Category Archives: K9ZW Built

Thinking Ahead – Active Countermeasures for Security, Privacy, and Anonymity Exposure as an Amateur Radio Operator

The series start with https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/im-a-ham-or-am-i/

Okay, active countermeasures are a different level of action intended to enhance your Security, Privacy, and Anonymity Exposure as an Amateur Radio Operator.

Suggestions here are mostly low-tech, as we are not going to pretend we will spoof voice-printing and transmitter-technical-identification.

What the goal is will be to provide served agency services while avoiding compromising your personal and family security, negating your privacy and completely losing your anonymity.

Why?

Reasons range from physical security to reducing your personal exposure when the legal (or political) jackals decide to see who they can take a bite out of.

The list is not comprehensive, and is intended to get your thinking down the paths that will preserve your security, privacy and anonymity best.

Your Personal Transponder:

First is almost all of you are carrying a personal transponder. Yes, your cell phone. Having an awareness that if the cell system is up, you are located and identified is important. While not commonplace, it is possible that this information drifts out to where you might not like it.

Your strategy might be to turn off and shield your phone. Or leave you phone at home and use a burner-phone while activated. Or go phoneless.

Your Transport Transponder:

If you vehicle is contemporary it will have one or more transponders active. On-Star is one. Other telemetric systems may be active or it may respond if “pinged.”

Countermeasures include removing the gear (difficult if recently built), shielding the transceiver parts, or feeding the system misinformation.  Easier is to use a pre-transponder vehicle.

Remote Transmissions:

If conditions allow and you have the ability to work remote, your physical presence may be obscured.  In warfare often the transmit antenna or antenna/transceiver for some systems is displaced from the operator for exactly this sort of reason.

Obscured Transmissions:

Going digital comes to mind, as does using a phrase-based system to convey information.  Makes more sense to transmit “Cowboy sees Mouse” – a phrase that is NOT encoded and means exactly what it says, and then have a cheat sheet where you can see that “Cowboy” means a certain operator. “sees” means is nearby or at a location, and “Mouse” means “Main House.”  Sort of like when the XYL says a few words and you “know” the bigger meaning…

 

73

Steve
K9ZW

Working outside when the sunshines – Island Conduits

At my Washington Island, Wisconsin QTH (US Island WI-001L) is my second ZeroFive Flagpole Antenna. On the Island we fly our flags often while in residence, but the antenna part has languished unfinished.  It has become a continued request from the XYL every visit to “please fill in the flagpole base’s hole, and fix our lawn.”

Early in virus lockdown I got someone to bury the conduits, which had sat on the lawn for at least a year. Though the main expanse was buried, neither end was done.

 

ZeroFive Flagpole antenna at Washington Island (from house)

 

The radials were dug in a few weeks ago (see my previous post at: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2021/07/18/k9zw-north-radials-for-the-flagpole-antenna/) but were left tied-off to the pole, conduit or something else in the hole.

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NW Digital Radio DRAWS in its Correct Case

The K9ZW #1 NW Digital Radio DRAWS is in its correct case.

Started putting my ARRL email on gear in case we get separated.

I’ve started into labeling ports on my equipment in an effort to improve “self-documentation” of gear. Why have to scramble later to online or paper documentation to confirm what voltage and polarity is required? Or whether the Right/Left port naming is by looking “out” from the ports or “looking inwards” at them?

Upper L-R – GPS, Left Radio, Right Radio then the Lower L-R – 5vdc, HDMI 1 & 2, Audio

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NW Digital DRAWS – Build Part 1

Building a Portable Digital HF station for use in various activations I have planned for summer/fall 2021. Hope to have the DRAWS/RADIO set up and running before this summer.  I am NOT going to drag a FlexRadio Flex-6000 to some of the places I hope to operate from.

On the digital side I am using a Raspberry Pi (4B) with a specialized add-on bit of hardware, the North West Digital Radio DRAWS that will add a GPS/on-board clock and the necessary interfaces.

Initial intention is to us a SGC-2020 transceiver, but I may drag a TenTec Jupiter to my activations instead.  I will use a keyboard and mouse to control the actual digital software for the activations, WSJT or perhaps fldigi.

The DRAWS is a neat bit of kit that should streamline my station and reduce the component count. That said it is as best semi-documented and a bit of a work in process intended for those willing to roll their sleeves up to get it configured, wired and going. Not very plug-n-play at all.

Raspberry Pi 4B and NW Digital Radio DRAWS HAT

Some courtesy definitions:

DRAWS = Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation developed by North West Digital Radio http://nwdigitalradio.com/draws/
Raspberry Pi = the series of small single-board computers developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation along with Broadcom. https://www.raspberrypi.org
Raspberry Pi HAT = Raspberry Pi extension board, both because it sits like a “hat” on top of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer and as the original meaning apparently was “Hardware Attached on Top”  https://github.com/raspberrypi/hats/blob/master/README.md

A bit about the DRAWS lifted from the NWDR website:

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Radials first the Home QTH part 2

Of course the day started cold, right around freezing with a light frost on the ground.  A bit colder than usual for mid-May around here.

32F/0c – cold for May 12th around here

 

The white frost still shows in the shade. Temperatures did get up to 53F/12c for a glorious half-hour. – Notice the old tow-behind cutter.

First job was to move the old tow-behind cutter that is a lawn decoration.  Had to be pried from the ground and dragged out of the hole where it had settled into.  The tractor’s hear lift did the jacking and the ATV dragged it away.

Next stakes went in to provide guidance for both the pattern and for the radial lengths.  I put in 12 stakes at 30-degrees from each other. I made up a rope harness that with a layout line worked out to the length for each radial.  As radial fields are not precision work the angles were spot checked as were the lengths.

Here is the result:

They are all in. We’re raking and leveling.

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Building a Portable FT-8 Vertical Antenna

Taking much inspiration from recent posts on the US Islands group.io reflector and his previous articles I’m endovoring to emulate John KL7JR’s efforts to use Wilson FTG-2 CB antenna tuned to useful ham band frequencies.

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FTG-2 with the 20m whip

A quick ordering spree at Amazon and a dash to the local Ace Hardware got things going.

What I bought were:

From Amazon:

From the Hardware Store:

  • A 10×32 knurled cap screw to replace the set screw in the FGT-2 antenna ($0.55 plus tax)
  • Several lengths (nominal 72 inch long) 12-gauge “ceiling tile” wire, the galvanized wire used by suspended ceiling installers to hang ceiling grids ($0.99 each plus tax)

For testing I used my SARK-110 analyzer and I used a common fence-pliers to cut & form the wire.

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