Thinking Ahead – Dropping Emcomm, Freecom, or EmGov for Self-protection as an Amateur Radio Operator is the starting point for this series.

Thinking Ahead – Dropping Emcomm, Freecom, or EmGov for Self-protection as an Amateur Radio Operator?

This should be serious question for a radio operator.

To get into the reasons why I have to introduce a few words that not every reader may be familiar with:

OPSEC – Operational Security – is about keeping your self and others safe by not not increasing your risks by leaking to the bad actor. A good article on why OPSEC should be an idea you use all the time can be found at

PERSEC – Personal Security – is more about keeping your personal information private and centers on people, perception and profiles.

An article on how the complement each other, but a different can be found at

There are some positive upsides to being active in organized emergency response, but I am going to share with you the downsides and risks.

Usually when we involve ourselves in what we see as a good cause, the good cause is stable enough that we are confident it is a “good actor.” A good actor is one that respects us, our personal protection, our families, our communities and our constitution & constitutional laws.

But we know that “good actors” are not always good actors.  During the Katrina response debacle citizens inalienable rights were transgressed by gun confiscation and other heavy-handed extra-legal responses.

We know that otherwise reasonable organizations willingly ask us to set aside our rights to assist.  Or and you you probably sign a waiver and maybe even a Non-Disclosure Agreement in the process.

We know that various government agencies have abused the classification system to hide information from the public.

We have historic examples where other governments used lists of radio licensees, or gun owners or other persons of interest to watch and perhaps confiscate equipment.

As an Emcomm, Freecom, or EmGov participant you’re going to end up on someones list.  Capabilities Lists are nothing new.  You SHOULD expect any agency or NGO to collect this sort of information.

What becomes important to you personally is to what extent you are willing to have your capabilities co-opted by an Emcomm, Freecom, or EmGov organization.

Do you let them put you on the list, tell them what your full capabilities are, tell them about your equipment?

Or do you make them work at the collection side?

Or hold something back?

Or just go dark and drop off their radar?

As an active DXer and occasional contester, and for running this blog, I am sure to be on some list somewhere.  That I have served in the military in intel most likely put me on that list before I ever bought my first transceiver.

But lists are prioritized/segmented/subdivided as without trimming the number of persons of interest back to the resources available to check them out, an unqualified-list is fairly useless.

Once method of keeping less noticed is to be among a very large group.  If the list is massive and the members unranked, it is inactionable.

Being on a list also depends on the “good agent” being trustworthy enough to not compromise the list with bad actors.

Reality check is a very large number of us have been compromised by government or corporate information leaks they admit to.  I think it is likely the leaks admitted in public are the tip of the iceberg.

You have to think about that as well.

The last issue with becoming involved in Emcomm, Freecom, or EmGov is whether you are willing to allow that alignment to subvert your home responsibilities, personal safety and whether you can reconcile what you will do when unconstitutional orders come down?

Are you willing to leave your family when things are “sporty” to become a radio operator, most likely unarmed in the process, for the benefit of others?

Perhaps, up to a limit you might, but you best think about this.

Until the next Thinking Ahead post,



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