Citizen Soldier weatherman looks at Mother Nature’s impact on Signal

Greg Majewski

The weather and signal! Could there be anything better? I get the chance to work in the best of both worlds. In my civilian life, I’m a meteorologist at WJHG-TV in Panama City, Fla. In the Army Reserve, I’m a Public Affairs and Signal officer for the 335th Theater Signal Command in East Point, Ga.

Here at Roving Sands on Fort Bliss, I thought this would be a great time to take a look at the close relationship between weather effects and the Signal Corps’ ability to communicate on the battlefield.

Weather impacts nearly all signal equipment in some fashion. Weather safety is also of concern. But what piece of signal equipment does Mother Nature give operators the most obstacles to overcome? Let’s start out with the system that has part of the atmosphere in its name called Tropospheric Tropospheric scattering or TROPO for short.

The shelter is called an AN/ TRC-170. There are two versions of the antenna used, the V2 & V3. The V2 is used in the heavy TROPO version. Its transmissions are much stronger than its V3 counterpart.

For TROPO to work, two TROPO shelters set up at different distant locations. An average TROPO shot covers about 120 miles. The two transmitted beams cross at the lower troposphere, bouncing back to the receiving end. One dish receives, while the other transmits. Here’s where the weather comes in.

If a strong temperature inversion sets up, the beams bend down and miss each other. The same can be said for any line-of-sight transmissions. An inversion is caused when the temperature at the ground cools faster than the air above it. The bigger the temperature differences from the surface to the air above, the stronger the inversion.

Another factor for TROPO units is weather on the sun. Sunspot activity on the sun can strongly interfere with transmissions and receptions. Sunspots are dark spots on the surface of the sun. They are cooler areas and tend to erupt in gigantic explosions sending a tremendous amount of radiation towards the earth.

This radiation is intercepted and absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere most of the time, causing minor problems. But when major eruptions occur, they can cause havoc on nearly all types of communication systems.

This leads to another communications device that has problems with sunspots. That’s the tactical satellite systems or TACSAT. There are many different types of satellite equipment used in the Signal Corps. The most commonly used systems include the AN/TSC-85+ and the AN/TSC-93C+ & 93D.

Strong solar activity can impact these systems’ data, voice, and video streams. Space weather isn’t the only impediment to satellite transmissions. Surface weather can also cause problems.

Just like your own TV dish at home, military satellites can also experience rain fade from a passing heavy thunderstorm, degrading a satellite system to the point of no reception.

And if lightning is in the area, both satellite and TROPO operators must be aware of any possible lightning strike. Since satellite and TROPO must be in the clear to transmit their data, they tend to be the tallest objects around. Lightning tends to strike the tallest object. Both teams place lightning rods above their antennas and dishes to help protect them from a possible strike.

If the rods are not properly grounded, a lightning strike will not only fry a communications setup, but can seriously injure or even kill a Soldier nearby. When it comes to lightning safety, there can be no shortcuts.

The last major weather obstacle that all signal elements must prepare for is high winds. High winds can tumble antennas and pick up dishes, tossing them like matchsticks. And in a desert environment like Iraq, wind can drive large dust storms, impacting all electrical systems.

The bottom line is signal operators can take some preventive measures to protect themselves and their equipment from the worst Mother Nature has to offer. But Soldiers must also not take weather for granted, and listen to all forecast briefs from higher headquarters.

CPT Majewski is a graduate of the Signal Officer Basic Course, the Signal Captain’s Career Course-RC, and the Public Affairs Officer Course at the DoD Information School. He is the PAO for the 335th Theater Signal Command located in East Point, Ga., near Fort McPherson. In civilian life, Majewski is a meteorologist who recently transferred to a local Atlanta TV station.

335th TSC Joint Acronym List Part 1

AAMDC–Army Air and Missile Defense Command

AAIC–Army Architecture Integration Cell

ABCS–Army Battle Command System

ABM–Anti-ballistic missile

ABMOC–Air Battle Management Operations Center

ACCC–Air Communications Control Center

ACCE–Air Component Coordination Element

ACIPS-LT–Army Casualty Info Processing System (Light)

ACUS–Area Common User System

ACS–Air Control Station

ADAG–Arrival Departure Air Group

ADCCN–Air Defense Command and Control Net

ADCP-2–Air Defense Communication Platform 2

ADI–Analog Digital Interface

ADOCS–Automated Deep Operations Coordination System

ADSI–Air Defense System Integrator

AEPDS–Advanced ELINT processing and Dissemination System

AEPS–Army Electronic Product Support

AFATDS–Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems

ALOC–Administrative and Logistics Operations Center

AMD–Air and Missile Defense

AMDWS–Air and Missile Defense Workstation

AMHS–Automated Message Handling System

AMS–Automated Manifest System

AOC–Air Operations Center

AROC–Army Requirement Oversight Council

ARSTRUC–Army Structure Message

ARTS–Army Reserve Transformation Study

ASAS–All Source Analysis System

ASAS-AS–All Source Analysis System (All Source)

ASAS-LITE–All Source Analysis System (LITE)

ASAS-SS–All Source Analysis System (Single Source)

ASAS-RWS–All Source Analysis System (Remote Work Station)

335th TSC Joint Acronym List Part 2.

ASCC–Army Service Component Command

ASEDP–Army Space Exploitation Demonstration Program

ASI–Actuator Sensor Interface

ASOC–Air Support Operations Center

ASOS–Air Support Operations Squadron

ASOS–Army Support to Other Services

ASPG–Army Strategic Planning Guidance

ASTI–router, company name

ATEC–Army Test and Evaluation Command

ATO–Air Tasking Order

AWACS–Airborne Warning and Control System

BAT–Biometrics Automated Toolset

BBN TCP–Baseband Node Transit Case Package

BCOTM–Battle Command On The Move

BCP–Battle Command Post

BCS–Battlespace Command System

BCSC–Combat Communications Squadron

BCS3–Battle Command Sustainment Support System

BFN–Bridge to Future Networks

BFT–Blue Force Tracker

BLUFOR–Blue Force

BLOS–Beyond Line of Sight

BMDO–Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

BOD–Board of Directors

BOS–Battlefield Operating System

C2–Command and Control

CAA–Concepts Analysis Agency

CAISI–Combat Service Support Automated Information System Interface

CAMDEN–Cooperative Air and Missile Defense Exercise Network

CAOC–Combined Air Operations Center

CAOC-N–Combined Air Operations Center (North)

CAX–Computer aided exercise

CBCS–Combat Communications Squadron

CCOD–Command Center Operational Display

CCP–Command and Control Post; Contingency Communications Package

CCG–Combat Communications Group

CCIR–Commanders Critical Information Requirements

CDA–Commanders Digital Assistant

CDMA–Code Division Multiple Access

CEOI–Communication and Electronics Operating Instructions

CFACC–Combined Force Air Component Commander

CFLCC–Coalition Forces Land Component Command

CGS–Command Group Station

CHAMS–CI/HUMINT Automated Management System

CHATS–CI/HUMINT Automated Tool Set

CIC–Combat Integration Center

CIK–Crypto Ignition Key

CLAWS–Complimentary Low Altitude Weapons System

CLOE–Common Logistics Upgrading Environment

CND–Computer Network Defense

COI–Communities of Interest

COMEX–Communications Exercise

COP–Common Operational Picture

COSIS–Care of Supplies in Storage

CPD–Capabilities Production Document

CPOF–Command Post of the Future

CPX–Command Post Exercise

CROP–Common Relevant Operational Picture

CRC–Control and Reporting Center

CRE–Control and Reporting Element

CSCE–Communications Systems Control Element

CSU–Channel Service Unit

CTAPS–Contingency Theater Automated Planning System

C2PC–Command and Control Personal Computers

C3I–Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence

C4–Command, Control, Communications, and Computers

C4ISR–Command, Control, Communications, Computers &Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

DAASC–Defense Automatic Addressing System Center

DAMA–Demand Assigned Multiple Access

DAS–Defended Asset List

DCIPS–Defense Casualty Information Processing System

DCN–Defense Communications Network

DCO–Dial Central Office

DCTS–Defense Collaborative Tool Set


DERF–Defense Emergency Relief Funds

DESEX–Defense Supply Expert System

DIMHRS–Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System

DIMS–Detainee Information Management System

DINFOS–Defense Information School

DISN–Defense Information Switch Network

DMOC–Distributed Mission Operation Center

DMS–Data Management System; Defense Messaging System

DOIM–Department/Directorate of Information Management

DOTMLPF–Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, and Facilities

335th TSC Joint Acronym List Part 3

DSN–Digital Switch Network

DSU–Digital Service Unit

DTG–Digital Trunk Group; Date Time Group

DTRACS–Defense Tracking System

DTSS–Digital Topographic Support System

DTSS-L–Digital Topographic Support System (Light)

DUST–Drive Up System Training

DVSG–DISN Video Services Global

EDAS–Enlisted Distribution & Assignment System

EECP–Early Entry Command Post

EHF–Extremely High Frequency

ELINT–Electronic Intelligence

E-MILPO–Electronic Military Personnel Office

EMT–Effects Management Tool

EPLRS–Enhanced Position and Location Reporting System

ESA–Enterprise Systems Activity

ESTA–Enterprise Systems Technology Activity

ETA–Estimated Time of Arrival

EWC–Electronic Warfare Center

FAA–Federal Aviation Administration

FAD–Funds Allocation Document

FAST–Forward Area Support Terminal; Forward Surgical Team

FBCB2–Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below

FDMA–Frequency Division Multiple Access

FDU–Force Design Update

FIOP–Family of Interoperable Operational Pictures

FOB–Forward Operating Base

FOM–Fiber Optic Modem

FTP–File Transfer Protocol

GAV–Graphical All View

GCCC–Ground Communications Control Center

GCCS–Global Command and Control System

GCCS-A–Global Command and Control System–Army

GCCS-I3–Global Command and Control System–Integrated Imagery and Intelligence

GCSS-A ILAP–Integrated Logistics Application Program (WEB)

GDSS–Global Decision Support System


GIG–Global Information Grid

GSA–General Services Administration

GTN–Global Transportation Network

HSOC–Home Station Operations Center

IA–Information Assurance

IAVA–Information Assurance Vulnerability Alert

ICC–Interface Coordination Center

ICO–Interface Coordination Officer

ICP–Incremental Change Package

ICT–Integrated Concept Team

IDC–Information Dominance Center

IDM–Information Dissemination Management

IDNX–Integrated Data Network Exchange

IFF–Identification Friend or Foe

IGX–Integrated Gigabit Exchange

I & I–Instructors and Inspectors (USMC)

ILAP–Integrated Logistics Application Program

IMETS–Integrated Meteorological System

IO–Information Operation

IOM–Install, Operate, and Maintain

IOS–Intelligence and Operations System

IPL–Imagery Product Library

IRC–Internet Relay Chat

IRRS–Integrated Road Rail Information System

ISA–Intraservice Support Agreements (DD Form 1144)

ISB–Intermediate Staging Base

ISD–Information Services Division

ISSO–Information Systems Security Officer

ISYSCON–Integrated System Control

IWS–Information Workspace

ITV–In-Transit Visibility

IWS–Information Work Space

I3MP–Installation Infrastructure Modernization Plan

JADDC–Joint Air Defense Direction Center

JAOC–Joint Air Operations Center

JBCS–Joint Battlespace Command Systems

JBMC2–Joint Battle Management Command & Control

JC2ISR–Joint Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaisance

JCAP–Joint Crisis Action Planning

JCCC–Joint Combat Camera Center

JCEOI–Joint Communications and Electronics Instructions

JCIET–Joint Combat Identification Evaluation Team

JCMD–Joint Cruise Missile Defense

JDIICS-D–Joint Defense Information Infrastructure Control System (Deployed)

JDISS- Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System

JDLM–Joint Deployment Logistics Module

JECG–Joint Exercise Control Group

JETA–Joint Experimentation, Test and Evaluation, and Advanced Technology Concept Demonstrations (JFCOM)

JFCOM–Joint Forces Command

JFLCC–Joint Forces Land Component Commander

JFWC–Joint Warfighting Center

JIB–Joint Information Bureau

JICC-D–Joint Interface Control Cell (Deployable)

JICO–Joint Interface Control Officer

JISR–Joint Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance

JLENS–Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System

JLWI–Joint Logistics Warfighter Initiative

JMICS–JWICS Mobile Integrated Communications System

TSC Joint Acronym List Part 4

JNIC–Joint National Integration Center

JNMS–Joint Network Management System

JNN–Joint Network Node

JNTC-S–Joint Network Transport Capability (Space)

JOA–Joint Operations Area

JOCAT–Joint Operational C4I Assessment Team

JOPES–Joint Operational Planning and Execution System

JRAC–Joint Rear Area Command

JROC–Joint Requirement Oversight Council

JSIRS–Joint Spectrum Interference Resolution

JSMO–Joint Spectrum Management Office

JSTARS–Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System

JSTE–Joint Systems Training Exercise

JSWS–Joint Service Work Station

JTAGS–Joint Tactical Group Station

JTASC–Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center

JTAV–Joint Total Asset Visibility

JTEN–Joint Training Experimental Network

JTF–Joint Task Force

JTIDS–Joint Tactical Information Distribution System

JTRS–Joint Tactical Radio System

JTT–Joint Tactical Terminal

JTT/TA–Joint Training Task

JVB–Joint Visitors Bureau

JWAC–Joint Warfare Analysis Center

JWARN–Joint Warning and Reporting Network

JWFC–Joint Warfighting Center

JWICS–Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System

KBPS–Kilobits per second


LIDB–Logistics Integrated Data Base

LMTV–Light Medium Tactical Vehicle

LNO–Liaison Officer

LOG WEB–Logistics Web

LOS–Line of sight

LRM–Long Range Missile

LSOC–Landwarnet Support Operations Center

LSR–Local Service Request

LTPO–Lower Tier Project Office

LTU–Line Terminating Unit

LVPS–Low Voltage Power Supply

MACS–Marine Air Control Squadron

MAGTF–Marine Air Ground Task Force

MAN–Metro Area Network

MCS–Maneuver Control System

MCS-Lite–Maneuver Control System (Lite)

METT-TC–Mission, Enemy, Troops, Terrain, Time, Civil Considerations

MIDB–Military Intelligence Database

MITT–Mobile Integrated Tactical Terminal

MMEWR–Minimum Mission Essential Wartime Requirements

MRE–Meal Ready to Eat; Mission Rehearsal Exercise

MSEL–Master Scenario Event List

MTOE–Modified Table of Organization and Equipment

MTS–Mobile Tracking System

MUA–Maneuver Unit of Action


NC–Node Center

NDRS–National Detainee Registration System

NFIP–National Foreign Intelligence Program

NGREA–National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account

NIPR–Non-Secure Internet Protocol Routing

NTSR–Nothing Significant To Report

OA–Operational Architecture

OCAR–Office of the Chief of the Army Reserves

OIT–Office of Information Technology

O & O–Organization & Operations

OSD–Office of the Secretary of Defense

OSMIS–Operating & Support Management Information System

PADIL–Patriot Air Defense Information Language

PBUSE–Property Book and User Supply–Enhanced

PDC–Program Designator Code

PEG–Planning & Engineering Guide

PHIT–Port Handling/Inland Transportation

PKI–Public Key Infrastructure

PMO–Production Management Officer(s)

POM–Program Objective Memorandum

PTC-AIMS–Portable Transportation Coordinator–Automated Information for Movements System

PTP–Peer to Peer

RADC–Regional Air Defense Commander RAF–Royal Air Force

RCC–Regional Combatant Commander


RETAIN–Real Time Automation Information Network

RF–Radio Frequency

RFID–Radio Frequency Identification Device

RICO–Regional Interface Control Cell (USMC)

RICO-S–Regional Interface Control Cell (South)

COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Army Signal Center

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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