Scenes From A Recent RTO Course

IMG_1647 - CopyI’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to get as many people and groups trained as humanly possible over the last couple of months. Rough times are definitely on the horizon, and as I tell everyone in my classes when asked, the best thing you can do is train. Get off the internet, get off the couch, stop reading op-eds and start doing something. The opposition sure as hell has been.

Many people ask just what the RTO Course is- a radio class? What if I have no experience? What if I’m a 30-year Extra class? Doesn’t matter. Long story short, it’s a class on tactical communications. We focus on basic skills and build up to improvised infrastructure, all off the grid, then apply it in a small unit. Just how do you create a local network, even if all you’ve got in a box full of analog HT radios? Where does a mobile unit or digital radio sets fit into the mix? How do we build our own antennas out of common off the shelf components to maximize what gear we’ve got? Where does HF fit into the mix and how to we best use it? How do we effectively use our gear without it being cumbersome or getting us compromised while in the bush?

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Gear layout before a patrol. How do we make inter-squad communications work?
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An improvised Jungle Antenna being prepped for deployment.
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Students attaching the improvised antenna to a hasty frame.
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Antenna rigged and ready.
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The OPFOR you’ve been observing is popping colored smoke- what do you do? How do you relay this in a competent way to the Tactical Operations Center (TOC)? How do we get that information to our Analysis and Control Element (ACE) to develop a usable intelligence product?
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The new CTX-10, currently under evaluation, demonstrating its strengths as a field HF unit.

If you want to know how all this works in a real world environment, come on out. We build the skills necessary to create infrastructure off grid to support small unit operations. This class and quite a few more are on the schedule. World events are getting more serious everyday and it’s looking dark. The best preparedness is knowledge through training. Where are the holes in your program?


15 thoughts on “Scenes From A Recent RTO Course

    1. FM 7-93 Long Range Surveillance Unit Operations and the USMC Antenna Handbook. You can download both on my reference library downloads page. 🙂

  1. Jeffrey Brabant

    I was at this class, and highly recommend this class for anyone that takes life seriously. You’ll walk away a more capable individual. Learn what you can, your mind is your primary weapon!

  2. Pingback: Brushbeater RTO Course – Why You Should Take It – Lower Valley Assembly

  3. Herman Schorkhuber

    Was also in this course and came away with a much better understanding of the equipment and how to use it properly and effectively. I would recommend this course for any one that wants to improve their skills no matter what their current level. The presentation was clear, and concise without being overwhelming. Great class, and fun too.

  4. Reese

    I was also in this class ,being a veteran of the 82nd Abn and a former rto and forward observer it was an excellent refresher course but also was taught and shown some new and improved technology and techniques. I highly recommend this class. Train now while there is still time!

  5. John O

    I notice you have a H-250 handset in the gear layout photo. I’m trying to configure the H-250/H-350 handset to a Yeasu FT-60R transceiver. What are the pin-outs, and are there any special considerations to take when trying to connect that handset to the Yeasu? Thanks in advance! Thanks for all you do!

    John in Alaska

  6. MW

    Looking forward to taking the RTO course in ’19. Is there anyway to prepare for the course, for example, books, websites, etc.? Also, see you have the CTX 10. Could give readers here a full report on it in the near future? Plus could me your take on the Yaesu FT 857D? Thanks!

    1. A couple of books I use/suggest for class is FM 7-93 and the USMC Antenna Handbook. Both can be downloaded in the references page of this blog. The CTX 10 has been used in a handful of classes now, and it’s getting a full review done soon. As for the 857, it’s a workhorse and you’ll get hands on with it in class. It’s a good one tool option 🙂

      Looking forward to training with you!

      1. MW

        Thanks for the reply! Your website & links are great. I have the ARRL books on QRP & antennas. Currently reading the new ARRL publication on portable operating for amateur radio. Both Universal Radio near Columbus, OH & R&L Electronics in Hamilton, OH are a few hours driving distance from where I live so I have access to virtually everything ham radio currently has to offer.
        By the way, you’re right about training. Take it from a guy who has lived through the cold war era & upheaval of the late 1960’s. I think this time it is going to be much worse. I never thought I would be preparing for the inevitable when I should be planning for retirement. C’est la vie!

  7. JS

    Just finished the RTO Basic course and could not have been more pleased. Began with a very rudimentary knowledge of ham radio, but no practical knowledge at all. Came away not only knowing how to use equipment, but how to bring my friends up to speed. And had a great time in the process. Highly recommended, for persons of all backgrounds and all experience.

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