Oct. 17, 2006

Land mobile radio team doubles the distance

By Maj. Ann Peru Knabe
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA (Air Force Print News) -- "Ground-to-air communication is critical to the success of any flying mission," said Master Sgt. Francis A. Scott, NCO in charge of the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron land mobile radio team. "When we found out the Singaporean Air Force wasn't communicating directly with its aircrew beyond 200 miles, we offered our help."

The Virginia-based Guardsman organized his team of six ground radio specialists and together they developed a plan to reconstruct the high frequency tower on top of the Singaporean operations building, changing the dual V-shaped antenna to a taller, streamlined antenna stretching more than 40 feet in the desert sky.

Tech Sgt. Micheal E. Edgar devised the plan.

"(Sergeant) Edgar is an antenna whiz, a real genius," said Sergeant Scott, referring to the Airman deployed from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. "His years of experience always come in handy."

The team of radio specialists had to consider numerous variables in the set-up, including desert winds and possible interference with other radio frequencies. The actual installation took several hours, requiring the team to scale the roof and secure the antennae and its base in 115 F heat.

The results? Stellar communication between the ground and Singaporean aircraft all the way to the war zone.

"We've doubled the distance we can communicate from the ground to our aircraft flying into the AOR," said Sergeant Barry Lim, a Singaporean communications specialist with more than five years experience working in radio. "We're grateful for this team effort with the United States Air Force. It's the best communications linkage we've ever had."

Airmen 1st Class Savuth Touch and David Lynch of Misawa Air Base, Japan, and Airman Derek Schaaf of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., also worked on the high frequency antennae project.

"It felt good to be contributing to the coalition effort," said Airman Schaaf.

"The Singaporeans came here to help us with the flying mission, and now we're helping them." In addition to radio and antenna work, the land mobile radio team also is responsible for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing's cell phone and pager systems, land mobile radios, maintenance of the "giant voice" system and management of public address systems.

The Singaporean Airmen are coalition partners in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They have a flying unit deployed to Southwest Asia.


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