Author Topic: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review  (Read 819 times)

Offline JohnyMac

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AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« on: October 31, 2018, 12:08:45 PM »
What:
This AAR (After Action Review) is to briefly outline my attendance of the Advance RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) two-day class facilitated by NCScout blog owner of Brushbeater.com.

Who:
Facilitator NCScout and twelve students. The Students amateur radio skills ranged from no FCC license to Extra class level. Military skills of the students ranged from current military operators, Reservists, retired, and several with no military experience - Like me.

When:
Saturday – Sunday, October 27-28, 2018. Classes started at 0900 hrs. both days. The class ended Saturday at 1700 hrs. and Sunday at 1415 hrs.

Where:
North Central North Carolina

Comments:

The class started at 0900 hrs. Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast put on again by NCScout’s family.

A quick review of RTO 101 commenced and then we went into day one’s agenda which was in part:

> Set up SOI and PACE for the weekend,
> BREVMAT Matrix
> OTP Matrix (One Time Pad),
> Directional antennas
> HF antennas RX and TX (Receiving & Transmitting
> Exercises in the class room and outside in the field

The items initially covered were SOI’s (Signal Operation Instructions) and PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, & Emergency Frequencies) which is part of the SOI for the weekend. Then we went into the BREVMAT matrix.

The BREVMATi matrix in a nut shell is a secure way of broadcasting a SALUTE (Size, Activity, Location, Unit Identification, Time, & Equipment) report from the field to the TOC (Tactical Operation Center). NCScout writes about a BREVMAT Matrix in an article titled The Brevity Matrixii.

Once we ran through a few exercises using the BREVMAT code we moved onto OTP matrix.

Remember when you were in school and passing around coded notes using the old “Shifted Alphabet Code”? You know ‘A’ equal’s number 5, ‘B’ equals 7, ‘C’ equal’s 1, et cetera. Well whether you use a pair of 10-sided dice or the more modern OTP you are using the Shift Alphabet Code on steroids.

The 10-sided dice works well but you can imagine it takes awhile to execute on 26 letters to the alphabet, then numbers, and then punctuation. The OTP takes 1-second by pushing one button. NCSCout wrote a good article titled, AmRRON Dark Labs: ADL-1 OTP Generator iii which is worth your time in reviewing or rereading if you have already.

When you combine the BREVMAT and OTP codes you have an unbreakable code you can use on the airwaves, text, email, written word sent through snail mail, et cetera.

Time was spent using the aforementioned codes to become familiar with their use.

After lunch it was time to talk about directional antennas. We focused on Yagi type mostly however we did cover others like the Moxon, homebrew directional V dipole, et cetera.

The day ended with demonstration of several different field HF radios. Yasue 817 and 857 plus a new one called the CTX-10IV . The antenna used for this part of the day was my homebrew NVIS (Near Vertical Inductance Skywave) antenna. One of the contacts we made was on 10 watts using the CTX-10 with the famed designer of N1MM software in Connecticut. Remember we were in North Carolina.

After our last exercise it was time for dinner. As mentioned before I would pay and come to these classes just for the food and companionship.  As happens during these classes post dinner and after a few adult beverage’s, discussions commenced and ranged from the USA today, what is coming down the pike, and other philosophical discussions along with practical solutions on gun-fighting. This too like the food, is well worth the attendance.

As is the custom at Brushbeaters Training Center, we were met Sunday morning with a BIG breakfast provide by NCScout’s family.

At the end of breakfast NCScout set the stage for the rest of the day with a briefing of what is happening in the news regionally and then locally. This led us to writing a Five Paragraph Field Order or SMEAC (Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration/Logistics, & Command/Signal). We all wrote a SMEAC and when done NCScout had one of the students read theirs. The SMEAC that was read was very detailed and well done – Far more detailed then mine. Something for me to work on. 

Once this was accomplished we broke into two groups. One group remained at the TOC while the other group went into the field to do a reconnaissance patrol as outlined in the SMEAC. Once we accomplished our Op Orders we returned to base and the second team went out into the field to perform their own patrol while we acted as the TOC.

Once the exercise was completed we had lunch, an AAR of the SMEAC and the class overall. By 1445 Hrs. I was on the road traveling home.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in no particular order:
 
> I highly recommend this class to folks who are preparing for a SHTF situation. All the students were like-minded. As stated in RTO 101’s AAR, if you are busy preparing just for a gun battle and not Comms, you and your group will die.
> The food and hospitality were astounding. NCScouts father and brother did all the cooking and their skill in cooking for a large group was awesome - True North Carolina hospitality.
> We all traveled to the Brushbeater facility in rain however by Saturday morning the poor weather had blown out. Saturday and Sunday where in the high 50’s low 60’s; However, I would suggest bringing clothing to cover the weather gambit – Cold to hot/wet to dry.
> The house at the facility was used for sleeping which most students took advantage of. Several stayed outside in trailers or tents.
> The class curriculum flowed well especially with the planned segments that got us out of the class room and into the filed.
> The members of the class blended well by lunch of Saturday. The ‘after dinner discussions’ certainly cemented the group. In my opinion, what I learned from my fellow classmates was just as valuable as what we learned during the days in the classroom.
> Five out of the twelve participants did not have an FCC amateur radio license. All were able to participate at a high level so as NCScout writes in his class description, “Amateur Radio license qualification is helpful, but not required.”
> About NCScout: He is a soft-spoken natural trainer. He is quick to not correct but instead offer suggestions. Most important he explains the ‘why’ you do something ‘X’ way. You are treated as what you are, an intelligent adult. 
> In closing, I am going to reiterate this thought again. If you or your group is spending all your time and money on fire power with little thought to Comms, your group will die in a SHTF scenario. If you recognize this hole in your plans, contact NCScout TODAY to finds out when his RTO, 101 class is scheduled and sigh up!  If you have taken his RTO, 101 class take the 201-follow-up advance class today!

God Bless & 73,
JohnyMac
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  i BREVMAT https://salutestrategies.wordpress.com/the-salute-report/

  ii Brushbeater https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/the-brevity-matrix/

  iii OTP Review https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/amrron-dark-labs-adl-1-otp-generator/

  IV CTX-10 https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/updates-on-commradios-ctx-10/
Who Killed Ashli Babbitt? "So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."- Matthew 23:4

Offline Jackalope

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 04:32:10 PM »
Johny, thanks for the review, it certainly sounds like it's a worthwhile class.  How did you like the CTX-10?  I've seen them advertised in QST, but haven't heard any operator reports regarding the radio.  The price seemed a little steep when compared to another SDR based radio like the Icom IC-7300, but then again it's a fraction of the size of the Icom.

Offline JohnyMac

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 09:51:28 PM »
Thx Jackalope.

The benefits are as follows:

> Internal tuner,
> 10 Watts Vs. the Yasue 817 at 5 watts,
> Internal sound card so no Signalink,
> Shortly, will be MARS compliant through software upgrade,
> Currently will RX from 10-160 meters. In the future will be TX capable from 10 - 160-meters via their software. Now no TX on 160-
   meters,
> Unlike the Yasue, easy to use menu's, 
> Can be used down to 5V unlike the 817 that will not function under 9V,
> Incredible battery life though 3-internal lithium rechargeable batteries, and
> The batteries can be charged using the USB port of the radio.

Let's see...new Yasue 817ND is ~$700.00, LDG-817 auto tuner ~$150.00, and Signalink ~$130.00 = $980.00. The CTX-10 with 10 watts is $999.00. With the exception that you loose VHF/UHF a pretty good value. You can use your VHF/UHF HT.

After using one at Brushbeaters redoubt, if I could sell my set-up (Radio, connections and auto tuner for $700-) I would put the extra dollars towards the CTX-10 in a NY heart beat.

I hope that helps Oh...I also spoke with the guru of all contesting, N1MM in Connecticut full quieting on the CTX-10 from NC on my NVIS antenna. Not bad.

If NCScout would loan me his prototype I would give it a REAL test  ;) 
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 09:53:12 PM by JohnyMac »
Who Killed Ashli Babbitt? "So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."- Matthew 23:4

Offline patriotman

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 08:43:49 AM »
I was in the class with Johny, and can confirm that his AAR is spot on. If you are able to, y'all need to take NCScout's classes RTO Basic and Advanced RTO. He is an incredible teacher and really gives you the hands on knowledge that helps you not only learn the material but can then bring it back to your groups and relay that information in a clear and concise way.
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

Psalm 144:1-2

Offline JohnyMac

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 08:31:22 PM »
Yeah Brother!

Even though Patriotman is from NJ.  ;) he is a upfront righteous guy!

Thank you sir for your post!  :thumbsUp:
Who Killed Ashli Babbitt? "So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."- Matthew 23:4

Offline patriotman

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 07:14:39 AM »
 :))
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

Psalm 144:1-2

Offline zeerf

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 02:41:58 PM »
Johny, thanks for the review!

+1 to all on the RTO Basic class as I took that one twice and was well worth it! Looking forward to getting to this advanced class ASAP.

Offline NC Scout

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Re: AAR: RTO Advance Class Review
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 09:26:20 AM »
I really appreciate all of the kind words guys. Y'all make the course what it is. It's an honor and privilege to be able to do it. 
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