Possibly the World’s Oldest Microwave Link Still in Service

John Lennon was still alive when Aviat's oldest microwave link first went operational in 1980.

John Lennon was still alive when Aviat’s oldest microwave link first went operational in 1980. Photo credit: Roy Kerwood / Foter.com / CC BY

The year was 1980. The Americans beat the Russians for the Olympic gold medal in hockey. John Lennon of The Beatles was killed. Mount St. Helens erupted. The Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan was elected president. The hostages were still in Iran. People asked themselves, “Who shot J.R.?” and caught Pac-Man fever. Voyager 1 flew by Saturn and left the solar system. The Empire struck back. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were on a “mission from God.” The Clash came calling on London. Led Zeppelin broke up. And Farinon Electric, Aviat Networks’ direct predecessor, put into service a series of analog microwave radio hops for the Canadian province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources. The radios in question were the SS2000 model.

The province used them to carry government data traffic for firefighters and police, where data bits were stuffed into 4kHz voice channels. Remarkably, 33 years later, three hops of these SS2000 radios are still in operation, making these, quite possibly, the world’s oldest continuously in-service microwave links.

Farinon SS2000 analog microwave radios were available for sale on eBay as recently as 2011! How’s that for durability?!

Farinon SS2000 analog microwave radio transmitters (but not entire units) were available for sale on eBay as recently as 2011! How’s that for longevity?!

Offering 120, 300 or 600 voice channels on the old 2GHz band, SS2000 radios were considered cutting-edge technology at the time—check out their cool retro-style data sheet—and highly reliable with their ability to provide microwave links despite the challenging weather and difficult propagation conditions of Nova Scotia—snow, ice, sleet, fog…they have it all! As proof, four other SS2000 radio hops were recently decommissioned and found to still be working up to spec as per the original, accepted level of performance. Then there was someone selling SS2000 radios on eBay in 2011!

But we challenge you, our loyal blog readers, to tell us of any even older microwave links that have been in operation for more than 33 years. So if you have an Aviat Networks link, or that from a predecessor company, which is still operating today and was installed before 1980, please comment! We want to hear from you!

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Dick Laine’s 4 Keys to Successful Transmission Engineering of Microwave Links

Dick Laine, Principal Engineer, Aviat Networks

Dick Laine, Principal Engineer, Aviat Networks

Transmission engineering of a microwave link requires creativity and skill. So if you are looking for inspiration as well as high-quality wireless engineering instruction look no further than the “Radio Head Technology Series.” Radio Heads is a collection of videos and podcasts featuring our very own Dick Laine. Dick is arguably the most experienced microwave engineer in the wireless communication business, having spent more than 50 years working with microwave radio from its inception—here at Aviat Networks and our predecessor companies (e.g., Farinon, Harris MCD).

Dick has been involved with nearly every aspect of RF transmission, microwave link and network transmission design, and the effects of geoclimatic conditions on transmission of voice and now IP radio data packets.

In his own unique style, Dick has been teaching basic and advanced concepts for digital microwave transmission in seminars and training classes worldwide. Students who have taken his classes return years later eager to get a refresher from Dick and to hear about some of his great adventures in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and in the Americas.

In the first Radio Heads video titled “Check List for a Successful Microwave Link,” Dick explains the four key objectives or requirements for a well-done microwave link design along with “check list” items that the project manager or transmission engineer evaluates for proper design and deployment of a digital microwave link. If you have not already signed up for this video series, register to view the content.

If you find this video of value, please pass along the information to your friends and colleagues via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or your other favorite social media network.

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Aviat Networks: Official Wireless Transmission Headquarters

The Aviat Networks Headquarters in Santa Clara is perfectly positioned to serve its wireless customers. Watch this video to see the full capabilities of the Aviat Networks North American offices.

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