Introduction to radio-frequency communication

Introduction to radio-frequency communication

File : 5.7 MB, 201 pages

Navy Electrical and Electronic Training Series – Modul 17

1. Introduction to Radio-Frequency Communications
2. Introduction to Communications Theory
3. Fundamental Systems Equipment
4. Introduction to Satellite Communications
5. Introduction to Miscellaneous Communications Systems and Equipment


Basic communication transmitters include continuous wave (cw), amplitude modulated (AM), frequency modulated (fm), and single sideband (ssb) types. A basic description of each of these transmitters is given in this chapter.


The continuous wave is used principally for radiotelegraphy; that is, for the transmission of short or long pulses of rf energy to form the dots and dashes of the Morse code characters. This type of transmission is sometimes referred to as interrupted continuous wave. Cw transmission was the first type of radio communication used, and it is still used extensively for long-range communications. Two of the advantages of cw transmission are a narrow bandwidth, which requires less output power, and a degree of intelligibility that is high even under severe noise conditions. (For example, when the receiver is in the vicinity of rotating machinery or thunderstorms. A cw transmitter requires four essential components. These are a generator, amplifier, keyer, and antenna. We have to generate rf oscillations and have a means of amplifying these oscillations. We also need a method of turning the rf output on and off (keying) in accordance with the intelligence to be transmitted and an antenna to radiate the keyed output of the transmitter.


An AM receiver processes amplitude-modulated signals received by its antenna. It delivers an output that is a reproduction of the signal that originally modulated the rf carrier at the transmitter. The signal can then be applied to some reproducing device, such as a loudspeaker, or to a terminal device, such as a teletypewriter. Actual AM receivers vary widely in complexity. Some are very simple; others contain a large number of complex circuits.


The first artificial satellite was placed in orbit by the Russians in 1957. That satellite, called Sputnik, signaled the beginning of an era.

The United States, who was behind the Russians, made an all-out effort to catch up, and launched Score in 1958. That was the first satellite with the primary purpose of communications. The first regular satellite communications service was used by the Navy in 1960. The moon was used to bounce teletypewriter signals between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. During the early 1960s, the Navy used the moon as a medium for passing messages between ships at sea and shore stations. This method of communications proved reliable when other methods failed. Military satellite communications technology was at a low level until 1965. At that time high quality voice transmissions were conducted between a satellite and two earth stations. That was the stepping stone to the Initial Defense Communications Satellite Program (IDCSP), which will be covered later in this chapter.
Experience with satellite communications has demonstrated that satellite systems can satisfy many military requirements. They are reliable, survivable, secure, and a cost effective method of telecommunications. You can easily see that satellites are the ideal, if not often the only, solution to problems of communicating with highly mobile forces. Satellites, if properly used, provide much needed options to large, fixed-ground installations. For the past fifty years, the Navy has used high-frequency (hf) transmissions as the principal method of sending messages. In the 1970s, the hf spectrum was overcrowded and “free” frequencies were at a premium. Hf jamming and electronic countermeasures (ECM) techniques became highly sophisticated during that period. As a result the need for new and advanced long-range transmission methods became apparent.


In the previous four chapters we’ve looked at communications equipment and systems that were used in several frequency ranges. Some have had many applications. In this chapter you will look at systems used in some portions of the rf spectrum that have not been covered in detail. We will also discuss the naval tactical data system (NTDS), which operates in the high-frequency and ultrahigh-frequency regions. Various portable communications equipments used in the military and an introduction to the laser and its uses in communications are included. Some of the applications presented are fairly new to the military community.


As discussed in chapter 1, the frequency range from elf to shf is from below 300 hertz up to 30 gigahertz. The first area we will cover is the lower frequency bands (medium frequency [mf] and belOw). You will then get a look at the microwave region and the high-frequency and ultrahigh-frequency range as it pertains to the naval tactical data system (NTDS).

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7 thoughts on “Introduction to radio-frequency communication

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