Author Topic: Who is usually the Radio Operator?  (Read 26188 times)

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Offline brendanthompson

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Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« on: October 19, 2009, 00:10:27 »
Hey umm I was wondering if it is infantry men or combat engineers who work the radios most of the time in the field?

All help is appreciated.:) 

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 00:16:20 »
wouldn't Signal Operators?
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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 00:25:16 »
wouldn't Signal Operators?

In 11 years as a combat engineer, i never once had a sig op work the radios in any of my sections, troops or at the Sqn level. Regimental HQ had a few but they worked the regimental CP. At lower levels , it was always an engineer working the radios.

Offline Willy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 01:18:34 »
It varies with unit and availability of manpower in various trades.  Most times, Pl level Signallers are of the same trade as the rest of the Pl, i.e. if we're talking about infantry, then the Pl Sig would be an Inf guy with a comms crse.  Most of the time, the Coy/Sqn Sig would be a Jimmy.

There are exceptions to these rules though.

Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 06:25:32 »
You're not likely to see Sigs working much below Coy lvl, however that doesn't mean we won't fill a hole where needed.
Given the iterations of new organizations ie: OMLT,PRT and "other", not to mention the other elements. The Air Force in particular is going to be absorbing a few more posns for Sig Op in the future as MES is going to be the way ahead.
Long story short...Cbt Arms...Engrs: usually no siggies below Sqn lvl except EOD.
Armd: Same (except no EOD :)
We do (did), however train all designated operators in house where possible.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline dan7108

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 08:26:27 »
PRT used sig ops as PL sigs

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 08:38:50 »
PRT used sig ops as PL sigs

Yes, on TF 1-08 there were some Sig Ops employed as Pl Signallers in the Force Protection Coy. But I don't know if any other Rotos have done the same.  But like was said before Signallers are typically employed at the Coy HQ an Battalion HQ level in an Infantry Battalion. But that doesn't mean you won't see Sig Ops carrying radios on tour as part of their job as Coy Signallers, or filling positions that come up, or employed in different organizations on tour that employ Sigs in that role.


« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 08:44:28 by -Skeletor- »

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 20:38:58 »
Depends where you place the priority of your communications.  Within the Arty it is extremely important as our FOOs are useless without radios.  Most Arty guys i.e. 80% all ranks, are skillful on most types of communications.  For the Arty it would be very rare to see a Sig Op below Regt level.  We take our comms and voice procedure (VP) very seriously and Arty fire discipline is different from basic VP.

That said, experienced Rad Ops can provide invaluable knowledge and without comms no modern Army would survive. 

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 21:08:39 »
wouldn't Signal Operators?
Prior to the inception of the Signal Corps, Engineers were responsible for battlefield Signals.

So, in answer to the question: who is usually the Radio Operator?  I would offer the guy carrying it ;D
So, there I was....

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 21:19:02 »
You are indeed correct.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 21:32:56 »
But, when an Arty Sgt i.e. Me, has to correct a Inf Plt Sig (QRF to boot) in theatre, there is a problem.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 11:23:55 »
In the Armoured world, each callsign (vehicle) has an "operator" if you will, who is a crewmen.  In a troop, you'll not find any Sig Ops but you can bet your boots that the VP is good and tight regardless.  Most of the radio comms are done at the Crew Commander level, but VP is (or was) something taught to all Troopers in the Corps, and they all used it over their careers.

In my experience, the lowest level you'd see a Sig Op is in a Sqn CP (command post).  The Sqn Sigs Sgt is supposed to be a Jimmy too, but I've seen that as a secondary task for an A or C callsign as well. 
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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2009, 13:17:13 »
For the Arty it would be very rare to see a Sig Op below Regt level.

Isn't there a Signaller for each Bty?

Also, I know theres been  a few Sigs that were in FOO/FAC Teams in the BG an OMLT.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 23:51:57 »
In the Arty, all the Signallers are Artillery soldiers, be it Gnrs or Bdrs.  All ranks will have strong capablities.  For trouble shooting most NCMs will have strong skills and good VP is stressed for all ranks.

As far as actual Signallers i.e. Rad Ops.  You will likely not see one below Regt.  Although, I have seen MCpl Rad OPs at the Bty level.  He was extremely experienced and proved to be a great asset.

Arty VP is different and that maybe a reason we train our own as opposed to hiring Rad OPs.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2009, 15:34:21 »
Further, in response to
Quote
Also, I know theres been  a few Sigs that were in FOO/FAC Teams in the BG an OMLT.


In a  FOO/FAC team in the BG the Sig will most certainly be an Arty Bdr or Gnr.  If an actual Rad Op was with a FOO/FAC team then he was either a rental, just wanted to "get out" for some experience or an extreme rarity.

For the OMLT a Rad OP is very likely.  Although, if an Arty Bdr or Gnr was in the OMLT he could very well be the sig.

Offline WB

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2009, 16:39:13 »
There is good reason why, in general, the combat arms wants combat arms soldiers to operate the Coy/Sqn/Troop/Bty nets.

The best signallers for combat arms sub-units are not necessarily the ones with the best technical radio skills or the best voice procedure. The best guys to carry the radios are the ones who have a grip on the tactical picture. 

They're the guys who have the background and situational awareness required to act as an organizational aid to the commander.  The most important skill of the signaller is to filter and track information, to understand the big picture, and then be articulate enough to spew out the Reader's Digest version of what's going on so the commander can make timely and informed decisions.  This is the difficult part of comms at that level.

The easy part is learning the technical skills and voice procedure taught on the Basic Comms Course (ACTIS OP Basic + Intermediate) - the same classes and PO checks as what a Sigop gets on the Tacrad portion of his QL3, anyways.

I'm not trying undermine what the Sigops do.  I've known enough to know that they really are experts in their field.  It's just that their field is typically not in breaching obstacles, conducting raids, calling fire missions, or armoured recces.

In the end, it's just easier to take a Combat Arms Pte and train him to use the radio then it is to take a Sigop Pte and train him to understand the context of the messages sent on a combat arms net.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2009, 03:08:45 »
I have a suggestion.  Take a basic comms course, whatever trade, add 1 week and teach them some useful things.

Either, better trouble shooting, more diversity or rewrite all together and give our basic soldiers a more destructive capability.

Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2009, 07:09:00 »
Womderbread and Gnyhwy,
Time for the SigOp to school you.
You speculate where you think SigOps might or should be employed.

"There is good reason why, in general, the combat arms wants combat arms soldiers to operate the Coy/Sqn/Troop/Bty nets."

Really? I have BEEN a coy signaller on operations in the fight. There are at a minimum three Sig in each Coy on operations, and they don't just run the CP. They are out most of the time.
The OMLT has it's share of SigOps as well...not just in the CP.
A lot of what has been posted is quite accurate ie: no there are no operators in the Arty bty (for the most part), in fact a new SigOp has to take an Arty Comms course (taught by a gunner).
Yes there ARE operators in the armd recce sqns, doing the same job as everyone else (based on my practical experience).
No, there are no operators in an Engr field troop, but there are in the Sqn CP.
I can assure you that the operators that are workingin thos positions are very well versed in how thier respective units operate in the field, right down to the section level.
One of the operators that worked for me on my last tour just completed the Inf recce course, and is now employed in that posn.
Neither one of you have any idea where/how SigOps are employed or what we do in Cbt Arms units, or anything else for that matter. You are both talking out of your a## about something you have no concept of.
I would suggest that you both stay in your lanes.




What could possibly go wrong?

Offline GDawg

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2009, 10:20:55 »
I gotta mostly agree with wonderbread, but both sides make valid arguments.
Each Sig Op beyond what is technically necessary could deny a slot for one of its tradesman, so there is a reason right there to want to employ a double hatted Pte/Cpl.
I know from personal experience that it takes a good long time to pick up the lingo and understand what information might be tactically relevant. I deployed as the mythological Cbt Engr Tp Sig. I devoted a good deal of effort teaching those around me communications skills, and in turn I learned a lot about military engineering.

 I believe the pragmatic approach would be to train a switched on and motivated combat arms soldier to use the radio, rather than grab a Sig Op and teach them the basics of a combat arms trade. Tactical radios are pretty simple, and if we absolutely need a Sig Op to operate that radio, and only operate that radio at all times then we've got 2 problems. 1) We bought the wrong damn radios 2) We're recruiting the wrong damn people

my 2 cents

Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2009, 10:52:39 »
i'm not saying that you have the Sig Op be the only one on the radio, far from it.
Based on your profile you have a very limited view of what an operator does beyond just working in a CP.
Why would you not train a switched on Sig Op (see my previous post about one of my operators who just completed the Inf recce crse), and teach him infantry stuff (moot point).
As far as teaching others comms skills in an Eng Sqn, you were just doing part of your job...nothing more than what is expected of you.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline BulletMagnet

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2009, 11:22:30 »
Jammer

In point of Fact Wonderbread has years of experience as a Signaler in an Inf Bn both home and overseas, I suggest in the future before you tell someone what they do or do not know you explore their personal backround.

Wonderbread expressed His Opinion on based on his experience, yours differs so argue his points. As for the Sig who passed a Recce course Good on him that's a challenging course but that doesn't for a second mean he has a grasp on Coy level raid tactics or advance to contact TTPs that's why the OC has an INF signaler in his boat and the 2ic who runs the CP boat has the Sig Op. An Infanteer is not nor will he ever be as good at comms as a Sig Op nor should he be just like I will never expect a Sig Op to have the grasp on the fighting stuff and the Infanteer does, they work in tandem achieving the best possible result.
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Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2009, 11:34:02 »
My point being that, no an operator is not an infanteer, nor vice versa.
Wonderbread's experience is limited to being an Infanteer with comms experience, not a Sig Op employed in many different facets.
The same goes for the other lad. He is a Sig Op with a recce crse, not an infanteer.
I would (will) argue that the Coy Signaller (215) is in the OC's back pocket a good deal of the time outside of the boat...why? Because I WAS that guy.
I would like to hear wonderbread weigh in on this rather than have someone speak for him.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline GDawg

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2009, 11:34:35 »
i'm not saying that you have the Sig Op be the only one on the radio, far from it.
Based on your profile you have a very limited view of what an operator does beyond just working in a CP.
Why would you not train a switched on Sig Op (see my previous post about one of my operators who just completed the Inf recce crse), and teach him infantry stuff (moot point).
As far as teaching others comms skills in an Eng Sqn, you were just doing part of your job...nothing more than what is expected of you.

Sig Ops come and go. It would make more sense to send an infantryman on an infantry recce course, because he will remain an infantryman, whereas that Sig Op could find themselves posted to CFJSR or a Svc Bn or what not. Personally I think its a great idea to send Signalers on courses like that once in a while, but certainly this is the exception and not the rule.

Jammer, you need to read more carefully. I have stated that I have operational experience as a Sig Op in a field troop of Combat Engineers. I did a shift or two in the Infantry Coy TOC, but the lions share of my tour I was humping C4 around Panjwai or doing construction work at COPs and PBSG. I will also remind you that my past as a reservist has SFA to do with what we are discussing right now. I was a Sig Op for 5 and a half years, and that includes a tour in Afghanistan where I got a BG Commanders Commendation for doing a damn good job of being a Tp Signaler. I have earned the right to throw in my 2 cents on this debate and not have it dismissed outright!


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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2009, 11:49:35 »
GDawg,
PM Inbound
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Offline BulletMagnet

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2009, 12:06:06 »
Jammer

I'll speak for myself now I was not to long ago a Coy Signaler during 3-06 to exact working for Charles Coy as the OC Signaler. Not once or in my 10yrs as infantry soldier has the OC moved anywhere with a Sig op as his signaler it was always and to my knowledge still is an senior Cpl comms qualified and was/is done so for all the reasons stated by Wonderbread.

Sig Ops in my experience work best and the optimal use for them is in the various levels of CP's short of some very specialised occasions. Just as the Infantry signaler is best used next to the various leaders doing what Wonderbread describes and fighting the battle.
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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2009, 12:09:40 »
It will be interesting to see how this pans out once the SR2 project comes full swing. Where things become more IP based and there's more integration with networks.

As it stands, I know in the HQ region we need to know things like sub-netting and the basics of network topology in order to make the bigger stuff work(TSL, HCLOS, TACNET). I wonder how it will fit into this long standing argument.

Just some food for thought from a Bde HQ Sig.
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Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2009, 12:18:42 »
Bulletmagnet
We breathed the same dust on 3-06 then.
I was the ECM Sect Comd with 23 Fd Sqn.
It really depends on the BG and what the OC of the Coy wants.
In M and N Coys on 3-08 they were comfortable having the 215s with them on the ground.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline WB

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2009, 13:00:33 »
First off, I can't emphasize enough the respect I have for Sigops.

I'm privileged to have worked for and learned comms from a group of extremely switched on guys from the 1RCR sigs platoon from 2004-2009.  Jammer, I know you'll agree with me when I say that anyone who's been under the tutelage of guys like Randy J, Jay M, Joe A (The Lebanese Newfie), Steph P, and Josh B would have a hard time NOT being good with comms.  Under their guidance, I've held comms positions both in Canada and overseas: section, platoon, and OC's sig, CP operator, and culminating in a stint as Coy Sigs Rep.  When I say that I'm not just some dumb 031 who forgot to put it in HIDS, it's only because of the experience (and extreme patience) of the guys I mentioned above.

There's my background, and I stand by my opinions.  With some exceptions aside, it's better for the sub-unit signallers to be soldiers of that trade trained in comms.  While Sigops are expected to maintain a VERY wide range of comms skills across a variety of equipment types, those skills typically used at the sub-unit level are VERY specialized.  Because comms equipment at the coy level and below is such a narrow skillset, it's more practical to train an infantry guys to carry the radio then it is to train Sigops to be Infanteers.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2009, 21:13:04 »
Jammer, 

Please quote me on where I was incorrect or where I stated how sig ops should employed.  Otherwise all your doing is ramblimg. 

As far as staying in my lanes go, I am well within my lanes as I have many years of experience in many jobs with many different types of communications.

The topic is who is usually the radio operator not how sigs should be employed.

My past posts in this topic have had nothing but praise for actual sigs.  My points are accurate and are taken directly from my experience in numerous positions and tours.

As far as a concept of things, as an experienced Sig you should know what value the Arty brings to the table and the diversity of our equipment.  RMC raises a good one about networking coming in the near future.  I will likely be right in the middle of that.  Hey, maybe you can come teach me.




Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2009, 21:52:02 »
As you might know as well my posts have acknowledged that Arty Sigs have to take a separate course taught by gunners before they are turned loose.
This thread had devolved by others in regard to HOW sigs should be employed, in particular those who have no experience in the trade at all.
Networking on the battlefield has been around for us for some time now. Catch up you're behind a bit.
I not exactly a new guy at this Sig stuff either...oh yeah, it what I do.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2009, 23:13:44 »
Quote
This thread had devolved by others in regard to HOW sigs should be employed, in particular those who have no experience in the trade at all.

Once again, please quote me on where I stated anything like this.

Quote
Networking on the battlefield has been around for us for some time now. Catch up you're behind a bit.

What are you speaking of.  Mirc? or maybe SAS. LOL.  We have barely chipped off the tip of the iceberg for networking potential.

Quote
I not exactly a new guy at this Sig stuff either...oh yeah, it what I do.

I never said you were but somehow you seem to know enough about me to be able to slander my name.

Quote
Neither one of you have any idea where/how SigOps are employed or what we do in Cbt Arms units, or anything else for that matter. You are both talking out of your a## about something you have no concept of

You have mentor attached to your name.  Maybe you should better understand the definition of mentor and try some tact.


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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2009, 23:39:41 »
Everyone better reel in their necks. Good info is getting lost amongst the pissing contests. If people are claiming to be super SMEs they oughtta start acting like it. It'd be a shame to have to lock this because some can't play nice in the same sandbox with the rest.

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2009, 01:53:30 »
Let me clarify,

I  know that we have and use networking on the battlefield for Bde and higher level comms. Thats a given. Things like FDNet and TACNET have been around or in concept since before I started grade school.

What I was getting at was the introduction of IP based (or at least capable) comms within the combat arms Pl/Tp allowing more information in real time to be streamed live over a WAN rather than in bits and pieces through a freq net.
 
I was merely throwing out the point that as technology changes, and things get more complex, how does this affect the answer to the question originally posed? is a rad op merely a rad op? Can you honestly and completely transfer concepts that require a month of course for a Sig to an Infanteer in 2 weeks (thats not a shot at your capability, I don't think anyone could fully grasp that sort of stuff in that short of time)?

Opinions and positive responses welcome.
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Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2009, 02:15:29 »
I personally am for as much real time info as possible. 

Some would disagree.  If you read the Section Cmdr PDA http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=90008.15 you would see that some see it as a negative opportunity for higher to micromanage.

Blue SA is a high priority for me and I will support any real time IP based network.

As far as training and employment goes.  I think with todays tech savvy troops, a basic course shouldn't be too tough but, a solid core of Sigs with comprehensive knowledge need to be at the BG level.

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2009, 02:34:28 »
Further,

Some see this capablility as a burden on a Section/Squad/Det etc. but, the way I see it is we must go below Plt if we want it to be effective. 

A Plt is easy to track with old methods i.e. a radio and a greasy fat tipped marker.  The fidelity that near real time networking can provide is something that we are lacking.

 

Offline Jammer

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2009, 07:13:04 »
If you are familiar with Blue Force Tracker I think you would agree that it as close to being able to provide Blue/Red/Brown/yellow SA all the way down to det/veh level.
I have used it on several occasions and agree wholeheartedly that it far and away ourstrips SAS in every respect, but we don't own it and that shortcomings are noted by the folks in the Ivory Towers.
The challenge we face now in order to permit the user (you guys) is to develop a system that falls into the following criteria:

Can it process voice/data information on a VHF freq in real time without bandwidth loss? Not at this time. We tried in several years ago in a unit here in Kingston. By introducing a secure feature to piggyback on the system eats up additional B/W.

Can we do this in a multi-national environment? Not as I see it with many VHF freqs being used multiple times by multiple users.

Why not TACSAT? Why not indeed? Can we do it on the move with no loss of signal at critcal times? No, given the nature/capabilities of the equipment being used at the tactical level right now.

this is a signifgant bone of contention for us at the Operator level to get through to the people at the higher levels who are pushing stuff like SAS down our throats. If we as operators can't make it work at BG/BDE level, how in heavans name can we make it work for the Foxhound in the back of a LAV?

There are systems that are being used that I will not discuss here.
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline birdgunnnersrule

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Re: Who is usually the Radio Operator?
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2009, 16:43:54 »
There is some really good discussion here. Like previously stated, the location of a Sig Op is usually dependent on unit resources, SOPs, and availability.

For the individuals talking blue PA/digital networks, the Air Defence is ahead of most of the Army in terms of the capability.  Unfortunately, the trade is close to dead, but there are a lot of good lessons learned that are around that could assist the folks in the back of LAV as the guys in the back of the ADATS have/are learning them. Without getting into specifics, digitization is a great thing if folks understand network design, equipment capabilities, and bandwidth limitations.