Friday, July 03, 2015

Bang-Up VOA Radiogram for July 4-5

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

If you participated in last weekend's amateur radio Field Day exercise, I hope you had a good time and lots of contacts. Because of travel, I missed Field Day entirely.

This weekend's program includes two gray-scale/grey-scale (black and white) images, because they take less time to transmit. That allowed me more time for the four text news stories, one of them in the rather slow  Olivia 32-2000 mode. 

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 118, 4-5 July 2015, all in MFSK32 except where noted ...


 1:32  Program preview
 2:48  Christchurch NZ rebuilds after earthquake*
10:39  Rosetta spacecraft finds sinkholes on comet**
16:56  One-person flying vehicles**
22:34  Olivia 32-2000: World's first 3D-printed office building
28:12  MFSK32: Closing announcements
29:08  BPSK63F: Bonus mode of the week.

* with color image
** with gray-scale image

(The closing music is the overture from the musical play 1776, to mark Independence Day in the United States.)


Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.


The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at 0230 UTC (Saturday 10:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz, via Germany. Reports for KBC reception to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com.

Thank you for your reports from last weekend. Good to hear from several news listeners. 

Because of my travel and audience research tasks (which occupy 80% of my work week), I am even further behind in answering your reports. I hope to answer most reports from program 115 today (a holiday, so no distractions from the pesky audience research datasets!).

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net 



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Field Day VOA Radiogram for June 27-28

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

I'm almost hoping for poor reception this weekend, because we will transmit another news items in Olivia 32-2000, and this mode can work very well in adverse conditions.

If the RSID does not change your mode to Olivia 32-2000, you can manually make the change in Fldigi:

Op Mode > Olivia > Custom > Bandwidth: 2000, Tones: 32

Or you can make a macro in Flidigi for a quick change to Olivia 32-2000. Insert this under Macro Text: <MODEM:OLIVIA:2000:32>



[While you're at it, name the macro something like Olivia 32-2000. The name shows up on the empty button. -Hugh]

On the other hand, I'm also hoping for good reception this weekend, because that would bring good conditions for the amateur radio Field Day exercise. The program will include greetings to radio amateurs participating in Field Day.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 117, 27-28 June 2015., all in MFSK32 except where noted:

 1:31  Program preview
 2:38  Triassic Reptile Was 'Grandfather' of All Turtles*
 9:06  Explosive Growth May Exhaust Web Space*
18:16  Olivia 32-2000: Consumer rights website blocked In Russia
22:36  Amateur Radio Field Day 2015*
27:13  Closing announcements*
29:08  CW: Bonus mode of the week

* with image


Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.


VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.


The Mighty KBC will transmit its usual minute of MFSK64 Sunday at 0230 UTC (Saturday 10:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz, via Germany. If you decode this, please retune quickly to VOA Radiogram, which also starts at 0230 UTC, on 5745 kHz. Reports for KBC to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thanks for your reports from last weekend. I will not be able to finish the gallery for program 115 and begin to respond to reports for program 115 until Sunday.

I hope you can tune in and write in this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Medium-Wave Experimenters to Transmit Field Day Greetings

From ARRL:

Once again this year, a group of medium-wave experimental licensees will transmit greetings on 630 meters during the ARRL Field Day weekend, June 27-28. While the 472 to 479 kHz band is not yet available for Amateur Radio use, John Langridge, KB5NJD, said he'd like to continue promoting awareness of the proposed ham band. In April, the FCC proposed a new 630 meter Amateur Service MW allocation at 472 to 479 kHz, and it allocated a new LF band, 135.7 to 137.8 kHz -- both on a secondary basis. Langridge this year is hoping that some LF experimenters will also take part in the exercise. No Amateur Radio operation will be permitted in either band until the FCC establishes specific operating rules. Some of the stations involved in the Field Day activity, including Langridge, are associated with the ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group (WD2XSH).
ARRL 600 Meter Experiment (WD2XSH) Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, said that while the FCC's April Report and Order, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a step in the right direction, it could be some time before hams have a 630 meter ham band in the US. "With that in mind," he told ARRL this week, "we plan to renew the WD2XSH license and continue operations much as we have been, until such time as the 630 meter band becomes a reality."
Langridge said last year he got about 60 reports on his own transmissions from Texas. "It seems the longer we do this, the more legs that grow on it, and participation has really increased," he said. The point is to make active, relevant signals available to existing Field Day stations that might have a large pool of operators, many still having no idea that anything is going on below the broadcast band."
Langridge said Field Day stations could try using an HF transceiver capable of covering the 472-479 kHz range to listen for participating stations. He stressed that stations can use "whatever antennas that they have on site -- a dipole, a tribander, a vertical, whatever -- as the impedance mismatch may help improve the signal-to-noise ratio enough for effective copy."
Langridge said that in 2014 he received an Argo screen shot of his CW signal from Utah. "Reporting is important, since we all like to know who is listening and how we are doing," he said. Stations hearing any of the MW (or possible LW) Field Day "greeters" may report their reception online. Read more.

Summer Solstice VOA Radiogram for June 20-21

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Based on your reports, reception was generally good last weekend. That’s somewhat unfortunate, because we included a news item in Olivia 32-2000, a mode that can be successful decoded even in very bad reception conditions. I tested this twice: First was during the Saturday 1600-1630 UTC broadcast on 17870 kHz. I usually don’t listen to this transmission because, in northern Virginia, I’m in the skip zone. Last weekend, the MFSK32 had many errors, but in Olivia 32-2000, 1111 of the 1115 characters decoded correctly. I had similar results Sunday 0230-0300 UTC on 5745 kHz using a receiver in Slovakia.

This weekend will be another all-MFSK32 show, except for MFSK16 as the bonus mode, first at 16 dB under the closing music, and later at full level.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 116, 20-21 June 2105, all in MFSK32 except where noted:  

1:32  Program preview
2:51  Amateur Radio Field Day at former VOA transmitting site*
9:38  630M medium wave transmissions on Field Day
12:52  Watermills in Pakistan generate electricity*
20:26  Myanmar intensifies media restrictions*
26:42  Closing announcements
27:43  MFSK16: Bonus mode 16 dB under closing music
28:40  MFSK16: At full level

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com .

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at 0230 UTC (Saturday 10:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz, via Germany. This is part of the KBC transmission to North America Sunday at 0000-0300 UTC (Saturday 8-11 pm EDT). If you decode this, quickly retune to 5745 kHz for VOA Radiogram. Reports for KBC to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

A reminder about MFSK images: Fldigi automatically saves decoded MFSK images as png files in the Windows folder \fldigi.files\images\. If you send those png files with your reception reports, it’s easy for me to include them in the gallery.  

Thanks for your reception reports from last  weekend. I am still woefully in arrears in answering your reports, but they will be answered.

I hope you can tune in and write in this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Russia Grounds Entire Tu-95 "Bear" Fleet

Russia has grounded its entire fleet of Tu-95 Bear-H bombers following an accident involving engine fire and running off a runway on takeoff, killing one.  The aircraft was completely destroyed except for the tail section.  Others were severely injured. 

The C in C of the Russian Air Force stated that the planes will remain grounded until an investigation concludes.

Noctilucent Clouds Visible in CONUS

From spaceweather.com:

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS REACH THE USA: The northern season for noctilucent clouds began on May 19th when NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted a patch of electric blue over the Arctic Circle. Since then the clouds have been spreading south. This week, for the first time in 2015, they crossed the border into the lower 48 US states.  Seeded by meteoroids and floating near the edge of space, these eerie-looking clouds are increasingly visible to mid-latitude observers, possibly as a result of climate change.  Check today's edition of http://spaceweather.com for the latest sightings and observing tips.

Space and Turkey for VOA Radiogram, June 13-14

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

In last weekend’s experiment comparing Scottie DX SSTV and MFSK32 images, the MFSK32 images generally were clearer, but the Scottie DX images usually had less slant, probably because of the slant-correction capabilities of the decoding software. I will, eventually, compile a gallery showing several comparisons.

[That was the experience here. MMSSTV did correct a slight slant, but it had more noise in the image. -Hugh]

There will be no SSTV in this weekend’s program, but if you are interested in more SSTV tests, let me  know, and we can include them in future shows.

This weekend’s program will include one item in Olivia 32-2000.  This will be interesting if you experience poor reception conditions because of propagation, local noise, or a less-than-top-quality radio. In Fldigi, Olivia 32-2000 requires a custom mode selection: Op Mode > Olivia > Custom: Tones: 32, Bandwidth: 2000. I provide 20 seconds for you to make this change. However, Olivia 32-2000 does have an RSID, so it will probably do all the work for you.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 115, 13-14 June 2015, all in MFSK32 except where noted:

1:36  Program preview
2:47  New NASA photos of dwarf planet*
7:22  Mars landing device parachute test fails*
14:14  Olivia 32-2000: Glitch causes ISS to change orbit
18:46  VOA covers the Turkish election*
25:13  Closing announcements*
28:30  Hell 80: Bonus mode of the week

*with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at 0230 UTC (EDT Saturday 10:30 pm) on 9925 kHz, via Germany.  (Decode this, then retune quickly to VOA Radiogram on 5745 kHz.) Reports for KBC to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

AndFlmsg. If you have an Android device, this reminder that the beta version of AndFlmsg, Fldigi for Android, is available here:

Thank you for your reception reports.  I’m still about two behind in answering them, but slowly gaining.

I hope you can tune in and write in this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
Twitter: @voaradiogram

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Very Interesting VOA Radiogram for 30-31 May

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

It has been several months since we last transmitted slow scan television (SSTV) on VOA Radiogram.  Emiliano in Italy notes that the International Space Station has been using the PD180 SSTV mode. He suggested that we compare PD180 SSTV images with our usual MFSK32 images. And, so, we will do that this weekend.

To decode PD180, download MMSSTV from http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php . (In theory, MultiPSK also decodes PD180, although I have not yet successfully decoded PD180 using MultiPSK.)

In the MMSSTV interface, under RX Mode, right-click on any mode to reveal the complete list of modes. Left click on the mode for it to appear in the main menu.  "Auto" under RX Mode should detect that PD180 is the  mode, but to be safe, manually select PD180.

After the image is fully decoded, you can right click on the image, then Copy it to MS Paint or other program that lets you save images. Or, by clicking on MMSSTV's History, you can use the left-right arrows to find the image you have decoded, then use the copy icon, or right-click to copy.

Another twist in this weekend’s show will be the transmission schedule in Olivia 64-2000 16 dB under the closing music. That will be followed by the usual “thank you” message, also in Olivia 64-2000, but at full level. The RSID will not be sent during the second Olivia 64-2000 transmission, so if you missed it at -16dB, set the mode manually.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 113, 30-31 May 2105, all in MFSK32 except where noted …

 1:33  Program preview
 2:50  Science of nighttime thunderstorms*
 8:21  Plankton are a major source of oxygen*
15:06  Volcano on Galapagos
18:08  SSTV PD180 test
21:28  Same image (but smaller) in MFSK32
25:11  Closing announcements
26:12  Bonus mode: Olivia 64-2000 at -16dB
27 17  Olivia 64-2000 at full audio level

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com .

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
  Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
  Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
  Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
  Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at about 0230 UTC (Saturday 10:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz (via Germany). This temporary time slot is one hour later than usual, and it coincides with the VOA Radiogram broadcast at the same time. If you have only one radio, decode from The Mighty KBC at 0230 UTC, then quickly retune to 5745 kHz for VOA Radiogram. Reports for the KBC MFSK64 to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .  

Thank you for your reports from last weekend. I continue to be two weeks behind is responding to your emails, but I will try to improve that to merely one week behind.

I hope you can tune in and write this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Friday, May 15, 2015

VOA Radiogram for 16-17 May Includes MT63-2000L

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

After the MT63-2000L bonus mode of program 108, Walt in the UK suggested that we transmit an entire news story in this mode. That will happen this weekend. This long-interleave version uses the entire 2000 Hz we have available in one sideband of a shortwave AM channel. I have measured its speed at nearly 200 words per minute, about twice as fast as our usual MFSK32 mode.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 111, 16-17 May 2015, all in MFSK32 except where indicated:

1:29  Program preview
2:44  VOA increases broadcasts to Burundi*
8:09  Forest management to reduce hunger*
16:02  Shipwreck found during search for MH370*
23:19  MT63-2000L: Huge demand for US entrepreneur visas
27:11  MFSK32: Closing announcements
28:40  Olivia 64-2000: Bonus mode of the week.

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com .

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz, via Germany. (It will be a van Gogh painting.) Reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

If you have an Android device, try the beta AndFlmsg app, available from http://www.w1hkj.com/vk2eta/

The Saturday 0930 UTC transmission is now propagating to Japan.  See videos at …
http://voaradiogram.net/post/118013945737/videos-of-voa-radiogram-on-2-may-2015-from-japan

I continue to be two weeks behind in answering your emails. I’ll try to send out all the galleries for program 109 before the end of Saturday.

Despite the backlog, please tune in and write in this weekend. 

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

U.S. Navy-Marine Corps MARS to Phase Out

The US Navy-Marine Corps branch of the Military Auxiliary Radio System is closing down. This quasi-amateur radio service supported the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. The transition is gradual, and will be completed by September 30 of this year. Members are encouraged to apply to the Army or Air Force MARS.

On 12 May, the announcement came in a message passed from Chief, Navy-Marine Corps MARS to all members. Here are some excerpts:

2. Evaluation of the NAVMARCORMARS program by Fleet Cyber Command (FCC)/ Commander 10th Fleet (C10F), Naval Information Domination Forces (NAVIDFOR), and NCTAMS LANT determined that there are no U.S. Navy service unique requirements.

3. NCTAMS LANT will work with other U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Strategic Command, Department Of Homeland Security representatives, and NAVMARCORMARS volunteers to develop a transition plan for NAVMARCORMARS members which meets the requirements of Ref B and Ref C. [Department of Defense plans for MARS and its mission. -Hugh]



4. Current NAVMARCORMARS individual members and clubs are encouraged to begin submission of applications to U.S. Army MARS or U.S. Air Force MARS programs as soon as possible.



5. Additional guidance will also be provided SEPCOR [SEParate CORrespondence -Hugh] for MARS stations under military auspices, agency stations, and individual members who also participate in the DHS Shared Resources (SHARES) HF radio program.
More from ARRL:

One individual who is very familiar with the MARS program said the change was not unexpected and came to a head as the US Strategic Command embraced Army MARS as the lead branch for contingency communication and Air Force MARS began partnering with the US Army program on the operations side.

“The Army and Air Force MARS branches have an obvious role in providing contingency communications for the 50 states,” said the individual, who preferred not to be cited by name. “Members are everywhere ‘on the ground,’ and experience in Afghanistan and Iraq has proven the tactical usefulness of HF on land. There was no similar role for the landlocked membership of Navy-Marine Corps MARS.”

He said the MARS program can use all the volunteers it can attract and hopes the Navy-Marine Corp MARS volunteers will join one of the other MARS branches.

Army MARS has announced that volunteers in good standing can join as full members, without starting over.

Bravo Zulu to Navy-Marine Corps MARS for its many years of service to those who serve.

UVB-76/ MDZhB/ S28 Is Back Full Strength

The question is, "Did it ever really go away?"  Can't answer that.  Band conditions can be pretty wretched this close to the Northern Hemisphere summer.

In any event, it's back, in all its bizarre glory, to launch a thousand more conspiracy theories.


UVB-76/ MDZhB/ S28 Back with Very Low Audio

On the usual 4625 kHz, the WebSDR does pick up a very weak and raspy audio tone at 250 Hz with a possible harmonic at 500 Hz.  This tone is becoming louder at 1700 UTC, and its timing and waveform are very similar to the "buzz."  Is this a lowered gain or a second transmitter?

In any event, we can safely conclude that either something's still being emitted on this channel, or that someone's playing around.

UPDATE 1717: It's definitely the same tone, just not as loud.  Conditions, lower gain, or is there actually a second transmitter as some have theorized?

UVB-76/ MDZhB/ S28 Silent After 2 Voice Messages

At some point this morning (US Pacific time), perhaps around 1500 UTC, the notorious buzzer station on 4625.0 kHz broadcast two voice messages with the group military call sign MDZhB.  At 1628 UTC, the transmitter is ominously silent, as heard here on WebSDR and by other people.

The text of these messages has not yet been reported. Presumably, it's in the usual Russian strategic format, which vaguely resembles the US "SKYKING" broadcasts in content and purpose.

This activity corresponds to a flurry of traffic on the Bear-H net, with markers and traffic on the summer ground frequency of 8895 kHz CW, and aircraft responding on summer frequency 9128 kHz CW. The aircraft transmissions were reported as unusually loud in the UK, and indeed some unusual RAF activity has been heard on the usual non-HF channels.  There is no way to know whether this is related.

It is now 1640, and there is still no buzzer.  Since Russian dead-hand nuclear missiles have not auto-launched, we can safely conclude (again) that the country's supposed fail-deadly system uses a different trigger.  That is, if it really exists at all.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

ShipCom Emergency Net Corrects All Frequencies

The new U.S. nationwide emergency ALE net has recently corrected all frequencies to conform with international practice. Everything has been shifted down 1.4 kHz to account for USB offset when using ALE and follow-on voice.

Two sets of frequencies, separated by this 1.4 kHz, are licensed to this venture. What was happening was that the net was operating on the higher set, which is authorized for modes centered around the assigned carrier frequency. Transmitting USB, which is offset, put the signals technically off-channel.

All frequencies have been tested and found to be 1.4 kHz lower.  The new frequencies for this net are:

2679.6
4234.0
6335.6
7315.6
8085.5
10170.6
13152.0
17287.0
19755.0
22738.0 .

The two Los Angeles, CA area stations, and two at the Annapolis, MD control point, continue to make hourly soundings. While voice test counts and operator chatter have been heard on this net, there haven't been any reports of these for a while now.


No News on HFDL System Table

As of yesterday, ground stations heard by this author were all using System Table 49. However, some are reporting 48 still in use at Guam and maybe other places.

I really don't know how the HFDL system can function properly with two different tables in circulation, unless they're identical or the aircraft can store old ones.  Fortunately, PC-HFDL remains configured for System Table 49, and when 48 appears it goes back to the numbers.  I won't be trying to see what happens if #48 is pushed out to an aircraft.  Only #49 ground stations for me.

Regardless, the pchfdl.dat file on this column's web site has just been changed to the one in use here for System Table 49.  The file length looks right.  While your mileage may vary, it is probably sufficient to update PC-HFDL's commercial version.

New VOA Radiogram Frequency for May 2-3

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

This weekend the VOA Radiogram broadcast Saturday at 1600-1630 UTC moves to the new frequency of 17870 kHz. This replaces 17860 kHz, which was suffering interference from Radio Exterior de EspaƱa on 17855 kHz. For those of you using low cost radios with less selectivity, please let me know in 17870 kHz provides enough separation from 17855 kHz.

VOA Radiogram begins this weekend with a rather lengthy but, I hope, interesting story about a new report on world press freedom.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 109, 2-3 May 2015, all in MFSK32 except where noted:

 1:32  Program preview
 2:45  Freedom House report on world press freedom*
14:12  BBC adds shortwave transmissions for Nepal
17:09  Mobile phone ownership increases in Africa
21:21  Computer servers heat homes in the Netherlands*
27:12  Closing announcements*
28:39  Thor 16: Bonus mode of the week

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz (new, replaces 17860 kHz)
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will (I think) transmit a minute of MFSK64 3 May at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on new 9925 kHz (via Germany). Reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thank you for your reception reports for last weekend's broadcast.  I have not yet finished answering all the reports from program 107, 18-19 April 2015, because of a busy week involving my audience research tasks for VOA and the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau. I hope to catch up with the correspondence this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Santa Cruz Using Database #48

At 2100 UTC on 23 April, the Santa Cruz HFDL ground station in Bolivia is still using system table #48. Meanwhile, Riverside is working some of the same aircraft, and using #49.

Dizzy.

Canarias Still Using HFDL Database #48

At 2020 UTC in 23 April, the HFDL ground station named Canarias, in the Canary Islands, was still using system table #48.  However, when PC-HFDL is tuned to a station using #49, the frequencies replace the numbers again.

Unless there is no difference between the two database revisions, this is all a bit strange.

Albrook Still Using System Table #48

This is getting confusing. HFDL listeners are reporting that the Albrook/Panama City ground station is still on system table #48. This has been confirmed by reception here at 1900 UTC on 23 April.

Other stations have had #49 for a whole day now.  It was found here to be in use by San Francisco, Molokai, and Riverhead. But now PC-HFDL has gone back to the numbers, and my config file is useless.  Therefore I can't post it.

The saga continues.

HFDL System Table #49 Is Current

For about 24 hours now, Molokai has been pushing out these frequencies:

Version 49

Ground Station ID 1
SAN FRANCISCO - CALIFORNIA
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 121 45 34  W  Latitude 38 22 48  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 8
Frequency 21934000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 17919000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 13276000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 11327000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 10081000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 8927000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 6559000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 5508000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4

Ground Station ID 2
MOLOKAI - HAWAII
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 157 10 46  W  Latitude 21 10 47  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 12
Frequency 21937000 Hz Master Frame Slot 0
Frequency 17919000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 13324000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 13312000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 13276000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 11348000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 11312000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 10027000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 8936000 Hz Master Frame Slot 0
Frequency 8912000 Hz Master Frame Slot 0
Frequency 6565000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 5514000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7

Ground Station ID 3
REYKJAVIK - ICELAND
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 21 50 59  W  Latitude 64 4 47  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 17985000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 15025000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 11184000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 8977000 Hz Master Frame Slot 0
Frequency 6712000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 5720000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 3900000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3

Ground Station ID 4
RIVERHEAD - NEW YORK
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 72 38 22  W  Latitude 40 52 47  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 21931000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 17919000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9
Frequency 13276000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5
Frequency 11387000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 8912000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9
Frequency 6661000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5
Frequency 5652000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1

Ground Station ID 5
AUCKLAND - NZ
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 174 48 35  E  Latitude 37 1 10  S
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 6
Frequency 17916000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 13351000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 10084000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 8921000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 6535000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 5583000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4

Ground Station ID 6
HAT YAI - THAILAND
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 100 23 23  E  Latitude 6 56 23  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 21949000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 17928000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 13270000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 10066000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 8825000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 6535000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 5655000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10

Ground Station ID 7
SHANNON - IRELAND
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 8 55 46  W  Latitude 52 43 48  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 8
Frequency 11384000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 10081000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 8942000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 8843000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 6532000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 5547000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 3455000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 2998000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6

Ground Station ID 8
JOHANNESBURG - SOUTH AFRICA
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 28 12 35  E  Latitude 26 7 46  S
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 8
Frequency 21949000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 17922000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 13321000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 11321000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 8834000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 5529000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 4681000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 3016000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6

Ground Station ID 9
BARROW - ALASKA
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 156 46 46  W  Latitude 71 18 0  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 19
Frequency 21937000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 21928000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 17934000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 17919000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 11354000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 10093000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 10027000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 8936000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 8927000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 6646000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 5544000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 5538000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 5529000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 4687000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 4654000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 3497000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 3007000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 2992000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 2944000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10

Ground Station ID 11
ALBROOK - PANAMA CITY
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 79 32 59  W  Latitude 8 58 12  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 6
Frequency 17901000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 13264000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 10063000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10
Frequency 8894000 Hz Master Frame Slot 6
Frequency 6589000 Hz Master Frame Slot 2
Frequency 5589000 Hz Master Frame Slot 10

Ground Station ID 13
SANTA CRUZ - BOLIVIA
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 63 7 46  W  Latitude 17 40 11  S
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 21997000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 17916000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 13315000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 11318000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3
Frequency 8957000 Hz Master Frame Slot 11
Frequency 6628000 Hz Master Frame Slot 7
Frequency 4660000 Hz Master Frame Slot 3

Ground Station ID 14
KRASNOYARSK - RUSSIA
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 92 18 0  E  Latitude 56 6 0  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 21990000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 17912000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 13321000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 10087000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 8886000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 6596000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 5622000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4

Ground Station ID 15
AL MUHARRAQ - BAHRAIN
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 50 39 0  E  Latitude 26 16 12  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 6
Frequency 21982000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 17967000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9
Frequency 13354000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5
Frequency 10075000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 8885000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9
Frequency 5544000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5

Ground Station ID 16
AGANA - GUAM
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 144 48 0  E  Latitude 13 28 11  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 7
Frequency 21928000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 17919000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9
Frequency 13312000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5
Frequency 11306000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 8927000 Hz Master Frame Slot 5
Frequency 6652000 Hz Master Frame Slot 1
Frequency 5451000 Hz Master Frame Slot 9

Ground Station ID 17
CANARIAS - SPAIN
UTC UNLOCKED
Longitude 15 23 23  W  Latitude 27 56 59  N
Squitter Version 0
Number of frequencies 6
Frequency 21955000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 17928000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 13303000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8
Frequency 11348000 Hz Master Frame Slot 4
Frequency 8948000 Hz Master Frame Slot 12
Frequency 6529000 Hz Master Frame Slot 8

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HFDL Database 49 Now Current

Molokai just switched to #49 and pushed it to an aircraft.  Will post the new PCHFDL file when things settle down.

New HFDL System Table

Yesterday the HFDL system went to table 48, then to table 49, now possibly back to 48.  More when it settles down.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Frequency Change for VOA Radiogram April 4-5

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

The Saturday 0930-1000 broadcast of VOA Radiogram returns to 5745 kHz as of this weekend (4 April).

Yes, there were some breaks in transmission at the beginning of last week's transmission Sunday at 1930 UTC on 15670 kHz. It was not your receiver, computer, or software.

Last week's test of the 8PSK FEC modes was interesting. In general, the 8PSK FEC modes did not perform as well as well as the MFSK modes. [They were much more problematic here, in The Land That Short Wave Forgot, with the fast one being totally uncopyable. You really need the MFSK 100% duty cycle and phase tolerance to punch through fades on these marginal paths. We'll see if the pilot tone makes any difference. -Hugh] However, Richard in New Brunswick and I, using a receiver in Nova Scotia, had 100% copy of all the modes, including 8PSKR250F at 635 wpm! This mode might be useful for high-speed data transmission, including formatted web pages, over distances of 1500 km or less, especially when propagation is stable.

This weekend we will do one more test of 8PSK125F. This will actually be two transmissions, one without the pilot tone, and one with the pilot tone. You do not need to make any adjustments to  detect the pilot tone, other than to have the Fldigi RxID on (green). "The RsID signal will both determine the mode and the mode center frequency (to the nearest 2.6 Hz). A finer resolution of the mode center frequency can be made using the optional pilot carrier," according to the Fldigi Users Manual.











Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 105, 4-5 April 2015, all in MFSK32 except where indicated ...

 1:27  Program preview
 2:46  Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV*
 8:53  8PSK125F: Tatar-language TV channels off air
10:03  8PSK125F (with pilot tone): Same story
11:08  MFSK32 resumes: Cyberattack targets GitHub*
16:39  Google and Chinese website certificates*
21:18  Cuba will increase Internet access*
27:10  Closing announcements
28:35  Bonus mode: Olivia 16-1000

* with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com .

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz (new frequency)
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Sunday at 0130 UTC (Saturday at 9:30 pm EDT) on 7375 kHz (via Germany). This is part of the expanded KBC transmission UTC Sundays at 0000-0300 UTC on 7375 kHz. The Saturday transmission of The Mighty KBC on 6095 kHz is discontinued.  Reports to Eric at themightykbc@gmail.com .

WRMI, Radio Miami International, 9955 kHz, will transmit IDs in digital modes again this weekend. You might not hear these transmissions, or even see a trace of the digital modes on your waterfall, but you might still successfully decode the text. Reports to Jeff at info@wrmi.net .



UTC Day UTC Time Center audio frequency Mode
Saturday 1014:30 2000 Hz MFSK32 image
Saturday 2129:30 2000 Hz MFSK16
Sunday 0129:30 2000 Hz MFSK32
Sunday 0329:30 1500 Hz Olivia 32-2000
Sunday 1039:30 2000 Hz MFSK32 image
Sunday 2259:30 2000 Hz MFSK16
Monday 0059:00 2000 Hz MFSK32
Monday 0329:00 1500 Hz Olivia 32-2000

AndFlmsg (Fldigi for Android). If you have an Android tablet or phone, a new beta release (B0.5.0) of AndFlmsg  is now available at  http://www.w1hkj.com/vk2eta/ . This new version can decode MFSK images and has other improvements. Please let me know your results. (This tip from the developer: On the modem screen, to copy and paste part of the decoded text, simply stop the modem with the Modem On/Off button, then long-press on the received text to show the select/copy tool. The text can then be pasted into an email app for example.) (AndFlmsg B0.5.0 may not yet have the 8PSK125F mode.)

Thank you for your helpful reports from last weekend's broadcast (program 104). I will compile the gallery of MFSK images and answer those reports as soon as I can.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net



Friday, March 27, 2015

ALE Included in 2015 US Armed Forces Day Tests

Every year, various US military auxiliary (MARS) stations conduct an activity in which they listen for stations on amateur frequencies and transmit on out-of-band military frequencies.  This operation is specifically authorized by FCC rules once a year for what's called the Armed Forces Day Communication Test. Indeed, the activity used to be on Armed Forces Day, the third weekend in May. In recent years, however, they've moved it up a week to avoid conflict with the popular Dayton Hamvention.

This year's test will include Automatic Link Establishment.  Yes, this is legal for hams to use, and there is an HFLINK net that does just that. The only hard part is transmitting, since antenna match has to be retuned very quickly by the standards of amateur gear. Good autotuners are essential.

Receiving in scanning mode, though, can be done with plain old PC-ALE. Create a .qrg file of the mil frequencies, and off you go.

From the announcement:

ALE IN USA ANNUAL ARMED FORCES DAY CROSS-BAND
COMMUNICATIONS TEST (09-10 MAY 2015)


= Armed Forces Day ALE Direct Interoperability =

This is the first year that ALE will be in use for this event.
Ham operators may use ALE "Individual Call" selective calling
to connect with a military station, for voice communications.
Amateur Stations with Automatic Link Establishment (ALE)
capability can contact a military station directly on specific
half duplex “cross band” channels established for this purpose.

Military stations will scan and receive certain Amateur
HFLINK ALE frequencies, and transmit on the corresponding
military ALE frequency. Military stations will also
transmit ALE station identification (soundings) on each
military frequency at 30 to 90 minute intervals. Amateur
stations which are capable may scan the military frequencies
and monitor the soundings to build the LQA database or
select the channel manually. HF Radios with an embedded
ALE feature, or ham radios with computer-based PC-ALE,
are compatible for use with the military 2G-ALE used in
this event.


============================

 ALE Military Stations:

 CALLSIGN | ALE ADDRESS

 AAZ | AAZ
 NBL | HMBNNN
 NUW | NUW
 AGA2SY | 2SYAGA

 ============================


Armed Forces Day Interoperability

 ALE CHANNEL FREQUENCY LIST:

 Channel| Amateur      | Military
 X75US  |  3,996.0 USB |  4,000.0 USB
 X60INT |  5,371.5 USB |  5,385.5 USB
 X40US  |  7,296.0 USB |  7,357.0 USB
 X20INT | 14,346.0 USB | 14,846.0 USB
 X17INT | 18,117.5 USB | 18,272.5 USB
 X15INT | 21,432.5 USB | 20,940.0 USB
 X12INT | 24,932.0 USB | 24,858.5 USB

 
Upper Sideband (USB) is utilized on all frequencies
for transmit and receive.

============================

Amateur stations seeking more information about ALE go to
http://hflink.net http://hflink.net

============================

ABOUT THE ANNUAL ARMED FORCES DAY CROSS-BAND MILITARY/AMATEUR
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS TEST (09-10 MAY 2015)

The US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard
are co-sponsoring the annual military/amateur radio
communications tests in celebration of the 65th Anniversary
of Armed Forces Day (AFD) and the 90th Anniversary of MARS.

The annual celebration is a unique opportunity to test two
way communications between Amateurs and military communicators
authorized in 47 CFR 97.111, and features traditional military
to amateur cross band SSB voice, Morse Code, practice using
legacy interoperability waveforms, as well as an opportunity
for Amateurs to utilize more modern military communications
modes such as MIL-STD Serial PSK and Automatic Link
Establishment (ALE). These tests give Amateur Radio operators
and Short Wave Listeners (SWL) an opportunity and a challenge
to demonstrate their individual technical skills, and to
receive recognition from the appropriate military radio
station for their proven expertise. QSL cards will be
provided to those stations making contact with the military
stations.

Important Experimental 5-mode VOA Radiogram for March 28-29

VOA Radiogram is having an important test session this week.  Please read these essential instructions if you wish to participate in this test.

From Kim Andrew Elliott:


Hello friends,

For this weekend's VOA Radiogram, please download Fldigi 3.22.06 from http://w1hkj.com/download.html.

We will try two of the new 8PSK modes with forward error correction (FEC). These are available in 3.22.06. The FEC built into 8PSK125F and 8PSK250F might help these modes survive the rigors of shortwave, despite their fast speed.

Fldigi 3.22.06 also restores the ability to display UTF-8 characters [broken in 3.22.05 -Hugh], although this weekend's program contains no non-Latin characters or exotic punctuation marks.

This weekend's program (program 104) will transmit the same 724-word Reuters news story about social media in Africa in five different modes, each increasing in speed, until MFSK32 resumes to close the show ...

 2:53 MFSK32 (120 wpm)*
12:18 MFSK64 (250 wpm)*
18:05 8PSK125F (317 wpm)
20:55 MFSK128 (480 wpm)*
25:17 8PSK250F (635 wpm)
26:51 MFSK32: Closing announcements
27:33 MFSK32: Bonus image of solar eclipse

* with image

It is likely that decoding errors will be seen as the modes increase in speed. Nevertheless, please stay tuned until the closing announcements and image in MFSK32.

In Fldigi: Configure > Modems > PSK: At the bottom of this menu under "8 psk", leave the Pilot tone box unchecked, which is the default. We will try the pilot tone with 8PSK during the weekend of April 4-5.

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5910 kHz*
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

* This will change to 5745 kHz beginning 4 April 2015.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz and Sunday at about 0130 UTC on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. The last KBC Saturday broadcast on 6095 kHz will be 28 March. KBC will continue Sundays at 0900-1600 UTC on 6095 kHz.

AndFlmsg. If you have an Android device, please try the free beta Android app AndFlmsg from http://www.w1hkj.com/vk2eta/. Although AndFlmsg is designed for Flmsg forms, it also decodes plain text (non-Flmsg) content. Swipe AndFlmsg until you reach the modem screen, the one with the W.Fall On/Off button bottom right. Acoustic coupling -- radio speaker near the Android device's built-in mic -- usually works well. [Works great here. Everything but the images. - Hugh]

Thank you for your reception reports from last weekend. I will compile the MFSK image gallery and respond to your reports as soon as I can.

As of the end of March 2015, VOA Radiogram has been on the air two years. We are still learning new things about text and images via shortwave, and software is being developed. Thanks for your support.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vanuatu Cyclone Relief on HF

From Dallas McKenzie on UDXF:

8.992 (RNZAF) and 8.867 (Auckland Radio)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Severe (Kp=8) Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

From Solarham:


March 17th, 2015 is turning out to be a very lucky day for sky watchers. A Severe G4 Level (KP=8) Geomagnetic Storm was observed following the passage of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Solar wind speeds increased to near 700 km/s and the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) pointed sharply south (-20 to -25nT) for long durations, thus helping to intensify storm conditions. Sky watchers at middle to high latitudes should be alert for additional aurora displays during the next 24 hours once it is dark outside. Additional sub-storming will be possible should solar wind conditions cooperate.


The aurora photos making the Internet rounds are unbelievable.  The full structure of the aurora is revealed, with the different colors from different spectral lines all visible at once.