DISA to participate in Annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Exercise

ByJohn Holloway
Cyberspace Operations Directorate
May 12, 2022 

Armed Forces Day Military-Amateur crossband test banner

The DISA Joint Interoperability Test Command High Frequency Team is scheduled to participate in the annual Armed Forces Day Crossband High Frequency Communications Exercise on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT.

This will be the first opportunity to utilize the newly established temporary facility on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, at the Defense Media Activity/DISA Antenna Field.

This annual exercise provides a unique opportunity to test two-way high frequency communication between radio amateurs and military stations, which is authorized under the Federal Communications Commission 46 CFR §97.111.

Traditional military-to-amateur crossband single sideband voice, Morse Code, and the use of legacy interoperability waveforms are some of the critical functions this exercise is designed to assess. It also provides a rare opportunity for participating amateurs to utilize more modern military modes, such as MIL-STD Serial Pulse Shift Keying (M110) and Automatic Link Establishment.

To mimic a situation which may require this type of communication, a military unit will initiate a complex operation by transmitting on a frequency in the 60-meter band and subsequently listen for a response, typically on a different frequency band.

During designated emergencies such as a natural disaster, U.S. military units are authorized to use a set of frequencies in the 60-meter band to communicate with amateurs and others.

Two different radios and antenna physics will be utilized during this exercise:

• A commercial radio using a dipole antenna configured for Near Vertical Incident Skywave operations provides excellent communications in a radius of up to about 300 miles

• A DOD tactical radio with a different dipole antenna will also be configured for greater distances to enable communications extending several thousand miles

Military units across the globe participating this year include USS Midway, San Diego, California; Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland; U.S. Air Force Savannah Cyber Training Center, Savannah, Georgia; USS Yorktown, Patriot’s Point South Carolina; Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington; U.S. NORTHCOM; and U.S. Marine Corps Camp Foster Okinawa, Japan.

Visit The National Association for Amateur Radio website for more information.

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