Old USAF 'HAMMER ACE' UHF SATCOM recording

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Hooligan

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I started UHF SATCOM monitoring back in the early 1980s, and heard a lot of cool/crazy things, but unfortunately, I took most of it for-granted, & left the tape recorder hooked-up to the HF receiver instead of the series of receivers dedicated to UHF SATCOM.

So one of the few recordings I made --pretty much just because I knew who they were & couldn't believe how juvenile they were acting on the air-- was of the USAF 'HAMMER ACE' quick-reaction communications support team during a deployment to Texas (from their home at Scott AFB) to support investigation/recovery efforts at a USAF fighter-type aircraft crash site.

'Hammer ACE' is still-around these days, but due to technological advancements, presents a much smaller profile, and not as 'elite' as they were in the 1980s when they had to employ a wider variety of comms gear, crypto, etc. & be proficient with all of it under field conditions.

Later on 1980s & 1990s I got to see 'Hammer ACE' dog & pony shows at events like the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association annual convention in Washington DC & similar events, and as I spoke to them or read the literature explaining how they're elite communicators, etc. I'd always smirk & think back to the silliness (young, bored guys...) over their non-secure UHF SATCOM circuit, which clearly they must have believed to be magically 'private,' and it was a great lesson for me at an early age about human nature.

SOMEWHERE in my files, I should have the exact date, time & frequency for this intercept logged, and a few days later, saw an article in the newspaper about the aircraft crash that they responded to, but haven't been able to find my old UHF SATCOM logs in many years. I'm thinking this recording should have been from 1984, plus/minus a year or two.

I've shared it with a few friends privately, but am now sharing it with the public:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jwcx5qpycudc3kf/HAMMER ACE SATCOM.mp3?dl=0
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I got into satcom around 1986 or so starting with a Regency MX3000 receiver, a military discone antenna and wideband Watkins Johnson preamp. I recall listening to Hammer Ace quite a bit. A lot of communications from Honduras as well using phone patch for mostly personal calls. I also listened and recorded a lot of NASA ATS3 satellite comms . The Bahaii religion were using ATS3 for roundtable discussions around the Pacific , Hawaii, US and Jamaica. Later I bought an Icom R7000, the an R9000. I was pretty serious with helical antennas and such. Also Inmarsat wher I captured some interesting political hijinx from the UK.

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VK3RX

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Never heard HAMMER ACE over this way of course, but did listen to what must have been ATS-3 at times.

An older buddy of mine had recordings of SPUTNIK and ATS-1, and he and others here made gear to listen to Apollo missions enroute to & from the Moon :)
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Back when the EVA suits were using analog 200 MHZ radios, I was able to receive transmissions from a spacewalk along with ECG telemetry.

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prcguy

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I also started listening to UHF satcom in the mid 1980s and probably heard Hammer Ace at one time or another.

I met a group of Air Force quick response communications guys in the early 90s at an AFCEA military electronics show in San Diego. They traveled to aircraft crash sites, disasters and the like setting up portable repeaters and UHF satcom links.

I had some conversations with them about their radios, antennas and portable solar panels they had on display and they had some great stories about setting up portable repeaters on mountain tops only to find critters had chewed through the solar panel wiring, taking the repeater off the air. I also asked what frequencies they used and just got smiles from them. I also got the same response when I asked how much for the radios and solar panels.

I don't remember anything that said Hammer Ace at their show display but they gave me a couple of their stickers with logos that said "Air Force C3 Agency" if I remember right. I owned one of the radios they had on display, a Motorola URC-110 Satcom terminal and I put one of the stickers on my radio just like theirs. I still have another sticker somewhere around here and should dig it up.

Now I'm wondering if Hammer Ace was part of the C3 Agency group?
prcguy
 
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