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. WA7AXT

    WA7AXT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    no commnet
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  2. KJ5HY

    KJ5HY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for mentioning me @W0PV I haven't really followed these forums until someone recently mentioned a few of my HF articles repost here. We have done some amazing tests with NVIS, and we should have expanded upon that sentence now that I read it. The bottom line is we want to have all communication possibilities available and deny our adversaries the same. I was asked to look at HF from a research perspective which is partly why I started writing these articles--and it is my hobby so any time I can do HF at work is a win/win! So, we think of things in terms of the PACE plan, Primary Alternate Contingency and Emergency, along with LPI/LPD in those modes. We have to operate under the assumption any comms link can fail, and what is our backup. Clearly the ionosphere won't just stop working (except maybe in an eclipse), but the fail we are referring to could be anything from radio failure to antenna cable failure to even operator failure (what's that freq again??).

    I'm trying to push the message that you don't have to have a VTC, you need to be able to operate in low bandwidth, and HF can't be learned on the fly so we need to train on it. I'm also trying to change the narrative that HF is cold war comms. With the digital modes, we can do way more than we could 15-20 years ago. I've done NVIS JS8 using 100 milliwatts--this totally blew my mind. And it worked perfectly. Thanks for the comments and I'll keep it in mind when we write about HF again.
    73 de KJ5HY
    N0TZU and W0PV like this.
  3. KJ5HY

    KJ5HY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup--and ALE timing is about the same (~2 seconds or so). If you are within that, you can sync to the time of day server. GPS will get you there, but without that, you can lose timing in about 12-24 hours. It would probably be best to coordinate timing over a short digital message in a GPS denied environment--or maybe setup a 1 frequency ale net for syncing--I'll have to try that out.
  4. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check out this video from Defense Flash News, Tactical Communications Operators Test Equipment in the Arta Range of Djibouti.

    Ham LEO sat ops will love that super-Arrow crossed yagi. Looks like a group of candidates for Young Ham of the Year doing a SOTA activation! :)

    Gee, if HF prop conditions were great maybe they could have dialed into an amateur band and passed out some pedestrian-mobile DX'ped QSO's for semi rare J2 ! :rolleyes:

    An excellent spoken description by the leader "Rocky" starts at 3:43 into the video.

    Obvously this type of training is very basic, and just fine to start off military novices. This type of communications may work OK in asymetrical conflicts with adversaries ill-equipped or not savvy with EW, but its doubtful to hold up against a modern super-power threat.

    IMO there needs to be an advanced training level where the challenge is more then just plug-and-play, unfolding and aiming antennas, making a contact under ideal conditions. And not just tactical, but for command and control.

    As Rocky says at 5:30, "The utility of this training is for them to learn how to establish comms in degraded environments, luckily they had full coverage throughtout this whole AOR, but mainly for them to IMPROVISE, ADAPT and OVERCOME ... cause you're always gonna be given your gear, but not be given EVERYTHING, and even then it will be up to your to determine what will be the best suit for said events and anything that can come between that and your mission."

    What's needed is a Top Gun type school for todays MIL radio operator leaders, to include training for being in potentially highly degraded environments where traditional SAT and LOS high-bandwidth means are problematic, and gives a glimpse into possible HF alternatives.

    Kinda like doing the CQWW SSB contest this weekend :D

    K8CGS likes this.
  5. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I departed from USS KITTY HAWK in
    August 1966. Eventually moved here to Bremerton WA and wound up with a job involving repairs and modernizations of USN ships being done by private-sector shipyards. Toward the end of my working life as a Ship Surveyor, it happened that Kitty Hawk was being prepared for her last overseas trip, becoming the USN's only "forward-deployed" carrier. So one afternoon I went to Radio Central, which was exactly where it had been 35 years earlier.
    Walked in, noting that the old CW operating positions were still in place, minus the straight keys. The watch crew asked if they could help me and I told them that I had formerly occupied THIS position when I was on watch. A female chief walked over, asked a couple of questions involving CW and whether I had ever used it. I said yes, I had; she replied "Why didn't you just send it up to the satellite?"

    "Chief," sez I, "back when I was being a Navy Communicator, the only satellite we had was called "the moon". And it was below the horizon half the time so it wouldn't have been very practical." Her eyes popped a bit at that point. "So you really did use CW?"
    Yes, Chief...we did.
    N6SPP, N0TZU, W0PV and 1 other person like this.
  6. N6TDG

    N6TDG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ha! being a Treadhead with the 3rd Armored I am getting a flashback of Liche Bier!
    N6SPP likes this.
  7. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Spinnin' the 20m band tonight listening to the CQWW SSB action, spun too hard, lurched up off the top band edge, and WOW! There was a loud CW station at about 14358 kHz indicated by dial mode. What is THAT? o_O

    Except for being strong, first thought was just a numbers station, but after a little copy in my head realized it was plain text, in Englsih, with typical prosigns. It even contained standard Morse "Q" and military (NATO) "Z" codes.

    Eventually I was able to launch HRD Audio Grabber and nab a clip. Listen to it here. (sorry for the sloppy QSY in the middle as I changed mode and determined the frequency) That recorded xmsn was the last of at least two I heard. They seemed identical in content. Previous to the recording I scribbled some of the text and between the two this is a transcipt of the message,


    After some Googling I determined this was probably the US Air Force Auxliary, ie, a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) station, call sign 51NTN, making a National Traffic Net (NTN) broadcast.

    This info was contained in a document by Chuck @WA0ROI, apparently a CAP MAJ and Division Head of Communications Operations. Here is a link to a rendering of the 20 slide presentation titled,

    Communications Operations - Back to the Basics - dated 7 Aug 2019

    It emphasizes a renewed focus on HF, using all modes, and especially on human factors elements, knowledge of propagation, OTA relays, etc, and training for it. Too much to post here, click the bold text link above to read.

    However, Morse code aficiandos should note on slide 13, Broadcasts,

    Telegraphy (CW) broadcasts take place twice per week
    • This broadcast provides Intercom message traffic at two speeds
    This may migrate to 2-way CW comm at some point
    • Contact TELEGRAPH.ACP51@GMAIL.COM or DOKO@CAPNHQ.GOV for more information
    N0TZU likes this.
  8. WA5VGO

    WA5VGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the military is depending on amateur radio for anything, this country is in serious trouble.
    PY2RAF likes this.
  9. VE2QCI

    VE2QCI Ham Member QRZ Page

    You need fitness also.
  10. K8CGS

    K8CGS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The use of HF for comms and to send encrypted and sophisticated compressed recognizance images requires these constant updates to their systems. Yes it is HF but they get to use compression and encryption algorithms and techniques not permitted on our civilian HAM systems. We only wish we could use the speeds and compression they are permitted. It would open up a whole new spectrum of use for us HAMS.
    Here is a short YouTube on US Army Scouts using and learning HF techniques. The school, noted here as RSLC, is no longer called RSLC but now known as the 'Scout Leaders Course'. I have met and know someone well who is currently in a Airborne Scout/Recon/Sniper unit. He knows his HF stuff and they practice it for contingency . Not highly publicized but not a secret either.

    W0PV likes this.

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