FM 24-18: Tactical Single-Channel Radio Communications Techniques


1-1. Employment of Radio Communications

Mobility is one of the keys to success on the modern battlefield. All communications must be geared to support a combat force that must repeatedly move to survive and fight the enemy. The single-channel radio is the primary means of communication for command, fire control, exchange of information, administration, and liaison between and within units. The versatility of radio communications makes it readily adaptable to rapidly changing tactical situations. Radio is essential for communications over large bodies of water, territory controlled by enemy forces, and terrain where the construction of wire lines is impossible or impractical. It is also required for air assault operations.

1-2. Capabilities and Limitations

The capabilities of the single-channel radio make it flexible, securable, mobile, and reliable.

Radio communications facilities usually can be installed more quickly than wire communications. Thus, radio can be used as a primary means of communications during the initial stages of combat operations.

Once installed in a vehicle, aircraft, or ship, the equipment is ready for use and does not require reinstallation. Wire communications require reinstallation with each move.

Radio equipment is designed to meet mobility requirements and is used by airmobile, amphibious, mechanized, and dismounted units.

Radio lends itself to many modes of operation, such as radiotelephone, radiotelegraph, radio teletypewriter (RATT), visual presentation, and data.

All of the modes of operation are securable when required equipment is available.

Natural obstacles, minefields, and terrain under enemy control or fire do not limit radio to the same extent that they limit other means of communications.

By using special techniques, radio can interface with other communications means (net radio interface), be separated from the immediate vicinity of the user (remoting), and operate over extended distances (retransmission).

The limitations of single-channel radio must also be considered.

Radio is the most detectable means of electronic communications and is subject to intentional and unintentional electronic interference. Current Threat conditions require good electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) to include remoting techniques.

To be capable of operating together, radios must have common or at least some overlapping frequencies. They must transmit and receive the same type signal and must be located within operating range of each other with a clear transmission path.

Radio is the least secure means of communications, and it must be assumed that interception occurs every time a transmitter is placed in operation.

1-3. Tactical Applications

The extent to which radio is used in combat operations depends on the requirements for secrecy and surprise balanced against the urgency of communications. When surprise is important, radio operation is limited initially to those units already in contact with the enemy. In some instances, to increase deception and surprise, the operation of dummy stations may be directed by higher commanders. When a unit is moving into an area just prior to attack, it may be directed to maintain listening silence until the attack is launched. When a unit is already occupying a sector from which it is to launch an attack, and its radio stations are in operation, it may be directed to maintain normal radio operations without substantial change in traffic load until the attack is launched. If a unit is moved to another sector or is relieved by another unit, it may be required to provide dummy radio stations to continue operations until the attack is fully underway. Once the attack is launched, special restrictions on radio operations are generally removed.

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