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148th ASOS Airmen earn top prize in Exercise Noble Skywave

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
Tech. Sgt. Nathan Belanger and Airman 1st Class Patrick Kluyber, radio frequency transmission systems Airmen of the 148th Air Support Operations Squadron, teamed up and earned first place in Exercise Noble Skywave 2014, Oct. 23-24.

Exercise Noble Skywave is a global event that focuses on high-frequency radio communications and is hosted by 21 Electronic Warfare Regiment and the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics. Approximately 70 teams from locations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Slovakia participated in the exercise and the 148th Zombie team led the pack.

"The first place finish is amazing and I expect nothing less from Sergeant Belanger and Airman Kluyber," said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Ball, 148th ASOS Superintendent. "They are both fantastic Airmen who continue to impress me."

The exercise was a competition format with points awarded for various criteria, such a completing the greatest number of radio contacts with other participants using various type of antennas, modes and power output.

According to information provided by the squadron, for the first 12 hours of the 24-hour exercise teams were tasked to contact all members of pre-assigned groups using automatic link establishment modes of communication.  For the second 12 hours the exercise participants were tasked to make radio contact with as many other stations as possible utilizing single-sideband mode. Three points were awarded for every ALE contact and one point for every SSB contact.

"We had to be proactive," said Belanger. "We couldn't just sit back and scan and expect to make our contacts."

This was a first real-world exercise for Kluyber, who has been with the 148th since August.

He said the biggest take-away for him was the reliability of HF radio in a realm where satellite communication has become the standard.

"With just two people we did a great job of maximizing our air-time," said Belanger. "It was beneficial operations training and a good competition."

The exercise afforded Belanger the opportunity to provide mentorship to the 148th's younger troop.

"This was a great training opportunity for both of them," said Ball. "It gave Sergeant Belanger the opportunity to take some of his vast radio knowledge and pass it on to Airman Kluyber, who has only just recently graduated from technical school. To be able to do that, on an international scale while taking first place, shows that our radio shop continues to set a very high standard and lives up to the success that has become natural for Airmen of the 14GREAT!"