BST Communication – Operate a VHF field radio

Operate a VHF field radio

 Training Support Package (TSP) for the Marine Battle Skills Test (BST)


TASK: Operate a VHF field radio

CONDITION: Given a SL-3 complete VHF radio, freq., and a distant station.

STANDARD: To establish communication with the distant station.


ESTIMATED TIME TO TEST: 5 minutes per Marine

  1. Assemble a radio set
  2. Conduct a communications check
  1. MCRP 3-30B.3 – Multiservice Communications Procedures for Tactical Radios in a Joint Environment (Tactical Radios)
SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS:  Given a SL-3 complete filled VHF radio frequency and a distant station.

Description. The AN/PRC-152 is an advanced multi-band Tactical handheld radio. This enables a wide variety of applications for the user, including ground-to-ground, ground-to-air and tactical satellite communications. Over these links the type of communication traffic includes voice and data for command and control application.  Since much of this information is highly sensitive, encryption is critical.

Frequency and Range. The Frequency Range of the AN/PRC-152 is 30.0000 MHz to 511.9999 MHz with 1 Hz spacing per channel. The range planning factor of the AN/PRC-152 is up to 5 miles depending on varying factors such as atmospheric conditions, terrain considerations and environmental build up:

  1. VHF Low Band: 30.0000 MHz to 89.9999 MHz.
  2. VHF High Band: 90.0000 MHz to 224.9999MHz
  3. UHF Band: 225.0000 MHz to 511.9999 MHz

PERFORMANCE STEP 1: Assemble a radio set.

AN/PRC-152 Radio Assembly. This Part of the Radio has the connectors, switches and buttons for programming the radio. It is the Receiver-Transmitter Unit (RTU)

Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery. The Lithium-Ion Battery has a quick twist mount for easy connect and disconnect. Do not expose the battery to temperatures above 160 degrees as the battery can explode if it becomes too hot. Lithium-Ion Batteries should not be exposed to acid because this will contaminate the battery and damage it making it inoperable.

VHF/UHF or VHF Blade Antenna. All antennas attach to the radio via the Threaded N-Connector (TCN) antenna connector. The VHF/UHF Blade Antenna is 45 inches in length and operational over VHF/UHF 30 MHz to 512 MHz frequency range. The VHF Blade Antenna is also 45 inches in length and operational over VHF 30 MHz to 108 MHz frequency range.

VHF/UHF/HB Hand Held Antenna. This antenna attaches to the radio via the Threaded N-Connector (TCN) antenna connector. The VHF/UHF/HB Hand Held Antenna is 13 inches in length and is operational over the 30 MHz to 870 MHz frequency range.

Accessory Carrying Bag. The accessory carrying bag is utilized to store accessories. Modular straps are sewn to the back to allow attachment to a pack, flak jacket or SAPI plate carrier.

  1. Volume Control. Use the “up” arrow to increase the volume. Use the down arrow to decrease the volume. This button is not lockable.
  2. Push To Talk (PTT) Button. This button is used to key a voice transmission for the radio. If the current waveform is configured for voice, the radio will continuously transmit RF over the air while the button is pressed. This button is still functional even if a handset is connected to the radio.
  3. Display Indicator. The AN/PRC-152 display shows operational and programming screens.
  4. Microphone. The AN/PRC-152 has a built in microphone located next to the speaker.
  5. Battery Latch. The Battery Latch slides up to unlock battery for removal from RT.
  6. Antenna Connector. The Antenna Connector provides 50-ohm antenna port.
  7. Cipher Switch. The Cipher Switch has three options: PT, LD, and CT:
  8. Plain Text (PT). This places the radio in Plain Text, non-encrypted mode.
  9. Load (LD). This places the radio off-line, ready to load COMSEC and Transmission Security (TRANSEC) variables from an external Type-1 fill device.
  10. Cipher Text (CT). This places the radio in the Cipher Text encryption mode.
  11. Functions Knob. The Functions Knob has nine selections on it; they are OFF, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, S, F and Z:

[OFF] turns the radio off.

[1, 2, 3, 4, 5] selects system presets 1 through 5.

[S] places the Radio in Scan Operation.

[F] places the radio in Front Panel Mode, permitting access to all system presets and keypad functions.

[Z] zeroizes all programmed variables, including encryption variables.



Lithium-Ion Battery. The Lithium-Ion battery has a quick twist mount for easy connect and disconnect. Attach a charged battery to the transceiver by seating the battery on the base of the radio at an angle to the base, and then twist the battery into position in a clockwise direction as viewed from the bottom of the battery. The battery latch on the side of the radio snaps into the lock position when the battery is properly positioned on the radio.

Antenna. Screw either the whip or blade antenna to the TNC antenna connector. If operating in Satellite Communications mode (SATCOM), connect the optional SATCOM antenna cable to the AN/PRC-152 TNC antenna connector, and deploy the SATCOM antenna according to the separate instructions provided with the antenna.

Cipher Switch. Rotate the Cipher Switch to [PT] or [CT] position.

Function Knob. Turn the function knob to [1] to [5] or [F] position. This initializes the AN/PRC-152 software and performs a power-on self-test.

Power-On Self-Test (POST). When the radio is first turned on, the “HARRIS” logo screen is displayed, followed by the “FALCON III” screen. The initializing screen is displayed next and shows the radio’s operating software version. This screen stays on till the radio finishes powering up. The next screen will be either POST FAILED or POST PASSED. If POST  FAILED an audible warning will sound and user will be instructed to run a Self-Test operation on the entire radio to determine more details about the component that caused   the POST Failure.

Self-Test. This runs the Built-In Test for all hardware modules. Press the (7) Key to go into the Test Options Menu, then do the following:

  1. Navigate to “TEST OPTIONS”, press “Enter”.
  2. Select “SELF TEST”, press “Enter”.
  3. Select “YES” for “RUN SELF TEST”, press “ENTER”.
  4. Once the test starts you will see a screen that says “TEST IN PROGRESS”. The test may take up to one minute.
  5. You will see either a “TEST PASSED” (then you will press “ENT” or “CLR” to return to Main Menu) or a “TEST FAILED” screen indicating a specific module along with a fault code that can be referred to for trouble shooting.

PERFORMANCE STEP 2: Conduct a communications check.

Programming menus allow for SINCGARS configuration to be performed from the radio front panel “F”. When in Program Mode, the radio is offline and cannot send or receive communication. Make sure that your Cipher Switch is on Plain Text (PT). SINCGARS programming involves two menu structures:

  1. Set the Cipher Switch to PT.
  2. Obtain an authorized frequency.
  3. Set the Function Switch to [1-5] to power on the RT.
  4. Allow the RT to run through the BIT process.
  5. Press the 0 (NEXT) button to change to the VULOS Channel main screen.
  6. Press the RIGHT [>] Arrow to highlight the RX frequency.
  7. Enter the assigned frequency and press enter.
  8. Confirm the TX frequency is the same as the RX frequency and press [ENT] to confirm.
  9. Press the CLEAR [CLR] button to return to the VULOS main screen.
  10. Enter the name for the system preset (up to 11 characters) and press [ENT].
  11. Transmit a formatted message using procedural words, phonetic alphabet, and numerals.
  12. Receive acknowledgement of the message from the distant site.

RADIO CHECK. This alerts the receiver that the sender requests a response indicating the strength and readability of his transmission.  Conducting radio checks is necessary before any operation and should be conducted throughout the operation to ensure that both sender and receiver can communicate clearly to one another:

  1. To conduct a radio check, the sender will begin by calling the receiver and saying “Radio check, over.”
  2. A response of “ROGER” indicates the transmission is loud and clear.
    1. A response of “WEAK BUT READABLE” indicates that the transmission is weak but can be understood.
    2. A response of “WEAK AND GARBLED” indicates that the transmission is weak and unreadable.
    3. A response of “STRONG BUT GARBLED” indicates that the transmission is strong signal but unreadable.
  3. The sender will then end the transmission by saying “Roger, out.”



Operate a VHF field radio

Evaluation Checklist





SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS: A SL-3 complete filled VHF radio, a frequency, and a distant station.

EVALUATOR NOTE: Marines must perform all the steps below without omitting key elements in order to pass this event. The evaluator will guide the Marine through the checklist by asking questions and coaching.


Performance Step Instructor Notes Pass or Remediate
1. Assemble a radio set Marine should assemble the radio with the using the following steps:

1. Install Lithium-Ion Batter

2. Attach Antenna

3. Cipher switch to PT

4. Function knob to [1] to [5] or [F] position

5. Power-on Self-Test (POST)

6. Self-Test


2. Conduct a communications check Marine should:

1.     Load authorized frequency

2.     Conduct radio check using proper terminology




Operate a VHF field radio  Training Support Package (TSP) for the Marine Battle Skills Test (BST)