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  #61  
Old 08-21-2015, 11:19 PM
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  #62  
Old 09-02-2015, 06:32 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Default The original repairman!

Hello
This is Terry Sofian. I wrote the original Prime Base Repairman almost two decades ago! It's nice to see that a couple of years ago it was still being discussed. In the time since I wrote it I've looked at the original module more than a few times and even had a campaign get all the way to, and thru-the base.

It is still one of my three favorite published modules for the game. I think the original authors did an outstanding job with it and what I did was nothing more than tune it up and put some new tires on it.

That being said in the years since I wrote the article I have learned a hell of a lot. There is a lot more I would love to do to the module.

I've been reading through this thread and a lot of what has been said makes a lot of sense. Some I disagree with and some of the points caused me to thump the palm of my hand repeatedly against my forehead!

I am going to run through the thread again and make some notes and post a massive reply, which will also include new ideas and thoughts on the original module.

Just in case anyone is curious here is my Linkedin Profile with my part of my resume https://www.linkedin.com/profile/vie...ve_tab_profile
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  #63  
Old 09-04-2015, 08:46 PM
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This is one way I imagine the mission annex appearing, as a network of interconnected tunnels with bays to store equipment inside of.

Blue is large tunnels and bays for storing or moving material about. Red is life supporting electrical and ventilation. Green is pedestrian tunnels. Yellow is a survival shelter in case of tunnel collapse or other hazard.
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  #64  
Old 09-05-2015, 09:08 AM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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That makes good sense. The area would have to be large and well subdivided as different types of environments for preservation. It will also make construction easier and the general structure would be much more safe.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:13 PM
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Default More thoughts on Prime Base Staffing

Staffing and a few other ideas

In the original module the Grand Deception was a key part of play. The deal was that the top level of all three cylinders was converted into the appearance of a wrecked base. It was also supposed to indicate that there was a reactor and that the reactor shielding had failed.
This is a great idea and a really serious issue for any players trying to unravel the mystery of what happened to the Base. I suggested some tweaks about 20 years ago when I wrote. Over the last generation I have occasionally thought about Prime Base and the Grand Deception and have a few comments and corrections to add to the discussion.
Let’s start with the three “transcores” or transportation cores. As these were written there are a number of issues with them. The Life and Operations cylinders have transcores that consist of a group of 8 passenger elevators, a freight elevator and a set of stairs. The Support cylinder has fewer elevators and a ramp. According to the text the elevators are not on emergency power. This means that if the base loses power the only way to get up and down are stairs in two of the cylinders and the ramp in Support. So any heavy equipment will need to either be dragged up flights of stairs or taken up the ramp in Support and then humped over to the place it is needed.
The text says these transcores are not primarily structural, but that makes a limited amount of sense. They will need to be strong enough to support a number of high speed passenger elevators, a 16 ton freight elevator and a wide staircase. The square transcore structure makes this a bit difficult. A hollow tube would make more sense. The whole 8 elevator system; some of which open in each direction, doesn’t really make much sense and just complicate everything. Also eight elevators for a structure the size of the cylinders seems a bit excessive. I would skip the staircase and go with a central bank of elevators surrounded by a ramp. The ramp will have a flat landing section on each level. The freight elevator opens to the ramp. The passenger elevators will open to the opposite side of the cylinder. The core can be sealed at each level by drop down fire doors that close off the fronts of the elevators as well as the entrance to the ramp. This will prevent the transcore from becoming a conduit for heat, smoke and flame in the event of a fire.
It also means that there has to be emergency staircases someplace else in the base. I would go with a staircase at each end of the tubes that connect the cylinders. This allows the staircases to be separate from the basic structure of the cylinders and they only have a small entrance that disrupts the strength of the cylinders. Self-closing fire doors with panic bars will close off the staircases and in the event of really serious issues there will be heavy remotely controlled drop down doors.
This change up in the vertical movement systems of the base makes the Grand Deception a lot easier. In the module there was concern about intruders tapping against the transcore walls and hearing an echo. Even in the original module I don’t think that is likely, but in this case they will be banging against either the structural portion of the tube, or the heavy drop down fire barriers. The transformation of the transcores into a fake damaged nuclear reactor would consist of some paint and some radioactive material brought up from the radioactive material storage associated with the operation of the cyclotron. Also since everyone is going to die, or has already died putting a few corpses in radiation gear near the damaged reactor before setting the entire place on fire would help sell the story. Its brutal but the event called for brutal solutions.
Another issue that could be easily fixed is the problems caused by the farm on Level 1 of Support. It really doesn’t make sense to have the farm on the top level. It does make sense to a warehouse which “supports” the other activities on Level I of the other two cylinders. This would be all the items needed in the decontamination area of the Base entrance, medical supplies for the medical section in Operations. It also gives a place where items that might be needed in a hurry for surface activities. It is a big space for these things, but it also means that instead of trying to explain why there is a farm that can’t possibly supply either enough food or enough replacement oxygen to the people in the base having a great big warehouse (from which everything that wasn’t nailed down has been removed) makes a lot more sense.
The Grand Deception calls for the top three levels to look like they had been abandoned after being heavily damaged by fire. To sell this (and to make it possible) the automated fire systems would all have been turned off. The sprinklers would have been valved off and drained on the top levels. All the extinguishers were either removed or just discharged before the fires were set. To make the fires actually burn a lot of material from throughout the base would have had to have been brought in, since the base was built to be as close to fire proof as possible. This means that almost every room will have either had a drum of flammable liquid or a high pressure gas cylinder of flammable gas thrown in and opened before the matches were struck. This would also have reduced the hazard to the rest of the base, since there will be a lot less hazardous materials around. It also means that the upper level of the base will have a highly toxic and possibly oxygen deficient environment. Too this either a timer would need to be placed or a person close to death, but not too close, would need to stay on Level1 to ignite the fires. They would be sealed in as their compatriots closed off the rest of the base from below. Once the fire starts it will continue to burn until all the fuel is used up or all the oxygen. Either way the entire level will be filled with toxic smoke and combustion products such as CO, CO2, NO2, probably phosgene and phosphine. The upper levels of the base have to be absolutely sealed from the lower levels or those products will fill the entire base. Even after a few hundred years there will no place for this gas to go so the level will still be filled with a stew of toxic gases. The fire will probably produce an overpressure within the upper level that will possibly leak out over time but there will be very little gas moving back in, so the toxic gases will not be diluted very much.
I honestly can’t see how a team can survive long enough to explore unless they have close circuit breathing apparatus or a nearly unlimited number of bottles for SCBAs.
Instead of the fire perhaps a couple of claymores or some grenades were put in every room. This will give a goodly level of destruction without making the top level totally deadly.

I got back to counting positions in the base. On page 35 of the book detailing OPS Cylinder level 5 (Communications Intercept Center). It is broken up into CW, Crypto, Microwave, Satellite, Media, Voice, Recording and Traffic Analysis. In the book it calls out 16 + 20 + 40 + 100+ 12 or 188 operators without staffing for Microwave, Crypto and Traffic Analysis being specifically called out. The statement for these is made that these numbers are “at one time”. So this is around 200 people right there, on a single shift. The Module states that there is capacity for 448 active staff and actually had 247 staffers at the time of the war. If the staffing numbers are correct then a 24 hour operation with 3 eight hour shifts would require 600 staffers for this one level of the base alone. That is more than the base is set to house in total. So I’m thinking that it might require three cylinders with accommodations, one being set for mostly singles rather than families so perhaps a total of 1500-1600 active staffer and about 1000 dependents.

So a few more tweaks
Let’s go back to first principals. Prime base would absolutely not have any single points of failure. The most obviously place where they have a single point of failure is the fusion power plant. There is discussion about the use of an Emergency Power Grid. However since the Project doles out fusion power generators like doctors give out lollypops there is no reason why there is a single power unit in Prime Base. I would go with two complete physical plants, power, water, air. Even in these plants there would be some redundancies. I would have three fusion plants in each location. The entire plant can be run by any two fusion units. So an entire triple unit can be taken off line for repairs or individual units so long as two of the six are up and running. The Emergency Power Grid can run off of a single unit. Each cylinder also has a number of vehicle power units available that can run the emergency power for that cylinder. In this I am thinking about how a warship has a highly survivable power system that consists of multiple busses and various types of emergency generators. Prime Base should be at least as well provided.
The hospital is a mess. The concept is that the hospital is designed only to serve the base personnel and that the staff here is the “second string” with the very best physicians-especially specialists being in the field teams. This doesn’t make any sense. The field team medical folks are likely to be working on a shoestring. Even after only five years most medical supplies and equipment will be used up, destroyed in the crossfire, ruined by lack of proper storage or maintenance or otherwise rendered useless. The only thing planners could have counted on was the items the Project would have preserved. There will certainly be some well-equipped field hospital teams, but these will still not be able to rival the facilities at a base, especially Prime Base. Prime Base should have the very best medical teams, if for no other reason than to consult with the field teams. Also with the aviation assets critical patients can be flown back to the base for treatment or physicians can be flown out to field units for special care as needed.
In canon there are two operating theaters in the level 1 Ops in Medical Screening, four standard and two overflow in the Hospital in Life. Since there are two overflow operating suites in medical it must be assumed that planners would staff for at least six and possibly eight simultaneous medical operations. So if it takes 8 people to conduct an operation this is 48 to 64 for a single shift. Surgeons can be counted on to work 12 hour shifts so that means if maximum use is anticipated for over 1 shift we are looking at 100-130 people. This is just the surgery staff. If everyone in the base gets a physical once a year that means about 3,000 hours of work for a physician or similar skilled clinician. That is basically a full time position and a half. That doesn’t include the lab techs needed to process the tests. Dental cleanings will be similar, but those are twice a year so we can see a staff of several dental hygienists as well as a couple of general dentists, a couple of first rate oral surgeons and an orthodontist or two, so the Dental staff will be at least a dozen or perhaps a bit more. There will also be a couple of optometrists and at least one ophthalmologist, maybe two. In addition there will be a group of staff phycologists and related disciplines (living underground and waiting for the end of the world has got to be depressing. There will also be some veterinarians. These will take care of animals in the farms and laboratories as well the pats that people will bring with them. In my view there is no way that people won’t bring pets. Animal companionship will be a good treatment for depression and will lighten the burden of the children, especially. I give the medical group as being somewhere between 200 and 250 staffers, plus dependents.
So let’s talk about the fire department of Prime Base. Prevention will be the goal of this group. They will be servicing the various detection and suppression systems. Every extinguisher in the place will need to be visually inspected once a month and serviced annually. The detectors will each get tested annually. The alarms and such tested annually. Piping and valving will get tested on anything from a weekly to an annual basis (at least they won’t need back flow preventers). The fire water pumps will need to be tested as well. In the outside world Firefighters work Kelly Shifts (24 hours on and a variable number of days off depending upon where they are in the cycle. Paramedics usually work 12 hour shifts. I can see the base going either way. The canon is that everyone in the base would be trained to fight fires. This makes a great deal of sense but the problem becomes one of equipment. How much turn out gear will the base have? I can see the base training everyone to fight “incipient” fires (which are the first stages of a fire) and then sealing the fire barriers, letting the sprinklers do their work and the fully equipped full time fire fighters going in for aggressive attacks against the fires. To do this will require full crews of firefighers, probably based more on Navy Damage Control than upon civilian firefighting pre 1990. So three man hose teams (two) a gas free engineer and such on each shift, plus a couple of paramedics. As I said before I would put at least one firehouse in each cylinder and in annexes as well. So this will be, let’s say each station has ten staffer and there are ten of them and they are running Kelly shifts so that is 10X10X3 or 300 fire fighters. This is probably really excessive so we can halve it to 150.
Let’s talk about Facilities Management personnel. Prime base is a huge complex and complex is the operative word. It has everything from a hospital to food service to warehousing to research laboratories to what amounts to several luxury apartment buildings. They also have the added problem that they cannot just call in a contractor to do the work. The base has to be totally self-contained so that when the balloon goes up they can fix any problem that could possibly arise. I worked at Monsanto’s Saint Louis campuses which housed around 5000 employees and contractors. I was part of the contract company that provided full service Facilities Management to the campuses (which included support for the Monsanto leased aircraft hangar with its five aircraft, a research farm, several leased properties and a large warehouse facility. The company I worked for had over 100 people on that contract, which I think is probably a fairly reasonable number, divided into a main day shift and smaller second and third shifts.
The Mission of Prime base is to support the field teams. To do this they have a number of operation centers within the base, so let’s say they can run six simultaneous operation centers as well as one that manages the base itself. A State level command center might have as many as 30 or even more people in it, but I have run regional command posts with as few as 10. So this will be three shifts with seven operational groups with maybe 15 people per shift on average. That is another 315 people.
Branch operations is another group, and this might well be 30 people or even more per branch, so let’s say there are 200 staffers in the group.
That is 1600 staffers already, so now I am thinking four Life Cylinders!
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  #66  
Old 09-07-2015, 05:21 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Default Topside at Prime Base

Besides what goes on below the surface in the base itself and its annexes what goes on above the ground?

In the original module the Project basically abandons the surface having no combat power, limited personnel access and even limited amounts of sensors.

I can see the lack of combat power. Building a Maginot Line Fort in the middle of the US if you aren't the Federal Government would raise some eyebrows. The access issues comes from the problem that if you make it hard to get in you make it hard to get out.

The final point is a little tougher to explain. The entire upper surface of the base should be under direct observation by as many instruments as possible. The question becomes how to get the data from the sensors to the base. Hard wiring will work but it means that an enemy who finds one sensor can follow the wires back to the base.

Another method would be to use something omni-directional like radio, but that will also leave a big signature footprint.

Finally something tight beamed and unidirectional like microwaves. These could be beamed to a tower at the edge of line of sight and then beamed back to a receiver that is wired into the base
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  #67  
Old 09-07-2015, 05:47 PM
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The final point is a little tougher to explain. The entire upper surface of the base should be under direct observation by as many instruments as possible.
Agreed.

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The question becomes how to get the data from the sensors to the base. Hard wiring will work but it means that an enemy who finds one sensor can follow the wires back to the base.

Another method would be to use something omni-directional like radio, but that will also leave a big signature footprint.

Finally something tight beamed and unidirectional like microwaves. These could be beamed to a tower at the edge of line of sight and then beamed back to a receiver that is wired into the base
There currently isn't any way to move significant amounts of data through earth without wires or some other kind of physical passage. Soil and rock scatters EM waves really well, and even the best case (HF radio, as far as I know) will still have limited bandwidth and a poor data rate, especially if you are not using a directional transmitter. And if you ARE using a directional transmitter then it will point right to the base even better than any wire would!

Realistically, a series of wires could be run to the base in a manner that would be practically impossible to trace. Anyone able to follow a zig-zagged cable through hundreds of meters of rock is going to get to you anyway.
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:57 PM
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Let me explain my idea in a bit more detail.

The top areas of the base has a sophisticated sensor array. This array transmits its data to a microwave tower off in the distance. That tower re-transmits the data back to a well hidden that is wired to the base. Since the receiver is well hidden it will be difficult for the bad guys to get a good start point to trace the wires.
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  #69  
Old 09-07-2015, 06:14 PM
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Let me explain my idea in a bit more detail.

The top areas of the base has a sophisticated sensor array. This array transmits its data to a microwave tower off in the distance. That tower re-transmits the data back to a well hidden that is wired to the base. Since the receiver is well hidden it will be difficult for the bad guys to get a good start point to trace the wires.
Is that supposed to be "well hidden antenna"? I am going to assume that it is. Here's the problem.

If your goal is to make tracing the wire difficult, then the wire from the "well hidden antenna" should not be that much harder to find than the wires from the sensors. Remember that the antenna cannot be THAT well hidden if it is still going to function!

And the cost for whatever improvement you have is a whole bunch of radiating sources that are relatively easy to detect and locate, all of which can be crippled by killing the easily identifiable "microwave tower off in the distance". Remember that your antennas are waging a constant war between directionality and size, unless you are putting a pretty big array on all of these they are going to be radiating all over the place. And if you ARE putting big arrays on them, well then stealth won't matter anyway.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:16 PM
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Is that supposed to be "well hidden antenna"? I am going to assume that it is. Here's the problem.

If your goal is to make tracing the wire difficult, then the wire from the "well hidden antenna" should not be that much harder to find than the wires from the sensors. Remember that the antenna cannot be THAT well hidden if it is still going to function!

And the cost for whatever improvement you have is a whole bunch of radiating sources that are relatively easy to detect and locate, all of which can be crippled by killing the easily identifiable "microwave tower off in the distance". Remember that your antennas are waging a constant war between directionality and size, unless you are putting a pretty big array on all of these they are going to be radiating all over the place. And if you ARE putting big arrays on them, well then stealth won't matter anyway.
Most of those points are well made.

Hiding a receiver can be done. Build a thing that looks like a rock out of what they make radomes out of and there ya go. In fact the Project probably has a number of hidden arrays like this scattered around prime base to support the communications module when it goes active. Actually I figure the antennae in the communications module are all concealed by this sort of thing even when they are in the raised and active position, as much as they can be depending upon wave length
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:49 PM
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Would not Receiver to wire, wire to re-transmitter, re-transmitter to re-transmitter, to receiver to wire..........solve most of the detection problems...... It doesn't make it uncomplicated.

Also if you are using Omni directional burst transmissions along with frequency hopping ........like SINCGARS....... detection is near impossible and the direction of the intended receiver is unknown too.

SINCGARS transmits over a range of one to 1500 channels.. You can use one channel for instance to do direct with a civil authority. Normal operation is in frequency hopping mode. You upload the "Key" that tells the microprocessor in the SINCGARS radio which frequencies are true and for how long. Most are transmitted on for nanoseconds individually, thus you need to know precisely which frequencies and duration or you get nothing... It all sounds like solar static and bleed off from everything else transmitting radio noise.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:45 PM
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Hiding a receiver can be done. Build a thing that looks like a rock out of what they make radomes out of and there ya go. In fact the Project probably has a number of hidden arrays like this scattered around prime base to support the communications module when it goes active. Actually I figure the antennae in the communications module are all concealed by this sort of thing even when they are in the raised and active position, as much as they can be depending upon wave length
You can always try and conceal an antenna, but you can't permanently conceal one in a convincing way - the materials you can easily transmit through are not generally the kind you can do convincing foliage out of. There are some recent developments that can last a few months at a time, but that is about it, and that isn't really any better than the sensors you want to install.

And radiating sources are still relatively easy to spot, with relatively simple instrumentation, but more on that later.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:51 PM
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Would not Receiver to wire, wire to re-transmitter, re-transmitter to re-transmitter, to receiver to wire..........solve most of the detection problems...... It doesn't make it uncomplicated.
Remember that every link is another chance for something to go wrong. Indeed, the more links you have, the easier it is for someone to deliberately render you blind.

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Also if you are using Omni directional burst transmissions along with frequency hopping ........like SINCGARS....... detection is near impossible and the direction of the intended receiver is unknown too.

SINCGARS transmits over a range of one to 1500 channels.. You can use one channel for instance to do direct with a civil authority. Normal operation is in frequency hopping mode. You upload the "Key" that tells the microprocessor in the SINCGARS radio which frequencies are true and for how long. Most are transmitted on for nanoseconds individually, thus you need to know precisely which frequencies and duration or you get nothing... It all sounds like solar static and bleed off from everything else transmitting radio noise.
Yes and no. We have a tendency to assume a certain superiority in our technology that is not always 100% true. SINCGARS is extremely difficult to detect... if you only have a limited time and instruments to catch it. If I have the right tools and the ability to park near a stationary transmitter, I can find it after a relative handful of transmissions. Remember that you are talking about a set of stationary transmitters - concealing the message is pretty easy, concealing their location is not.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:14 PM
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Remember that every link is another chance for something to go wrong. Indeed, the more links you have, the easier it is for someone to deliberately render you blind.
True, failure is in the system but, you would have an army of technicians available.

As for deliberate intent. No system is fool proof or survives first contact with a hostile force. Redundancy and simultaneous transmission. Sure, they go a signal; one, five, twenty, and echoes. Then they have to pin it down form all the camouflage and ground clutter. I would rather herd cats.

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Yes and no. We have a tendency to assume a certain superiority in our technology that is not always 100% true. SINCGARS is extremely difficult to detect... if you only have a limited time and instruments to catch it. If I have the right tools and the ability to park near a stationary transmitter, I can find it after a relative handful of transmissions. Remember that you are talking about a set of stationary transmitters - concealing the message is pretty easy, concealing their location is not.
You would have to have a system that could scan the entirety of the radio spectrum; then discern nanoseconds of deliberate transmission from radioactivity or solar activity, even stellar activity. The time spacing between the deliberately chopped up radio is also deliberately at different intervals. Far too fast for a human, it takes a computer processor to gather it all, and render it back into a coherent, properly ordered transmission. Note, it is also encrypted too. This way private snuffy can't eavesdrop on the Corps commanders push to Divisions, separate Brigades, and task forces. If you don't have the encryption; you don't have the time (satellite cesium clock regulated), the frequency hop, or the message unlocked to determine if you heard the noise from a star that died a billion years ago or .000000001 of second transmission for "Radio check, over".


This makes radio intercept unlikely in the extreme.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:25 PM
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True, failure is in the system but, you would have an army of technicians available.
And the point is not to risk them. If your concern is being located, sending a guy out a door is the last thing you want to do!

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As for deliberate intent. No system is fool proof or survives first contact with a hostile force. Redundancy and simultaneous transmission.
But it still isn't better than just running a wire. I can't believe how often I have to tell this to junior engineers, most of the time getting fancy causes you more problems than it solves. If your current widget solves the current problem, don't go looking to defeat molemen capable of following a cable through rock down to the horizontal pipe it then follows to the base. As you mentioned, you have experienced staff, why burden them with an overly-complex system when a simple one will do just as well and still leave them free to respond to that hostile force?

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Sure, they go a signal; one, five, twenty, and echoes. Then they have to pin it down form all the camouflage and ground clutter. I would rather herd cats.

You would have to have a system that could scan the entirety of the radio spectrum; then discern nanoseconds of deliberate transmission from radioactivity or solar activity, even stellar activity. The time spacing between the deliberately chopped up radio is also deliberately at different intervals. Far too fast for a human, it takes a computer processor to gather it all, and render it back into a coherent, properly ordered transmission. Note, it is also encrypted too. This way private snuffy can't eavesdrop on the Corps commanders push to Divisions, separate Brigades, and task forces. If you don't have the encryption; you don't have the time (satellite cesium clock regulated), the frequency hop, or the message unlocked to determine if you heard the noise from a star that died a billion years ago or .000000001 of second transmission for "Radio check, over".


This makes radio intercept unlikely in the extreme.
We're not talking about radio intercept, we're talking about radio location. We're also talking about relatively simple blocking just by raising the noise level. RF was my bread and butter for years, first as a technician and then as an engineer. If PB is hull down and acting like a rock, I can sit there all day and listen to those sensors chatter back and forth at each other. And if I have the resources to endanger PB then odds are pretty good that I have the resources to do this - it takes less than you might think if you have someone reasonably knowledgeable. And the fancier your system gets, the more power it needs and the easier it is to find.

So again... why not just run wires through the rock? If they can tunnel after them, won't you already know it and take action against them?
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  #76  
Old 09-08-2015, 01:27 PM
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Default Fallout over the base location

Someone brought up the possibility that the base is in the fallout pattern from a known nuclear target. In a way I think this is actually a very good thing. If the base gets a dusting of fallout it is even less likely to have visitors. The base itself is totally protected from the threat this would pose.

By the end of the five year fallow period a lot of the fallout will have decayed (basically everything with a half life of 6 months or less will have undergone its ten half life cycles and be gone). Weathering will also help, at least to a certain extent.

However I propose that the fallout pattern was not as predicted and the base wasn't hit by any fallout. At first this was viewed as a blessing-Then the refugees started showing up
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
Remember that every link is another chance for something to go wrong. Indeed, the more links you have, the easier it is for someone to deliberately render you blind.
I would think that Prime Base would have many, many transmitters. These would be spread about to conceal the location of the Base..... The transmission antennas are expendable. They spent a lot of time and money on the unmanned transmission site in Final Watch. I would expect that Prime Base can use directional antennas or burst transmission to Morrowsat to communicate through a retransmission site. A retransmission site would have Omni and directional antennas built in. You could find it but, any one of several directional antennas could be point back toward Prime Base or another retrains site, or a U.S. facility, or a precoordinated trans site for a Combined Group.

TMP excels in sophisticated over the top and elaborate schemes.... So any of this isn't out of character for the Morrow Project.


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Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
Yes and no. We have a tendency to assume a certain superiority in our technology that is not always 100% true. SINCGARS is extremely difficult to detect... if you only have a limited time and instruments to catch it. If I have the right tools and the ability to park near a stationary transmitter, I can find it after a relative handful of transmissions. Remember that you are talking about a set of stationary transmitters - concealing the message is pretty easy, concealing their location is not.
That finds one transmitter. If that transmitter is a retransmitter or one that links to another omnidirectional burst transmitter in a chain what did you gain?
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:47 AM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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That was pretty much what I was thinking, a network of nodes. Most nodes can be sacrificed. Unless the bad guys are really lucky they can hunt through nodes without destroying the overall intergity of the network or finding Prime base.

During the pre 1989 era the nodes can consist of numerous microwave towers. If they have an extra horn who would know? In a more modern project there can be all sorts of cell towers and such.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:05 PM
cosmicfish cosmicfish is offline
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I'm not going to press this any more since you guys are so enthusiastic about it, I've worked with defense communications for a long time now and everything about this screams "danger danger danger!" to me. Overly complicated and massively counterproductive, as it will make the base MORE obvious while simultaneously introducing unnecessary complexity in a vital network.
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:28 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Cosmicfish
Given what you say how does Prime Base, before the ultra kaboom, gather all the electronic signals that it is designed to do? It is collecting radio (everything from CB to Ham to commercial and military) television, microwave and satellite downloads.

There have to be some serious receiver arrays that are active during the everyday period before the war starts, as well as collecting as much as possible until everything goes dark. This means the arrays will need to be wide spectrum, they will need to be able to survive at least some level of EMP and they must be able to send a lot of band with into Prime. They have to pick up signals from every direction. It should be redundant. In addition they must not look out of place in 1982 to a vacationing guy from Bell Telephone driving across the west with his wife Blanche and son little Jimmy. Finally if at all possible the data path should not lead someone to Prime Base, before, during or after the war.

Maybe there are numerous arrays that are connected by by buried land lines to the base, but this seems like it would be a really easy path to follow
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:35 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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These are the kind of arrays Prime Base needs to do the mission as described







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Old 09-10-2015, 07:51 PM
cosmicfish cosmicfish is offline
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Originally Posted by tsofian View Post
Cosmicfish
Given what you say how does Prime Base, before the ultra kaboom, gather all the electronic signals that it is designed to do? It is collecting radio (everything from CB to Ham to commercial and military) television, microwave and satellite downloads.
This was always one of the weak points in the PB concept, and it is somewhat related to the problem with connecting sensors to PB through free-space communications channels.

Yes, there is a big problem with having all the antenna arrays that PB would need to do the aforementioned monitoring. They would be all but impossible to conceal and would draw attention to the site - remember that PB has to survive Russian satellite scrutiny, and there is no way to keep massive and functioning dishes and antenna arrays from getting painted as a missile target. The only solution I could see for this would be to disguise them as a commercial satellite comms facility some substantial distance away and run some subterranean cables to the actual facility - a daunting task but they did it for the Chunnel! And then give PB a secondary, dormant facility that can be unpacked once the shooting stops if the primary is taken out.

And at least that would be a non-radiating facility. There is a risk to finding any cables, but even with burst communications, a fixed transmitter is going to be identified before too long. And that is why I would hardline the security/environmental sensors - you can conceal a cable a lot more effectively than you can conceal constantly operating transmitters. You're shouting at the universe, someone is going to hear.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:06 PM
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Why not just have them under camouflage until the War has begun or finished?

War plus 30 days blow the panels and raise the dish.

The exposure modules in the module are already hidden by fake doors and rise up to be used.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:14 PM
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Why not just have them under camouflage until the War has begun or finished?

War plus 30 days blow the panels and raise the dish.

The exposure modules in the module are already hidden by fake doors and rise up to be used.
That would be the "secondary, dormant facility" I was talking about. But if it is dormant it cannot monitor before or during the war, and that is perhaps the most important period anyway.

And by the way, remember that all of these antennas and arrays are going to require some degree of maintenance. If I was curious about an antenna, I might sabotage it and see if anyone comes out to fix it.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:31 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Default Cover for the base

This has and still does bother me. I liked my hospice idea, but can see the down sides. I don't like the ranch for the reasons that have been talked about since 1987 (Dear Lord almost 30 years ago!)

So let's go back to first principals:

The cover has to last a couple of decades
It has to allow for a large number of people to come in and a much smaller number to go out of the base during normal prewar operations
It cannot attract undue attention before the war either from the public, the government or the Soviets looking for a place to drop excess nuclear materials
It cannot offer much in the way of shelter or resources to survivors of the war

We know the original base was built under cover of a mine. If as SGT suggests the base was staffed and provisioned in one step and then walled off until the war was over no other cover is needed. I am not so certain the base was staffed and sealed, but it does make life a whole lot easier and it requires absolutely no cover story after the mine closes.

If on the other hand there is going to be some in and out, and especially if the base needs to be resupplied during the prewar period then there needs to be a cover story that allows for it. I think the base is at least partly open during this period. The march of technology during the period seems to be to require that the base be open. New technology, especially computers, and communications gear, as well as drugs and medical devices will be developed between when the base is completed and the war starts.

The ghost town idea got used in Desert Search and seems a nogo anyway. It would attract people.

The hospital idea I see the flaws with, but perhaps it can be modified (more later on that)

The ranch, is again, out-although if the ranch was not on top of the ridge that might make it a more viable option

The hazardous materials storage facility (it would be a TSDF or Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility technically) has some things in its favor but will attract regulators (a hospital would as well) and possibly protesters before the war

I am wondering if a simple salvage yard would maybe fit the bill. The idea would be that the salvage yard would turn over its material very quickly so instead of acres of wrecks just screaming "parts and shelter" there is a very small amount of material that has arrived and not yet been processed and shipped back out. The facility consists of a small yard, a number of really beat up tin buildings which contain the tools used to break down what every is being salvaged, (maybe kitchen appliances, or something else really useless in the post war world-how about a place that recycles phone books?) Wait I like the phone book idea. The "books" come in great big trailers. The plant has a couple of giant shredders that reduce the books to mulch which is then shipped out in other big trucks.

There is another shredder that isn't. Its the secret entrance to the base. The trucks with supplies or staffers mate up with the "shredder".

This facility would have maybe a dozen "employees. When the big kaboom happens the twelve guys throw some torches into the facility and close the hatch behind them. All that is left is the burned out remains of a couple of Quonset huts.

"nothing to see here, move along"
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:55 PM
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Change the location to western Missouri. The construction of the site uses the cover story of a limestone mine about 500 to 1000 feet deep. The mine closes once the excavation is done. The site remains dormant for a few years. The site is bought by a new company that modifies the mine to be used as a underground storage facility and office space. A small portion is leased out while deeper in the mine the base is outfitted with the equipment, personnel and stores. The storage company files bankruptcy and the leases are evicted. The base is sealed. A "front office" is established to "monitor the mine" (and the war) and the items stored (the base that is in cyro sleep).

Missouri is a central location, close to the geographic center of the lower 48 states and the population center of the US as well.

Now the WoK do not have to travel across the Rockies to get to PB. PB is in a state close to their home area (area 7 (4th) - Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc.)

Last edited by RandyT0001; 09-11-2015 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:57 PM
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If you need a covert way to get transmissions to and from PB, you could always use the AT&T Long Line Microwave Repeater system that was built across the country in the 50's and 60's. It was shut down in 1984, but most of the sites where sold off, which doesn't mean that MPI couldn't have bought most of them up and continued to use them well into the 2000's

Since the list of industrialists is long and full of very important companies, it would stand to reason that AT&T would be on this list somewhere.

There is a series of towers that runs thru northern Nevada south of PB. It would be easy to camouflage a single thru this system.

A good history and further site links : http://www.coldwarcomms.org/

You can also poke around on this site to get the locations of the current system : http://www.city-data.com/towers/other-Nevada.html

Last edited by nuke11; 09-11-2015 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nuke11 View Post
Since the list of industrialists is long and full of very important companies, it would stand to reason that AT&T would be on this list somewhere.
Does AT&T maintain the Defense Service Network (DSN)? The hardened landlines that connect all installations.
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:46 PM
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I am ok with the ranch cover story.

Cattle and sheep doesn't call for a lot workers. Those workers have a place in PB as well. They are the hands on teachers of animal husbandry. Likewise, there is still good reason for trucks, even large semi trailers to come and go. Feed mostly, you have to lay in supplies of hay and grains for cattle and working horses. Manure is shipped out in great loads by semi trailer to fertilizer companies. Cattle are sold in the late fall to meat packing plants and that is another reason for semis coming and going.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:00 AM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuke11 View Post
If you need a covert way to get transmissions to and from PB, you could always use the AT&T Long Line Microwave Repeater system that was built across the country in the 50's and 60's. It was shut down in 1984, but most of the sites where sold off, which doesn't mean that MPI couldn't have bought most of them up and continued to use them well into the 2000's

Since the list of industrialists is long and full of very important companies, it would stand to reason that AT&T would be on this list somewhere.

There is a series of towers that runs thru northern Nevada south of PB. It would be easy to camouflage a single thru this system.

A good history and further site links : http://www.coldwarcomms.org/

You can also poke around on this site to get the locations of the current system : http://www.city-data.com/towers/other-Nevada.html
That is EXACTLY what I am looking for! That should be perfect. Thank yo so much
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