The Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) High Frequency (HF) Gateway Team with support from the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) HF Test and Evaluation team recently competed and placed fourth out of 409 participating teams from 19 countries, and first in the single sideband (SSB) voice team challenge event of the annual international HF communications competition Noble Skywave.
The intent of the competition is to establish a collaborative relationship within the international community by creating a valuable training exercise that challenges HF Skywave skills across both domestic and international teams.
Typically, this competition occurs during the third week in October and is sponsored by the Canadian Communications and Electronics (C&E) Branch of its military. Competitors included active duty, reserve, national guard and auxiliaries from all branches of service within the United States and abroad.
Competitors registered to compete in differing power levels, which ranged between 0 to 150 watts, 150 to 400 watts and greater than 400 watts as well as competing in traditional single sideband (SSB) voice, second generation Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) and third generation ALE.
“Within the competition construct, participating teams earned points for successful contacts with other participants,” said Tim Millea, the NETCOM HF Gateway, Lead Software Engineer. “The scoring matrix also rewarded teams that are able to achieve contact with more distant participants.”
The NETCOM HF Gateway Team from Fort Huachuca won the single sideband (SSB) voice team challenge with a total of 58 contacts and placed fourth overall with a total score of 383 points.
However, like any completive event, another NETCOM team also competed for a top spot; the 30th Signal Battalion based out of Wheeler Field, Hawaii took 2nd place with a score of 425.5.
Placing 3rd and slightly above the NETCOM Gateway Team was a crew from the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) with an overall score of 420.5 points.
Ultimately, the overall winning team this year was again a Canadian military HF station with a total score of 461 points.
Augmenting NETCOM’s HF Gateway Team for the Noble Skywave competition were HF Subject Matter Expert team members from the JTNC. The JTNC falls under the Program Executive Office Command Control and Communications (PEO C3T) and provides expert wireless communications technical support to the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) and the Department of Defense (DOD) Chief Information Officer (CIO) related policy initiatives and governance processes which are aimed at ensuring secure, interoperable and resilient tactical capabilities.
The JTNC is just one of NETCOM’s many mission partners, who is currently working with the Department of the Navy (DON) to ensure all warfighters operating in the air, land, and sea have access to reliable communications anywhere, anytime, in all domains, in all environments, and against any adversary.
According to Millea, the exercise allows NETCOM to work with mission partners like JTNC to exercise and validate HF capabilities. He also added that NETCOM has participated in HF exercises like Noble Skywave for more than ten years.
From a capability’s standpoint, Millea considers HF a reliable and indissoluble form of communications for the warfighter.
“HF is reliable, and it is very hard to turn-off, you can jam it, but that jam is only local because [the jam] does affect the [entire HF spectrum globally],” Millea said.
Echoing NETCOM’s prioritization of HF communications were David McGinnis and Brian McCarty, Noble Skywave participants and HF subject matter experts for JTNC.
“The DoD is rapidly adapting new technology and waveforms, which require extensive collaboration with our mission and industry partners, along with substantial research, development, testing and evaluation to ensure joint interoperability throughout the DoD, allies and coalition partners,” said McCarty.
Likewise, both McGinnis and McCarty agree that JTNC collaboration with NETCOM during HF exercises like Noble Skywave support the Navy’s overarching intent of establishing mission essential HF requirements, ensuring joint interoperability across the Services and establishing the next generation HF architecture to support Control-Joint All Domain Command and Control (C-JADC2).
“The Noble Skywave event was a great demonstration of the NETCOM HF Gateway team and JTNC HF Teams’ ability to collaborate and further develop their complimentary HF capabilities,” said Mr. Paul English, NETCOM HF Capability Manager.
Source : Army