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Author Topic: F-16 SATCOM  (Read 6015 times)

Offline PRO2006

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F-16 SATCOM
« on: May 22, 2019, 2110 UTC »
Local F-16C Guard unit- starting to hear more about SATCOM use/training. Still lots of VHF/UHF, but recently hearing them say "Push SATCOM xx" xx being a channel #.

Would this be digital encrypted? Like Link-16? Or in the UHF milair satcom range AM? I assume they would use it plane-to-plane and ground-to-plane. Or even home base to plane when they are BLOS.

Thanks..
SDRs, PL-880, Alpha Delta DX-SWL Sloper, X-Wing SATCOM, Southern Colorado

Offline R4002

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 1454 UTC »
Link-16 is a UHF tactical datalink system, I know that Link-16 does support digital voice in addition to its primary purpose of linking air/ground/sea assets for a near real-time tactical advantage.  My understanding was that most traffic on Link-16 is in the "tactical data link" category for improved situational awareness, as opposed to air-to-ground or air-to-air voice comms.  It's UHF but not the 225-400 MHz band.  Link-16 operates in the 960-1215 MHz band.  My guess would be the F-16s you're hearing are referring to either a UHF SATCOM system (which would be in the milair band, but probably using either FM or digital voice modes) and/or a SHF/EHF SATCOM system. 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 1456 UTC by R4002 »
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Offline PRO2006

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2019, 1916 UTC »
Thanks!

Time to build an antenna...
SDRs, PL-880, Alpha Delta DX-SWL Sloper, X-Wing SATCOM, Southern Colorado


Offline R4002

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 1502 UTC »
255.550 MHz, 256.850 MHz and several others (in FM mode) are often busy with Portuguese chatter (sometimes you'll hear Spanish too), most of it is coming out of South America, specifically Brazil.  Modified 1.25 meter / 222 MHz amateur radios [they love the Alinco DR-235T / DR-235TG series] and the proliferation of mobile and portable VHF rigs that cover 200-270 MHz or similar coverage out of the box (there's a legit reason for these radios to be on the market aside from the 222-225 MHz amateur band, there's a huge market for the 245 MHz VHF CB band in Thailand) means that pirating the UHF military satcom systems that still use analog FM voice is popular. 

« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 1511 UTC by R4002 »
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/transceivers/scanners/receivers - land mobile system operator - focus on VHF/UHF and 11m

Offline PRO2006

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2019, 1705 UTC »
I finally got around to building the antenna yesterday. Everything was going good at the hardware store getting the parts until my wife looked in the cart and said -umm, what is the chicken wire for....and where are you going to put it...

I have been listening for an hour this morning. My first impression is that it's overrun with pirates. I also hear some data transmissions that sound sort of "Link" type. I have not heard any English/military yet, but I literally just started listening.

I see weak channels in the 250s, good copy channels 260s and not much below 250.

I still have some tweaking to do on the antenna and will post up what I am hearing.

Thanks again for the information.

« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 1714 UTC by PRO2006 »
SDRs, PL-880, Alpha Delta DX-SWL Sloper, X-Wing SATCOM, Southern Colorado

Offline Josh

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2019, 2220 UTC »
Awesome, tell us about the build and how you got around "umm, what is the chicken wire for....and where are you going to put it...", also, you can throw me under her bus if you need to.
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Offline PRO2006

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2019, 0024 UTC »
I wasn't super worried- I got away with this for the last two years:



The build went fine and I made a few changes. I realized during the build you need a "T", not an F-type splitter (which I bought). I made a custom "T" but have a real one on order.

Instead of 2x4s I just put the chicken wire on cardboard.

I put it in the loft- the "shack" is to the right. I used a simple box to keep the antenna upright. I cut out a small square on the bottom of the PVC for the feed to come out, and then hole in the box for the feed exit.

My wife didn't see then antenna until the morning. Her first thought was it looked like some sort of rat trap..lol



I bought 24" wide chicken wire and had to do two strips in one direction, and then two strips on top of that going the other direction. I used packing tape (a lot) on top of the chicken wire as I rolled it out on the cardboard. The instructions had mentioned  using less than an inch gaps. If I did it again I would probably just by the metal screen that has 1/4" squares.



For grins I completely covered the chicken wire with tin foil. The signals dropped way down with 48x48" foil. That puzzles me, you would think any reflector would work. 

Can I expect to hear more than just pirates? Or has everything switched over to MUOS?

« Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 0036 UTC by PRO2006 »
SDRs, PL-880, Alpha Delta DX-SWL Sloper, X-Wing SATCOM, Southern Colorado

Offline Josh

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Re: F-16 SATCOM
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2019, 0044 UTC »
That ant may turn out to be your goto for mil air listening.








Also, she's a keeper!
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