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[US Navy] Help me find my Tx/Rx issues please

ydkmlt84

Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
5
Good morning. I dont have a lot of information on this system. There is a school that the Navy sends people to but no one on my ship has been able to attend. We have Motorola XTS2500I radios and I have the ASTRO 25 programming software. Other than that info I dont have a lot. I know there are some repeaters throughout the ship but I am not even sure what they are for. We have cables ran all throughout the ship. There are a few dead spots on the ship but I can't figure out what is causing them. On another ship I was on we had a specific radio that we could walk around with (was another system), and it would show us dB levels. Then I could find out where the level went to an unacceptable level, and troubleshoot that area.
I recently learned about RSSI and Smart Zones. I programmed a radio to show me the RSSI when I push a button, however it doesn't correlate to when I have a bad signal or not. Most of the ship shows 155 and the lowest I saw was 130. It most definitely wouldn't work at 130 and sometimes it worked at 150. Anything above 153 I had good comms. I feel like I don't have this radio setup properly to find an issue in my system.
Is there a way I can program a radio to show me where signal loss is happening? ANY information or a way ahead would be much appreciated. I am starting to get flak from my bosses saying that the radios are messing up, and I can't find out why. Thank you in advance.
 

ydkmlt84

Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
5
I hear you and understand your concern. I am not going to be doing anything crazy based off of information I am getting here. I just like to learn random stuff about a system because I like to know about the insides of things. I already learned about RSSI today because of this website. Before I looked here and found a thread, no one could even begin to tell me how to display that on the radio. On top of that I am deployed at the moment with no nearby support facilities. I have already emailed someone back in the states as well( someone who is designated as the technical representative for this system). A lot of times they don't like to give you all of the tools you would need, as to keep some type of job security.

If what you are saying is true, it does sound like an uplink issue and actually makes some sense. There is a trunk line that runs right above my head and my RSSI was 154. I couldn't transmit but most times I can recieve. I just asked for the controlling station to do a comms check and I heard them LC, however I couldn't respond. My RSSI was 154 and I got a solid tone when I pressed the PTT key. I went about 15 feet away from where I was trying, and it worked fine. Anything you think I should look at that would help me? Thank you again!

Just my opinion, but you need to get the proper people engaged to troubleshoot this. Asking for help on a hobby website for something as critical as comms on a US military vessel is unsafe (in my opinion). With that being said, those downlink RSSI levels you mention are "smokin", so I'd suspect an uplink issue.
 

KevinC

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Somewhere other than home :(
I hear you and understand your concern. I am not going to be doing anything crazy based off of information I am getting here. I just like to learn random stuff about a system because I like to know about the insides of things. I already learned about RSSI today because of this website. Before I looked here and found a thread, no one could even begin to tell me how to display that on the radio. On top of that I am deployed at the moment with no nearby support facilities. I have already emailed someone back in the states as well( someone who is designated as the technical representative for this system). A lot of times they don't like to give you all of the tools you would need, as to keep some type of job security.

If what you are saying is true, it does sound like an uplink issue and actually makes some sense. There is a trunk line that runs right above my head and my RSSI was 154. I couldn't transmit but most times I can recieve. I just asked for the controlling station to do a comms check and I heard them LC, however I couldn't respond. My RSSI was 154 and I got a solid tone when I pressed the PTT key. I went about 15 feet away from where I was trying, and it worked fine. Anything you think I should look at that would help me? Thank you again!
I guess I'm going to be a hypocrite. :p

Sounds like you may be overdriving the uplink if you can move away and it works. I have no idea how the system is distributed, so that's about as far as I can go.

Actually I can go one further...when in a area it doesn't work and you PTT and get a bonk, does the TX light flash or does it bonk as soon as you PTT with no TX light flash?
 

ydkmlt84

Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
5
If you mean the little red light next to the C on the Zone knob then, yes it does flash when I get a bonk. There are several areas on the ship where this happens. Get a bonk, move a few feet away and try again and it works fine. It's frustrating. Some areas won't transmit until you move completely out of that space and closer to the repeater.
 

KevinC

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Somewhere other than home :(
If you mean the little red light next to the C on the Zone knob then, yes it does flash when I get a bonk. There are several areas on the ship where this happens. Get a bonk, move a few feet away and try again and it works fine. It's frustrating. Some areas won't transmit until you move completely out of that space and closer to the repeater.
Ok, definitely sounds like an overdriving the uplink somehow.
 

ydkmlt84

Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
5
What do you mean overdriving the uplink? Can you provide a link or something I can learn from, to save you from teaching me everything?
 

KevinC

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What do you mean overdriving the uplink? Can you provide a link or something I can learn from, to save you from teaching me everything?
Too much signal. But this is all just guessing as we don't know anything about how your system is distributed.

I think that Navy course you mentioned might be a good place to start as far as learning goes.

Maybe an ex-ET with experience will chime in, but I'd really encourage you to seek assistance via the proper channels.

Disclosure...I was never in the military, so maybe this is how things normally go. I do remember my older brother telling me stories about having to keep all the non-working radio equipment nice and shiney while he was at the Pentagon. :p

Oh yeah, thank you for your service!!!
 
Last edited:

mmckenna

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The ship should have an ET shop. The ET should have basic test equipment, including a watt meter.
Usually these systems use 'leaky coax', often a specific type of Heliax designed for shipboard use.

Over driving the link sounds like a possibility.

Messing with it without the proper tools and knowledge is probably not a good idea, since it could screw things up worse.
 

AJAT

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In my opinion the, OP needs to be careful about posting status of systems of an operational Navy ship on a public forum. There are proper channels to go through to get support needed in house.
 

prcguy

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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Most trunked systems on Navy ships are known public information and posted to the extent you can program that into a scanner. Operational specifics, identity of the crew and comsec are another story.

In my opinion the, OP needs to be careful about posting status of systems of an operational Navy ship on a public forum. There are proper channels to go through to get support needed in house.
 

AJAT

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Most trunked systems on Navy ships are known public information and posted to the extent you can program that into a scanner. Operational specifics, identity of the crew and comsec are another story.
I get it, I just don’t want to OP to get in trouble. Even though there is no specifics in his post it is still poor OPSEC practice. There are proper ways to get support in house and not on a public forum. Anyway that is just my 2 cents and I don’t want to get this thread off topic.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Messages
4,672
I recall back when GE/Comnet/Ericssson had the US Navy deal , the radios. EDACS (HYDRA?) were very low power because the USN wants to keep the RF signature of the ship very low. Imagine how far a 5 watt UHF signal might travel on the open seas.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
4,672
Most trunked systems on Navy ships are known public information and posted to the extent you can program that into a scanner. Operational specifics, identity of the crew and comsec are another story.
true enuff..

 

ecps92

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Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
12,054
Location
Taxachusetts
Your Chief Engineer, should have a manual on how and where the Radio system was integrated on the vessel.


Good morning. I dont have a lot of information on this system. There is a school that the Navy sends people to but no one on my ship has been able to attend. We have Motorola XTS2500I radios and I have the ASTRO 25 programming software. Other than that info I dont have a lot. I know there are some repeaters throughout the ship but I am not even sure what they are for. We have cables ran all throughout the ship. There are a few dead spots on the ship but I can't figure out what is causing them. On another ship I was on we had a specific radio that we could walk around with (was another system), and it would show us dB levels. Then I could find out where the level went to an unacceptable level, and troubleshoot that area.
I recently learned about RSSI and Smart Zones. I programmed a radio to show me the RSSI when I push a button, however it doesn't correlate to when I have a bad signal or not. Most of the ship shows 155 and the lowest I saw was 130. It most definitely wouldn't work at 130 and sometimes it worked at 150. Anything above 153 I had good comms. I feel like I don't have this radio setup properly to find an issue in my system.
Is there a way I can program a radio to show me where signal loss is happening? ANY information or a way ahead would be much appreciated. I am starting to get flak from my bosses saying that the radios are messing up, and I can't find out why. Thank you in advance.
 

slobonmycob

Know-Nothingism
Joined
May 25, 2019
Messages
123
I hear you and understand your concern. I am not going to be doing anything crazy based off of information I am getting here. I just like to learn random stuff about a system because I like to know about the insides of things. I already learned about RSSI today because of this website. Before I looked here and found a thread, no one could even begin to tell me how to display that on the radio. On top of that I am deployed at the moment with no nearby support facilities. I have already emailed someone back in the states as well( someone who is designated as the technical representative for this system). A lot of times they don't like to give you all of the tools you would need, as to keep some type of job security.
Man I understand wanting to know how things work, but from one service member to another, you should not tinker with DoD communication systems where you're not explicitly authorized. If you are authorized then I would keep it in writing and know your boundaries. I've seen too many sm's get into hot water over things like this. Unless explicitly authorized, if you tweak something and screw up, understand that you're chain of command will likely throw you under the bus for this. It's no joke.

If you can't get a hold of your designated tech, I would contact a rep at ONR to start pushing it up the proper channels. Get a paper trail going. It's the tech's ass at the end of the day for what you described not yours. I would also explain the situation to your leadership, keep them in the loop of what's going on and what you're doing to try to solve the issue. GET A PAPER TRAIL GOING.
 
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