locked Off Topic: Protecting our Frequencies & Our Country
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Below is an e-mail I sent to our local club yesterday afternoon. We are in a unique position to do so something very helpful for our country, by monitoring for illegal activity. Collectively, I suspect we can provide this service better than anyone else on the planet.
The text is specific to our club, so you will likely want to reword some of this, to make it applicable to your area, before you share it with your local group, but please feel free to use any sections that are pertinent....
From: Scott & Kimberly Davis <snkdavis@...>
Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2021 4:48 pm
Subject: Everyone, Please Read: Protecting our NEMARC Frequencies & Our Country
I think most of us are still somewhat reeling, sickened and incredulous as to what happened last week in Washington. Whatever our political beliefs, that behavior is completely and totally unacceptable.
As you probably know, the riot organizers have lost the use of most of the on line forums that they previously relied on for planning and coordination. What you may not know is that these individuals are now turning to two way radio to further their agenda. According to a CNN article dated today, the FCC just made the following statement:
"The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities," the FCC said in its warning Sunday. "Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution."
I believe that is occurring in our area. Earlier this afternoon, I heard a new guy "testing" on 146.595. I gave him a call and asked the normal, welcoming questions. It didn't take long for the individual, alluding to the riots, to explain that he and several of his friends were newly licensed in the last few months, so that they could communicate and make plans for certain emergencies / contingencies / meetups, etc. He went on to explain that they had their own Discord channel, but it that their Discord channel got shut down after the riots. It is easy to infer the content of their channel if it gave Discord cause to block it.
In addition, episodes of intentional, harmful interference in Harford County are increasing. It's not limited to the ham bands. Public service frequencies, such as Harford Fire are also being intentionally interfered with.
So, we have two specific goals:
1. We do not want these guys on our NEMARC frequencies.
2. We do not want these guys in our area.
To keep these guys off our frequencies....
We've not been as active on 146.595 lately, so perhaps others have found it easy to slide in. For us to accomplish goal number 1, we need to make 146.595 less attractive for their purposes. These guys are looking for frequencies where they can communicate without lots of ears. If you hear someone new on the frequency, call them. Be nice and engaging. First, they might truly be good, new folks (and we sure want them to stay), but if they are guys with nefarious intent, they are not going to want to continually have to go "around" us to plan their stuff. So, everyone, please monitor 146.595. If you hear someone new, chat them up every time they are on (but don't invite them to join NEMARC until you are sure they are ok). They will get tired of us and move to another frequency.
If you start a conversation, ping the rest of us on Discord, so that we can all join in.
To get these guys out of here.....
Guys, you and I are in a unique position to be especially useful in ferreting out these guys and helping to protect our country.
If we can prove illegal communications are occurring, we can relay that proof to the authorities. The beauty is, we already have most of the equipment we need to listen for that proof. My guess is these guys are going to be using unmodified radios, so think Amateur Radio, FRS, GMRS and CB frequencies. Most of us already have good antennas covering those bands. All we need are inexpensive analog scanners with those frequencies programmed in.
If you pick up illegal communication, record it. Should we obtain solid evidence of planning for illegal activity, I have contacts with ARRL that I know will advise us on how to proceed.
If you don't already have a scanner, I purchased this 500 channel, analog scanner about a year ago. It is only $99 and is perfect for the application we are describing, covering all the frequencies they would likely use:
After this is over, you can always use it to monitor local repeaters, simplex, 10 meter repeaters, Harford Fire, etc.
You will want to hook the scanner to a good antenna. The telescoping whip won't cut it. I will be using either my 2M / 440 antenna, or a scanner antenna. There are adapters available to easily hook your existing coax run to your scanner. It will hear like a champ!
Finally, keep communicating with the group. If you hear something locally, let others know what frequency(s) to monitor on Discord and e-mail. Above all, if illegal activity is being discussed, DO NOT ENGAGE or tip your hand. Just press record.
Let's do our part in this guys. We can make a difference and help protect our country and uphold the basis and purpose of Amateur Radio.