*Simple Semi-'secure' Communications*

By Stryder

26 May 2004


When we camp as a family, which is pretty often!, there are lots of times when we are away form the campsite and out of touch with each other. Sure we all carry FRS radios, nowadays almost every camper does, but sometimes it’s an ice run that my wife needs to take while I’m on a hike with the kids and we’re farther than the FRS can reach. So what do we do? Write a note at the campsite? Well, yes and no. We wanted something simple but a little more secure. It didn’t have to be elaborate or convey a lot of information and it didn’t have to be "super secret" just something ‘different’ that didn’t lay our plans right out in the open for anyone who walked into our campsite.

What we did was take some wooden clothespins and hang them on the line out back, rain and shine, night and day, for a while to get them good and weathered. Then we wrote on them some of the simple things that we wanted to convey as messages – "Meet Spot" (we always have a family meeting spot picked out),"Water" (getting water from agreed location) "Store", "Hiking", "Beach" (all pretty self explanatory), 30M (1/2 hr.), 60M (1 hr.), etc. So then we simply take a pin and clip it onto the camp stove. That’s the first place we usually go when we get back to camp and the message is there, plain as day to us and not so obvious to others. Does this work for every message and all the time? – NO. But is it simple and convey the information we need to convey camping most of the time relatively securely? – YES.

So what was the next logical step? Adapt that same system to simple communication around the AO. So, the house is not safe for whatever reason. We have to bug and we are apart. What to do? A pin with the same basic information we are used to conveying and have agreed on pinned to a tree or some shrubs in a pre-agreed upon area is very difficult to see.


Yes, there are pins in both of the pictures above!

But if you know what you should be looking for and where, it’s easy to see:

Those three pins with some colored wax from a crayon and a word or two can carry a lot of information if the "code" is agreed to ahead of time.

The same method works in a more urban environment.



Again, in a hurry and from a distance with a carefully chosen spot unless you are really looking or really trained these simple clothes pins are hard to spot. Almost like the ‘purloined letter gambit.’

Now, get out and train like your life depended on it – it does!

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