In Boleslawiec, Poland, two Army National Guard units are working together to improve communication training on multiple grounds. Both units are far from their homes in South Carolina, but they’re collaborating very much like neighbors. In addition to facing ordinary challenges of living on barracks for overseas training exercises, such as distribution and acquisition of resources, the units are working together to gain better knowledge of high frequency (HF) tactical radios.
Military radios, like those found at cjcomponents.com, are highly specialized pieces of equipment that not every soldier has full knowledge of. Effective operation, particularly when the goal is to maximize all capabilities, requires its own training and an understanding of the principals on which HF radios function.
The National Guard’s operations in Boleslawiec provided a valuable opportunity for signal support systems specialist, Staff Sgt. David Nelson to spend several days training junior noncommissioned officers and soldiers in HF communication capabilities, which he describes as “a good skill set to have for all Signal Corps personnel.”
Although participating soldiers specialized in a variety of military occupations, they were eager to gain a full understanding of the tactical communication equipment, which included a Harris AN/PRC-150 manpack radio. The first day of training included a lesson in radio wave fundamentals and how space weather can affect HF communication.
Soldiers then learned equipment capabilities, including how to program and test the communication programming application (CPA) and its ability to program multiple radios in half the time required to program a single radio directly. Soldiers also learned how to build unique networks that enabled them to accomplish this.
On the final day of training, soldiers delved into HF antenna theory and learned how to achieve security through encryption. They also went through the process of installing a vertical skywave antenna and a broadband dipole antenna using the knowledge acquired over the previous two days—with respect to how frequency and range affect performance. That same body of understanding was used to improvise radio antennas out of ad hoc objects and materials, such as ethernet cables and eating utensils contained in MREs.
This type of practical training served as a learning experience that provided invaluable skills— should conventional communication systems fail—as well as an important collaborative exercise across individual units. This type of approach to tactical skill-building could give soldiers a serious edge when it comes to navigating situations outside of their specialization.