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Military experts say radio amateurs "highly knowledgeable asset in HF communication"

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W0PV, Oct 11, 2020.

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  1. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The techno-thriller "Red Storm Rising" by Tom Clancy described a Cold War nightmare, but a recent research publication by the Army Cyber Institute is just as chilling, and focuses on HF radio capability as a potential critical factor in a credible potential future conflict. That paper and two others support the premise and outline problem solving roles for MARS and the ARS. Readers with interest in military communications may find these interesting.

    73, John, WØPV


    Titled Electronic Warfare in the Suwalki Gap - Facing the Russian “Accompli Attack". The authors include Col. Steve Hamilton, @KJ5HY, Maj. Matthew Sherburne, @KF4WZB, and Jan Kalberg, an IEEE member and former commander in the armed forces of Sweden.

    "The vast majority of the world’s modern armies’ ability to employ high-frequency HF radio systems has atrophied significantly since the Cold War as NATO, and numerous other countries transitioned to counterinsurgency operations." ... "In a combat environment where communication systems will be intermittent, we have sought alternative solutions to ensure that the JTAC communication goes through even if SATCOM and VHT/UHF fails, where theater-wide HF NVIS was presented as an alternative route. If HF NVIS fails, the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) could fill a new modern role where JTAC and other tactical information using other than NVIS frequencies propagates out of theater and is received by MARS, which relays the information to the appropriate receiver. The approach is nontraditional, but numerous MARS-enrolled radio amateurs comprise a highly knowledgeable asset in HF communication"

    These ideas are futher promoted in another paper by the same authors titled,
    Resiliency by Retrograded Communication - The Revival of Shortwave as a Military Communication Channel. This goes into more historical and evolutionary detail regarding military communication technology and puts forth the proposition that the militaries of the USA and allies, which in past conflicts effectively used narrow-band radiotelegraphy, today suffer from "The Bandwidth Addiction".

    "The notion that current operations need megabits per second in available bandwidth is a sign that today’s armies, coast guard, homeland security, and emergency management have grown accustomed to having access to high bandwidth and adjusted the processes to require these digital streams." It concludes, "In the last three decades, the great powers have become increasingly dependent on satellite communication (SATCOM), very high frequency (VHF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF), providing high bandwidth line of sight (LOS) communications. These military communication channels lack resilience because an EW campaign can affect both VHF and SATCOM simultaneously. The 1940s preferred spectrum, HF, with its different propagation pattern, offers an opportunity for military communication resiliency in the 21st century."

    A third unofficial publication describes the radio amateurs role in MARS as an important testing and training element for the active military - Tactical Employment Considerations of HF Radios in the Cavalry Squadron. The authors include two Brigadier Generals, a Lt. Col, and Major Matthew Sherburne, aka @KF4WZB

    The essay published in The Cyber Defense Review scholarly journal underlines MARS usefulness in training and verification of proficiency and readiness through OTA exercises, including annual Field Day-like RADIO CONTESTS called QRPX. :cool: It also encourages interested soldiers to earn an FCC Amateur Radio license.

    "The U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) maintains the Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) program headquartered at Fort Huachuca, AZ. This global system is comprised of multiple HF Gateway stations and numerous volunteer members with units that may contact to test their equipment and ensure they can make radio contact at short or long distances. Units may contact them at (520) 533-7072 to arrange a test HF radio contact. "

    "Having the latest software, drivers, and firmware is essential in achieving successful HF operation. Radio operators use computers to load the frequency and net plans into every radio. Units must ensure they have computers loaded with the software and drivers necessary to perform this function. Units can also leverage Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Logistics Assistance Representatives (LARs) to provide on-site support in training and assistance in ordering the correct component of end items (COEI) and basic issue items (BII) necessary to set up HF radios in vehicles and tactical operation centers. To test the HF skills of units, NETCOM hosts a low-powered HF radio competition called QRPX held at the end of every March. The Canadian Armed Forces host the Noble Skywave HF radio competition every October to test HF skills and multinational interoperability amongst NATO and partner countries."

    Finally, we encourage Soldiers who want to further hone their HF skills to study for and earn their Amateur Radio license. This license is a clear way to show tested and certified knowledge in radio communications. Soldiers can then practice and hone their HF radio skills in their free time in a non-military setting. Units can find that local amateur radio clubs offer license exam classes and exams by searching this site"
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
    KF4ZKU, N0SMC, AC8MA and 14 others like this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why, exactly, would HF NVIS 'fail'?

    Surely there are at least a few 'hamsters' whose "highly knowledgeable asset in HF communications" can assist in transcending said potential 'fails'....

    doncha think;-)?
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
    KE7RUX, W8KOM, KG4BFR and 7 others like this.
  3. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Curious for @SM0AOM take on this.
    M1WML likes this.
  4. K9GLS

    K9GLS Guest

    "Having the latest software, drivers, and firmware is essential in achieving successful HF operation..." It is?
    K8CGS, KD8DWO, N0DET and 8 others like this.
  5. KG7LGG

    KG7LGG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The must mean FT8. Hi Hi!
    N0DET, WQ4G, KG4BFR and 10 others like this.
  6. KE8BHP

    KE8BHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    darn. all I have is a 100 watt radio and a stupid piece of wire
    CANADA450, KF4ZKU, NM2Y and 21 others like this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why: is he in (US Army) now?
    M1WML likes this.
  8. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Did you update your firmware?

    KG4BFR, K0PIG, F6JSZ and 3 others like this.
  9. KE8BHP

    KE8BHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    My wire is quite firm. 12 gauge solid copper. Is that what you mean?
    CANADA450, N7XCZ, WA9WSJ and 12 others like this.
  10. PY2RAF

    PY2RAF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nah - I just happen to appreciate and find solace in his down to earth opinions; given his past background and knowledge.
    WQ4G, M1WML and W1YW like this.
  11. PA0MHS

    PA0MHS Ham Member QRZ Page

    They misspelled "firmware". Should have been "firmwire" And those drivers, aren't these the transistors or tubes just before the finals?
    WN1MB, M1WML, W4LLZ and 2 others like this.
  12. WA6QBU

    WA6QBU Ham Member QRZ Page

    1. Understand the bands.
    2. Put up a wire antenna resonant at the appropriate frequency.
    3. Find a clear frequency and use the microphone to make the contact.
    Note: No software needed.
    W4KYR, E75NET, WA9WSJ and 4 others like this.
  13. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    CW gets through when SSB fails though... THE original digital mode... NO mic needed OM! Only know the code!
    WA9WSJ, AJ6KZ, G3SEA and 4 others like this.
  14. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Gee, My bad, the U.S. Military in their infinate wisdom does not teach Morse code anymore... :(
  15. K8TE

    K8TE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most writings about NVIS are "fake news." They are usually anecdotal and ignore the science of propagation and antenna design. Just because it "worked" (WORK=WithOut Real Knowledge by K0BG) once does not make it reliable. Lowering your antenna below one-half wavelength will not improve its effectiveness, even for "close-in" communications. Thank about that height at 80m or even 40m!

    Making a radio system work today usually implies much more than a radio and wire. For the Luddites in the group, computer-radio interfaces are widespread, especially in the Military (26 years in USAF communications). Most "hamsters" who operate Field Day seldom make more than a couple of hundred contacts over the 24 hours period (27 hours allowed if you don't begin setup until the event's start) and usually far less. That is hardly a demonstration of communications effectiveness.

    One of the USAF three values is "Excellence in All We Do." It would behoove more of us to adopt that value and thus make Amateur Radio Service (including MARS) more valuable in all it offers. Check part 97 to gain the FCC perspective of our Service. The concepts in this paper provide an alternative to the expensive and easily broken current communications modes.

    73, Bill, K8TE
    W2TF, KK4HPY and M1WML like this.

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