to do with what guns you have , how much ammo you can carry , what radio you have , how much you can ruck or killing people and breaking things. That is ALL a MILITARY concept and mindset”
      Tell that to the woman who survives because she was armed, or the guy who survived because he got a message through to help. That is a “Survival” mindset, not a “Martial” one.
      “SURVIVAL is the lifelong art of using nature and its bounty to stay alive even if all you have is pocket litter to start.”
      That is only one facet of “Survival”. SURVIVAL is getting from point “A” (birth) to point “C” (death)with as few insurmountable issues as possible while going through “B” (life). The more practical knowledge you gain in the Survival Arts, the less “On the spot” learning that takes place when the wrong decision can kill you. Being prepared is the overall goal and mindset. The topics you learn are just building block, some of which are foundational. By the way, a litter (lighter I’m guessing) is manufactured in a factory….just sayin’.
      ” I know that if the balloon go’s up you, and everybody like you will have whatever you can carry, but nothing more . You probably don’t have a big supply dump or the bodies to defend one, or people to get ammo up and wounded back, and none of you seem to have any viable plan passed the first fire fight other than ‘dig in and defend the preps'”
      Why, because I haven’t talked about it on the blog? Is it “you know”, or “probably”?
      “You have NO logistics plan. NO plan for MEDEVAC. NO chain of care for your wounded”
      If you only knew, but you would, because you don’t know me, and only read my blog.
      “Really you have nothing that makes an effective military/paramilitary unit. None of you in the III% do.
      I didn’t realize I had a “paramilitary unit”, so does that finally make one of you statements correct?
      “Thanks but I’ll stay on my own for now. I’ll live longer.”
      The odds say “No” but be my guest to try. You go alone because you have no choice, it’s not the desired choice.
      “I hear you run a nice basic “boot” school Top. That’s cool. Good luck with that.”
      Thanks, I think. It’s not “Boot”, we aren’t in the military, and that’s part of the problem with some of the mindsets out there.
      “But NOTHING that you advocate is “sustainable” without a modern working factory and supply grid. PERIOD..”
      Says who, you? I guess I’ll have to get out my buckskins, moccasins, and coyote pelt hat, and flint knife and start making fires with my bow drill again, huh?

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