Poll

Is HF necessary on todays battlefield?

Yes
26 (92.9%)
No
0 (0%)
Depends on how we structure the military
2 (7.1%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Voting closed: April 20, 2005, 15:49:08

Author Topic: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause  (Read 41364 times)

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Offline Radop

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HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« on: February 19, 2005, 13:49:08 »
HF is important in prividing distance comms where a RRB and or repeaters cannot be used or are inappropriate to use.  The parachute platoons still require it as they are ussually out of range for VHF and Satcom take a power source.  I believe it is still an essencial requirement to maintain comms in the battlefield of today although our reliance on it is less and less.
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Offline DaveK

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2005, 14:01:59 »
There are no HF sets at the Pl level in a light Bn not even in the para coy.  The HF is at the Coy HQ and Bn HQ level.  HF dismounted with the PRC-138 is heavy and difficult to attain.  Even experienced operators have a difficult time with it.  Add the Crypto and use ALE and the difficulty is multiplied to the point that it is unworkable.  Iridium (secure) and tac-sat provide better solutions to the distance problem.  Believe me, I know, I use to carry the PRC-515 (30+ lbs with antennae, batteries, etc).  HF is dying because it is slowly becoming redundant in the satcom age.

Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2005, 14:13:49 »
There are no HF sets at the Pl level in a light Bn not even in the para coy.   The HF is at the Coy HQ and Bn HQ level.   HF dismounted with the PRC-138 is heavy and difficult to attain.   Even experienced operators have a difficult time with it.   Add the Crypto and use ALE and the difficulty is multiplied to the point that it is unworkable.   Iridium (secure) and tac-sat provide better solutions to the distance problem.   Believe me, I know, I use to carry the PRC-515 (30+ lbs with antennae, batteries, etc).   HF is dying because it is slowly becoming redundant in the satcom age.
Well 3 RCR is still using it as I know the last signaller there and he used it to talk with the Battalion CP during ex.  A few other pers have held that post and they say that it is still used.  I was just with November Coy and didn't use the HF at all there but do use it now at CFJSR and when I was with 2 Sigs.  It was one of the priority nets in Afghanistan as well.
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Offline DaveK

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2005, 14:22:44 »
3 RCR and 3PPCLI and 3R22eR are using it from Coy to Bn, they are not found lower as there are not enough sets in a light Bn to outfit Pl signallers.  Do you mean the Coy Sig NCO used it to talk with Bn? Or a 031 Pl signaller used it?  Since this is the Sigs sub board we have to try to be more specific and accurate.

I am with 3VP and we do use it from the US back to Canada and other long hauls as well.  We mostly use it to keep the 215s proficient, satcom is generally a preferred method of long range comms for us and other light Bns.

Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2005, 18:11:54 »
What are you using for the satcomms, BT2s or Ottercomms?  HF is still more reliable but if you have a steady power soarce, satcomms are much clearer and easier to pass data.
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Offline Bert

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2005, 18:25:05 »
For the maintstream military, HF equipment may be less utilized because advances in
encrypted satcomms and nets or the need for more secure comms, especially where
equipment and location are available.  HF has its place given the situation.  The best
example is the Canadian Rangers and northern patrols.  Comms between communities,
patrols, and various parties are still served well by the orange Spilsbury HF radios.  It
serves as an easy back-up if other comms fail.

Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2005, 00:08:30 »
HF is definitely becoming a lost art, but it should not be considered a lost cause.

There have been extreme technological advances with IT systems and satellite communications over the past 10-20 years that many have utilized.

There are still elements out there that will effect both Satellites and HF communications. The one difference is that if a solar flare knocks out a satellite, it may need to be repaired, whereas for HF you may just have to wait until it passes.

I've been in various ocean regions where HF wouldn't work and after some investigation, we determined through solar forcasts that the bands we were working were dead due to solar flare activities.

Some information on Solar Flares can be viewed at:

spaceweather.com/; space.com and hfradio.org

The HF Radio . Org Site has the HF propagation chart for the HF Freqs and is good for 2 hours and updated hourly:



I guess the main thing here is that the newer technology is great, but we have to maintain our ability to use HF in order to have a fall back. The only way this can happen is if we continue to use and train with HF.
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Offline DaveK

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2005, 12:24:00 »
Another good HF freq prediction program is called PROPMAN.  You can plug in your freqs, Tx and Rx locations and the program will predict the best freq for both voice and data.  PM me with your DIN email and I will send you a copy.

Just for grins, HF has been used for outlook email transmission, text only but it worked.

Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2005, 20:36:17 »
Another good HF freq prediction program is called PROPMAN.   You can plug in your freqs, Tx and Rx locations and the program will predict the best freq for both voice and data.   PM me with your DIN email and I will send you a copy.

Just for grins, HF has been used for outlook email transmission, text only but it worked.

We also sent pics but they had a special compression program.  It was excellent tool though and used at the Harris Research Centre in Rochester, NY when I was on a course there.
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Offline Jungle

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2005, 20:53:05 »
Interesting discussion... if you don't mind an Infantry Soldier joining, from my experience on my last tour we definitely need HF. In East Timor I was a Recce section comder, and the 77-set was useless at anything more than 500m. So the Recce sections carried the 138 on patrols. We had to stop every 2 hours, set up the antenna (NVIS ?) and report to the CP. Not ideal, but better than no comms...
If I remember correctly, we were the first ones to use the 138 on ops.
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Offline BulletMagnet

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2005, 20:58:29 »
In preperation for Roto 3 Recce PL(1RCR) did HF training as they had it done to O belive sextion level for comms back to BG HQ for possible OP's in the moutains outside of the 522's RRB range.
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Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2005, 21:28:22 »
HF is definitely not a field friendly set up if you are constantly on the move.

I always wondered if DND should go out a purchase some cell phone towers that we could possibly employ while deployed and have our own private cell phone service. Think about it, if we had a fleet of ships working together, or a unit on the ground in a foreign country that had no infrastructure, this could be set up and communications could be maintained at a good distance (as long as the tower can be located in a high area).

I'm sure that anyone that has been deployed would agree that HF comms must be maintained.




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Offline George Wallace

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2005, 21:35:13 »
HF is definitely not a field friendly set up if you are constantly on the move.

I always wondered if DND should go out a purchase some cell phone towers that we could possibly employ while deployed and have our own private cell phone service. Think about it, if we had a fleet of ships working together, or a unit on the ground in a foreign country that had no infrastructure, this could be set up and communications could be maintained at a good distance (as long as the tower can be located in a high area).

I'm sure that anyone that has been deployed would agree that HF comms must be maintained.


Cell phones are very unsecure; ask the EW guys who recorded a three hour Cell call by a RCR Officer who thought it was a secure means to send his orders to his Coy Comds.  If you wanted that Technology, and, say, equiped every vehicle in the Forces with a relay installation and then used STU 3 then you may have something......but then the EW guys would just sit back and plot the locations of all your vehicles....back to lugging around towers.....  ;D
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Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2005, 21:41:29 »
George,

Agree with your point 100%, but anyone with a radio capable of receiving the 2-30 MHz band could potentially receive a HF transmission world wide.

I'm sure that there are devices out there that could be easily implemented to make the transmission somewhat secure. Just looking at my cell phone here I noticed that it has a "Voice Encryption" setting. It isn't available in my area, but I imagine that it would be available in large city centres.

Who knows what the cell phone industry is capable of??
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2005, 21:45:29 »
It the age of digital communications, there's no reason what-so-ever that cell phone communications couldn't be encrypted... I mean, we can encrypt satellite phones easily enough.

That being said, as I understand cell phone networks (Which is a very loose understanding), cell phones could replace VHF comms at best, and that was ONLY assuming you were willing and able to install the infrastructure required, the infrastructure in turn would have to be maintained and protected... rather pointless endeavour.

Offline Cpl Bloggins

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2005, 21:45:54 »
George,

Agree with your point 100%, but anyone with a radio capable of receiving the 2-30 MHz band could potentially receive a HF transmission world wide.


Yes, that's where the crypto comes in.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2005, 21:46:13 »
When I drove the Div Comd, we had two cells in the car, one was a STU 3.   One problem with it is the fact that any loss of code, etc. and you had to dial down to Texas for Mortorola (or whatever Coy that ran their security) to reload you.

GW
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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2005, 21:46:40 »
Who knows what the cell phone industry is capable of??

Charging you exorbitant monthly fees to use over-priced phones on piss-poor networks ? Am i close ?

Offline George Wallace

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2005, 21:48:16 »
Sat phones would probably be the better idea.

[EDIT]

And didn't we purchase all those neat Satellite arrays, but didn't incorporate them into TCCS.......
« Last Edit: February 22, 2005, 21:51:25 by George Wallace »
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2005, 22:05:16 »
I'm sure with a little tinkering, you can incorporate anything into anything... believe me... I used to work in community television ;)

Offline Luck881

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2005, 22:22:39 »
There was supposed to be a cell system in TCCCS, it was one of the options we didn't buy.   SCRA, I think it was called... you remember that RadOp?

Offline Bert

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2005, 23:00:52 »
Due to the frequencies used, the propagation effects and the topology of the comms network,
the frequency band (HF, VHF, UHF, SHF, and beyond) has it own uses, draw-backs and capabilities. 
You wouldn't want to replace a "cell" network with a VHF system.

HF is hard to keep secure.  The frequency band used and propagaton effects doesn't lend itself well to
high bandwidth digital encoding/decoding, encryption, or managable mobile antenna systems.  Yet,
for reasonably low power transmission, unsecure voice comms can travel a good distance that doesn't
have to be near "line of sight" like other bands.  Cost of equipment is lower than radio systems at other
bands and can be easily modified in the field.  HF certainly has its place. 

Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2005, 17:47:56 »
Interesting discussion... if you don't mind an Infantry Soldier joining, from my experience on my last tour we definitely need HF. In East Timor I was a Recce section comder, and the 77-set was useless at anything more than 500m. So the Recce sections carried the 138 on patrols. We had to stop every 2 hours, set up the antenna (NVIS ?) and report to the CP. Not ideal, but better than no comms...
If I remember correctly, we were the first ones to use the 138 on ops.

The first one to use the 138 was the mission to Rwanda/Zaire/Uganda in '96.   You might of been the first to use it in the man pack varriant.

NVIS = Near Verticle Incedent System (or skywave as we say).   The whip wouldn't work?   Did you try a longwire?

Did you know any of the NRL guys who deployed with you? (satallite guys)
« Last Edit: February 23, 2005, 18:00:58 by Radop »
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Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2005, 17:50:56 »
HF is definitely not a field friendly set up if you are constantly on the move.

I always wondered if DND should go out a purchase some cell phone towers that we could possibly employ while deployed and have our own private cell phone service. Think about it, if we had a fleet of ships working together, or a unit on the ground in a foreign country that had no infrastructure, this could be set up and communications could be maintained at a good distance (as long as the tower can be located in a high area).

I'm sure that anyone that has been deployed would agree that HF comms must be maintained.

I have used HF on the move with our bisons and the IRPVs.   I had to shorten the NVIS antenna to 5 sections but comms were fairly reliable.   I did this in afghanistan just to test to see if it was reliable.
Due to the frequencies used, the propagation effects and the topology of the comms network,
the frequency band (HF, VHF, UHF, SHF, and beyond) has it own uses, draw-backs and capabilities.
You wouldn't want to replace a "cell" network with a VHF system.

HF is hard to keep secure. The frequency band used and propagaton effects doesn't lend itself well to
high bandwidth digital encoding/decoding, encryption, or managable mobile antenna systems. Yet,
for reasonably low power transmission, unsecure voice comms can travel a good distance that doesn't
have to be near "line of sight" like other bands. Cost of equipment is lower than radio systems at other
bands and can be easily modified in the field. HF certainly has its place.
HF comms can be encrypted easily with a 99, 84 or 194a.  As long as the settings are the same, no problems.  Thats why we have SOPs.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2005, 17:59:51 by Radop »
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Offline Radop

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Re: HF - Lost art or Lost Cause
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2005, 17:56:13 »
There was supposed to be a cell system in TCCCS, it was one of the options we didn't buy.   SCRA, I think it was called... you remember that RadOp?

Correct but it was not "cellular" as in telephone system.  It was like a repeater for the 522 to the commander on the ground moving from trench to trench.  I was far too big and combersome and was dropped.  Funny enough, the Brits are thinking of buying it and incorporating it into the system they purchased from GDC.  Our Cellular system was called OPCAP 2.
Radop
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