Thursday, September 17, 2015
After Action Report - Operation Big Sky - White Hope Mine in Lincoln Montana
I am back in Eureka after 1 month and 4 days in Lincoln Montana at Operation Big Sky, the security operation for the White Hope Mine, where George Kornec and his partner Phil Nappo, asked the Oathkeepers to come and make sure the US Forest Service didn't deny them their due process rights under the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution.
My role was to establish communications from a very remote mining location, far off the grid and without any telephone or cell service, and to make sure those comms stayed up and running 24/7 while we were in the area. The challenge was daunting. The only power available at the mine was solar, or by generator. The distance between the mine and Lincoln is about 20 miles, but the terrain is difficult to say the least. The mine sits in a big bowl with mountains in 3 directions around it, and only one narrow V pathway out, which was in the general direction of Lincoln but not a straight shot for signal.
I picked the Three Bears Motel in the west end of Lincoln because I saw there could be a signal pathway right down the highway through Lincoln which pointed in the general direction of the mine. I rented the room closest to the highway, and went to the mine that night to set up a portable base station for the security crew already on station just 150 feet from the entrance to the mine's main shaft.
We put up a base antenna that operated on both VHF and UHF bands, and I used a Yeti 1250 solar power supply from Goal Zero, with solar panels and generator backup to run an Anytone dual band mobile radio at 50 watts.
With that setup we were able to talk directly to my van or a radio just like it in the motel room, and I was able to set up an office in the motel room with access to Wifi and cell signal. This allowed us to maintain a high security profile right through the fires in the area and for over a month.
We had lots of help from two local hams, K7LMT, who acted as the local anchor if I had to run down to Helena (about an hour away) for parts or supplies and K7WES who donated a 5 element 2 meter beam.
The beam antenna allowed me to set up cross band repeaters at both ends. So with handheld radios operating on UHF (70cm ham band) and two 50 watt cross band repeaters talking to each other on 2 meters (VHF) we were then able to work the mine with a 5 watt handheld all around Lincoln, and the security crew was able to work Lincoln with handheld radios anywhere on the mine property. This gave us much more flexibility, and allowed us a little freedom of movement we didn't have before. Any upcoming operation will be handled like this. It was very effective.
My thanks goes especially to Scott KE7NSX, and Corey KG7SBQ, along with KE7YLE and K7LMT for the help making this a successful communications operation. My thanks also goes to dozens of people who came and did the actual security for the mine, and the support and command structure the Oathkeepers provided for the entire operation in keeping us all safe for the whole operation.
What did we accomplish?
This is now the third operation that I was fortunate to be a part of with Oathkeepers.
At the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville Nevada we (Oathkeepers and many others) backed down the BLM and their mercenary crew, and preserved Cliven Bundy's 4th and 5th Amendment rights. Then this spring I was sent by Stewart Rhodes of Oathkeepers, to the Sugar Pine Mine just out of Grants Pass Oregon, where two other miners were being threatened by the same BLM with removal of their mining rights and buildings, and we backed them down as well. Now in Lincoln, we not only stopped the USFS cold in their tracks from doing any Administrative actions against two more Miners, but were able to get the miners on a pathway in court where their case can be heard, and man what a case it is.. These two guys have done their homework. I could say a lot more, since I did get the chance to sit with George Kornec, the principle miner for three different days, and visited about this case one on one.
I can't give any details, but suffice it to say that NO ACTION EVER DONE by the USFS ever went without documentation and a paper trail by these very intelligent miners.
At Bunkerville we were able to set up night patrols with constant radio contact, and change of vehicles and patrol personnel every three or four hours, for almost a week after the drone scare, and I am convinced that because of our presence and the political ramifications of such a strike, the government decided not to do it.
At Grants Pass, I was able to take over the night shift for comms between the mine and the staging area, so the rest of the commo guys could get some rest and work on a new repeater that made it possible for non hams to handle comms, which really took the pressure off the comm guys and made it possible for me to come home.
Three times now we have backed down some three or four letter federal agency and enforce the US Constitution, and I am happy to be a part of that.
What we need now.
We need more of you to step up to the plate. When your neighbor is being persecuted by some corporate entity masquerading as a government agency, we need you to step out from behind your keyboard and phone, and stand up and take the heat for a little bit, to help secure their safety. We especially need you to get your ham license and come be a part of the communications crew on these operations. Without communications we HAVE NO SECURITY. On this operation I met some of the most selfless people I have ever met, and I am very grateful to God for the privilege to know them all. Dozens of people came from several states. That should NOT be necessary. An operation like this in Montana should be handled by MONTANANS. Likewise in the other states.
Join an Oathkeepers CPT team near you and get some training in security, and by all means GET YOUR HAM LICENSE. You can study for your ham exam here: www.qrz.com Take some practice tests and then type your zip code in the search box and ask some local ham where to go to get tested. It's not a tough test at all. 35 questions multiple choice. Get 9 wrong and still pass. Have all the answers up front.
No morse code required. Get your Technician license first then go on to General if you can.
You can get your Oathkeepers membership here: https://vegaswebsites.formstack.com/forms/new_members
If you have questions call me at 800 889 2839 or locally at 406 889 3183. Best time to get me is in the morning between 8 AM and noon.
As this Lincoln case progresses in the court system I will give updates on this blog. This is a landmark case and will go to the supreme court, so pay attention. It has the potential to overturn about 8 decades of persecution of the little guy by agencies that really have NO JURISDICTION to act like they do.
A Special thanks to the people who punched the PayPal button and gave me some financial support while I was in Lincoln. You know who you are and I am very grateful.
Paul Stramer KC7MEZ