Radio Direction Finding

The other day a reader brought up the fact that my article on 100% secure comms was incorrect because even though it was encrypted it could still be heard and direction found(DF). I couldn’t disagree with him so I edited my write up some.

I started to dig into radio direction finding some after that. I wanted to see how big a threat this really is and how quickly you could be DF using horrible radio procedures.

So the cheapest and most common way to DF someone or something is the use of a yagi antenna and a handheld radio or receiver with some sort of S meter. You point the antenna in the direction you get the strongest signal from. You shoot an Azimuth in the direction the signal is strongest and put that Azimuth on your map. You do this multiple times from multiple locations (multiple people working together at once) and where your Azimuth intersect should be the location of the signal…… maybe. This is slow and not very productive if there isn’t a constant signal being sent out…..(hint hint)

The video below is off the shelf DF equipment. I have ZERO experience with this but by judging by the video it works great and quick!…. with a constant known signal (hint hint)

This video is a military system. The video doesn’t really show its capabilities but you should consider its probably the best technology out there. I would like to know the speed of this system and the accuracy of the signal location….. unless I can get someone who has used it i will not have that information. After seeing what off the shelf can do I would say this would possibly be double the off the shelf equipment.

So am I saying you are basically doomed and don’t have team comms??


The technology used against a team will depend on how much attention the team brings on themselves and also how much resources the teams opponent has to put against said team.

If you are a quiet group in the Mts not causing problems the chance of you getting DF are pretty slim I believe.

But you and your team still needs to practice proper radio security.

You do not need to be on the radio for everything.

Everyone in your team does NOT need to have a radio.

Shorter broadcasts are better.

SMS messages are even better.

There are other things but we will save them for later.

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