Baofeng Maniacs

Cadets prepare for field training exercise – The Bell Ringer

I want to relate a story concerning a real life FTX where one of the leaders wanted to make a point concerning communications. The exercise parameters were in place and the goal was to secure a perimeter and ensure no insurgents made it through. Communications was the key that made the exercise fail and that was the point one of the commanders wanted (needed) to make.

The group had handhelds with assigned frequencies for the exercise. The commander gave those frequencies and another handheld to the man playing the insurgent. As the insurgent listened to their compromised communications, he was able to track the perimeter guards. When he made his move to breech the perimeter, he keyed his handheld to transmit which effectively locked down anyone else being able to transmit.

That is how easy it is to overcome a Baofeng based system. How do you know what frequencies are being used by an approaching enemy? You buy a scanner.

I was invited to participate in a group’s training nearby where they decided to buy Baofengs instead of the frequency hopping DTR 550s recommended by a communication’s expert. This group knew the risks but were misled by bad leadership. I was invited to participate and was planning on going to play the insurgent role. With a handheld scanner and handheld radio to shut down their communications as noted above. After due consideration, I did not go. I cut off most contact with this group for several reasons but mainly I consider them to be a security risk in the future.

This is the last story concerning another FTX. This FTX was similar to the first FTX above: secure a perimeter against insurgents. The difference was they listened to experience and had DTR 550s. I was discussing this with one of the people who would be playing an insurgent prior to the start of the exercise. I told him the solution was to “steal” one of their DTRs before the exercise started. Ten minutes later, he came back with a big smile. When the exercise started, it did not take long for them to realize that their communications were compromised since the DTR was programmed to receive all of their transmissions.

Points to consider:

  1. Baofengs are not secure and will get people killed in a real life situation.
  2. Secure communications includes securing your equipment. If one DTR is compromised, all DTRs in your group must be reprogrammed.
  3. People love to argue for their ignorance. Recognize that trait when you are qualifying your leaders.
  4. The hour is late. It may be too late to coordinate communications now but what choices do you have?
  5. Download and print manuals for radios of all types. You never know what you will find on the battlefield.

David DeGerolamo

      
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John Garand
John Garand
1 month ago

You actually have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.
Good luck chump. I won’t be pushing traffic to your website anymore. Get bent.

Lon schultz Schultz
Lon schultz Schultz
1 month ago
Reply to  John Garand

Garand, please enlighten us! Seriously none of us know it all! I need all the helpful advice I can get!

Brewer55
Brewer55
1 month ago
Reply to  John Garand

Are you having a bad hair day? Is this how you make a point? Cuss out the host/OP and tell him to get bent? Look we are all a bit stressed but, next time, count to 10, or 100, before you post BS like you just did.

Capt pops
Capt pops
1 month ago
Reply to  John Garand

Garland, you have made a very strong accusation that David is wrong about some or all of this article on comm.
Schultz asked you to explain why you take this position. And so far from you, radio silence. You’re making yourself irrelevant here. That’s not helpful.
Moving on, for what it’s worth, my two cents;
My background is not communication, however, like every other grunt in the old Army, I’ve humped the prc77 when it was my rotation. That makes up the extent of what I know about comm.
My group (rural ranchette type neighborhood) uses Baofeng because they were obviously inexpensive and perform very well in all circumstances. As far as security, our group has considered this, and have changed our antennas to the small 2″ diamond style that do not transmit more than 1/4 mile on uhf.
We have quit using the 42″ whip antennas for ream recon, but continue to leave one setup with the whip for listening on the freq. the neighborhood is using that day.
We use predetermined statements, kept to 3 syllables to report daily to each other’s family group. Even with the diamond pup antennas, we keep chatter to an absolute minimum.
This frq. changes daily, and is agreed by all family team leaders to not allow the use of the whip radio to comm. to the neighborhood, except in an emergency. We haven’t had one of those yet, and have to say that the neighborhood has tested this application and it works as long as the listening post is listening.
I know this system is a long way from being perfect, or even suitable in an tactical situation. But it’s better than nothing, and frankly,, some of our families that are true patriots just can’t drop the dough for the freq hopping radios.
I’ll add that even those radios don’t guarantee your comm security.
Our neighborhood has inadvertently become a defensive position for us. Largely due to there being no leadership on any level outside our group size.
It’s like, every man for himself so far. We’re trying to change that, and GOD willing, we will keep the enemy away.
I share this cause I haven’t seen much else, except the full on tactical assault stuff David describes very well.
That said, everyone and their group, regardless of size, has to work this comm issue out NOW. Further, between each other here, and on other platforms, we need to remember that WE are on the same side, with the same enemy. Like Brewer stated, we’re all stressed.
It would be helpful to discipline our arguments to debate rationally, rather than going into a personal attacks.

FedUpFLman
FedUpFLman
1 month ago
Reply to  Capt pops

Well said sir! Tryimg to set something up in FL with my parents who live about 10 miles from me. Tryimg to setup HAM Amateurs class tomorrow for next available. Now looking to see what I need to get that can reach that distance. Apparently, they say we need more licensed operators… You all Register or put off for now?

Lon schultz Schultz
Lon schultz Schultz
1 month ago

Good article and advice, If in a group, or if I could afford it I would heed his advice. None the less, being retired and not being in a group, I will listen to all I can with what I have, GMRS, CB, SW 2 M, baofeng and a scanner. All of this is DC and solar powered.

Frequency hopping will show up on any RF spectrum analyzer, as well as the strength, giving you an indication of distance, it can be triangulated as well. Hams and any govt with good equipment, will know you are out there, be careful!

Lon schultz Schultz
Lon schultz Schultz
1 month ago

DRenagade, please clarify.

Brewer55
Brewer55
1 month ago
Reply to  DRenegade

With respect, you could use a little “bedside manner” yourself.

Now, on the BAOFENG. I don’t disagree with your statements regarding teamwork in a situation like you describe. But, for some homeowners wanting to communicate, simply, and cheaply, with their neighbors, using FRS or GMRS for $25 a pop is better than nothing. You might have wanted to list that and not just thrown BAOFENG out with the baby and the bathwater. And yes, I know, we are at war with the chinks.

Brewer55
Brewer55
1 month ago
Reply to  DRenegade

Just curt replies to some folks. Not a biggie, David, and, I probably should not even have mentioned it.

FedUpFLman
FedUpFLman
1 month ago
Reply to  DRenegade

Your doing great man! I would appreciate a bit of advice on longer distance though. In FL. So, pretty flat and would like to be in touch about 10 miles(fly) away.. Looking at ones you recommend and looking at some fancy antennas. Just not so great on cash atm… Thanks for all hard work!

Lon schultz Schultz
Lon schultz Schultz
1 month ago

DRenagade, sorry I don’t understand, where?

Raymond
Raymond
1 month ago

D Renegade, Thanks for the valuable information. I must admit my total ignorance of the subject and am trying hard to educate myself on it. This is a good start for me. I know squat about radios. Thanks

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

From the article: “ When he made his move to breech the perimeter, he keyed his handheld to transmit which effectively locked down anyone else being able to transmit.” Two words: capture effect, it is one reason for getting your damned ham radio ticket and learning the craft.

At @DrRenegade, I presume you know who I am through your contact with Wes, and subsequently treat me comment as intellectual curiously and discussion rather than as the “libruls” say “snark”.

If I have my radio tuned to a particular game, the FFT based waterfall shows all signals within range. An HT is going to be band limited. Even if it hops frequencies, I s, still going to be able to resolve the transmissions. It may make it harder…,, but there is also the aspect of what frequency? True random numbers, especially shared. Are an impossibility.

Now. Do I agree that frequency hopping is a great idea? Hell, yes Fo,I think it’s the be all end all,no.

lfox328
lfox328
1 month ago

NO one system, or radio, is THE Answer. Operators should practice with a wide variety of equipment under a range of conditions.
The more important thing is to train on plans and protocols, including what to do when a problem comes up -- and it will.
Many times, planners try to find the Ultimate Answer that will Win the War. Yet, the real strength is always trained and resourceful soldiers. Focus on preparing the guys on the ground for what they can do WHEN the SHTF, rather than trying to ‘goof-proof’ the system.