Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Massive Cuts at Radio Australia

I don't usually do broadcasting, but the latest round of catastrophic budget cuts threatens to reduce or even eventually eliminate a real fixture on the US West Coast short wave dial. That's Radio Australia. 

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) international division is facing a >50% funding cutback. According to one source being quoted around the Internet, that will eliminate the English language section.  While no immediate cuts to short wave hours have been announced, it is most likely only a matter of time.

From an Australian media site:

A Radio Australia staff member told Crikey 25 editorial jobs will go, while seven people in operations will also be sacked. Staff have been told that this will include the entire English-language division of Radio Australia, which the CPSU has confirmed. All casuals and contract staff will be dropped. Asked if this number of redundancies would have a large impact on Radio Australia, a staff member told Crikey they amounted to “gutting” the network. It’s understood just 30 staff will be retained in the division, with cuts in content expected. Flagship program The World will be reduced to a half-hour program.

In ABC International, another 46 jobs are going. Staff have been told the Australia Network may stop broadcasting earlier than September.




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Night of Nights Update

This just in!

Night of Nights Final Update


Dedicated to True Believers Worldwide
10 July 2014


Final details for Night of Nights 2014

Event Date:
Saturday 12 July 2014 Pacific Daylight Time

First Transmission from MRHS Stations:
5:01pm Pacific Daylight Time 12 July, 0001Z 13 July 2014

For full station and frequency information and directions to the site please see our Newsletters No. 45 and No. 46


> KLB will not be on the air

> Amateur station W4WLO on the air

> Hear KWMR program on Night of Nights and Marconi anniversary



> KLB will not be on the air

We've just received word from Rene of Shipcom LLC that station KLB will not be on the air for Night of Nights 2014 due to illness.  We wish CJ, the op at KLB, a fast recovery and hope that KLB will return to the air next year

> Amateur station W4WLO on the air

Rene has also advised that amateur station W4WLO will be on the air for Night of Nights 2014.  Their operating frequencies will be 7055kc and 14055kc, just up the band from K6KPH.  So listen for W4WLO for a chance to work another historic coast station.

> Hear KWMR program on Night of Nights and Marconi anniversary

As mentioned in previous numbers of the Newsletter (see above), 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the commencement of service by the Marconi stations at Bolinas, CA and Marshall, CA.  There are many wonderful events and exhibits available to commemorate this event.

On Wednesday 9 July community radio station KWMR in Point Reyes Station broadcast a special program about these events and exhibits and about Night of Nights with Carola DeRooy, archivist at the Point Reyes National Seashore, Elia Haworth, curator of the Bolinas Museum and Richard Dillman of the MRHS.  Click HERE to listen to that program.

We very much look forward to hearing you on the air or seeing you in person on Night of Nights.  Until then we wish you the best of luck and fair winds & following seas.


73,
MRHS

Maritime Radio Historical Society CW Night of Nights 2014!

From Maritime Radio Historical Society:

Here's all the basic time, station and frequency information.

Click HERE for MRHS Newsletter No. 45 for related stories and event information.

Date: Saturday 12 July 2014 Pacific Daylight Time [13 July UTC -Hugh]
Location: RCA receiving station, 17400 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Point Reyes National Seashore  

Click HERE for a map of the location from Google Maps

Time: Doors open at 3:00pm pdt, first transmission 5:01pm pdt (0001gmt 13 July)
Refreshments: Served
Photographs: Encouraged
Tours: Given

None of this would have been possible without the trust and vision of the Point Reyes National Seashore.  The only reason these facilities were spared the bulldozer that visited all the others is that they are on park land.  And the only reason they have been restored to operation is that the PRNS staff understood their importance and trusted the MRHS to restore them to life. 

We will send last minute changes and signal reports by Twitter.  You can join Twitter free at:

https://www.twitter.com

and follow us at @Radiomarine

MRHS Stations

Sixteen transmitters will be on the air from the MRHS transmitter site in Bolinas.  That doesn't include transmitters held in ready reserve in case of failure.  Members of the crack MRHS Transmitter Department and the H Set Team will be on hand to assure that all goes well.

> KPH:

Frequency            Transmitter                  Antenna

500/426                Henry MF-5000D        Marconi T
4247.0                  RCA K Set                  Double Extended Zepp
6477.5                  RCA K Set                  Double Extended Zepp
8642.0                  RCA L Set                  Double Extended Zepp
12808.5                RCA L Set                  H over 2
17016.8                RCA L Set                  H over 2
22477.5                RCA H Set                 H over 2

The restoration of the H set has been chronicled in past issues of the Newsletter.  It will return to revenue service for the first time in decades for Night of Nights.  See Newsletter No. 38 for information about and photos of this magnificent transmitter.


> KFS

We want to offer our sincere thanks to Globe Wireless for the help and support they have provided for our project since the very beginning.

Frequency            Transmitter                     Antenna

12695.5                Press Wireless PW15   H over 2
17026.0                Henry HF-5000D            H over 2



> KSM

Frequency           Transmitter                     Antenna

500/426               Henry MF-5000D            Marconi T
8438.3                 Henry HF-5000D            Double Extended Zepp
12993.0               Henry HF-5000D            H over 2
16914.0               Henry HF-5000D            H over 2
22445.8               Henry HF-5000D            H over 2     


> K6KPH

K6KPH ops will monitor the frequencies below as propagation and the number of available operators permit.

Frequency           Transmitter                    Antenna

3550.0                 Henry HF-5000D           Double Extended Zepp
7050.0                 RCA L Set                     Double Extended Zepp
14050.0               Henry HF-5000D           H over 2
18097.5               Henry HF-5000D           H over 2
21050.0               Henry HF-5000D           H over 2

> Reception Reports

Reception reports and verification requests for the MRHS stations listed above may be sent to:

Maritime Radio Historical Society
PO Box 392
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
USA

> Station Telephone

The receive site may be contacted by phone on 415-669-9646

USCG Stations
 NOTICE!

This may very well be the last time ever that USCG stations can be heard on the air using A1A (Morse) emission.  As new equipment is installed the hardware and wiring for Morse has been progressively removed.  And the personnel who knowledgeable in the art retire or are reassigned.  So be sure to listen for these stations.

Many USCG personnel at all levels are responsible for bringing these stations back on the air for Night of Nights 2104.  We want to particularly thank ET1 Mike Leska for taking the lead for this year's project.

> NMC (Transmit Bolinas, Receive Pt. Reyes)

Frequency            Transmitter                         Antenna

448.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173' monopole tower
472.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173' monopole tower
500.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173' monopole tower
6383.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
8574.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
17220.5                Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional

NOTE regarding NMC/NMQ/NMW MF transmissions.  Only one MF transmitter will be in service at each station.  Morse transmissions will be made on an as-available basis from each station as USCG operators must also accommodate scheduled NAVTEX transmissions.

> NMQ (Transmit Cambria, CA, Receive and Control Pt. Reyes)

Frequency            Transmitter                  Antenna

448.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Inverted L
472.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Inverted L
500.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Inverted L


> NMW (Transmit Astoria, OR, Receive and Control Pt. Reyes)

Frequency            Transmitter                   Antenna

448.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Capacitive top hat
472.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Capacitive top hat
500.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6    Capacitive top hat


> Reception Reports

Reception reports and verification requests for the USCG stations listed above may be sent to:

Attn: OSCS Phil Marsh
USCG CAMSPAC Point Reyes
17000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
USA
Self addressed stamped envelope requested!

> Shipcom LLC Stations

All thanks to Rene at WLO and CJ at KLB for the work they do each year to bring these stations back on the air.  They are true radiomen.

> WLO 

2055.5
4343.0
8658.0
12992.0
16968.5

> KLB

488.0
500.0
8582.5

> Reception Reports

Via email (for both stations) to: wloradio@wloradio.com

> Calling Channels

All commercial and USCG stations listed above will listen for calls from ships on 500kc and on ITU Channel 3 HF:

4184.0
6276.0
8368.0
12552.0
16736.0
22280.5

Listen on these frequencies if you want to copy both sides of ship to shore contacts.

> Commemorative Messages

Was your father, uncle or grand dad a commercial op or amateur operator?  Would you like to send a commemorative message in their honor over KPH, KFS and KSM?  We have sent several of these messages in past events and they were all very moving.  If you would like us to send such a message this year please send it to us no later than Wednesday 9 July pdt so we can be sure to include it.  Sent it to info@radiuomarine.org

We look forward to meeting you in person or on the air for N of N 2014.

Questions?  Need more info?  Just shoot an email to info@radiomarine.org

VOA Radiogram for July 12-13

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Thank you for your reception reports from the weekend of 5-6 July 2014.

One of the images sent during that program was a part of a portable shortwave radio, with blue at the bottom of the picture. That was not an error in transmission. The blue was an ocean -- as in shortwave sinking into the ocean. I should have selected a picture of an ocean with more waves and whitecaps, so it would have been more obvious.

[The picture was in regard to VOA's latest round of cutbacks, which will again further reduce short wave. -Hugh]

This weekend, 12-13 July, VOA Radiogram will provide information about “Night of Nights,” an annual commemoration of the commercial maritime radiotelegraphy industry, which ended in 1999. Several coast maritime CW (Morse code) stations will be on the air UTC 13 July at 0000-0700 UTC. If your CW skills are rusty, remember that you can use Fldigi to decode CW.

More information at http://www.radiomarine.org (follow the link to the schedule).

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 67, 12-13 July 2014 (MFSK32):

1:31  Program preview
2:36  Maritime radiotelegraph commemoration, with image
9:35  "Nanojuice" improves intestinal scans, with image
15:16  Titan's subsurface ocean probably is salty, with image
21:27  Training center could lead to South Korean-Russian rail link, with image
26:48  Closing announcements

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 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 Saturday (12 July) at about 1130 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday (13 July) at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports for these KBC transmissions to themightykbc@gmail.com.

I will start today to answer reports from the weekend on 5-6 July, then, if there is time over the weekend, work back through the reports during May that I have not yet answered because of my travels.

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

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
radiogram@voanews.com 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer VOA Radiogram for June 21-22

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

VOA Radiogram this weekend will be different in that I recorded it at a sample rate of 8000 Hz rather than the usual 48000 Hz. This is because I have not yet configured the new installation of Fldigi in my new PC.

Despite the 8000 Hz sample rate, I was able to decode the MFSK32 and surprise modes from the recording with no difficulty.  And it probably should make no difference in your decoding. But, if it does, please let me know. (The audio file I uploaded to North Carolina is only 27 MB, compared to the usual 160+ MB for the shows recorded at the usual 48000 Hz sample rate.)

VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 21-22 June 2014 (program 64) will be in the usual MFSK32 mode, except for two surprise modes at the end of the show...

  1:36  Program preview
 2:41  Subsurface ocean on Pluto's moon, with image
 9:57  Indonesian smartphone use surges, with image
15:54  Designing buildings to withstand disasters, with image
21:22  Al Jazeera reporter released from Egyptian prison, with image
26:32  Closing announcements


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 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 Saturday at about 1130 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (9:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz. Both frequencies via Germany. Reports to themightykbc@gmail.org .

I hope to respond to all your emails from program 63 before the last broadcast of program 64 this weekend. Then, I'll work backwards, responding to your very helpful reports sent during my May travels.    

Please tune in and write in this weekend.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Friday, June 13, 2014

VOA Radiogram for 14-15 June 2014

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

    Hello friends,

    I apologize for the delay in responding to your emails from the past few weeks. After returning from travels in May, my audience research duties have greatly expanded (in quantity, not in importance). Furthermore, at home, I have installed a new PC running Windows 7, and applications crash nearly every time I open them. (Fldigi is an interesting exception: it's usually stable.) This PC problem and finding a solution are cutting into my productivity.

[This hasn't been an issue on any of several machines I converted to W7. Are your apps in the latest versions that are compatible with the way Windows does security since Vista?  (Fldigi is.) If not, are they running in directories outside Program Files or Program Files (x86)?  A lot of these apps shaped up for me when I created a directory outside this hierarchy under C: called Radio and installed to there instead.]

    I will resume sending emails as soon as I get home this afternoon, probably starting with program 62 and working my way back in time.

    VOA Radiogram for 14-15 June 2014 (program 63) is MFSK32, with a couple of surprises at the end...

    1:35  Program preview
    2:37  Mapping the salmon genome, with image
    8:10  Internet traffic may triple by 2018, with chart
    15:31  Pao-pan.net evades Chinese censorship, with image
    21:49  World Cup Fever at VOA, with image

    26:50  Closing announcements

    Please send your reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

    VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
    (all days and times UTC):

    Sat 0930-1000 5745 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.

    The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1130 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (9:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz. These frequencies are via Germany. Reports to themightykbc@gmail.com.

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

    Kim

    Kim Andrew Elliott
    Producer and Presenter
    VOA Radiogram

    voaradiogram.net

Now We Know What HAARP is For

Statements made by people in the know about the purpose of the HAARP project in Alaska became much more candid, and probably much more accurate, as the threatened early June date of closure and dismantling came and went.

No, it's not to cause earthquakes or control the weather.  It's just to help figure out the best way to put the U.S. military in control of our planet's ionosphere.  That's all.  Just a little thing.

And a very scary one.

Alaska Dispatch:


In May, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble wrote that the university could take ownership of the facility directly or through a lease, or it could work with others in the research community to develop options for covering operational costs.

He said that the main purpose of HAARP is to study techniques through which the U.S. could use “high power radio transmissions to manipulate Earth’s ionosphere for its strategic advantage.”

“The ionosphere is an integral part of the modern battlefield -- it affects GPS navigation, satellite communication, missile tracking radars, orbital surveillance and submarine communication, to name just a few applications,” he said.

Solar Activity is Picking Up

From SolarHam:


Region 2087 produced an impulsive X1.0 solar flare Wednesday morning at 09:06 UTC. This is now the 3rd such X-Class event within the past 24 hours. A relatively faint coronal mass ejection (CME) is seen in the latest LASCO C2 coronagraph imagery. The plasma cloud appears to be blended in with an earlier CME following an M3.0 flare around the same region an hour earlier. The active region will continue to be a threat for major solar flares as it continues to rotate into a more geoeffective position.



Updated 06/10/2014 @ 18:40 UTC
Two X-Flares
Solar activity is now at high levels thanks to new sunspot 2087, now rotating into view off the southeast limb. A strong, but impulsive solar flare measuring X2.2 was first detected Tuesday morning 11:42 UTC. Just over an hour later, this was followed up by a longer duration X1.5 event around the same active region. The second event (X1.5) is responsible for a bright coronal mass ejection now visible in the latest STEREO Ahead COR2 imagery. More details regarding a possible glancing blow once additional imagery becomes available. The active region will turn into a more direct Earth facing position as the week progresses. Event logs are listed below.

CME Update: As per the latest CME prediction model, the expansive plasma cloud will likely pass to the east of our planet and have little to no impact on our geomagnetic field. A glancing blow at best will be possible by June 13th.

Friday, April 25, 2014

X1.3 Solar Flare Occurred 0027 UTC on 25 April

A bright X1.3 solar flare occurred yesterday (North American time) at 0027 UTC.  It was accompanied by an 1100 Solar Flux Unit burst at 10 cm, and a large coronal mass ejection (CME).

This magnitude doesn't make the top ten list for Cycle 24 flares, but it's still up there.

Given the flare's position, on active region 2035 just over the west limb, its energetic CME should completely miss the Earth.

VOA Radiogram for April 26-27

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

For the weekend of 26-27 April, we will transmit only one mode at a time.

One of the VOA News stories, about the Ukraine-Russia cyberwar, is very interesting, but it is also long and would take more than 10 minutes in MFSK32. So it will be in the faster MFSK64L mode.

Everything else will be MFSK32 except for the surprise mode during the closing music.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 56, 26-27 April 2014:

   1:33  MFSK32: Program preview
 2:45  MFSK64L: Ukraine Russia cyberwar
 9:30  MFSK32: Heat into electricity, with image
13:46  MFSK32: Electric cars at the NY auto show, with image
21:33  MFSK32: (Spanish) NASA spacesuits, with image
26:00  MFSK32: Closing announcements

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 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

Last weekend, the MFSK8 "bonus" mode centered on 1000 Hz was mostly successful except in the most challenging shortwave reception conditions. See videos from program 55.

I'm now responding to your reports from last weekend. I look forward to hearing from you this weekend.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram


radiogram@voanews.com

voaradiogram.net
@VOARadiogram

Friday, April 18, 2014

Double Duty VOA Radiogram for April 19-20

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Last weekend's experiment with the "mystery mode," MFSK8 as it turned out, was mostly successful. I reduced the level of the MFSK8 to 8 dB below the level of the MFSK32, because unattenuated MFSK8 at a piercing audio frequency of 2300 Hz can be rather painful to listen to.

This weekend, we'll repeat the contact information and schedule in MFSK8, but we'll move it to 1000 Hz, which is easier on the ear. With MFSK32 and MFSK8 both at full level, a distorted, other-worldly sound resulted. So I reduced the MFSK8 to 4 dB under the MFSK32. You can still hear what sounds like distortion, but it should be harmless. Probably. I hope.

If you prefer an easy, set-it-and-forget-it decoding experience, just do the MFSK32 at 1500 Hz. If you want more of a challenge, then run two instances of Fldigi, or Fldigi and another decoder such as MultiPSK, or record the program, to see the MFSK8 output. Please remember that MFSK8 must be precisely tuned (it will likely be received a few Hz above or below 1000 Hz) for a successful decode.

Please let me know if you think the simultaneous modes are making the MFSK32 images "noisier."

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 55, 19-20 April 2014 (content in MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz):

01:39  Program preview
02:57  Survey of US software developers, with image
07:08  Planets that wobble, with image
13:38  Cambodia's draft cybercrime law
16:06  Google buys drone company, with image
21:42  VOA Spanish* news story about El Niño, with image
26:23  Closing announcements 

*Use the UTF-8 character set. In Fldigi: Configure > Colors & Fonts ...

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 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, with studios in the Netherlands and transmitter in Germany, will include a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1130 UTC (during the new Big Beach Show) on 6095 kHz. And Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 7375 kHz. Reports to Eric at themightykbc@gmail.com.

Thank you for your reception reports to VOA Radiogram last weekend. I will try to answer them before this weekend is over. And, as always, I look forward to your emails.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

Friday, April 11, 2014

Solar Peak VHF DX Log Part 8 (Supplemental from 4/10)

All intercepts made in Southern California by the author, using a WiNRADiO G33DDC SDR and a PAR EF-SWL end fed 45' wire. All frequencies kHz, all times UTC.

OM = male, YL = woman, SS = Spanish, EE=English, Disp=Dispatcher, Unid = Unidentified.

Tones are CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) aka "PL."
CSQ = no tone in use (Carrier SQuelch)

Frequency ... Callsign ... Mode ... Description ... Time ... Tone

30740.0    Unid    FM    SS/EE/OM disp, constant phone ring and another OM bg, some beeps. Like most of these, the speaker goes back and forth between Spanish and accented English. Usual fast talking.    2027    107.2

30800.0    Unid    FM    EE/SS/OM disp, mostly EE but some SS. Usual fast talking.    2009    88.5

30925.0    Unid    ?    Hissy Station    2005    n/a

31040.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM disp, weak, later weak YL. Hard to copy.    2044    missed

31060.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM disp, loud, YL, OM, & phone bg. "Coffee shop." Everything else in SS. Talking even faster than usual.    2012    91.5

31080.0    WPYJ841    FM    Hampden & Worcester County, MA, YL identifying as "Base 3." Followed open-squelch noise like rptr or remote. Likely rptr in use. Working mobiles in a large wide-area radio system used for transportation support. Mobiles calling it "Channel 3." The other weird things on this freq are probably skip getting in through the input.    2220    100.0

31100.0    Unid    FM    YL wkg OM driver    2026    no decode

31240.0    Unid    FM    EE/OM, disp, sounded like all the SS/OMs, huge SS accent, "He call at four thirty?" Phone bg & some offmike talking.    2021    136.5

31360.0    Unid    FM    EE/OM, NY accent, "10-4, 433 [unintelligible]"    2028    CSQ

31400.0    Unid    FM    Phone sounds, distorted voice    ?

31440.0    Unid    FM    Weak EE/OM disp, usual short xmsns    2024    100.0

31640.0    Unid    FM    Two EE/OMs, brief and weak.    2034    85.4

Interesting Participatory VOA Radiogram for April 12-13

If you couldn't hear the first VOA sked last weekend, on 5745 at 0930 UTC, it wasn't your equipment. Due to scheduling mixups, it was never broadcast.

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

After last weekend's schedule mishap, the VOA Radiogram transmissions should be back to their regular times and frequencies this weekend:

UTC Day
UTC Time
Frequency
Notes
Saturday
0930-1000
5745 kHz
Was missing on 5 April
Saturday
1600-1630
17860 kHz

Sunday
0230-0300
5745 kHz
Saturday 10:30 pm EDT in North America;
try unattended reception in Europe
Sunday
1930-2000
15670 kHz


All transmissions via North Carolina

Mystery mode: VOA Radiogram, for the weekend of 12-13 April 2014, will be all MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz, but there will also be a mystery mode transmitted simultaneously at an audio frequency of 2300 Hz. (The RSID will help unlock the mystery of the mystery mode.)

You can decode both the MFSK32 and the other mode by 1) running two instances of Fldigi, 2) running Fldigi and another decoding software such as MultiPSK or DM780, or 3) recording the show and decoding the mystery mode later.

The audio frequency of the mystery mode needs to be tuned very precisely. It will probably be a few Hz above or below 2300 Hz. The content is the VOA Radiogram email address, website URL, and schedule, transmitted over and over, so you will have plenty of time to achieve a successful decode.

One of the MFSK32 VOA news items will be in Spanish. You will need the UTF-8 characters for the accented letters to display correctly. Find the UTF-8 setting via  Configure > Colors and Fonts. 

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 54, 12-13 April 2014 (all MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz except where indicated):

 1:43  Program preview
 2:58  Mystery mode starts centered on 2300 Hz
 4:44  Survey of trust in the Internet, with image
13:00  Intel's use of non-conflict minerals, with image
19:15  US Navy developing fuel from seawater, with image
24:19  VOA Spanish on "cardio," with VOA Voz de América logo
27:10  Closing announcements

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

Thanks for your reports to VOA Radiogram from the past weekend. I will begin to answer them today. I look forward to hearing from you this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter

VOA Radiogram
radiogram@voanews.com
Twitter: @voaradiogram

PS: The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1130 UTC (new time) on 6095 kHz and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 7375 kHz. Reports to Eric via email: themightykbc@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Solar Peak VHF DX Log Part 7 (Supplemental from 6 April 14)

All intercepts made in Southern California by the author, using a WiNRADiO G33DDC SDR and a PAR EF-SWL end fed 45' wire. All frequencies kHz, all times UTC.

OM = male, YL = woman, SS = Spanish, EE=English, Disp=Dispatcher, Unid = Unidentified.

Tones are CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) aka "PL."
CSQ = no tone in use (Carrier SQuelch)

Frequency ... Callsign ... Mode ... Description ... Time ... Tone

30740.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM disp    2342    107.2

31137.0    Unid    PSK    Ctr fq of unknown buzzy waveform, looks like a wider version of HFDL but different timing more suggestive of an ARQ iss mode. 1-sec PSK burst starting with audio center tuning beep every 2 sec.    0016, gone 0021    n/a

33160.0    Unid    FM    LOUD SS/EE/OM fast talking car service dispatcher, with skywave fading. Mostly SS but says some numbers and street names in EE. Street names are most likely in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 5th Avenue, 34th St, 51st St., 52nd St, Washington, etc.. Usual phone bg, plus other dispatchers in room. Brief dial tone heard (???). Several possibilities in metro NYC, mostly in Brooklyn.    1852    77.0

33440.0    KCD346    FM    Tolland County, CT Mutual Aid ("Station TN"). OM with disp for "807." Later two OMs talking. "Need PD. You're all set." "R" in Morse code heard. Presumably part of the "C" squelching in and out.    2232    179.9

33520.0    KNFM255    FM    East Haven FD, New Haven County, CT, dispatch channel. OM, medic alarm. YL, FD dispatch. Street names check out.    2011    131.8

37570.0    Unid    FM    Weak SS/OM, only one brief fade in above squelch. Not a US allocation.    2120    CSQ?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Solar Peak VHF DX Log Part 6 (Supplemental from 4 April 14)

37570.0    Unid    FM    Very weak tones. Looks like analog paging. Likely South America.    2050    CSQ

37630.0    Unid    N0N    Starting point of well defined Squiggle    2044    n/a

38625.0    Unid    ?    Hissy Station    2056    n/a

38900.0    Unid    FM    Slow fade in of YLs in unk lang, NOT English. 2 stns, one 380 Hz off frequency. Short xmsns.    2111    CSQ

39625.88    Unid    FM    Very weak carrier keyed on and off, seems to be using PL. Obviously not CHP. Frequency is exact carrier.    2058    ?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Solar Peak VHF DX Log Part 5 (34-38 MHz)

All intercepts made in Southern California by the author, using a WiNRADiO G33DDC SDR and a PAR EF-SWL end fed 45' wire. All frequencies kHz, all times UTC.

OM = male, YL = woman, SS = Spanish, EE=English, Disp=Dispatcher, Unid = Unidentified.

Tones are CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) aka "PL."
CSQ = no tone in use (Carrier SQuelch)

Frequency ... Callsign ... Mode ... Description ... Time ... Tone

34000.0    Unid    ?    Hissy Station    2032    n/a

34010.0    Unid    FM    SS/2 OM s taxi dispatch, using turkey calls & PL; "cuatro"    2110    88.5

34225.0    Unid    ?    Hissy Station    1945    n/a

34300.0    Unid    FM    Tow co?    2100    210.7

34700.0    Unid    FM    OM and audio tones    1910    ?

34583.7    Unid    ?    Steady hiss, looks like STANAG or 101A, not the Hissy Station. Similar on 34631.0 and 34738.3, no fading at all.    1936    n/a

35040.0    Unid    FM    EE/OM, telling driver to "back in and wait."    2038    ?

35040.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp    2038    110.9

35060.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM, weak, distorted. Band going.    2030    ?

35060.0    Unid    FM    SS/YL,weak, faded    2034    123.0

35080.0    WNNU233    FM    Loud EE/OM and fast audio tone Morse ID "WNNU233." Call returns to Urgent Ambulance Service, East PA and surrounding areas..    2155    141.3

35100.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM Typical fast talking dispatcher. Not the local private patrol (which is loud, uses tone 103.5, and ID's "Los Angeles").    2029    110.9

35100.0    Unid    FM    EE/YL, weak, hard to hear much.    2001    118.8

35100.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, some beeps on key    2116    141.3

35120.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, some beeps on key. Later YL, "Buenos tardes, buenos…" (faded)    2033    131.8

35120.0    Unid    FM    Mercury Cab Service, Chattanooga, TN, unknown call sign not in FCC records. Fast-talking EE/OM dispatcher calling 837, others. Equally fast-talking EE/YL , calling "904" ("nahn oh fo"). All addresses checked out as valid in Chattanooga.    1820    127.3

35130.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, some beeps on key. This IS the right frequency. Not a US allocation.    2048    162.2

35140.0    Unid    FM    EE/OM discussing some kind of tank with unheard other stn. Possibly M/V Mt Washington, NH, KDA290    1934    100.0

35160.0    Unid    FM    Weak.    1856    ?

35180.0    Unid    FM    EE/YL, sounds like skip    1810    91.5

35180.0    Unid    FM    Different stn than 1810 hits    1943    118.8

35180.0    Unid    FM    EE/OM, southern US accent, fading, wkg weak mobile. Later weak YL, poss tow or taxi disp    2058    179.9

35180.0    WPGG338    FM    Niles Flash Cab Assn, Ch. 1, outside Chicago, IL. EE/OM wkg drivers, some mobiles heard, mentioned various Chicago streets. Gave verbal ID that sounded like"Double-you Fay Gay Gay 338." Channel 2 is 35.88, Channel 3 is 35.92. Not heard.    1810    186.2

35200.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking dispatcher    2025    146.2

35250.0    Unid    ?    Very weak, wide Buzzy Station, with selective fading, like 32.55    2145    n/a

35320.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, rattling off numbers    2053    141.3

35320.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM disp    1738    146.2

35360.0    Unid    FM    Weak OM, fading    1832    131.8

35400.0    Unid    FM    EE/OMs, in and out    2145    CSQ

35400.0    Unid    ?    EE/OM wkg YL, distorted    2135    114.8

35440.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, clg "Viente y Dos"    2041    107.2

35480.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM more relaxed than rest, wkg "Uno." Usual numbers, street names, and phone ring bg.    2104    156.7

35520.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, good signal, clg "Ocho Siete," & "Pedro." Lots of street names. Phone ring bg.    2038    173.8

35540.0    Unid    FM    Weak, not much heard    2135   

35620.0    Unid    N0N    Center fq of strange carrier sweeping slowly & randomly up and down, with usual skywave propagation characterisics.    2145    n/a

35630.0    Unid    FM    Weak. Again, this is the right frequency. Not a US allocation.    1946    ?

35640.0    Unid    FM    Very weak digital paging, not much else. South America.    2111    ?

35663.0    Unid    FM    Very weak. Again, the right frequency.    2057    CSQ

35680.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM dispatches, good signal, PL won't decode    2106    ?

35700.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM    2038    94.8

35720.0    Unid    FM    Weak, never much above noise    1946   

35740.0    Unid    FM    Only short snippet exists: EE/OM w/ something about "7164."    2151    103.5

35740.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM disp, clg "Viente y Cuatro." Phone ring bg. Good signal. Procedures suggest S. America.    2052    203.5

35780.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp, loud, good sig    2057    192.8

35800.0    Unid    FM    SS/OM fast talking disp    2049    192.8

35860.0    Unid    FM    SS/YL (but said "eighteen hundred" in EE), & SS/OM    2059    123.0

35880.0    Unid    FM    Weak    2051    ?

35900.0    Unid    FM    Weak, can't break squelch    2053    ?

37260.0    Unid    FM    YL "Base" wkg "Jacob" (heard), "en route," "front door;" distorted, loud PL, fading    2144    123.0

37560.0    Unid    FM    Very weak tone, only showed up on waterfall    2154    ?

37660.0    Unid    FM    Very weak dispatch tones, only showed up on waterfall    2200    ?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Set and Forget VOA Radiogram for April 5-6

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Last weekend's "battle of the 100-word-per-minute modes" produced useful results. Based on a quick analysis of the percentage of correct characters, the average of all responses is…

MFSK32                98%
MT63-1000L        90%
Thor25x4             86%
PSKR125               74%

[My results were very close to these percentages. Around 100% for MFSK32, 99-100% for MT63, mediocre copy on the Thor, and rough copy on the PSKR125. PSK modes don't seem to fare well in this particular application. -Hugh]
 
The MT63-1000L would have had an even better result if it had not been for four occasions of no decode at all. In situations where any MT63-1000L text was received, its performance was very close to that of MFSK32.

MFSK32 does have the advantage of being about 20 words per minute faster than MT63-1000L. Furthermore, MFSK32, unlike MT63-1000L, can be used for images.

This weekend, VOA Radiogram will return to an all-MFSK32 "set it and forget it" format. I do this at the risk of losing the interest of those of you who prefer a program replete with experiments. The program will be interesting in that it will include four images and an Flmsg CSV form with the updated VOA English transmission schedule.   

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 53, 5-6 March 2014:

All MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz...

1:36  Program preview
2:40  Head of Russian social network resigns, with image
9:28  NASA aircraft research, with image
16:13  Maryland company helps in search for MH370, with image
23:04  VOA English broadcast schedule as Flmsg* CSV form
26:44  Closing announcements

*To make Flmsg work with Fldigi (both can be downloaded from w1hkj.com), in Fldigi: Configure > Misc > NBEMS -- Under Reception of flmsg files, check both boxes, and under that indicate where your Flmsg.exe file is located.

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 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

Reception of the Sunday 0230 UTC broadcast in Europe: This broadcast is audible in Europe but occurs at a rather inconvenient time for Europeans. If you are in Europe, please consider unattended reception of this transmission. Three ways to do this involve leaving you radio on and tuned to 5745 kHz all night: 1) Use the Audacity audio recording software, specifically its Transport > Timer Record feature. 2) Use Fldigi's File > Text Capture feature, then retrieve the decoded text from the file that will contain mostly gibberish. 3) Instead of using Fldigi text capture, scroll up through the receive pane to find the decoded text, which you can copy and paste to a text editor or word processor.

The Mighty KBC will again transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. STF Radio International is also planning tests on The Mighty KBC, presumably again in MFSK32 about 15 minutes after my MFSK64 transmissions.

Amateur radio digital nets: As KD9XB, I usually check in to the New York NBEMS net Saturdays at 1400 UTC (10 am EDT) on 7036 kHz and the Pennsylvania NBEMS net Sundays at 1500 UTC (11 am EDT) on 7072.5 kHz. I occasionally also check in to the USeast NBEMS net Wednesdays at 2300 UTC (7 pm EDT) on 7036 kHz. All these nets are USB and start with Olivia 8-500, then change to another mode such as MFSK32 or MT63-1000L for messages.

Thanks for your reception reports last weekend, and I look forward to hearing from this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
radiogram@voanews.com
Twitter: @voaradiogram