Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where's All That Nagging Coming From: the Black Shark's ADF

I'm compulsively trying to figure out instrument landings in DCS Black Shark.

This entry, though, is about one capability of the Black Shark that I bumped into while experimenting with the instruments. After some manual reading, I found out that this feature is actually documented there (warning, this is not a discovery of any sort!). Flipping switches and then go to read the manual to understand what the hell just happened is not the optimal way to learn, but alas the manual's style will never engage me in a cover-to-cover reading madness.

Anyway, here is the thing. The Black Shark has an electronic system to find the direction of radio transmissions. It's called the "ARK-22 ADF" (ADF stands for automatic direction finder). The ARK-22 ADF controls the Radio Magnetic Indicator (RMI) needle on the Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI), pointing it in the direction of the transmitting signal. The ARK-22 ADF is vital to point the pilot towards airport radio beacons that transmit a radio signal with all the information needed for instrument landings.

It turns out that the ARK-22 ADF can be used to find the direction of incoming regular radio transmissions. Who ever talks to you by radio, you can see in the HSI where the transmission came from.

Talking with the guys at the FARP. The red caret (actually named RMI-2) at the HSI (horizontal situation indicator) wheel (right panel, ABRIS screen) shows where the transmission came from. Click the image for a better view.

Another example. This time my wingman is answering my request to change formation. Note how the red caret in the HSI wheel (right panel) shows the direction from which the wingman is transmitting. Click the image for a better view.

Not bad for an helicopter that doesn't have a radar warning receiver! ;)


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