Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Exchange the techniques and skills needed to walk the shadows. Post your guides and how-tos here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: Right behind you.
Contact:

Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Xanatos » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:49 pm

Is this post tl;dr? Fuck you, read it anyway. If you don't have time, put a reminder somewhere to look at it when you do have time.

We operatives are a dark lot in the sense that our lifestyle revolves around the night. However, each of us have a day life too that we have to maintain. This daily life often gets in the way and prevents us from opping as often as we'd like. And on the rare occasion we have the time to do an op we either lack the motivation, are out of shape or simply can't get into the "zone".
But just because we can't op enough doesn't mean we have to fall completely out of touch with ourselves. So for the next few weeks I'm going to be setting homework tasks that I expect each and every one of you to complete. Just simple exercises to help you stay sharp and in shape.
These assignments also extend to you visiting guests and silent lurkers - yes, you, the reader - I want you all to participate as well.


Lesson:

Last week's lesson was on Observation, but just as important as keen Vision is key Hearing. Our sense of hearing is one of our main tools of alertness on ops because, while us operatives have generally better night vision than the average person, we're still as blind as bats when it comes to fumbling around in the dark. And if we can hide in shadows, so can others.

Not only is it dark at night, but it's also very quiet. This means that even the minutest sounds travel farther than they normally would during the day and any sound made by an operative is amplified significantly. We operatives generally take better care to move silently during the night, which gives us an advantage in audible awareness (since the average clot moves around at night just as they would during the day, making them easier to hear). However, just as our eyes can deceive us, our ears can play tricks with us as well. It is not uncommon to hear unidentifiable sounds in the night, even within one's own house as they're drifting off to sleep. As mentioned previously, sound is amplified significantly at night meaning that the minutest sounds that we'd otherwise ignore suddenly become new experiences for us. A lot of times we don't know if we'd just heard the wind or a whisper, a twig hitting the ground or a footstep, a beam setting or a lock turning, a bird or Sam fucking Fisher.

Perhaps more important than keen audible awareness is being able to evade other people's awareness; I don't need to explain why remaining silent on ops is important. What, I do? Geez, we really have let ourselves go haven't we? Okay... the primary focus on night operations is not to be detected. Not being detected depends largely on not being seen or heard. Obviously being seen is when the real trouble starts, but operatives are generally only seen when they're being searched for, and they're generally only being searched for if they have been heard, and they're generally only heard when they make a lot of noise. It's not rocket surgery!

When we operatives first step out into the night and, more importantly, when we enter the AO (Area of Operations), we've generally got the audible awareness of a hare that's had too much coffee. However, after spending some time in our AO we tend to let our guard down when we're confident the area is secure. We move around in a more casual manner, no longer sticking to cover as much as we should, not taking care to soften our footsteps and dismissing sounds we would've otherwise hugged the ground at hearing. This can be dangerous if our little endeavours were to be interrupted by unexpected visitors. Therefore, just as important as keen environmental observation, it is also crucial for us to develop a keen habit of maintaining strict sound discipline and awareness.

Homework:

First task this week is a hearing exercise to be conducted right now. Close your eyes- WAIT, not yet! Finish reading this paragraph first. Close your eyes, breathe calmly and just listen. Note every sound you here; what's causing it, how loud it is, how far it is, is it particularly noticeable or is it part of the background ambience, everything you can. Do this for about 60 seconds or however long you see fit, then go outside and do the same thing. Note any new sounds or differences in sound. Do this... now. So will I. (pause any music or videos you may have playing before doing so)

Inside I hear my computer tower humming quietly, occasionally cranking as it works in the background. I hear my dog breathing quietly and occasionally licking his lips as he tries to get comfortable. I barely hear the fridge in the kitchen, although it's largely drowned out by my computer tower. I hear the toilet in the bathroom making some regularly timed plumbing noise. Through my window I hear crickets, chirping slower than usual due the the recent decrease in temperature (crickets generally chirp more frequently in warmer weather). I hear distant traffic... maybe one or two cars, heading away from my position. I heard a high altitude breeze, barely skimming the top leaves. I hear a train going along the distant tracks - a cargo train due to the faster, louder, more 'metallic' rattling (probably a coal train). And just now I heard a bat land in a tree across the road. Some other cracks & clops around the house, but nothing to write home about.

Outside I heard traffic in the distant north-east & north-west, tracking the Doppler shift of each vehicle. I heard dogs barking in the distant north-east, then one more barking in supposed reply from the west. I heard a number of chirping crickets (or cicadas, or some kind of night birds) all around. I heard the occasional leaf or twig fall out of a tree, probably the work of some night creature judging from the regularity of it. The breeze ceased, although the clouds were still moving west. On my way back inside I heard a plane or helicopter approaching from the south, but it departed within 40 seconds or so.


You don't have to report what you heard in this exercise (unless you want to), this is strictly for your benefit. However, I want you to repeat this exercise throughout the week, at different times and preferably at different locations as your circumstances see fit. As with last week, I also want you to maintain constant audible awareness as you go about your daily business and analyse the sounds you hear. Note the way sound travels indoors and outdoors, how it bounces off walls and echoes in the distance, in tunnels and in open spaces, in vehicles and on the street, in the morning and afternoon, etc. Note which sounds are the loudest & most noticeable and which ones aren't as obvious.

In addition to the sounds you hear pay close attention to the sounds you make and minimize them as much as possible (without going overboard). Do your best to soften your footsteps and note how each surface behaves; one does not walk across concrete the same way one walks across leaves or grass. Change your stepping technique accordingly to whatever surface you're walking on to minimize noise as much as possible. Try doing everything as quietly as possible; opening/closing doors, picking up/putting down items, flicking switches and pressing buttons, shuffling through your pockets or bags, etc. Make a habit of keeping strict sound discipline and it will serve you well on ops.

Brotips: * When opening doors, have a firm grip on the handle, turn it slowly and push/pull it open quickly but stop it suddenly. Don't swing it all the way open, just enough for yourself to slip through. Close it in the same manner; quickly but stopping suddenly as it reaches the doorframe and then ease it gently back into positon & gently release the handle. For better control, have one hand pressed on the door just above the handle and slip your fingers between it and the frame as you close it to avoid slamming it.
* Make a habit of avoiding standing directly in front of a door when you open it - you'll become a prime target for whoever's on the other side.
* Take advantage of environmental noises, such as passing vehicles or a gust of wind blowing through the leaves, to move a little faster or perform some other action.
* When picking up an item off a table (particularly off glass or some other hard surface) practice just lifting it gently a small distance and then whisking it away much in the same way as you'd open a door quietly. Same goes for putting down an item, only in reverse order. The trick is to gently lift the item at a 90° angle (to avoid scraping it along the surface) by just a few millimetres before pulling it away. Try it now with whatever's in front of you.
* Instead of stepping normally, roll your foot onto the ground as you walk and lift your feet to avoid scraping them along the surface. Not too much though, you don't want to look like a goose-stepping Ninja.
* On the subject of doors again, keep in mind that they conduct less sound when closed.

Class dismissed.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Neurotic Anomaly
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:30 am
Location: Other side of your mirror.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Neurotic Anomaly » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:16 pm

I'll go ahead and post what I heard in the short exercise, but first I want to add one more brotip to opening doors.

Sometimes the fear of a door creaking can put many of us off at the moment of opening it, especially if we know or suspect people to be close by. Whisking the door open quickly does not always solve this, in many cases for me, in place of a slow creaking erupted a loud 'crack', or a sudden high-pitched whine. I decided to practice on my bedroom door (which is immensely creaky) and discovered that after you establish a firm grip on the knob or handle, just lifting up hard on the hinges while you're opening it eliminates the creaking completely 80-90 percent of the time. I tried this on other doors in my house and elsewhere while out and about and found it to be effective (even including cabinet doors.)

So that's my Brotip for today.

Now to the lesson.

From where I am now I can here first of all the ceiling fan behind me. There is the faint continual hum of the AC unit out back as well as the distant, high-pitched barking of my neighbors dog, interrupted by varying intervals of silence. I hear people shuffling in and out of rooms elsewhere in the house, opening and closing doors and occasionally knocking against something. I can hear the stereo playing in the den just down the hall, but I can't distinguish the anything about the music except maybe the genre, which is country (Ewwww :P) Mostly all I here are very distinguishable man-made noises, such as the stereo, people, AC unit, etc. It's still daylight here so there is the usual high amount of common background noises that do well to drown out any quieter, 'easier noticed at night' noises.

I may make a list of the results from a follow-up exercise tonight and post. Just to give something better.

Onward and Upward!
שד ציד

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: Right behind you.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Xanatos » Wed May 02, 2012 1:06 pm

Just reminding everybody to keep up with the exercises and to read this assignment in the first place if they forgot to get back to it the first time.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Neurotic Anomaly
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:30 am
Location: Other side of your mirror.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Neurotic Anomaly » Wed May 02, 2012 10:32 pm

Either this place has died more than we all thought or people are just arbitrarily not responding to this.

I did the exercise again last night and throughout today. Hell, I'm even still doing last week's lesson during the day. I live in a pretty quiet part of town, so the noises here are generally uniform. That does help in being able to more easily notice anything audible being out of place.

I do hope you continue to post these lessons, even if it does seem like only a few people pay attention.
שד ציד

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: Right behind you.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Xanatos » Thu May 03, 2012 8:07 am

Good to see last week's lesson has sank in, at least for some of you.

As for the rest of you lazy buggers, I know you're out there. Get posting!
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Nukes
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:03 pm
Location: US-East Coast
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Nukes » Thu May 03, 2012 2:23 pm

I went outside my house yesterday evening and practiced walking on different surfaces. I found it quieter to walk heel to toe on surfaces like gravel, grass, and leaves. I tried walking heel to toe on gravel but gravel would stick to my shoes and make noise when it fell off (maybe I shouldn't have been wearing flip-flops.) Also, Teu has said this before I think, but in leaves as well as tall grass stepping on the side of your foot from toe to heel and slowly putting all of your weight on your foot is really effective as well.
As far as other sounds go I heard a lot of lawn mowers and weed eaters, some kids yelling, my other neighbors talking really loudly, some passing cars, and a shit ton of birds. I tried listening at the edge of the woods to see if I could hear any animals walking around to know how to mask my steps when I'm out in the woods, but too many loud lawn mowers so that'll have to wait for this evening.
Hey you! Yes YOU! Go here... http://night-ops.net/chat/

Urgon
Member
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 5:26 pm
Location: In the shadows and behind the scenes...
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Urgon » Thu May 03, 2012 8:27 pm

AVE...

BroTips from Urgon:
1. Keep your ears clean!
2. When going to sleep cover both your ears with pillow and focus on sounds. If you can hear a pulsating sound, note it in your mind. When you listen, this is the sound of blood coming trough your veins in ear canals. Remember this, as you'll have to subtract it from other sounds.
3. When you are listening, stop breathing for short time and really focus. Turn your head around slowly and try to place every sound on your mental map.
4. Don't be completely noiseless. Be noiseless only when you are in area where there were no sounds before you came. Soundscape is the same like landscape - people can notice a noiseless spot as easy as they can notice black spots on blackless background.
5. You can help your hearing by buying or making hearing aids or spy microphones. Experiment with that.
"We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf."

Airship pirate...

Teutoni
Member
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:32 am
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Teutoni » Mon May 07, 2012 5:11 am

Just for you Xanatos. I can hear my tower humming, though more quietly than my fan, in the living room a british sitcom is playing and I can occasionally hear a cough. Outside is dead quiet except for some wind. I live in an extremely quiet area so noise is usually not a real issue except for the rather common deer.
Keep 'em chained, boys!

n1ghtshade
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:29 pm
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by n1ghtshade » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:32 pm

What I can hear:
Loud as all get out air conditioner in my room. Faintly over that I can hear the sounds of people outside my room watching tv, and very faintly can hear my neighbor playing what sounds like call of duty. Without the air conditioner on, I can hear everything else described much louder, and it is in deed call of duty, and he's sniping by the sound of it.

What I find weird is how the absence of a sound that's common is so unsettingly. Like when i'm walking I subconsciously listen to other people's footsteps, until one of the peoples footsteps suddenly changes or dissapears, then I freak out and look because I have no clue where they are.

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: Right behind you.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Xanatos » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:28 am

The absence of a sound is an important thing to note. Whenever I hear birds or other creatures outside suddenly stop chirping I know something's up.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Roxas
Member
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Roxas » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:55 am

im deaf in my right ear

let me tell all of you. it's not that bad. you learn to live with it.
you lucky bastards can hear just fine lol
The problem with trying to be the bad guy, is that there is always someone worse

User avatar
Wind
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Wind » Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:48 pm

Assignment Week 2: Hearing

Although I strived to maintain audio awareness throughout the week, what follows are largely the highlights of that practice for me.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Outside Noises: Despite the windstorm, I was able to hear a car start up from the other end of a large parking lot.
Inside Noises: I made an interesting discovery by listening in my closet, where the hatch to the attic is located: There were some birds taking refuge in the attic during this windstorm.
My Noises: While walking on the sidewalk, I noticed the loudest part about my normal gait is the occasional heel scrape as the level of the sidewalk varies. I am focusing on picking up and setting down my heel more carefully.

MONDAY MORNING
Outside Noises: In a gentle breeze, on my morning walk, I was surprised that if I listened closely I could hear a hanging pinecone softly rustling against pine needles.
Inside Noises: I practiced listening from my room to tell where my roommates were as they moved throughout the house.
My Noises: I noticed my key configuration was pretty noisy. Therefore, I reduced my number of keys down to three and changed from using a carabiner and key rings to a paracord loop with a hair tie to use like a rubber band to keep the keys from clanking next to each other.

TUESDAY EVENING
Outside Noises: While I walked past a car, I heard the driver put the car in park. Since it was rush hour, I also noticed the constant hum of cars on the highway and another major street near my neighborhood.
Inside Noises: I practiced telling apart my roommates based on the sound of their walks (mostly their weight and gait speed).
My Noises: I found that the best way for me to remove something from a clothing hanger as quietly as possible was to first remove the hanger from the clothing rod, then the item of clothing from the hanger.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Outside Noises: From half a block away, I could hear the rope slap against the flagpole.
Inside Noises: I heard one of my roommates snoring, and the other entered the bathroom. I could hear that roommate put his toothbrush under the faucet. I used this time to slip down the stairs and out the door unnoticed to go for a walk.
My Noises: I experimented with zipping my coat silently. I found that if I pulled my coat down to make the zipper run more taut and moved the zipper slowly it could be quite quiet.

THURSDAY MIDNIGHT
Outside Noises: There were fewer cars on the roads, so I could sense the mood/statesome of the drivers were in by how they drove: noticed one probable drunk driver, one person driving aggressively, and one person driving slowly -- maybe tired or bored.
Inside Noises: I could hear one of my roommates was in his room playing video games.
My Noises: Today I focused on practicing opening doors quietly. I found what Neurotic Anomaly recommended helpful: lift up on the door as you open it. I also found that pushing the door firmly against the jamb prior to turning the knob helps to prevent any rattling sounds that could be caused while trying to open the door.

FRIDAY 3 A.M.
Outside Noises: The ambient noises of my neighborhood were greatly reduced at this time of day, making it somewhat harder to conceal my sounds. Thus, the occasional gentle breeze was a welcomed opportunity to pick up my pace or traverse some leaves quicker.
Inside Noises: One of my roommates always sleeps with the radio on. This makes it even easier for me to slip out of the house unnoticed.
My Noises: It was much quieter outside than any of the other times I went out to listen. Therefore, I used that relative silence to experiment with sprinting quietly on the sidewalk. I found that landing on the balls of my feet and keeping my feet close to the sidewalk during my stride to reduce the impact of my footfalls worked pretty well. I also found that dialing back my full sprint pace a little gave me much more control of the sounds that I create.

SATURDAY NIGHT
Outside Noises: Much more traffic tonight than on Wednesday night, when I also listened at night. Makes sense that more people are out on a Saturday night. More traffic also means more eyes to see a person on a night op.
Inside Noises: While one of my roommates was gone and the other was in the shower, I worked on moving through the house silently. I used the sound of the shower turning off to end my practice and returned to my room unnoticed.
My Noises: Today I worked on trying to be able to open my metal bifold closet doors quietly. I tried many different techniques, but none were very successful. The best I could come up with is opening it quickly, which would be unheard from downstairs but still too noticeable to others on the second floor. If anyone has any tips on opening noisy bifold doors quietly, I would love to hear them. One thing I learned from this is that I will need to prestage everything for my night ops already out of my closet for any nights I plan to op.

User avatar
Sicarius
Member
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:50 pm
Location: Possibly on a distant Mediterranean shore... one day
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Sicarius » Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:13 pm

You are lucky you started practicing stealth slowly. I was an imbecile and just threw myself right into it, due to video game fantasies lol. As for hearing, it is very important in my opinion for stealth. I currently practice with and without hearing enhancement, but the shooting ear muffs make things so much easier. I still try to limit myself, but I am happy for your success :)
"If one cannot be both, it is much better to be feared than loved" - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

User avatar
Wind
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Wind » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:13 am

Sicarius wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:13 pm
the shooting ear muffs make things so much easier. I still try to limit myself
Thanks for the kinds words!

Not sure I follow about how the shooting muffs help or what you mean by trying to limit yourself?

Be well and stealthy!

User avatar
Sicarius
Member
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:50 pm
Location: Possibly on a distant Mediterranean shore... one day
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Sicarius » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:09 am

Should have clarified, sorry. Ear protection for guns enhances hearing but reduces damaging and lethal high DB sounds, like gunshots. So, footsteps or conversation will be amplified but if a gun is shot next to you, or another loud sound, it will be heavily reduced. Enough to hear it, but not enough for damage. They have all types of styles and strengths, including slim Air pod-style ones I am looking into for under my keffiyeh. Here is a link to some general hearing protection info and here is a link for the Air Pod ones.

Link for info on hearing protection: https://armeddefense.org/hearing-protec ... 20shooting.

Link on hearing enhancement not a waste of money air pods: https://www.walkersgameear.com/silencer/
"If one cannot be both, it is much better to be feared than loved" - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: Right behind you.
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Xanatos » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:49 am

The disposable orange squishys work just as well. They're cheap & disposable, and if you wear them under a full head mask (like a balaclava or shemagh) they won't fall out as easily.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Sicarius
Member
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:50 pm
Location: Possibly on a distant Mediterranean shore... one day
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Sicarius » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:37 pm

Personally, I hate the feeling, but they are cheap. However, they decrease hearing, while the other products increase hearing. That is what I find valuable, protecting your ears, and being able to hear more. The earmuffs I use have a microphone looking device built-in, and a dial to adjust the sensitivity to noise, except harmful noise which is always blocked out. Those are maybe a 50 dollar pair, but I am not sure.
"If one cannot be both, it is much better to be feared than loved" - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

User avatar
Wind
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Night Ops: 2nd Homework Assignment

Post by Wind » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:18 pm

Thanks for the links and clarifications, @Sicarius!

Post Reply