Why HF Radio is a Critical Asset

Why HF Radio is a Critical Asset

High Frequency (HF) radio should be a top communications priority among Armed Americans. While line of sight (LOS), tactical-level communications usually get most of the focus from those starting out in commo, HF really begins to shine when the need for extended local, regional and even global communications becomes a mission requirement for coordinating the flow of information. Why is that?

The reality of building underground resistance forces is that the coordinating entity is often outside the region in conflict. Cellular structure of that resistance relies upon long distance communications first then local level communications for distribution - in short, HF over regions then VHF / UHF at the local most level. Madman Actual discussed some time back how the Taliban implemented these techniques using the higher end of HF near 30mHz, what we call the CB band in the US, in an effort to evade ISAF Signals Intelligence teams. While they were still intercepted, direction finding (DF) of the point of origin was extremely difficult if not impossible. This level of coordination trickled down to the VHF handhelds they used at the tactical level.

The US Army is dusting off the HF skills as well. While it became an afterthought for a long while, the PRC-150 and new 160 maintained that capability in the SOF community despite the fact that Tactical SATCOM (TACSAT) took the forefront in Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications. Anticipating a war with China, those HF skills become critical should the Chinese target the SATCOM constellation - and they will.

The American Partisan in that scenario has an advantage should they be equipped with HF capability and well experienced in its use. The learning curve is already mastered with the task and purpose now given. But for day-to-day situations, an HF radio becomes a pretty handy piece of equipment as well.  It opens the door to shortwave radio, which are international broadcasts of news and entertainment that are often perspectives much different from our controlled corporate media complex. Despite government tyranny, these cannot be shut down or jammed in total. During the last unrest in Cuba the Radio Recon Group used HF to transmit words of encouragement to courageous Cuban people standing up to the tyranny of communism. While the government jammed us, parts of our message got through, and was proof that freedom activism certainly extends to the world of communications.

All of this may sound dramatic to some, but it illustrates the very real role HF radio plays in a signals package and why you need to include it in your own capabilities. The learning is often high - its not exactly a plug and play affair - and sometimes the success is not an instant gratification the same way tactical level communications can be. But that said, many newer radios on the market today are built to make life much easier than in eras of the recent past. One such example is the Xiegu G90. With a built in antenna tuning unit (ATU), antenna analyzer, SDR-style waterfall display, and 20 watts output power, its one of the best units on the market for the beginner in HF or those looking to built covert / clandestine radio kits for distribution over a region. There's other radios on the market with longer track records, but the G90 has proven itself becoming extremely popular with the parks on the Air (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA) backpacking radio communities. And its for that reason I chose to offer it first to this community as its one of the best options at any price point.

Some of the references I strongly suggest to pair with an HF radio is the Special Forces Antenna Handbook (and the large-print version) for a deep understanding on antennas well suited to this purpose, The Guerrilla Dispatch Volume 1 for an in-depth look at HF operating techniques, and The Guerrilla's Guide to the Baofeng Radio for a crash course in digital operations, data bursts and encryption which apply to any communications system. Finally, none of this matters without training - get out and put the metal in the meat.

I'll see you out there. Stay dangerous. -NCS

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