Thursday, May 31, 2007

Night of Nights 2007 - Mark Those Calendars

Amateur station K6KPH will be on the air for this year's Night of Nights event. Professional operators will be at the key to receive signal reports for commercial coast stations.

Night of Nights is an annual event held on 12 July by the Maritime Radio Historical (MRHS) Society to commemorate the history of maritime radio.

Once the maritime mobile bands were populated edge to edge with powerful coast stations operating from virtually every country on every continent. Once the ships of world trade and the great passenger liners filled the air with their radiograms - and with their calls for help when in danger on the sea. Now those bands are largely silent.

But once a year the the MRHS returns stations KPH, KSM and KFS to the air. Other stations including WLO, KLB, NMC, NOJ and, we hope for the first time this year, NMN often join us. Calls from ships at sea make the event seem like we have returned to the golden age of maritime radio.

This year, for the first time, we plan to have K6KPH on the air on several frequencies to receive signal reports from amateur stations. The operators at K6KPH will be seasoned commercial operators with years of experience "sitting the circuit". This will give us information about how well the stations are being heard and will give amateur stations the experience of what it was like to work a real coast station.

Details of Night on Nights VIII will follow, including times, frequencies and QSL information for all stations. But we wanted to get this notice out early so you can mark your calendars for this year's event.

VY 73,

Richard Dillman, Chief Operator
Maritime Radio Historical Society

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WHRI Starts Frequency War With CHU

Listeners to the 40 meter band might have noticed that World Harvest Radio has added 7335 kHz to its frequency schedule between the hours of 0600 and 1100 UTC (2 to 7 AM in the Eastern time zone). This is part of its "Angel 1" schedule, beaming toward South America from Cypress Creek, SC with a claimed effective radiated power in the tens of megawatts. (All this is fully documented on their web site.)

Even though the beam is southward, this has been pretty well obliterating CHU, the Canadian standard time and frequency station near Ottawa. Many people actually use CHU for the same purposes as WWV/WWVH/WWVB in the USA, including sensitive automated timing applications. Needless to say, they are somewhat less than thrilled.

Unfortunately, under the new ITU international allocations that took effect two months ago, CHU is technically a broadcaster, not a utility, and does not have any kind of priority on the frequency the way it would if it were still operating as a government service. It's a legal technicality, but one being exploited quite effectively by WHRI.

While WHRI does have a legal right to transmit here, IMHO it's pretty tacky. Even HAARP listens first.

Here's the e-mail sent by someone at CHU in reply to correspondence from the Ontario DX Association:

Hello Brian,

I am aware of this situation.

CHU has a licence to broadcast on 7.335 MHz and this frequency has been
registered with ITU, HFCC, FCC and other broadcast authorities. This,
however, does not guaranty that we own this frequency, for all international
purposes. We must now fight for it, with the FCC.

I have sent several letters to WHRI, but their chief engineer has not
replied to me. I have also sent a letter to the FCC stating the use of our
service on this band and our long standing service at this frequency. They
have yet to respond.

We must now go through all politically correct channels to resolve this
dispute. But the members of your association can use other mean declare
their dissatisfaction with the interference from WHR. Have your interested
members send email to WHR ( ), and the FCC ( ).

This may have more impact.

Raymond Pelletier
Frequency and Time
Institute for National Measurement Standards
National Research Council Canada
M-36, room 1026
1200 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R6
Tel: (613) 993-3430
Fax: (613) 952-1394
Government of Canada
Fréquence et temps
Institut des étalons nationaux de mesure
Conseil national de recherches Canada
M-36, salle 1026
1200 chemin Montréal
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R6
Tél: (613) 993-3430
Télécopieur: (613) 952-1394
Gouvernment du Canada

As Drudge would say, developing......

Saturday, May 05, 2007

DX-Tuners is QRT

Nigel Hammond of DX-Tuners reports that, after 10 years of fine service to the radio listening community, his World Wide Web based network of remotely controlled radio receivers is no longer available.

Users of this network know how extensive it was. It included several receivers with huge antenna systems and/or quiet rural locations that all of us urban DXers could only dream about. I used it quite often to verify that frequencies were active, or just to receive clear signals from stations seldom heard here in The Land that Shortwave Forgot.

Nigel reports that DX-Tuners will refund unused portions of subscription fees. Instructions are at

Far as I'm concerned, DX-Tuners can keep my balance. They earned it, to say the least.

Friday, May 04, 2007

More SK01 Variants

On May 3rd, SK01, the PSK version of the Cuban Morse code numbers (M08a), was heard on 6826 kHz at 0600 UTC with yet another new format using lines of "1" characters as a separator without the "2." Mode is PSK125, another one which can be received with MultiPSK. I have also noticed that the SK01 on 17 mHz has also occasionally dropped to PSK125. (Multipsk can autobaud these.)

PSK125 is a faster version of the better known PSK31 used by hams. PSK220F is a sped up PSK125 (220.5 baud) with convolution coding.