Monitoring Times says American Forces Network has switched from satellite relay to high frequency feeders. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Monitoring Times, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 1999, page 88, col. 1, states:

"Years ago, it was common for broadcasters to relay their programs via single sideband from their studio locations to their remote broadcasting facilities via shortwave. The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) was one of these. These were called "feeders," and were subsequently abandoned in favor of satellite relays.

"For some reason AFRTS, now called the American Forces Network (AFN) has dropped their satellite relay, resuming HF [shortwave] feeders on 4278.5, 6458.5, and 12689.5 kHz. These signals originate from Naval Communications Station Key West." (End Quote.)

The above quote was written by Bob Grove, publisher of Monitoring Times. Monitoring Times is a leading magazine devoted to shortwave listening and the radio scanning hobby. It is my understanding that Bob Groves also owns Grove Enterprises, a leading retailer or shortwave and scanning equipment.

This particular edition of Monitoring Times is largely devoted to Y2k issues, especially back-up power systems. Yet, in his Closing Comments editorial, Groves states that Y2k will cause minor interruptions, but no serious safety hazards. He concludes that utilities, air travel and banking are in pretty good shape in the US. The Monitoring Times Y2K message is glaringly inconsistent as I interpret it.

Regarding the reported switch to HF feeders, there could be a number of reasons that have nothing to do with Y2K. It is my understanding from reading on this forum that HF is is some ways more resilient than satellite communications. I would like to know more about the timing of the switch. Groves states nothing about that. Also, Groves seems pretty savvy on most radio issues. I was surprised that he did not follow up on the reason for the switch to HF.

-- Puddintame (, March 21, 1999



Good post. Good questions.

We are both looking forward to knowledgeable and trustworthy answers. I am sure that some participants who check in later will have them.

Keep well,

-- Watchful (, March 21, 1999.

AFN switching back to HF relay may have been done to proide the satellite channels to other users. AFN satellite use is continuous, how many phone calls and message transmission could be sent during a 24hr period used for AFN satellite relays?

This also means that smaller units in the field can get AFN with a shortwave radio, where before they had to be with a large unit which had satellite dish to get AFN. It also means that WE can get AFN via shortwave, too. It might be interesting to hear how the news is being spun for delivery to our military personnel.


-- Wildweasel (, March 21, 1999.

I read somewhere that a satellite was recently taken out by solar flare activity. Could be related. <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 21, 1999.

I believe it is highly significant that the National Guard is also replacing sat communications with HF radios. I believe the feds are well aware that the coming solar sunspot cycle maximum will generate solar flares bad enough to kill most comsats. An Aussie Ph.D. in this area writing in the 1999 World Radio TV Handbook says he expects that 80% of comsats will be lost, and that the US gov't is well aware of this. If you hear of a large "coronal mass ejection" headed in this direction, figure you have 3-4 days before many comsats are killed. If this event occurs early enough, it would well precipitate the expected popular panic.

-- Les Holladay (, March 22, 1999.

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