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Intelligence Gathering - Determining Who Has Two-Way Radios

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posted on May, 14 2016 @ 05:49 PM
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One of the survival skills I've been working on recently is gathering intelligence information. Because I include communications in my preps, I've been studying the potential uses of unlicensed 2 way communications in a citizens network. I've been gathering intelligence on this subject in a number of ways and for a number of years. One of my primary concerns has been the locations of radio operators on the citizen's band, on the other unlicensed frequencies (MURS, FRS) and some licensed operators on VHF frequencies.

To determine who was on the air, I've been monitoring two-way communications and keeping an eye out for antennas. I've found that there are at least six CB base stations and four mobiles within a few miles of my home, a rural area where most people live at least a quarter mile apart. You can add even more people who have systems in disuse and disrepair.

To find these stations, the best method would be to use two radios with directional antennas to triangulate on the radio signal and find it's general location. Then have two mobile units comparing signal strength as they drive around the location. Eventually, when they begin to converge on a signal and they are really close, unplugging the antenna (while receiving) will only allow the signal to be heard when you are right on top of the transmitter.

As I travel around my area, I see a few cars and trucks with CB antennas and notice a CB base antenna about every ten miles. I've heard chatter in the nearest big cities that have a lot more people on CBs than in my area. In my log book I have forty seven stations listed. Those stations are between 30 to 50 miles from my home and too far away to contact from my base station without improving my antenna setup and using the side band for the extra output.

I have a major highway not far away that I can hear truck drivers on the CB for about a 40 mile stretch. I've listened to road workers directing traffic, local campground workers, deer hunters and stores in town using the handheld FRS radios. I even heard a neighbor using marine channel 9 for their deer hunting operation (not legal for use on land). I've also been monitoring a number of licensed VHF stations including EMS, fire departments, county and city police. If I cared to program the stations, I could be listening to utility pole workers and a number of local businesses too.

All these frequencies have provided local live intelligence information. The CB will occasionally provide information from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico when skip conditions allow reception. When I listen to the licensed amateur radio operators on the local VHF repeaters, I can get live regional information as well. So it seems that my intel gathering is supporting the premise of establishing an open source, two-way network during a communications blackout.

Regarding a local area WiFi "meshnet" network, I've located nine public WiFi hot spots that range in distance of under two miles up to twelve miles away. There are many private household WiFi users in my area that are as close as a quarter of a mile. I see a great potential for a local community, ad hoc WiFi network for use during a long term communications blackout. I must study this idea more and include it in my intel gathering.

Parting message: There are two simple ways to gather intelligence on two-way communications, look (for antennas) and listen (to the broadcasts).




posted on May, 14 2016 @ 05:52 PM
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Unless you tell them that's what you're doing. Than they can just skip step 1.



posted on May, 14 2016 @ 05:59 PM
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I live on a, boat, so naturally I have VHF marine radios. I rather talk on that instead of my phone.
edit on 14-5-2016 by jrod because: io



posted on May, 14 2016 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

I've got a base station set up at my house... a tuned up Galaxy DX-33 with an Imax 2000 on the roof on a 20 ft pole. On a clear night I can pick up about 30-40 miles, when I reach under my desk and flip some switches I'm able to reach about 60-70 miles.



posted on May, 14 2016 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

Is this a NSA email leak?



posted on May, 14 2016 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

MSB: Hiya old neighbor. Good thread here. I got a log cabin in Amish Country in Mio in the Huron National Forest. I find a lot of info here useful here for me.

Looking for a place to hike 2-3 days and camp along the way. To determine a good place, maybe you know? My one radio concern is emergency communication while there. Going it alone, and with a few medical issues...knowing the radio communications nearby would be a great asset if I needed help.

1st, I need to decide where to hike up and camp out alone. Maybe your way in Manistee?

Thanks for the useful info. I'll be following this thread here. Thanks Again!

MS
Fellow Michigander

edit on 14-5-2016 by mysterioustranger because: spl



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 09:29 AM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

Mysterioustranger, my first real deer hunting experience was in an old cabin near Mio in the early 1980s, small world eh?.

If you were to hike in my area, we have the North Country National Scenic Hiking Trail that goes up to the Northern Mitt. It is pretty well marked, I've traveled it for the first few miles north of my end of it near Croton on the Muskegon River. There is the White Pine rails to trails route, a much easier trail used by hikers and bicyclists that goes through many towns and follows near Northland Drive east of US 131. Also, there are numerous two-track trails in the Manistee Forest that get pretty confusing without a GPS, or at least a compass and a map.

Of course you can camp out on federal public land without a permit as long as you follow a few guidelines. There are many rivers, streams, lakes and ponds on public land to camp near.

Now concerning 2-way radios for personal emergencies, that would be a backup for your cell phone as long as communications are running normally. My radio preps are to be able to communicate with locals during a communications blackout to know things like where there may be roadblocks, bridges out, the location of wildfires, military or police presence, and other information like that. Knowing someone in the area to communicate with would be best if you were to have to rely on two-ways in a personal emergency while camping. I have a neighbor up the road about a mile from me who is in a trail riding group using four wheel drive jeeps. They use CBs during their trail runs, they would be good to get to know.

Let me know if you want to come out this way and do some hiking and camping. I could keep track of you based on your planned hiking route and camping spots. At the least I could after work on week days. Two-ways could be a part of that and be a good experiment on how useful they would be in such a situation. We could make contact at certain designated times and if you get out of range, I could drive to a high spot near you and communicate from a mobile radio. It would require some detailed planning though, but it would be worthwhile to see if it was effective in the terrain.

Here is a link to a three page website that I made for two-way communications that you may find useful. It has a link on the last page to a forum with more information where you can post your questions and comments.

MCBRN



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 09:46 AM
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a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

Thank you MSB! I just got up today and ya got me smiling right away! Ask a simple question and you spit out reams and reams of good info!

I'd actually like to find a non-bike-hiking only trail to camp on for a few days that heads away from towns. I picked up a hiking trail of Michigan map...but it doesnt really replace one's 1st hand knowledge or advice from experience...so thanks.

I'll be stopping by the DNR in Mio in a few to start planning particulars. Cabin is out Cherry Creek road, North side of Mio Dam overlooking the AuSable river...

Thanks again. Perhaps I can get back to you when I get it together....appreciate the info.

Best

MS



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 10:19 AM
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If all you're doing is voice communications, most all is fine, except maybe the licensed bands. If you're planning on transmitting data, it is generally a violation of regulations to do so on the bands you mention, and where it is allowable, encryption of the data may not be.

What I'm saying is that in the event such a network may become desirable, don't automatically assume the "authorities" won't have the ability or desire to track down unauthorized use of spectrum. So check the regulations carefully.


edit on 15-5-2016 by paradoxious because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 02:13 PM
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That's ok , of course, buuut. What if the end game started with a massive solar flare. The accompanying emp would fry all and every electrical system on the earth so all your radios would only be good for door stops. There might be a few that escapes the emp but how long will their batteries last and more importantly you have to have two. One is no good if there is not another one to talk to.



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 04:54 PM
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originally posted by: paradoxious
If all you're doing is voice communications, most all is fine, except maybe the licensed bands. If you're planning on transmitting data, it is generally a violation of regulations to do so on the bands you mention, and where it is allowable, encryption of the data may not be.

What I'm saying is that in the event such a network may become desirable, don't automatically assume the "authorities" won't have the ability or desire to track down unauthorized use of spectrum. So check the regulations carefully.



Data can be transmitted on the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) frequencies, you can buy the modem transceiver for it, no license needed. It is really slow though, like using dial-up, and only uses two watts. You can transmit encrypted data on WiFi of course, but with one one watt of power, you'd need a really good directional antenna on a good router to pick-up more distant WiFi signals and establish an ad hoc network.

Of course the authorities can zero in on you, but there are methods to avoid that and it would be best to not disregard the regulations on air. Concerning licensed frequencies, you don't need a license to monitor them without transmitting. Also, if you have a real emergency, you can call for help without a license on a license only frequency, if you really needed to.



posted on May, 15 2016 @ 05:17 PM
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originally posted by: crayzeed
That's ok , of course, buuut. What if the end game started with a massive solar flare. The accompanying emp would fry all and every electrical system on the earth so all your radios would only be good for door stops. There might be a few that escapes the emp but how long will their batteries last and more importantly you have to have two. One is no good if there is not another one to talk to.


All good points Crayzeed. You can get EMP hardened equipment and/or store it in EMP proof containers (Faraday Cages). Anything with wires, like electric wires, coax, and the antenna itself, will get fried in an EMP. Good preppers know that two is one and one is none in regards to equipment and tools. Solar chargers can be used to charge batteries and with most mobile radios operating on 12 volts, car batteries work well for a long time between charges.



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 12:46 PM
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My question is why?

Seems to me, like you're plotting potential prep targets. ???



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 01:31 PM
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a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck
Thinking about it a bit more, I think if the SHTF there would be certainly some organised forces or groups. So if you are alone or a collection of wide spread families who have survived the initial scenario these groups would not like you to be self sufficient as they would like your food, power, weapons and anything else they want and they would monitor the airwaves to target and find you.
So if it happens it would be much better to listen and not transmit til you've got the whole picture.



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 11:02 PM
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originally posted by: Gazrok
My question is why?

Seems to me, like you're plotting potential prep targets. ???



I'm not really sure what you mean by "prep targets". I'm addressing the idea of gathering local intelligence about and from two-way radios. IMO this information would be highly useful in some large scale crisis or disaster. Prepping is about being prepared for any number of situations that could cause chaos to standard infrastructures like electricity or communications or any number of services and systems we need to function in our daily lives. I think that communications is a high priority prep for many crisis scenarios. That is the "why".

If the chaotic situation arises from some military or terrorist actions, then I could understand that there may be physical targets at risk, like power plants, bridges, roads, dams, government buildings, military bases, etc. Situational awareness on many levels is needed to anticipate potential crisis scenarios in order to prepare for them. But the crisis is not what I'm getting at here, it's how best to prep for most any crisis. So I hope that you're not trying to imply that I am a terrorist plotting to hit some potential targets, that is not at all what I'm getting at with this thread.



posted on May, 16 2016 @ 11:14 PM
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originally posted by: crayzeed
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck
Thinking about it a bit more, I think if the SHTF there would be certainly some organised forces or groups. So if you are alone or a collection of wide spread families who have survived the initial scenario these groups would not like you to be self sufficient as they would like your food, power, weapons and anything else they want and they would monitor the airwaves to target and find you.
So if it happens it would be much better to listen and not transmit til you've got the whole picture.



Quite true Crayseed. In fact that is one of the major points about monitoring what you can right now to find out who is out there and establish a network. There should be some protocols used to protect important information if there are others on the air that would be a threat of course. There are a number of techniques to protect your communications under threat of those who might monitor them. I have been studying that as well.
edit on 16-5-2016 by MichiganSwampBuck because: for clarity



posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:38 AM
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While a network is EVENTUALLY a good idea (after things settle)...during the initial chaos of a true SHTF event, this could be VERY risky, i.e. others knowing that you prepped, and your general whereabouts.....


I'm not really sure what you mean by "prep targets".


Simply put, there are some "preppers" who "prep" by basically targeting others who did, instead of doing it themselves. Not pleasant, but doesn't negate their existence. Seems that the methods you were talking about, would of course, be employed by such despicable persons, so bears some consideration.

I'd like to expect the best of folks, but come SHTF, people will abandon many morals they normally would hold to...simple as that.
edit on 17-5-2016 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: Cinrad

More to the point: the OP sounds like a knowledgeable user who is working at ways to leverage that knowledge to help create and / or make up a node on a two-way citizens radio band using no-regulated public frequencies. These frequencies, are robust, don't rely on the public internet and are operated by other Americans who -- for the most part -- are just like you. In the event of a regional disaster, such as fire, floods or earthquake, some of these nodes will likely remain operational. But you wireless networks and public internet may be down.

I would think a healthy dose of "getting to know your neighbors" is, on balance, a good thing. But I am just old enough to remember stories about the great depression, from first hand sources, so I am likely biased in favor of getting to know the neighbors. YMMV.



posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: Gazrok

If I started CBing now, I would then get to know the community within my location, so I could then just rely on those people and any new strangers would be scrutinized (after SHTF)

barc.ca...
edit on 17-5-2016 by InTheLight because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2016 @ 08:44 PM
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a reply to: Gazrok

Ahh, I see what you meant now, preppers as targets. Aggressors targeting preppers for their supplies would be a consideration during a certain point after a SHTF scenario. I would think that after two or three weeks in, the predator types would be organizing and start to become a threat. It could take a little longer if travel was severely restricted I suppose. Hopefully that would allow some time to organized before they became a threat.

Of course there would be a minority of local threats from the get go, but most everyone would know who that is. I have heard that during evacuation situations, it is common for a number of thieves to remain behind or come into an area to loot vacated homes. I would think that they are after only the softest targets and would flee from resistance that was bugging in rather than out. No one wants to get caught or killed from raiding an occupied and protected home when there are many others that are empty due to an evacuation.



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