The Partisan Operator Journals (Vol. 1) 2022 Edition is now available on Amazon!
The Partisan Operator Journals follows a small group of military veterans, ham radio operators, and patriots through a series of adventures following a major catastrophic event that the survivors came to call “Zero Day.” The results of this sudden event left much of the North American continent without electricity, telecommunications, effective governments, the rule of law, and without answers.
Volume 1 of the Partisan Operator Journals brings the reader forward to one year after Zero Day, when the first war since the Civil War, on American soil begins.
The main character, Phil (a former Marine Force Recon radio operator and combat veteran of the Afghanistan war) combines his military experience with his hobby and passion for ham radio. Once merged and adapted, these skills make him one of a handful of some of the most valuable assets to the new and fledgling provisional government’s Central Command.
Rumors abound of foreign militaries arriving on US shores under the auspices of bringing emergency assistance and aiding in the recovery from the disaster. Other rumors bring allegations of atrocities and unconfirmed reports of heavy handed martial law in and around North American coastal cities.
It was supposed to be a simple and routine mission to observe a remote mountain airstrip deep within the inland Pacific Northwest, days ahead of a planned meeting between commanders and leaders of the provisional government.
Phil finds himself at the leading edge of an emerging conflict between American patriots and a foreign invasion, and his tradecraft and skills as a radio operator skills were single factor in shifting the initiative to the patriots at Central Command.
Teaming up with a former Army Ranger sniper, the two-man team is inserted back in to the original Area of Operations in search of a missing militia squad. Little did they know they would become witnesses to atrocities, and they would carry out a devastating first strike against the invading forces and their forward operating base.
The Partisan Operator Journals is intended to emphasize how ham radio and other communications equipment, software, and methods might be realistically adapted to meet the demands of an austere operating environment. This, and future volumes, might be useful when considering just some of the tactical, operational, and strategic communications support roles radio operators might contribute in any future disaster or civil defense emergency.
2022 Reprint and Revised Edition
Volume 1 of the Partisan Operator Journals was first published in 2020 and distribution was limited to several hundred copies. Although it was primarily marketed to the AmRRON radio operator community, it was publicly available through AmRRON’s Redoubt Gear Store.
Due to the popularity of the story and the content, we are re-releasing the POJ, Volume 1, with minor editing and some changes.
In the 2020 print edition, the main character, ‘Phil’, carried and used a CommRadio CTX-10 amateur radio transceiver. The CTX-10 is a superb ruggedized, low power, software defined field radio.
However, the radio was described as being ‘open banded’, which meant it was modified to allow operation outside of the designated amateur radio (ham radio) bands. Unfortunately, after inquiring with the manufacturer, it was reported that the radio cannot be modified for such use. At the time of the first Partisan Operator Journal writing, it seemed that the modification would be made available.
I want the reader to understand that the equipment, tactics, techniques, and procedures are realistic and applicable in a real-world operating environment in austere, and even hostile, conditions.
In this 2022 edition, the main character uses the ultra portable and coveted American-made Elecraft KX2, which can be modified to transmit outside the ham bands for Marine HF use, and extreme emergencies.
The requirements I was looking for in a field-portable HF radio for this story were:
– American-made (if possible), or at least non-Chinese
– Compact and lightweight SDR (Software Defined Radio)
– Must be able to be modified to operate outside ham bands
– All band/All mode
– Very low power consumption
– Internal battery capability
– ATU – Automatic Tuner Unit
– Minimum 10+ watts transmitter power
The KX2 and KX3, with their other features and options, such as filtering, notching, Pass Band Tuning, and superior DSP (Digital Signals Processing) capabilities (and more!) exceeded these requirements.
The downside: Cost and lack of ruggedness. Unfortunately, the American-made Elecraft radios and equipment are on the expensive side. Secondly, they are more fragile and less tolerant to inclimate weather or dusty, dirty field conditions. Compared to other brands of similar-featured HF field transceivers, many of which are superior on the ‘ruggedization’ scale, the KX2 and KX3 falls disappointingly short. Extra care must be taken to protect these rigs from moisture and dust intrusion, as well as shock from hard impact in a field environment.
Field operators would be all too excited to see Elecraft catch up and make available ruggedized versions of these rigs.
e-Book and Audio book versions will be released in the coming weeks.
Volume 2 is almost halfway finished. You can learn more about how to follow along by visiting the posts linked below:
To learn more about the AIB training project, read the following postings. You can participate too, and see each chapter as the next book is being written, before the rest of the world!
New Partisan Operator Journals are uploaded here (encrypted) as each POJ chapter is produced:
Don’t knock the supposed lack of ruggedness of the KX2 and KX3. I spend a few decades working both military and civilian “hard duty” engineering” and while they aren’t built to be resistant to dust or water they ARE very durable. Also, from Wayne, N6KR, the head guy at Elecraft, from a post to the Elecraft Reflector on 2/8/20:
I asked one of our U.S. military KX2 customers (a special forces commander) to describe how they use the rig. Here’s the verbatim quote:
* * *
“We use the KX2 to enable us to communicate in emergency situations where military-issue gear is unsuitable, impractical, or has failed. Its form-factor is ideally suited for increasing the redundancy of our communications without any noticeable increase in weight or bulk. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, it is used to interface with civilian radio operators when we are assisting with civil emergencies, such as those that are caused by hurricanes or earthquakes. Unfortunately, we have been called to assist with both of these scenarios lately, and the ability to interface via HF using a tough, portable radio has been instrumental in passing critical information in environments where cell phone and internet networks were non-existent.”
* * *
I’m hoping he’ll release additional details in the future, but he’s asked that we not discuss his actual deployments, names, unit, etc. He did say that many units have been outfitted with KX2s for the reasons above.”
I absolutely LOVE my KX3, and it goes to the field with me regularly. If I were in a tactical/field environment as described in the book, I would tape up all the edges with electrical tape and apply a bead of clear silicone caulking around the edges of the plastic display cover. That would take care of most intrusion issues. Those of us who have built Elecraft rigs from kit form can assure, these are NOT MILSPEC. Not even close. Comparatively, they are fragile. Even at that, they continue to reliably serve us very well in the field (those of us who use the KX series).
Definitely agree does not approach MILSPEC but as you state they can be hardened up. The new internal battery charger option soon to be released for the KX2 will make it more appropriate also as you won’t need to open it up anymore.
Really looking forward to that feature (battery charger). You’ll see the KX2 again, in Volume 2. Incidentally, an 18E (SF Comms Sergeant) that the main character links up with has a KX2.
Really looking forward to Vol. 2. Don’t even know how many people I’ve recommended this one to. Simply one of the best novels, and especially “instructional” novels written. Right there with “Patriots.”
A compelling read, well written, and Technically Correct (which is very rare in most other apocalyptic fiction). You can definately LEARN much about how clandestine communication witin denied areas works; definately SHOULD WORK to be successful and to have a chance to survive against a sophisticated and powerful national enemy. The plot is written on several levels yet is a pleasure to read.
Needs more spinach.
Thanks Popeye! Much appreciated.
Also, anyone who would like to take the time to leave your review on the book’s Amazon page, it would also be a huge help getting the ratings up.
Cool book with lots of equipment details. The encrption parts are something I need to reread to get a better grasp. Am looking forward to volume 2!