Radio and Digital.

It seems that everyone is talking about communications today and coming up with some interesting comments about secure communications. Some are saying secure communications is possible, others saying not.

I agree with the “NOT” camp as secure communications is way more than whether the content of the message is decode-able, it’s also about whether the sender and receiver are traceable.

Consider you and your target.
Between both of you there is (or can be) some sort of intercept system which you will have:-

  1. No knowledge of
  2. No control over
  3. Won’t advertise its presence
  4. Probably won’t need human intervention to trigger an alarm.
  5. Almost 100% of users will be ‘instantly’ traceable or at least the route you are working through will be picked apart.
  6. You won’t know a damn thing about it until it is too late.

You are probably be thinking I’m talking solely about digital communications, I’m not.
Wired, wireless, as well as data systems are all eminently suited for non detectable monitoring and trace.

Personally I can’t see why there is such a hang up about it all.
If secure communications is what you want as a hostile ‘whatever’ is the danger, you’ve got to think outside the box, sometimes to carrier pigeon level.

You’ve got to remember too that I’m old school.
From valve days and I worked on the first personal computers and radio gear right up till 15 years ago.
Thus I’m WAY out of touch with the slickest of modern equipment.

Your initial problem is one of detection.
Decoding and direction finding comes after that.
Consider you are in a hostile environment.
Regular radio communications will probably be curtailed so ANY SIGNAL will stick out like a sore thumb.

To see any signal 360 degrees around you needs a device called a spectrum analyser (SA) coupled into a broadband radio amplifier which will boost any signal high enough to be useful for the SA and a vertical wideband omni directional aerial.

This will visually display a transmitting radio’s strength and it’s frequency. SA’s may or may not incorporate additional electronics to decode the signal allowing you to listen to the content.


Now they know you are out there, but where comes next.
Knowing your frequency will allow the interceptor to couple an automated direction finder to an appropriate receiver AND, if required, to a computer to allow decoding of signals.
When you transmit, the interceptor gets a bearing.

Two examples are shown, a simple home-brew Doppler LED set up to a more sophisticated TFT screen.With two or more listening stations it is possible to triangulate your position.


The bearings appearing instantly on you transmitting.
Worst bit about this?
As said, I’m about 15 years out of date so I guess radio direction finding (RDF) has got a lot better than me hunting down wayward CB users with my home-built doppler RDF set.

With a computer, they will have a good fix from an on screen map before you have said “Hello?” So my question to you (and ex-spurts) is how safe do you feel now?

Burst transmissions, encrypted whatnot, even using repeaters, it’s just a question of time before your door comes crashing in when using a transmitter.

And finally.
Digital, computer, internet, cellular, whatever.
Surely no-one is going to claim a user is untraceable via the usual public domain.
Even using a simple modem on someone else’s phone line your traffic will be routed through a monitoring system of some sort. Then it’s just a question of decoding your message.

Some will also think that you won’t get caught doing that.
Quick in/out, someone else’s line, no problem!
Are you 100% sure about that?
You might think I’ve gone all “star wars here” only I’ve seen this done with a chopper.
You start dialling, the modem starts handshaking with your target, the detection system picks up the “squeal” and slows you down, while the address you are operating from goes to a drone.
You get caught on video from far above your head.

dronestrtikeStill feeling safe?

Want secure comms?
Think old school, letter drops, or as said, pigeon post.
Electronics will eventually kill us all only I’ll politely let you go first.

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4 Responses to Radio and Digital.

  1. yokel. says:

    I always wondered in a SHTF situation, who am I supposed to be communicating with??

    • Me for one only I suspect you live too far for me to help or get help from you.

      After all you may not be able to phone for assistance or even hear what is going on any other way than from other preppers / survivalists.

      Only there is the whole crux of the communications debate.

      Who and how far?

      The purists would have you on Ham radio, talking for hundreds of miles. Why? Say I call for help and someone in Alaska answers? What possible use is that to me in the UK?

      So the who is anyone who can help me or I can help (putting our own safety first) within a sensible time frame.

      How far is the other problem.
      Close enough to do any good!
      My limit is 3 hours, on foot (terrain, climate, dangers and CBRN contingent). Something between 6 to 10 miles aka TYPICAL CB RANGES.

      Always mindful of how far you walk out is how far you have to walk back!

      Communications comes into its own for us when the two of us are foraging. One sits comfy keeping an eye on the other, spotting (I will write dangers but that sounds overly dramatic) for ‘hazards’ to the other.
      A sort of overwatch.

      What do we use? CB, UHF PMR, and Marine Band.

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