Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Egyptian MFA Hits

These come from a listener in Germany. The same operator tried all these frequencies in ARQ Sitor-A between 2125 and 2147 UTC:

7778.7 10223.7 10334.7 9106.7 9046.7

[N.B.: the x.7 in these frequencies is due to offset. 10222 and 10223.7 are the same frequency depending on the dial reading when it is properly tuned.]

Egyptian Crisis On HF

People in Europe are reporting radio transmissions associated with the Egyptian crisis. The ones of most interest to us are the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). The MFA maintains a global network using a couple of teleprinting formats, often in an Arabic alphabet called ATU80.

This network is still active. Traffic is encrypted. A recent hit comes from Ary Boender, who got it from an anonymous listener in Europe. It used ARQ on approximately 9078.7 kHz. The message body was enrypted, but the preamble wasn't. It was clearly a diplomatic cable to Washington, DC, marked URGENT.

Some other known Egyptian MFA frequencies (from the log) are: 5370 6785 7759.7 7815 8022 9035 9067.7 10176.7 11056.7 14923.7 16067.7 16236.7 17434.7 18331.7 18451.7.

HF radio in general appears to be serving as a back-channel communication mode in the absence of Internet and mobile phone circuits (though these are coming back). On Friday, CW comms were reported on several 40 meter amateur frequencies. Two I recall off the top of my head are 7010 and 7076, though the latter is also a JT65A weak signal channel. I do not know if the CW was "real" or some kind of black propaganda diversionary operation.

Egypt has a secured airport that is being used by members of the upper class to flee the country. Bizjets have been heard by Allan Stern on 5517 kHz USB (their local night) and 11300 USB day. It's assumed that, since Murabak is likely holed up at his vacation home nearby, that any flight carrying him out of the country might check in here.

On the broadcast side, Gayle Van Horn has posted a Radio Cairo International schedule here. We also have a warning out from informed radio sources that a US web site purporting to be Radio Cairo is not official and should be ignored.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is the Japanese Whaling Fleet Using HF CW?

I was keeping this quiet because both sides of the famous "Whale Wars" dispute monitor the Internet almost as intently as the radio, looking for any information on position and course of the others. However, they have now made contact, and awareness of the existence of communication no longer gives either one useful information for location.

The "Whale Wars" are, of course, the yearly Japanese whaling expedition to the Southern Ocean every summer, and the efforts of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to shut it down. This is shown every year, a few months later, on the Animal Planet TV show with this name.

About a week ago, suspicious Morse code comms were heard on 12443 kHz CW. This frequency is in the ship CW working band, but it is not an international channel. It's one kHz off from 12442.0, the ship transmitting side of a duplex pair with 9MG, Penang, on 12943.5 kHz.

These comms, however, are simplex. The ship operator sends Morse with a standard "straight key," not a "bug" or automatic keyer. Content is mostly numbers, though the people who are able to hear this have reported non-international Morse characters that could be Japanese or other languages.

One listener in New Zealand reports that he copied the words "Sea Shepard." It's not known whether the CW op misspelled it or it was a typo. He also notes that he has heard Antarctic CW activity on 12443 kHz simplex in previous Southern Hemisphere summers.

This activity coincides with reports on the Sea Shepherd web site of a series of complex tactical maneuvers ending in their intercepting the factory ship Nisshin Maru, making it impossible to process whales and bringing the Japanese whaling to at least a temporary halt.

So, have utility listeners done the seeming impossible, and heard the Nisshin or one of its associated vessels? This is not known. It could be another vessel mentioning the activity. It's sure fun to speculate, though. Did the whaling fleet think no one would check the old CW frequencies?

But, regardless of who you think is right in this yearly dispute, anything actually associated with it would be a major utility catch. Who says there's nothing on short wave?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NOAA/ Teal Winter Storm Recon Continues Daily (check WSPODs)

000
NOUS42 KNHC 221800
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0100 PM EST SAT 22 JANUARY 2011
SUBJECT: WINTER STORM PLAN OF THE DAY (WSPOD)
VALID 23/1100Z TO 24/1100Z JANUARY 2011
WSPOD NUMBER.....10-053

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
A. A66/ 28.2N 91.5W (DROP 10)/ 25/1200Z
B. A65/ 27.3N 78.6W (DROP 10)/ 26/0000Z

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE -- NOAA49--
A. P77/ 37.6N 171.8E (DROP 11)/ 24/1200Z
B. NOAA9 09WSW TRACK77
C. 24/0800Z
D. 20 DROPS AS SHOWN ON TRACK
E. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT/ 24/1800Z

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE
P73/ 439N 172.3E (DROP 11)/ 25/1200Z
WVW


---------

000
NOUS42 KNHC 231730
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1230 PM EST SUN 23 JANUARY 2011
SUBJECT: WINTER STORM PLAN OF THE DAY (WSPOD)
VALID 24/1100Z TO 25/1100Z JANUARY 2011
WSPOD NUMBER.....10-054

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70 --
A. A66/ 28.2N 91.5W (DROP 10)/ 25/1200Z
B. AFXXX 12WSA TRACK66
C. 25/0645Z
D. 10 DROPS AS SHOWN ON TRACK
E. AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE/ 25/1400Z

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
A. A64/ 30.3N 75.0W (DROP 10)/ 26/0000Z
B. A64/ 30.3N 75.0W (DROP 10)/ 26/1200Z

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE -- NOAA49--
A. P73/ 43.9N 172.3E (DROP 11)/ 25/1200Z
B. NOAA9 10WSW TRACK73
C. 25/0800Z
D. 20 DROPS AS SHOWN ON TRACK
E. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT/ 25/1800Z

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
WVW

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still Nothing New on WebSDR

The most recent posting to the WebSDR site in the Netherlands shows no change in the problems getting the equipment back up and running:

Update 4 January:

Happy new year everyone!
Unfortunately, there's no news yet about our antenna connection.
Thanks for all the mails I got, expressing support and/or with tips on how to feed an antenna signal through a window that cannot be opened. Unfortunately, those tips are not usable: our only window is to the corridor, not to the outside. That is because our club room is in a part of the building that originally was only meant for storage, so no outside windows were installed.

Those of us who have had any experience with university amateur radio clubs, and the strange workings of the schools that support them, will be less amazed that a club dependent on outdoor antennas would be given a room with no access to same. Universities are like this.

Winter Storm Taskings for 1-10/11

000
NOUS42 KNHC 091630 COR
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1130 AM EST SUN 09 JANUARY 2010
SUBJECT: WINTER STORM PLAN OF THE DAY (WSPOD)
VALID 10/1100Z TO 11/1100Z JANUARY 2011
WSPOD NUMBER.....10-040 -CORRECTED

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70--
A. A65/ DROP 6 -34.2N 72.0W/ 11/0100Z
B. AFXXX 07WSA TRACK65
C. 10/2145Z
D. 6 AS SHOWN ON TRACK TO MIDPOINT THEN RECOVER
E. AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE
F. ONLY NORTH HALF OF TRACK TASKED
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS - CORRECTED
1. FLIGHT ONE -- NOAA9--ADDED
A. P16/ DROP 11 -40N 164W/ 11/1200Z
B. NOAA9 02WSW TRACK16
C. 11/0800Z
D. 21 AS SHOWN ON TRACK
E. 41,00 TO 45,000 FEET
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: PSBL TRACK 28
FROM PANC CP 35.0N 150.0W FOR 12/1200Z.
3. NOTE; MISSION TASKED ON POD 10-039 WILL FLY.
WVW

---

000
NOUS42 KNHC 101830
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0130 PM EST MON 10 JANUARY 2010
SUBJECT: WINTER STORM PLAN OF THE DAY (WSPOD)
VALID 11/1100Z TO 11/1200Z JANUARY 2011
WSPOD NUMBER.....10-041

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. A64/ 30.3N 75.0W/ 12/0000Z
B. AFXXX 08WSA TRACK64
C. 11/1700Z
D. 10 DROPS AS PUBLISHED
E. AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE/ 12/0200Z

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE - NOAA 49
A. P28/ DROP 14/ 12/1200Z
B. NOAA9 03WSC TRACK28
C. 12/0800Z
D. 25 DROPS AS PUBLISHED
E. 41,00 TO 45,000 FEET/ 12/1800Z

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
A. P27/ 13/1200Z/ DROP 14
JWP

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Teal 70 Tasked for Winter Storm Recon

000
NOUS42 KNHC 071835
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0135 PM EST FRI 07 JANUARY 2010
SUBJECT: WINTER STORM PLAN OF THE DAY (WSPOD)
VALID 08/1100Z TO 09/1100Z JANUARY 2011
WSPOD NUMBER.....10-038 CORRECTION

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. A66/ BOGGY/ 9/1200Z
B. AFXXX 07WSA TRACK66
C. 9/0700Z
D. 10 DROPS AS PUBLISHED + KLAMS EQUALS
11
E. AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE/ 9/1400Z

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK:
A. A66/ BOGGY/ 10/0000Z
B. A65/ STIFF/ 10/1200Z

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY:
JWP

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Utility World Is On Twitter!

The Utility World account on twitter has been in development since around New Year's Eve. It has been linked to this blog, and so the last four "tweets" will also show here. You can go to twitter and follow Utility World by taking the link just above, or at any time by going to the bottom of the new Utility Tweets box and clicking the little birdie.

As another part of the new 2011 Utility World, the column now has yet another e-mail address. Although the old ones will still work indefinitely, this is a lot easier to remember. It's mtutilityworld [the symbol with the a inside the circle] gmail.com .

All this makes Utility World even more timely. Now it's your turn to help, by contributing. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

ARRL Shows IBEC BPL Systems Are Interfering, Violating FCC Rules

[Hugh's note: IBEC stands for International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc. Contrary to what you have been told about Broadband over Power Lines (BPL), it remains commercially viable in "underserved" rural markets where DSL and cable are not practical options. IBEC's equipment is fully certified under current FCC rules, and the company offers turnkey solutions ready for immediate deployment by any power company. Everything was supposed to be fine, but according to the ARRL, there is some trouble in paradise. Read on.]

12/29/2010

ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission documenting ongoing harmful interference and egregious rules violations by Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) systems installed by IBEC, Inc. in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. The ARRL has requested that the FCC “initiate immediately an enforcement proceeding regarding these BPL systems, and cause them to cease operation until such time as they are each in full compliance with the Commission’s Rules.”

Contrary to earlier representations to the ARRL and to statements in the online BPL database, IBEC’s systems in these locations are not universally notching the Amateur bands as is necessary in order to avoid emissions at levels that are likely to cause harmful interference to licensed Amateur Radio stations. In fact, measurements by ARRL staff and confirmed independently show that IBEC systems are not even notching the aeronautical bands that the FCC rules require BPL systems to avoid and are operating at power levels that cause radiation well in excess of the FCC limits.

The ARRL even discovered IBEC BPL systems in operation that are not listed in the online BPL database – another clear violation of the FCC rules, which require listing 30 days prior to initiation of service.

...

full story here