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First Printing, May 1996

Copyright © 1996

RADIO By Harris Corporation
All rights reserved

IN THE DIGITAL AGE Harris Corporation, RF Communications Division
Radio Communications in the Digital Age
Volume One: HF Technology

VOLUME ONE : Printed in USA
5/96 MG 25K
© Harris Corporation

All Harris RF Communications products and systems included herein
are trademarks of the Harris Corporation.





CHAPTER 6 ADAPTIVE RADIO Note: Throughout this handbook, technical terms
TECHNOLOGY 56 and acronyms shown in italics are defined
in the Glossary, Appendix B.

1901 in Newfoundland, Canada, he detected a telegraphic signal
transmitted from Cornwall, England, 3,000 kilometers away. For
an antenna, he used a wire 120 meters long, held aloft by a

INTRODUCTION simple kite.

Marconi’s success stimulated an intensive effort to explain
and exploit his discovery. The question of how radio waves could

be received around the surface of the earth was eventually
answered by Edward Appleton. It was this British physicist who
here was a time when radio communication was one of discovered that a blanket of electrically charged, or “ionized,”
a few methods for instant communication across distances. particles in the earth’s atmosphere (the ionosphere) were
We’ve all seen black-and-white wartime film clips of radio opera- capable of reflecting radio waves. By the 1920s, scientists had
tors sending Morse code using bulky radio equipment. After applied this theory and developed ways to measure and predict
World War II, the communications industry turned its attention the refractive properties of the ionosphere.
to other technologies, leading to a period of slow growth in high-
frequency (HF) radio communications during the 1960s and 1970s. Growth
However, HF, also known as short wave, is now undergoing an In time, the characteristics of HF radio propagation became
exciting revival propelled by an infusion of new technology. better understood. Operators learned, for example, that usable
frequencies varied considerably with time of day and season.
Modern radio technology had its birth with the publication HF technology developed quickly. By World War II, HF radio
of James Clerk Maxwell’s Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was the primary means of long-haul communications for military
in 1873, setting forth the basic theory of electromagnetic wave commanders because it provided communications with land, sea,
propagation. and air forces.

But the first radio waves were actually detected 15 years later. In the hands of a skilled operator, armed with years of experi-
In 1888, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (the scientist for whom the unit ence and an understanding of the propagating effects of the
of frequency is named) demonstrated that disturbances gener- ionosphere, HF radio was routinely providing reliable, effective
ated by a spark coil showed the characteristics of Maxwell’s radio links over many thousands of miles. Today, HF radio plays an
waves. His work inspired Guglielmo Marconi’s early experiments important role in allowing emerging nations to establish a
with wireless telegraphy using Morse code. By 1896, Marconi national communications system quickly and inexpensively.
had communicated messages over distances of a few kilometers.
It was thought at the time that radio waves in the atmosphere The advent of long-range communications by satellite in
traveled in straight lines and that they therefore would not be the 1960s initiated a period of declining interest in HF radio.
useful for over-the-horizon communication. That opinion did not Satellites carried more channels and could handle data
discourage Marconi, however, who became the first to demon- transmission at higher speeds. Additionally, satellite links
strate the transmission of radio waves over long distances. In seemed to eliminate the need for highly trained operators.

1 2

As long-range communications traffic migrated to satellites,
HF was often relegated to a backup role. The result was user
preference for wider bandwidth methods of communication,
such as satellites, resulting in declining proficiency in HF as the
number of experienced radio operators decreased. PRINCIPLES OF RADIO
It became clear over time, however, that satellites (for all their
advantages) had significant limitations. Military users became COMMUNICATIONS
increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of satellites to
jamming and physical damage, and questioned the wisdom of
depending exclusively on them. Moreover, satellites and their
supporting infrastructure are expensive to build and maintain.

D eveloping an understanding of radio communications
begins with the comprehension of basic electromagnetic
In the last decade, we’ve seen a resurgence in HF radio.
Research and development activity has intensified, and a new Radio waves belong to the electromagnetic radiation family,
generation of automated HF equipment has appeared. These which includes x-ray, ultraviolet, and visible light — forms of
systems provide dramatic improvements in link reliability and energy we use every day. Much like the gentle waves that form
connectivity, while eliminating the tedious manual operating when a stone is tossed into a still lake, radio signals radiate
procedures required to use older generation equipment. Today’s outward, or propagate, from a transmitting antenna. However,
adaptive HF radios are as easy to use as wireless telephones. unlike water waves, radio waves propagate at the speed of light.

Nonetheless, the perception that HF radio is an inherently We characterize a radio wave in terms of its amplitude,
difficult medium continues to linger. This perception continues frequency, and wavelength (Figure 1-1).
only because some communicators remember how HF used to be.
Radio wave amplitude, or strength, can be visualized as its height
As your interest in this book shows, however, HF is again — the distance between its peak and its lowest point. Amplitude,
being recognized as a robust and highly competitive medium which is measured in volts, is usually expressed by engineers in
for long-haul communications, offering myriad capabilities. terms of an average value called root-mean-square, or RMS.
In this introduction to HF radio communications, we present infor-
mation that will help you understand modern HF radio technology. The frequency of a radio wave is the number of repetitions or
We’ll cover the principles of HF radio, talk about specific applica- cycles it completes in a given period of time. Frequency is
tions, and then, consider the future of HF radio communication. measured in hertz (Hz); one hertz equals one cycle per second.
Thousands of hertz are expressed as kilohertz (kHz), and millions
of hertz as megahertz (MHz). You would typically see a frequency
of 2,182,000 hertz, for example, written as 2,182 kHz or 2.182 MHz.

3 4

Radio wavelength is the distance between crests of a wave.
The product of wavelength and frequency is a constant that is

equal to the speed of propagation. Thus, as the frequency
increases, wavelength decreases, and vice versa.

Since radio waves propagate at the speed of light (300 million
meters per second), you can easily determine the wavelength
in meters for any frequency by dividing 300 by the frequency in
megahertz. So, the wavelength of a 10-MHz wave is 30 meters,
determined by dividing 300 by 10.

The Radio Frequency Spectrum

In the radio frequency spectrum (Figure 1-2), the usable

frequency range for radio waves extends from about 20 kHz

(just above sound waves) to above 30,000 MHz. A wavelength

at 20 kHz is 15 kilometers long. At 30,000 MHz, the wavelength
is only 1 centimeter.

The HF band is defined as the frequency range of 3 to 30 MHz.

Properties of a Radio Wave
In practice, most HF radios use the spectrum from 1.6 to 30 MHz.
Most long-haul communications in this band take place between
4 and 18 MHz. Higher frequencies (18 to 30 MHz) may also be
available from time to time, depending on ionospheric conditions
and the time of day (see Chapter 2).

In the early days of radio, HF frequencies were called short
wave because their wavelengths (10 to 100 meters) were
shorter than those of commercial broadcast stations. The
term is still applied to long-distance radio communications.

Frequency Allocations and Modulation

Within the HF spectrum, groups of frequencies are allocated
to specific radio services — aviation, maritime, military,
Figure 1-1.

government, broadcast, or amateur (Figure 1-3). Frequencies are
further regulated according to transmission type: emergency,
broadcast, voice, Morse code, facsimile, and data. Frequency
allocations are governed by international treaty and national
licensing authorities.

5 6

1 m 0.01 m FREQUENCY 300 kHz 550 kHz 1650 kHz 3 MHz 30 MHz 88 MHz 108 MHz 300 MHz 1 GHz 3 GHz 30 GHz MICROWAVES VLF. WAVELENGTH 1000 m 100 m 10 m 1m 0.3 m 0. LF MF HF VHF UHF SHF AM LOW FM HIGH BAND BAND BAND BAND Amateur Amateur TV Ch. 1-6 TV Ch. 7-13 TV Ch.Hz Figure 1-2. 14-83 Military Radar Ship to Shore Ship to Shore Land Mobile Amateur Land Mobile Police Radar Cordless Telephones Int'l Broadcast Cordless Phones Aircraft Trunked Phones Long Distance CB Land Mobile Cellular Phones Phones Marine Satellite RADIO FREQUENCY SPECTRUM 7 AUDIO LIGHT X-RAYS VLF LF MF HF VHF MICROWAVES INFRARED VISIBLE ULTRAVIOLET GAMMA RAYS 10 0 10 2 10 3 10 4 10 6 10 8 10 9 10 10 10 12 10 14 10 16 10 18 10 20 10 22 10 24 1 Hz 1 kHz 1 MHz 1 GHz 1 THz 1 PHz 1 EHz (Kilo) (Mega) (Giga) (Tera) (Peta) (Exa) FREQUENCY . HF Radio Spectrum Allocations . Radio Frequency Spectrum USER Fixed Broadcast Mobile Maritime mobile 8 Aeronautical mobile Amateur 2 6 10 14 18 22 26 30 Frequency in MHz Figure 1-3.

Only the remaining sideband. To convey information. Today’s common methods for radio communications include UNMODULATED amplitude modulation (AM). a carrier must be varied so that its properties — its amplitude. The allocation of a frequency is just the beginning of radio communications. The AM process creates a carrier and a pair of duplicate sidebands — nearby frequencies above and below the carrier (Figure 1-4b). or phase (the measurement of a complete wave cycle) — are changed. SSB systems are more efficient both in the use TIME of the spectrum. Amplitude Modulation information-carrying sideband. AM is a relatively inefficient form of modulation. Thus. frequency. CARRIER AMPLITUDE In a more efficient technique. which must accommodate many users. a radio wave conveys no information. which varies the strength of the CARRIER carrier in direct proportion to changes in the intensity of a source such as the human voice (Figure 1-4a). It’s simply a rhythmic stream of continuous waves (CW). by the information signal. An SSB signal needs only half the bandwidth of an AM signal and is produced only when a modulating signal is present. or modulated. By itself. since the carrier must be continually generated. we refer to them as carriers. informa- tion is contained in amplitude variations. and of transmitter power. MODULATING SIGNAL When we modulate radio waves to carry information. All the transmitted power goes into the Figure 1-4a. On-off keying . In other words. upper (USB) or lower (LSB). 9 10 . single sideband (SSB). The simplest method of modulating a carrier is by turning it on and off by means of a telegraph key. is transmitted. the carrier and one of the sidebands are suppressed (Figure 1-4c). The majority of the power in an AM signal is consumed by the carrier that carries no information. was the only method of conveying wireless messages in the early days of radio. with the rest going to the information- MODULATED carrying sidebands. using Morse code.


in which a carrier at a reduced level is transmitted with the sideband... Radio Wave Propagation TRANSMITTING ANTENNA Propagation describes how radio signals radiate outward from RECEIVING ANTENNA a transmitting source. which is some- times used in HF radio.. is often SURFACE WAVE more complex. one sideband can carry a data signal and the other can carry a voice signal. This way. conventional FM SKY WAVE generally produces a cleaner signal than AM. . . Another important variation is independent sideband (ISB). are transmitted.. is amplitude modulation equivalent (AME). each carrying different information... The action is simple to imagine for radio DIRECT WAVE waves that travel in a straight line (picture that stone tossed into the still lake). GRO E There are two basic modes of propagation: ground waves UND REFL D WAV and sky waves. One variation on this scheme.. Ground waves consist of three components: surface waves. for example. but only at the cost of signal quality.. Other schemes support the transmission of data over HF REFRACTED WAVE channels. . in which both an upper and lower sideband. . 13 14 . For a variety of technical reasons.. Frequency modulation (FM) is a technique in which the carrier’s frequency varies in response to changes in the modu- lating signal... and ground-reflected waves. while sky waves “bounce” back to earth. however. provides an improvement in bandwidth utilization. Propagation Paths direct waves. AME lets one use a relatively simple receiver to detect the signal. We will cover these techniques in Chapter 5.. often used by military and commercial communicators. Figure 1-5 shows the different propagation paths for HF radio waves. As their names imply. but uses much more bandwidth than AM. including shifting the frequency or phase of the signal. .. Narrowband FM. ground waves travel ECTE along the surface of the earth. The true path radio waves take.. Figure 1-5..

6 to 30 MHz. Different portions of Direct waves travel in a straight line. surface wave energy is absorbed • Radio signals propagate from a transmitting antenna as waves by the earth. Absorption increases with frequency. which use a carrier traveling as a of hertz). so frequency of a carrier signal is modified to convey intelligence. direct waves are sometimes known as line-of-sight (LOS) waves. which extends their useful range slightly beyond the horizon. amplitude. In the next chapter. since the ionosphere is constantly changing. rocky. becoming weaker as this band are allocated to specific radio services under interna- distance increases. surface wave. or megahertz (millions Transmitted radio signals. Over arid. Depending on frequency. Using sky waves can be tricky. by the tional agreement. mined by the frequency and conductivity of the surface over which the waves travel. Eventually. 15 16 . Transmitting and receiving antennas must be • Modulation is the process whereby the phase. At certain frequencies. • Long-range radio communications take place in the high- frequency (HF) range of 1. Surface waves travel along the surface of the earth. however. lower For a given complement of equipment. Sky waves make beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications possible. have shorter wavelengths. reaching SUMMARY beyond the horizon. • HF radio waves can propagate as sky waves. through space at the speed of light. permitting communica- Ground-reflected waves are the portion of the propagated tions over long distances. They may be bent. antenna characteristics. are dependent on transmitter power. receiver sensitivity. antenna height is critical in determining range. • Frequency determines the length of a radio wave. which are refracted from the earth’s ionosphere. we’ll discuss sky waves in greater detail. non-conductive terrain. time of day. even with the same equipment. and atmospheric conditions. the range may drop to less than 20 miles. the range may extend from frequencies have longer wavelengths and higher frequencies 200 to 250 miles over a conductive. and the type of path traveled. a signal can bounce several times before reaching a receiver. radio waves are refracted (or bent). all-sea-water path. returning to earth hundreds or thousands of miles away. • Radio frequency is expressed in terms of hertz (cycles per second). atmosphere. The effective range of surface waves is largely deter. or able to “see” each other for communications to take place. kilohertz (thousands of hertz). or refracted. Because of this. wave that is reflected from the surface of the earth between the transmitter and receiver.

This is determined by wave- length and the type of transmitting antenna. protected by the outer layers. You must also be familiar with the techniques used lead to absorption. 17 18 . the first. actually making radio waves. the incident angle is an important factor in determining communications range. you would want the incident angle to be relatively large. The ionosphere is a region of electrically charged particles or the higher layers of the ionosphere tend to be more dense. Later. spheric phenomena were discovered through the 1930s and the gases may even glow and be visible. and still others pass through the ionosphere into outer The E layer reaches maximum ionization at noon. this In the ionosphere. Like a billiard ball bouncing off a rail. and dissipating toward sunset and reaches minimum activity at increases as the degree of ionization increases. results from F were discovered and noted by these letters. Nature’s Satellite tion (Figure 2-2). This phenomenon is 1940s. To communicate with a nearby station. the process in which electrons are stripped from by Appleton. depending on frequency. It begins space. while gases in the earth’s atmosphere. A. able for further discoveries. a radio wave reflects from the ionosphere at THE IONOSPHERE the same angle it hits it. some are quickly toward sunset. B. the D layer is the lowest region affecting HF blanket of gases is like nature’s satellite.CHAPTER 2 The angle at which sky waves enter the ionosphere is known as the incident angle (Figure 2-1). Thus. it will pass through the ionosphere without being T o understand sky wave propagation. such as sporadic E and aurora. If you need to AND HF RADIO reach a station that is relatively far from you. the incident angle should be relatively small. experience less 50 to 600 km (30 to 375 miles) above the earth’s surface. you need to consider the effects of the ionosphere and solar activity on HF radio refracted back to earth. was designated E for electric waves. Since ionization is caused by solar radiation. Additional iono- solar radiation. Layers of the Ionosphere Within the ionosphere. Why is the ionosphere important in HF radio? Well. D and atoms and produces electrically charged particles. because if it is too nearly vertical. incident angle must be sufficient for bringing the radio wave back to earth yet not so great that it will propagation. there are four layers of varying ioniza- The Ionosphere. When radio waves maximum ionization when the sun is at its zenith and dissipates strike these ionized layers. So. the D layer reaches most BLOS radio communications possible. completely absorbed. discovered in the early 1920s Ionization. the waves will be absorbed by the lower layers before reaching the more densely ionized upper layers. Of these layers. When the ionosphere becomes heavily ionized. Let’s start with some definitions. If the angle is too great. Absorption tends to be greater at lower frequencies. to predict propagation and select the best frequencies for a partic- ular link at a given time. ionization. others are refracted so that they return to the earth. and C are still avail- known as Northern and Southern Lights. Ionized only during the day. PROPAGATION The incident angle of a radio wave is critical. extending from approximately the lower layers.

. IONOSPHERE TAKE-OFF INCIDENCE . D 30-55 MILES Figure 2-1.... REFRACTION .. Regions of the Ionosphere 19 20 . ANGLE OF ANGLE F2 155-375 MILES F1 90-155 MILES Incident Angle E 60-90 MILES . Figure 2-2... F2 F1 E D . OF SIGNAL .

which exists only in the daytime and the peak of the sunspot cycle. The most heavily ionized region of the ionosphere. SIDs. band and beyond. adjustments in equipment to limit or optimize ionization effects. Hence. gradually decreasing to a minimum just In addition to these regular variations. The highest possible frequency Ionization is higher during spring and summer because the that can be used to transmit over a particular path under given hours of daylight are longer. for example. but not so short as to pass through the F layer. The F1 layer. Sky waves are absorbed or weakened ionospheric conditions is called the Maximum Usable Frequency as they pass through the highly charged D and E layers. Because there are fewer hours of daylight during autumn and sionally occur in the E layer. At this altitude. there is a class of unpre- before sunrise. it is not unusual to have is negligible in winter. of the D layer. Generally. dictable phenomena known as sudden ionospheric disturbances (SID). random During the day. causing it to absorb most HF signals on the side of frequencies from 10 to 20 MHz will accomplish this. Therefore. greater the ionization. and make Because ionospheric conditions affect radio wave propagation. Sunspots generate bursts of radiation electrons recombine very slowly. however. so the layer retains its ionized that cause higher levels of ionization. sky wave reflection from the F2 layer requires events due to solar flares. Frequencies higher than the MUF penetrate the ionosphere in effect. the F layer consists of two distinct layers. reducing. frequencies above 20 MHz tend to be unusable because the E and In the daytime. 21 22 . 20 to 40 hours. (MUF). Solar flares produce intense ionization layers.midnight. The more sunspots. less radiation reaches the D and E layers. the properties even after sunset. During periods of low sunspot activity. frequencies used at night would penetrate the F layer and pass into outer space. winter. Irregular cloud-like formations of ionized gases occa. temporarily neutralizing its reflective Factors Affecting Atmospheric Ionization properties. Frequencies lower than the MUF tend to refract back to earth. Lower frequen- can support propagation of sky waves at the upper end of the HF cies pass easily through these weakly ionized layers. signals arriving at the F layer are stronger and are reflected over greater distances. The F2 layer reaches maximum ionization at noon and remains charged at night. communicators must determine the best way to optimize radio frequencies at a particular time. Charged particles from the storms have a scat- tering effect on the F layer. These regions. The intensity of solar radiation and therefore ionization varies periodically. and continue into space. the communication range of most HF bands. worldwide propagation on frequencies above 30 MHz. but the same the earth facing the sun. which can affect HF communications as well. The most effective frequencies for long-haul Magnetic storms often follow the eruption of solar flares within nighttime communications are normally between 3 and 8 MHz. the air is thin enough that the ions and sunspot cycle (Figure 2-3). is not important to HF communications. can disrupt sky wave communication wavelengths short enough to penetrate the ionized D and E for hours or days at a time. At and F2. F1 F layers are too weakly ionized to reflect signals back to earth. known as sporadic E. is the Another longer term periodic variation results from the 11-year F layer. we can predict solar radiation intensity Frequency and Path Optimization based on time of day and the season. and there- fore the most important for long-haul communications.

1990 The Frequency of Optimum Transmission (FOT) is nominally 85 High sunspot numbers mean better HF propagation. The effects of multipath spread can be mini- mized by selecting a frequency as close as possible to the MUF. the signal is completely absorbed by the ionosphere. since computerized prediction methods are based on historic data. they cannot account for present conditions Figure 2-3. the FOT is lower at night and higher 1980 during the day. 1900 Of course. including one or more sky wave paths and a ground wave Year path. like ionospheric changes caused by random phenomena such as interference and noise (more about these later). 1940 Propagation Prediction Techniques Since many of the variables affecting propagation follow repet- 1930 itive cycles and can be predicted. Eventually. 23 24 . 1970 In addition to frequency. lies between the MUF and LUF. the amount of absorption of the signal by the D layer increases. The “window” of usable frequencies. the range of time differences is the 1950 multipath spread. These frequencies are illustrated in Figure 2-4. 1920 Sunspot Cycle A number of propagation prediction computer programs are available. therefore. One widely used and effective program is Ionospheric 1910 Communications Analysis and Prediction (IONCAP). percent of the MUF. techniques for effectively determining FOT have been developed. The arrival times of these components differ because of differences in path length. As frequency is reduced. Generally. the route the radio signal travels must also be considered in optimizing communications. which predicts system performance at given times of day as a function of frequency for a given HF path and a specified complement of equipment. A received signal may be comprised of components arriving via several 1960 routes. 80 160 120 280 240 200 40 0 Sunspot Number affecting communications. The frequency at which 2 000 this occurs is called the Lowest Usable Frequency (LUF).

the ChirpsounderTM. A more immediate automated prediction method involves ionospheric sounding. and FOT Frequencies ABOUT 85% OF MUF (FOT) NOMINALLY FREQUENCY OF FREQUENCY LOWEST USABLE (LUF) FREQUENCIES IONOSPHERE LOWER THAN ABSORBED LUF ARE Figure 2-4. and displays frequency ranges for optimum propagation. the LQA data is used to select the best frequency. LUF. IN THE IONOSPHERE ARE REFRACTED BACK TO EARTH IN THIS RANGE FREQUENCIES OPTIMUM TRANSMISSION MUF. The receiver tracks PENETRATE the signal. transmitting and receiving stations cooperate to assess automatically the quality of the channels available to them. uses HIGHER THAN MUF remote stations to transmit test signals (chirps) that sweep FREQUENCIES IONOSPHERE AND GO OUT INTO SPACE through all frequencies from 2 to 30 MHz. analyzes its reception on assigned operating frequen- cies. FREQUENCY MAXIMUM USABLE (MUF) In addition. In these systems. One system. When the need to communicate arises. We’ll take a closer look at this technique in Chapter 6. modern HF communications systems are increas- ingly making use of Link Quality Analysis (LQA) techniques. BY THE 25 26 .

the angle with which the radio waves RADIO SYSTEM strike it. (modulated) by a lower frequency signal derived from a source • Solar flares cause sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs). which changes according to time of day. the transmitter and receiver are contained in a single • The angle of radiation is determined by the wavelength of unit called a transceiver. stations and receiving stations are customarily at separate loca- • Radio waves are absorbed as they pass through the ionosphere. The primary components in an HF radio system fall into three season. and time of day. transmitting a signal and the type of antenna used. extending from 50 to 600 km (approximately 30 to 375 miles) above the earth’s surface. Other methods include ionospheric sounding and Link Quality Analysis (LQA). and antennas. • Sunspots increase and decrease in 11-year cycles. diagram of a typical HF transmitter is shown in Figure 3-1. of information such as a microphone. frequency. or output frequency 27 28 . A bandpass filter removes noise. Higher The exciter synthesizes a carrier. and the frequency of the signal. In large. such as IONCAP. receivers. wattage for transmission before sending it through a cable to the mine the MUF. depending on the density of the layer. which has one of its sunspot numbers increase ionization. often controlled from a remote third site. strips electrons from atoms. • The density of ionospheric layers varies with the intensity N ow that you have an overview of how radio waves propagate. nominally 85 percent of the maximum usable they all consist of an exciter and power amplifier. caused by solar radiation. 3 • There are layers of varying electron density in the ionosphere ELEMENTS IN AN HF that absorb. Although transmitters may vary widely in their configuration. deter. • Ionization. converted to the frequency that is to be transmitted. Transmitter Group • Communications is best at the frequency of optimum trans. The resulting signal is which can disrupt HF communications. and harmonics generated in the exciter. mission (FOT). groups: transmitters. lower sunspot numbers properties — amplitude. CHAPTER SUMMARY • The ionosphere is a region of electrically charged particles or gases in the earth’s atmosphere. or phase — modified cause less ionization. The absorption rate increases as frequency decreases. of solar radiation. fixed systems. spurious signals. producing electrically charged particles. tions. LUF. The power amplifier boosts the output power of the signal to the desired • Propagation prediction techniques. let’s take a look at how they are generated. and sunspot cycle. pass. In many modern radio sets. or reflect radio waves. The transmitter may also contain filters that are used to “clean up” its output. and FOT for a given transmission path transmitting antenna. A simplified frequency (MUF).

Simplified Diagram of an HF Transmitter In order to filter out noise and undesired signals. because the strength of the input signal may not be constant. in which the original modulating signal is recovered from a TRANSLATORS FREQUENCY modulating carrier. Here. and a local oscillator MODULATED RF SIGNAL frequency synthesizer (see Figure 3-2). we will look at typical antenna types and their applications. and recovers the information through the process of demodulation. 29 30 . Typically. MODULATOR But the filtering process does not end here. a demodulator. a series of frequency converters and intermediate frequency (IF) amplifiers. Receiver Group AMPLIFIER All modern HF receiving systems include an RF input filter/ POWER amplifier. the voltage is fed back to the RF and IF amplifiers for automatic gain control MODULATING (AGC). the receiver selects a desired signal. The filtered signal is then amplified and converted to another frequency for further processing. To function. the received signal is filtered and amplified again at several different intermediate frequencies. SIGNAL The Antenna Group The antenna is one of the most critical elements in a radio circuit. With contemporary radio equipment. to maintain a constant input to the demodulator. for example. the demodulator PROCESSOR EXCITER produces an audio-frequency (baseband) signal that interfaces AUDIO with additional equipment. amplifies it to a suitable level. Figure 3-1. the RF input SYNTHESIZER GENERATOR FREQUENCY stage sometimes incorporates a tunable preselector (a bandpass CARRIER filter). To compensate for changes in the signal. the demodulator stage produces a voltage proportional to the level of the RF input signal. The amplification provided in these stages is a variable that depends on the strength of the received signal. Also. This process TO ANTENNA RF OUTPUT reduces interference with adjacent communications channels. In order to output voice or data. harmonics coming from the power amplifier. many of these functions are performed digitally.

which radiates equally in all directions. whips. Other antennas. for example. frequency of operation. such as antenna design. and long-wire 2D LO antennas. and IF = INTERMEDIATE AGC = AUTOMATIC polarization. and location of the antenna with respect to surrounding objects. 1ST CONV/ IF AMPL The gain of an antenna is a measure of its directivity — its ability to focus the energy it radiates in a particular direction. ULATOR DEMOD- The basic challenge in radio communications is finding ways to get the most power possible. gain. such as log periodic antennas. This impedance depends upon many factors. OSCILLATOR FREQUENCY These antennas can generally be connected directly to the trans- LOCAL mitter.) Simplified Diagram of an HF Receiver 3RD CONV/ IF AMPL Some antennas. an omni- ANTENNA RF INPUT directional antenna were replaced by a directional antenna with FROM a gain of 10 dBi. where and when you need it. Transmitting antenna gain directly Figure 3-2. 31 32 . such as dipoles. Most transmitters are designed to provide maximum output power and efficiency into a 50-ohm load. 1ST LO The gain may be determined by comparing the level of signal received from it against the level that would be received from an AGC isotropic antenna. the higher this number. If. GAIN CONTROL OUTPUT STAGE AUDIO FREQUENCY Every antenna has an input impedance. This device is inserted between the transmitter and antenna to modify the characteristics of the load presented to the transmitter so that maximum power may be transferred from AGC LO the transmitter to the antenna. radiation pattern. a 100-watt transmitter would produce the same effective radiated power as a 1-kW transmitter and omnidirec- tional antenna. Gain RF AMPL/ FILTER can be expressed in dBi. In these cases. Its symbol is Ω. Antenna Characteristics and Parameters Some of the most commonly used terms to describe antennas OUTPUT SIGNAL are impedance. take-off angle. have impedances that vary widely with frequency and 2ND CONV/ IF AMPL the surrounding environment. to generate and transmit signals. affects transmitter power requirements. (OHM is a unit of measurement of resistance. which represents the load to be applied to the transmitter. the greater the directivity of the antenna. an antenna tuner or coupler is used. can provide a SYNTHESIZER 3D LO 50-ohm load to the transmitter over a wide range of frequencies.

Horizontally polarized Figure 3-3. it is possible to increase gain at lower take-off angles for longer-range sky wave performance. so plots at different frequencies are required to fully characterize the radiation pattern of an antenna. 0° LEVEL A horizontally polarized antenna radiates at higher take-off angles and is suitable for shorter range communications. X° mines its polarization. it is important to factor (SOUTH) in the take-off angle. The (WEST) 180° 0° radiation patterns are frequency dependent. Radiation NOTE: Example shown is for pattern is determined by an antenna’s design and is strongly an antenna pointing influenced by its location with respect to the ground. the pattern is not uniform. radio users must understand the radiation pattern of an antenna for optimal signal transmission. be affected by its proximity to nearby objects such as buildings and trees. 33 34 . The orientation of an antenna with respect to the ground deter. which is the angle between the main lobe of an antenna pattern and the horizontal plane of the transmitting antenna. high take-off angles are used for shorter-range communications. out to about 400 miles. Most HF antennas are either vertically or 90° horizontally polarized. and are less affected by local noise than vertical antennas. The main drawback of vertical antennas is their sensitivity to ground conductivity and locally generated noise. Low take-off angles are generally used for long-haul AZIMUTH PATTERN communications. 270° In determining communications range. By adjusting the height of the antenna above ELEVATION PATTERN ground. These patterns are generally represented 90° graphically in terms of plots in the vertical and horizontal planes (Figure 3-3). which show antenna gain as a function of elevation angle (vertical pattern) and azimuth angle (horizontal plot). Antenna Radiation Patterns antennas are largely independent of ground conductivity. but is (NORTH) characterized by lobes (areas of strong radiation) and nulls (areas of weak radiation). It is necessary to use a grounding screen to get GROUND the best results. A vertically polarized antenna produces low take-off angles and is therefore suitable for ground waves and for long-haul sky wave links. It may also toward the east. In most antennas. In addition to gain.

see Figure 3-8. We’ll focus here on just some of the more common types. since the polarization of the signal will change antennas have a very high take-off angle. radiating RF energy during ionospheric refraction. includ- ing horizontal and vertical log periodic systems. can add directivity to the radiation pattern of a whip. For stations may require antennas specially designed for this sky wave propagation. Figure 3-5 shows a center-fed horizontal dipole antenna. 18 MHz A vertical dipole can often be used effectively on ships or Figure 3-4. An inverted vee (sometimes called a “drooping dipole”) produces a combination of horizontal and vertical radiation with omnidirectional coverage. NVIS antennas provide omnidirec- Types of Antennas tional coverage out to about 600 km. The dipole can be oriented to provide either horizontal or vertical (center-fed) polarization. the transmitting and receiving Sky wave communications between relatively closely spaced antennas should have the same polarization for best results. One of the most versatile types of HF antenna is the half-wave ° 30 30 dipole. Directional antennas range from simple single-wire configura- tions like the inverted vee to elaborate multi-wire arrays. since it is omnidirectional. Figure 3-6 shows the vertical radiation pattern of a hori. A typical vertical whip radiation pattern is ° 60 60 ° shown in Figure 3-4. There is a countless variety of antennas used in HF communi- cation. For ground wave propagation. has low take-off angles. The radio waves refract downward to the earth in a circular pattern. rotatable directional antennas may be used. 35 36 . A reflector. Vertical Whip Radiation Pattern vehicles. TAKE-OFF ANGLE The vertical whip antenna is usually adequate for ground wave circuits. These near vertical incidence sky wave (NVIS) be the same. The radiation pattern can change dramatically as a function of its distance above the ground. consisting of a second vertical whip. Directional antennas are often used in point-to-point links. See Figure 3-7. the polarization of the antennas need not purpose. In systems requiring point-to-point communications to widely dispersed stations. and is 90° vertically polarized. 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 zontal dipole for several values of its height (in terms of transmitting 3 MHz dBi 9 MHz wavelength) above the ground. which is basically a length of wire equal to one-half the ° transmitting wavelength. nearly straight up.

Horizontal Dipole Antenna. λ Symbol for wavelength. Vertical Radiation Patterns 37 38 .25λ ABOVE GROUND Center-Fed Horizontal Dipole Antenna DIPOLE .75λ ABOVE GROUND DIPOLE 1.5λ ABOVE GROUND DIPOLE .25λ ABOVE GROUND Figure 3-5. TO TRANSMITTER DIPOLE . Figure 3-6.

90º TO 120º λ/4 HEIGHT = 50 FT NON-METALLIC SUPPORT TO TRANSMITTER INVERTED VEE ANTENNA TAKE-OFF ANGLE 90° TAKE-OFF ANGLE 90° ° 60 60 ° ° 60 60 ° ° 30 30 ° 30 30 ° ° 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 3 MHz dBi 4MHz dBi 9 MHz 12 MHz 18 MHz 30 MHz λ Symbol for wavelength. Inverted Vee Antenna Figure 3-8. Figure 3-7. Horizontal Log Periodic Antenna 39 40 .

Or. 4 • The transmitter group consists of an exciter and power ampli- fier. Signal quality is indi- • Low antenna take-off angles are generally used for long-haul cated by signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Perhaps you heard the voice of a pilot rattling off data to a control tower when you were listening to your favorite FM • An antenna coupler matches the impedance of the antenna station. and (5) designing receivers that reject interfering signals. (3) choosing a suitable modulation scheme. communications. trying to listen to music. External noise levels greatly exceed internal receiver noise over much of the HF band. Annoying as this may be while you’re the antenna. and antenna group. This is an example of interference that is affecting a to that of the transmitter. Engineers use various techniques to combat noise and inter- ference. high take-off angles are used for shorter. • Antenna radiation patterns are characterized by nulls Receiver noise and interference come from both external and (areas of weak radiation) and lobes (areas of strong radiation). dipole. INTERFERENCE • The receiver group consists of an RF input filter/amplifier. W hile listening to the radio during a thunderstorm. and local oscillator. it may be a deliberate attempt on the part of an adversary to disrupt an operator’s ability to communicate. CHAPTER SUMMARY • A radio system consists of a transmitter. The higher the SNR. • Antenna selection is critical to successful HF communications. as in the case of the pilot’s call to the tower. another. Interference range communications. message. the better the signal quality. you’re sure to have noticed interruptions or static at one time or Antenna types include vertical whip. and NOISE AND frequency translator. The exciter includes a modulator. demodulator. including: (1) boosting the effective radiated power. where a mission’s success or • The gain of an antenna is a measure of its directivity — its failure depends on hearing and understanding the transmitted ability to focus the energy it radiates in a particular direction. (4) selecting the appropriate antenna system. carrier generator. frequency converters/IF amplifiers. receiver. measured in decibels (dB). Let’s look at some of the more common causes of noise and interference. internal sources. noise and interference can be hazardous in the world of HF communications. may be inadvertent. and directional. 41 42 . transferring maximum power to receiver’s performance. (2) providing a means for optimizing operating frequency.

Natural Sources of Noise Intentional Interference Lightning is the main atmospheric (natural) source of noise. Interference is most severe at night in the lower bands at frequencies close to the MUF. techniques used by engineers to suppress EMI. Ways to reduce collocation inter- ference include carefully orienting antennas. especially in the l. and antennas. but does not affect detection or interception. This causes fading. niques in which the modulated information is transmitted in a bandwidth considerably greater than the frequency content of Man-Made Noise the original information. Another natural noise present).to 5-MHz range. using receivers that won’t overload on strong. We’ll look at these techniques in Power lines. have band. Deliberate interference. machinery produce man-made noise. for instance. thousands of HF transmitters compete for space on the radio spectrum in a relatively narrow range of frequencies. Unintentional Interference At any given time. Modern military radio systems use spread-spectrum source is galactic or cosmic noise. A major source of unintentional interference is the collocation of transmitters. Grounding and shielding level because these signals may add or subtract from each other of the radio equipment and filtering of AC power input lines are in a random way. as functions of time of day and season. and industrial and office Chapter 7. Jamming can be directed at a single channel or be wide- atmospheric noise. computer equipment. 43 44 . or jamming. generated in space. causing interference with one another. undesired signals. results from transmitting Atmospheric noise is highest during the summer and greatest on operating frequencies with the intent to disrupt communica- at night. where space limitations dictate that several radio systems be located together. Spread-spectrum techniques are tech- performance below 20 MHz. For more than 30 years. The HF radio spectrum is especially congested in Europe due to the density of the population. Average values of tions. This Signals from a transmitter reach the receiver via multiple paths type of man-made noise is called electromagnetic interference (Figure 4-1). and are used in through (transmitting only when the signal to be jammed is predicting HF radio system performance. a variation in average signal (EMI) and it is highest in urban areas. It is techniques to overcome jamming and reduce the probability of uniformly distributed over the HF spectrum. It may be continuous (constant transmitting) or look- been determined for locations around the world. which can reach a receiver through radiation or by conduction through power cables. It’s a problem on ships. and using transmit- ters that are designed to minimize intermodulation. Harris RF Communications has designed and implemented high-quality integrated shipboard communications systems that eliminate problems caused by collocation. receivers.

. 45 46 . • Collocated transmitters interfere with each other......... results from transmitting . Lightning strikes are the primary cause of atmo- . . F2 LAYER F1 LAYER Figure 4-1........ and industrial machinery are the primary cause of man-made noise.. TRANSMITTER .... power lines. as well as with nearby receivers. spheric noise. . RECEIVER • Congestion of HF transmitters competing for limited radio spectrum in a relatively narrow range of frequencies causes interference. • Jamming.. Multipath Reception .. SUMMARY • Natural (atmospheric) and man-made sources cause noise and interference.... computer terminals. on operating frequencies with the intent to disrupt communi- cations. bands. .. or deliberate interference.. E LAYER . . . It is generally worse at night in lower frequency . EARTH • Multipath interference causes signal fading.

or bits) for transmission over a channel back to an idle state. For example. a voltage is positive or negative. Sometimes the word baud is used synonymously data transmission occurs over a radio link. Baud is a unit of signaling speed and is a measure (ARQ) techniques offering error-free data transfer permits the use of symbols per second that are being sent. Asynchronous and Synchronous Data tion from a transmitter to a receiver over a suitable channel. for instance. (HF radio) to a receiver (the reader). the bit rate. depends on how many bits there are per symbol. The rate at which information and solutions associated with HF data communication. A symbol may of HF radio in computer-to-computer communications systems. Binary Data Communication as an activity involves the transfer of informa. channel depends on its bandwidth — the greater the band- cance of the modem. The transmission of data occurs in either an asynchronous or a Consider this book. VIA HF RADIO Later schemes used a bit to select one of two possible states of the properties that characterize a carrier (modulated radio wave) — either frequency or amplitude. We will also outline some of the problems width. Baud Rate Data transmission speed is commonly measured in bits per developed for data transmission that take into account the vari- ability of the HF medium and greatly increase the speed at which second (bps). In addition. Over time. More sophisticated approaches allow the carrier to assume more than two states and hence to F rom the very beginning. we begin and stop bit (Figure 5-1). The start bit prepares the data receiver by using a kind of shorthand to transform the data into code to accept the character. The stop bit brings the data receiver words (binary digits. a switch is open or closed. It uses symbols (the alphabet) synchronous mode. we’ll The maximum baud rate that can be supported by a radio define some common data terminology and explain the signifi. to encode information into a set of code groups (words) for trans- mission over a channel (the printed page) to a receiver (the In asynchronous data transmission. improved techniques were represent multiple bits. each character has a start reader). To understand the principles of HF data communication. although the two terms actually have different cation of error-correcting codes and automatic repeat request meanings. and so on. is transmitted. as defined below. the greater the baud rate. with bps.CHAPTER 5 DATA Bits are part of a number system having a base of two that uses only the symbols 0 and 1. Thus. This is essentially what was done in the early days of telegraphy. a bit is any variable that assumes two distinct states. the appli. Applying this principle to data (information). A simple way to communicate binary data is to switch a circuit COMMUNICATION off and on in patterns that are interpreted at the other end of a link. represent more than one bit. HF radio used Morse code for data communications. 47 48 .

High-speed HF modem technology. (2) high-speed parallel tone modems. The stop and start bits increase the length of a character by 25 percent. using both parallel and serial tone waveforms to allow transmission at up to 4800 bps. The input to the modulator is a digital signal that takes one of two possible voltage levels. This type of system typically uses a preamble (a known sequence of bits. which permit the radios to operate with either voice or data inputs. HF FSK systems are limited to data rates less than 75 bps due to the effects of multipath propagation. Harris’ RF-5000 radios are equipped with built-in high-speed modems (the MOdulator and the Asynchronous Data System DEModulator. using a device called a modulator. HF Modems A conventional voice radio cannot transmit data directly. The serial tone 49 50 . at the receiver. was pioneered by Harris in the early 1980s. which applies the audio to the transmitter. HF modems fall into three basic categories: (1) modems with slow-speed frequency shift keying (FSK). and (3) high-speed serial (single) tone modems. from 8 to 10 bits. Asynchronous systems eliminate the need for complex synchronization circuits. The simplest modems employ FSK to encode binary data (0s and 1s) (see Figure 5-2). Synchronous data transmission eliminates the start and stop bits. but at the cost of higher overhead than synchronous systems. that the receiver uses to synchronize to its internal clock) to alert the data receiver that a message is coming. Figure 5-1. Conversely. Higher rates are possible with multi-tone FSK (MFSK). which uses a greater number of frequencies. a demodulator converts audio back to digital voltage levels. packaged together). sent at the start of a message. The output of the modulator is an audio signal that is one of two possible tones. Data digital voltage levels must be converted to audio.

Then. Data is entered by columns in a matrix identical to that at the Figure 5-2. however. FEC adds redundant data to the data stream to allow the data receiver to detect and correct errors. For example. An important aspect of this concept is that it does not require a return channel for the acknowledgment. at the modulator. 11. including greater robustness. the process is reversed by de-interleaving. typically Frequency Shift Keying introduces errors that occur in bursts — that is. no more than 3 of them will fall in any 30-bit sequence of bits after de-interleaving. 21. The blocks are entered by rows and unloaded by columns. it simply corrects it and accurately reproduces the original data without notifying the data sender that there was a problem. the sequence of output bits will be 1. described in the next section. reduced sensitivity to interference. The HF medium. 51 52 . restoring the sequence of data to its original state. and so on. The FEC coding technique is most effective if errors occur randomly in a data stream. Harris currently has its fourth generation of high-speed modems on the market. and a higher data rate with powerful forward error correction (FEC). the data stream enters a 9-row by 10-column matrix. intervals with a high bit error ratio (BER) in the channel are interspersed with intervals of a low BER. transmitter. Thus. At the demodulator. if a burst were to cause 9 consecutive bits to be in error. To take full advantage of the FEC coding technique. If a data receiver detects an error. It is read out in rows. the errors would be corrected. This provides vastly improved data communications on HF channels. modem carries information on a single audio tone. Error Control Harris RF Communication’s engineers use several different approaches to avoid data transmission problems. When the data stream leaves the matrix for transmission. it’s best to randomize the errors that occur in the channel by a process called interleaving (Figure 5-3). if an FEC coding technique were used.

In addition to error correction techniques. 53 54 . interfer- Interleaving Operation ence on the same channel that is being used. The vocoder converts sound into a data stream for transmission over an HF channel. high-speed serial modems may include two signal processing schemes that improve data transmissions. In this process. that is. An adaptive excision filter seeks out and suppresses narrowband interference in the demodulator input. Figure 5-3. reducing the effects of co-channel interference. Harris has patented several techniques to perform these functions. A vocoder at the receiving end reconstructs the data into telephone-quality sound. Soft-decision decoding further enhances the power of the error- correction coding. An automatic channel equalizer compensates for variations in the channel characteristics as data is being received. The system “remembers” the voltage from the detector and applies a weighing factor to each symbol in the code word before making a decision about which code word was transmitted. Data communications techniques are also used for encrypting voice calls by a device called a vocoder (short for voice coder- decoder). a group of detected symbols that retain their analog character are compared against the set of possible transmitted code words.

as well as random noise and interference. TECHNOLOGY • Serial tone modems provide vastly improved data communica- tions on HF channels. company was asked to become a member of the United States Military Standard Committee to develop the ALE standard. Standards. required to establish communications and to continually adjust operating parameters. (See Appendix A. Harris is a leader in the development of advanced ALE techniques that comply with MIL-STD-188-141A and FED-STD-1045A. greater robustness. allowing FEC systems to work more effectively. many adaptive processes are Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) and Link Quality Analysis (LQA). CHAPTER SUMMARY • The transmission of data requires the use of modems to convert digital data into analog form when transmitting. 6 • HF modems are classified as slow-speed FSK. Harris RF Communications provides adaptive radio systems. Because of Harris’ • A vocoder converts voice signals into digital data for coded previous experience with adaptive radio technology. cause disruptions in HF communications. comparing a group of symbols that retain their analog char. high-speed ADAPTIVE RADIO parallel tone. pioneered in the early ‘80s. and convert analog data back to digital form when receiving. a skilled radio operator was return link. ALE is a technique that permits HF radio stations to call and link on the best HF channel automatically without operator assistance. including a higher data rate with powerful forward error correction (FEC). and reduced sensitivity to interference. the transmission over HF channels. In addition. adjust data rates. Harris pioneered the manufacture of adaptive communications equipment with AUTOLINK. Two of the acter against the set of possible transmitted code words. Automatic Link Establishment cations performance. this function is fully automatic. that can react rapidly to changing propagating conditions and use feedback from Real Time • Soft-decision decoding further reduces bit error rates by Channel Evaluation (RTCE) techniques to select frequencies.) 55 56 . or change modulation schemes. Today. or high-speed serial tone. • Automatic channel equalization and adaptive excision filtering are signal processing techniques that improve data communi. In the past. • FEC systems provide error correction without the need for a T he constantly changing properties of the ionosphere. • Interleaving is a technique that randomizes error bursts.

When not in use.) It then sends out a brief message containing the ID of the destination. A system incorporating LQA capability selects the best channel. (Further expla- nation of the LQA matrix appears below. When the receiving station “hears” its address. it stops scanning and stays on that frequency. a station in a network will attempt to link on each of its assigned frequencies and measure the signal quality on each linked frequency. At prescribed intervals. until a link is established. which was completely silent. LQA Matrix for BASE 01 57 58 . Typically. each radio receiver constantly scans through its assigned frequencies. To reach a specific station. the radio checks its “memory” to determine the best quality frequency for the call to the desired station. When a call is initiated. Link Quality Analysis An HF communications system has a number of channels assigned to it. the caller simply enters an ID just like dialing a phone number. listening for calls addressed to it. ALE System Handshake receiving operator of an incoming call.” The system works much like a telephone in that each radio in a network is assigned an address (ID). and they each return to the scanning mode. The receiving station. It then attempts to link on that frequency. The channel numbers represent programmed frequencies. and so on. and Figure 6-2. it will try again on the next best frequency. ALE systems make use of recently measured radio channel characteristics (LQA data) stored in a memory “matrix.” a disconnect signal is sent to the other station. These quality scores are stored in a matrix. Here’s how it works in an adaptive system. Figure 6-2 shows a simplified LQA matrix for station BASE01. At the conclusion of the call. The two stations automatically conduct a “hand- shake” to confirm that a link is established and they are ready to communicate (Figure 6-1). The radio consults its LQA matrix and selects the best available assigned frequency. If the link cannot be established. will typically emit a ringing signal to alert the Figure 6-1. one of the stations “hangs up.

channel 14 would be selected. to adjust automatically to changing propagation conditions. so that connections occur on the best Adaptive Enhancements channel/ frequency. the radio selects the channel HF radios to connect without operator assistance. if an operator wanted to make a call from BASE01 • Adaptive radio technology permits modern HF radio systems to MOBILE03.the numbers in the matrix are the most recent channel-quality SUMMARY scores. automatic adjustment of transmitted power level. Adaptive radio technology is further enhanced by the use of computer controllers. the requirement for an operator with high technical knowledge has been significantly reduced. the radio would attempt to call on channel 18. which permit modem data rate selection • Other automatic adaptive techniques are available. The benefit is that these adaptive schemes are largely automatic and improve communications without oper- ator intervention. optimum antenna choice. which has the highest LQA score. based on channel conditions. automatic nulling and elim- ination of interfering signals. Thus. with the best average score. 59 60 . for a multi-station call to all the addresses in the matrix. • Link Quality Analysis (LQA) is a method of assessing channel quality. and selection of modem modulation and coding schemes. • Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) makes it possible for When making multi-station calls. Thus. Thus.

we’ll and combining the resulting sub-bands into a composite audio discuss communications security (COMSEC). designate that the letter c be ciphered as g. important as the communication itself. methods that output that modulates the transmitter. like the ones for someone to intercept or interfere with your communications. all analog messages before transmission and the recipient would manually signals are more predictable and thus less secure. for example. The the receiver. and involves separating the voice signal into a number of audio sub- reliable. The data encryption strength. described in Chapter 5). it would require little effort or resources to understand the transmittal. it also provides a very secure the use of codes. as an analog COMSEC technique. Now the security of the communication becomes as bands. We’ll differentiate here communications net because it does not require synchronization between cryptographic or ciphering techniques applied to digital with other stations. which is the degree of difficulty in determining the message content. The US Government has established standards COMMUNICATIONS for the degree of protection required for different levels of classi- fied and sensitive information. Scrambling. The mation into an apparently random message at the transmitter cryptographic engine creates an extremely long. coupled with a key. that is. decode the messages upon receipt. COMSEC uses scrambling or cryptographic techniques in order Descrambling occurs at the receiver by reversing the process. sensitive information has been protected through fashion is inherently unpredictable. In this chapter. You can. sometimes found in children’s cereal boxes. signals and scrambling techniques applied to analog signals. is reduced to a binary data stream. Today’s electronic technolo- gies allow the coding/decoding process to occur automatically. a as n. On the other hand. which may be digitized voice (as Cryptography is the process of encrypting (translating) infor. creating the encrypted data. you can protect against casual eavesdropping by e have reached the age where advancements in radio scrambling. The technique of scrambling the pattern is transmission security (TRANSEC) — schemes that make it difficult similar to sending a message with a decoder ring. A random pattern controls keep important communications secure. widespread. If sensitive information is transmitted without the protection of cryptography and the information is inter- SECURING cepted. to make information unintelligible to people who do not have a Harris’ Analog Voice Security (AVS) allows for easy entry into the need to know or who should not know. shifting each sub-band to a different audio frequency range. We’ll also talk about the frequency shifting. non-repeating and then deciphering the random message by decryption at binary number stream based on a traffic encryption key (TEK). A binary stream created in this Historically. is a function of the 61 62 . In digital encryption the data. W In voice communications systems that do not require extremely high security. or cipher text. and t as w. data stream is added to the cryptographic stream. so COMSEC that when you receive the message gnw. to translate information from the clear to the encrypted state. The sender would manually encode the method of protecting information. you decode it as cat.CHAPTER 7 The process involves using a mathematical algorithm. technology make communicating easy.

who can decrypt the message. subsequent distribution can use any physical were significant problems in both logistics and record keeping. and For a higher degree of security.” The Y value derives from the X value. The alternative is a symmetric key system. practically elimi- strength of such a system lies in the difficulty of deriving X from Y. in which the same key encrypts and decrypts data. keys were manually loaded into a cryptographic operational keys are loaded at the same time. applicable to radio networks employs Over-The-Air-Rekeying 63 64 . or plug-in transfer device. Harris has led the way in developing state-of-the-art electronic A related strategy. the key mate- is the private key. This technique nearly eliminates the need for manual The key is a variable that changes the resynchronization of the loading of keys and provides a secure key management. A recent development width to reduce on-the-air time. an initial set of In the past. called an asymmetrical key system. Under this standard. Low Probability of Detection (LPD) systems transmit using Because both the originator and all recipients must have the same very low power or spread the signal over a broad bandwidth so keys. “Y. each render the keys useless).” and the other usually secured by the TEK currently in use. magnetic medium. is referred to as “wrapping” so as to differentiate it from traffic store. distribute. This is include hiding the channel or making it a moving target. The KEK is the only key that must be initially loaded into both the sending and receiving units. encryption. nating any possibility of compromise. what is encrypted with the Y key can only be decrypted with the X key. anyone can send a voice signal by means of a vocoder. The resulting digital signal is then treated like any data stream. Thus. two-way secure detection or jamming of the transmission path. Even if an unwanted organization gains access to the encrypted informa. OTAR is based upon a benign key distribution system. You are the only one. known as Low Probability of Intercept (LPI). The US Government has developed any other operational COMSEC or TRANSEC keys. In an OTAR system. This process rigorous key management procedures to protect. it is common to digitize the retaining sole access to the private X key. (OTAR). and dispose of keys. Creation and secure delivery of keys to each user After wrapping. or electronic means. Protection of the key is vital. TRANSEC TRANSEC employs a number of techniques to prevent signal In a network using this public key system. One is the public key. The link used for transmission is user generates two keys. Usually. the wrapped keys are inserted into a message and sent over a radio link to the intended One type of key management system also used in the commer. The rial is doubly protected when sent over the air. station using error-free transmission protocols (an error would cial sector is public key cryptography. These techniques communications are possible among all network users.complexity of the mathematical algorithm coupled with the key. secure message to you by encrypting it with your public Y key. By openly disseminating the user’s public Y key. this system offers the highest levels of security. since only you have the private X key. device by using a paper tape. as mentioned in Chapter 5. “X. though. means to secure and distribute key material for these symmetric involves transmitting signals in short bursts or over a wide band- key-based communications systems. mathematical algorithm. it is still impossible to decrypt the includes a key encryption key (KEK) used to encrypt the TEK and information without the key. that the natural noise in the environment masks the signal. It tion and has the algorithm.

Frequency hopping scatters the mathematical soundness of the algorithms and the number intelligence over several hundred discrete frequencies. Harris’ COMSEC/TRANSEC Integrated Circuit (CTIC) and COMSEC/TRANSEC Integrated Circuit/DS-101 Hybrid (CDH) provide system embedders and US Government customers protection of highly classified information using state-of-the-art TRANSEC/COMSEC techniques. to prevent Harris’ AN/PRC-117. the transmitter frequency changes so • COMSEC uses cryptography or scrambling to make rapidly that it is difficult for anyone not authorized to listen in or information unintelligible to people who do not have a need to jam the signal. capabilities and meets NSA’s rigorous Commercial COMSEC Endorsement Program requirements. The most commonly used TRANSEC technique is frequency SUMMARY hopping. the task of picking these bursts . It is a leader in the development and bandwidth. from frequency to frequency in a predetermined pattern in . of these little bursts. The receiver is synchronized so that it hops to know or who should not know. manual loading of keys and provides a more secure method tively jam a frequency-hopping radio. The NSA-endorsed WINDSTER Key Generator Module and SKMM from one frequency to another in apparently random (Standard Key Management Module) line of products has full OTAR patterns. requiring a team of experts several hours just to reassemble a short conversation. cies that the hopping communicator uses would have to be jammed. of key management. most or all of the frequen. .Low Probability of Interception (LPI) radios transmit supplier of information security for the US Government and the US compressed digital data in short bursts or over a wide Department of Defense. thus preventing the use of those frequencies as well. Harris’ RF Communications Secure Products Line is a preferred . daunting. and RF-5000 FALCON trans. To effec.Low Probability of Detection (LPD) systems use spread- hopping capabilities. A radio of variables in the key. using a common timing reference. Jamming one channel would • Over-The-Air-Rekeying (OTAR) eliminates the need for have minimal impact on the hopping communicator. production of US Government and exportable security products. spectrum and other techniques to “hide” the signal beneath the natural noise level. .The security level of a COMSEC system depends on the unison with the transmitter. • TRANSEC protects the transmitted signal itself. 65 66 . ceiver series of products are highly rated for their frequency. AN/PRC-138. operator listening to one of these frequencies may hear a short .Protection of the key is vital to securing the transmitted “pop” of static. The company also provides a comprehensive line of secure products for the export market.Public key cryptography is widely used in the commercial out of the other natural and man-made bits of noise would be sector. In this system.Frequency-hopping radio systems jump rapidly in unison. A broadband receiver could perhaps capture all information. however. signal detection or jamming of the transmission path.

In recent years. are now combined and embedded into the radio transceiver itself. Diverse capabilities. resulting in reduced operator involve- ment in establishing HF communications circuits. Secure Data System Examples of HF Communications Systems Harris Corporation. which uses FEC coding. which formerly required separate pieces of equipment. which can be used whenever it is necessary to transfer data securely between two points.CHAPTER 8 HF SYSTEMS AND APPLICATIONS H F radio offers a unique combination of cost effectiveness and versatility for long-haul communications. and installs turnkey radio communications systems for worldwide government. and automatic excision 67 68 . Figure 8-1. Secure Data System Figure 8-1 shows a typical secure HF data transmission system. military. also provides real-time channel equalization and data interleaving for protection against fading. manufactures. Here are some examples of how these HF systems come together in a modern communications network to meet complex communications needs. At the same time. designs. computer technology and high-speed digital signal processing have enhanced the performance and reliability of HF communications systems. RF Communications Division. and commercial markets. The serial modem. new technology has dramatically reduced the size and weight of HF radio equipment.

a relatively low data rate and a more powerful FEC code will be designated. The HF telephone system enables users to place calls to and from mobile radio transceivers into the commercial switched telephone network or private subscriber telephone lines. The system operates much like the cord- less telephone widely used in homes today. Figure 8-2. The transmit modem data rate adjusts to the terminal data rate and is selected on the basis of an LQA (estimate of channel quality). or UHF to anywhere in the world through the base station telephone switch or exchange. Thus. In the data communications mode. Intersite communications and control are via microwave or a landline link. if poor channel quality is predicted. The central station is a fixed installation with separate transmit and receive control sites. Each subordinate station has additional HF and VHF radios that provide voice and data communications to mobile stations in its vicinity. VHF. The HF data communications system links a fixed central communications center and 12 subordinate stations located throughout the country. long-range communications. The amount of coding (redundancy) used in the FEC varies as a function of the selected modem data rate. is shown in Figure 8-2. as shown in Figure 8-3. the user enters a telephone number 69 70 . To initiate a call. which provides economical. but covers hundreds of thousands of miles using HF radio. The system incorporates an ALE capability that offers fully automatic operation with unattended processing of incoming messages.filters remove interference from up to four sources. Country-Wide HF Data Communications System Country-Wide HF Data Communications System A country-wide HF data communications system. HF Telephone System An HF radio link can extend the reach of a telephone network. Calls from the field can be placed over HF. an ARQ message protocol is used for error detection and correction.

an airborne platform has access to the telephone network. As the TIU dials the digits and the telephone rings. In order to contact anyone in the field. The call is automatically answered by the TIU and the user is connected directly with the field radio. Figure 8-5 shows a scenario in which an unattended still- video camera sends images to an imaging terminal via a fiber- Figure 8-3. Thus. Communications may be via a two-way link that uses an ARQ protocol to obtain error-free transmission of 71 72 . Once a ground-air link is established. plus a 400-watt solid-state power amplifier and antenna coupler. This system dedicates one ground-based receiver-transmitter pair and an associated controller to ALE. At this point. or voice communications with up to four airborne platforms. just as if the Remote Access Unit (RAU ) were a telephone set connected directly to the base station telephone exchange. This system also incorporates the cordless telephone capability HF Telephone System described above. the station controller hands off the traffic channel to another receiver-transmitter pair. Each aircraft incorporates an HF transceiver with built-in ALE controller and data modem. digitizes. optic link. a telephone user dials a telephone number (or the extension) to which the TIU is connected — from anywhere in the world. Ground-to-Air Communications System Figure 8-4 is a block diagram of a ground-to-air communica- tions system with a split-site ground station capable of simulta- neous data. which relays the data to the base. the number dialed is transmitted through the RAU to the Telephone Interface Unit (TIU). call progress tones are heard by the mobile operator. facsimile. HF Digital Video Imaging Communications System This system captures. and transmits video images in near real time from a mobile unit to a base station via an HF data link. Intersite communications between receiver and transmitter sites are via radio or landline. The terminal captures and digitizes the image and sends the data to a modem in the transceiver.

HF Digital Video Imaging Communications System . Ground-to-Air Communications System 74 Figure 8-5.73 Figure 8-4.

Lower echelon communications have a combination of fixed. the signal from a single exciter may be applied to all eight amplifiers. Broadband Transmitter System The biggest HF communication problem that must be solved on board large naval ships is how to run multiple HF transmit and receive circuits simultaneously without interfering with each other. each capable of delivering 500 watts. Network requirements dictate that links are provided between the fixed headquarters site and fixed installations for quasi-permanent military regions and zones. Provisions are made for communications between headquarters and task forces at fixed. Harris has developed the optimum solution to these problems with its ultra-linear broadband transmitting system. and that all circuits operate through a very few number of antennas (due to size and space limitations). encryption. The outputs of the exciter route through a signal distribution unit Figure 8-6. and man-portable equipment. HF Tactical Communications Network Figure 8-7 shows a portion of a tactical communications network that provides coverage over distances ranging from less than 50 miles to more than 1. so that. In a network of this type. or a one-way link in which FEC coding reduces the probability of error in the received message.500 miles. Figure 8-7. HF Tactical Communications Network 75 76 .the image. The signal distribution unit allows various combinations of exciter signals to be applied to the power ampli- fiers. Figure 8-6 is a simplified block diagram of a solid-state transmitter system capable of delivering up to 4 kW in the 2. the individual elements include frequency hopping. non-permanent installations. and ALE capabilities. Signals from up to eight independent audio sources modulate HF exciters. The amplifier outputs are added in a passive power combiner and supplied to an antenna. Frequency management of the network is a headquarters responsibility. mobile. Harris’ system also supports rapid frequency changes through use of ALE and frequency hopping. Solid-State Transmitter System into a bank of linear solid-state power 30-MHz frequency range into an antenna. for example.

and connection to a Harris HF radio system (the RF-590A Receiver and RF-1140 Transmitter). The modem and radio system are remotely controlled and managed by the Wireless Gateway computer. an RF-5710 High-Speed HF Modem. 77 78 . • Embassy Ministry of Foreign Affairs communications. similar configurations support other HF E-mail and inter- networking communications system requirements. running on geographically separated Local Area Networks (LANs). The Figure 8-8. A typical shipboard HF E-mail system consists of a Harris RF-6750 Wireless Gateway. we will focus on naval applica- tions. Unlike conventional network routers and gateways. In the following discussion.HF E-Mail and Inter-Networking Electronic mail and other inter-networking technologies are becoming increasingly important for interoffice communications. Harris’ HF radios and systems are an excellent alternative for providing these services to distant users or stations. Typical applications include: • Naval ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communications. data transfers are accomplished automatically using HF radio. The RF-6750 Wireless Gateway provides seamless data trans- fers between common networked applications. and engineering order-wire traffic. the RF-6750 is designed specifically to operate over HF radio circuits. such as E-mail and FTP file transfer. including administrative. This system also supports the applica- tion of sending mobile HF data messages over the Internet. due to costly telephone or satellite charges. is shown in Figure 8-8. logistic. many users find that communications between remote stations are difficult and/or expensive. An HF E-mail system for naval ships and deployed forces that Shipboard HF E-Mail System supports naval communications. However. an RF-7210 ALE Controller. • Oil/Gas/Mining operations.

• What are the message priorities? kind” type of application. source. • What are the physical size constraints? transmitter power. • What are the types of traffic? System definition Projected growth for each category of traffic • Who are the users? • What impact do higher traffic levels have on system • What is their location? implementation? • Are communications one-way or two-way? • Are additional nodes and/or relays necessary? • What are the interfaces with other communications media? Impact on message structure • What is the operating environment (hostile or friendly. • Do the priority levels differ. depending on the message Site source and/or content? • Is this a fixed or mobile site? • What are the security levels for safeguarding the information? Fixed site • Are the receiving. priority.System Design Considerations Traffic analysis Harris’ RF Communications Division has a communications • What are the typical message lengths? systems engineering department staffed by engineers who are • What is the average number of messages per unit of time? specialists in the design of custom equipment for the “one-of-a. images)? destination address. and control functions Message protection and security collocated or separate? • What is the correct type of error detection and correction • Is this a permanent or temporary installation? for data? • Are there any frequency restraints for collocated receivers • What type of COMSEC is needed? and transmitters? • Will spread-spectrum or frequency-hopping techniques be • What are the staffing requirements? used to avoid interception or jamming? • What are the environmental considerations? • Is excision filtering needed to remove interfering signals? • What type of power is available? System availability • Is uninterrupted power a requirement? • What is the probability of transferring messages in real Mobile site time? • Is the equipment designed for a vehicle. or • Can alternate routing be used to enhance message aircraft? availability? • Are manpacks required? • Can lower priority traffic use store-and-forward techniques? • What are the antenna limitations and constraints? • Are there any operational restrictions due to propagation. data. and • What type of traffic is there (voice. shelter. or other constraints? • What are the bandwidth and primary power requirements? • What are the environmental considerations? 79 80 . ship. transmitting. The following are some of the factors • When is the peak traffic? that we consider in designing a modern HF radio system. • Is the format for data message compatible with traffic rural or urban)? requirements? Transfer of information • Include security classification.

designing a modern HF radio communications network. remote control? Data communications systems • What is the data rate? • How is data being protected (interleaving. receiver. • Receiver requirements: Selectivity. dynamic range. radiation pattern. media. remote control? landlines. Equipment selection • HF radio plays a key role in modern long-range telecommuni- • Transmitter requirements: Power output. Features and capa- • Is ALE being used? bilities. distortion. which formerly required additional equipment. cellular networks. encryption)? • What is the modulation scheme? • Is the modem serial or parallel tone? Interface to other equipment and systems • What other equipment is required (fax. tuning speed. are • What are the data protocols? now embedded into the radio transceiver. data terminal. available terrain. or switched telephone networks? Command and control • Will operation be attended or unattended? • Is self-test required? • Are the transmitter. such as satellites. satellite. imaging systems)? • What other types of systems are involved? • Is there an interface with VHF/UHF radio systems. and telephone frequency range. solid state versus cations systems. often working in conjunction with other tube. and control sites at different places (split site)? 81 82 . polarization. allowable distortion. broadband or narrowband. bandwidth.Communications protocol SUMMARY • Is there a return channel for ARQ? • Modern HF radio is small and lightweight. remote control? • A systems approach is needed to obtain the best results in • Antenna requirements: Gain.

HF has to The ability to transfer information over a network enables support a variety of traffic. but for other frequencies in the next gener- ation of multi-band radios. width. Network design includes ways to deter- technology of HF communications has been and where it is now. improvements in real-time channel Higher-speed devices allow more precise and frequent link. VHF. If channel bandwidths increase beyond the current 3-kHz restriction (which requires ALE Performance international agreement). First. HF radio fills two roles. mine periodically the link quality between each pair of its stations at each of their assigned frequencies. Modem capabilities will expand so that waveforms will be optimized for use. and send this information to Today. if direct point-to-point communication is possible or whether the gency or military operations. considerably higher than the current rate of 9600 bps. such as telephone and satellite systems. equalization techniques will allow data transmission rates quality analysis. 83 84 . over several channels. enabling better and faster frequency selection. data. Also. including voice. higher ALE system data rates allow faster transmission of channel-quality information. if primary medium for long-haul communications. we expect to see advances in the following areas: that portions of it can be sent in parallel. it is a highly cost-effective message from A to B must be routed through other stations. multiple radios in a Advances in digital signal processing (DSP) technology will station simultaneously send messages to several destinations lead to continued improvements in HF systems and equipment. In either capacity. for certain Radio Design less restricted applications allowing greater than 3-kHz band. simultaneous transfer of several messages or speeds up the transfer of long messages. and UHF. giving HF communication an economical advantage over other long-haul communications media. and gave you some insight into where the Improvements in HF system performance and computer-based technology provide networks that achieve highly reliable levels of communications through automatic message routing and adap- tive signaling techniques. Also. Networking I n the earlier chapters. a routing algorithm detemines need for a mobile or quickly deployable system to support emer. which in turn combats unintentional interference and jamming. HF radio is becoming an increasingly important element in multi- media networks that incorporate landline. alternative and backup to other communications media. Thus. ranging from MF through UHF in a single radio. For example. transmission of 64 kbps can be achieved over HF. and for the future. where there is a station A transmits a message to B. channel. it is the all nodes so that they route messages automatically. we presented the principles of HF communications. Second. and images. Radios will continue to move toward multi-band designs.CHAPTER 9 FUTURE DIRECTIONS Advances in DSP devices improve adaptive filtering. Recent Modem Design and projected improvements in HF communications technology Adaptive channel equalization improvements will allow mean that constraints on the passing of information through increases in channel bit rates to up to 9600 bps in a 3-kHz networks that include an HF leg will be significantly reduced. a long message can be divided so In particular. Also. not only with HF.

HF Radio Automatic Link Establishment. resulting in lower costs and more versatile and reliable designs. 85 86 . as higher speed analog-to-digital converters and HF communications standards. APPENDIX A — Standards Digital processing circuitry will handle higher and higher frequencies. and other organizations. Common Long Haul and Tactical Communications System Technical Standards. • Federal Standard 1052. These standards apply to The versatility. ALE. and sounding. They serve to: resulting in new levels of performance. created by the US Govern- other DSP circuits become available. protocols. NATO. ment. Specifies automated radio features. greatly influence the design of HF equipment and systems. Defines design objectives for data modems and performance requirements for a data link protocol compatible with the ALE standards estab- lished by FED-STD 1045A. • Reduce ambiguous descriptions of equipment and systems by providing a common language in equipment specifications and in defining the operating environment. including frequency scanning. LQA. Specifies requirements for interconnecting long-haul and tactical systems for voice and data service. and computer control. waveform design. • Ensure interoperability among systems used by different organizations. A summary of some of the most important HF radio communi- cation standards are: • Federal Standard 1045A. HF Radio Modems. communication to be quickly reprogrammed for broadband modes of operation. Digital circuits will continue to replace analog circuits. which ensure interoperability of radio systems. • Allow more accurate comparison between different equip- ment by defining test conditions.” allows radios equipment specifications. made possible by “going digital. • MIL-STD-188-100 Notice 1. selective calling. such as higher data rates and improved frequency-hopping capabilities.

AM (Amplitude Modulation) — A technique used to transmit information in which the amplitude of the radio frequency carrier is modulated by the audio input and the full carrier and both sidebands are transmitted. ANTENNA COUPLER/TUNER A device between the trans- mitter and antenna that modifies the characteristics of the load presented to the transmitter so that it transfers maximum power to the antenna. Equipment. AGC (Automatic Gain Control) — Circuit employed to vary gain • NATO STANAG 4285. that improves data transmissions. Characteristics of 1200/2400/3600 bps or amplifier in proportion to input signal strength so that output Single-Tone Modulators/Demodulators for HF Radio Links. Interoperability and Performance the effects of co-channel interference (interference on the same Standards for Medium. Establishes requirements and design objectives that ensure interoperability and specified levels of perfor. • NATO STANAG 4529. protocols. Interoperability and Performance Standards for Data Modems. Defines the parameters that ensure interoperability between single-tone modems designed for communicating via HF radio ALE (Automatic Link Establishment) — A technique that links at bit rates of 1200. permits radio stations to make contact with one another auto- matically. It seeks and suppresses narrowband interference in the demodulator input and reduces • MIL-STD-188-141A. and LQA. conditions. waveforms. 2400. Modification of NATO STANAG 4285 to deliver data and voice in 1240 Hz bandwidth. Establishes requirements and APPENDIX B — GLOSSARY design objectives that ensure specified levels of performance of voice-frequency data modems used in communications ADAPTIVE EXCISION FILTER A signal-processing technique systems. signal structures.• MIL-STD-188-110A. AMPLITUDE The peak-to-peak magnitude of a radio wave. Includes details about imple. remains at a constant level. parameters to improve its performance in response to changing menting ALE systems. 87 88 . ADAPTIVE SYSTEM A system that automatically adjusts its mance for HF radio equipment. or 3600 bps.and High-Frequency Radio channel that is being used). AME (Amplitude Modulation Equivalent) — A method of single sideband transmission where the carrier is reinserted to permit reception by conventional AM receivers.

e. that have a public key and a private key. discrete signal conditions per second. i. ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) — BIT One binary digit (0 or 1). a great distance. ASYNCHRONOUS A data communication system that adds start-and-stop signal elements to the data for the purpose of CARRIER A radio frequency signal that may be modulated with synchronizing individual data characters or blocks.. It is used to remove noise and spurious signals generated in CIPHER TEXT Encrypted data. 89 90 . a certain direction to the average radiation intensity. The standard code for digital data interchange. ASYMMETRICAL KEY SYSTEM A key management system BROADBAND A term indicating the relative spectrum occu- that allows two-way secure communications among all users pancy of a signal as distinguished from a narrowband signal. ASCII uses a coded character set consisting of a 7-bit coded character (8 bits BLOS (Beyond Line-of-Sight) — Communications that occur over including parity check). technique that improves data transmissions by compensating for variations in the channel characteristics as data is received. using only the nique for error-free data transfer. graphic techniques that make information unintelligible to unauthorized persons.ANTENNA DIRECTIVE GAIN The ratio of radiation intensity in BAUD A unit of signaling speed equal to the number of symbols. symbols 0 and 1. COLLOCATION The act or result of placing or arranging side BANDWIDTH The range of frequencies occupied by a given signal. by side. information signals. CHANNEL A unidirectional or bidirectional path for transmit- ting and/or receiving radio signals. organization of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that studies technical questions related to radio communi- AUTOMATIC CHANNEL EQUALIZER A signal processing cations. BASEBAND The frequency band occupied by a signal prior to COMSEC (Communications Security) — Scrambling or crypto- radio frequency carrier modulation or following demodulation. A broadband signal typically has a bandwidth in excess of twice the highest modulating frequency. ATMOSPHERIC NOISE Radio noise caused by natural atmospheric CCIR (International Radio Consultative Committee) — An processes (primarily by lightning discharges in thunderstorms). Synonym: Wideband. the exciter or output frequency harmonics from the power amplifier. BINARY Number system having base of 2. BANDPASS FILTER A filter that passes a limited band of frequen- cies. ANTENNA POWER GAIN The ratio of radiated power in a BER (Bit Error Ratio) — The number of erroneous bits divided by given direction to the antenna input power. the total number of bits communicated. ARQ (Automatic Repeat Request) — Data transmission tech.

maximum ionization at noon. Important for long-haul communications. Also. ERP (Effective Radiated Power) — Equivalent power transmitted dB ( Decibel) — The standard unit for expressing transmission to the atmosphere. lated signal for a radio transmitter. ently random message. Reaches maximum ioniza. data transmission whereby the receiver can correct any code block that contains fewer than a fixed number of bits in error. and constant frequency. becoming weaker as FADING The variation of the amplitude and/or phase of a distance increases. FM (Frequency Modulation) — A form of modulation where the frequency of a carrier varies in proportion to an audio modulating DTMF (Dual-Tone-Multi-Frequency) — Refers to DTMF signaling. (encrypts) information into an apparently random message and then interprets (deciphers) the random message by decryption. tion when the sun is at zenith and dissipates quickly toward sunset. output multiplied by the gain of the antenna. which is the product of the transmitter power gain or loss and relative power ratios. ENCRYPTION Process of translating information into an appar- D LAYER First layer in the ionosphere. CW (Continuous Wave) — A radio wave of constant amplitude Synonym: Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). signal.COSMIC NOISE Random noise originating outside the earth’s E LAYER The mid-level of the ionosphere which reaches atmosphere. which is typically used in telephone systems. since this horizontal or vertical polarization. EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) — An electromagnetic disturbance that degrades communications performance . Irregular cloud-like CRYPTOGRAPHY A COMSEC technique that translates formations of ionized gases occasionally occur in the E layer. DEMODULATION The process in which the original modu. DIRECT WAVES Travel in straight line. DIPOLE ANTENNA A versatile antenna that is usually a wire F LAYER The uppermost and most heavily ionized region of the fed at the center of its length. received signal due to changes in the propagation path with time. DE-INTERLEAVING Process used by a demodulator to reverse ERROR DETECTION An error correction technique that uses interleaving and thus correct data transmission errors used in binary code words to modify data messages by systematically FEC coding. It begins dissipating toward sunset and reaches minimum activity at midnight. DIRECTIONAL ANTENNA An antenna that has greater gain in FEC (Forward Error Correction) — A system of error control for one or more directions. 91 92 . Its orientation provides either ionosphere. adding check bits to detect errors in received words. EXCITER The part of the transmitter that generates the modu- lating signal is recovered from a modulated carrier. DSP (Digital Signal Processing) — A recently developed technology that allows software to control digital electronic circuitry. layer remains ionized even after sunset. Morse code.

using a FEC codes by randomizing the distribution of errors in communi- common timing reference. FSK (Frequency Shift Keying) — A form of modulation in which a IONCAP (Ionospheric Communications Analysis and Prediction) digital signal shifts the output frequency between discrete — A popular and effective propagation prediction program that values. the lower end of the HF band extends to 1. by providing an equal inductive reactance if the frequency (MUF). cation channels characterized by error bursts.6 MHz. IONOSPHERIC SOUNDING An automated propagation predic- GROUND WAVE A radio wave that is propagated over the tion technique. sion on operating frequencies with the intent to disrupt commu- nications. An ideal antenna frequency predicted to be available for sky wave transmission for coupler will act so as to cancel the reactive component of antenna a given path and time for 85 percent of the maximum usable impedance. the band from 3 to 30 MHz. KEY A variable that changes the mathematical algorithm in tion of resistance and reactance. IF (Intermediate Frequency) — A frequency used within equip- ment as an intermediate step in transmitting or receiving. INCIDENT ANGLE The angle at which sky waves enter the ionosphere. Reactance is the opposition to cryptography. transmitter and receiver. antenna has a capacitive reactance or an equal capacitive reac- tance if the antenna presents an inductive reactance. to its input level.. JAMMING Deliberate interference that results from transmis- Hz (Hertz) — Basic unit for frequency.FOT (Frequency of Optimum Transmission) — The highest AC current flow by a capacitor or an inductor. measured in hertz (Hz). FREQUENCY HOPPING The rapid switching (hopping) of radio system frequency for both the receiver and transceiver from INTERLEAVING A technique that increases the effectiveness of frequency to frequency in apparently random patterns. predicts system performance at given times of day as a function of frequency for a given HF path and a specified complement of GAIN The ratio of the value of an output parameter. Usually expressed in decibels.e. such as equipment. power. IONOSPHERE A region of electrically charged particles or gases GROUND REFLECTED WAVE The portion of the propagated in the earth’s atmosphere extending from 50 to 600 kilometers wave that is reflected from the surface of the earth between the (approximately 30 to 375 miles) above the earth’s surface. FREQUENCT The number of completed cycles per second of a signal. IMPEDANCE Opposition to current flow of a complex combina. i. earth and ordinarily is affected by the presence of the ground. 93 94 . KEK (Key Encryption Key) — Used in digital encryption. ISB (Independent Sideband) — Double sideband transmission in HF (High Frequency) — Nominally. practice. in which the information carried by each sideband is different.

OTAR (Over-The-Air-Rekeying) — This technique developed by MFSK (Multi-tone Frequency Shift Keying). keying rate. MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency) — The upper limit for the able for a cryptographic encoding system. LUF (Lowest Usable Frequency) — The lowest frequency in the OMNIDIRECTIONAL ANTENNA An antenna whose pattern is HF band at which the received field intensity is sufficient to non-directional in azimuth. the lobe containing key (Morse code). LOS (Line of Sight) — A term that refers to radio signal propaga- tion in a straight line from the transmitter to a receiver without MULTIPATH The propagation phenomenon that results in radio refraction.KEY GENERATOR A device or process that generates the vari. MODULATION The process. or result of the process. MODEM (MOdulator-DEmodulator) — A device that modulates and demodulates signals. LPD (Low Probability of Detection) — Techniques for minimizing MULTIPATH SPREAD The range of timed differences that it takes the probability that the transmitted signal is detected by an for radio signals to reach the receiving antenna when they arrive unauthorized party. any possible a characteristic of a carrier in accordance with a signal from an distinguishable state of the wave. generally extends to the visible horizon. Harris eliminates the need for manual loading of encryption keys and provides a more secure method of key management. of varying PHASE In a periodic process such as a radio wave. provide the required signal-to-noise ratio. Same as CW. The modem converts digital signals PARALLEL TONE MODEM Carries information on simulta- into analog form for transmitting and converts the received neous audio tones. which may include one or more sky wave paths and/or a ground-wave path. the likelihood of the intelligence on a transmitted signal being recovered by an unauthorized party. from several routes. signals reaching the receiving antenna by two or more paths. frequencies used at a specified time for radio transmission between two points via ionospheric propagation. 95 96 . Its symbol is Ω. information source. OHM Unit of measurement of resistance. NVIS (Near-Vertical Incidence Sky wave) — A technique for transmitting over relatively short ranges by ionospheric refrac- LQA (Link Quality Analysis) — A technique for real-time channel tion using very high incident angles. ON-OFF KEYING Turning the carrier on or off with telegraph MAIN LOBE In an antenna radiation pattern. the direction of maximum radiation intensity. The effect of multipath spread is LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) — Techniques for minimizing minimized by selecting a frequency as close as possible to the MUF. evaluation in which radios measure and store values indicating the relative quality of a radio link at different assigned frequencies. where each tone is modulated at a low- analog signals into digital form.

SPORADIC E Layer found in the E Layer of the ionosphere. Under this standard. acter are compared against the set of possible transmitted code words. or change modulation schemes in adaptive radio systems. audio tone. select frequencies. message which the receiver uses to synchronize to its internal clock. in which the modulated SATCOM (Satellite Communications). user generates two keys. PUBLIC KEY CRYPTOGRAPHY A type of key management SIDEBAND The spectral energy. SID (Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance) — Abnormally high PROPAGATION The movement of radio frequency energy ionization densities caused by solar flares. transmitted. design and strongly influenced by its location with respect to the ground. RMS (Root Mean Square). resulting in a sudden through the atmosphere. distributed above or below a system used in the commercial sector.POLARIZATION The orientation of a wave relative to a refer. adjust data rates. The strength of such a system lies in the difficulty of deriving the SKY WAVE A radio wave that is reflected by the ionosphere. each carrier. SPREAD SPECTRUM A technique used to overcome deliberate radio communications interference. PREAMBLE A known sequence of bits sent at the start of a SHORT WAVE Radio frequencies above 3 MHz. private key from the public key. 97 98 . SCRAMBLING A COMSEC technique that involves separating ence plane. POWER AMPLIFIER The part of the transmitter that boosts the output power of the radio signal to the desired wattage before SERIAL TONE MODEM Carries digital information on a single sending it to the transmitting antenna. Usually expressed as horizontal or vertical in radio the voice signal into a number of bands. information is transmitted in a bandwidth considerably greater than the frequency content of the original information. a public key and a private key. SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) — The ratio of the power in the RADIATION PATTERN Pattern determined by an antenna’s desired signal to that of noise in a specified bandwidth. increase in radio wave absorption. SOFT-DECISION DECODING An error-correction technique where a group of detected symbols that retain their analog char- RAU (Remote Access Unit). Supports propagation of sky waves at the upper end of the HF RTCE (Real-Time Channel Evaluation) — Techniques used to band and beyond. A weighing factor is applied to each symbol in the code REFRACTION The bending of a radio wave as it passes word before a decision is made about which code word was obliquely from one medium to another. Radiation patterns are frequency dependent. different audio frequency range. and combining the resulting bands into a composite audio output that modulates the transmitter. shifting each band to a wave terminology. resulting from a modulation process.

SURFACE WAVES Travel along the surface of the earth and may reach beyond the horizon. SYNCHRONOUS A form of data communications that uses a preamble to alert the data receiver that a message is coming and to allow it to synchronize to an internal bit clock. decoder.SSB (Single Sideband) — A modulation technique in which the VERTICAL WHIP ANTENNA An omnidirectional antenna that carrier and one sideband (upper or lower) are suppressed so that has low take-off angles and vertical polarity. corresponding point on adjacent wave. VOCODER A device that converts sounds into a data stream STORE AND FORWARD A technique where information is that can be sent over an HF channel. TRANSCEIVER Equipment using common circuits in order to provide transmitting and receiving capability. 99 100 . SUNSPOT CYCLE Eleven-year cycle of sunspots which WAVELENGTH Distance between point on loop of wave to generate bursts of radiation that increase levels of ionization. TRANSEC (Transmission Security) — Techniques that prevent signal detection or jamming of the transmission path. all power is concentrated in the other sideband. TIU (Telephone Interface Unit). SYMMETRIC KEY SYSTEM A key management system in which the same key encrypts and decrypts data. TEK (Traffic Encryption Key) — Used in digital encryption. TAKE-OFF ANGLE The angle between the axis of the main lobe of an antenna pattern and the horizontal plane at the transmitting antenna. TRAFFIC The information moved over a communications channel. Short for voice coder- stored until a communication link is established and then sent.

Robert (Ed. (1992). Pa. (1994). Dean. Let us know if we were successful! To contact us: By Phone: (716) 244-5830 Marketing Communications Manager By Mail: Harris Corporation RF Communications Division 1680 University Avenue Rochester. W. E. New York 14610 By Fax: (716) 244-2917 By Web: http://www. The Beginner’s Handbook of Amateur Radio.: Amateur Radio Relay League We would appreciate your input. Pa. New York. Straw. Jonathan L. The Radio Amateur’s Digital Communications 101 . Clay. Did you enjoy this introduc- tion? Did you find it interesting and informative? Would you like to hear more about other radio products such as antennas or multi-band radio? Our goal is to educate and inform you. The ARRL Antenna Book.FURTHER READING We hope this book is helpful in introducing you to the concepts and benefits of HF radio technology. 1995. 1995.: TAB Books.: Amateur Radio Relay League.harris. Blue Ridge Summit. (1995) Single Sideband Systems and Circuit. Newington. Newington. Laster. For more information. NY. Conn.: TAB Books Sabin. Conn.: McGraw-Hill Schetgen.). here’s some recommended reading: Mayor. The ARRL Handbook for Radio Amateurs. Blue Ridge Summit.