Intersquad tactical radios

Posted: 09/21/2013 in Communications

This is a post I previously submitted to John Mosby’s Mountain Guerilla Blog.

The bottom line up front; these are short range radios that one would use in a platoon or squad size element. You could also use them around the farm, house or neighborhood. If you want radio comms beyond that, you need to get a ham license and join a local Ham club to get some good training and advice. And if you do get a ham license, in SHTF, the repeaters stand a good chance of going the way of the cell towers. So then think HF (still requires a Ham license). But that’s for a future article.

Again, the radios listed herein fall within the category of radios that do not currently require a license that entails a formal written test, such as a ham license, to operate. Some require no license, some require a fee (tax) to operate. I will first go into all the lame, techno-babble, crapola that only us commo geeks care about.

These are the bands that you have available:

GMRS – General Mobil Radio Service 462 – 467 MHz UHF FM 5 to 50 Watts, requires a license, $85.00, good for 5 years. Fork over your hard earned money here: http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home

FRS – Family Radio Service 462 to 467 MHz UHF FM 0.5 Watts, no license required if you keep transmissions at 0.5 watt or under.

Now here’s where it can get stupid. If you have a hybrid GMRS/FRS radio and can set the GMRS freqs to operate at or under the 0.5 watt limit, no license is required. Most cheap handhelds are hybrid radios and power adjustable.

MURS – Multi-use Radio Service 151-154 MHz VHF FM 2 Watts. No license required.

MARINE – 156-162 MHz VHF FM 1-25 watts. No license required for recreational boaters. It is illegal to use Marine band radios on land. When SHTF, who cares.

Citizen’s Band (CB) – 26-27 Mhz HF AM 4 watts SSB 12 watts No license required.

Here’s how I break out the proper use of these radios.

Building operations i.e., CQB – UHF radios such as FRS/GMRS. The higher freqs tend to work better in and around structures. If using one of the hybrid FRS/GMRS radios indoors, and you accidentally set GMRS on the high power setting, you will notice that performance is greatly increased. Just sayin’…..accidentally. Yeah,…. that’s the ticket.

Field operations/SUT – VHF radios such as MURS and Marine. VHF will give you a little longer range when operating outdoors. If you don’t mind the ungodly long, non-tactical antenna, you could use CB. However, CB can have major interference issues with any noisy power source i.e. high power lines, neon signs, periods of high sunspot activity (like were are experiencing now), etc
.
The following list is not all inclusive. These are radios I would choose to use based on the various levels of purchasing power that I might have. Some folks will say that there are cheaper radios that you can buy tons of, and throw them away when they quit. My advice to them is; have at it Mr. Rocket Surgeon, but carry plenty of spares you can get at easily. When your shit is in the wind and you need a radio, that is not the time to discover it got wet when it rained and it shit the bed. Or you were doing IMT and you smashed it. You want it to work…now! If you have to rely on any piece of equipment, get the best you can afford, be it firearms, knives, rucks, etc. Same goes for radios. I have had $100.000.00 SATCOMs go down at critical times. Read Bravo Two Zero for an example of what happens to professionals when comms fail.

My basic criteria in order of importance are:
1. Is it rugged?
2. Is it waterproof/water resistant ? http://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2012/07/
3. How long will the batteries last and will it accept both rechargeable and AA or AAA batteries?
4. Is it easy to use, and does it have big buttons for gloved hands?
5. Is it light weight, will it fit in a radio pouch and not get in the way?
6. Does it make farting, beeping sounds, or have display lighting, that can inadvertently be activated, thereupon compromising my patrol?

Now to the red meat boys and girls:

1) I’m so broke I can’t afford a boot to piss in or a window to throw it out of:

Motorola Talkabout MT350R FRS/GMRS Weatherproof Two-Way $65.00 a set.
Motorola Ear Bud with Push to talk mic $10.00 ea
Good, solid radio, so-so ear bud/mic. BTW it’s not weatherproof, it’s IP-67 water resistant, submersible.

2) I’m a working class Schmoe with a wife and six kids, but know I need radios:

Cobra Marine MR-HH425LI-VP GMRS/Marine $135.00 ea with the Cobra GA-EB M2 Ear bud and Compact Microphone $15.00 ea.
Stout little radio, and the only one I’ve found that works on GMRS, FRS & Marine freqs. Very flexible, especially if your working boat ops. I’ve noticed hunters are using the marine freqs in my area and the FCC hasn’t swooped down on them yet. Probably too busy monitoring Janet Jackson in case she has another wardrobe failure on national TV. Waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes, selectable power levels, a little complicated to operate and the buttons are a little small. The earbud/mic combo is a flimsy but it’s the only one I’ve found that will work with this radio at this time.

3) I’m willing to make a few sacrifices to have good gear:
Icom IC-F3021/4021-41-DTC FRS/GMRS/MURS/AMATEUR BANDS $250.00 ea with Impact Platinum PBM-1 Bone Induction Mic $80.00
Great, indestructible radio (MIL-STD & IP-54), programmable freqs, adjustable power level, encryptable, lots of accessories, program software & cable available.

OR:

Motorola DTR 550 Digital Radio $279.00 ea with Impact Platinum PBM-1 Bone Induction Mic $80.00
Rugged (MIL-STD) 900 Mhz (no license) radio, programmable, freq hopping, text messaging. There might be some interference in built up areas. We discussed this one ad nauseam in my earlier article.

4) Money is not the issue, it’s just choosing between the different choices, although I’m certainly not King Midas, either.

Thales AN/PRC-6809 MBITR (Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio) Clear (Level III DES Encryption) – Commercial Version of the AN/PRC-148 $7500.00 with Thales Tactical Urban Headset $800.00 http://www.bhigear.com/jtrs-enhanced-mbitr-jem.aspx
The Mac Daddy of all Squad Tactical Radios

DOL
Dan Morgan

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Comments
  1. Brad Ford says:

    Excellent info Dan.
    As a licensed ham with a strong prepper slant, I’ve opted for 1.25 meter (222-225mhz) ham band for close range comms. Equipment choices are limited compared to 2m/440 bands, but there are decent base and handhelds available. But the real attraction from a SHTF standpoint is that not even 1 ham in 200 has 220 mhz capabilities, and virtually no scanners cover this band. Not secure, by any means, but little interference and little chance anyone can monitor your transmissions. JMHO
    Thanks for your efforts, look forward to more solid info.
    Best
    Brad

  2. Hiram A. says:

    Great info, I did learn a lot about some different models out there. I like your criterion order as well. Let me add before I continue that I am pretty much a newb about radio comms, but military electronics rate none the less.

    I do have a question though, if you would answer it: From the models you have listed, and the models that I have looked up myself, I found that (and please correct me if I am wrong) the higher dollar models, although more rugged and shock proof, are not going to service both the VHF (~150MHz range) and the UHF (~400MHz range) in one radio.

    Those that do are much cheaper and not as sturdy (i.e. Baofeng UV-5R hand held). Is this the norm, or did I miss something when looking over the stats on your higher priced models? I am particularly interested in the ~$250 models, the ICOM and the DTR-550. I understand that you get what you pay for, I don’t want a cheap radio crapping out on me when the situation demands it.

    Also, would you recommend a good base station model to complement the two I list above, the ICOM and DTR-550? I want to set up my patrols with good comms, but also want base to be able to pick up/respond to where ever we may be as well.

  3. danmorgan76 says:

    Hiram, Thanks for the comment. The DTR operates in the UHF ISM 900 Mhz spectrum. There are other radios you can purchase that operate in the same range, however, a lot of other equipment, such as most power meters, microwaves, wireless networks, and Bluetooth share that band also, so be prepared for interference. The DTR tends to get around any interference due to it’s ability to frequency hop. That ability also makes it hard to eavesdrop on or track. Unfortunately, due to that ability, I am not aware of a base station for the DTR. You can buy an extended whip antenna for a DTR hand held to increase range, or at least reception, and call it a base. Here’s a link for all DTR equipment specs:

    http://www.motorolasolutions.com/web/Business/Products/Two-way%20Radios/Portable%20Radios/_Documents/static%20files/Low_Tier_Accessory_Catalog_Business.pdf

    A word of warning: As tempting as they may be, stay away from the TriSquares. They are a very cheap version of the DTR. I don’t personally own one, but have first hand evidence of very low quality and performance.

    The ICOMs are a little more versatile. You can get the IC-3021 and program it to use the VHF MURS or Marine bands. Or you can buy the IC-F4021, which you can program for the UHF GMRS/FRS bands. If you had your FCC Amateur license (Ham), that opens a lot of other possibilities for these little beauties.

    As far a base stations go, I’ve not found any that operate below the power threshold that requires an FCC license. I will leave you with yet another link: http://123radios.com/BaseStations.asp
    Just pay attention to the ICOM bases.

    There is a workaround for using a handheld as a base using an external antenna, coax adapter and cable. If that’s the route you decide to take, I would get in touch with a local ham operator and ask them about it, it can be a little technical. I would do that before you buy. Just have the radio specs. on hand when you talk to them because some handhelds cannot be adapted.

    If you decide to get a license to operate a base station, look up a local ham club.

    Terrain determines what band that I will utilize when running patrols.

    If I were in an urban environment, I would go UHF. 900 Mhz would be better. The higher freqs. tend to penetrate structures better, all things being equal, such as power output it watts. I also won’t have to put up with all the crosstalk on the FRS/GMRS lower UHF bands.

    If I were in a rural environment, I would go the VHF route. It generally has longer range. And very few folks use the MURS/Marine bands.

    But, (and there’s always a “but”), as I wrote in an earlier article at Mosby’s blog, you have to consider the threat. That’s why I prefer the DTR. (FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, NOT ANOTHER FREAKIN’ LINK) http://mountainguerrilla.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/partisan-tactical-communications-options-the-technological-approach-for-unconventional-warfare/

    As a final note, not to mention confusing the issue more, you could always go CB. Plenty of hand helds and base stations out there. You just have to work past the antenna lengths and occasional solar, and electrical interferences.

    • Dedicatedpro says:

      Greetings Dan and thank you for this information. I originally saw this re-posted by John over at Mountain Guerrilla and requested permission to pass it on to some students of mine in an upcoming course. He referred me to you as the original author to seek your permission for re-use. Please advise on whether or not you mind me printing and handing this out to some folks. I will regardless be referring them to this blog. Thanks!

  4. Ron says:

    Good Afternoon,
    I found this blog via another blog (Combat Studies Group). I am a licensed ham and enjoy radio communications. I have been poking around and experimenting with radios and have a pair of Trisquare radios. You are correct in you statement that they are not durable, but I have not had a problem with mine yet. I manage to gravity check one @ 3′ and it survived. One feature I do like is the ability to send text messages between the radios. Could be a useful feature at some point. At 900 MHz they are a close proximity radio.
    One comment touched on a subject I was interested in. It was the creation of HF freq hopping for CW, but I would be interested in PSK31 or some other weak signal method. What I have been thinking about is the hop algorithm. Break up the data in a fashion similar to your other post about encryption. No doubt that there is some package out there for use, but just something that I thought about while working a station in the EU.
    Looking forward to more comm topics.

    Regards,

    • danmorgan76 says:

      Ron, Thanks for the info. regarding the Tri-Squares. HF frequency hopping has been around for a few years. During the troubles in Bosnia a few years back, jamming of military HF voice and data radios was common. So, as often happens, lots of money was thrown at the problem and several frequency hopping HF radios for the military were introduced. One of these radios I had experience with was released in 1995 by the Australian company Q-MAC. It was a tiny litte thing named the HF-90. If I remember correctly, it had provisions for voice and data only and it had to be programmed via a computer. So it would most likely support PSK31. It had no input for an IMC key (I know, I always seem to go back to CW. It’s an old timer, SF thing), other than using an attached computer with IMC software to generate it. By that time, unfortunatley, IMC was beginning to be considered as a slow and useless relique by SF when compared to other methods such as SATCOM with built in encryption. From what I saw in freq hop mode, the 90 was generally used for short range comms, and I don’t know how well it would work for long haul shots, due to the inherent requirement to change freqs. because of constant ionization changes and all. If a smart guy were to utilize a good civilain propagation software like HF-ACE, he might could make it work. Any way you look at it though, military syle radios can be cost prohibitive. I’m sure some smart radio guy out there somewhere is working on it.

      One thing to remember is; low power HF with a directional antenna is fairly difficult to DF. That’s one reason SF used it for so many years. And the Soviets hated that. And one of the best (notice I didn’t say “only”)methods of communicating using low power HF is IMC (CW). CW can be copied through the worst of interference. But it can be jammed as noted above. It is without a doubt, when using a morse key, the most low tech method you can use. And in some environments, low tech is better.

  5. Woodsman says:

    First off I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share this information and your expertise. This is one area where I know absolutely jack. I have been studying this post carefully for details and have one immediate question I would like to ask.

    Since I have a touch of tinnitus already what is your opinion on trying to incorporate the DTR radios with a set of MSA Sordin earpro? Possible, a PITA, or potential issues with the concept? Can I get a push to talk switch with the Impact Platinum setup with a different mic for this, or, do you have another recommended setup?

    I will have some other questions for you soon.

    Thanks in advance Dan. I look forward to reading more material from you.

    Regards,

    • danmorgan76 says:

      Woodsman, I’m assuming you want to monitor the audio from your DTR in your MSA. The setup is dependent on which MSA you have. Some have a single 3.5mm aux. audio jack on one side. Others have a cable extending from the earpro with a U93 connector. Either way you will have to do some jerry rigging to make any DTR ptt cable from the Motorola site work with them. Anyone with a working knowledge of electronics should be able to make the mods for you.

      If you look on the R/H side of the DTR you will notice two jacks. They are the connection point for the standard Motorola 8mm Twin Pin Connector and cable. I have listed one of my infamous links to the pin out of that connector. http://senabluetooth.com/product/accessories/2-way-radio-cable-for-motorola-twin-pin-connector/ Click on the lower pin diagram and enlarge it. The 3.5mm (long) pin supplies audio and ground. You will have to modify any Motorola compatible ptt cable to run these to the headset. If you have a U93 connector cable on your headset you will require a U93 or TP120 (same thing) adapter. But it will still have to be adapted to a Motorola M1 connector.

      If you want a ready made setup then go to yet another link: http://www.impactcomms.com/product_info.php?products_id=49 This is another Impact system utilizing a throat mic. This set requires the user to run the ear bud wire under one ear cup. I don’ t know what impact that will have on the noise canceling capabilities of the earpro. If you order this set be sure to specify the Motorola M1 cable connector. Honestly, just about any of the ptt, mic setups they have on the site will work as long as you can get it with the Motorola M1 connector. If I had to use any of the Impact setups, this is the one I would go with. I prefer throat mics and the large ptt button would be hard to miss. Of course, it’s more expensive than the cable only systems.

      Now, all that being said, in an offensive tactical situation, such as a small patrol, my radio stays in either my ruck, or in a pouch on my belt or plate carrier (METT-TC dependent). We pretty much rely on hand and arm signals for primary comms. I can’t foresee many situations where we would need radio comms between elements in a four to ten man patrol. I didn’t say never, just not many. Again, METT-TC dependent.

      Hope this helps

      DOL

      Dan

      • Woodsman says:

        Dan,

        Thank you for the quick response and depth of your reply.

        Yes, that information does help. Quite a bit to absorb too! You mention the use of the links you provide in your replies. I would like to mention these are extremely helpful in tracking down the items and more product specific data. I realize now I should have been more specific in the nature of inquiry.

        This is the model of earpro I was contemplating: http://www.tacticalcommandstore.com/TCI-DEHP-digital-electronic-hearing-protection-FREE-gel-earseal-upgrade.aspx .

        Wen I followed that Impact throat mic link you provided over to this one: http://www.buytwowayradios.com/products/impact/ptm-1.aspx I looked through the adapters they listed and they have the M1 adapters listed for the DTR radios. Am I missing something or is the M11 adapter also required (or a typo)? When the purchase horizon appears it will most likely be done through the buy 2 way radio site to coordinate all items (except the earpro).

        I had looked at the other MSA Sordin earpro with the boom mikes, etc but that seemed to be overkill (and even more money) for my purposes, as I understand them now. What you proposed may be the answer to a multifunctional approach I tend to prefer. Having the ability to use the earpro on the range with the added ability to incorporate the throat mic setup adds in the layer of the communication I could add or use separately, when necessary.

        Obviously, the higher cost of the throat mic unit must have some other factors involved I just don’t see yet, but, it falls into the category of buy once, cry once. If the cost is due to a heavier duty construction,etc it’s all good anyway.

        As you mentioned, the one unknown is what happens to the overall effectiveness of the noise canceling capabilities (at the ear muff) with the earpiece being used in conjunction with the MSA Sordin earpro. My suspicion is the gel pads might conform to the ear tube without being overly uncomfortable. I suppose I can ask the guys at TCI, However, since the tube is formed to lie behind the earlobe in the jaw socket it should be fine.

        The large PTT button is a plus also. The comms are essentially for convoy communication and scouting.

        I hope the links actually show up as hyperlinks. If not, the entire link is pasted into the text above.

        Thanks again for the in-depth reply and information. It is this sort of help that is greatly appreciated!!

        Regards,

  6. danmorgan76 says:

    Woodsman, Good catch regarding the M11 vs. the M1. The M1 is the correct plug. I edited my comment so as not to confuse other readers.

    When you mentioned MSA and DTR concurrently in your post I assumed you must have a massive budget. You know the old saying about what you get when you assume.

    The MSA in your link does not have an audio jack, so attaching comms to it is a mute point. It appears to me that the gel pads are an upgrade. MSA makes a fine product but they are proud of their stuff. Very pricey. On my budget I run these Howard-Leight Impact Sport’s. http://www.lapolicegear.com/impact-sport-earmuffs.html

    If you are mainly considering convoy and scouting comms you could go with one of the impact collar clips/ptt/mic setups shown at the following site and save yourself a lot of grief. http://www.actioncommunications.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ACI&Category_Code=hh-impact-m1

    I steered you toward the throat mic. not knowing your intended use. I’ve used throat mics before. They have their good points and bad. Good for CQB or convoy ops, bad for long foot patrols. If you go that route, don’t by a cheap pair that will loosen and flop or twist around on your neck. They require a snug, positive contact with your throat to operate correctly. I avoid boom mics. They just tend to get hung up on everything and/or bent.

    I know I’m a commo techno geek and all but, when out on patrol, I try to keep thing very simple. The less stuff, the less chance of something breaking, the less gear I’ve got to keep up with and the less weight I’ve got to hump. I harp about METT-TC a lot, but it should always drive your gear requirements. You did make a good point, multi-use equipment is usually better.

    DOL

    Dan

  7. Woodsman says:

    Dan, yeah I am familiar with what happens when assuming something. Mr Murphy usually makes an appearance about that time too it seems.

    Thanks fro the heads-up on the more economical pair of earpro. My usual approach to equipment purchases is to start looking for the best that falls into my possible budget range, and then start doing some comparison shopping. Sometimes… that leads to more cost effective options as you mentioned. My underlying concern is trying to reduce problems while providing maximum benefit/capabilities for the intended purpose as then understood. For one, I dislike having having things shit the bed when they are needed.

    My analogy for this is an onion. Peal a layer off and you still have more layers underneath you can use. That lesson has saved me more times than I can count. As you’ve mentioned, the trick is to pare down the weight to only essential items, and I might add, without literally trying to answer the $64K question.

    One last question on the throat mic’s. The long patrol issue you pointed out is an issue of irritation from extended periods of use?

    Thanks for the help.

    Regards,

    • danmorgan76 says:

      Woodsman, Yep, on patrol they tend to stretch, loosen, work their way around your neck and collect grit and dirt underneath. Sort of like wearing an elastic dog collar. Just not worth the trouble in that environment.

  8. sparks31 says:

    RE: Marine Band Radios – https://sparks31.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/vhf-marine-bands-little-secret/

    Put them in international mode, use one of the channels that’s allocated for business/industrial use in the US, and less problems may result.

    DOL
    -Sparks

    • danmorgan76 says:

      Great stuff Sparks, especially the information regarding the time required, and accuracy, of the DF capabilities of the Coast Guard no less. Imagine the capabilities of other agencies. I’ve seen some and was impressed, but a lot of folks tend to think it won’t apply to them. Keep the info coming.

      DOL

      BT AR

      Dan

  9. Jeff Thorpe says:

    Sparks, what about the Icom IC-T70A? I notice that while it a Dual-Band Ham type that the specs list that it won’t Tx on as wide a range as it will Rx (e.g, the FRS/GMRS bands). I can see this as being a potential problem for those members who only have those types of radios, for instance. Can the IC-T70A be “opened-up”? What other issues might it have that would make it less desirable than the other Icoms you listed?

    • Jeff Thorpe says:

      Just noticed I addressed that to Sparks only – also meant to include Dan, obviously.
      An additional question – dualband radios give you less quality in each band (antenna related issues maybe?) I’m brand new to Ham, waiting for my call to show up in the ULS still.

  10. sparks31 says:

    I’m not familiar with that particular radio, but as MSG Morgan said you can go over to the reviews on the Eham site. You can also do a web search on the make/model of your radio along with the words “mars/cap mod” to find out if it is modifiable to go out of band, and to see how difficult the mod is. Some radios are easier than others.

  11. Jeff Thorpe says:

    Thanks guys- that helped quite a bit! Found mod info immediately at worldwidedx. Not a software mod, but still pretty simple – couple of diodes at the edge of the board. I’m thinking that radio will fit the bill, appears to meet requirements stated above, built to about the same quality as the other two Icoms, but works on both bands, and can pick up at about $220. It may cost more than my Baofeng, but I won’t have to keep it in a plastic baggie when it’s raining, or it’s blowing sand and dirt, and it won’t pop into 20 pieces if I drop it, or….

  12. […] you have not read MSG Morgan’s excellent post on squad radios, you should do […]

  13. Jeff Thorpe says:

    After a little more looking saw a couple issues. I thought the only “problem” was maybe the small buttons, but then noticed that the 3012 and 4021 had the capability for an optional board for voice scrambling, which the T70A does not. T70A no longer an option.

  14. dan says:

    danmorgan76, I am interested in your opinion regarding the differences between and particular advantages (besides the evident price difference) of the Motorola DTR, MOTOTRBO, and TETRA systems.

    • danmorgan76 says:

      dalbert93, Keep in mind that I prefer the DTR as a low power, patrol level, tactical radio because it cannot be intercepted or DF’d by civilians, at least not yet. I’m sure some smart guy will come along with too much time on his hands, plus a 40 lb. brain and will figure a way. That being said, the MOTOTRBO can be intercepted and scanned by any civilian using an open source, digital speech decoder (DSD) such as DSD 1.4, mbelib 1.2.3 or DSDPlus. I don’t want Bubba listening in, so I’ll cross the MOTOTRBO off my list. As for the Terrestrial Trunked Radios (TETRA), I could be wrong but, I believe they are not currently approved by the FCC for use in the United States or Canada. If you are interested in the TETRA because it has an encryption process, remember that the FCC does not allow over-the-airwaves encryption for us civilian types. The TEA encryption algorithms that are authorized for civilians in Europe are pretty weak. The stronger algorithms are set aside for government agencies. The TETRA concept is good, FOR PATROLS, if you are talking point to point with the HTs only, not using the entire trunked system with the fixed base station equipment, including the linear amplifiers, that are required. Also it operates on fixed frequencies so it can be DF’d. Not trying to sound like a broken record, but, if it’s Bubba, I’ll use my DTR, if it’s .gov, I’ll use hand and arm signals.

      DOL

      Dan

      • Ron says:

        Wouldn’t it be just as important to know that someone has now entered the AO with encrypted radios? I might not know what you are saying, but since I am monitoring the frequencies and have this handy dandy analyzer running and see traffic picking up or new it may be time to change to fox hunt. Confirming there are visitors is important and quietly finding them is just as important.

  15. danmorgan76 says:

    Ron,

    You are right, I’ve been telling folks all along, if I could only have one piece of communication equipment, it would be a scanner (or even better, an analyzer). So I would say it is always “more” important to know someone is operating in your AO with any type of communications equipment, especially encrypted (which civilians shouldn’t have, so that probably means .gov). If you have ever scanned a DTR, you will only hear a popping sound. If your analyzer is fast enough, it will register multiple hits in the 900 Mhz area but still no intelligible signal. And yes, the fox hunt is now on, but, do you have the capabilities to deal with what you find snooping around in your AO? That’s where the rifle and SUT training comes in, or a very good bug out plan.

    • Ron says:

      Yes, I see the spikes bouncing in the spectrum, but @ 900Mhz I am thinking oh Sh*t now. That is close, way to close if signals pop-up there. I have been made and need to get low and out of the way quickly. Capabilities…

  16. danmorgan76 says:

    Ron, I should have mentioned that the ISM 900 Mhz (33cm) band is fairly crowded, so you’ll get lots of hits on it. So, now you have to figure out what they are. Here is a pretty good link to info. regarding that band: http://www.aracc.org/33CM900MHZ.pdf What the SIGINT guys will tell you is to start monitoring the band and build a profile of signals that regularly appear on that band in your area. Understand what’s normal in your area and when something is abnormal, it jumps out at you. Just like scanning the public service bands. If you live in a built up area that could be a daunting task. If you live in the country, not so bad.

  17. […] MSG Morgan and I have expounded on squad radios ad nauseam.  There’s a lot of info in both his and my previous blog postings for those of you who have the initiative to read past the latest couple entries, but the important part is that you get with your group to figure out what band/frequency rage is optimal for your AO, and then purchase quality equipment. […]

  18. R Williams says:

    For cheap secure tactical comms also consider:

    Digital dPMR or DMR radios:

    dPMR:
    Kirisun S760/780 ($120/ea)- voice encryption option built in, software programmable (free),
    Cannot be decoded by radio scanners.

    DMR-

    Connect Systems CS700 ($200)
    4 watt TX on high power
    Free programming software.
    16 bit Basic Privacy built in voice scrambler (65,536 codes), set a 4 digit key
    Digital signal cannot be decoded by scanners

    Tytera MD380 ($165-$200/ea)
    5 watt TX on high power
    Free programming software
    *128-bit Enhanced Privacy encryption (set a 32 digit key) built in, 128 bit Privacy offers an unfathomable amount of possible keys!*
    Cannot be decoded by scanners, even without encryption.

    There are videos on You Tube on how to program these radios. You need a programming cable, the software (free), and a computer.

    Also search radio reference.com to learn more about radio communications.

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