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Can a Ham Radio License benefit U.S. Navy engineers and software developers?

edited February 13 in "ON THE AIR" Activity

****Can a Ham Radio License benefit U.S. Navy engineers and software developers?****

In December of 2018 23 U.S. Navy engineers and software developers based at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD)at Point Mugu, California took a week-long class in amateur radio culminating with an FCC amateur radio license test. All passed and are certified at the “technician” level for amateur radio operation.

Congratulations to the newly licensed amateur radio operators.
All of us who have studied for and passed FCC exams, whether hams for 50 years or 50 days, can remember when we first became licensed amateur radio operators and began to enjoy all the rights and privileges that come with that ‘ticket’.

As reported by Erick Tegler on the website: C4ISRNET Navy officials say the move may make the workers better at their jobs. The staff gained an understanding of radio frequency (RF) propagation that’s essential to what they do, said Brian Hill, electromagnetic maneuver warfare experimentation lead and collaborative electronic warfare supervisor at NAWCWD.
Hill, who earned his amateur radio license in high school, noticed that while most of his department’s recent hires had degrees in computer science, many had little background in RF theory or operation.

“You can explain antenna patterns and concepts like omni-directional vs. directional using Smith charts, but it’s helpful to add a demonstration to really convey the concept,” Hill said. “You can explain modulation as a concept, but for a demo... let them listen to how modulated digital signals with audio frequencies sound... For those who never knew the joy of hearing a 2400 bps modem connect over a telephone line, it was a new concept!”

These concepts are central to electromagnetic maneuver warfare.
“We need to be able to have awareness of all threats and opportunities from [zero frequency] to light within an integrated system,” Hill said. “Our adversaries are looking at the entire spectrum to use against us, and we need to do the same. Having awareness of how the atmosphere changes from daylight to night and how that affects propagation of [high frequency] is important.”

“This can be critical for young developers/engineers whose experience is typically limited to the UHF/EHF-based systems now in vogue across communications, guidance and ISR technologies.” Reported Tegler.
"Many of our engineers know their specializations, but rarely does an aeronautical engineer think about how he changes the polarization of the C2 antenna when the airplane banks for a turn. They are not just moving the airplane but the antenna too. This has already started conversations and I hope many more continue.”

Hill reported that students enjoyed the course which was taught by a local amateur radio instructor just as similar courses are conducted throughout the year under the auspices of local radio clubs in the Hudson valley.
“It was worth the effort and people are already asking to go to the next class offering,”
“We are looking at doing a fox hunt soon,” Hill said. “The team will design a directional antenna, actually build it in class, and then use their antennas to find a hidden RF beacon somewhere on base.”

For more information check out: https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/

In the mid-Hudson region the Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club (OMARC) offers Ham Radio Licensing courses and conducts Federal Communication Commission sanctioned license examinations throughout the year.
For further information visit the OMARC website at: http://www.omarcclub.org.

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