Validation of the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program (VOACAP)
Guest, Peter S.
Guest, Arlene A.
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This is the final report of the COMNAVMETOCCOM Independent Model Review Panel (CIMREP) for the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program (VOACAP), version 05.0119W, as modified by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC-Pacific), Atmospheric Propagation Branch (5528). VOACAP is a tool for predicting the performance of High Frequency (HF) radio communication systems. The authors evaluated VOACAP for possible inclusion in the Oceanography and Atmospheric Master Library (OAML) by (1) using provided and online documentation from HF experts, (2) installing the program on PCs, (3) running a series of test cases and (4) comparing the output results with other HF models and VOACAP versions. The core physics and statistics in VOACAP are sound and this product could potentially be very useful to the US Navy. However several problems were identified related to (1) difficult installation of the program, (2) limitations on usable operating systems, (3) lack of ability to produce important output variables other than field strength, (4) inadequate documentation, and (5) the need for training and support for the successful use of the program or products derived from it. For these reasons, the authors cannot recommend inclusion of the submitted version of VOACAP in OAML. To make this possible, the Navy would need to provide more resources for the development of a suitable product, and support for the product once it has been included in OAML. These costs need to be weighed against the benefits of having an HF prediction product included in tactical decision aids such the Naval Integrated Tactical Environment Subsystem Next Generation (NITES-NEXT).