Part-1 – An overview and some tools to get started

Besides being able to talk to your neighbors to the left and right, a very important part of the nationwide AmRRON/TAPRN Network is the sharing of news, information, and intelligence (not necessarily the same thing).  A critical skill that you, as a patriot, should be developing and regularly practicing is SIGINT/COMINT.  That is Signals Intelligence and Communications Intelligence.  Simply put, you need to have the skills and equipment to monitor, intercept, collect, and report information sent over the airwaves.

This can come from news agencies, government and non-government agencies and organizations, local citizen networks, and any other source in your community and region.  Collecting this information and reporting it contributes to the network’s ability to gain a clear picture of what is going on around us — Situational Awareness, as it is called.

In order for your pastors, community leaders, elected officials, and other patriotic civil groups to make informed decisions, they need INFORMATION!  They (we) depend on you, the eyes and ears across the country, our states, regions, and communities to help with that information gathering process.

We don’t know what the future holds, but like many who have gone before us, we may have to use these skills as part of a larger effort to resist foreign military occupation, organized violent criminal activity, regional warlords, large-scale terrorist activity, or provide intelligence in a grid-down, major catastrophic event in North America.

We need to practice now.  It’s useful, it’s practical, and what’s more, it’s FUN!

We’ve developed some tools to help you with organizing your SIGINT collection efforts.

Step 1 – Start a SIGINT binder.  Begin collecting all the known frequencies in your local community and area:  News & Commercial Radio, Police/Fire/EMS, Hospital, Air & Airports, Amateur Radio Club frequencies and repeater frequencies, highway department, school bus barn, towing company, local militia, search and rescue, etc.  Anything and everything that uses radios.  Print them out and put them in your SIGINT binder.  You can also learn the frequencies that the local EMCOMM (Emergency Communications) groups use by talking with members of your local ham club.  ARES and RACES volunteers are always eager to take on new volunteers and speak with new hams about how to get involved in EMCOMMS.  Getting involved as a volunteer in your local ARES/RACES groups can provide valuable insight and training.

Most of the frequencies in your area can be found at:


Step 2 Find online, live streaming scanners and put them on your computer.  Also, download a couple live streaming scanner Apps for your smart phone or tablet.  Begin monitoring for local traffic and start tuning your ear for listening to these communications.  Learn the lingo and nuances each group or agency uses when operating their radios.

A couple of great resources are:


‘Scanner Radio’ – You can also set alerts so that when a pre-set number of listeners are tuned in to one of the channels, it lets you know.  Could be a strong indicator of a developing situation.

– ‘Police Scanner’  App

Step 3 – After downloading computer/smart technology resources, acquire the equipment and resources to begin monitoring using receivers and scanners.

– Scanner:  (for local/community reception) – A trunking or ‘trunk tracking’ scanner is preferred, especially one with the ability to decode P25 digital communications.  These cost a little more, but will allow you to listen to most of the more modern P25 systems that law enforcement and some fire/EMS are using today.

–  Shortwave Radio Receiver
w/ SSB (For long-range reception) – You will need one which has Single Sideband capabilities to receive Ham radio traffic on High Frequency bands.

–  HF Transceiver
Far superior to most shortwave radio receivers, and HF Transceiver will not only allow you to receive shortwave and ham radio HF traffic, you can transmit out if needed.  They’re slightly more expensive that shortwave radios, but can be found very affordably at ham fests, craigslist, eHam, and other places.


– Become familiar with your equipment.  Learn how to program them manually and with software.  Locate and print the PDF manuals for all your equipment.  Teach a class on how to use a particular piece of equipment to your family, preparedness group, or local AmRRON group at your next meeting.  This will help you become more proficient with it if you have to teach it.

–  After identifying the emergency communications groups in your local area, go to their websites or talk to them in person to find out when their next training exercise will be, and which frequencies they’ll be using.  Put it on your calendar and turn it into a SIGINT exercise for you, your family, or your local group.

–  Listen in and take good notes of all the information you monitored.  That’s the ‘Intercept’ and ‘Collect’ portion.


Now that you’ve begun developing skills as a silent I/C (intercept and collection) station, what to do with what you’ve collected?  TELL SOMEONE.  Others will be relying on the flow of accurate, timely intelligence.  This will be covered in more detail in the future, but for now you can simply keep them in a file for future training purposes.  You can also send your reports in, by scanning or typing them and emailing them to

If you do not already have pgp encryption, we STRONGLY recommend you begin using it.  It’s free and solid encryption.  Youtube is your friend!  A couple tutorials will have you up and running and exchanging keys with other folks (like me) in minutes.

Youtube Thunderbird  GPG setup


Below are some downloadable PDF forms to help you log radio traffic, make notes, develop reports, and conduct SPOT reports to help in the intelligence process.  You can do this either as a team of individuals working together at one location, or as an individual SIGINT ICR (Intercept, Collect, Report) station.  Print hard copies for your communications binder.  It’s also a good idea to begin building a SIGINT binder dedicated to this aspect of your communications plan.

SPOTREP (To aid in the documentation and recording of observed activity)  May be any threat group — foreign military, rogue gang activity, terrorist organization activity, etc.

SIGINT INTERCEPT REPORT (To help document intercepted communications, messages, etc.)

SIGINT INTERCEPT TRAFFIC LOG (To keep a log of traffic and message details

SITREP (Situation Report) (To pass along brief reports about a developing situation, and the dangers it may pose to you, your community, or to the region)

*When filling out the SITREP, you may ‘Save As’ and print it, e-mail it, or pre-print blank copies to fill out by hand

More to follow in INTERCEPT — COLLECT — REPORT  (Part-2)

Special thanks to Sparks31 for contributing the Communications Intercept log.