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460th SCS increases communication capability

The 460th Space Communications Squadron’s new radio tower Aug. 18, 2014, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Once finished, the 460th SCS and the rest of Team Buckley can expect to see a fully-operating, computer-controlled two-way radio system on base. (Official Air Force photo by Airman Emily E. Amyotte/Released)

The 460th Space Communications Squadron’s new radio tower Aug. 18, 2014, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Once finished, the 460th SCS and the rest of Team Buckley can expect to see a fully-operating, computer-controlled two-way radio system on base. (Official Air Force photo by Airman Emily E. Amyotte/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For the past four years, the 460th Space Wing Space Communications Squadron has been in the process of upgrading their radio communications system, bringing it on base and increasing its efficiency.

Before the upgrade process began, the 460th SCS worked out of an off-base radio tower that housed all of Buckley's primary radio communications. The tower was installed in 2002, and, soon after, the squadron realized a need to update in the near future. There was limited communication coverage on the east side of base and at the new off-base clinic. The squadron also identified the tower as a potential security vulnerability.

"Due to it being located off base, security forces were not there," said Daniel Clampitt, 460th SCS installation spectrum manager. "It was in a somewhat secure area, it was located near the city of Aurora's tower in a water treatment facility area where there was security."

However, the security provided at the off-base location was not as sufficient as on-base measures.

Additionally, the radio infrastructure used in the off-base tower was no longer available for expansions due to limitations on equipment, thus making an upgrade the only option.

In January 2010, plans for the first phase of the new tower were underway. The 460th SCS, along with the 38th Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and the Buckley Personal Wireless Communications Systems work center, started the efforts to expand the radio system and bring it onto base.

The first step was to get the Federal Aviation Administration and 140th Air National Guard Base Operations to approve the height of the tower. Because of Buckley's active runway, the height of the tower could not exceed 100 feet without interfering with runway operations.

Once approved, the 460th Civil Engineer Squadron worked to construct the tower and ensure that it would not interfere with any other utilities in the area.

Currently, the new tower is connected to a backup radio system while waiting on the rest of the system to arrive.

Entering into phase two of the upgrade, there are still approximately seven months of work left on the new tower and communication system. But once finished, the 460th SCS and the rest of Team Buckley can expect to see a fully-operating, computer-controlled two-way radio system on base.

"The people will see less dropped radio transmission," Clampitt said. "With the new system, our communication is going to increase. The benefit to Buckley is that people are going to have access to the radio channels they need, when they need them."
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