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Author Topic: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate  (Read 17362 times)

WA4STO

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PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« 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



KC9TNH

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Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #1 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)

White Tiger

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PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 10:56:14 PM »
Excellent test! Count me in - I will send the email now!
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

White Tiger

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PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #3 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....
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

underhill

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Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #4 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

White Tiger

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PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 02:14:26 AM »
...There'sthe problem, how do you get a WINLINK account/address?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 03:42:44 AM by White Tiger »
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

KC9TNH

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Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #6 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.

WA4STO

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Bouncing PREPNET messages
« Reply #7 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


WA4STO

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Re: PREPNET testing has begun -- you can participate
« Reply #8 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).



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

WA4STO

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The use of "Test Message" in PREPNET
« Reply #9 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


KC9TNH

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Re: The use of "Test Message" in PREPNET
« Reply #10 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.




WA4STO

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Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
« Reply #11 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


KC9TNH

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Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
« Reply #12 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
;)

WA4STO

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Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
« Reply #13 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

KC9TNH

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Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
« Reply #14 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.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 02:55:33 PM by KC9TNH »

Radio Preppers

Re: Guns, ammo & PREPNET OPSEC
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2012, 09:05:19 PM »