Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some More Israeli Intelligence Freqs

E10 being reported on:

2743 ULX
3415 ART
5230 ULX
6270 ULX
6986 ART

Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Numbers" Activity Increases In Gaza Crisis

The Israeli phonetic alphabet station (E10) became much more active soon after the air strikes began in Gaza. Also more time slots have messages, and new messages come out more frequently.

E10 can start on the hour, half-hour, or sometimes even 15 minutes after the hour. Most schedules come between 1800 and 2300 UTC.

Recently logged E10 frequencies:

3150 PCD
3270 ULX
4270 PCD + 2 abnormal PCD strings
4560 YHF
4880 ULX
5435 ART
6840 EZI + 1 abnormal EZI string

In addition, 4270 and 4880 are frequently jammed.

4XZ, the Israeli Navy CW station that broadcasts weather and coded "numbers" like traffic is being heard on 2680 and 4331 around 1700 UTC.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mini "Night of Nights" on New Year's Eve

For the last several years, the Maritime Radio Historical Society amateur radio station K6KPH has participated in the annual ARRL Straight Key Night. This is an informal CW activity that runs from New Year's Eve into New Year's Day (US time). The only rule is that participants use a plain simple old straight telegraph key like the one they probably used to learn code. There are no scores or awards, but you can nominate good fists you hear on the air for honorable mentions. It's harder than it sounds!

For 2008-2009, the MRHS activity has been expanded into what is almost a mini Night of Nights (the Morse Code observance in July where several old stations send CW for around 6 hours). KSM (the MRHS commercial CW station at the KPH site) will be active on CW, RTTY, and Sitor-B (FEC mode). KLB, a ShipCom commercial station in Washington state, will also participate.

This activity gives a good chance to hear mediumwave transmissions under optimal winter-night conditions. In general, propagation should be quite a bit different from July.

All operation commences with the start of Straight Key Night, at 0000 UTC 1 January 2009 (after the Leap Second!). Here are the frequencies(kHz):

KLB
CW: 488 500

K6KPH QSX for CW calls from hams
3550
7050 (Vintage RCA transmitter)
14050
Don't forget that straight key.

KSM
CW: 426 500
4350.5 (Vintage RCA tx)
6474.0 (ditto) 8438.3
12993 (vintage Press Wireless tx)
16914

Teleprinting: 8433 12631
Baudot is 170/45
Sitor is 170/100 mode B (FEC)

K6KPH/KSM QSL to
Ms. Denice Stoops
QSL Mistress, MRHS
PO Box 381
Bolinas, California 94926
USA

MRHS mailing list:
Radiomarine-subscribe at yahoogroups.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Greetings from Utility World



A discussion on UDXF gave me the idea for this year's card. It's a spectrogram picture made by DIGTRX 3.11. This is a freeware RDFT file transfer program used on occasion by Cuban Intelligence for the "numbers."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

US Congress Investigates "Dysfunctional" FCC

We were right all along. Or at least that's the conclusion of a Congressional investigating committee, which confirms serious malfeasance at the US Federal Communications Commission.

Their new majority report paints a picture of an opaque FCC, with a culture of fear and a tendency to suppress data conflicting with politically motivated decisions. Gee, this sounds quite a bit like many other parts of the Bush administration, does it not?

Here are some relevant parts of a news report posted to the ARRL web site:

On Tuesday, December 9, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce -- the congressional committee that oversees the Federal Communications Commission -- released its majority staff report "on the bipartisan investigation of the FCC's regulatory processes and management practices." The report -- Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Kevin J. Martin -- stated that the investigation was prompted "by allegations to the effect that [FCC] Chairman Kevin J. Martin has abused FCC procedures by manipulating or suppressing reports, data and information."

...

Representative John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce echoed Stupak's concerns: "Any of these findings, individually, are cause for concern. Together, the findings suggest that, in recent years, the FCC has operated in a dysfunctional manner and Commission business has suffered as a result. It is my hope that the new FCC Chairman will find this report instructive and that it will prove useful in helping the Commission avoid making the same mistakes."



But the best parts concern the FCC's deliberate ignoring of data that conflicted with its allegedly prejudiced decision on Broadband over Power Lines (BPL):

Concerning BPL, the report alleges that FCC officials "ignored complaints of radio frequency interference caused by BPL high-speed Internet technology, delayed an enforcement investigation for two years and improperly withheld engineering data regarding BPL from the public."

The report found that in October 2004, as then-Chairman Michael Powell issued his final rule "defining BPL access and setting technical and administrative requirements to protect licensed radio operators from harmful interference," the FCC "withheld from the public certain engineering reports on which it relied in promulgating the rule" from the final rule and order.

Even though the BPL rules were adopted during Powell's tenure, the report found that "it was under Chairman Martin that the Enforcement Bureau and the General Counsel continued to withhold the redacted engineering reports and insisted on doing so in the course of the ensuing litigation [with the ARRL]."


Farther down, Martin is accused of lying to Congress:

The report also showed instances of where Chairman Martin "manipulated, withheld or suppressed data, reports and information," and said Martin's "manipulation [of another report] may have damaged the credibility of the Commission, and certainly undermined the integrity of the staff. Moreover, it was done with the purpose of affecting the congressional decision-making, in that it was issued as a report to Congress."


It is certainly everyone's hope that a new broom in Washington can sweep away some of these wannabe communication lobbyists who have so damaged the FCC.

Full story is at ARRL.org.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solar CME May Affect HF Propagation Monday

Posted Saturday December 13 2008 at http://www.kn4lf.com/kn4lf72.htm :

On Friday December 12, 2008 fleeting sunspot group #11009 produced a C class solar flare before setting around the west limb of the Sun. This is the first C class solar flare since April 03, 2008.

Also a filament eruption occurred in the northwest quadrant of the Sun beginning at approximately 0615 UTC. This produced a weak partially geo-effective (Earth facing) coronal mass ejection (CME) that "may" impact Earth's geomagnetic field in a minor way (Kp 3) on or about Monday December 15, 2008.

Monday, December 08, 2008

USCG Cutters Getting New HF ALE Radios

U.S. Coast Guard chooses Thales HF-ALE radios for surface ships

CLARKSBURG, Md., 21 Nov. 2008. U.S. Coast Guard leaders needed medium-powered high-frequency automated link establishment (HF-ALE) radios for Coast Guard cutter surface ships to be acquired over the next five to seven years. They found their solution from Thales Communications Inc. in Clarksburg, Md.

Thales's systems are going aboard the Coast Guard's fleet of 75 cutters of varying classes, including high- and medium-endurance cutters and the polar icebreaker fleet.


More here

Monday, December 01, 2008

IARU Region 1 Passes New 40 Meter Bandplan

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) concluded its meeting in November with an agreement on a new voluntary band plan for the expanded 40 meter amateur band.

IARU regions coincide with those of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Region 1 is Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and all of Russia east to its Bering Strait border with (gasp) the United States. Region 2 is North and South America, plus Greenland. Region 3 is Asia (minus Asiatic Russia), the Central and South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. Antarctica and the Arctic are split up accordingly, as the lines run clear to the poles.

On March 29, 2009, an ITU agreement will kick in, expanding 40 meters in Region 1 from 7000-7100 kHz to 7000-7200. AM broadcasters in Region 1 will no longer be coordinated in this part of the "41 meter band," though it is not known whether all will actually move anytime soon. Furthermore, broadcasters in Region 3 will not have to move unless interference from legally operating amateurs becomes a problem.

The major change for hams is to move most voice operation above 7100 kHz, somewhat more in harmony with the United States rules. Night time 40 meter users in the US will hopefully not be required as often to work crossband or cross-mode to contact voice DX stations. However many countries don't have required band segments by mode, and band plans are voluntary in such cases.

Here's the band plan:

7.000-7.025 CW, contest preferred (existing prime DX-chasing segment worldwide)
7.025-7.040 CW QRP, Center of Activity 7030
7.040-7.047 Narrow band digital (PSK31, etc)
7.047-7.050 Narrow band digital, auto allowed
7.050-7.053 All digital, auto allowed
7.053-7.060 All digital
7.060-7.100 All modes, 7070 digital voice, 7090 SSB QRP
7.100-7.130 All modes, Region 1 Center of Activity 7110
7.130-7.200 All modes, SSB contest preferred, SSTV 7165
7.175-7.200 All modes, priority for intercontinental