Military thinking about “wideband” sideband for datacomm?

Bob Brewin, editor at large, for  Nextgov,  a website that cover government IT, speculates about the use of wideband SSB to achieve higher data rates than is currently possible on HF. His column notes:

The Air Force High Frequency Global Communications System Program Office at Tinker Air Force Base is looking for some folks to help tweak single sideband so it can function as a relatively wide band over the air data transmission system as well as handle voice over IP. Single sideband will never have the throughput of a fiber optic connection. On the other hand, there’s not a lot of fiber drops in the sky or a forward operating base in Afghanistan, so a 120 kbps connection from a radio looks real good.

This certainly sounds like a project for some enterprising hams. And, who knows, this  new mode might even make its way into the ham radio bands someday.


  1. It’s strange to call this “SSB”. Of course, it’s SSB, same as every HF digimode I can think of. The question is how to use > 3 kHz optimally for digital transmission. There are all kinds of tradeoffs, as hams know. Bit rate, reliability, resistance to propagation effects, power levels, etc. I guess USAF is just used to talking about SSB. For better or worse, hams can’t use wide bandwidths at HF without special FCC authorization. Just as well, given our limited bands and the QRM potential.

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