Friday, June 28, 2013

VOA Radiogram for 29-30 June

Thanks to everyone who sent reception reports to VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 22-23 June. Response was down somewhat, probably because of the many radio amateurs participating in Field Day during that weekend. I'm grateful that some of you found time to tune in to at least one VOA Radiogram at, or after, Field Day.


Last week's switch to 4-QAM EasyPal images, which require 7 minutes each to transmit, did not seem to result in many more successful decodes. For a real comparison between 4-QAM and 16-QAM (requires only 2:40), this weekend we will transmit both.

The result is that about ten minutes of VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 29-30 June 2013 will be devoted to EasyPal. Apologies to those of you who do not have the EasyPal software, or cannot get it to work. After this weekend, we will reduce the EasyPal transmissions to one per broadcast, once or twice a month. Please let me know how much interest you have in EasyPal.

Three listeners have devised interesting methods to help decode EasyPal images. See:  


The new release (4.24) of MultiPSK is now available from .  The new version can decode MFSK32 and MFSK64, as well as MFSK images, and so would be of interest to VOA Radiogram listeners. An interesting feature is a slant adjust for MFSK images. You might try running Fldigi and MultiPSK simultaneously, and compare results.

VOA Radiogram, 29-30 June 2013:

2:31  MFSK16: Program preview
4:19  MFSK32: VOA News: "super-earths"
2:05  MFSK32: Accompanying image
:23  MFSK32: Introduction to MFSK64
2:15  MFSK64: VOA News: China space mission
2:53  MFSK32: Accompanying image
:33  MFSK32: Introduction to EasyPal
7:00  EasyPal 4-QAM: "super moon" in Greece    
2:40  EasyPal 16-QAM "super moon" in Singapore
1:08  MFSK16: Closing announcements
:24  Surprise mode of the week

We’re still especially interested in...

1) Reception on less expensive shortwave portables -- although not to the exclusion of reception on your transceivers and SDR receivers, which do generally provide more successful decodes.

2) Your audio samples of difficult reception which nevertheless results in a successful decode of at least one of the MFSK text modes.

Good listening and good decoding,


Kim Andrew Elliott
Produce and Presenter

VOA Radiogram
Twitter: @voaradiogram

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alexanderson Alternator Transmission June 30 (UTC)

On Sunday, June 30 (Alexanderson Day), Grimeton Radio (SAQ) will transmit on 17.2 kHz in CW mode using an Alexanderson alternator. The scheduled message times are 0900 and 1200 UTC, with transmitter tuning starting half an hour sooner.

These transmissions are done three times a year, on Alexanderson Day, United Nations Day (October 24), and Christmas (December 24 or 25). While the frequency is low, the power is in the 200 kW range, and the antenna is truly monumental.  It gets out.  Reports typically come from all over Europe, and on occasion from the eastern U.S..

In the past, it has been audible on one of the WebSDRs, which receives VLF.

An amateur special event station, SK6SAQ, will be on 3755 kHz LSB at 0700 on the 30th, and at 0800 on 14035 CW and 14215 USB. Operation will last until 0900. It will also take place 1000 to 1200 UTC.

Reports to:
fax +46-340-674195

Or direct to:

Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner,
Grimeton 72

(NB: new address)

More information about this incredible radio station is at

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Annual Ham Field Day Begins

A lot of people I know are currently in remote locations shouting into radios, exchanging class and section.  The means of deciding these are quite arcane, and can be read in very minute detail at the ARRL web site.  Let's just say that Formula One is simple by comparison.

Field Day is a great exercise, and the competition for points maintains incentive to operate the whole 24 hours.  The knowledge of Murphy's Law thus gained is invaluable for radio communication in disaster situations. The various go-bags and deployable equipment systems developed by the clubs are a definite emergency asset. The self-confidence in knowing that one can actually do this isn't bad either.

The contest gives extra points for copying the Field Day message and submitting your copy.  There are several opportunities.

From ARRL:

(Times UTC)

SATURDAY CW       1400
         Phone    1500
         CW       0000 (Sun)
         Digital  0100
         Phone    0145
SUNDAY   CW       1400
         Phone    1500
         Digital  1600

K6KPH Field Day Bulletin Schedule

SATURDAY CW        1403 
         CW        0030 (Sun)
         Digital   0130 

SUNDAY   CW        1430 
         Digital   1630 

W1AW will operate on its regularly published frequencies.
CW frequencies are 1.8025, 3.5815, 7.0475, 14.0475, 18.0975, 21.0675, 28.0675 and 147.555 MHz.

Digital frequencies are 3.5975, 7.095, 14.095, 18.1025, 21.095, 28.095 and 147.555 MHz.

Phone frequencies are 1.855, 3.990, 7.290, 14.290, 18.160, 21.390, 28.590 and 147.555 MHz.

W1AW will transmit the Field Day bulletin using 45.45-baud Baudot, PSK31 in BPSK mode and MFSK16.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society station K6KPH will transmit the W1AW Field Day 2013 bulletin for the benefit of West Coast stations on 3.5815, 7.0475, 14.0475, 18.0975 and 21.0675 MHz using CW.

K6KPH will transmit the Field Day bulletin using Baudot, FEC AMTOR, BPSK31 and MFSK16 on 7.095 and 14.095 MHz.

The K6KPH schedule is accurate as of June 17, 2013.

Any additional transmissions or changes in the schedule will be posted on the web at, w1aw sked.pdf.

Friday, June 21, 2013

VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 22-23 June

We had an excellent  response to the VOA Radiogram of 15 and 16 June. Thanks for your reports and attachments. I am still analyzing the audio and screenshots you have sent. It's all fascinating.

As I expected, many of you lost the ability to decode MFSK16 when it was reduced to -12 dB under the noise that was mixed with it. I was surprised, however, at the number of listeners who copied all of the MFSK16 at that level. Many of these listeners are in Europe.

For the weekend of 21 and 22 June, the number of reports I receive might be reduced somewhat by the amateur radio Field Day exercise here in North America. I hope you can take a break from Field Day and tune in to one of the VOA Radiogram airplays. 

This weekend's main experiment will involve the EasyPal digital image system. We will use a more robust 4-QAM setting, rather than the 16-QAM setting of previous weeks. As a result, the EasyPal image transmission will occupy seven minutes of the next broadcast, rather than the usual 2:40. The reward for this long EasyPal transmission might be a successful decode of the EasyPal image if it has not succeeded before. Because it does require seven minutes of a 29-minute program, we will not transmit 4-QAM EasyPal images on a regular basis. Download EasyPal from   

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 14, 22-23 June 2013:

2:23  MFSK16: Program preview
3:17  MFSK32: VOA News story about Google balloons
2:13  MFSK32: Image of a Google balloon   
:22  MFSK32: Introduction to Flmsg 
3:41  MFSK32 in Flmsg* format: VOA News re Chinese computer
:14  MFSK32: Intro to MFSK64 
2:53  MFSK64: VOA News story about new astronauts
1:07  MFSK32: Image of new astronauts
:53  MFSK32: Introduction to EasyPal
7:03  EasyPal image of the week
1:08  MFSK16: Closing announcements
:18  Surprise mode of the week

*Use Flmsg with Fldigi, both available from
During VOA Radiogram during the weekend of 8-9 June, our "interference" experiment involved the song "I Remember You" by Slim Whitman. We selected Mr. Whitman's song because his amazing vocal range provided a good test for the MFSK modes. This week came the sad news that Slim Whitman died Wednesday, age 90.


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina. 

VOA Radiogram
Twitter: @voaradiogram

Friday, June 14, 2013

WYFR Woes Doom Yet Another NA SWBC Site

With the decline of Family Radio, this latest SWBC casualty comes as no surprise:

From Shortwave Central:
WYFR to close all shortwave services

We regretfully inform you that the final day of operation for WYFR will be June 30, 2013.

This station descended from W1XAL (an experimental class license assigned in 1927).  In 1939 the call letters were changed to WRUL, and then changed to WNYW in 1966.

Initially, broadcasts came from Boston.  In 1936 the station moved to Scituate, Massachusetts.

On October 20, 1973 Family Stations, Inc. took ownership of the station using the call letters WYFR.  (FSI had been buying airtime from WNYW starting in January of 1972.)  At that time, the station sported four transmitters and nine reversible rhombic antennas.

Construction started in Florida in 1976.  On November 23, 1977 the first transmission from Okeechobee went on the air.

For several years WYFR operated simultaneously from Scituate and from Okeechobee.  The last broadcast from Scituate took place on November 16, 1979.

The Okeechobee site eventually grew to 14 transmitters and 23 antennas.  And now we’ve gone full cycle.

Good listening to all, and 73,

Dan Elyea

This also affects Radio Taiwan International, which was rebroadcast by WYFR.

VOA Noise Tests Continue June 15-16

Thank you for another great response to the VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 8 and 9 June. Your audio samples were especially helpful.

During the past weekend, we experimented with mixing music with MFSK text modes. Reducing the MFSK modes by 9 dB was not a problem if the signal level was good, but the MFSK text did break up for some listeners if reception conditions were marginal.

For many listeners, a new web page popped up after the VOA News story in Flmsg format was transmitted. As for the EasyPal image, there was more success in Europe than in North America.   

This weekend, 15 and 16 June, we will mix some actual noise taken from shortwave with MFSK text. After the noise begins, a VOA News story in MFSK16 will first be transmitted at full level, then reduced to -6 dB, then reduced to -12 dB. I will probably lose many of you when the level is reduced to -12 dB, but please stay tuned: the audio level will soon be restored.   

Please note that noise that is mixed with MFSK text as part of the VOA Radiogram production is not an ideal simulation of co-channel interference. This is because real co-channel interference involves two (or more) transmitters at different locations and with different propagational characteristics.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, 15 and 16 June 2013:

 2:10      MFSK16: Program preview
 1:58      MFSK16: Introduction to noise experiment
10:09     MFSK16: At -0 -6 -12 dB versus noise
    :59      MFSK16: Image of VOA logo
    :47      MFSK16: Introduction to MFSK32
    :51      MFSK32: Image of VOA logo
 3:19      MFSK32: VOA News re Curiosity Rover on Mars                                
               MFSK32: VOA Radiogram logo
  2:40      EasyPal Image of the week         
  1:10      MFSK16: Closing announcements
   :20      Surprise mode of the week

As usual, your audio samples of bad reception that nevertheless results in a successful decode of at least MFSK16 would be appreciated. This email address -- -- seems tolerant of attachments up to 20 MB or so.

Also, if you are able to use portable shortwave radios to receive VOA Radiogram, this would be helpful. This will help us determine if typical listeners will be able to decode the digital text modes.  

Please send reception reports to


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC)

Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz

All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

VOA Radiogram
Twitter: @voaradiogram

Friday, June 07, 2013

MFSK32 mixed with a bit of music on The Mighty KBC

The Mighty KBC, with studios in the Netherlands and a leased transmitter in Germany, will keep it simple with its digital text transmissions this weekend. These will be during The Mighty KBC’s North America broadcast, UTC Sunday 9 June 2013 at 0000-0200 (Saturday 8-10 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz.

At about 0133 UTC, MFSK32 will be centered on 1500 Hz. At just before 0200, the same thing, MFSK32 on 1500 Hz, but with a bit of music added in the background.

VOA Radiogram 8-9 June comes with its own “interference”

The VOA Radiogram frequencies have been large free of co-channel or adjacent-channel interference. [Except on 5745 on the West Coast -Hugh] To determine how well our MFSK modes can cope with interference, we will insert some interference of our own during this weekend. The “interference” will be in the form of the song “I Remember You,” sung by Slim Whitman. Mr. Whitman’s vocal range, spanning octaves, may create a challenge for MFSK.

Also this weekend will be a VOA News story in MFSK32 and in the Flmsg format. We have not transmitted an Flmsg-formatted story recently. This weekend, if it is received successfully, the VOA News story will pop up in a new window of your web browser.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, 8-9 June 2013:

2:53        MFSK16: Preview
1:52        MFSK32: Image of VOA Radiogram logo
5:30        MFSK32: VOA News story in Flmsg format*
1:19        MFSK32: Image to accompany the preceding
7:12        MFSK16: Versus musical “interference”
2:55        MFSK32: Versus musical “interference”
2:40        EasyPal** image of the week
1:10        MFSK16: Closing announcements
:21         Surprise mode of the week

*To view as a web page, use Fldigi and Flmsg from In Flidigi, click Configure > Misc > NBEMS, and under Reception of flmsg files, check both boxes. Under that, indicate where your Flmsg program file is located.

**Use EasyPal software from
VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC)
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz (Sat 10:30-11 pm EDT)
Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Radio Australia digital text transmissions 8-9 June

From VOA Radiogram:
Radio Australia will transmit digital text and an image during three special broadcasts the weekend of 8 and 9 June 2013.

The seven-minute broadcasts will consist of…

MFSK16 text
MFSK32 text
MFSK32 in Flmsg* format (creates Radio Australia logo in browser window)
MFSK32 image (ABC logo)

*Fldigi and Flmsg from must be used together. In Fldigi, click Configure > Misc > NBEMS: Under Reception of flmsg files, check both boxes, and under that indicate where your Flmsg program file is located.

Transmission schedule

All dates/times are in UTC, all frequencies in kHz

Saturday/Sunday 8/9 June 2013

Nominal target areas are listed. Reception beyond these target areas is likely.

0850-0857 UTC
 7410 (PNG & south-west Pacific) 
11945 (south Pacific, NZ, central America, Europe)

1230-1237 UTC
 6080 (PNG, west Pacific, Philippines, Japan)
 9580 (central Pacific, NAM) 
12065 (central Pacific, NAM)

2150-2157 UT C
11695 (south-east Asia, Europe)
21740 (central Pacific, NAm)

Each broadcast begins with with 40 seconds of Radio Australia interval signal (Waltzing Matilda).