Radio test set replaces obsolete equipment
February 11, 2009
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - A modernized, automatic test set replaces seven pieces of manual equipment which are used for testing radio systems here.
The AN/GRM-122 radio test set, in use since December, is used by technicians in the Navigation Systems Branch to test the AN/ARN-89, -149 and -123 radio systems. The branch is part of the Command, Control and Computers/Avionics Directorate's Avionics Division.
The $100,000, three-part stackable test set is capable of replacing three different types of manual test sets, says Anthony Gentle, branch chief. The manual test sets contain up to seven pieces of equipment, including generators, meters and scopes, some of which are becoming obsolete.
Branch personnel are replacing eight manual test sets with eight GRM-122 units, which is part of the Depot of the Future program.
"It's a self-contained system, which is better than having pieces of equipment all over the place," explains Jeffrey Tavella, noting that it contains equipment such as a built-in scope and spectrum analyzer. Tavella is an electronics mechanic in the branch and tests the ARN-123.
Branch personnel recognized the potential of the new technology for test purposes here after learning U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command was fielding the test sets to intermediate maintenance facilities, Gentle explains. He adds that technicians looked forward to using the new equipment after watching a demo test performed on an ARN-149 here.
"They [branch technicians] have embraced the new test system," notes Gentle. "They like the fact that it's compact and automated." Tavella adds that by implementing the new system, technicians have been able to free-up space on the benches, allowing them to perform component replacement on the same bench as the radio testing, and it creates a cleaner-looking environment.
"The nice thing about it is that [when setting up for tests] you hook-up a piece of equipment and it goes through each test," notes Tavella. "And it sets up another test [on the same piece of equipment] automatically."
"There's a potential for time savings because the system automatically goes through all of the tests," explains Thomas Yanochko, but notes that because the system is still new they haven't been able to determine any savings yet. He is an electronics worker in the branch and participates in the Student Career Experience Program.
Yanochko says the graphics are better on the GRM-122 and that there's a lot less hands-on when using the test set because a technician presses a button and monitors the tests. He adds that "it's more user friendly, making it a very useful device." The new test set is similar to the type of equipment he learned to use while studying electronics technology at Lackawanna College.
Future plans include troubleshooting the radio systems using the GRM-122, and learning the extent of the functions from a company representative, Gentle notes. Also, technicians are running comparison tests between old and new test systems and plan on providing suggestions to software designers for possible software changes.
The ARN-89 Direction Finder Set is a navigation guiding receiver, and the ARN-149 Automatic Direction Finder System indicates bearing information to the transmitting station being received. The ARN-123 Radio Receiving Set is a very high frequency Omni range and instrument landing system.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest full-service Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance maintenance and logistics support facility in the Department of Defense. Employees repair, overhaul and fabricate electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network.
Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces. The depot is the Army Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for Communications-Electronics, Avionics, and Missile Guidance and Control Systems and the Air Force Technology Repair Center for ground communications and electronics.
About 5,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control, computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.