Friday, January 23, 2015

VOA Radiogram for January 24-25

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Many of you have had problems with the Fldigi RxID. It correctly identifies the MFSK32 mode, but sets the audio frequency to somewhere between 1100 and 1200 Hz rather than the actual 1500 Hz center frequency.

I've noticed this phenomenon for over a year, but it might be more prevalent in newer versions of Fldigi.

If you are receiving a strong signal from the North Carolina transmitter, there is often a "halo" above and below the 500-Hz-wide trace of the MFSK32 signal. You can see this in a screenshot sent by Jonathan in Ontario ...






I think the Fldigi RxID latches on to the first thing it encounters that looks like an RSID, which would be the halo to the left (lower in frequency) of the actual MFSK32 signal. That halo is enough to activate the RxID, but not enough to receive actual text.

One solution might be to use an attenuator. Another solution is, in Fldigi: Configure > ID > turn off "Searches passband," then manually set the center frequency to 1500 Hz.

On this weekend's VOA Radiogram, after my voice introduction, I will transmit the MFSK32 RSID. That will be followed by a 30-second tuning signal. If the RxID set Fldigi to the wrong audio frequency, this will give you time to retune to the correct frequency.

After the first MFSK32 RSID, I will transmit no further RSID's until the RSID for the bonus mode of the week: MT63-2000L.  

Olivia 16-2000: Last weekend's Olivia 16-2000 did not perform as well as the slower Olivia 32-2000 of the weekend before. In fact, the Olivia 16-2000 may not have been an improvement over MFSK32. This still needs more analysis: I will look through your text files when I respond to your reception reports.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 95, 24-25 January 2015 -- all in MFSK32 except where noted:

 1:39  Thirty-second tuning signal at 1500 Hz.
 2:07  Program preview
 3:10  Early release of State of the Union text*
 9:29  Russian reaction to State of the Union comments*
18:22  US-Philippine alliance in the South China Sea*
25:38  Closing announcements*
28:16  MT63-2000L: 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 5910 kHz         (might no longer be audible in Europe)
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz        (audible in Europe, if you are awake)
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz      (reception should be improving in Europe)
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.


The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reception reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .


Thank you for your VOA Radiogram reception reports from the weekend of 17-18 January. I will respond to them during the weekend.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Correction for December Utility Planet

In the December column, in the section concerning the Russian Digital Pseudo-Polytone (DP01), the incorrect frequencies were shown for Eddy Waters' logging.

The correct frequencies are 18265 (0830 UTC), 19117 (0840 UTC),  and 19922 khz (0850 UTC).

We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Reset Your Fldigi for VOA Radiogram January 17-18

Hello friends,

Last week’s news item in Olivia 32-2000 provided successful text decodes in some difficult reception conditions. This weekend, we will try a VOA News item in Olivia 16-2000. It’s faster, about 76 wpm, but with only 16 tones, it might not be as robust. The Olivia 16-2000 mode requires a custom setting in Fldigi.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 94, 17-18 January 2015 -- all in MFSK32 except where noted:

 1:42  Program preview
 2:50  WikiHouse simplifies home construction*
 7:22  Taiwan protests new Chinese air routes*
13:53  Facebook app provides Internet to Colombia*
20:18  Olivia 16-2000: Proposed cuts in methane emissions
25:07  Closing announcements*
28:09  Thor16: 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 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.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

At voaradiogram.net, check out this very nice homebrew tube (valve) receiver used by Klaus in Germany to receive VOA Radiogram.

Thanks for the reception reports from last weekend, which I will begin answering now.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Friday, January 09, 2015

Slightly Slower VOA Radiogram for 10-11 January 2015

Again this weekend, because of poor mid-winter propagation, one of the VOA News stories will be transmitted in Olivia 32-2000 -- somewhat slow at 50 words per minute. In Fldigi, Olivia 32-2000 requires the custom setting of a 2000 Hz bandwidth and 32 tones. It's a robust mode that takes advantage of the available bandwidth of a shortwave broadcast channel.  

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 93, 10-11 January 2015, all in MFSK32 except where noted:

  1:42  Program preview
 3:02  Greetings to Encuentro Diexista in San Cristóbal
 5:11  Balloons with leaflets launched to North Korea*
 9:45  Chinese-led canal project in Nicaragua*
15:33  Russian-language TV program expands to Latvia*
21:06  Olivia 32-2000: Hashtag supports Charlie Hebdo
25:19  Closing announcements*
28:33  MFSK64L: 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 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.

Images for the gallery. Fldigi automatically saves MFSK images as .png files in the Windows folder C:\Users\[You]\fldigi.files\images\. The folder names and locations may be different in other operating systems. It is easiest for me to include your images in the weekly gallery of MFSK images if you attach those .png files to your reception report. 

The Mighty KBC will (as far as I know, although I didn't have a chance to confirm) include a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Send reports for 6095 and/or 7375 reception to Eric at themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thanks for the many interesting reports for program 92. I hope to answer as many of those as I can before this weekend is over.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Friday, December 26, 2014

Newsy VOA Radiogram for December 27-28

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

This weekend's VOA Radiogram includes VOA News story by Doug Bernard about the Internet in Cuba. It's longer that most of our items: about 12 minutes in MFSK32. I think it's all interesting, so I couldn't bring myself to cut any of it. I considered transmitting it in MFSK64, but given poor mid-winter propagation conditions in the northern hemisphere, I decided it best to stay with our reliable MFSK32 mode.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 91, 27-28 December 2014, all in MFSK32 except where indicated:

 1:38  Program preview
 2:38  Mobile computer lab in Nairobi*
 8:04  US wants open Internet in Cuba*
21:50  Launch of Russia's new Angara rocket*
26:18  Closing announcements*
28:22  Bonus mode: MFSK16

*with image

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.

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. Send reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thanks for tuning in and writing in, and for all your support, during 2014. Best wishes for the new year 2015.

Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

voaradiogram.net

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry & Well-Illustrated VOA Radiogram for December 20-21

 From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,


Last weekend, 15670 kHz on Sunday at 1930-2000 was fair into into Europe, better than the total loss of the weekend before.  And 5910 kHz Saturday at 0930-1000 is improving into Europe now that we are near the winter solstice.



This weekend, VOA Radiogram will include six MFSK32 images.


Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 90, 20-21 December 2014:

 1:47  Program preview
 2:58  India rocket launch*
 6:06  Cambodian "ghost" plane up for auction*
10:59  Mocking Kim Jong-un is serious matter*
18:12  Belarus law on online media*
22:10  Ukrainian photo collections*
22:24  U.S. Capitol Christmas tree*
27:36  Closing announcements
28:38  Bonus mode: Thor-16

* with image



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.


The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Send reports to Eric at themightykbc@gmail.com .


This reminder about Al Holt's helpful guide to building a ground isolator, to reduce noise from a computer into a shortwave radio.



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


Enjoy the holidays.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net


Thursday, December 18, 2014

"WWV" Solar Flux Hits 213!

Several complex active regions are pointed right at the Earth. They are producing class M flares and periodic minor R1-level radio blackouts. The "official" daily uncorrected solar flux broadcast by WWV hit 213 today.  I haven't checked, but that sounds like a peak for Cycle 24 or at least close to it.  Of course due to our planet relatively close to perihelion, it may go down when it's corrected.

All of this woke up VHF this morning, L.A. time, with a number of East Coast businesses audible on the West Coast. It might be a good idea to check on 6 meters at the usual times.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Wintry VOA Radiogram for 13-14 December 2014

From Kim Andrew Elliott:
Hello friends,

Many of us experience noise on our radios when audio from the radio is patched to a computer – especially a computer using an AC converter. VOA Radiogram listener Al Holt has provided these plans to build a ground isolator that might reduce some of that noise. [I used this type of transformer with a scanner once, and it works, if the problem is indeed grounding. -Hugh]

Noise from your computer cannot be blamed if you were unable to receive VOA Radiogram last weekend Sunday at 1930 UTC on 15670 kHz. Mid-winter propagation is the real cause. The 15670 kHz transmission was generally not heard  in Europe, but it was received fairly well in North America. And Chris in New Zealand received 15670 well enough for this MFSK32 image decode …


Let’s hope that 15670 is usable in Europe this weekend.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 89, 13-14 December 2014, all in MFSK32 except where noted …

1:34  Program preview (now)
2:43  News about amateur radio and shortwave
5:20  Citizen scientists track coastal ecosystem*
12:45  Controversy about South China Sea boundaries*
20:18  Russian television channel may be shut down*
27:39  Closing announcements
28:32  Bonus mode of the week: Olivia 32-1000

*with image

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.

The Mighty KBC resumes its minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com .

The ARRL 10-Meter Contest is this weekend, Saturday 0000 to Sunday 2359 UTC.  Modes are CW and phone (no digital modes). An ARRL 100th anniversary station will operate during the contest from the Voice of America Amateur Radio Club, K3VOA, using the call W1AW/3. I may be operating phone from the station on Sunday, especially around 14 to 16 UTC.  The 10-meter band is 28-29.7 MHz, where propagation can be very good, or very bad.

The International Space Station is planning to transmit slow scan television (SSTV) on 18 and 20 November. Details here. The SSTV mode will be PD180, which can be received with MultiPSK.

Thanks for all your reports from last weekend, the inaudible 15670 kHz notwithstanding. I will prepare a gallery of the images that were decoded, then answer your emails.

Thanks also to all who reported on the sound of the new audio processor being tested from the North Carolina transmitter.


Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott  
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Friday, December 05, 2014

Freedom-Loving VOA Radiogram for 6-7 December (Plus Radio Check Request)

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,
Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 88, 6-7 December 2014, all in MFSK32 except where indicated:


 1:38  Program preview
 2:41  Audio processor and DX meetings*
 6:51  Internet freedom report*
14:45  Mineral, mostly inaccessible, is named*
18:57  Exhibition of Navajo jewelry*
26:43  Closing announcements*
28:29  Bonus mode: QPSK31

*with image

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.


VOA Radiogram this weekend includes news about a new report on world Internet freedom.

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.


The Mighty KBC will not transmit the usual minute of MFSK64 this weekend. The MFSK64 will return next weekend.


Thank you for your reception reports from last weekend, especially from those of you writing in for the first time. I will prepare either a QSL or an image gallery and try to answer all of the reports before the end of this weekend.


Please tune in and write in.


Kim


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

---------------
The International Broadcasting Bureau transmitting station in North Carolina is evaluating a new Orban 9300 Digital Optimod-AM audio processor on its transmitter GB-5.

The engineers in North Carolina "would be very interested in any listener comments regarding fidelity and the ability to overcome less than ideal propagation while using the new audio processor."

Here is the schedule:

UTC           kHz      Content
0400-0700     7405     Radio Martí
1230-1300     9610     Vatican Radio
1400-2000    13820     Radio Martí

These are normal voice broadcasts, with some music, not digital text modes! You may notice co-channel noise from Cuba on the Radio Martí frequencies.

Send reception reports to our usual address, radiogram@voanews.com, and I will forward them to North Carolina.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Less Surprising VOA Radiogram for November 29-30

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Flmsg returns this weekend on The Mighty KBC. See details below.

This week on VOA Radiogram, the "surprise mode of the week" becomes the "bonus mode of the week." Because many of you have problems with the RSID, I will divulge the bonus mode so that you can make manual adjustment if necessary.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 87, 29-30 November 2014, all in MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz except where indicated:

 1:37  Program preview
 2:39  Dimming lights to see the night sky*
11:27  Cambodian rice wins "world's best" title*
19:53  Color photos of 1963 Soviet Union*
26:29  Closing announcements
27:20  Bonus mode of the week: MT63-2000L  

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.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports to Eric at themightykbc@gmail.com.

This weekend, the MFSK64 transmissions on The Mighty KBC will be in Flmsg format. If you do not have the Flmsg software, download it from the same source as Fldigi: http://w1hkj.com/download.html.

To make Flmsg work with Fldigi, in Fldigi:  Fldigi: Configure > Misc > NBEMS > Under "Reception of flmsg files" check both "Open with flmsg" and "Open in browser." Under that indicate where your Flmsg program is located, for example C:Program Files (x86)\flmsg-2.0.5\flmsg.exe.

If all goes well, the text from The Mighty KBC will pop up on your web browser.

Thanks for your reception reports for program 86.  I hope to have all them answered by the end of the weekend.


If you are in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!



Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram
voaradiogram.net

Thursday, November 13, 2014

VOA Radiogram for November 15-16

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Hello friends,

Before discussing last weekend’s and next weekend’s program, a reminder that an archive of past VOA Radiogram broadcasts recorded by Mark Hirst in the UK is kindly maintained by Mark at the URL below. You can decode the modes from these recordings …


Last weekend’s 8PSK: As expected, the 640-word-per-minute 8PSK-250 in last weekend’s program usually resulted in more errors than the 320-wpm 8PSK-125. There were a few instances of 95-100% decode of the 8PSK-250, including the 360 km from the North Carolina transmitter to my house in northern Virginia, Saturday 0230 UTC on 5745 kHz. It seems that the 8PSK-250 would be most useful in short-hop shortwave propagation, beyond the range of VHF.

[That's what I had here in California, The Land That Short Wave Forgot. I got a good decode on the 8PSK-125, though it errored out once in a fade.  The 8PSK-250 could not handle the fading conditions at all, producing a few readable lines and a lot of gibberish. -Hugh]

This weekend we return to our workhorse MFSK32 mode for the entire program, except for an MFSK64 image and the surprise mode at the end of the show.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 85, 15-16 November 2014 (all MFSK32 except where indicated):

1:45  Program preview
2:52  Solar eclipse and European power grids*
7:53  Human settlements and animal extinction*
11:45  Interfacing human brains via Internet*
16:05  Sesame Street TV show marks 45 years*
19:45  Russian media news*
26:37  Closing announcements with MFSK64 logo
28:05  Surprise 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 5910 kHz (new frequency as of 1 November)
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 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports for the KBC transmissions to themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thanks for your reception reports. I’ll try to respond before the end of the weekend.

Please tune in and write this weekend.

Kim

Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

G4ILO Propagation Box Replaced by N0NBH

One of the mailing lists had a link to propagation widgets at a site operated by Paul Herrman, N0NBH.  One of these looked compact and comprehensive, and so it will be used here.  It adds some new information, such as 304A, a solar measurement on a wavelength (304 Angstroms) which creates a good part of the F region ionization.

Clicking on the box takes you to the site.

Monday, November 10, 2014

G4ILO, SK

Mark Clark, N3IRJ, has e-mailed this blog with the following sad information:

I am sorry to report that Julian Moss, G4ILO became a Silent Key on October 24, 2014.  Please see his blog http://onefootingrave.blogspot.com/ for the original post.

His wonderful HF Propagation has since encountered difficulties, and unless someone takes over maintenance, shall remain uncorrected.

All condolences to his family for their loss. 

For now, in respect of the dead, his little box will be left up.  Also, it is preserved in hope that someone else might fix it someday.

We, too, offer condolences to Julian's family.



Saturday, November 08, 2014

NMC Pacific Surface Analysis Showing Nov. 2014 Superstorm

This huge storm is what happened to a super-typhoon when it got farther north and picked up energy from the jet stream and another cyclonic storm.  It's one of the biggest storms ever seen.  It's way bigger than Sandy, though fortunately the affected area is far less populated. As of this post, damage has been limited to some islands, and there are no known fatalities.

I'm especially fond of the single deep fade (fuzzy vertical line) which appeared almost exactly as the storm center was being transmitted.  It's almost as if the storm is saying, "Don't mess with me; I'm so bad I can even zap your picture."

Below, we see the chart in a smaller version.  Clicking through to it, then doing "View Image" (or whatever your browser calls it) will bring up the whole original.  It is huge.

Note the densely packed isobars and the large hurricane-force wind field.  The central pressure is not concentrated in an "eye" the way a hurricane would do, but it is still among the lowest recorded in this region.  The 944 showing on this chart is close to where Andrew measured.

The pressure later dropped to an ear-popping 924 or thereabouts. No one hung around, and there were no instruments to make a definitive reading.  Still, the estimated pressure makes the storm a contender for strongest ever recorded in the Bering Sea.

Also note the extremely wide geographic area under influence of the storm, plus the very long cold front stretching all the way through the temperate latitudes. This goes stationary only a few degrees north of the tropics. This front may influence California weather sometime next week, as it moves up and over the Pacific High to the lower right.  The storm's effect on polar latitudes is forecast to bring an early winter to much of the US.