Army signallers across Australia engaged in friendly competition while testing their high-frequency (HF) proficiency during international Exercise Pacific Horizon.
CAPTION: Army signallers from 144 Signal Squadron participate in high-frequency radio activity Exercise Pacific Horizon at Warradale Barracks, SA. Story by Captain Peter March. Photo by Sergeant Peng Zhang.
Led by the United States’ Joint Communications Support Element (JSCE), the activity gave units the opportunity to improve their beyond-line-of-sight capabilities apart from satellite communications.
JCSE communicators deployed and established a high-frequency base camp on Guam in support of a notional joint task force headquarters, using various antennas and waveforms to maintain infrastructure-free, over-the-horizon voice/data with various participating partner forces and US units.
Other participants across the Indo-Pacific included stations in Okinawa, South Korea, New Zealand and several partner nation ships traversing international waters in the region.
144 Signal Squadron communication systems Operator Corporal Callum Edwards said it was difficult at times, but rewarding when that ‘loud and clear’ came across the net.
“We enjoyed configuring multiple antennas and attempting to reach distant stations,” Corporal Edwards said.
“Being able to throw up an antenna and receive a signal from as far away as Tampa was awesome.
“It really shows how useful HF can be for communicating beyond line of sight.”
The squadron exercised in cooperation with the freshly minted Infantry Signallers from 10/27 Royal South Australia Regiment.
144 Signal Squadron operations officer Captain Douglas Home said the exercise provided invaluable experience for flanking 9th Brigade units, whose primary focus was not typically communications.
“HF communications is an extremely important skillset, not only for signallers but for war fighters as well,” Captain Home said.
“The effective use of HF can improve survivability of HQ (headquarters) elements while ensuring reliable voice and data communications.
“For the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and the 1st Armoured Regiment, this activity provided an opportunity to apply their communications training and knowledge in a competitive environment.”
The 9th Brigade elements had success in connecting with most of the Australian-based stations, and received messages from multiple international stations as well.
This success has highlighted the capacity for interoperability with partner forces.
“There is a lot of theory behind effective HF configuration,” Corporal Edwards said.
“Getting hands back on the tools and doing some long shots has been a great experience.”