Friday, October 30, 2020

WRJG440 Special Operation Saturday

From MRHS:


Special Bulletin 8/27/2020
MARITIME RADIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
29 October 2020
 
"Special Edition"

Dedicated to the True Believers Worldwide


Executive summary:

Call sign - WRJG440 
Frequencies 8438.3, 12993.0 
Mode - CW 
Power -  1 kw 
Date - Saturday 31 October 
Time - 1000 PDT/ 1700Z 
Duration - 2-3 hours 
Reports to ksm@radiomarine.org


Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS) members have been unable to access the KPH transmit and receive sites due to COVID-19 restrictions. In order to return commercial CC to the air we obtained a Special Temporary Authority (STA) to use an alternate transmit site in Valley Springs, California for station KSM (we were unable to do this for KPH because we don't own the license).

Although we are using KSM frequencies the call sign associated with the STA is WRJG440.

The frequencies for this transmission are 8438.3  and 12993.0 khz. Transmission speed will be 20 WPM.

Your reports would be greatly appreciated. Remember, please send them to ksm@radiomarine.org.  Thanks and good listening.....

MRHS


Sunday, July 12, 2020

KPH Night of Nights is ham bands this year

Usual time, 0001 UTC as July 12 turns into the 13th, but on amateur frequencies. From "RD:"

Night of Nights 12 July
When:
Sunday, 12 July 2020
Description:
Night of Nights
http://www.radiomarine.org/
12 July every year. The first transmission will be at 0501pm Pacific time (0000 UTC 13 July).

As most True Believers probably know by now, the Point Reyes National Seashore has closed the park and suspended all volunteer activities until further notice.  Since we at the MRHS are all park volunteers, that includes us.  Thus KPH, KFS and K6KPH will be off the air "for the duration". 
 
We will not be able to transmit on our usual KPH commercial frequencies.  However we are working hard (testing underway as I write) to remote key two full power amateur transmitters on 3550kc and 7050kc under the call W6AWO (the K6KPH call is restricted to use by transmitters actually at the Bolinas transmit site).

The transmitters are at Valley Springs, California and the control point is at Inverness, California.  Test transmissions from these transmitters should begin shortly.  On Night of Nights the traditional opening message will be sent by these transmitters after which W6AWO and other MRHS member stations will stand by for calls.  Live keying (as opposed to sending a file like the opening message) may be a little stilted due to the way the control software works.  Speed will be 15wpm.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

MARS Announces HF Skills Exercise

From ARRL Letter:

 
Members of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) will conduct an HF skills exercise July 20 - 24 to hone their operating skills and messaging-handling capabilities. MARS members will be reaching out to the amateur radio community via the 60 meters Channel 1 Net (5330.5 kHz dial) twice a day, the SATERN HF net (14.265 MHz), and by contacting various stations via HFLink throughout the exercise.

Participating MARS members will be requesting assistance with collecting county status information as well as airport weather information, called METARs. MARS members will also be passing ICS 213 messages to numerous Department of Defense (DoD), federal, and amateur radio addressees.

This exercise will be announced via WWV at 00:10 and via WWVH at 00:50 starting on or about July 13. WWV and WWVH listeners will be asked to take an online listener survey. This HF radio training event will not impact regular communications.

A Department of Defense program, MARS organizes and trains amateur radio volunteers to operate in military radio networks to support HF radio contingency communications. Among other missions, MARS provides communication support to civil authorities and assists in establishing normal communication under emergency conditions. -- Thanks to Paul English, Chief, Army MARS



Friday, January 10, 2020

No problem with sdr.hu KiwiSDR list going members only!

Some people got pretty upset about this.  The fact is, however, that sdr.hu was only peripherally involved with KiwiSDR. The receivers incorporate code built on a fork of its owner's earlier OpenWebRX program, for which he gets compensation.  There are four other ways to get to the receivers without logins, brain-melting CAPTCHAs, and requirements that you have a ham call or make one up.

The real official gateway has always been at KiwiSDR's own public site.

This isn't going anywhere.

Another map is at linkfanel.net, and that one also has the clickable positions of the receivers. Don't worry about the map duplication and the Google API error messages, just zoom in and click the receivers.

A Canadian ham has his own gateway, with some extra bells and whistles.

The fourth solution is to access the receivers directly, using their own web links.

This is all discussed at length in February's column.

No problem.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Noble Skywave exercise is this month

Noble Skywave is an interesting global military exercise, which is run in the manner of a ham radio contest. Teams get points for each HF contact, and distance counts. It is run out of Canada

They do it every year in the fall "DX Season." The aim is to develop HF interoperability proficiency. The Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment (CFJSR) is the lead. Typical participants include regular, reserve, and auxiliary members of the Canadian, US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand militaries. This includes the US MARS and the Canadian CFARS, which have discussed the exercise on recent joint nets. Other countries are invited to participate, and several usually do.

Optional signal checks begin October 21st at 1300Z. The competition begins on October 22nd at 1000Z. It ends October 23rd at 1900Z.  8557 and 9962 kHz have been mentioned as net frequencies. Alternates are to be determined.

Details for this year are at https://nobleskywave.ca/documents/Ex%20NOBLE%20SKYWAVE%20-%20Exercise%20Instructions.pdf


Saturday, September 07, 2019

WRC-19 will not consider reassigning 2 meters

IARU:


The CEPT Conference Preparatory Group met this week in Ankara, Turkey. Items of interest to the amateur service which were finalised were:

- Agreement to a European Common Proposal (ECP) on allocating 50-52 MHz to the amateur service in Region 1 on a secondary basis with a footnote listing those countries where the amateur service will have a primary allocation in the band 50-50.5 MHz (WRC Agenda Item 1.1)

- Agreement to an ECP on spectrum to be considered for International Mobile Telecommunications, which does not now include the primary amateur band at 47-47.2 GHz (WRC Agenda Item 1.13)

- Agreement to an ECP that retains the current regulatory position in the 5725-5850 MHz frequency band which includes secondary allocations to the amateur service and the amateur-satellite service (WRC Agenda Item 1.16)

- Removal of 144-146 MHz from a French proposal for study of additional spectrum for aeronautical applications. (WRC Agenda Item 10)

Monday, September 02, 2019

Hurricane Watch Net is on 7268 LSB

20 meters has been wretched today due to a persistent geomagnetic storm. Instead of the usual daytime 14325 kHz USB, they are using 7268 kHz LSB. Signals are good into the US East Coast. One amateur relayed an emergency station setting up in Nassau, Bahamas. The message was that the weather station is destroyed, and the US consulate evacuated.

It also appears that Internet weather stations in the Bahamas are no longer operating.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dorian hurricane aircraft was heard on HF today

You can still hear them.

A UDXF member reports hearing NOAA 42 on 8918.00 kHz, working New York oceanic ATC on the Caribbean (CAR) MWARA net. This is a WP-3 operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the "weather bureau"). The pilot reported that he was going operational below 15,000 feet.

Sometimes the USAF "Hurricane Hunters" come up on these frequencies.  Their call sign is TEAL plus two figures.

The amateur US National Hurricane Watch Net was briefly active on 14325 kHz USB. If past policy holds, it will likely activate again when the storm gets close to the Bahamas.

Daily aircraft taskings for hurricanes are issued by CARCAH (Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance, All Hurricanes) at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. The link is:

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/recon.php .

They come out 24 hours or so before the day of the operations.

We wish the best to all those threatened by this powerful storm.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Revised frequency list for Night of Nights XX

The heroic True Believers of KPH have made some more transmitting antennas active after the damage last winter. Here is the revised frequency list for Night of Nights XX, which begins tomorrow (US time) at the traditional 0001 UTC. That's July 13 on the Prime Meridian, but still July 12 (local time/date) in North America, including at the station location in Point Reyes National Seashore.

The time is traditional. It is when commercial Morse operation was discontinued by Globe Wireless, the last US holdout.  KPH (also using the KFS call sign by permission of its current owners) is a triumph of the human spirit, defiantly taking to the same frequencies (still allocated by the ITU) at this time every year.

WLO is not participating this year because it no longer exists. The Coast Guard is not participating this year either. KFS has one frequency active. This is 12695.5 . The rest are KPH.

Here's the latest list, with an addition, and the latest correction:

KPH:  426, 500, 4247.0, 6477.5, 8642.0, 12808.5, 17016.8, 22477.5 .


500 kHz is still the MW calling frequency, and QSY after contact is to 426. Ships call KPH and KFS on ITU maritime channel 3. This is:

4184.0, 6276.0, 8368.0, 12552.0, 16736.0, 22280.5  .

The ships are good catches.  Several call and pass traffic every year.

K6KPH is also active, and anyone who can handle heavy-duty commercial Morse can sit the circuit, since control ops with ham licenses are present.  Similar procedures are used, such as sending "DE" for a station to call again. QRY and a number means that other stations are waiting, and that's your turn.  Pilots know how this works (for takeoffs) only too well.

Everything is CW, of course.

Several of these frequencies are restored vintage "heavy iron" transmitters, and they sound great.  The rest, presumably, are the Henry transmitters which were installed at Bolinas High Power when it ceased commercial operation.
 
Those in the area can visit the receive building, which also houses the National Seashore office, and is reached by one of the best "tree tunnels" in the country.

Full details and links to maps to the receive building are at the MRHS web site.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Will hams lose two meters?

That is the question, and the answer will come at this year's WARC-19 and the future WARC-23. The re-allocation of the entire two meter band was not widely opposed at a European meeting, when France brought up a Thales proposal to use it for some kind of commercial airband cellular service.

As we know only too well, governments consider corporations to be more important than people, and they make their decisions accordingly. At some point, however, someone's got to raise a stink.  I probably join most of the readers here in going WTF at the prospect that ham radio would lose what's probably its most popular band.

Amateur groups are expected to fight this tooth and nail.

From DF2ZC, DARC Frequency Manager:

If this proposal in its current version is endorsed at the next meeting of the CEPT Conference Preparatory Group in August it is highly likely that it will appear on the agendas of WRC-19 and WRC-23 where a final decision will be made. At least 10 of the 48 CEPT countries have to be in favour of this proposal while not more than 6 must be against this.

During the recent Meeting of the CEPT Project Team A in Prague this proposal by France was being discussed for the first time. Only the German delegation made it clear that they are against this proposal including 144-146 MHz.  [That's as high as it goes in Europe. The frequency range in question would include the whole band worldwide. -Hugh]

The main reason for that little opposition might be that the 2 m band was included in the revised version of that French proposal only few days before the deadline for the Prague meeting. Consequently most other European countries had no time for internal discussions let alone formulating their position.

IARU, being supported by regulatory experts of their member associations (RSGB, DARC, VERON etc) is intensively working on executing their influence within the current process and trying to keep the 2 m band as it is now. By the way, the cost of this activities is covered by the funds resulting from the contributions of the IARU member societies. So those who left their county's amateur radio society should perhaps reconsider their decision. Without the commitment and the funds the amateur radio community would have little influence in that process, let alone could be present at the relevant meetings.

Most importantly, amateur radio should speak with a single voice only. So I would like to ask everybody to refrain from using maybe good personal contacts to your government or the EU. This would weaken our position and take away power and vigour from the systematic approach by IARU and country amateur radio societies. This particularly applies for online petitions in the WWW, which by the way do not even base on a correct facts background.


Friday, February 01, 2019

No more weather warnings on WWV/WWVH

ARRL Letter:


The National Weather Service (NWS) is discontinuing its high seas and storm warnings transmitted via National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) WWV/WWVH time and frequency-standard HF transmissions, starting January 31 [yesterday-Hugh] at 1800 UTC. The NWS warnings are aimed at the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific.

"This service is being terminated because weather information in the current broadcast format does not support frequent-enough updates for changes in marine weather and cannot provide enough detail in the allotted window required by mariners to avoid hazardous weather," NWS said in announcing the discontinuation. "Additionally, alternative technologies and numerous media outlets that provide weather information in various formats have overtaken the need for providing weather information through the NIST frequency signals."

The NWS said other sources of marine weather information, high seas alerts, and detailed forecasts are available over satellite, telephone, the internet, marine fax, radio fax, and VHF radio. The NWS, US Coast Guard, and US Navy provide multiple dissemination methods for storm positioning, high sea areas, observations, forecasts, outlooks, and warnings for both coastal and oceanic marine zones near the US, all through a variety of technologies, including NAVTEX and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).


Thursday, January 31, 2019

KPH/KFS/K6KPH resume partial operation on Saturday

With the government shutdown over, the National Park Service has re-opened the KPH receive building to normal use. All call signs should be on-air this Saturday.

But, as always, there's a catch.  A strong storm took down trees, destroying a number of feedlines to antennas. The damage includes broken poles and snapped wires, and generally it's a mess. Repairs will take time and cost money. As usual, the MRHS could use any donations we feel like giving them.

From MRHS:

With the end of the partial shutdown of the federal government the Maritime Radio Historical Society has been given clearance to return to "The Wireless Giant of the Pacific," and to resume operations as of 2 February 2019 at 1800 GMT, with the return of the Free Press broadcast from KPH and KFS. We will commence service to ships at sea at 2000 GMT. Our station in the amateur radio service, K6KPH, will return to the airwaves at that time, 2000 GMT.
---
 
The good news is that most of our ship customers will not be effected by the reduced operational capacity. The following commercial channels will be in service:


KPH:  426, 500, 8642, 12808.5, 17016.8 kc.

KFS:  12695.5 kc.

As always, KPH and KFS will maintain an effective watch on 500 kc, and guard all ITU HF Channel 3 frequencies, even the bands that were effected by the damage.

The bad news is that K6KPH suffered the most damage. 

Until further notice K6KPH will be limited to: 3550 & 14050 kc.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our faithful customers, both maritime and amateur.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Reception of NOJ Kodiak AK FAX on 26 Jan 19

Here's a screen shot from about 15 minutes ago, on the 12 MHz frequency via the SDR at KPH using the big TCI antenna in a low-noise location.  Faxes received in this manner usually print just fine, so the problem is not caused by remote Internet reception.


Note the extremely noisy signal, the downward displacement of the white tone, the absence of a black tone, and the distortion covering something like 7 kHz. This is considerably mistuned from the listed frequency, but it gave the best chart, comparatively speaking.  At least it's readable, sort of.

All frequencies at all times are similarly distorted, suggesting that the problem is before it gets to the actual transmitters.

Now that the government is back in business, and the Coast Guard is actually getting paid for the incredible job it does for all of us, hopefully this problem will finally be resolved.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Will they ever fix Kodiak FAX?

For several weeks now, all NOJ radiofax transmissions from USCG in Kodiak, AK have been off-frequency and severely distorted. It's possible to get something resembling a chart by tuning to wherever the white frequency is at the moment, but even then it's fuzzy at best. 

Signal strength is not the problem, because the distortion happens on all frequencies and time slots, regardless of the reception quality. On a waterfall, the spectrum resembles several smeary tones and various distortion products. The charts coming from NOAA are not the problem either, since they look fine on the web site.

Nominal frequencies (center/USB dial in kHz) should be 2054.0/2052.1, 4298.0/4296.1, 8459/8457.1, and 12412.5/12410.6 kHz. 12412.5 is on right now, though that frequency won't give even bad copy.  Tuning around gets it.  Try putting the white tone on the strongest smeary mess, and see what happens.

Several listeners have sent e-mail to the address shown on NOJ's materials, and gotten no response. As with a lot of U.S. government functions right now, it's obviously on auto. Even when the whole Coast Guard isn't working for free, the reply that I've gotten most of the time when inquiring about the NOAA radiofax product is, "We don't do that any more." 

Given the dangerous weather in the area of responsibility this time of year, one must hope that the problem is fixed sooner rather than later.