Communication Methods and Equipment

1. Many of the Facility’s forecasts are delivered personally by the forecaster to pilots who come to the flight desk.During these briefings, forecasters primarily use the MIDDS workstations and the “Wall of Thunder” to communicate their weather briefing. 

2. Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio.The Pilot to Metro Service Voice (PMSV) (359.6 MHz) is used for communications between “Sherman Metro” and aircraft within radio range. 

3. Unclassified telephone.The forecaster has access to a number of telephone lines, each of which has access to  commercial and Defense Switched Network (DSN) lines.Outgoing long distance calls should be made using DSN whenever possible.Forecasters are instructed to accept incoming collect calls (local or long distance) from pilots needing weather briefs.All calls must be kept at the UNCLASSIFIED level. 

4. Secure Telephone Unit-III (STU-III). NAVTRAMETOCFAC has a STU-III to use if there must be a discussion involving classified material (up to the SECRET level). 

5. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) Hurricane Hotline. The hotline is a dedicated unclassified telephone network that connects the NHC, NCEP, DoD and a host of approved civilian and military agencies for the purpose of discussing tropical cyclone prediction guidance.These calls precede the issuance of tropical cyclone warnings and are conducted in conference-call fashion.As many as thirty agencies may be participating in or listening to these discussions simultaneously. 

6. Unclassified telephone facsimile (fax).Fax machines are located in both the Operations and Administration spaces.These machines are used for transmission and receipt of UNCLASSIFIED material only and have access to both DSN and commercial lines. 

7. Flight Weather Briefer.NAVTRAMETOCFAC utilizes a locally developed Automated Flight Weather Briefer Program as a forecaster’s aide to provide local area weather briefs for “canned” aviation stereo routes.This program historically has accounted for as much as 65% of the over 40,000 aviation weather briefs conducted annually at KNPA. Forecasters update the canned route data on MIDDS workstations every two hours; pilots are able to obtain weather briefs from dedicated terminals located in each ready room. 

 8. Weather Vision (AN/GMQ-27V). The GMQ-27 is a closed-circuit television system designed to provide rapid dissemination of local METOC data.The Facility’s Weather Vision transmits local observations, warnings, and forecasts to the Air Traffic Control Tower.  

9. NAVTRAMETOCFAC World Wide Web sites.The Facility operates two web sites.The first,, is the facility'sprimary Operational METOC and Administrative support site.A broad range of METOC related products are hosted as well as administrative support items for subordinate Detachments.This site is also host to a virtual web site for each of the subordinate Detachments ( etc.) which allows them to maintain their own, independent web presence without the need for local expertise in web site management at each Detachment.The second site,, is the Facility's software support site for in-house developed software products.This site also serves as backup to the primary website.  

10.Automated Weather Information System (AWIS).AWIS is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) owned and maintained communications system for transmitting weather information among the FAA, Flight Service Stations (FSS), NCEP, and military weather offices in the immediate vicinity.  

11. Gateguard is a personal computer (PC) based AUTODIN message traffic system used to receive and transmit standard Navy text messages.The system’s configuration allows the transfer of unclassified and classified information up to the SECRET level without compromise.Gateguard configuration is Navy standard with an X.86 processor and removable hard drive.Connection to NCTS takes place via an AT&T STU-III telephone.Beginning in early 2000, the AUTODIN message system will be replaced by the Defense Message System (DMS).This system uses identical Pentium based personal computers with Microsoft Windows NT Workstation operating systems.One workstation is for unclassified use and will connect to NCTS via standard dial-up data line, while the other system will process classified traffic and will dial into NCTS via STU III.Both workstations will process DMS messages with Microsoft Outlook client software. 

12. Local Area Network (LAN).The NAVTRAMETOCFAC LAN is a Windows NT Network comprised of two distinct domains (MIDDS and NTMOF).The LAN uses a wide variety of hardware and software types including: Web Servers (Intranet and Internet), Mail Server, CD Server, File and Print Servers, MIDDS Server, GVAR Server, DNS Servers, hubs, routers, switches, printers, and other devices.With the exception of the Web and GVAR servers, the entire network resides behind a firewall and is rated Sensitive but Unclassified.The NTMOF Domain is primarily for administrative support while the MIDDS Domain is the backbone of all operational support.Nearly every command workstation has access to the Microsoft Office Professional suite of tools, as well as email and NIPRNET/Internet (“Web”) access.Operational use of the “Web” at NAVTRAMETOCFAC primarily involves accessing METOC data and products from a vast variety of military and civilian providers.Administrative use of the “Web” includes email communications, instruction downloads, policy awareness, etc.Security is monitored closely by Information Systems personnel.

Concept Mapping Toolkit
Insitute for Human and Machine Cognition
The University of West Florida