Our Radio team is lead by S/Lt Matthew Batten
In an effort to introduce more science, technology, engineering and math back into our training program, as well as add primer for naval/maritime communications, we have begun a communications initiative with our cadets using amateur radio as the vehicle. This is what our initiative comprises of.
This is the current status of our Communications Control Room (CCR) at RCSCC QUINTE. So far, from our CCR, our capabilities include HF operation, receiving AM, CW, LSB, USB, and FSK, on modes including SITOR, AMTOR, FAX and TTY. Also VHF marine, VHF Amateur, and UHF amateur. SDR radios, and an Az-El rotator for satellite tracking and communications will be the next stage. The station has been licensed through Industry Canada as VA3GKY, in reference to the former HMCS QUINTE's (MCB149) CGKY.
Cadets are being trained towards their own amateur radio qualifications, with the plan being to have us made a CFARS (Canadian Forces Affilliate Radio Service) station within 3 years as well as a Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) station, allowing us to take part in Canadian Forces, Coast Guard, Police/Emergency and disaster communications/co-ordination.
The heart of the main system going in is a former US Army AN/GRC-46 set. Continuous tuning on the receiver from 500khz to 32mhz. It's set up for AM voice, CW, and 170hz shift FSK for teletype. This is more of a captivating approach, as the vintage radio is more appealing to the cadets than their current solid state personal electronics, and allows them to feel a closer assimilation with the CAF. Further, full operation and servicing documentation are available for this robust set, allowing cadet to use and maintain actual equipment. The second HF Radio is a civilian Kenwood TS-820S for ssb operations. Both outputs can be fed into either a legacy Canadian Forces M7000 decoder unit like what was used in Alert/Bermuda/etc, or our computer with appropriate current decoding software for data/digital modes. We're going to be initiating a weekly scheduled Canadian Cadet Net on HF, attempting to connect with the amateur radio operators from the US, British and overseas cadet forces, as well as any others we can attract from this initiative. We'll update on timings, working frequencies and modes as we get closer.
Courses are comprising of 8 candidates at a time. We have purchased the Basic Qualification study manuals for from Coax Publications. The inaugural course began at the start of November. The current average age in the course is 14-15 years old. After the first cadets graduate, theyll be standing watch and functioning as the net controllers, as well as instructing the follow up course serials. They will be writing a 100 question exam, administered by Industry Canada assigned examiners, and be receiving a federal Amateur Radio Licence, with personal call sign. We are also including practical lessons with emphasis on building and maintaining gear. The current CO, LT (N ) Dwight Koshman, of our unit is a former 500 series MOC, CRS Tech, who is employed by CAE to maintain the C-130H simulator at Trenton. He'll be instructing on milspec soldering, splicing, board repairs, etc.
We are beginning to install the HF receiving fans and transmitter longwire antennas. 19" racking going in and being populated with the vhf/uhf radios, power supplies, routing, and digital equipment. Also a former Oshawa Wireless (Camp X) M28 teletype for printing 60wpm copy from rtty, it, and text emails, just to make things interesting.
We have reached out to both local clubs in an attempt to foster some good will, and have one of their examiners conduct our testing. We have also initiated contact with RAC in an effort to become affiliated with their Youth Education Program.
For internal communications and primer, We've been using several army TA-43 field phones, with switchboard emulating rigging sound powered equipment between compartments, establish command, control, and hq1 in a damage control scenario. Cadets have been taught theory of operation, practical use for relaying orders and wire splicing in ad hoc situational scenarios.
Future upgrades include a shipboard annunciator system with action station bong bongs, an executone intercom system, and sound powered communications between our compartments. It is all a work in progress.
A Visual Signals component is also being put together to be executed in the new year. For signal projector/aldis training,We are putting together a receiving target, with a photocell/receive device, attached to the M7000 unit that will decode the transmitted messages in real time and be able to print for accuracy/grading. We envision a point, where we can begin to challenge other units on these skills, and have flotilla competitions.
We have a few hand held aldis lamps, and a 10" signal projector, which we are currently rebuilding. Also building a correct flag locker and inside mast for hoist training.
Groundwork is being laid for future additions include a computerized bridge simulator and integrated weather station, allowing us to bring all these areas under an shipboard Communications and Operations Department.