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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Digital radios for preppers

When I got my Kirisun S780s a few days ago, I was messing about with all the settings as I usually do with new gadgets, and turned on encryption in the programming software. This got me thinking about preppers. Preppers usually like to have communications equipment prepared for possible times of disaster.
In a WROL situation, where someone could loot you for all your preparations if they knew about them, I'm sure preppers would like to have encrypted communications, so that anyone with a scanner can't find out where they keep their food stores or secret stash of fuel.
These Kirisun radios provide inherent security, in that not many people will have radios that use the same vocoder, and it is unlikely anyone around you will have one. This could be called "security through obscurity". That is even if you don't turn on the encryption. To a scanner listening in analog, these radios just sound like a load of noise. Now, if someone were to buy a radio the same as you, and program it up to the same frequency, they would be able to listen in to any unencrypted comms. Thats where the encryption comes in handy. Switch over to an encrypted channel, and they will not be able to understand it at all. All you hear when listening to an encrypted channel on a radio without encryption, is a few funny digital noises. But at the same time, you can understand anyone without encryption on their radio.


There is a slight problem with the encryption though. It does not encrypt any other data. Only the voice is scrambled.
This means that when you key up, your ID can be seen, messages can be read, and your radios can even be presence checked. This could probably be fixed in a firmware update from Kirisun, but there would have to be a need for it.
Now this might break the deal for some, but the thing is, most people will not have these radios, and anyone who does, will not likely have them on the same channel in your area.

There are many other digital PMR radios, or Land mobile radios, that can use encryption, but I wanted to put these forward as an idea, since they are very cheap compared to other digital walkie talkies.
It is possible to use DMR (MOTOTRBO), P25, NXDN, dPMR, TETRA, and other digital standards with encryption, but these radios all cost a lot more per unit than the Kirisun radios, and I realise that most preppers probably don't have a huge budget to spend on communications.

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