Radio Preppers

General Category => Digital Modes => Topic started by: WA4STO on November 24, 2012, 10:30:06 AM

Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on November 24, 2012, 10:30:06 AM
I've started up a minimal testing plan for what I've at least temporarily dubbed "PREPNET".  Here's some Q&A:

Q.  Why?
A.  Lots of reasons but mainly I'd much prefer to know NOW (not later...) how far and wide I can expect to communicate, post-SHTF.

Q. Where? 
A. Well, that's one of the cool things.  OPSEC is built in, in several different ways.  One way is that there is no set frequency for "somebody" to be watching.  So far, I've discovered seven different Winmor stations that are strong enough at my location that I can easily get into their forwarding systems.  And that's all on ONE band.

Q.  Can I participate?
A.  Absolutely.  All you need to have is either an HF packet, Pactor, or Winmor station ... OR ... an email address.  To get started, send me a BRIEF email at WA4STO at WINLINK dot ORG. 

The key word here is "brief".  No graphics, no pictures, no attachments.  Just something like "I wish to participate in PREPNET".  As KC9TNH correctly points out, there's really no need to stress the system.  Remember that your message will have to be forwarded by ham radio circuits.  Briefer is better.  Much better.

We can test this theory, but the story is presently that in order to alert the system that you are not sending spam, you'll want to put  //WL2K  as the very first word in the SUBJECT line.  But whether you do or not, I will respond with a series of brief questions to get the ball rolling as long as I actually receive your message.

Best 73 de Luck, WA4STO

(http://img-s3-01.mytextgraphics.com/flamewordmaker/2012/11/24/f1206cc185a2432945d6a661099fab1f.gif)
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: KC9TNH on November 24, 2012, 09:42:14 PM
(Took up WA4STO's invitation, see below)

I know this will sound very militar-ish but they're really good at some stuff and providing brief periodic situation reports (SITREPs) by topic or criteria is one of them.
DTG:   (date time group, in other words, report effective "as of").  This needs to be absolutely UN-ambiguous.  It is traditionally done in the format:
DDHHMMZ  MON YR (e.g.,  242358Z NOV 12)

Get used to ZULU time (aka UTC);  forget EST, CDT, which Mountain state doesn?t change, yadayada.
Especially with the prospect of transiting distant relays, ZULU time, or UTC if you prefer, is *** THE*** gold standard.  Learn your offset ('my time plus 6' or in the summer 'my time plus 5' - whatever).  Honest, ZULU time, live it.  A little travel clock is cheap, cheaper is the desktop gadget on your laptop. (Or you can do what Fidel used to do, have a watch on each wrist, although in his case 1 was local, the other was Moscow time.) The good part about ZULU time is that it doesn?t change ? THAT clock you don?t have to go around & reset.

For a regularly issued SITREP - the simple thing you'll use to keep in touch (or know by its absence that something is amiss with someone) - a few things lend themselves to being rated simply as green, amber, red (G/A/R). Green good, amber less than good, red is ?Danger Will Robinson!?

Morph it, tweak it, fold, spindle & mutilate it. You can define your own criteria as to what that constitutes; I?m far from trying to tell everyone how to do it ? just truly passing along some food for thought.  As Blaber would say in his book, humor your imagination & don?t get treed by a Chihuahua.

Frequency?  Weekly?, but frequency yours to decide, be realistic with the tribe you?re doing this with.  Less frequent in tranquil times, more often if/when the ball starts rolling maybe. 
1.   DTG (see above)
2.   LOCATION:  NORMAL location of your call-sign, otherwise specify.
3.   WX:  Weather current and 72 hrs out:  same deal G/A/R x 2, as it applies to YOU.  Example would be a bluebird day now, but you?ve got a big Nor?easter bearing down on you in about 48 hrs:
GA (green now, amber in the next 72 hrs)
4.    INFRASTRUCTURE (typical utilities e.g., gas, elec, water):  G/A/R   OK, so you?re on a well, but if  your electrical went out?
5.    POLITICAL:  G/A/R the situation around you that is directly affecting your well-being.  Remember, as with several categories, there is alot of stuff that might be blips on your radar but, frankly, things are pretty GREEN.  Use your judgment.
6.    CIVIL:  G/A/R  This may/may not be tied to the political climate.  Most folks can be GREEN through alot of stuff.  If you have notice from local authorities that a certain area has been the scene recently of some seriously violent flash-mobs and nothing seems to be getting done about it, this could be AMBER because it could ALSO mean the local rule of law has broken down in some manner.  Roving bands of thieving/assaulting marauders that cause you to stack mags is a RED and certainly you need to know who in your tribe is in the area that can help if need be.
7.   COMMS:  Whatever you deem essential, whether it be everything under the Sun such as LL, cell, TV, internet, HF, localized VHF/UHF.  G/A/R  It is REEEEEALLY important here to think through the 2nd & 3rd order effects of the loss of some capability.  If your internet goes down, ok, so what?  Well, if you haven?t setup a means to make a sked with someone else to do CW, or a peer-to-peer session with another WINMOR HF station?.  Be the ant, not the grasshopper.
8.    HAZCON (Hazardous Condition):  I insert this here because it may be usable to some.  This is an old MIL term not related to what you might think.  Typically used in commo circles, but you are in a HAZCON state if you are down to your last backup and loss of THAT puts you out of commission or you are in deep kimchi.  This really only has 2 items.  It?s either NA, or use brief text to describe the situation.
9.   REMARKS: Don?t write War & Peace here; just whatever?s needed to clarify something in plain-text.
One of the sweet things about a pre-formatted SITREP is that if EVERYONE knows the format, there?s not even a need to put in the headings.  You simply plug-in the variables and let it rip.  In fact, with a little agreement on where item headings ?break? (what separator to use), even a novice in CW can rip one of these off faster than Congress can pick your pocket.  (Well, ok, I?m stretching things a bit there?) In digital, it?s extended to even more possibilities because at the other end it may be the extended family outside a trouble zone who only knows how to read an email.  You can use the pre-formatted report format (and tailor other types of reports to more specific criteria) between you & 1 trusted brother-in-arms OR to a list of tribe in your little NVIS circle, or someone who can get that CW only SITREP to your distant relation because THEIR phone IS working. (Basic traffic handling/relay principle.)

I?ll put a simple SITREP together and send it to WA4STO and he can report what I sent. (Radio Ray would probably rip out such an abbreviated report while reaching blindfolded for a cup of java & it?d be sent before the cup reached his lips.)  Luck, you can just paste in what I send for the readership & call that a test, or not, your mileage may vary.  This is, in a conceptual way, no different than simply periodically checking in with the crowd who'll stand you in good stead by whatever means. Morning coffee at the diner, a shout over the h/t off the local repeater...

One confession is that I?ll revert back to my misspent youth and there will only be 2 BT?s in the SITREP, one indicating the start & end of the actual message respectively.  [BT] for me isn?t a ?uh, I?m thinking?? or can?t remember what a ?.? Is   Do what you wish, I?m just too old to un-train in a couple of areas, just the FOG in me.  Again, just tossing out some stuff for the readership to think about.  Use, modify, pitch.  I?ve been told that I was full of it by folks with many stars on their shoulders, no problem, & once by some French guy at a diplomatic soiree.  (Sometimes I was, sometimes I wasn?t, but each time my input was free. Of limited, use but the French do know how to throw a party.)
 8)
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on November 24, 2012, 10:56:14 PM
Excellent test! Count me in - I will send the email now!
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on November 24, 2012, 11:01:22 PM
Just sent an email to WA4STO@WINLINK.org...

And it bounced back to me?

No go, no joy....
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: underhill on November 25, 2012, 12:34:25 AM
Sent a brief email, sent to your winlink address, from my winlink address.  Lets see how this plays out.

73
Allan
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on November 25, 2012, 02:14:26 AM
...There'sthe problem, how do you get a WINLINK account/address?
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: KC9TNH on November 25, 2012, 07:32:55 AM
Just sent an email to WA4STO@WINLINK.org...

And it bounced back to me?

No go, no joy....
Did you put //W2LK as the first 6 positions in the Subject line of the email as WA4STO mentioned?
If not, the system will kick it back as spam. The first 6 characters tell the system that it's destined for a real existing WINLINK user.

To get a WINLINK account, go here, and read through this:
http://www.winlink.org/GetStarted

It's not something you apply for on-line somewhere. Follow the steps, setup your sound card & software and upon doing your first message you'll get your WINLINK account established. Basically:

- you read through the appropriate user guide (couple of good ones already mentioned on the website and in this sub-forum
- configure your sound-card & software
- send your first WINLINK message to an email address that already exists, like your own regular email account,  (and you can use a Telnet session vs. radio to do this) and you'll get your account established.  The system will recognize you as a first-time user - but you HAVE to come in through the WINLINK path.

The foregoing is NOT a substitute for reading the info at the link above.  Good info at the WINLINK site.
Title: Bouncing PREPNET messages
Post by: WA4STO on November 25, 2012, 09:22:42 AM
Just sent an email to WA4STO@WINLINK.org...

And it bounced back to me?


Ah, but the cup's half full, grasshoppah.  Methinks Wes is right; you probably need to put the //WL2K prefix in the subject line.

It's encouraging to see so many folks responding, given that we have such a small group assembled.

Remember, no graphics, no HTML, and NO "quoted" stuff that the recipient has already seen. 

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on November 25, 2012, 09:46:38 AM

I know this will sound very militar-ish but they're really good at some stuff and providing brief periodic situation reports (SITREPs) by topic or criteria is one of them.

SITREPs are a very common -- and useful -- format for transmission of critical data.

And the other members of our community can find a great deal of utility in a non-internet, non-115v digital  forwarding system as well.  Consider the following text-only message which can be sent to the group address of "PREPNET" (presently eleven designated recipients).

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/enceph.jpg)

Note that YOU can send  test messages as well, whether you have Winmor or not.  Just your normal email software will do the trick nicely.

In my case, I choose to use the radios only, no internet, for both transmission and receptions of the PREPNET messages.  And, while I do have more than adequate 12v storage to run everything, I choose not to stress that part of my system until I really need to. 

In your case, it doesn't matter whether you have a license, a radio, or just about anything.  You do need an internet address which you already have or you probably wouldn't be reading this.

I'm so content to see this taking off so nicely.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: The use of "Test Message" in PREPNET
Post by: WA4STO on November 25, 2012, 10:19:26 AM
Some of you may have noticed or wondered about the use of the term "Test message" in our PREPNET messages.

This has traditionally been done for decades, primarily to keep terms like "Encephalitis" (!) from being worried about by media types who might come across our traffic.

This is actually a fairly serious concern, since the general public doesn't always understand what's real and what's in preparation for 'events'.

I have discovered one nice thing about the use of Winmor on the amateur radio side; you can't just listen in and see anything being transmitted.  To my mind, at least, that's comforting.  Others may consider it to be a bit more in the way of OPSEC.  Good.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: The use of "Test Message" in PREPNET
Post by: KC9TNH on November 25, 2012, 03:28:49 PM
Some of you may have noticed or wondered about the use of the term "Test message" in our PREPNET messages.

This has traditionally been done for decades, primarily to keep terms like "Encephalitis" (!) from being worried about by media types who might come across our traffic.

This is actually a fairly serious concern, since the general public doesn't always understand what's real and what's in preparation for 'events'.

I have discovered one nice thing about the use of Winmor on the amateur radio side; you can't just listen in and see anything being transmitted.  To my mind, at least, that's comforting.  Others may consider it to be a bit more in the way of OPSEC.  Good.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Last first, agree; good.
And good point about something indicating you are issuing a notional or test message if you're actually going to include text that would be alarming to those not familiar with the effort. (The average ham would be extremely unlikely to pull your transmission out of the ether & piece it back together.)

Gotta call a friend & do a test with a new piece of wire he threw up in the air and, after the final hunting efforts this AM, I'm smoked. It was fun to hear the little pre-teen 2-legged beagles working the valley, payin' their dues. Raising omnivores; no tofu other than for the cattle.

Drive on Luck, and let us know how the tests go (assuming you got mine).

Keep in mind, the same principle applies even if it's a close group of like-minded folks in your area, and even if it's to a CB in someone's rickety pickup at the same time it hits the CB bolted to the overhead in the tractor as well as the CB in the car whose interior looks like an HRO outlet. Use the tool that works. Substitute 2m or HF SSB or digital or CW for the above.
DISCLAIMER: I mention this last being in the first third of a book, pretty well done by a competent historian, dealing with the regular citizenry (not the elite in places like Boston & Philly) in small towns up & down the 13 colonies and how they came to coalesce in their own backyards.



Title: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
Post by: WA4STO on November 27, 2012, 12:10:45 PM
Those of you already participating in our little PREPNET group are aware that I've been putting together a small spreadsheet for Winmor forwarding and testing purposes.

In the cell called "Barter and/or Loan", it has just struck me that, in addition to firewood and the other items already in the SS,  I've got lots of ammo that I'd be willing to barter with.  But I don't wish to alarm the guys doing the forwarding on the HF bands and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be wise to come up with a small chart to show "2A" as being equal to .40 rounds, "2B" for 30-30 shells, whatever.

Is this something of value to the group or it just a non-starter?

73 de WA4STO
Title: Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
Post by: KC9TNH on November 27, 2012, 06:07:18 PM
In the cell called "Barter and/or Loan", it has just struck me that, in addition to firewood and the other items already in the SS,  I've got lots of ammo that I'd be willing to barter with.  But I don't wish to alarm the guys doing the forwarding on the HF bands and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be wise to come up with a small chart to show "2A" as being equal to .40 rounds, "2B" for 30-30 shells, whatever.

Is this something of value to the group or it just a non-starter?

73 de WA4STO
I don't think it's a non-starter - I just wouldn't put it on there to barter for a variety of personal "-?-SEC" reasons. Besides, if it fits anything you're going to use it shouldn't be on the list. If not, it may still be of worth to someone REALLY nearby who you may want to outfit.

Just my $.02
;)
Title: Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
Post by: WA4STO on November 27, 2012, 07:31:12 PM

Besides, if it fits anything you're going to use it shouldn't be on the list. If not, it may still be of worth to someone REALLY nearby who you may want to outfit.


Point taken.  Still, barter is a strange beast.  In this particular case, I have way more than I could possibly want or need for this discussion.  Couple that with the possibility that others may get desperate for what I have too much of, and it does become a potential barter item.

You're very correct about another thing and that's the matter of somebody 'local'.  That's part of the problem with PREPNET which is much more appropriate for localities than for the whole of the country.  Yet, if we ever get THAT big, it would be easy to get chips off that old block.

73 de WA4STO
Title: Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
Post by: KC9TNH on November 27, 2012, 09:05:19 PM
Point taken.  Still, barter is a strange beast.  In this particular case, I have way more than I could possibly want or need for this discussion.  Couple that with the possibility that others may get desperate for what I have too much of, and it does become a potential barter item.
Yep, trackin' what you're saying. Barter (or even service trading) is something folks aren't used to, especially when their initial approach is to assign a familiar monetary value to things under discussion, when the traditional value may have long gone by the wayside. The serious specific "what's the value to me of this NOW?" question is how to look at it, so you're right, it can be a fickle animal.
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on November 29, 2012, 01:18:32 AM
I like the idea of bartering - from one in need to one with plenty - but finding value happens relatively quickly. I see what KC means about using Prepnet to barter "in the clear" ...but also, Luck's need to be able to schedule a trade?

Perhaps a "currency" would develop, or at least common value for common items - but would you need to post both "in the clear" in order to trade? Or would be better to set up a "swap-meet " night at a rotating rendezvous point at irregular intervals? Times and rendezvous locations could be determined by predetermined broadcast code for locals - like the way Air America used to send messages to principles behind the lines (how's that for dredging up the past ObeeWhan?)!
Title: Re: Prepnet spreadsheet
Post by: WA4STO on November 29, 2012, 09:33:32 AM
like the way Air America used to send messages to principles behind the lines (how's that for dredging up the past ObeeWhan?)!

The past?  Uh, does anyone still wonder what that warehouse near Ben-gussy was actually used for?  Principles?  Bah!  :)

Actually, I hadn't consider using the PREPNET spreadsheet for 'scheduling' of trades.  My only two goals (so far) were:

1.  to come up with some attachment fodder to test our Winmor capabilities and

2.  To keep the other participants apprised of what's available for loan or barter.  For example, the 61 fictitious cords of firewood wouldn't be of any value to any of you in Florida, post SHTF, but it sure would to WA5TEE who is fairly local to me.

So far the spreadsheet is pretty much fictitious.  I was hoping that the others would join in and provide some more grist for the olde mill, but these things take time.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: Prepnet spreadsheet
Post by: KC9TNH on November 29, 2012, 03:05:42 PM
For example, the 61 fictitious cords of firewood wouldn't be of any value to any of you in Florida, post SHTF, but it sure would to WA5TEE who is fairly local to me.
Will it be of use to anyone if it's not real?
Just kiddin'. I take the spreadsheet as a demonstration of handling attachments, nothing more and it's a good proof of concept. It could also be used, in a regular natural disaster OUTSIDE established traffic handling methods, to keep track of who has what traffic sked with who at the top of what hour, if a net is passed from one NCS to another - normally done via email (oh, that's right the internet's down), or at a shift-change but if it's lengthy and a station log, others may call & inquire if so&so has been heard from, etc.

To be candid, at this point, I have those local to me who I'd be bartering with and we know what each other have, so it's' actually  more of a potential resource pool. Moving around a standard MS attachment is a good test though, no question.  (And of all their junk, an Excel spreadsheet typicaly has the smallest payload, including CPU burden at the destination so that was a good choice.)
 :)

Now, I gotta go find my other post & edit that one 'cause I found out that there IS a Linux version of fldigi....

Also, gotta do some RE-benchmarking of where my amp is sitting power wise*, clean up some shack stuff, and do some late-night CW, so I may not even do anything digital for the next few days other than check the box via telnet.

* the tube is the original Eimac 3-500Z that was in it and it's only been running 17 years but still, I should check against last year's numbers and look into picking one up that'll last till I'm planted.
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on December 02, 2012, 01:49:55 AM
Just sent an email to WA4STO@WINLINK.org...

And it bounced back to me?

No go, no joy....
Did you put //W2LK as the first 6 positions in the Subject line of the email as WA4STO mentioned?
If not, the system will kick it back as spam. The first 6 characters tell the system that it's destined for a real existing WINLINK user.

I meant to come back to you on this Wes, after I did this, it must have worked as I got a reply from Luck.

Also - do you do SSB? I seem to have had a clear path to Minnesota and Michigan the last few nights on 40m...I worked Luck on 20m - but since then I've gotten the fan dipole back up and the flexibility has allowed me to work 40m longer into the evening, where I seem to find myself spending a lot of time, lately!
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: KC9TNH on December 02, 2012, 07:50:02 AM
Also - do you do SSB? I seem to have had a clear path to Minnesota and Michigan the last few nights on 40m...I worked Luck on 20m - but since then I've gotten the fan dipole back up and the flexibility has allowed me to work 40m longer into the evening, where I seem to find myself spending a lot of time, lately!
SSB, sure. 40m is kinda fickle over that distance but obviously works sometimes. 20 and 17 are good. I've got a couple of wires that probably play well down your way.
 :)
Title: PREPNET update
Post by: WA4STO on December 04, 2012, 09:41:49 AM
Last evening, I updated the PREPNET spreadsheet and attached it to a Winmor message to all in our PREPNET group.  By the time an hour had gone by, four of the members had acknowledged receipt of the message and the spreadsheet.  The remainder had responded by the time I got up this morning.

No big deal for those who have internet capability, certainly. But a big old "not bad" for those of us in the prepping community. It's comforting to know that for  internet (and electricity!) purposes, we'll have that much less to worry about, post-SHTF. 

At this point, we're looking for more members who might be interested in 'reaching out' when email has disappeared and the internet is just a fond memory.  Here's what you need:

1.  An email address and,

2.  Wait, there IS no number 2.  No, you don't even need a ham radio license.

We're interested in each of the members starting to develop their own local PREPNET groups.  That way, post-SHTF, you'll have a better idea of what's available to your group in the way of loan,  barter, or "other resources" items.  Even information as to what gas stations are open, which ones carry E-85, or what day the farmer's food market is open.

At present, we're only populating the spreadsheet with fictitious data, such as cords of firewood (local would be nice!!) Sta-bil for gasoline, and one fellow has just added 10 pails of dry pool bleach.  I'm sorta waiting for somebody to add "50 lbs of only slightly used kitty litter".   Hey, it's all serious, insofar as getting the bits and bytes around the country without the internet, but we can have fun while we're at it.

Let me know if you're interested in joining in with us.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Wilber, Nebraska




Title: Re: PREPNET update
Post by: KC9TNH on December 04, 2012, 02:13:57 PM
Even information as to what gas stations are open, which ones carry E-85....
As an additional thought, it might be worthwhile knowing sources of gasoline WITH NO contaminants in it at all. Not just because the "green" stuff is bad on small engines (and what might we wanna use those for, hmmmm?) but because, on the other side of the cliff, they may not be as accessible, being poster children for Guv subsidies that reward things that cost more to produce than they save "aka" targets.
I'm sorta waiting for somebody to add "50 lbs of only slightly used kitty litter".   Hey, it's all serious, insofar as getting the bits and bytes around the country without the internet, but we can have fun while we're at it.
Did you want that with or without the used-up cat?

woof 8)
Back to work now, supporting the entitlements of the new majority.
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on December 05, 2012, 07:57:41 PM
Whatever happened to TAPRN? I visited their site - no information on times or frequencies for a SSB net?

Any interest on expanding Prepnet to including a SSB net?
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on December 19, 2012, 09:13:20 AM
PREPNET has a new member, John KC9GXU.  Welcome, John!

PREPNET is unique in that it allows error-corrected messages via WINMOR and the WL2K system.

Anybody can access it either by direct entry via WINMOR or with nothing more than your email address.

The main purpose of PREPNET is to provide "resource" information, post-SHTF.  Unlike most established EMCOMM networks that provide amateur radio assistance to Federal, State and Local officials, PREPNET provides means to support our own families, neighbors, and loved ones.

Anybody else want to join in?

Best 73

Luck, WA4STO

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/fails.jpg)
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: buster on January 25, 2013, 07:00:27 PM
Although I'm interested in the general concept (prepper networking, not roll call nets), when it comes to the actual implementation, most efforts like this seem to neglect OPSEC.  It is in fact very difficult to setup something like this and not throw your OPSEC out the window.  Should we trust everyone with a ham license?  Is the member list available to everyone invovled?  (Hopefully not to anyone not involved.)  I noticed there was a mention of CB - is the callsign list availability limited to hams only?  I noticed you posted the callsign of a new member above.  Is that your SOP or did he approve posting of that?

The only solution I have come up with in my personal effort is doing it on a one to one contact basis.  And that of course is very slow to work out.  I know, or know of, lots of hams in my area, but very few that I know of being preppers.
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: KC9TNH on January 25, 2013, 10:03:18 PM
Being prepared doesn't necessarily involve the assumed scenario of man-made hostile circumstances. It's about honing capabilities. Everyone has to make their choices.

OPSEC concerns (and I get it, this is not my first rodeo) get bandied about quite a bit when really what most people are concerned about is privacy. But one is simply unlikely to hone the skills needed unless one gets on the air to practice [fill-in your preferred mode], any more than reading about an Australian peel will get you proficient without going to the range & expending some ammo with some like-oriented friends.

To each their own, quite literally. I'm not backing up and because of who I am and things I've done I'm already a stereotype on Big Sis' threat list - but I'm in some pretty good company.

A person's gotta do what they think is right. My callsign is right there; some prefer not to do that. Cool.
Welcome to the board.
 
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on January 26, 2013, 03:50:38 AM
Although I'm interested in the general concept (prepper networking, not roll call nets), when it comes to the actual implementation, most efforts like this seem to neglect OPSEC.  It is in fact very difficult to setup something like this and not throw your OPSEC out the window.  Should we trust everyone with a ham license?  Is the member list available to everyone invovled?  (Hopefully not to anyone not involved.)  I noticed there was a mention of CB - is the callsign list availability limited to hams only?  I noticed you posted the callsign of a new member above.  Is that your SOP or did he approve posting of that?

The only solution I have come up with in my personal effort is doing it on a one to one contact basis.  And that of course is very slow to work out.  I know, or know of, lots of hams in my area, but very few that I know of being preppers.

I get these concerns of yours - I really do. So much so, that in the beginning I only wanted a radio "in case" something went wrong, and even then I only wanted to operate as a "pirate" station (no call sign, just an emergency radio for calling out if I needed help). I'm going to structure my response as if you don't have radio experience (even though you do appear to have at least an understanding - as you know you don't want to be involved in a check-off/roll call type net...) - so I don't mean to offend you if you have more experience.

The undiscussed secret is: nothing really precludes you from operating as a "pirate" should the situation arise...but as KC has stated, you have to know how to operate in order to be able to be a successful pirate...and there's only one way to learn how to operate...and at this point, the FCC is more interested in you operating safely (i.e., high frequency = high voltage) and according to proper procedure - than to figure out how to get to you.

My initial reservation was that I didn't want to be on yet another "list"...along with the list I am on regarding my "tools of self-defense"...the list Im on about buying food...etc. - I just didn't want to add yet another layer to the ethereal lists of databases out there with my name on them...

But after reading things like "Search & Destroy; Why You Can't Trust Google", and "The Watchers: The Rise of Rise of America's Surveillance State" (to name only two)...I realized they have already gotten all the information they could ever need to know regarding who I am, who my friends/associates/contacts are, and how each are interrelated....we already live in Orwell's dystopia, and like the illusion of control...we also only have the illusion of privacy...I wish it were not so, but it is.

I have nothing to hide, I am simply a guy trying to prepare for bad stuff - like when the wind blows so hard the lights go out for days....and if that works out for anything heavier...so be it. It would take the average joe a lot of effort and special equipment to invade my OPSEC, and most likely, those are the type of folks already preparing for the same type "stuff". Finding frequencies on HF is a lot harder than tracking a guy on a channelize walkie-talkie, broadcasting "in the clear" on only a few (whether it's 4 channels, 6 channels, or 40 channels - with a range of about 2 miles)...there are simply too many frequencies on HF, covering too many miles...to find little 'ol me.

I think this website and the folks on it may have some interesting ideas for you to consider - they've already helped me a LOT!
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: madball13 on February 23, 2013, 06:42:01 PM
Luck,
What was your original intention of starting Prepnet? I got your email about the NTS system but i think using Winlink amongst us here for sitreps or some other function has value and allows us to continue to use Winlink with a purpose.
Thanks,
Matt
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on February 23, 2013, 07:48:59 PM
Matt -- the original intent was twofold:

1.  to have a means of communications between like-minded folks.  Like us.

2.  to be able to use an error-corrected and very robust infrastructure to effect #1 above, and to do so without utilizing the internet or, when necessary, to do so without commercial power.

In the time between then and now, however, I discovered that the hierarchy of the National Traffic System had quit being so parochial and in the past few years has taken rather extreme strides to, well, allow for #1 above.

Thus, it made no sense to keep ourselves within the confines of the pitiful small PREPNET group. 

Would you agree?  Arguing IS allowed!  :)

best 73

LH
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: madball13 on February 23, 2013, 10:02:03 PM
I do, but I don't have a full understanding of NTS and how it would apply to your goal.
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on February 24, 2013, 04:14:19 AM
I think I know what we are morphing into - but I want to make sure.

Prepnet as a concept is still around, we're just changing the mode/method of communication within Prepnet, right?

We're going from a very loose message passing system - to one where there are more established/better maintained pathways , with less traffic...right?

This will however require additional reading and some affordable/easily attainable equipment...

...is that about the size of it?
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on February 24, 2013, 12:13:16 PM
Geez, Tim; you nailed it.

See, you have it better than I do.  You're so very close to a 'citified' VHF atmosphere, with a ton of active amateurs.

Which means that, while I have to do everything on HF, you can gain entry to the digital systems by way of your VHF transceiver and an el-cheapo terminal node controller.

The TNC can be on a free loan basis, by way of the NTSD equipment bank, but you would need to commit to participating to at least a minimal level.  No money involved there in any way.

Or you could do it the way I did.  I had an old Kantronics KAM.  It was a multimode TNC but it was so old that it just couldn't do one of the critical modes (Pactor I) that we rely on, on at least the local level, in addition to VHF packet.  So I sent it to the equipment bank, they upfitted it for free and that was that.  Later, we decided to swap my KAM for a PK232MBX which I was more familiar with.  I'm pleased that I did that; it has just a TON of blinky/flashy LEDS.  yellow / red / green.  Cool!


(http://www.eham.net/data/reviews/images/1637.jpeg)

So, again, yerrite; it's cheap (50-ish used for several different brands) and it offers you all that much more flexibility in your prepping/communications planning.  And there's that error-free thing.  And the no-internet thing.  And the huge existing infrastructure to get you info from most anywhere thing.  And, oh, you gettit.

73 de Luck, WA4STO

P.S. Did I sucker you into this ham radio thing, really big-time? Snicker / Snark / Guffaw!
Title: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: White Tiger on February 24, 2013, 05:14:23 PM
Geez, Tim; you nailed it.

See, you have it better than I do.  You're so very close to a 'citified' VHF atmosphere, with a ton of active amateurs.

Which means that, while I have to do everything on HF, you can gain entry to the digital systems by way of your VHF transceiver and an el-cheapo terminal node controller.

The TNC can be on a free loan basis, by way of the NTSD equipment bank, but you would need to commit to participating to at least a minimal level.  No money involved there in any way.

Or you could do it the way I did.  I had an old Kantronics KAM.  It was a multimode TNC but it was so old that it just couldn't do one of the critical modes (Pactor I) that we rely on, on at least the local level, in addition to VHF packet.  So I sent it to the equipment bank, they upfitted it for free and that was that.  Later, we decided to swap my KAM for a PK232MBX which I was more familiar with.  I'm pleased that I did that; it has just a TON of blinky/flashy LEDS.  yellow / red / green.  Cool!


(http://www.eham.net/data/reviews/images/1637.jpeg)

So, again, yerrite; it's cheap (50-ish used for several different brands) and it offers you all that much more flexibility in your prepping/communications planning.  And there's that error-free thing.  And the no-internet thing.  And the huge existing infrastructure to get you info from most anywhere thing.  And, oh, you gettit.

73 de Luck, WA4STO

P.S. Did I sucker you into this ham radio thing, really big-time? Snicker / Snark / Guffaw!
I wandered in of my own free will...

...now, what happened after that is a bit of a blur!
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: KC9TNH on February 24, 2013, 06:30:59 PM
In the time between then and now, however, I discovered that the hierarchy of the National Traffic System had quit being so parochial and in the past few years has taken rather extreme strides to, well, allow for #1 above.
I'm curious; can you expand on that?

Something madball said above, I think he used that "sitrep word", triggered a thought as to what might be a means of utilizing WINMOR, while expanding the 'net' capability. A SITREP  (or an NTS gram for that matter) is usually pre-formatted to the nth degree because doing so takes out alot of the overhead of transmission. One doesn't even usually include the headings or titles of information categories because the nature of the format ASSUMES what that item is - e.g., if item 3 is local forecast you don't transmit "local forecast:" and then the actual forecast, you just send the forecast info as Line 3.

Humor me, going off in a cloud here, so thrash & trash to your heart's content, this is just "for instance" type stuff:

The NTS methodology (not necessarily the specific system) could be used to share info in a WINMOR transmitted SITREP, heirarchy to be figured out later. Someone who doesn't have WINMOR capability could get the info via being "guarded for" by some other member who has a means to get the SITREP -AND- re-trans it via some other means to that person, e.g., via a weekly CW or SSB schedule.

Some discussion would be necessary, and could largely take place in the open, about what's important to include in a brief SITREP. I only suggested weekly (or longer maybe) because we're not talking operational stuff that may be both close-hold and quickly rendered obsolete. The topic of a report could be something as simple as some mutually agreed-upon items of information that give an overview, for the sending operator's locale, of some condition.  Might be economic, maybe political, maybe prep-related shortages of goods, whatever.

Including other modes might not hurt others' practice/learning curve as well and, unlike a ragchew, receiving traffic intended to be relayed means you either get 100% copy, or you don't. Kinda binary, like CW.  ;D

OK, going to decaf and hittin' the noodle palace for some chow.

Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: madball13 on February 24, 2013, 07:29:00 PM
Excatly.

Here is my thoughts/rambling. The NTS system has a specific purpose that may or may not match our collective need for information, I envision a group of us with communication ability from all points of the US be able to disseminate situational assessments from our own corner of the US. Every week i send a winlink message to everyone in our group real data from my area such as weather and other factual items. This will get us in the habit of using the system and in time of actual need the system will be set up and ready to go.
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on February 24, 2013, 08:35:30 PM
You guys have it exactly right.

The surprising thing -- to me, anyway -- was that NTS has morphed.  Big time.  Now they have the desire, not to mention the infrastructure to handle stuff in any format the the amateur or even the served agency wants.

Here's a quote that might prove interesting:

---------------
6.2.7.2 RADIO-EMAIL WITH WL2K AND INTERNET ADDRESSES

TYPE 2 - TO ANY TARGET STATION(S)

Messaging in the standard email format (not containing active text Radiograms) with multiple addressees, copies and binary attachments may be sent via WL2K to any ARES?, NTS, or NTSD client; or sent through the WL2K public internet interface. Receipt of such Radio-email for the public or served-agencies may be confirmed, as deemed necessary, by reply Radio-email upon request. See the MPG6A8 Batch File & Plain Text Guidance, 6A8.2.

Forms such as the ICS-213 used in NIMS/ICS compliant communications may simply be attached to Radio-email (in text format, preferred, as opposed to large document form files). Multiple form messages of that type to separate addressees may be included as multiple attachments in Radio-email to a single site client. Messages for multiple registered Tactical Addresses are posted on WL2K as though they were separate client accounts, but are delivered to the client station which registered them. Each Tactical Address client then collects its mail by accessing the amateur station?s built-in Paclink server.
--------------

Note the use of the term "IC-213".  I've never received one or sent one.  but I understand that it is but one of numerous formats of message that now can be sent via NTS(D).

Hey, I still love to handle old-style NTS messages.  But I gain even more delight by the fact that we've successfully (but nowhere near completely) reached out and can now handle SO much more.  It's just super.

73 de WA4STO


 
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: madball13 on February 24, 2013, 11:33:23 PM
How do I initiate a message to people here or in my life through NTS?
Title: Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
Post by: WA4STO on February 25, 2013, 10:35:55 AM
How do I initiate a message to people here or in my life through NTS?

Numerous ways, although a lot depends on what equipment (amateur radio, internet, telephone, whatever) you have as well as what information you have on your correspondents, such as whether they have telephone, internet, ham radio, etc.

One way (one of 'numerous') is to send me the message, along with the addressees delivery info.  If you have entry points to the local (to you) NTSD system, you can enter it there, addressed directly to the recipients.  Or to me.  Or to your local NTSD node.

Agreed, it sounds crazy to send a message destined for your local community to a node somewhere halfway across the country.  But that's the nature of HF communications, and it works well.

Having said all this and realizing that you're already well connected to the WINMOR groups, I'm quite sure you had a much more specific answer in mind.  If you could reword the question so as to include info on what your specific capabilities are (VHF packet only, 40 meter P1, P2, P3 only, internet only, whatever) I can help you zero in on what you'll need to plan for, in order to guarantee successful communications with your friends and family.

This is a topic I can love!

73 de WA4STO