Making radio waves: MAWTS-1 innovates comm breakthrough
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    Exclamation Making radio waves: MAWTS-1 innovates comm breakthrough

    Making radio waves: MAWTS-1 innovates comm breakthrough
    Story by Cpl. Michael R. Whitnel, Desert Warrior Staff

    A communication advancement allowing data to be transmitted and received by pre-existing pack radios was developed at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 here recently.

    The new capability allows data to be sent over UHF, VHF and dedicated satellite communication.

    Marines can now connect a laptop to a standard-issue AN/PRC-117F radio to access Web pages, e-mail, share files and chat in real time over classified and unclassified networks, said Capt. Adrian Ybarra, MAWTS-1 communication officer.

    No new equipment is needed; the Marine Corps already has more than 20,000 of the radios in service. However, Internet connection speed is similar to a commercial dial-up service.

    "We have never had access to data like this before," said Ybarra.

    Data usage before was limited to the manufacturer's program, which allowed one 117F radio to talk to another, said Gunnery Sgt. Mike Perez, MAWTS-1 communication radio chief.

    Ybarra, Perez and Master Sgt. Carl Mahler were the instrumental MAWTS-1 Marines who made this technology useable.

    The three communication Marines tested the capability during the last Desert Talon and are now using it during the current Weapons and Tactics Instructor course.

    "This is pretty valuable; I used (this technology) to get intel with (unmanned aerial systems)," said Cpl. Dustin Ross, Marine Air Control Squadron 1 radio operator. "This is also more convenient and reliable than systems already in place."

    Forward air controllers, forward observers and joint terminal attack controllers could benefit from this breakthrough along with any Marine who wants to stay concealed. Marines can now type a message instead of whispering into a radio, said Ross.

    MAWTS-1 is scheduled to start training Marines at the next Desert Talon exercise to use the technology.

    Ellie

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    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
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