FORT HUACHUCA, Arizona (June 26, 2017) -- Thirty-eight Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard military units across the United States, Kosovo and Canada tested their operator skills March 30 through April 1, during a high-frequency radio exercise sponsored by the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command. Participating in the exercise with the military stations were 84 military auxiliary stations, including members of the Army and Air Force Military Auxiliary Radio System, Canadian Force Auxiliary Radio System, United Stated Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the United Kingdom Military Cadets.
"The goal of this exercise was to give military units and auxiliary communicators the chance to train and hone their HF communications skills in a semi-competitive but low threat environment," said David McGinnis, exercise planner at the Fort Huachuca HF Gateway station.
Rules for the exercise required all participants to use no more than 20 watts output power and to use tactical or field expedient HF antennas. According to exercise planners, this base-lined all participants to using the same HF capabilities available to military units which are equipped with the PRC-150 HF radio.
During the exercise, participants scored a point for each contact they made. Each contact required the operator to challenge and authenticate the distant station using a one-time authentication pad, used to encrypt and send their military grid zone designator (location) via voice to the distant station. Participants received score multipliers if they successfully transmitted and received a digital message using the PRC-150 tactical chat (Military Standard 188-110A) protocol, or if they successfully made an Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) connection with other participants.
The top three scoring military stations at this year's competition were:
First Place - 61.95 points: B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade, Army Reconnaissance Course, Fort Benning, Georgia, led by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Miller;
Second Place - 55.65 points: Company E (Long Range Surveillance), 134th Infantry Regiment, Nebraska Army National Guard, led by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Williams;
Third Place - 25 points: 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, led by Staff Sgt. Anthony Foust.
"My congratulations to this year's winners and thanks to all participants for making this exercise a success in spite of less-than-optimal propagation conditions," said Paul English, chief of Army MARS. "We hope to see more in next year's low power competition."