A Few Recollections I   was   a   ground   communications   technician   in   Hawaii   (WAFB)   and   on   Eniwetok   from   1966 through   1970   and   was   the   principal   ARIA   comm   operator   during   the   Apollo   missions   of   that time.   WAFB   was   the   Pacific   comm   hub   for   the   Western   Test   Range   in   those   days.   Eniwetok was one of the down range sites and a HF communications point for ARIA missions. At   one   point   (early   1967?)   several   of   us   from   around   the   world   spent   a   week   or   so   at   PAFB training   on   the   ARIA   systems   and   working   out   procedures   for   establishing   and   maintaining   HF communications   during   missions.   During   that   week   we   flew   a   mission   for   a   missile   launch   from a   sub. As   I   recall   it   was   the   first   or   one   of   the   first   Polaris   launches   from   a   British   sub.   I   was   able to   watch   over   the   shoulder   of   the   ALOTS   (Airborne   Light   Optical   Tracking   System)   operator   as he   locked   onto   the   missile   when   it   popped   out   of   the   water   and   followed   it   for   several   minutes.   I well   remember   that   trip   because   I   flew   the   old   Northwest   Airlines   charter   DC6   from   Hawaii   to Kwajalane   to   Eniwetok,   spent   a   couple   of   weeks   learning   the   equipment,   flew   back   to   Hawaii and   on   to   Florida   for   the   week   of   training,   then   all   the   way   back   to   Eniwetok.   I   had   been   married about   two   months   at   the   time   and   did   manage   one   overnight   stop   in   Hawaii   with   my   bride   during that odyssey. During   one   of   the   early Apollo   missions   (might   have   been   10)   I   flew   aboard   one   of   the ARIA   for training/orientation    between    my    shifts    on    the    console    at    Wheeler    Range    Communications Control   Center   (WRCCC).   I   recall   being   seated   in   the   back   by   the   crew   chief   who   warned   me the   aircraft   was   heavy   and   the   takeoff   roll   would   be   long.   So   I   timed   it   at   102   seconds.   It   was   a bit   disconcerting   because   I   knew   Kehee   Lagoon   was   at   the   end   of   the   runway   and   the   Aloha Tower   not   far   beyond.   But   we   got   off   successfully   and   I   stood   behind   the   HF   operator   for   most of   the   mission.   Quite   useful   to   see   the   action   from   the   other   end   of   the   circuit.   That   experience allowed   me   to   modify   some   procedures   to   improve   our   HF   link   quality   on   future   missions.   It   also gave me great respect for the guys who crewed the aircraft. While   on   Eniwetok   I   worked   with   my   counterparts   at   WRCC   to   develop   a   technique   for   quieting the   HF   radio   circuits.   Prior   to   that   the AF   guys   at   Patrick   complained   because   the   voice   circuits through   Eniwetok   were   noisy.   Unlike   the   other   sites   around   the   world   (except   perhaps   Mahe) the   links   to   Eniwetok   were   HF   radio,   not   cable   or   satellite.   So   we   ended   up   with   a   double   HF hop   (ARIA   to   Eniwetok,   Eniwetok   to   Hawaii)   when   Eniwetok   was   in   use. The   method   we   worked out   was   to   put   a   low   level   tone   on   the   opposite   sideband   of   the   link   transmitter.   At   the   receive end   we   cross-patched   the   AGC   circuit   so   the   gain   control   voltage   from   the   sideband   with   the tone    suppressed    the    noise    on    the    voice    side    when    no    one    was    talking.    This    was    quite successful   and   was   used   for   the   remainder   of   the   Apollo   missions.   It   made   Eniwetok   an effective   site   for   ARIA   comm   relay.   We   extended   that   technique   to   the   aircraft   quit   soon   after and   were   able   to   greatly   improve   the   utility   of   the   ARIA   voice   circuits   for   the   remainder   of   the APOLLO missions. During   one   of   the   first   Apollo   missions   supported   by   ARIA   we   had   an   aircraft   over   the   far   west Pacific   or   perhaps   the   Indian   Ocean.   Communications   with   the   capcom   was   from   Houston through   Goddard   to   WRCCC   via   microwave   and   cable   then   a   satellite   hop   over   the   Pacific   to Hawaii.   Then   there   was   another   satellite   hop   to   the   HF   ground   station   in   Australia,   then   HF   to the ARIA   and   S   band   to   the Apollo.   The   length   of   the   circuit,   principally   the   double   satellite   hop, caused   the   delay   to   be   about   3   or   4   seconds. The   capcom   and   the   astronauts   weren’t   expecting that   (actually   none   of   us   had   really   considered   it).   So   when   the   first   call   was   made   by   the capcom   and   the   astronauts   didn’t   answer   right   away,   then   answered   at   the   same   time   as   the second   call   and   confusion   ensued,   the   capcom   gave   the   circuit   back   to   us   as   inoperative.   It took   a   bit   of   fast   explaining   to   brief   the   capcom.   On   the   second   pass,   just   prior   to   burning TLI   for the   moon,   they   got   it   right.   In   those   early Apollo   missions   communication   between   Houston   and the   Apollo   at   TLI   was   a   mission   requirement.   So   it   was   a   big   deal   to   get   the   circuit   through   the ARIA established and make it work. One   of   the   biggest   challenges   for   the   HF   operators   on   the   ground   and   aboard   the   ARIA   was managing   frequency   selections   during   a   mission.   For   some   reason   when   the   ARIA   supported an   APOLLO   launch   their   mission   over   the   Pacific   always   happened   as   dawn   was   breaking between   the ARIA   and   the   ground   stations.   Well,   perhaps   not   always,   but   it   sure   seemed   like   it. This   presented   an   interesting   problem   because   we   would   start   out   talking   to   a   couple   of   aircraft on   the   ground   in   a   place   like   Tahiti   on   very   low   frequencies   and   have   to   jump   up   in   frequency quickly,   leapfrogging   first   one   transmitter   then   the   other,   as   the   sun   came   up   and   HF   conditions changed   very   fast.   By   the   time   the   aircraft   had   AOS   on   the   APOLLO   we   would   be   perhaps   a hour   or   two   in   to   the   mission   and   have   changed   frequencies   5   or   6   times. At   WRCCC   we   had   a console   that   allowed   us   to   choose   between   several   frequencies   and   circuits   on   which   the aircraft   voice   circuit   was   being   fed   to   us.   We   could   select   which   one   to   feed   back   to   the   capcom with   the   push   of   a   button.   But   the   rule   was   we   couldn’t   change   anything   in   the   circuit   within   10 minutes   of   AOS   of   the   Apollo.   There   were   a   few   times   when   HF   conditions   were   changing   so rapidly   that   rule   just   didn’t   work.   I   recall   reaching   up   and   punching   two   buttons   simultaneously to   switch   from   a   circuit   going   bad   to   a   clear   one,   sometimes   in   the   middle   of   a   sentence.   The guys   at   the   other   end   never   knew   we   did   that,   we   just   got   kudos   for   magically   cleaning   up   a circuit in the middle of a pass. In   the   mission   section   of   the   site   there   is   a   note   that   the   Apollo   13   call   of   a   ‘problem’   came through   an ARIA.   I   don’t   recall   that   being   the   case.   I   remember   being   on   shift   in   WRCCC   at   the time   and   the   ARIA   were   all   on   the   ground   having   supported   the   launch   and   TLI   phases   of   the mission.   I   heard   the   ‘problem’   call   on   NASA   Net   1   from   another   console.   13   was   quite   a   ways away   from   the   earth   at   that   time.   However,   when   13   returned   several   ARIA   were   deployed   to provide   communications   of   the   recovery,   which   was   the   usual   practice   because   the   NAVY   UHF communications   were   so   poor.   The   calls   from   the   capcom   to   13   to   establish   they   had   made   it through   reentry   were   through   an ARIA.   The   blackout   period   lasted   much   longer   than   expected. As   documented   in   several   movies   the   capcom   called   13   several   times   before   they   finally answered   and   the   10s   of   millions   of   people   listening   around   the   world   knew   they   had   not burned   up   in   the   atmosphere.   Those   calls   and   their   eventual   response   came   through   an   ARIA and my console at WRCCC. A very memorable moment. Jim White
ARIA History Website and Archive
Apollo Range Instrumentation Aircraft
 flyARIA.com Copyright © 2000-2017 Randy L. Losey - All other works Copyright © by their perspective owners
Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft
     United States Air Force
ARIA History Website and Archive
      United States Air Force Apollo Range Instrumentation Aircraft Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft
This Web Site Copyright © 2000-2017 Randy L. Losey - All other works Copyright © by their perspective owners
A Few Recollections I   was   a   ground   communications   technician   in   Hawaii (WAFB)   and   on   Eniwetok   from   1966   through   1970   and was    the    principal    ARIA    comm    operator    during    the Apollo   missions   of   that   time.   WAFB   was   the   Pacific comm   hub   for   the   Western   Test   Range   in   those   days. Eniwetok   was   one   of   the   down   range   sites   and   a   HF communications point for ARIA missions. At   one   point   (early   1967?)   several   of   us   from   around the   world   spent   a   week   or   so   at   PAFB   training   on   the ARIA     systems     and     working     out     procedures     for establishing     and     maintaining     HF     communications during   missions.   During   that   week   we   flew   a   mission for   a   missile   launch   from   a   sub.   As   I   recall   it   was   the first   or   one   of   the   first   Polaris   launches   from   a   British sub.    I    was    able    to    watch    over    the    shoulder    of    the ALOTS     (Airborne     Light     Optical     Tracking     System) operator   as   he   locked   onto   the   missile   when   it   popped out   of   the   water   and   followed   it   for   several   minutes.   I well    remember    that    trip    because    I    flew    the    old Northwest     Airlines     charter     DC6     from     Hawaii     to Kwajalane    to    Eniwetok,    spent    a    couple    of    weeks learning   the   equipment,   flew   back   to   Hawaii   and   on   to Florida   for   the   week   of   training,   then   all   the   way   back to   Eniwetok.   I   had   been   married   about   two   months   at the   time   and   did   manage   one   overnight   stop   in   Hawaii with my bride during that odyssey. During   one   of   the   early   Apollo   missions   (might   have been     10)     I     flew     aboard     one     of     the     ARIA     for training/orientation   between   my   shifts   on   the   console at    Wheeler    Range    Communications    Control    Center (WRCCC).   I   recall   being   seated   in   the   back   by   the crew   chief   who   warned   me   the   aircraft   was   heavy   and the   takeoff   roll   would   be   long.   So   I   timed   it   at   102 seconds.   It   was   a   bit   disconcerting   because   I   knew Kehee   Lagoon   was   at   the   end   of   the   runway   and   the Aloha     Tower     not     far     beyond.     But     we     got     off successfully   and   I   stood   behind   the   HF   operator   for most   of   the   mission.   Quite   useful   to   see   the   action from    the    other    end    of    the    circuit.    That    experience allowed   me   to   modify   some   procedures   to   improve   our HF   link   quality   on   future   missions.   It   also   gave   me great respect for the guys who crewed the aircraft. While   on   Eniwetok   I   worked   with   my   counterparts   at WRCC    to    develop    a    technique    for    quieting    the    HF radio    circuits.    Prior    to    that    the    AF    guys    at    Patrick complained     because     the     voice     circuits     through Eniwetok   were   noisy.   Unlike   the   other   sites   around   the world    (except    perhaps    Mahe)    the    links    to    Eniwetok were   HF   radio,   not   cable   or   satellite.   So   we   ended   up with   a   double   HF   hop   (ARIA   to   Eniwetok,   Eniwetok   to Hawaii)   when   Eniwetok   was   in   use.   The   method   we worked   out   was   to   put   a   low   level   tone   on   the   opposite sideband   of   the   link   transmitter.   At   the   receive   end   we cross-patched    the    AGC    circuit    so    the    gain    control voltage   from   the   sideband   with   the   tone   suppressed the   noise   on   the   voice   side   when   no   one   was   talking. This    was    quite    successful    and    was    used    for    the remainder   of   the Apollo   missions.   It   made   Eniwetok   an effective   site   for   ARIA   comm   relay.   We   extended   that technique   to   the   aircraft   quit   soon   after   and   were   able to   greatly   improve   the   utility   of   the   ARIA   voice   circuits for the remainder of the APOLLO missions. During   one   of   the   first   Apollo   missions   supported   by ARIA   we   had   an   aircraft   over   the   far   west   Pacific   or perhaps   the   Indian   Ocean.   Communications   with   the capcom     was     from     Houston     through     Goddard     to WRCCC   via   microwave   and   cable   then   a   satellite   hop over   the   Pacific   to   Hawaii.   Then   there   was   another satellite   hop   to   the   HF   ground   station   in Australia,   then HF   to   the ARIA   and   S   band   to   the Apollo.   The   length   of the   circuit,   principally   the   double   satellite   hop,   caused the   delay   to   be   about   3   or   4   seconds.   The   capcom   and the   astronauts   weren’t   expecting   that   (actually   none   of us   had   really   considered   it).   So   when   the   first   call   was made   by   the   capcom   and   the   astronauts   didn’t   answer right   away,   then   answered   at   the   same   time   as   the second   call   and   confusion   ensued,   the   capcom   gave the   circuit   back   to   us   as   inoperative.   It   took   a   bit   of   fast explaining   to   brief   the   capcom.   On   the   second   pass, just   prior   to   burning   TLI   for   the   moon,   they   got   it   right. In   those   early Apollo   missions   communication   between Houston     and     the    Apollo     at     TLI     was     a     mission requirement.   So   it   was   a   big   deal   to   get   the   circuit through the ARIA established and make it work. One   of   the   biggest   challenges   for   the   HF   operators   on the    ground    and    aboard    the    ARIA    was    managing frequency    selections    during    a    mission.    For    some reason   when   the   ARIA   supported   an   APOLLO   launch their    mission    over    the    Pacific    always    happened    as dawn   was   breaking   between   the   ARIA   and   the   ground stations.   Well,   perhaps   not   always,   but   it   sure   seemed like   it.   This   presented   an   interesting   problem   because we   would   start   out   talking   to   a   couple   of   aircraft   on   the ground   in   a   place   like   Tahiti   on   very   low   frequencies and   have   to   jump   up   in   frequency   quickly,   leapfrogging first   one   transmitter   then   the   other,   as   the   sun   came   up and   HF   conditions   changed   very   fast.   By   the   time   the aircraft   had AOS   on   the APOLLO   we   would   be   perhaps a   hour   or   two   in   to   the   mission   and   have   changed frequencies   5   or   6   times. At   WRCCC   we   had   a   console that   allowed   us   to   choose   between   several   frequencies and    circuits    on    which    the    aircraft    voice    circuit    was being   fed   to   us.   We   could   select   which   one   to   feed back   to   the   capcom   with   the   push   of   a   button.   But   the rule   was   we   couldn’t   change   anything   in   the   circuit within   10   minutes   of   AOS   of   the   Apollo.   There   were   a few    times    when    HF    conditions    were    changing    so rapidly   that   rule   just   didn’t   work.   I   recall   reaching   up and    punching    two    buttons    simultaneously    to    switch from   a   circuit   going   bad   to   a   clear   one,   sometimes   in the   middle   of   a   sentence.   The   guys   at   the   other   end never    knew    we    did    that,    we    just    got    kudos    for magically cleaning up a circuit in the middle of a pass. In   the   mission   section   of   the   site   there   is   a   note   that the   Apollo    13    call    of    a    ‘problem’    came    through    an ARIA.   I   don’t   recall   that   being   the   case.   I   remember being   on   shift   in   WRCCC   at   the   time   and   the   ARIA were   all   on   the   ground   having   supported   the   launch and   TLI   phases   of   the   mission.   I   heard   the   ‘problem’ call   on   NASA   Net   1   from   another   console.   13   was   quite a   ways   away   from   the   earth   at   that   time.   However, when    13    returned    several    ARIA    were    deployed    to provide   communications   of   the   recovery,   which   was the      usual      practice      because      the      NAVY      UHF communications    were    so    poor.    The    calls    from    the capcom   to   13   to   establish   they   had   made   it   through reentry   were   through   an   ARIA.   The   blackout   period lasted   much   longer   than   expected.   As   documented   in several   movies   the   capcom   called   13   several   times before   they   finally   answered   and   the   10s   of   millions   of people   listening   around   the   world   knew   they   had   not burned   up   in   the   atmosphere.   Those   calls   and   their eventual    response    came    through    an    ARIA    and    my console at WRCCC. A very memorable moment. Jim White