PSA: Several Important Updates

fig7-1You might notice several new additions to the blog that have been added as I’ve had the time over the past couple of months. There’s new pages up top, including a Free Reference Library with several books I’ve found useful over the years and a few that might be so in the future, a comprehensive page of the commo articles I’ve written or posted from the blog’s beginning, and a page with training courses we’re currently offering to groups or individuals. There’s going to be a few open enrollment dates coming in the spring.

Along the sidebar you’ll also notice some critical changes. There’s links to gear and equipment resources that I personally use. I’ve added solar and band condition data as a quick reference for VHF and HF, as well as the MUF chart and sunlight map courtesy of N0NBH. There’s also quick links to previous articles on weaponcraft and improvised antennas.

It’s a work in progress and there’s a lot more to come. Let me know what you think in the comments or if there’s any issues opening the links. My only objective is to provide you with the very best real-world information, equipment and training possible to make you better prepared for whatever lay ahead in uncertain times. Thank you for making the blog the resounding success it’s been so far, and with your support will continue to be.

29 thoughts on “PSA: Several Important Updates

  1. Matt

    The additions are nice. It looks to make the finding of information a lot quicker and easier. I’m also looking forward to seeing the open enrollment classes you’ll be offering.

    Thanks for all of the hard work and sharing.


  2. Donald Crandall

    This is great ! I am very new to radio so I really appreciate all your information. All the links open just fine.
    Thank you !

  3. Pingback: Brushbeater: Important Updates | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Nobody

    This is outstanding news!
    With so many bad options available for training out there,
    it is quite a relief to finally get someone who not only truly knows what their doing, but also has the right heart and mind for training and helping people.
    I for one will be attending all the training I can, and sincerely hope that God blesses NCScout in this endeavor.
    There is a huge vacancy in the training community for all that NCScout can offer, not only in training, but in personality and attitude as well.
    Spread the word guys, this will be as good as it gets.

  5. Quietus

    Just saw this on the phone and have not delved into the improvements, but they will likely be helpful. Thanks for that, esp propagation info.

    You run a nice site on your own terms, without apparent need to play well with others. I appreciate that attitude.

    1. Many thanks for the compliments. But know that simply because it appears I’m a lone wolf type doesn’t mean I don’t network and greatly appreciate the efforts of like-minded folk. 😉

    2. Badger

      Ditto. Just perusing with this morning’s coffee. Your work & open atmosphere lends to looking at stuff on its merits rather than dogma, and is much appreciated. Best wishes for the coming sporty year.

      1. I’m very much a utilitarian, recognizing echo chambers have limited use aside from hegemonic reinforcement. And I’m very appreciative of great readers.

  6. Hoss

    Not to divert readers from our favorite blog, but using the 8GadgetPack you can put the Solar-Terrestrial Data display directly on your desktop. I’ve been doing it for some time and it’s safe and stable with no known issues. Very handy for your shack.

    And thanks NC Scout for everything that you do- indispensable!

  7. Gene

    Every time I come here, I leave with more items to research. This site is like a Master’s Degree course in practical topics. Thanks very much for sharing your experience and knowledge!

  8. Deeps

    Might be time to stick a Search box on this website as the volume of useful information seems to be growing exponentially.

    btw – Be interested in your views on the implications/potential of 2G ALE and HF digital voice (perhaps combined/embedded with emerging SDR technology) for our use.

      1. LodeRunner

        Key words being “if you can support it”. Unfortunately, there aren’t any economical integrated packages providing HF Radio, DV, and ALE, so for an amateur to implement ALE requires implementing multiple software packages on a laptop (or other computing platform).

        The three big “gotcha’s” with any such complex combination of hardware and software are: cost, maintainability, and interoperability. And while #1 is a “painful moment” that you just have to get through once, #2 and #3 are ongoing challenges.

        Military organizations “buy their way out of” #2 and #3 by paying upwards of $10k per “Terminal” (that’s the common name for an integrated radio + computer) and several additional $thousand per year for maintenance.

        Now, here’s a question for readers: if you could buy a terminal providing several digital modes — including a mode that operates like an email system — plus Digital Voice, a 20 watt HF transmitter + General Coverage receiver, and built in antenna tuner, all for around $1600, would you buy that system?

  9. Deeps

    What got me interested in this was noticing UK government just spent £7.3m (government austerity what austerity!) on fitting out the army cadets (12-18yr olds) with 150 PRC 720 Micom Pathfinder HF man pack radios plus a suite of 2500 PRC 710 short range VHF sets.

    Now the 720 looks a cracker – right power, integral ATU, embedded ALE, DV (?), not too heavy – not quite a snip at $18000 a pop to us mortals though.

    Right now down here in the weeds nobody wants a snakes wedding of cables and interconnected hardware (with multiple failure modes) to mimic this capability as sensibly pointed out. It did however get me wondering how it might be soon doable to stitch open source ALE and DV code (see above) into the firmware of the emerging new generation of affordable SDR HF sets to achieve something similar….I also think there is a gap in the market. Basically we are looking for a Xiegu X5105 on steroids !

    1. I’m glad you pointed out the fact that they too are bringing back the HF capability to ground units. PRC-138 and later 150 gave us that capability, and for small teams working well forward of the lines HF NVIS is the only way to go- as is the regional networking of partisans. ALE is impossible to field on a budget, which is why a standard field HF set, soundcard and device with FL-Digi is the next best (along with a lot of experience and training). But ALE is very forgiving in that once the link is established it selects the best frequency on its own as part of the program.

      Jailbreaking a Xiegu to do such a thing would be a fascinating endeavor. But there’s better hardware coming to the market very soon. 😉

  10. Deeps

    Upside of the Pathfinder roll out is that there are now more old Clansman 320s kicking about for reasonable money. Solid simple kit, 30W with internal ATU, definitely the larger gentleman’s radio – the casing can double as a butchers block and I can assure you they don’t float !


    Clansman range was replaced by Bowman range (basically the PRC 150 for HF man pack ) which was viewed by many as a great leap backwards !

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