Creating a Signals Collection Section from scratch


I’ve talked about this before; the need for Signals Collection and Analysis is EXTREMELY important. No, it may not be a sexy AR-15 or actions-on kinda deal, but it’s value is many times more important.

What you need at a minimum:

  • 4 motivated guys, with a bit of radio experience
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • 3, at a minimum, devices capable of scanning a large portion of the spectrum
  • At least one scanner P25 digital capable
  • A standalone scanner antenna
  • Your Data Book
  • A notebook and pen

Knowing this, and heeding this advice (by putting the radio in your pocket, no need for it to be out in the open exposed to the elements and on display) is getting ready to be very, very important.

Taking advantage of open sources, such as this, and this, you’ll be able to at least get an idea of where to look. The first task is known as a spectrum sweep; search the whole spectrum for any and all traffic; next pin down areas of interest from both our open sources and what we hear; then set a couple of our monitoring devices specifically to the areas of highest activity.

The train is moving folks, faster everyday. Time to get serious.

15 thoughts on “Creating a Signals Collection Section from scratch

  1. JJ’s advice should be heeded.

    Upon an initial skimming of the linked post, all I can say is, “Epic COMSEC fail”. It looked like home-slice had someone’s entire SOI.

    From my point-of-view, throat mics, ear-buds, etc. should be integrated into a low-profile setup…it goes back to different loadouts for different goals.

    Obviously there is a lack of understanding and awareness regarding LPI/LPD.

    BREVMATs. OTPs. Use them.

    1. JJ is spot on, and an opinion I’ve held since the first photos of FreeFOR started circulating. I withold most serious critiques though; rather offer constructive criticism. We’re all on the same side.

      As far as SOI goes, you’re exactly right, and echo my thoughts. A much better option, instead of every swinging richard getting a radio, is cell leaders have radios, tucked away, to do what radios do- relay info to higher. That’s why Team Leaders usually have something intra-squad, and Squad Leaders have something intra-Platoon, and so on and so forth.

      In a defensive posture, which is what all parties are currently in, the lower-key the better. OTPs and so forth have more to do with one-way communications, normally “do not respond” messages to clandestine units. These cover a much larger distance by design. At the tactical/local level, LOS communications are best utilized by tried and true methods of keeping transmissions as short as possible, as low power as possible, and only keeping a mic when absolutely necessary.

      But, a TACSOP SOI is far outside of the scope of this; it’s not my monkey but I’ll help wherever I can(or asked). Developing a competent SIGINT section, starting with Low Level Voice Intercept(LLVI, or in civilian, Scanning for specific traffic) is a big step towards building an early warning cell in this case. It will save lives.

      1. Hopefully I didn’t come across as too critical of the protestors; my criticism is that someone dropped the ball by letting their SOI out into public domain. Dude in the article had way more information than anyone should consciously, and apparently, easily, give up. He also appeared to have an axe to grind…

        You are absolutely correct in the importance of mouth-shut/ears-open.

        Just like Grandma said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

      2. Oh no, not at all. They definitely did but it’s another issue really. I’d be more worried about destroying my radio being exposed to the elements or getting dinged up, broken, or lost should I have to, say, run around obstacles or jump into the prone quickly. Someone knowing what frequency I’m on for simplex/plain text communications is a moot point.

        As far as the author of the “militia communications” article JJS referred to…well, I’ll reserve my comments to simply…”I’m not fond of preppers or anything labeled as such.” Most I’ve met have unrealistic expectations of a unrealistic future. Real “SHTF” is actually going on in many places as we speak, I’ve written many posts about them, lived and fought in a couple of them, and yet, life somehow goes on without zombie cannibal commies from Kalifornia. Oh yeah that and the “little tiny group against the world” mentality. Nothing wrong with running spares of stuff you use and living a self-reliant lifestyle…but a lot of this crap is outta control; and mostly a silly marketing scheme to city-dwellers wanting a quick feel-good. Whole other topic though.

        This guy in question posts about militiamen present not flaunting an SOI then on a linked page ON HIS BLOG has “the prepper frequency table.” That gave me a chuckle. As if he’s some sort of standard bearer. Moron. What the dumbass also doesn’t realize is that in just a few minutes their signals will be compromised anyway by any retard with a scanner.

        Oh well…again…I digress. This blog chooses to remain constructive in it’s criticism.

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  3. Centurion_Cornelius

    As noted:
    Jump aboard the train
    lest you be left all alone at the station
    …man was not meant to be alone….

  4. This little hand held receiver looks like a handy bit of kit. From the product page:

    CountyComm is pleased to announce the GP-5/SSB radio with excellent HF communications monitoring in a unique hand held form factor and at a great price. The radio covers medium wave 520-1710 kHz shortwave 2300-30000 kHz and the FM band. Unlike most radios in this price category, the GP-5/SSB provides LSB and USB single sideband reception. It has a very unique Easy Tuning Mode (ETM). ETM does more the usual ATS. It scans all frequencies without taking up the memory spaces. So you get quick access to all local stations. Great for the traveller. There are also 450 regular memories (100 AM, 100 FM and 250 shortwave) available for tuning into your favorite stations. Another unique feature of the radio is its removable high sensitivity external AM ferrite antenna. This directional antenna clearly enhances AM band reception. The CountyComm GP-5/SSB even employs DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology, improving clarity and tone quality. There is even an adjustable sleep timer.

    The new GP-5 SSB is greatly improved over the legendary GP-4L & GP-5 DSP. This radio has been completely redesigned by our engineers and the the factory to be a important part of both your survival kit and your fun kit. The performance of this radio surpasses radios costing 2-3 times more.

    1. The County Comm unit is an excellent piece of kit, but for different reasons. I would include it in my Signal kit(and I have a similar device, albeit a bit older and now out of production) for staying current with SW broadcasts and HF traffic.

      It does not replace a scanner or communications reciever.

      In fact, Communications Receivers are much more versatile in function. The AOR pictured receives everything from AM broadcast, SW, FM, Aviation, LOS and Bubba frequencies, all the way up to 1300mHz. And it scans relatively quick for a communications receiver, which generally aren’t known to scan fast.(Hence why scanners, which aren’t exactly interchangable, have their own place as well.) The AOR model, and Icom R5/6 both do AM and FM. If you need SSB for HF monitoring, Alinco makes the DJ-X11.

      The scanner shown is VERY old, and very out-of-date, but is great for identifying frequencies in use. They can be found very cheap. For what they cost and how common they are, there’s no reason not to have a couple. P25 capable scanners are a must as well; and while expensive, still are not as expensive as that shiny spare AR-15. And they’re coming down in price.

      The three items pictured in the post total $200. Throw in a cheap laptop, some form of Linux, an SDR dongle, and some spare time, you’ll have a formidable setup.

      1. mtnforge

        Recently built me an standalone solar/wind system with a fork truck battery, live on a 3000 ft ridge line, unobstructed line of sight is pretty close to limitless, with this, a deep cycle high amperage battery and a 40 wind turbine tower I’m going to put up HF antenna in expectations of decent range. Just getting Ham gear set up together. Studying for my test.
        Things are looking sporty lately, I know time is short, I’m about at the end of my financial reserves, decisions of what to do and get next begins to take on the character of triage.
        So with those imperatives, I got to ask for a qualified bit of tactical comms advice for the questions following:.
        I’ve heard previously many entities are going encrypted, any info on that?
        It is very mountainous terrain in the Appalachian mountains of my AO, how effective are these hand held units in that regard. And is fabricating an antenna system on a tower effective in increasing their reception capabilities, (I have heard there are repeaters at strategic locations the state and counties employ to boost their coms).
        Is it possible at some point, depending on events, will the feds begin to bring various state and county comm systems under an umbrella of encrypted systems?

  5. Shocktroop0351

    $75 and comes with a free case! For that price you could get a couple, and then get a trunk tracking scanner(~$200) and I would think you could have a pretty good start. I wonder how you could hook up a stand alone antenna to it? I also see it can use rechargeable batteries through a USB charger, or run on AA’s. Now I need to save up some more pennies…

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