Some Nellis (NTTR) radio resources

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gariac

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I have quite a few webpages/files not linked regarding the NTTR comms. Why not linked? Well no sooner do I think I've nailed it, they change the systems around. Narrowbanding caused a change. So did the addition of a new system. Thus I don't want to present these pages as being correct just for the sake to have something about the system on my website. I strive to present accurate information rather than just a placeholder to get ad hits, not that I have any ads.

First there is the Nevada Test Site (NTS, AKA NNSA, AKA N2S2) overlay I put in the other post. You need google earth to use a KMZ file. When you click on the link, you can save the file to your hard drive, then run google earth to open it. In GE, it is as simple as file->open, then navigate to the file you downloaded. You can also just click on the link and your PC, if set up correctly, should associate a KMZ file with google earth. It may seem like nothing is happening for a while. That is because the map has to download, and then google earth has to start and log onto the server. It can be fast, or it can take a minute. Here is the overlay again:

http://www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nts_map_overlay.kmz

You might not like the "opaqueness" of the overlay. That is, the overlay may obscure what is beneath it. You have two choices here. You can go to the left side of Google Earth, find "places", and uncheck the box with the overlay.That will reveal the base imagery. You can toggle this as needed. Or you can right click on the overlay (under places), select properties, and then adjust the opaqueness to your liking. Note windows may ask you for administrator permission to open the file.

Now the story behind this overlay. I toured the NTS a few times. In the cafeteria, they have a map of the NTS with the repeater sites on it. My immediate thought was what a great resource, I'm sure this map is on the internet. Well not so. However, someone who took the YMP tour gave me the packet of data from the tour, and the map was inside. I scanned it and calibrated it (set it up so you can use the waypoint tool in Google Earth). If you are trying to locate repeaters in the NTS for Nellis, one obvious place to check out are the existing NTS comm sites.

I did a FCC record search for commercial microwave sites on the range and in the surrounding hills. Obviously the feds and commercial vendors would want to share a site to save cost. I also included sites I found mentioned in DoD articles. That lead to this overlay:

http://www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/comm.kmz

The DOE has gear at Warm Springs, Tonopah radar (repeater found using the scanner with the antenna removed trick), and on Booker based on documents. Note the BLM has some fine maps of the repeater sites they lease. [To be listed as a follow up message once I find them again.]

Bald Mountain is the central comm point of the range. When DFing transmitters, it is handy to know if you are within line of sight of Bald Mountain. Yeah, you can look for the mountain, but often I DFed at night. Other times I wanted to be in a spot where Bald Mountain would be blocked so as to not have too many signals present. This overlay is the line of sight (AKA viewshed) of Bald Mountain,. If you are in the green area, you should be able to hear/see Bald Mountain. Now you know where to hide from the Baldie-cam!

http://www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/bald_mountain.kmz

I have created line of sight overlays for many of the known comm sites. If you are DFing, you would hope that the transmitter sites you think you found have line of sight to where you are DFing. Otherwise, you are just fooling yourself as to the location of the transmitter, and worse propagating bad information on the internet. [Hey, like that doesn't ever happen.]

You will notice on some of these overlays, the areas outside the green color are clear. Other times they are milky white. I have some inconsistency in the way I create the alpha channel, which is what allows a gif file to be clear. This is really "inside baseball" knowledge, but I'm just pointing it out since the maps with the milky overlay are there and it is not a bug in your system.

www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/angel_peak.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/antelope.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/booker.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/brock.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/cedar.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/checkpoint_pass.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/cp_hills.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/halligan.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/hayford.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/mt_irish.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/ragged.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/sawtooth.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/skull.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/skull2.kmz
(not sure why there are two overlays for skull...tbd.)
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/split_ridge.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/tono_faa.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/tower_hills.kmz
www.lazygranch.com/google_earth/nellis/warmsprings.kmz

One comment about DFing control channels. Most of the hams on the list are familiar with Doppler type direction finding. The problem with that scheme is it works best on CW, OK on voice, and not so well on these heavily modulated control channels. [Doppler schemes depend on the signal not changing too much as the antennas are switched. It has a lot to do with the autocorrelation of the signal.] What you really want for control channels is a radio interferometer. This is one way to DF signals that are spread spectrum, let alone heavily modulated. I have found the direction antenna and attenuator scheme works OK for DFing these distant transmitter sites, but as I have noted here, you need a sanity check to make sure you had line of sight to where you think the transmitter is located.
 

gariac

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Like I said, don't put too much faith in the data on that website The TTR EDACS I'm sure is wrong. For instance, if there was a site on Antelope, you wouldn't put one at the TTR itself. They are practically on top of each other. I tried to DF a repeater on Antelope and it was inconclusive. And I did this from a location where I could see the peak. I don't see Ragged Ridge listed at all, and I know there is a site there. [EDACS IIRC.] Ragged Ridge is a very odd repeater location. It is not at the peak. You need to be situated in the right spot to DF it. You really have to be anal about this stuff to get the locations correct. This falls into just because it is on the internet doesn't make it correct.

The NTS system was mostly in the clear. The EDACS system was always encrypted. There is 400MHz voice paging in the clear, but it goes off so rarely that I can't really determine the system owner. The EDACS system is not provoice. I don't know how to kill that rumor. I have played the audio for dealers, and they swear it is DES. Further, DSD doesn't recognize it as pro-voice. I've probably repeated that rumor myself on the net that it is provoice before I knew better.

The camo dudes use a M-RK radio.
range_radio
Note the camo dude photo is altered to protect their identity.

The rancher has a beat up radio he used when he need to cross the border. I haven't seen it personally, but the person that did said it did not look like the EDACS radio, so I have to assume there is some cheap analog system for such purposes. Maybe the cops use a similar radio.
 

gariac

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Feb 1, 2004
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Bald Mountain

A new microwave dish showed up in October 2011. I believe it points to Halligan Mesa. It could be a radio link, or just about anything. Funny thing is the installation was missed by the Rachel residents. In fact, this is the only photo of the new dish on the internet. Some guys from Alamo were camped out there and told me about the helicopter activity on Bald Mountain. They saw the dish being installed.

Rachel is very far away from base activity, should anyone get the idea is a good place to snoop on Groom Lake.
 

2wayfreq

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An M-RK is definitely analog. However, they could be the AEGIS models with DES keys loaded as well. AEGIS is an older voice encoding protocol that can be used with analog. Its either they are just in AEGIS mode, or AEGIS plus DES Encryption.
 
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