WATCH OPERATIONS

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When the time comes to have your TOC (tactical operations center ) fully operational and manned 24/7 will your team know what to do?

Sure, we have talked about collecting intel and monitoring radios,  but has your team actually done any full scale communications monitoring? As the comm specialist in your team,  it is your responsibility to ensure that every operator is up to speed with SIGINT (signals intelligence ) collection. Here is a simple exercise to get your team thinking in the right direction. Pick a 24 hour period that everyone can agree on and run this exercise. First,  the goal here is to maintain a full-time communications watch on a group of frequencies picked by you. Pick a hand full of frequencies or talk groups (if monitoring a trunked radio system ) to maintain watch over. These channels don’t have to be any specific service,  just pick ones that carry a decent amount of traffic.  Have all operator’s program there radios accordingly.

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Now,  with your group, make a watch schedule.  Have everyone sign up to take watch so that all 24 house are covered. This can be tricky because of work schedules and sleeping but, practice now so you can get a feel of your teams capabilities. It will be the job of the on-duty operator to log all traffic on the watch list. They can note things like: time, frequency or channel, type of traffic, anything you want to record.  The point here is not what you log but that everyone does there shift.

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A pair of NASCAR headphones  works great for focused monitoring

As time goes on,  your future exercises can be more detailed.  You can also incorporate your team comms as well.  Have your operator leaving there post call the next shift operator  on your net channel, this let’s everyone know the next watch is covered. After the exercise,  get your team together and discuss your logs.

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Sometimes an extension speaker will give you the volume you need in a loud environment.

You will be able to piece together a 24 hour period of radio traffic.  If this where the real deal, this information can be analyzed by your specialist and provide a great picture of what the OPFOR  ( opposing force) is doing. Remember,  don’t stress over what to monitor,  it can be anything.  Local fire operations, taxis service,  maintenance crews, even CB channel 19. In this training we are not searching for new activity,  but monitoring specific targets (a point search). The time may come when your only information you can trust  comes from what you,  yourself collect. Start getting a picture now so you have a baseline to reference.

Dialtone OUT.

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