Effective HF (high frequency) communications is a skill to be mastered.
An understanding of environmental conditions, antenna takeoff angle, signal amplification and frequency propagation are all elements to consider for successful communications over HF.
When any one of these elements is miscalculated, communications will be unsuccessful — for instance, selecting a high-HF frequency with the wrong antenna takeoff angle could result in radio waves piercing the ionosphere and never refracting to desired receive radio.
Though HF has been a powerful tool, it has taken mastery of communicators to harness the power.
High Frequency has continued to be a consistent, economical and reliable long-range communications platform; being of practical use in natural disasters, as well as, for military applications.
High-frequency radio communications have been an element of civil and military communications for decades. With the inherent ability to communicate at distances that span the globe, HF has provided an accessible and versatile tool for long-haul communications.
During World War II, for example, HF communications were the primary means for ship-to-shore and ground-to-air communications. Adjusting HF and antenna orientation enables radio waves to either traverse the ground (ground or surface wave) or refract off the ionosphere (sky wave); this flexibility results in communications that can penetrate thick tree canopies, reach into valleys and provide reliable voice communications over long distances.
The advantage of HF communications is that it does not rely on any other infrastructure other than the radio equipment on either end of the link.
Nowhere is this more important than in DoD case uses. In the military, HF communications is used as a basic long-range command and control medium for communications between Headquarters (HQ’s) in all services.
The Air Force and Navy use HF communications for long range command and control of aircraft and ships. The Air Force also uses HF as a means for pilots to place telephone calls using the High Frequency Global Communications System (HF-GCS).
The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) and Civil Air Patrol (CAP) also extensively use HF communications in support of the Department of Defense.
On the federal side, agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) use HF for over the ocean communications for air traffic control, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) uses HF radar to measure ocean currents on both the east and west coasts.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Tactical HF/VHF/UHF/SHF Communications Training Bootcamp, a 5-day course that focuses on tactical HF/VHF/UHF/SHF radio and how it integrates into tactical systems.
Participants will learn about the key principles, technology and applications of tactical HF, VHF, UHF and SHF communications. Basic tactical applications and systems, tactical ISR, EW, HF propagation concepts, spectrum, channelization, regulation, structure of Ionosphere and Sky Waves, propagation effects, modulation, antennas, power and link budget.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.