10/4-10/5/2014 – Waterbury, CT


Click here to pay via Paypal.


III%er Communications Course

April 26-27, Waterbury, CT- ENROLLMENT CLOSED
October 4th-5th, 2014 – Waterbury, CT – NEW CLASS
November 8th-9th, 2014 – Tulsa, OK

The class will revolve around the basics of low power/qrp/covert operation with low-profile/improvised antennas, and communications monitoring focused for VHF/UHF COMINT. It will consist of classroom instruction and a field training exercise (FTX). The FTX will be held *rain or shine*. Dress and equip yourself appropriately. It is strongly advised that the attendee have at least a general class ham license, as HF operation will be involved. If you don’t have a general license, you can do a COMINT/monitoring track on the Sunday FTX. you will ALSO receive a copy of my new book “Grid-Down Communications.”

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • Considerations for III%er/Grid-Down Communications
  • Equipment Selection
  • Improvised Antennas
  • Low Profile/Covert Operations
  • Basic Cryptographic Systems and Techniques
  • Non-Radio Communications Options
  • IFF (Identification Friend/Foe) and Interoperability System Considerations
  • Basic Improvised Surveillance/Security Systems – Off The Shelf Solutions
  • VHF/UHF Communications Monitoring/COMINT (Communications Intelligence) Equipment and Systems
  • Basic COMINT and COMINT Analysis


Registration cost for this course $200. Early bird registration is $175 if paid in full by July 1st. for Waterbury, and August 1st. for Tulsa. A non-refundable deposit of $50 is required to reserve a slot, with the balance due by August 1st. for Waterbury and September 1st. for Tulsa. Course fees are non-refundable, but if you’ve paid and can’t make it for whatever reason you can take a later course or have someone take the course in your stead. If the course gets cancelled by me, you get a full refund by whatever means you paid (Paypal or MO). Hotel, travel, and meal arrangements/expenses are the responsibility of the course attendee.

Click here to pay via Paypal or send Postal Money Order to:

Homestead Design Works
PO Box 96
Plymouth, CT 06782

If paying via MO, please indicate the location you are attending and include your email so I can send confirmation.

If you have any questions, email sparks31@hushmail.com.


h/t J.P. Martin


A fellow soldier stationed over there doing QRP with his KX3.




You do have your monitoring post put together, yes?


Here are the two resources that I mentioned at the last Commo Class:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/ – Radio Reference Scanner Frequency Database  - User provided content. Very accurate, but sometimes incomplete. Includes frequency usage information when submitted.

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/General_Menu_Reports/ – FCC General Menu Reports -  Shows everything licensed by the FCC in the US, but no information as to specific usage.

Those of you who are attending the Connecticut Class will want to try these resources with the following information:

  • Connecticut
    • New Haven County
      • Waterbury
  • 41°33’14.5″N 73°02’49.0″W (If you are a friend of Ayn, you should find this particularly interesting.)


If you have not received the class email from me, let me know via sparks31@hushmail.com. Thank you!

See you in class.


  • On Facebook, the PAO of a North Texas Militia had his account suspended after allegedly receiving user complaints.
  • More recently, reports are surfacing from Nevada that wireless phone service is disrupted

Never trust someone else’s communications infrastructure.



Want to go camping?

Posted: 10Apr2014 in HF, QRP, Uncategorized

Lobstercon 2014

  • You get to camp out.
  • You get to eat lobster (and other good stuff).
  • You get to play with radios (and build QRP gear).




The enrollment deadline for the Connecticut III%/Grid-Down Commo Course is this Friday, 4/11/2014. (I had extended it due to increased interest from Operation Poseidon Compass.)

Click here to enroll.



Posted: 08Apr2014 in Uncategorized


(via http://www.mfwright.com/atvsetup.html)

Amateur Television is NOT
• Cellphone cam or webcam
• Bluetooth, PDAs, Blackberries, etc.
• WLAN, WIFI, or Internet related
• Broadcast TV, Cable TV, Satellite TV
• Activity available only to the very rich

ATV Benefits
• ATV is independent of Internet, networks, centralized systems, and cable TV.
• ATV is independent of media companies, government agencies and budgets.
• ATV is independent of subscriber fees, codecs, TCP/IP addressing, software licenses, …

I would like to extend my utmost thanks to those of you who attended the first III%/Grid-Down Communications Course held in Timonium, MD this past weekend. You guys were a great group!  I would also like to thank Doug for coming up and teaching us surface-mount soldering, and last but not least my co-instructor Glenn for his extensive assistance with this course this weekend.

The Timonium hamfest was OK.   One of our students who is going the “roll your own” route acquired two ARRL Handbooks, one from the past 10 years, and one from the 1960s for his tech library. Two students acquired acopies of the old ARRL book “Specialized Communications Techniques.” for their libraries.  A number of students took and passed ham exams. Another student acquired the complete “Impoverished Radio Experimenter” series. There were several useful radios noted for sale at reasonable prices including some late model VHF HTs and mobiles, Kenwood and Yaesu hybrid HF rigs, a SGC SG-2000, various Heathkit rigs, Ten-Tec rigs, ATV (Amateur Television) gear, and a vintage R-390A HF receiver.

Both the Saturday night class and Sunday FTX went well.  A lot of information was given out in a short amount of time. Everyone received a copy of Grid-Down Communications and those with a USB stick received a few Gigs of various public domain electronic and radio publications, and a copy of Z-Phone. The Saturday class actually ran beyond its Midnight close time.  I think it was about 1:30/2AM by the time we finally cut loose.

Pictures from the Sunday FTX:


Those of you who would like to take this course can still enroll in the Connecticut and Oklahoma sessions.  Enrollment for Connecticut ends Friday, but the early-bird rate is still in effect for Oklahoma.