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Utility Listening - Discussions regarding monitoring government, military, aircraft, ship, and other misc communications in the HF/MW/LF bands.

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Old 11-10-2016, 10:19 PM
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Default EAM and Skyking

So, I have heard some EAMs and heard of Skyking messages from the air force on hfgcs, and I know by nature that they are impossible to decode unless you have the DoD FLIP or something. What I am wondering is what the general contents of these messages usually are. Does anyone have an idea of what sort of information or instructions are sent through these, or is it an impossible piece of information to know like the message itself?
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Old 11-11-2016, 2:47 AM
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Originally Posted by KD9DJC View Post
So, I have heard some EAMs and heard of Skyking messages from the air force on hfgcs, and I know by nature that they are impossible to decode unless you have the DoD FLIP or something. What I am wondering is what the general contents of these messages usually are. Does anyone have an idea of what sort of information or instructions are sent through these, or is it an impossible piece of information to know like the message itself?


EAMs are used by our nuclear forces. They will be used if (heaven forbid) we are attacked by another country's nuclear forces and therefore the messages would be for our forces (air, land and sea nuclear forces) to attack.

I'm probably not helping you much here!

Start here and then there may be others with much more knowledge than I have:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emer...Action_Message
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Old 11-11-2016, 5:48 AM
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Originally Posted by KD9DJC View Post
So, I have heard some EAMs and heard of Skyking messages from the air force on hfgcs, and I know by nature that they are impossible to decode unless you have the DoD FLIP or something. What I am wondering is what the general contents of these messages usually are. Does anyone have an idea of what sort of information or instructions are sent through these, or is it an impossible piece of information to know like the message itself?
You will find what you are looking for on the Milcom Monitoring Post blog at
Milcom Monitoring Post: What are Emergency Action Messages (EAM)?

73 and good hunting

Larry
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:03 AM
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25 large Pepperoni with cheese, 25 orders of hot wings, 15 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, ....

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Old 11-11-2016, 1:27 PM
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25 large Pepperoni with cheese, 25 orders of hot wings, 15 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, ....



LOL!!
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Old 11-11-2016, 2:53 PM
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25 large Pepperoni with cheese, 25 orders of hot wings, 15 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, ....

What is the difference between a sea story and a fairy tale? A fairy tale starts with "once upon a time", and a sea story starts with "no sh..." errr...sorry, it turns out I can't tell a sea story in a family friendly forum, so I will just tell a tale that happened to be at sea...

I had a life long friend, knew this guy as youngsters (how we both ended up in the same job in the same Navy, having lost contact years before is another story), on another ship independent steaming in the same general area we were in. Both ships were scheduled to pull into a little Pacific port the same day. We both happened to have the mid watch on the Echo Whiskey net. As "practice" I coded up a message to him as to where and when we should meet ashore.

The basic format of that message would have been almost indistinguishable from what people glom on as EAMs and FDMs today. Of course the callsigns were our rotating tactical calls, and those were a bit different from today. But the rest, "for" station, group count, message, and authentication, could have been one of the airmen on HF-GCS.

The moral of this story that occurred at sea is...everything you hear that sounds like an EAM or an FDM, or is encrypted, is not of value...it could just be directions to a cold beer...although maybe not on HF-GCS

And sorry Larry, being a black shoe, you know, real Navy (and small boys to boot), I was (SW), not (AW) For those with no humor detector in your basic kit, that part about "real Navy" was a joke.

T!

Last edited by Token; 11-11-2016 at 3:30 PM..
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Old 11-12-2016, 9:45 AM
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Navy; a lower form of Marine life!

jk

also belated Happy Birthday USMC!
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Old 11-12-2016, 6:25 PM
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Navy; a lower form of Marine life!

jk

also belated Happy Birthday USMC!
One of the techs (and a good friend for quite a while now) who works for me is ex-USMC (of course he says no one is ex-USMC) and periodically tells me that the Marine Corp is the US Navy's Men's department. My response is generally along the lines of "yeah, but at least my parents were married" and I didn't have to carry my rack and my chow on my back.

Banter between the Navy and Marines has been an endless undertaking, sometimes rather "vigorous" banter. But I still find they tend to support each other when any other branch tries to enter into the "discussion".

T!
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Old 11-12-2016, 7:09 PM
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And sorry Larry, being a black shoe, you know, real Navy (and small boys to boot), I was (SW), not (AW) For those with no humor detector in your basic kit, that part about "real Navy" was a joke.

T!
Carefully now Token, I served in two communities - Surface and Aviation. Started as a black show Sonartech on a DLG (aka a Cruiser) and two DEs (aka Fast Frigates). Cruised all around the world (Royal Shellback) and much more. All that predated the Surface Warfare pin or I would have had both. Add four carriers to the av side and I was well traveled.

I worked in Fire Control so my EAMs didn't point to beer in the Philippines. ;-)

Chief Larry
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Old 11-15-2016, 9:18 PM
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Ok, so now that we have a couple of guys here that know a LOT more than I do (not a hard thing to do, I admit!), I have a couple of questions for youse guys, if you don't mind.

It's been my understanding that over the last thirty or so years, almost all EAMs and other messages to our assets in the field are done via encrypted satellite channels.
That being the case, why are we hearing anything at all on the HFGCS frequencies?

I assume that HF would be backup only and as such, we might expect to hear occasional testing of the equipment. So, why are we still hearing these messages (whatever they may actually be) on HF and what might they be for at this point?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-15-2016, 9:48 PM
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Redundant and simplicity.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by autovon View Post
Redundant and simplicity.

OK, but are the messages we are hearing via HF any different in content than those sent via satellite?

I totally get that HF is considered important for the reasons you state, but I guess I'm a tad confused over whether HF is used at times as primary, or is HF always considered a secondary "back up" messaging system. Are the messages we hear of any import, or are they only to "test" they system?

The analogy I think of is when I was involved with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) in New York City in the 2000's.
In our relationship with the Red Cross, our team was always considered back up to the Red Cross system; only used if their systems were to fail. I never passed any primary traffic during my few years there.

If my questions aren't making sense, I'll try to restate them. Thanks for your patience!
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:22 AM
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In a war involving Russia, China, or maybe Israel and a select few others with known or suspected ASAT capabilities, the birds could be victim of the first shots fired. As in satellites being hit before hostilities commence down below on the surface so as to blind the enemy as well as make him deaf and mute, not only would surveillance sats get hit but comms and weather too. And the way stuff normally wizzes around up there at bullet velocities, the debris field from a few mil sats being taken out could destroy everything else that's up there. It will be a mess, and after that hf will be the only game in town as the undersea innernets cables will also be sliced up. It's a wonderful world of technology!

Also, the use of sats for dispensing eams and skykings lends credence to the veracity of those sent on hf, if the same message traffic is on the bird orderwire, the hf traffic is legit. Considering the encryption used on the birds, it would be hard to spoof a encrypted bitstream sent to a sat at 70GHz or whatever it is as opposed to spoofing some bored guy sending eams and skykings over hf.

Last edited by db_gain; 11-16-2016 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 11-16-2016, 12:04 PM
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Also, the use of sats for dispensing eams and skykings lends credence to the veracity of those sent on hf, if the same message traffic is on the bird orderwire, the hf traffic is legit.
One should understand that "order-wire" channels are the channels used to keep the system configured and running. They are not traffic channels. (Something the WBFM aircraft watchers seem never to understand after many years when they call the system "order-wire" after hearing maintenance techs in the past say they were "on the order-wire (channel)". It is not the channel for giving "orders".)

See for example Order Wire Systems for Site-to-Site Voice Communication

Note that EAMs still occur in clear Baudot from TACAMO aircraft on VLF and were seen in clear ASCII on UHF satellites as late as 2010 identifying themselves as the ISST SHF-UHF cross-link in test messages there. There is no real need to encrypt coded traffic like this unless the system is configured that way--another layer to go wrong is not a good reason.

I can remember back in the 1970's decoding from an inked paper tape device for fun EAMs that had been sent at 5 Bd on VLF (from the now gone SAC SLFCS) that some thought were encrypted FSK cw.
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Old 11-16-2016, 1:31 PM
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After my experiences in two Navies, most messages are of an administrative, training or "just keeping the circuit busy" nature. Dummy messages were sent frequently - you can't have Igor on his little 'trawler' in mid-Atlantic suddenly noticing an increase in traffic
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Old 11-16-2016, 2:15 PM
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After my experiences in two Navies, most messages are of an administrative, training or "just keeping the circuit busy" nature. Dummy messages were sent frequently - you can't have Igor on his little 'trawler' in mid-Atlantic suddenly noticing an increase in traffic

Ok, that makes sense!
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Old 11-16-2016, 3:53 PM
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Originally Posted by majoco View Post
After my experiences in two Navies, most messages are of an administrative, training or "just keeping the circuit busy" nature. Dummy messages were sent frequently - you can't have Igor on his little 'trawler' in mid-Atlantic suddenly noticing an increase in traffic
In the case of EAM, the boundary between administrative and strategic can be a little fuzzy. Suppose a TACAMO aircraft sends an EAM message that he is airborne that is repeated on the other circuits, it is sort of administrative/strategic.
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