As we head further into what appears to be a decline, communications will be even more vital. We have become so reliant on our modern ability to immediately communicate with everyone else instantaneously, that the loss of that ability could be devastating.
A few issues have come up since my last article on Communications, so I decided to discuss a couple of new developments, address a few frequent comments, and provide a couple of more ideas.
The biggest update is in tech tyranny. The social media companies, which if we’re honest, we absolutely rely on, are shutting people down left and right for wrong-think, and the federal authorities are also taking social media comments out of context in order to justify sketchy, at best, search and arrest warrants. In light of that, before we jump into the topics, let me give you a quick piece of Tactical Wisdom from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:
Set a guard over my mouth,Lord;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Be very careful of what you put on social media, and on overly relying on it for organizing your preparedness group. I know of groups that lost their entire membership list, communications channels, and everything else in the post January 6th purge.
So, then, what are we left with? Secure email and messaging platforms, like I discussed last week, are available now, but in a Without Rule of Law situation, they will be gone. The answer is radio, and that’s where our updates fall.
The Anarchist Radio Relay League
I have reported since last spring that ANTIFA has been using FRS and GMRS channels on Baofeng radios at protests and “direct actions” to coordinate their security, medical, and counter-intelligence operations.
Recently, they published a guide called the “The Anarchist Radio Relay League”, providing basic information for ANTIFA radio operations. It calls for them expanding their radio use into FRS/GMRS/CB as well as Amateur Radio.
For our discussion today though, there is a security warning from it. Their guide advises that most licensed amateur radio operators are “old white men” who tend towards being conservative. The author then provides the website for searching radio call signs, and advises ANTIFA people to gather information on amateur licensees for “community self-defense”: In other words, targeting licensed amateur radio operators. Be aware of this.
The guide also recommends that if an ANTIFA person gets a license, they use a family member’s address or a PO Box. Before I get a bunch of replies about that being illegal, so is rioting; they just don’t care.
They also discuss establishing their own MESH networks for secure communications between their own groups, as well as setting up long range radio relay networks for sharing intelligence information.
The point of sharing this is to break everyone’s bias that ANTIFA is some bunch of weak loser clowns that would be defeated in less than a day, if it ever came to that. That’s the prevailing attitude.
They are committed socialists and anarchists who have been on the streets fighting for almost a year straight. They sent personnel to fight in Syria, Turkey, and The Ukraine to gain actual combat experience and training to bring back to them. They already have well-established secure communications protocols that allow them to generate crowds quickly.
They have also shown that they don’t care whether you are right-leaning, or left-leaning. If you aren’t a committed Anarcho-Communist, they will fight against you. Prepare accordingly.
Just before the January 6th incident (I refuse to call it anything more than that), the FCC put out an advisory against using the radio for unlawful activities, and against “speaking in code”.
These were meant entirely to discourage people from using radios while exercising their rights.
Remember, most FCC violations are fairly “open to interpretation”. For example, if I tell my friend to “meet me at the corner store”, rather than saying “At the Speedway at Ford Rd and Harrison”, I could be construed as having spoken in code. Also, how does one define “harmful interference”?
Yes, the case would probably be tossed out, but in the meantime, they arrested you, seized the “offending equipment”, and cost you thousands in legal fees.
Yet another FCC concern for those in preparedness is in their FAQ section of their website about FCC Agents and searches. An FCC Amateur Radio license means that you agree to allow an FCC Agent access to “inspect” your equipment “without delay” at any time. The FAQ spells out clearly that even a delay of seconds (for example, to put on pants) is a violation.
The other issue it arises post-January 6th, is that of Task Force operations. Let me explain:
The government is thinks that you may be engaged in that dangerous behavior of honoring the US Constitution. They notice your FCC license and then bring in an FCC Agent. They decide to “inspect your equipment”. Now, the website says that they aren’t allowed to search drawers and cabinets, just inspect the radio, but in this case, the agent brought along a DHS/FBI/ATF partner for “security”. They notice that you have a “Come & Take It” flag in your living room, and they noticed a “Don’t Tread on Me” patch on your jacket while inspecting the radio. They thank you, and come back in the middle of the night with a “Domestic Extremist” warrant.
They are getting no-knock search warrants based on less information than that in this current environment.
Amateur Radio is a fantastic thing that contributes a lot to society and is a great hobby. I don’t personally have a license, and have no intentions of getting one, because I am only listening for gathering information. I presented those two issues to help you make an informed decision on whether or not to pursue a license. Each of us has to make up our own minds about how much government intrusion we will allow.
WROL Radio Operations
Now, I know, I’ll get some comments and emails from my readers who are hard-core Amateur Radio operators, castigating me for my comments and saying that you should always get government permission for everything you do. I won’t disagree. If I ever broadcast on my radios for other than work-related use on my employer’s licensed channels, I would reluctantly get one. However, since my only purpose is having the capability for a WROL situation, I don’t feel the need to invite additional government oversight into my life.
Without Rule of Law means exactly that; the rule of law has broken down to the point where law enforcement is incapable of response and you are completely on your own. Many say that we’ll never get to that point in the US, but I say that in some areas we are already there.
There are currently autonomous zones in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and Bellingham. Watch YouTube video of the police trying to investigate a homicide in the George Floyd Autonomous Zone in Minneapolis…they were driven off by armed insurgents. Spin it however you want, but there was an armed confrontation and the police were outgunned and left. The same thing happened with multiple shootings in the CHOP/CHAZ area. The citizens living there are in a WROL situation.
In a WROL situation, such as Post-Katrina, or mid-riot, the FCC will be the least of our worries and some low-powered communications between a security team securing a neighborhood will be the least of their worries as well.
“But what about….”
Here we are going to give radio tactics, tips, and procedures, while addressing a lot of the questions I get.
First, I am NOT a lawyer and this is NOT to be construed as legal advice. You must make your own decisions in an EMERGENCY SITUATION, where protection of life takes priority over everything else.
Second, I’m only advocating TTP’s (Tactics/Techniques/Procedures) for a WROL situation, not today’s environment. In other words, if the rule of law has collapsed, why would I continue to hamstring my safety by following rules that no longer apply? (That’s actually lesson 1…)
- “It’s illegal to use Baofeng Radios on FRS/GMRS frequencies”: Yes, that’s absolutely true. They are programmable from the front face, broadcast at more than 0.5 watts, and have detachable antennas. ANTIFA is doing it every single day in downtown Detroit, which has an FCC presence. Not one arrest has been made. It is illegal to TRANSMIT, but in a WROL situation, this is not a concern. Go ahead and use them.
- “But everyone uses FRS/GMRS and there are always neighborhood kids playing on them”: That is a fact and they are widely available. I recommend listening on the FRS/GMRS frequencies now, to determine which channels are NOT being used, and then incorporate those in to your plans. Humans are lazy, and usually won’t change the channel. A side note to this is that post-WROL situation, the kids won’t be out playing on the radios anymore.
- “I would use MURS for emergency comms, but local businesses can use them”: Again, they are indeed using them TODAY. Post-WROL, I wouldn’t worry too much about the local Victoria’s Secret or Dick’s Sporting Goods running day-to-day operations on MURS. Remember, we aren’t honestly talking about running a 50 mile radius network here; we’re talking about a secure perimeter and some light patrolling/safety communications, as well as some communication with other groups NEARBY.
- “But you need a license to talk to other Amateur Radio Operators at great distances for news”: That’s correct; but not if I just want to LISTEN. You can buy a $150.00 SSB receiver like the County Comm GP-5/SSB, and listen to news and amateur broadcasts from all over the world. A side benefit of gathering by listening is that no one can “Direction-Find” your location if you aren’t broadcasting. If I need to get information out to others, I have others in my short-to-medium range network that can transmit whatever I want them to share, and, again, if it’s a complete WROL situation, I’ll just get the information out.
- “But Baofengs are unsecure and easy to DF”: I’ve got news for you…every radio is easy to “Direction Find”, because you are, at some point, broadcasting. I counter this with the fact that even at it’s highest power (7-8 watts), a Baofeng isn’t for long-haul secure comms, it’s for local communications, like intra-team communications. I’m not running a revolution on it, unlike ANTIFA, I’m protecting my group and my family. At best, you’ll get a few miles in VHF/UHF, and if some opposition is already that close, I’m way behind the 8 ball & secure radios aren’t going to help me.
- “But you can’t talk in code”: That is indeed a violation. Every group of friends has a group of names for the places they frequent. If you don’t, you should. Also, broadcasting that the group is going meet at the planned rally point isn’t a code, it’s a statement of fact. Having a preplanned set of “Signal Operating Instructions” helps. The AMRRON offers one to it’s members. Also, codes are perfectly acceptable, as long as the intent isn’t to be “deceptive”; for example, ARRL Q codes are fine, as well as ARRL Radiogram codes.
- “Bro, CB is so lame and 1980s”: This is a feature, not a bug. The fact that only truckers and a few random weirdos are using CB means that you have 40 (or 120 with SSB) channels, available for use in the HF Spectrum, which has far better range over open ground. I certainly recommend incorporating a CB radio, if for nothing else than over-the road convoy operations. A side note to this is that in the event of a major situation, there will be a huge number of people who will dust off old stored CB’s in an attempt to make any kind of contact, these are sources of information. I have a vehicle mounted SSB CB, and a standard 40 channel hand-held, with an extra vehicle-mountable antenna. They are good extra tools to have. ANTIFA is also suggesting it’s members use CB, because of the lack of licensing.
- “But Amateur Radio guys don’t like anyone”: This is untrue and they are a very helpful bunch, willing to help new licensees learn. That being said, there are a lot of KAREN’s among Amateur Radio; chose your mentors carefully. If I encounter a radio Karen post-WROL, I will invite them to feel free to report me to the non-existent FCC.
- “I have no idea what frequencies to monitor”: The Channel 3 Project of AMRRON helps. Monitor channel 3 FRS/MURS/CB at the top of every hour.
I hope that answering these has given you a few ideas or helped in your planning.
Amateur Radio is a great hobby and there is a world of information and learning available.
Set up a radio communications plan for your group, including frequencies, and be ready before anything happens.