November 27, 2016

Why listening is more important than transmitting

You have heard it said on this blog and others that listening is >2X as important as transmitting. No one, however has gone into details why that is so. Until now. Here is why: The establishment mass media machine has their own agenda. It is not about the Right vs. the Left. It is not about the Republicians vs. the Democrats. Who is in office does not matter one bit. It is about freedom and liberty versus statism and totalitarianism. And the establishment mass media machine is the number one weapon that the bad guys use against you. Then there is the other side. Most of the media sources that are supposed to be on your side are really not. They are on the side of their owners, and persuing whatever agenda their owner sees fit. Think about that the next time you read some hysterical garment-rending emotional “news” story from a “conservative” news site. Some of those stories, we have found out, have been totally incorrect after some basic research was done to check their accuracy.

What can you do? You can collect the raw information yourself and analyze it with your tribe to see how it really affects you. That is why you should own and use both police scanners and shortwave receivers. The police scanner will let you know what's going on locally. The shortwave receiver will give you news and information from alternative news and information sources that are not controlled by the establishment mass media machine. With the two, you can figure out what's going on and how it's going to really affect you, if at all.

Just recently, the establishment mass media machine and fake/inaccurate news sites have thrown America into a tail-spin, first with the election, then with left-wing riots (although they called them “protests”), then with the president-elect's cabinet “choices”, and now with vote recount requests in a few states. Think about it. How does that stuff really affect you? Will it stop you from putting a bullet in bad people coming to do bad things to you? Will it stop you from learning how to grow your own food, and fix your own stuff? How does it help you with what might be going on in your own locale that will affect you more? The answer is that it doesn't.

You need to be responsible for your own well-being, and also proactive about it. By listening in to what's around you, you find out about stuff that has more of a chance of really being a problem to you. If you'd like to learn the full details on how to set up your own news, information, and collection systems, please subscribe to Signal-3.

November 24, 2016

Attention New Subscribers

If you are the person who recently sent me correspondence from Tennessee, please send me an email <> with your email address.  Thank you!

November 23, 2016

Be Thankful

You have a lot to be thankful for this year.
  • Hillary Clinton lost the election.
  • You have a four year stay of execution.  That means four more years to get ready for the reset.
  • Gun control could take a back seat for the time being with the Republicans in control of both houses, provided they remember what happened when George Bush started drifting from his previous RKBA stance.
  • If you live in a Blue State, you now know just how stacked the odds are against you.
  • If you live in a Blue State, and are not in line with the local majority social/political views, you now have warning of what's to come, and have ample opportunity to get out of there.
  • The vast majority of pusedo-preppers and militia-types will go to sleep for the next few years because a Republician was elected.  This is nothing new, and it always happens.  It is actually a good thing as it enables you to see who is (and isn't) serious, brings gear prices down, and availability up.
  • There is still time to sign up for either the Seattle or Wyoming Down-Grid Communications classes, have me visit and teach your group/organization, or sponsor a class for your locale.  Click here for more information. 

November 19, 2016

Question From a Reader - Yaesu VX-6R

I had a question that arises from the the fact that my old 2m handheld died. (Radio Shack HTX-202) I have to get a new one and was wondering what, if any, opinion you may have about the Yaesu tri-bander, VX-6R I am asking because I thought that your posts on the Optoelectronics products (August 9, 2016) and the Motorola DTR 650s (August 9, 2016) were very worthwhile. I have been thinking about the VX-6R as a monitoring device as well as as a communication device and therefore any related considerations about its use in an "Optoelectronic environment". (Understanding that transmitting is distinctly different from receiving.) Thank you.

It has been my observation that Yaesu makes good products, and I've owned my fair share of them over the years.  The VX-6R's eham reviews are about normal, with some people swearing by the radio, and other's swearing at it. With that said, at 4.4/5 with 127 reviews I'd say the radio probably doesn't suck from a technical, reliability, or performance standpoint.  Now, from a down-grid standpoint, here's the scoop:
  • Radio has a AA battery pack available and can also be run directly off 6-16V DC. It has very flexible power requirements.  A good thing.
  • Radio has wide-band .5-999 MHz. AM/FM/WFM receive capability.  Despite no SSB, P25, or trunking reception capability, still a good thing.
  • Standard SMA female antenna connector.  Easy to add external antennas. A good thing.
  • Standard 2m/440 FM ham-band transceiver capability, with the addition of 222 MHz. band. Easy freeband/outband modification with decent post-mod TX coverage (not that you should use it).  Many police scanners, including low-end Close Call/Signal Stalker models, do not include the 220 ham band.  (Optoelectronics gear does.)  With 2 meters and 440 being the two most popular VHF/UHF FM bands,  222 MHz. is a nice, less-crowded, band for a small group of hams to operate on.  Neither a good, nor a bad, thing, and that depends on your level of interception paranoia.
  • The optional barometric pressure sensor is a nice addition, especially if you want to keep track of trending weather.  A good thing.
It has already been determined that the way to go if you don't want anyone listening to you is to set your group up with Motorola DTRs.  That's the single easiest solution unless you find some surplus LMR gear with encryption capability, and with those you'll still be vulnerable to certain types of traffic analysis SIGINT techniques.  However, the DTRs are a single-purpose piece of equipment, and lack common interoperability capability (which may be something you want).

Bottom Line: The wide monitoring range, easy freeband mod, barometer, flexible power requirements, and somewhat obscure band (222 MHz.) capability make the Yaesu VX-6 a very attractive handheld amateur radio transceiver for down-grid use.

If you liked this post, you can get even more detailed down-grid communications and other technological survival information every month by subscribing to Signal-3.  Signal-3 is written by Thomas "Sparks31" Icom (Ticom),  the creator of Cybertek: The Cyberpunk Technical Journal, and one of the original technological survival authors whose writings have appeared in various publications over the past 30 years.

Signal-3 is an electronic technical newsletter focusing on resilient "down-grid" communications and other technological aspects of self-reliance and preparedness.  It is delivered every month via an email link in PDF format.

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    November 9, 2016

    The protests have begun.

    Things are going to be quite sporty in many parts of the country for some time.

    Anti-Trump protests erupt in New York, Chicago

    Vigils and protests arise in wake of Trump victory

    Do you know what tools and knowledge you'll need to keep real-time track of events despite media blackouts and avoid potential problem spots like the one pictured above?

    If not, a subscription to Signal-3 will help you.

    Signal-3 is published by the original survival communications guru, who has over 30 years experience in the field of electronic communications, and whose material has been copied by numerous others.

    Published every month, Signal-3 is an electronic magazine dealing with down-grid communications, electronic information collection, and technical aspects of survival and preparedness.

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    November 5, 2016

    Signal-3 has resumed publication. Issue #4 released.

    Subscribers should have received the particulars via a message on the Google Group.  If not, let please me know in an email -

    Issue #4 (November 2016) is around 10,000 words and 50 pages. it contains the following articles:

    • "Down-Grid": What Does It Mean?
    • From The Beginning, Part 1 - Communications Monitoring.  In which I being to review and update the "considerations" bullet points from the book with new material.
    • The Penny Pinched Prepper - contribution from one of my old regular writers
    • Wild Notes - From a friend who is another contributor from back in the day.
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    Subscriber List is Done!

    OK!  If you are a subscriber and have not received the welcome message from the Signal-3 Google Group, please let me know ASAP via

    If you want to opt out of Google Groups for whatever reason, you can let me know and I'll just bcc: you on messages.

    Issue #4 is about to be uploaded, and subscribers will receive the document link via the Google Group.

    Update: Last Minute Work

    Just taking care of some last minute tweaks.  Release is still tonight.

    November 3, 2016

    Mailing List Update

    The list generation process should be complete by tomorrow night.  If you have not received a message from Google Groups by then, please let me know.  If you have an issue with Google Groups, let me know and I'll email you notifications directly.

    The next issue (#4) will be released Saturday evening.  Subscribers should receive an email with a link to download the issue (which will be in PDF format).  Make sure you have PDF viewer software installed.  I use Okular, but I'm running on a Linux box.  Windows users can use Adobe, Foxit, or whatever.