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The effectiveness of error-control coding in a frequency-hop radio system can be increased greatly by the use of side information that is developed in the radio receiver. The transmission of test symbols provides a simple method for the derivation of side information in a slow-frequency-hop receiver. Requirements on the reliability of the side information are presented, and their implications in determining the necessary number of test symbols are described. Other methods for developing side information are reviewed briefly, and applications of side information to routing protocols for frequency-hop packet radio networks are discussed.