“Tactical” vs “Prepper” radio usage

All Radios3

One of the comments I frequently received when the Signals Handbook, Volume One was released, was that it was to “tactical” and military oriented.   Indeed, it was, because that is the intended audience.   After browsing through many radio and communication threads on various discussion forums, it seems that some folks can’t separate the different ways a radio can be used.   Radios are a valuable tool for “preppers” and other preparedness minded people.   They can be used to monitor the local, and national situation.   They can be used to call for help.   They can be used to notify friends, family, and loved ones of someones status and well being.   In short, they are a great prep tool.   But that is not all they can do.   Radios, and other signal methods can also be used for the protection and security of ones group.   It is this niche application that the signals handbooks are being developed.   Depending on the situation, any small group may face threats from the outside world.   It is this rare, but dangerous condition that the small team can be greatly aided by good COMSEC procedures, proper radio discipline, and a little bit of practice.

For more info on the prepper side of communications, check out Spark31’s “Grid Down Communications”

Link HERE!



Volume 2 Table of Contents

Work on Volume 2 is well under way.

I have the first several chapters done, and the table of contents created to serve as an outline.

As chapters are completed, It may change how I present some of the later material, so the TOC WILL change.

Here is the TOC.. .If you see something you think should be added, let me know.   Keep in mind, SIGINT and Electronic Warefare will be covered in Volume Three.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Security
D) Threat SIGINT Capabilities

Part 1: Administration
I. Define standard operating procedures. (SOP’s)
II. Communication Table of Organization and Equipment
.  A) Category of radios:
.  B) Radio Operation Constraints
III. UHF/VHF Radio Types (and High HF)
.  A) FRS/GMRS portable radios:
.  B) GMRS only portable and mobile radios:
.  C) MURS portable radios:
.  D) Citizens Band (CB) portable radios:
.  E) Citizens Band (CB) Mobile radios:
.  F) ISR and SMR band digital frequency hopping voice radios:
.  G) Business Band analog voice portable and mobile radios:
.  H) Business Band analog voice Chineese import radios:
.  I) Business Band digital voice portable and mobile radios:
.  J) UHF/VHF Ham radio fm analog voice portable and mobile radios:
.  K) UHF/VHF Ham radio SSB mobile radios:
.  L) UHF/VHF Ham radio low usage bands portable and mobile radios:
.  M) UHF/VHF Ham radio digital voice portable and mobile radios:
.  N) UHF/VHF Ham radio digital voice with transverter to low usage bands portable and   .    mobile radios:
.  O) UHF/VHF Ham digital data and packet radio:
.  P) 10m Ham portable and mobile radios:
IV. Range Beyond Handheld
.  A) Relay
.  B) Simplex Repeater
.  C) Duplex Repeater
.  D) Cross Band Repeater
.  E) Multipoint links
.  F) Directional Antennas
V. Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS)
.  A) HF Groundwave
.  B) HF Skywave
.  D) mixed band relays
VI. HF Radio Types
.  A) High Frequency (HF) Ham analog voice radios:
.  B) High Frequency (HF) Ham continous wave (CW) morse code radios:
.  C) High Frequency (HF) Ham digital text mode radios:
.  D) High Frequency (HF) Ham graphic mode radios:
.  E) High Frequency (HF) Ham digital voice radios:
F.  ) High Frequency (HF) Ham digital packet and data radios:
VII. BLOS Less Common Methods
.  A) Microwave relay
.  B) Tropo Scatter
.  C) EME/ Moonbounce
.  D) Meteor Scatter
.  E) HM-mesh/VOIP
.  F) HamSat
.  G) Sat Phone
VIII. Other Means of Communications
.  A) POTS
.  B) Field Phones
.  C) VOIP
.  D) Visual Signals
.  E) Sound Signals
.  IX. Cellular Telephones
XI. OPSEC and COMSEC and Sensitive Materials
XII. Codenames and Codewords
XIII. Generating SOI’s
XIV. Generating OTP’s and Dryad Sheets
XV. Generating Codebooks

Part 2: Mission Planning and Opertaions
I. Spectrum Management
III. Physical Setups
.  A) Organization, Links, and OPORD
.  B) Relay/ Repeater site selection
.  C) CP and CP site selection
.  D) LP/OP and site selection
.  E) Vehicle Setups
IV. Handling Traffic
V. Nets
VI. Supporting Joint Operations

Part 3: Training and Discipline
I. Basics of Training
.  A) Crawl, Walk, Run
.  B) Planning lessons and classroom basics
.  C) Field training basics
II. Classroom exercises
.  A) physically using a radio
.  B) Standard Operating Procedures
III. Field Excercises
.  A) Signals specific drills vs Signals as part of other exercises.
.  B) Using equipment in the field
.  C) Equipment performance testing
.  D) Alternates, contingencies and failover
.  E) After Actions
IV. Recruiting
.  A) Creating a program of continuity and shared responsibilities
.  B) Expanding the signals team, and training its new members

Part 4 Conclusion

Part 5 Appendices

Squad Radio Considerations from Sparks31



  • Everyone in the group should have the same model of radio. It makes logistics of accessories such as microphones and batteries easier.
  • Radio model should have readily available accessories.
  • Radios should be rugged enough for heavy field (ab)use.
  • Radios should be capable of operating off of common alkaline batteries. Most HTs capable of doing so will take either AAs or AAAs.
  • Radios should be able to run on 12V DC, either directly or via an adapter.
  • Radios should be frequency agile, or front panel programmable. Ham HTs are. Most commercial LMR HTs are not unless they are specifically mentioned as being FPP. Amateur radios should have fairly easy “MARS/CAP” extended frequency coverage modification. Your mileage may vary.
  • Radios should preferably have a BNC or SMA type antenna connector, for ease of attaching gain-type antennas. This is not a problem with ham HTs. Many commercial LMR HTs will not.

More form Sparks31