Friday, September 09, 2011

Interesting Document on USAF HF-GCS Evolution

This link came by way of UDXF.

It's for a .pdf file showing what looks like a PowerPoint presentation regarding the US Air Force's communications on its High Frequency Global Communications System (HF-GCS). The presentation was made by Rockwell/ Collins for a 2010 conference.

Much of the content is maps and charts, and it is best to get this file and look at it.

But here are some interesting facts about the HF-GCS:

1. "F.k.a. SCOPE Command." I take this to mean the SCOPE Command program was indeed an upgrade in HF-GCS, not a separate radio network.  [SCOPE was an acronym for System Capable Of Planned Expansion -Hugh.]

2. 13 4 kW ground stations worldwide, with separate tx/rx sites.

3. 2 central control points: NCS-East at Andrews AFB, NCS-West at Grand Forks AFB, ND (under development). [????? GFAFB is currently the 319th Air Base Wing, and is being converted to Global Hawk surveillance drones. -Hugh]

4. The lead command is now the Air Force Space Command. [Again, ?????]

5.The document still shows McLellan (near Sacramento, CA) as "West Coast," even though it does ID as "McLellan." The station in the Falklands is listed as "South Atlantic (UK Station)," and it does not show on the coverage map. It appears to remote to Croughton.

6. Mission list still includes the functions of the previous Mystic Star and SITFAA.  Newer capabilities are shown as Link-11 for the US Navy, and support of both test ranges for the Space Command.

7. Circuits between control points and stations are apparently migrating to voice/ audio/ data over IP.

8. It appears that the long range plan includes digital voice and a replacement for ANDVT which would allow end-to-end encryption from telephone to radio back to telephone using a single system.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Solar Observations are Changing Our Vision

This is an exciting time for people who follow solar-terrestrial phenomena.  New spacecraft have joined the existing SOHO to give images and insights that were unimaginable even a year ago.

The sun turns out to be an even more interesting place than we knew it was already. Flares are long duration events, not simple explosions. CMEs can generate incredible lacy patterns.  They can also now be observed from afar, showing exactly how they reach and engulf the Earth.  Sunspots can now be observed while still deep inside the sun, before they reach the surface.

In the short term, CMEs and a coronal hole bode ill for stable HF propagation starting sometime tomorrow, but at least with the equinox coming they'll undoubtedly be great for aurora watchers.  Today, though, HF propagation continues to be the best I've heard it in years.

More:

NASA/ESA Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO):
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/soho/index.html 

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/main/index.html

NASA Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO):
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/index.html

NASA Video Gallery:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/index.html

SpaceWeather.com
http://www.spaceweather.com/

The Skies Are Full of NOAA/ Teal (TCPOD 9/9-10)

000
NOUS42 KNHC 081600
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1200 PM EDT THU 08 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
         VALID 09/1100Z TO 10/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
         TCPOD NUMBER.....11-100

I.  ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. TROPICAL STORM MARIA
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71      FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 72
       A. 09/12Z,18Z               A. 10/00Z,06Z
       B. AFXXX 0214A MARIA        B. AFXXX 0314A MARIA
       C. 09/0930Z                 C. 09/2230Z
       D. 13.8N 57.3W              D. 14.5N 60.5W
       E. 09/1130Z TO 09/18Z       E. 09/2330Z TO 10/06Z
       F. SFC TO 10,000 FT         F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

    2. TROPICAL STORM NATE.
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 75      FLIGHT TWO -- NOAA 49
       A. 09/18Z                  A. 10/00Z
       B. AFXXX 0515A NATE        B. NOAA9 0615A NATE
       C. 09/1515Z                C. 09/1730Z
       D. 21.5N 92.5W             F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
       E. 09/1730Z TO 09/2100Z
       F. SFC TO 15,000 FT        FLIGHT FOUR -- TEAL 76
                                  A. 10/06Z
       FLIGHT THREE -- NOAA 43    B. AFXXX 0815A NATE
       A. 10/00Z                  C. 10/0330Z
       B. NOAA3 0715A NATE        D. 22.2N 92.9W
       C. 09/20Z                  E. 10/0530Z TO 10/09Z
       F. SFC TO 15,000 FT        F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

       FLIGHT FIVE -- NOAA 42
       A. 10/12Z
       B. NOAA2 0915A NATE
       C. 10/08Z
       D. SFC TO 15,000 FT

    3. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
       A. MARIA: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES.
       B. NATE: CONTINUE 12-HRLY FIXES AND P-3'S EVERY 12 HRS.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
    2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
                          JWP

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Air Recon Taskings for 9/8-9

000
NOUS42 KNHC 071500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT WED 07 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
         VALID 08/1100Z TO 09/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
         TCPOD NUMBER.....11-099

I.  ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. TROPICAL STORM MARIA
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
       A. 08/2000Z
       B. AFXXX 0114A MARIA
       C. 08/1700Z
       D. 14.3N 52.0W
       E. 08/1930Z TO 08/2230Z
       F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

    2. SUSPECT AREA (GULF OF MEXICO)
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 76   FLIGHT TWO -- NOAA 49
       A. 08/1800Z             A. 09/0000Z
       B. AFXXX 02IIA INVEST   B. NOAA9 03IIA SURV
       C. 08/1530Z             C. 08/1730Z
       D. 20.5N 90.7W          F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
       E. 08/1730Z TO 08/2200Z
       F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

    3. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
       A. MARIA: BEGIN 6-HRLY FIXES AT 09/1200Z.
       B. SUSPECT AREA: A G-IV MISSION FOR 10/0000Z.
    4. REMARK: MISSION FOR HURRICANE KATIA AT 07/1700Z
       CANCELED AT 07/1110Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
    2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
                          JWP

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Air Recon Taskings 9/7-8

000
NOUS42 KNHC 061515
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1115 AM EDT TUE 06 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
         VALID 07/1100Z TO 08/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
         TCPOD NUMBER.....11-098

I.  ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. HURRICANE KATIA
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71
       A. 07/1700Z
       B. AFXXX 0212A KATIA
       C. 07/1330Z
       D. 30.5N 66.5W
       E. 07/1630Z TO 07/1930Z
       F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

    2. SUSPECT AREA (GULF OF MEXICO)
       FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 75
       A. 07/1800Z
       B. AFXXX 01IIA INVEST
       C. 07/1500Z
       D. 20.5N 92.0W
       E. 07/1730Z TO 07/2200Z
       F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

    3. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: A SECOND MISSION
       INTO THE SUSPECT AREA AT 08/1800Z.
    4. REMARK: NOAA G-IV RESEARCH MISSION FOR HURRICANE
       KATIA TAKING OFF AT 07/1100Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
    1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
    2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
                          JWP

Air Recon Tasking for Katia 9/6-7

000
NOUS42 KNHC 051445
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1045 AM EDT MON 05 SEPTEMBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 06/1100Z TO 07/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-097

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. HURRICANE KATIA
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 06/17Z
B. AFXXX 0112A KATIA
C. 06/1415Z
D. 27.5N 66.5W
E. 06/1615Z-06/1830Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: PSBL 07/17Z FIX
3. REMARK: NOAA G-IV RESEARCH MISSIONS
FOR HURRICANE KATIA TAKING OFF 06/11Z AND 07/11Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
VJH

Katia Now Category 4

At this time, surf and rip currents are still the major hazards to Bermuda and the Eastern US.

Advisory #32 is current.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Katia Now Category 3 (Major Hurricane)

Advisory #31 is current:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Katya is strengthening, but right now the major hazards are heavy surf and rip currents for Bermuda and the US East Coast.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

CFH Back To STANAG 4285

 CFH, the Canadian Forces Halifax station in Nova Scotia, has switched back to STANAG 4285 (again) on September 1. Some might remember that it briefly tested this mode before going back to RTTY.  Well, now it's gone back to STANAG.  Parameters appear to be 75 baud, long interleave, ITA2 alphabet, 5 data bits and either no or one stop bit(s).  Channel center is 1800 Hz so best decode on my receiver in USB mode is at -1.8 kHz.

The traffic is still an idler with the NAWS DE CFH ZKR ... AR marker every 30 seconds.

As long as we're discussing STANAG 4285, the highly regarded Sigmira decoding program for Windows and Linux has had that same problem with its features.dat file again.  Apparently, this file becomes obsolete periodically and has to be replaced, but the program lacks an update function to do this.  At this point, the button for STANAG 4285 does not work, and repeated clicking crashes the program.

This can be quickly resolved by downloading the new features.dat to your run directory for Sigmira to replace the existing one.  The download is at the programmer's web site.