Advanced Communications User Training (ACUT) New Hampshire Wing, CAP 1Lt Tony Immorlica Communications Training Officer New Hampshire Wing Version 1.2 May 1, 2010
Advanced Communications User Training (ACUT) It is assumed the student has read and is familiar with CAPR 100-1 and 100-3 • CAP communication systems: standards and rationale • Radio Basics: • Familiarity with different radio modes (e.g. AM, FM, SSB) • Narrowband operation • Radio Propagation and Frequency Bands (i.e. HF, VHF) • Repeater Basics: • Operation, use and restrictions • Radio Operation – • Model specific overview • Calling Procedures • Formal message preparation and handling • Network operating procedures
ACUT Completion and Credit • Prerequisite for this course: BCUT • Successful completion of the ACUT requires passing an open book test: • Working knowledge of CAPR 100-1 and 100-3 is assumed • A passing score is 80%, corrected to 100%. • No documentation is issued • Trainee records accomplishment in personnel record [CAPF 45 or CAPF 66] • Instructor notifies Wing Licensing Officer of those successfully completing ACUT training
CAP Radio Operator Authorization Authorization is currently done in two phases: • Basic Communications User Training - BCUT • 3-4 Hour Class on: • Standard Operating Procedures • Local Operating Procedures • Entitles CAP member to operate a CAP Radio • Issued a CAPF 76, Radio Operator Authorization by Wing or higher headquarters • Advanced Communications User Training - ACUT • 4-5 Hour Class • Pass the Advanced Communications User Test • Entitles CAP member to be assigned a call sign • Required as part of the Communications Specialty Track NOTE: BCUT and ACUT will soon be replaced by a new Introductory Communications Users Training [ICUT] course; release date is pending
Operation of CAP Radio Stations by Unauthorized Personnel The operation of all CAP Radio Stations must be under the direct supervision of a properly authorized Civil Air Patrol radio operator. Pilots/co-Pilots must have taken BCUT training as a minimum to operate CAP VHF radios
CAP Radio Station Licensing • CAP is a considered a federal agency, thus its Radio Stations are licensed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) • Public stations are licensed by the FCC • Federal agencies are not allowed to use services allocated exclusively to the public sector for their business. • This excludes the use of Amateur Radio and Citizens Band for CAP business. The regulation for all CAP Communications is CAPR 100-1
Assigned Call Signs • Calls assigned to Individuals • Call signs associated with Resources • Aircraft • Ground Vehicles • Headquarters • Tactical Call Signs
Aircraft Call Signs • CAP corporate aircraft will use “CAP xxxx” (ex. CAP 2869 pronounced “CAP twenty-eight sixty-nine”) at all times. • Member-owned aircraft may also use the CAP call sign when on reimbursable missions. • Flight Plans. • The three-letter identifier “CPF” is used within the FAA computer system in place of the spoken word “CAP.” • For this reason, “CPF_______” will be used in place of the aircraft tail number on flight plans. • In the remarks section, the voice identifier “CAP________” must be included as well as the tail number of the aircraft.
CAP Radio Tactical Call Signs • At Certain Special Activities functional call signs may be approved by the commander of the activity. These would include • SAR/DRA missions • Encampments • Incident Command System (ICS) operations
ES Mission Communications • Communicators are needed for nearly all ES missions in CAP, both SAR and DR. • Scheduled radio check-in procedures • Sending a position report • Reporting a clue or a find • Additional training is required to achieve a Radio Operator emergency services rating.
Out of Wing Operation • Operation of mobile stations outside of the wing in which they are licensed is permitted. • Operation on CAP frequencies in Canada and Mexico is prohibited. • Special limitations apply within 75 miles of the Canadian border • Check with the Director of Communications before operating radios in those areas
Communicating with Other AgenciesInteragency operation on Non-CAP Frequencies CAP stations operating on non-CAP frequencies must have written authorization from the licensed agency. The radio must meet all requirements for use in that band under FCC or NTIA Some agencies are requiring that we use encryption A copy of the FCC license or the federal authorization must also be obtained.
Interagency Operations • CAP has Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with a number of agencies • On file at National Headquarters • AF MARS, • American Red Cross, • Salvation Army, • US Coast Guard Auxiliary • On file at NH Wing Headquarters • NH Office of Emergency Management • NH National Guard • NH Fish and Game Frequencies for Interagency Operation are programmed into CAP Radios as appropriate – see Channel Plans
Concept of Operations CAP communications relies heavily on VHF-FM (very high frequency-frequency modulation) because VHF provides excellent, dependable, short-range communications. VHF is readily adaptable to ground and air mobile operations. We are developing digital voice and encryption options that may be used in this mode. CAP is also licensed to operate on specific HF (high frequency) bands, and utilizes Single sideband modulation (SSB). This affords long distance, even world-wide contacts – but is highly dependent on frequency and atmospheric conditions Aircraft radios operate on 118 to 137 MHz using Amplitude Modulation (AM). Radio certificates are issued through the FAA
Standardized National Channelization and Programming Plan VHF-FM operations by CAP is governed by the Standardized National Channelization and Programming Plan that has been mandated in the CAPR 100-1. Compliance with this plan is mandatory for all corporate radios. All CAP assigned radio frequencies are designated “For Official Use Only”
What is FOUO A designation that there is sensitive information Used when frequency documentation is needed in the document What FOUO isn’t Classification For use on every single document CAP Assigned Frequencies: FOUOFor Official Use Only UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Frequency information contained in this document is designated by the Department of Defense (DoD) as For Official Use Only (FOUO) and may not be released to anyone without the prior permission of NHQ and CAP-USAF.
Encryption Encrypted P25 transmissions of any kind are permitted ONLY if advance authorization is granted in writing by the NTC. Only approved keys provided by the NTC will be used when we encrypt. When working with other agencies, CAP must conform to that agency’s rules and procedures for using encryption.
Basics of Radio: Modulation • To send a signal via radio, the radio modulates or superimposes voice on a radio frequency. AM, FM and SSB are just ways of sending voice information. • CAP uses • AM – amplitude modulation • FM - frequency modulation, and • SSB – single sideband along with some “P25” digital modes. • Normally, we use: • AM on Aircraft Bands • SSB on HF • FM on VHF and UHF 19
Frequency Modulation FM • FM is used by CAP for VHF radios in vehicles, aircraft, walkie-talkies and base stations, for short range comms. • The advantage is less static from ignition systems in vehicles, and excellent audio quality. • FM also has a “capture effect” where the strongest station comes in over a weaker station. That is good and bad. • CAP also uses FM in the ISR UHF radios. 20
Single Sideband SSB • CAP uses SSB on HF • SSB uses a very small bandwidth, compared to AM and FM modes • Used for L O N G Distance Comms • HF Operation is specialized, but very useful because it is very efficient • Seek Special Training in HF, not included in this course. Ask your Comm. Officer 21
Amplitude ModulationAM • Used in aircraft radios to communicate with ATC, tower, other aircraft, airport operations, etc. • Worldwide standard for aircraft communication • Very old type of modulation first used in early development of radio • Tends to be noisy, easily interfered with. Allows lots of static and ignition noise. Bad feature. • Allows two stations to be heard over one another – i.e. no capture effect as with FM. Good feature.
Basics of Radio -Propagation • Radio propagation is a term used to explain how radio waves behave when they are transmitted, or are propagated from one point on the earth to another • There are many ways that waves propagate in the atmosphere, including • Ground Waves • Sky Waves • Tropospheric Scattering • Line of Sight • Propagation changes with frequency, time of day, atmospheric conditions and sun spot activity
Ground Wave Propagation • Surface or Ground waves follow the curvature of the earth. Since the ground is not a perfect electrical conductor, ground waves are attenuated as they follow the earth’s surface. • As frequency decreases, ground losses become lower • VLF (very low frequency) and LF (low frequency) are mostly used for military communications, especially with ships and submarines.
Skywave Propagation These layers are directly affected by the sun, and its varying activity (sunspot cycle) determines the utility of these modes • Skywave propagation, or “skip”, results from refraction of radio waves in the ionosphere • . • Forecasting of skywave modes is of considerable interest to amateur radio operators, commercial marine and aircraft communications, and shortwave broadcasters. • A sudden ionospheric disturbance is often the result of solar flares. Flares can disrupt HF radio propagation.
Line-of-SightPropagation • Above HF (30 MHz) most propagation is line of sight – “if you can see it, you can hear it” • In some cases, VHF signals can be received from reflections off of structures, terrain, etc. increasing range • Ground planereflection effects are an important factor in VHF line of sight propagation.
Tropospheric Scattering At VHF and higher, the atmosphere at a height of around 6 miles (10 kilometers) can scatter some of the normally line-of-sight beam of radio frequency energy back toward the ground, allowing over-the-horizon communication between stations as far as 500 miles (800 km) apart. A related mode, referred to as ducting, can occur when signals are confined between two ionized layers resulting in propagation for some thousands of miles. This is rare. A special form of tropo scattering relies on reflecting radio waves off the intensely ionized regions generated by meteors. This mode is very short-duration (a couple of seconds per event) and can also result in receiving signals some thousands of miles away.
Diffraction Diffraction phenomena by small obstacles are also important at high frequencies. Signals for urban cellular telephony tend to be dominated by ground-plane effects as they travel over the rooftops of the urban environment. They then diffract over roof edges into the street, where multipath propagation, absorption and diffraction phenomena dominate.
Absorption • Low frequency radio waves travel easily through brick and stone. As the frequency rises, absorption effects become more important. • At microwave or higher frequencies, absorption by molecular resonance in the atmosphere is a major factor limiting radio propagation. • For example, around 60 GHz there is a major absorption peak which makes this band useless for long-distance use but good for local, covert use • Beyond around 400 GHz, the Earth's atmosphere is effectively opaque to radio waves. • Heavy rain and snow also present major challenges to microwave reception.
Effect of Antenna on Propagation • Two important factors for antennas: • 1. Directivity – function of antenna design • 2. Placement – height above ground and attitude [horizontal or vertical] • Antennas can be “omni-directional” [whips, vertical antennas] or “directional” [beams, requiring a rotator to point in a desired direction] • Height above ground and attitude determines the “take-off” angle and thus impacts skip distance
Propagation - Summary • Generally, you need not be overly concerned about propagation but should be aware of the limitations and advantages • Hints… if you have trouble making contact: • When operating VHF • Move to higher ground or move your location • Your handheld antenna should be held vertically • When operating HF • Change frequency • Wire antennas close to the ground favor more local [e.g. NER] reception
Basics of Radio: SpectrumWideband and Narrowband The amount of spectrum a particular signal occupies is a function of how the RF carrier frequency is modulated to transfer meaningful information Radio spectrum is a national, albeit limited resource. Spectrum is governed by national policy as well as international agreements Most countries institute tight radio regulations for application of radio spectrum.
Wideband 25khz This view of a wideband 25khz radio signal represents our older frequencies.
Narrowband 12.5khz This view of a narrowband 12.5khz radio signal represents our new equipment. You will notice the signal or “Bandwidth” is much more narrow than the older, wideband frequencies.
NTIA Mandate for Narrowband As of 1 October 2009, all of our NER VHF-FM repeaters were changed to narrow-band. We are the First region to be essentially 100% completed with transition. As a result of this change, transmitting using equipment designed for most other services can not be used in the CAP Network. We are required to use equipment that has been approved by the NTIA for our channel assignments in the federal spectrum. The NTIA Standards are far more restrictive than FCC Type Acceptance standards for commercial users.
Wideband on a Narrowband System This should not be an issue if you use only CAP assigned radios Attempting to utilize a narrowband system with a wideband only radio is a potentially dangerousact. The Narrowband system will have extremely degraded performance. Doing this cause harmful interference and presents a serious safety situation to aircrews and other ground teams. Attempting to access this system will cause dangerous interference to not only the system you are attempting to access but the adjacent channel users.
Frequency Bands used by CAP • VHF – Very High Frequency - is only capable of line-of-site communications • Buildings, mountains, leaves may interfere • Higher an aircraft, the wider coverage • 2500’ AGL has an effective radius of 50 Miles • HF - High Frequency - is capable of world wide communication • Strongly dependent on frequency, antenna, time of day 38
Aircraft Radios Aircraft use two types: AM – used mostly by pilots to communicate with Air Traffic Control FM – used primarily by Mission Observer to communicate with Mission Base Types of radios • EF Johnson • Base Radio • Mobile Radio • Portable • Motorola • HF • ALE • ICOM • ISR
Model Specific Information Before operating any of these radios, seek specific instruction and read the manual! • These next few overview slides go into basic radio functions and operations for the: • E.F. Johnson - 5300 Series Mobiles • E.F. Johnson - 5100 Handhelds • Tait - T-2020 Mobiles (Analog Only 100 Channels Maximum, Mission Support Radio) • NAT - NPX-136 Aircraft Radio (Analog Only 100 Channels Maximum, to be replaced with Technisonic TDFM-136) • Technisonic - TDFM-136 Aircraft Radio
EF Johnson 5300 Series Mobile 1 - Power Switch / Volume The On /Off and Volume control knob is located on the left under display screen; push the knob for on/off, rotate for volume control. 2, 6 & 8 – non functional 4 - Zone / Channel Selector Knob Push in to alternate between Zones and channel selection. Rotate knob to scroll up or down within the channel / zone bank. 9 – Key Select 9 5 6 7 8 3 2 4 1 5 – Scan 7 – Squelch On/Off 3 - The light above the Hi / Low power switch shows RED when you transmit, GREEN when the frequency is in use.
EF Johnson 5100 Series Handheld 6 2 2 1 5 4 15 16 11 12 18 7 17 10 14 13 1 8 3 2 4 5 6 1 – Power On / Off and Volume 2 – Channel Selector 3 – Antenna Connection Port 4 – Keypad LOCK Button 5 – Not Programmed 6 – Transmit / Receive Light 7 – Speaker Mic. Connection8 – PTT Button 9 - Speaker 10 – Microphone 11 – Not Programmed 12 – Not Programmed 13 – Not Programmed 14 – Not Programmed 15 – Not Programmed 16 – Not Programmed 17 – Light 18 – Up / Down Zones 9
TAIT T-2020 Mobile Example I want channel 10, press (1) and (zero) then (ENTER). For Ch 2, Press ( 2) and (enter) 1 3 - Channel Up 4 – Channel Down 5 – ENTER Button 2 3 5 1 - POWER SWITCH and Volume Control 2 -Channel Selection, use keypad to the right of the display screen. Channels 1-16 are the common simplex channels and mobile repeaters ( to be assigned by CUL). For Channel 1 thru 16 selection (refer to channel chart) can be obtained by pushing a number button on the key pad AND the “enter” key. 4
National Airborne Technologies - NPX-138 1 2 5 4 3 1 - On / Off 2 – Channel Up / Down – (Toggle Left or Right) 3 – Squelch (Press In) 4 – Screen Brightness 5 - Always Leave on (ID)
Technisonic Model TDFM-136 Aircraft VHF FM Radio 1 – On / Off – Volume 2 – Channel Display 3 - Display Brighter 4 – Display Dimmer 5 – Channel Memory Scroll Down 6 – Channel Memory Scroll Up 7 – Enter 8 – Guard Select Switch 9 – Transmit Select for Main [upper display] or “Guard” [lower display] 9 7 3 2 1 5 6 • Notes: • To select and view CAP channel designators, push tone pad Button “1/CHAN” NOT “ 7/FREQ.” • Audio for both upper and lower displayed channels will be heard simultaneously 8 4
Voice Operating ModesSimplex vs. Duplex • Simplex • Transmit and receive on the same frequency • Buildings, terrain, altitude • Repeaters – Duplex mode • Used to extend coverage and get over obstacles Single Frequency - One Station at a Time • Duplex • Transmit on one frequency and receive on another Two Frequencies - One Station at a Time R T Repeater increases the range of mobile stations due to its high profile location
Inside the Repeater Repeater will turn on its transmitter only if the Tone Decoder hears a repeater specific tone Voice Transmit Frequency Repeater Receiver Repeater Transmitter Receive Frequency PTT Tone Decoder “Mike Button” Tone The Tone Decoder “presses” the Push To Talk (PTT) button to turn on the transmitter. The Tone Decoder “listens” for tones on the incoming signal
NER REPEATER LOCATIONS There are 64 NBFM Compliant Repeaters In the CAP North East Region
Geographically Defined Restrictions on CAP VHF Frequencies • Because of the international agreements between Canada and the U.S., CAP must restrict its operations on certain CAP frequencies when within 75 nm miles of the international border. • Operators entering those areas should make themselves aware of any restrictions in effect. • Aircraft Operations are restricted to channels Air 1 or CAPGUARD ONLY and are limited to 3,000 ft AGL. • We are permitted to operate up to 12.5KFT ONLY WITH USAF MISSION AUTHORIZATION • Restrictions do not apply to other interagency communications such as Fish & Game, Forrest Service