View Full Version : Signalling?

04-19-2004, 19:12
Anyone want to post some thoughts on signalling, so we can then use those methods to get the attention of folks to post more in this forum? Its been pretty dead in here lately.

04-19-2004, 19:26
thoughts... if we want more participation in here let's think about changing the name.. maybe something like.. free beer here or the popular... naked women want to meet you

that kind of stuff always works when people send it to me.

Team Sergeant
04-19-2004, 20:35
Has been really quiet in here.

Signals, Day

Signals, Night

I'll do some thinking and get back with some ideas.


The Reaper
04-20-2004, 10:32
Signals, Day:

Mirror. Hands down, the best. No batteries, compact, highly visible at extended ranges, directional. Downside: Can be broken, requires light source and line of sight to operate, can give away position or be "spoofed".

Signal Panel (VS-17 or Scarf). Excellent choice, very visible at moderate ranges when "flashed". Scarf is very compact. Downside: VS-17 bulky, range usually much less than mirror, line of sight, can be omnidirectional if not properly employed, unsecure.

Pyrotechnics/Fire. Can be very visible/audible at extended ranges. Line of sight to user not necessarily required. Downside: Heavy, single use only except for signal fires or smoke, definitely omnidirectional, easily spoofed and detected.

Other Visual Signal Markings. Stones, sticks, tracks, dyes, or other indicators visible from overhead. No batteries, possibly no equipment required. Made from indigenous materials. Excellent if scale/contrast is noteworthy to searchers. Downside: Definitely line of sight, may be detected or spoofed, may require security, time and energy to deploy.

Whistles/Noisemakers. Excellent at limited ranges, much better than shouting. No line of sight limitation. Lightweight, portable, possibly no batteries. Downside: Limited range, definitely omnidirectional, unsecure, easily spoofed or detected.

Voice. Very limited range, omnidirectional, no equipment required, fuller range of data transfer. Downside: Easily overused or damaged, range very limited, non-secure, easily detected or spoofed.

Hard Wire. Telephone, Telegraph, Computer, etc. Excellent means, permits voice or data transmission. Downside: May not be secure, requires support, infrastructure, power, access.

Radio. Range varies, but better than all but possibly mirror. Works day or night, virtually all conditions. Allows full range of commo, not just "here I am". May be fully or semi-secure. Downside: Requires batteries, prone to failure or detection, range/freq of some models limited.



04-20-2004, 11:18
Probably shouldn't get into it here but there are about a hundred different ways to incorporate night vision and thermal devices into signalling/marking techniques and procedures for:



Marking/Designation of targets

04-20-2004, 11:21
One of my favorites. The Phoenix Firefly.

04-20-2004, 11:22
And the IR version of the Photon 3. Good piece of kit.

04-20-2004, 11:29
Fox 40 whistle. Really high pitch. Can be heard nearly 3-4 times the distance of traditional ball type whistles.

Can also be heard better than traditional whistles when there is alot of shooting going on.

04-20-2004, 12:10
I know that when I flew in the Navy. I carried the standard loadout for a SV-2 Aviators Survival Vest, with a few added things as far as the signalling is concerned.

Smoke Devices/PenFlares/Chemlights(Green,Red,White and IR)
Signal Mirror
Old Style Orange Strobe
VS-17 Panel (wish I didnt have to turn that back in)
Survival Radio


04-20-2004, 14:28
Originally posted by shadowflyer
I ...Old Style Orange Strobe...

I seem to remember seeing one of those somewhere. :cool:

QRQ 30
04-20-2004, 15:45
Dye Marker. Also a good way to get revenge on a hotel that mistreats you. Al Kent used a couple in Pattaya, Thailand. They had to drain and scrub the pools.

If you use smoke don't use it on a dry LZ. More than one team has been burned off of their LZ.

Strobes are good for civilians. They aren't orange any more because they looked too much like tracers.

Pen Flares: only good for pre-arranged signals if you don't have a whistle or bugle. I think it lasts less tham five seconds. Not long enough to attract attention if someone isn't looking for it.

Banging on SCUBA Tanks: good diner bell for sharks!

BTW Razor: You mentioned emergency signalling on small lakes, the dye marker should be effective. It makes a lumuinescent chartreus slick on the water and spreads like an oil slick.

04-21-2004, 00:05
I can't recall the name(I am thinking buzz-saw?), but a chemlight on a piece of 550 chord, spun in a circle, is the best signaling device I have seen from an aircraft at night under goggles. It beats strobes, flares, flashlights, smoke,and just about anything in terms of distance and instant recognition.

04-21-2004, 10:48
Crew you are correct on the spinning chemlight technique. That is what they taught us Aircrew School for the Navy.


04-21-2004, 11:31
What is the most effective means of signalling w/o interception of signal?

Thank you,


QRQ 30
04-21-2004, 11:40
Originally posted by Solid
What is the most effective means of signalling w/o interception of signal?

Thank you,


IMO that would be a shielded, directional light. In training group we had a light gun that was about2 feet long and most of that was a shielding tube. It was about twoinches in diameter. It had a sight and the angle of visibility was very narrow, it was essentially line-of-sight.

Don't hold me to the dimensions since it was a long time ago, close to tom-tom and smoke signal times.

04-21-2004, 11:43
Could a mirror at night could be useful if the reciever team knows where to look, and provides artificial sunlight (light beams) onto the area?


The Reaper
04-21-2004, 13:06
Originally posted by Solid
What is the most effective means of signalling w/o interception of signal?

Thank you,


Face to face meeting, or a runner.

Point to point hard wire with encrypted signal.


04-21-2004, 13:34
Thank you Reaper. It's interesting how much military signalling techniques mimic those used by animals. I believe the most secure form of communication between animals is considered non-communication: ie, the pre-conditioned nature of the animals. It's most often found in pack animals. I suppose that its human equivalent would be the hard training of small groups to the point that certain actions became intuitive, I suppose like an Immediate Action drill.


04-22-2004, 00:40
I remember using a strobe inside a 203 tube to make it directional.
ISTR it was SOP for people.
The point about being mistaken for tracers is well thought of now though!
Anyway , all signals must be prearranged for just about anything or you are fucked.
Hi, I'm signalling, but you don't know what I mean, unless you're on my team?, DOESN'T work.
Mirrors are awesome, unless, broken...
Day/night flare is de rigour (or something), you want one.

Key West
04-22-2004, 10:30
Originally posted by QRQ 30
Banging on SCUBA Tanks: good diner bell for sharks!


Turning off my buddy's air also works really well at getting his attention.

QRQ 30
04-22-2004, 13:20
The light I spoke of yesterday is the SE-11. It was part of the DZ Kits and was primarily used for ground to air signalling to identify un-marked DZs LZs and water LZs. It was affectionately called the "Ray Gun" because it looked like one. It came with a supplementary red lens and red goggles which made it easy to see at night, if it were aimed properly.

I ran accross some interesting, mostly funny, stories of the ray gun last night. One was how an A-Camp was saved from a planned NVA attack because of someone playing with the ray gun and a FAC mistaking the light for ground fire. Air Strikes were called in and beaucoup dead NVA were discovered the next morning. Thes were having a pre-victory party. They had their parties early so all could attend, even if KIA in the operation.