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Marines from Alpha Company and Bravo Company with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 participate in field training exercises at Camp Davis and Outlying Landing Field Atlantic, North Carolina, Aug.12, 2015. The training served as a refresher course and is typically held anywhere from two to three times per year for tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment-related military occupational specialties in the squadron.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez

MWCS-28 trains in the troposphere

17 Aug 2015 | Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Marines with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 conducted training and readiness exercises at Camp Davis and Outlying Landing Field Atlantic, North Carolina, Aug.10-20.

Approximately 50 Marines from Alpha Company and Bravo Company with MWCS-28 participated in the refresher course training. Training and readiness exercises are conducted approximately three times per year for tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment-related military occupational specialties in the squadron.

“We are reiterating how to use the Global Positioning System and how to plan an operation using the tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment,” said Sgt. Nathaniel Smith, a tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment operator with MWCS-28. “We are going over all the basic knowledge necessary to carry out the mission of being an AN/TRC-170 (Tropospheric Scatter Microwave Radio Terminal) operator.”

The tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment operator is trained to install, operate and maintain the AN/TRC-170.

According to Smith, this equipment is not used all the time, so troubleshooting is a common process beneficial to operators who are new to the military occupational specialty so they can gain experience with the equipment.

Marines who are trained on the operation of the platform can use the AN/TRC-170 to provide scatter-links up to 100 miles in range between two different locations.

“It is basically bulk encrypting,” said Smith. “Large amounts of data are being transmitted through the troposphere.”

According to Master Sgt. David Eisenhower, the operations chief for Alpha Company, the Marines conducted super high frequency microwave transmission communication and linking with counterparts at Atlantic Field.

“Marines will park the transmitter and receiver based on a ten-digit map grid,” said Eisenhower. “They will then unpack the antenna sets, stand them up and put dishes together. The antennas are grounded and anchored so they do not move.”

Waveguides, which are communication paths between radios, trucks and antennas are connected with established power through generators, explained Eisenhower.

“We will power the two end devices and fire a beam utilizing maintenance support,” said Eisenhower. “The Marines will do ‘sweeping,’ which will connect the beams in the troposphere. A Marine will be in the truck letting the Marine manning the antenna know the signal strength of the beam while they are sweeping, looking for a beam that is about the width of a quarter. It is a lot like playing battleship.”

When the beams connect, they scatter, and through that beam there will be data electrons that pass through the beam which allows the Marines to extend the network to places that they could not see with line of sight, explained Eisenhower.

“Marines are out here weathering the storm and being in the field doing what they do and we love it,” said Eisenhower.


Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point