Thinking Ahead – Should you have unexposed radio capabilities as an Amateur Radio Operator

Carry on from the series started in https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/im-a-ham-or-am-i/ Thinking Ahead – “Should you have unexposed radio capabilities as an Amateur Radio Operator?” is an important question.

Having covered the inventory and lists fetish of organizations, the radio amateur needs to be aware that the lists in bad actor’s hands could be used to deny them the ability to use their communication skills.

A bad actor may come for your radios in the physical sense or surveil the amateur for operations.

Even a normally good actor may be induced to perform bad actor functions through the “Intersections of Lists” analysis or through “red flag” rules.

The “Intersection of Lists” is an analysis where a person appearing on otherwise innocent lists may be deemed through correlation-analysis to be a risk the otherwise good actor won’t accept.

If you come to attention because you once gave money to a political party not now in fashion, or went to a church that doesn’t bend the way that the powers that bee wish it to, AND you are on some radio amateur’s lists, the correlation might lead the otherwise good actor to PRESUME that you are untrustworthy or even a risk.

And if they create or actual receive a “red flag” level complaint you will be acted against without any true legal process.

So do you tell the powers that be what radios you have and what you can do?

Much is self exposing.  Permits for towers, sales receipts for equipment, being spotted on DX clusters, web interests, and affiliations are all passive collection methods to establish some of your capabilities.

If the collection interest looking at you goes active you and your gear will be effectively fingerprinted if the interest is high enough.

So should you have some other gear?  Gear that you haven’t told the officials about and basically keep quiet about?

Some thoughts would be to only tell anyone you think is compiling a list the minimum to meet your own participation goals.

So if you really want to help with crowd control let them know you have an HT and know how to do it.

If you want to participate in an HF net then reveal you have a setup that works for that band/mode/propagation.

But think twice about just rattling off your station’s full capabilities if you are not certain where that information will end up.

Another thought is to have a backup setup – a cached go-kit sort of thing – in case your main setup becomes unusable.

If you have to expose that you have a go-kit maybe build a second one which is kept someplace separate but secure?

As part of your OPSEC/PERSEC you also need to think about what you post at places like QRZ or on a blog/forum.  At least think about it, though just participating is going to get you on a list regardless.

In some ways you can enjoy our hobby without the sharing process, but think twice about providing an inventory to others who really don’t need it, and also about having a “plan-B” setup.

73

Steve
K9ZW

2 thoughts on “Thinking Ahead – Should you have unexposed radio capabilities as an Amateur Radio Operator

  1. Jim - No Call Given says:

    Oversharing is a plague. I don’t care what John Doe had for dinner, or what Mary Roe’s “status” is. Ham radio is just one more aspect of the larger issue… that’s far more annoying than it’s ever likely to be dangerous. Having said that… you say…

    “If you have to expose that you have a go-kit maybe build a second one which is kept someplace separate but secure?”

    Seriously? Have you really thought about this? Were I to actually subscribe to this aluminum foil approach to life… and still decide to share details… I would just lie about having the first kit and only have the second one. Anyone serious about leading a life with no sharing simply says nothing vs makes a kit that will never be used just to hide the fact there’s another one somewhere else. It makes no sense. You probably need to rethink some of your advice with a bit more of an eye to being logical.

    • k9zw says:

      I’ve approved “Jim’s” comment despite not having a callsign as he’s jumped a bit ahead in my series in his discussion of “oversharing.”

      Oversharing is the dross that persists on the WWW with the trivial & coordinating messages, posts and other social media people like to “share.”

      I’m taking away that “Jim” is more peeved about this sort of “oversharing” than being realistic that there is no way to fully opt out of persistent sharing.

      You cannot escape the sharing, but you can do a bit to manage it to meet your goals.

      73

      Steve
      K9ZW

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