Monday, February 09, 2009

WebSDR Utility Hits

WebSDR is a remote Software Defined Radio at the University of Twente, Netherlands (grid locator JO32KF). It runs a Java applet that displays three waterfalls for amateur band segments, and allows multiple Internet users worldwide to listen to different parts of these at the same time.

While the amateur signals are interesting enough, the real fun is the utility reception at this location. It gives those of us trapped here on the US West Coast (aka The Land That Shortwave Forgot) a chance to hear some of those utilities that Europeans keep reporting on UDXF.

Here's a short log of some recent stuff I heard. Keep in mind that some of the frequencies are offset from where you'd hear them on your own equipment. Others are not (because I looked them up).

3589.7 (Indicated on WebSDR)
Unid - BPSK250 Weather obs in GG 01/30/09 0636
This unidentified station appears to dump files from various sources on a regular schedule. At 250 baud, it's pushing the limit of what the rubbery Internet timing can pass undistorted. Garbled characters are common. However, there's never been anything resembling an ID.

One file included many amateur callsigns and sets of coordinates, perhaps an APRS dump. Another one, passed frequently at hour +15, contains Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Weather Office) warnings and formatted marine safety bulletins from "NAVTEX-Hamburg."

80 meter Russian single-letter HF beacon cluster:
3593.7 CW SLHFB "D" Sevastopol 02/04/09 0431
3593.8 CW SLHFB "P" Kaliningrad 02/08/09 2142
3593.9 CW SLHFB "S" Severomorsk 02/04/09 0431
(frequencies are actual, from records)

3607.0 Unid Link-11 (idling) 01/04/09 0427
3610.0 Unid Link-11 (busy) 01/04/09 0427
(On pretty much nightly. Unknown NATO. Other Link-11 comes and goes. Frequencies are WebSDR readings.)

Other utilities abound in the band 3500-3700, which by the way is legal for their use in region 1. There are several very strange fax-like digital signals. Also, several old fashioned analog weather fax stations can be copied here, though the SDR's timing makes sync difficult.

40 meter Russian single-letter HF beacon cluster:
7038.7 CW SLHFB "D" Sevastopol 01/30/09 0650
7038.8 CW SLHFB "P" Kaliningrad 01/30/09 0659
7038.9 CW SLHFB "S" Severomorsk 01/30/09 0650
7039.0 CW SLHFB "C" Moscow 01/30/09 0650
7039.1 CW SLHFB "A" Astrakhan? 02/03/09 2050
(Actual freqs, from lists.)