SKIPPY - a frequency hopping plugin for ICOM radios.            

Skippy is a unique product, designed and built at Naidia, South Australia.

                                         



IC706 unleashed  Icom IC706 with Skippy frequency hopping plugin.           

Conventional radios are intended to transmit and receive on a single channel. This fact makes them vulnerable to interception and jamming. Whilst scramblers and speech encryption devices may provide some degree of resistance to interception, they are ineffective against jammers. Frequency hopping (ECCM) is the only effective counter measure to both forms of electronic attack.

A frequency hopping radio is capable of hopping its operating frequency over a given bandwidth many times a second (with HF radio, this bandwidth is limited by the antenna and the ionosphere). When Skippy uses On-Air syncing, a sync signal is periodically transmitted to ensure that the transmitter and receiver keep hopping in sync with each other. In the event of Skippy using GPS, the PPS time signal from the GPS network is used to maintain sync and there are no periodic on-air sync signals. The hopping sequence follows a pseudo random pattern, which has an extremely long repeat time. This renders the hopping network virtually impossible to intercept or jam. Only the network users who have identically configured Skippy units can communicate.

 In a Skippy frequency hopping network, the station which initiates the network is designated as Master. There can be any number of Slaves within a network.

 The HF spectrum is often crowded and contains all sorts of signals and noise. Identifying a hopping net is made easier if the transmissions have a coherent or characteristic signature. For example, digitised frequency hopping radios use PSK or FSK, such transmissions are well defined and readily identifiable. The instantaneous spectrum of an analogue SSB voice transmission is characteristically noise-like and there is no output whatsoever between syllables. This renders SSB analogue voice hoppers like Skippy extremely difficult to intercept.

Actual performance in the field is subject to many variables, most of which are controlled by external factors (antennas, ionospheric conditions, terrain and electrical interference). An H.F. SSB analogue frequency hopping network is extremely difficult to detect using a conventional receiver. A wideband receiver is needed, and an active hopping network can be detected by using a waterfall display.  Nevertheless, de-hopping the signal is extremely challenging, and jamming it virtually impossible.

 User selectable parameters include:  Codan 2110M HF Manpack Tactical Military Transceiver     Barrett 2050 HF transceiver

Skippy's unique user selectable hop band shaping allows the operator to match the hop band shape to the antenna return loss. These spectrum plots here were done under shielded lab conditions using an IC706 with 175mSec hop duration. In an active band with real world signals, the hop pattern can be quite difficult to detect.
 

No hopshaping appiled, continuous audio tone.  Hop-band 7000 - 7300 kHz




Mild hopshaping appiled, continuous audio tone.  Hop-band 7000 - 7300 kHz



Agressive hopshaping appiled, continuous audio tone.  Hop-band 7000 - 7300 kHz


Skippy is unlike conventional military frequency hopping radios. For starters Skippy is not a radio, Skippy is a fraction of the cost of a military hopping radio, and yet has more hopping configuration options. 
Of course Skippy is not Mil-spec, nor is it IP rated, nor does it support digital modes, nor does it support voice encryption, nor is it painted green. Skippy is an entry level frequency hopper, designed with the Amateur, researcher or experimenter in mind.





FAQ
Q- What is the maximum hop rate?   A- There is no real absolute maximum hop rate (given the Icoms take 10mSec to change channels). Typically, somewhere       between 3-12 hops/second is good depending on band conditions.

Q- Will Skippy cover all frequencies?     A- Yes and no, In Australia Skippy is only for licensed Amateurs, and will only work within Amateur bands,                                                                                  The Export version of Skippy is "unlocked" and limited only by the radio.

Q- What does Skippy do to my radio?   A- Nothing, it simply makes the radio change frequency.

Q- What does Skippy do to my signal?   A- Nothing, it simply makes the radio change frequency. The signals pass through the radio exactly as normal. Other                                                                         than the sync signal, Skippy is not in the signal path.

Q- Will Skippy damage my radio?           A- Not if used correctly, but you can use Skippy at your own risk.

Q- What radios will Skippy work with?   A - Skippy works with Icom IC706 & IC7000 series radios.

Q- Is Skippy’s hop pattern compatable with other military HF/ VHF frequency hopping radios?   A- No. Skippy’s hop pattern is unique and not compatable           with Codan, Barrett, Q-mac, Tadiran, Hughes, Racal, Harris or any other frequency hopping system.

Q- What does the radio interface lead consist of?   A- It is the same as an Opentracker/Tinytrak lead with one extra wire for the CAT line.

Q- What do I have to do to prepare for using SKIPPY?      A- Nett your radio to within +/- 3Hz. This is most important. Get your radio on frequency.                                                                                                          Icoms are generaly 30-40Hz off from the factory.

Q- Do I need a GPS to use SKIPPY?                                 A- No, it is entirely optional.

Q- Do I need a computer to use SKIPPY?                          A- No. Skippy is stand alone (requires the radio of course).

 Q- Can I use one SKIPPY unit by itself ?                            A- Not really – it takes two to tango.

Q– How many Skippy units can I have in my NET?              A- There is no limit to the number of Skippy units in your NET.

Q- Will Skippy continue to be supported and upgraded?      A- Depends on initial interest.

Q- Does Skippy encrypt my signal?                                      A- No Skippy does not encrypt your signal.

Q- Can SKIPPY be used to transmit & receive data or packet?   A- This has not been tested, but Skippy may not like data or packet.

Q- I would like Skippy modifed to do XYZ.                         A- Certainly, it’s a flat hourly rate.

Q- Can I have the SKIPPY source code?   A- No.              Q- Can I purchase the SKIPPY source code?   A- Yes.

Q- How do Skippy units synchronise themselves?                 A- Either by On-Air tones, or by using the PPS signal from a GPS.

Q- How long will Skippy units remain synchronised?             A- Indefinitely, given adequate band conditions or GPS syncing.

Q- I would like a demo of SKIPPY.                                     A- Email me and make an appointment.

Q- Where can I get SKIPPY operating instructions?             A- Draft operating instructions will be supplied when you purchase a Skippy unit.

Q- What is the emission designator for a Skippy controlled SSB transmission?   A-  2K8J3E






Used BETA pre-producton SKIPPY trials prototypes are available now.
Available to Licenced Amateurs ONLY, the delivery name & address must match the licencee details on the Radcomms Database.
 $220 ea including GST and postage within VK
Cable $45 ea



Export Sales
SKIPPY has been assessed by the Defence Export Control Office as a Controlled Item.  
DECO has placed SKIPPY on the DSGL (Defence and Strategic Goods List).   http://www.defence.gov.au/deco/ 
Export of SKIPPY is prohibited without a permission from DECO.
The export of controlled goods and technology requires a permission to be issued in accordance with Regulation 13E of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958.

To purchase from overseas, permission has to be obtained from DECO.  Once export permission is granted the export process is handled by a suitably licenced Adelaide based International Freight Forwarding and Customs Brokerage company. This process takes 8-10 weeks and costs about $AUD1000 per order (not per unit) delivered to the USA. Once an Export Quote is prepared, full payment is required, in advance, prior to beginning the export process.




Skippy Enquires:
syntor@lizzy.com.au