Exercise Noble Skywave 2016

by | 2016-10-24

CMCEN LogoIt’s been a long while since I’ve written anything here. Catching up with life after the (extremely successful) St. Paul Island DXPedition has kept me busy, but I’ve still managed to find time to play radio.

Once again, the Canadian Military Communications and Electronics Network (CMCEN) and the 8 Air Communications and Control Squadron are hosting Exercise Noble Skywave – an annual HF communications exercise that includes the militaries and civilian affiliates (i.e.: Amateur Radio Operators who are members of MARS or CFARS) of the Five Eyes Allied Nations (Canada, USA, UK, Australia, NZ), NATO units and other allied forces. The exercise starts at 1000z (6AM EDT) on Oct. 26, and ends at 1800z (2PM EDT) on Oct. 27, 2016.

Harris PRC-150 (Falcon II)The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that military units are able to communicate effectively over HF – whether in North America or abroad, and to foster the spirit of friendly competition amongst our allies. As well, it probably presents another great opportunity for the Canadian Forces to get familiar with all the new Harris RF gear they bought 😉 As a member of CFARS, I’m permitted and encouraged to participate. I’ve spent a few days getting my shack ready. I’ve taken my dedicated ALE radio off of HFLink and programmed it with the frequencies for the exercise, and programmed everything else into PowerSDR.

Probably one of the most interesting things about taking part in exercises like this are that I’m operating all over HF, in some cases nowhere even close to the traditional Amateur Radio bands – the frequency assignments are all over the place. This has gotten me thinking about how to make my antenna system more broad-minded without sacrificing too much efficiency (I’m pretty sure I’ll spend a couple of months over the winter designing something to put up when the snow melts). One of the things I found… well cool, about last year, was that I was getting phone calls from different bases around Canada to arrange communications schedules. This morning, I was contacted by a Peruvian participant and we made contact during the comm-check phase of the exercise somewhere below 15m, and then just below 11m. A few hours later, I was talking to a Canadian Forces member operating out of a base in Texas around 15m – both units running Harris PRC-138 radios, with amps, and Fanlite antennas.

If you’re interested, you can always click over to the live audio feed from my primary rig and listen in 🙂

73 for now de VA3QR (CIW601, EXNS16 Team 49)

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