Citizens of the Imperium

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Spinward Scout June 13th, 2004 02:59 PM

Hi Citizens!

I've been wondering what the different types of communication chatter would sound like. I'm looking for things like:

Navy Space Maneuvers
Ground Troops
System Defense & Customs
Port Authority
Dock Yard
Scout
Merchant
Civilian

Anyone ever use this for flavor in their games? I've been listening to the CB in my truck, and got curious...

Later,

Scout

Andrew Boulton June 13th, 2004 03:28 PM

In most cases, you won't be able to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations. Many will be tightbeam, and the rest will either be encrypted or automatically ignored by your comm system.

One exception might be space traffic control messages, which are always broadcast in clear so everybody knows what everybody else is doing.

kaladorn June 13th, 2004 05:50 PM

There are likely to be a lot of Ham type messages - a lot of chatter, but not on the main channels. There will be channels assigned for this kind of chit-chat and it will stay there. Chatter on the emergency channel will get your head handed to you. Traffic control channels are also not a place for chatter.

Most military chatter will be encrypted. But there are probably regulations (a lot like modern HAM radio) that expressly prohibit the use of crypto or data transmission on some of the civilian bands. The messages must be en claire.

I suspect the volume of chatter will also be a squared result of the traffic volume. That is to say, double the traffic volume in any given period, probably multiply chatter by four. Busy areas of space around high pop, high commerce planets will have very busy airwaves.

Tom Schoene June 13th, 2004 08:53 PM

I'd expect to see a lot more communications being effectively cellular, so that you don't hear any chatter not specifically directed at you (either individually or as part of a designated group. This is a much more efficient use of bandwidth, as well as being more secure. (That's why we all carry cell phones, not CB radios
)

Keklas Rekobah June 13th, 2004 10:37 PM

First, a little background:

I been involved in electronics communications since the late seventies. Since then, I earned 3 different FCC communications licenses. I was in the Navy as an electronics technician, and ran a MARS station as a collateral duty before satellite cellular nearly killed it off. Now I work for a state-run administration that operates toll roads in California, keeping their RFID, RF telemetry, and voice/data communications links running.

Now for some answers:

1) Navy Space Maneuvers: Likely to be spread-spectrum (if RF-based), with frequency-hopping and direct encryption. In the unlikely event that such a signal was intercepted, it would only appear as a slight increase in background noise over a broad band of frequencies - you would only hear a slightly louder static hiss. Even with a broadband FM receiver, the freq-hop and encryption protocols would only yield a lot of 'monkey chatter' as different stations vie for the same bandspace. Laser and meson wave would likely be treated the same.

2) Ground Troops & System Defense: Same as Navy comms, with different emphasis and frequencies.

3) Customs: Simple encryption (if any) with prosigns and buzzwords, like the HF Q-code and the police 10-code. "Thuh-REE delta seven, Two AL-fah wun; XTP your zed on a ten-thirty-three. Break. SO is 'Trader Jim', code NINE-er NINE-er oh-MEE-gah. Break. He's code four. how copy?" "AL-fah wun, delta seven, we copy code four on one 'Trader Jim'." "Roger delta seven..."

(Translation: Trader Jim is declared harmless, and may pass through customs unchallenged.)

4) Port Authority: Usually plain english (galanglic), with navigation instructions to ship, weather conditions, and rules of the road.

5) Dock Yard: "Hey, Mike! Swing that boom over here for a CHT hook-up... and I mean NOW! She leaking crap all over the yard..."

6) Scout: Would likely be mostly telemetry and coded email, with voice traffic requesting clearances, docking instructions, and hotel/dinner reservations. XBoat traffic would be at a higher burst rate, but with essentially the same protocols.

7) Merchant: As per scout, but at lower data rates. Data would consist of manifest numbers, routing information, and inquiries into next outgoing shipments.

8) Civilian: "SHEE-YOOT! Dadjia see the haedlights on her? I bet she could putcher eyes out at twennie parsecks! Day-yam! I like to get my hands on her control systems!"

(Translation: "Nice ship. Impressive gun mounts. I wonder if I can sign on?")

... IMHO.

kaladorn June 13th, 2004 10:54 PM

Interesting points Keklas. I'm a qualified VHF operator and have a bit of background working with airborne navaids as well as experience in public safety RF networks (helped deploy the RCMP's first truly national mobile policing application and write the back end servers to support it). And I spent some time wearing green and slogging through dirt carrying lots of lethal hardware, so I have some idea of the military side of it. And I'm working on getting qualified to Captain a yacht offshore.

Having said all that, your summary is reasonable except:

1. Meson is effectively uninterceptable if I understand it. It doesn't effectively exist between sender and target, and therefore is only decodable at the target (and you hope to hell you know where the target is or they aren't getting it either).

2. Expect XBoat traffic to be heavily encrypted. It is the *mail* and that contains lots of sensitive information.

3. The police nowadays (at least up here) are starting to make heavy use of encrypted voice privacy networks. Hook a normal radio monitor to one of those channels, all you get is a buzz. The data channels are going heavily encrypted (to prevent people like organized crime from hacking them and finding out tactical deployments and committing session hijacks to screw with national police DBs etc).

4. Selective jamming can bugger up even spread-spectrum stuff and if the enemy can work his was inside your frequency hopping algorithm or session, it may be possible for him to track your hops and save your transmission to attempt to decrypt them. The best comms is using this kind of tech with the same discipline you would with a one-time pad - use the fancy comms, but still encode your message with a one-time pad, keep it short, and your enemy won't be decoding it... ever.

Otherwise, you've pretty much hit it on the nose. But civilians will chatter, and the more of them and the merchant marine there are in a system, the more chatter you'll get. The reason that it won't matter too much is 1) you'll tightly allocate channels with the available technologies and so there will be plenty available and 2) chatter isn't about point-to-point. A lot of the time it is a social thing (CBers and HAMs will know what I mean) and hence will be just as useful broadcast as point-to-point.

Remember, we like to gloss over it, but laser, maser and meson require a fairly accurate location fix on your target, and he has to stay that way. I think if he starts doing evasive manouvers, running ECM or other jammers, or goes stealthy, you may have trouble with these methods. (Or not, its fanta-tech anyway, so maybe they can work around this with uber computers).

Keklas Rekobah June 14th, 2004 11:43 AM

Kaladorn,

Thanx for the correction on high-tech LOS. As for the chatter, I live within scanner range of the Port of Los Angeles and the channel between Catalina Island and the mainland. Some of those yachties make most CB'ers seem downright civil, especially on long holiday weekends.

The Coast Guard keeps tight reign on the calling and emergency channels, but the rest of the non-commercial freqs seem to be filled with civilians just 'playing sailor' for a few hours.

Amateur radio in the L.A. area seems to consist of old men talking about the good old days when people still built their own rigs; younger folks bragging about the size, power, and expense of their equipment; munchkins asking if anyone can hear them; and some occassional emergency traffic.

There are scanners that can follow trunked radio calls, such as what the Public Safety people use. Some of the voice info is 'inverted' rather than encrypted, but this too is easily overcome.

IMHO: I would add that below TL7 (?), there would be a lot of telegraphy, while above TL8 (?) there would be more CDMA / cellular / spread-spectrum traffic. Above TL6 (?) would be an increasing use of digital modes. This may vary IYTU.

The Tech Levels might differ depending on other factors, such as Law Level and Government type - the more restrictive forms would be VERY concerned about sophisticated high-tech communications equipment in civilian hands.

73

Andrew Boulton June 14th, 2004 01:35 PM

With lasercomms, you probably start off with radios to establish each others approximate location, then scan the laser back and forth until you find the receiver. (And once you've found the exact location, you can swich to mesoncomm, if you have one). Course changes aren't a problem - you simply tell the other ship your new course first (or rather, the navcomp does it automatically).

Keklas Rekobah June 14th, 2004 04:22 PM

[QUOTE]"... then scan the laser back and forth until you find the receiver." - Andrew Boulton.

A high-speed 'raster' scan, no doubt.

Corrections for course vector could be automatically sent over the link, and then fed into the navcomp.

Burocrate June 14th, 2004 07:32 PM

And now for a broad-brush answer:

IF you can listen in. IMTU the chatter would be so heavy with internal slang and anacrynoms an outsider would be hard pressed to pull anything useful from the transcript. Also, "informal" communications would be present, "India Mike Niner, 10-9 base, over." Then add in tone of voice for realism.

Keklas Rekobah June 14th, 2004 08:13 PM

Quote:

"... the chatter would be so heavy with internal slang and anacrynoms an outsider would be hard pressed to pull anything useful from the transcript." - Burocrate
Quote:

"3) Customs: Simple encryption (if any) with prosigns and buzzwords, like the HF Q-code and the police 10-code. "Thuh-REE delta seven, Two AL-fah wun; XTP your zed on a ten-thirty-three. Break. SO is 'Trader Jim', code NINE-er NINE-er oh-MEE-gah. Break. He's code four. how copy?" "AL-fah wun, delta seven, we copy code four on one 'Trader Jim'." "Roger delta seven..."

(Translation: Trader Jim is declared harmless, and may pass through customs unchallenged.)"
- Me, fifth post above.

BetterThanLife June 15th, 2004 06:19 PM

The reason to cut the chatter in the first place over an encrypted system is to limit the communication to actually useful information. Like Bandits at 12 O'Clock High! The other reason is slightly more important. You may not be able to listen to the conversation, but you don't need to hear the words or understand them to DF them. If you are talking I can tell where you are, if my teams are alert, where you are going if you are mobile, and direct attacks against you. OOops! So much for secure coms and surprise.

Andrew Boulton June 16th, 2004 09:39 AM

With laser and meson comms, you don't need to worry about intercepting your signals or using them to locate you, which is why the Navy use them almost exclusively. (The signals are probably encrypted anyway, just in case).

I see there being a constant stream of data being passed between ships within a fleet, 99% of which is computers talking to each other. There will also be a lot of data traffic between civilian ships and the starport - as soon as ships enter a system they'll automatically plug themselves into the local internet and exchange email, update navigational databases, etc.

Straybow June 16th, 2004 11:04 AM

Huh? I thought the idea behind Xboat is everything has to be plain language. Nonsense messages filled with codewords, surely, but still plain language. No encryption at any level, just standardized data compression and redundant fault tolerance of some sort for the whole bundle.

Spinward Scout July 3rd, 2004 11:46 PM

Cool responses! Thanks! What's some real-world chatter like? I know what trucks are like on the CB - they get pretty raunchy sometimes. I'm thinking military and airport traffic types of things.

Later,

Scout

PBI July 4th, 2004 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Sir Dameon Toth:
Cool responses! Thanks! What's some real-world chatter like? I know what trucks are like on the CB - they get pretty raunchy sometimes. I'm thinking military and airport traffic types of things.

Later,

Scout

It really depends on the particular nation in question, how far down the chain you go, and what the tactical situation is. In the Canadian military, for example, using foul language on the radio is a chargable offence, so the professionals (i.e. the Signals folks) are quite quick to jump all over that kind of stuff, but you don't find many of those types of folks hanging around at the platoon level. It would help to know if you're asking about peacetime traffic, wartime traffic in a period of calm, or waryime traffic when in contact with the enemy.

Spinward Scout July 5th, 2004 12:40 PM

Yes.

All of the above.

Please?

Scout

PBI July 5th, 2004 08:46 PM

Okay, now that that's narrowed down, would you be looking for army or navy? [img]smile.gif[/img]

Andrew Boulton July 6th, 2004 10:17 AM

Somebody just sent me these...


Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock , 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"
================================================== =========
"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."
"Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"
"Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"
================================================== =========
From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm @#*^* bored!"
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was @#*^* bored, not #*^"X^# stupid!"
================================================== ==========
O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles,
Eastbound."
United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the little Fokker in sight."
================================================== ==========
A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar,
ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"
Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."
================================================== ==========
A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able.
If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the
airport." ================================================== ==========
There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter
was running "a bit peaked."
Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut
down.
"Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."
================================================== ==========
Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an
hour-long wait, it finally took off. A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was
the problem?"
"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," explained the flight attendant. "It took us a
while to find a new pilot."
================================================== ==========
A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany.
Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent):
"Because you lost the bloody war."
================================================== ==========
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some
kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7.
Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern.. we've
already notified our caterers."
================================================== ===========
One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a
DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee Some
quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you
make it all by yourself?"
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8
parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."
=================================================
The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only
expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them
So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between
Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, -- and I didn't land."
================================================== ==========
While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a
wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.
An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell
are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I
know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"
Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've
screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you
to!
You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to go exactly where I
tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"
"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded. Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell
terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate
ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was
definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking:
"Wasn't I married to you once?"

Spyder_GS July 7th, 2004 01:59 PM

As ex-SigInt in the US Army, I can attest to alot of the things already commented on. Most of the traffic will be very business-like and ordered. Occasionally there will be some lapses.

IMTU, ships Communications equipment are programmed with the vessel reg number. It works a bit like XM (satellite radio here in the US) as specific vessels can be contacted without a general broadcast. There are still general broadcasts, but most traffic is P2P. The military does, of course, have equipment that permits them to listen in to these conversations.

Militaries perform any mission sensitive communications with encryption. As of the mid-late 90s, the noise generated on an encrypted freq in use by the US Army was negligible. You could tell the freq was in use, you just couldn't hear anything. And jammers remain immensely effective against communications. Against something other than radio freq comms, I am doubtful of the effectiveness of jamming unless you can be in close proximity to the receiver, sender or in the line of transmission (mesoncomms excluded obviously).

Naval Maneuvers: Most of this will be point to point. There will likely be a large number of freqs in use at any given time as fleet orders are given, positions and speeds reported, small craft control channels, PD coordinates between ships, targeting data is shared, firing orders and tactical maneuvers implemented. Any given channel should be orderly at any given time...right up until actual combat. Then you get to add damage control reports into the mix.

Ground Troops: Very similar to Naval traffic. Target data, grid locations (for maps), enemy type-position-direction of movement-speed and force strength, objective information, orders, fragmentary orders, requests for transportation or support, fire orders, forward observer reports (for artillery) and supply orders. And more, casualty reports...crap, the list never ends.

Customs: A lot of coded traffic back and forth between inspectors and control, probably encrypted. Possibly the occasion call in the clear to a vessel to heave to for inspection. Occasionally, the odd engagement against smugglers or general baddies. These engagements would stay on Customs channels unless the found themselves overmatched and had to call for assistance...which might not make it in time...

The rest of the categories were pretty well described. Not certain I can add anything right now..I'll think on it though.

Hope this helps and hasn't regurgitated too much from previous posts!

BetterThanLife July 7th, 2004 03:22 PM

THis was passed to me and I appologize if it isn''t quoted exactly right but it is the transmissions from a real incident on the West Coast in the US.

Unknown vessel off my starboard bow this is US Navy warship Yankee Bravo, I suggest you adjust your heading 15 degrees to port to avoid collision.

Yankee Bravo, negative, I suggest you adjust your course 15 degrees to starboard to avoid collision.

Unknown vessel this is Yankee Bravo, I am a large US warship and suggest that you adjust your heading immediately 15 degrees to port to avoid collision.

Yankee Bravo, Negative, I suggest you adjust your heading 15 degrees to starboard to avoid collision.

This is the USS Enterprise! I suggest you adjust your heading immediately to avoid collision.

This is the Harbour light house, your call Enterprise.

PBI July 7th, 2004 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Bhoins:
THis was passed to me and I appologize if it isn''t quoted exactly right but it is the transmissions from a real incident on the West Coast in the US.

Unknown vessel off my starboard bow this is US Navy warship Yankee Bravo, I suggest you adjust your heading 15 degrees to port to avoid collision.

Yankee Bravo, negative, I suggest you adjust your course 15 degrees to starboard to avoid collision.

Unknown vessel this is Yankee Bravo, I am a large US warship and suggest that you adjust your heading immediately 15 degrees to port to avoid collision.

Yankee Bravo, Negative, I suggest you adjust your heading 15 degrees to starboard to avoid collision.

This is the USS Enterprise! I suggest you adjust your heading immediately to avoid collision.

This is the Harbour light house, your call Enterprise.

It was actually on the East Coast, and was directed at a Canadian lighthouse. I watched a lecture about accepting changes in approaches to traditional ways of thinking and the above was related by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and he was reading from a transcript, he said. In His, slightly longer version, the US aircraft carrier actualy threatened to attack the "unknown ship". ;)

Andrew Boulton July 8th, 2004 09:04 AM

Sadly, the lighthouse story is a joke.

http://www.snopes.com/military/lighthse.htm

BetterThanLife July 8th, 2004 10:22 AM

It is still funny. And I could see it happenning and the Navy denying it too. In some cases truth is stranger that fiction. [img]smile.gif[/img]

PBI July 8th, 2004 10:38 AM

Drat ;) Still, funny as hell [img]smile.gif[/img]

DaveChase July 8th, 2004 10:56 AM

Actually I heard that this happened during WW2 off the coast of Spain.
It was an allied ship escorting a merchant fleet.

I heard this over 20 years ago. So yes, it has been around a long time and yes I do believe something like this happened. Probably a small sail boat with a rich owner who was drunk and the story just grew from there.

IMO
Dave

Andrew Boulton July 8th, 2004 01:22 PM

"This is Imperial BatRon 1138! We demand you alter course immediately!"

"This is Phobos. Your call..."

DaveChase July 8th, 2004 01:35 PM

This is the Imperial Majesty Ship Lord of All. Alter your course now and turn off your bright lights.

(The star does not respond)

This is your last warning. (LT, prepare to open fire.)

(The star still does not respond)

LT, fire. (Uh, your most high sir, that...) Fire now! and turn off the heater, it is way to hot in here.

jatay3 April 26th, 2006 04:46 PM

One soldier in the IDF told how they heard over the radio a number of warlike sounding signals "I need some support" that kind of thing. It went on for a while until their superior realized they were playing a game, and was mad as could be.


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