Friday, December 28, 2007


Copied in California during the 12/28 drill.

MARS = Military Affiliate Radio System. SHARES = SHAred RESources, a Federal interoperability pool and special net administered by National Communications System.

043NCS Natl. Comm. System, sounding on 9106 and 11217 at 1944 and 2143 UTC. Sounding on 11217 and 9106 at 2243.

ANCOPS Unk agency, sounding on 11217 at 2144, 2214, and 2315. Also sounding on 3349 and 17487 at 2144.

YXPNNN US Navy/Marine Corps MARS, sounding on 7642 at 2204.

KULNNN USN/MC MARS, sounding on 11098.5 at 2306.

6DUAFA US Air Force MARS, calling 6NEAFA, at 2332.

Note: The funny backwards MARS addresses are per interoperability committee REF A adopted some years ago, in which unique station identifiers occupy the first three characters (the ones passed in the standard ALE version 1 ID field as opposed to DAT words). YXPNNN=NNN0YXP. 6DUAFA=AFA6DU. And so on.

SHARES Exercise in Progress

Weak USB net traffic on 14396.5 here at 1850 UTC. Jack Metcalfe reports USB traffic on 5236.0 at 1607. Sounds like the quarterly drill.

More when and if I get it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

STS-122 Won't Launch January 10 Either

From NASA:

Dec. 27

The Space Shuttle Program met Thursday to assess the progress made to troubleshoot an issue with the engine cutoff sensor circuit that occurred during the recent launch attempts and tanking test. Instrumentation installed for the tanking test indicate that there are one or more intermittent open circuits in the area of the feed through connector on the external tank’s liquid hydrogen tank.

The external parts of the connector will be removed and replaced with others that have been strategically soldered to ensure pin-to-socket connectivity and allow continuous electrical flow from sensors inside the external tank to the shuttle's computers.

This work will take some time to properly accomplish and to certify the redesigned configuration before flight. While a launch on Jan. 10 is no longer achievable, no launch date has been discussed. The program will take time to assess progress of the work before setting a target launch date.

This situation has put a major bottleneck into the ISS work flow. Things will be up in the air, no pun intended, for quite some time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's Go To Hawaii!

San Francisco HFDL has been red-hot lately on 10081 kHz. Plotting on Google Earth is clunky, but has advantages at times. Here are a whole bunch of lucky people on the way to Hawaii, and some less lucky ones on the way back to winter in the US:

The nice thing about Google Earth is being able to zoom in. This airplane kept updating its position over HFDL until it was literally on the runway in Honolulu:

All plots made by PC-HFDL and Google Earth.

More on Status of STS-122

From NASA:

Mission: STS-122 -
24th International Space Station Flight -
Columbus Module
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Launch Pad 39A
Launch Date: Targeted for Jan. 10, 2008
Crew: Frick, Poindexter, Schlegel,
Eyharts, Love, Melvin, Walheim
Inclination/Orbit Altitude:
51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

A tanking test was conducted at Launch Pad 39A on Tuesday to aid in troubleshooting the cause of malfunctioning engine cutoff (ECO) sensors. Technicians spliced test wiring into the ECO sensor electrical system and used time domain reflectometry equipment to help locate the electrical anomaly. Results of the tanking test pointed to an open circuit in the feed-through connector wiring, which is located at the base of the tank. The feed-through connector passes the wires from the inside of the tank to the outside. Today technicians removed foam insulation covering the feed-through connector box, and workers from Lockheed-Martin will begin inspecting and testing the connector if approval is received for its removal next week.

Shuttle program managers will meet on Dec. 27 to further review the data analysis from the tanking test conducted earlier this week and decide on a forward plan.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Next STS-122 Launch Date is 1/10/08

Dec. 13, 2007

Candrea Thomas
Kennedy Space Center, Fla


Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

Kyle Herring
Johnson Space Center, Houston



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Space Shuttle Program managers have targeted Jan. 10 for the launch of shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station.

"The workforce has stepped up to and met every challenge this year," said Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "Moving the next launch attempt of Atlantis to Jan. 10 will allow as many people as possible to have time with family and friends at the time of year when it means the most. A lot has been asked of them this year and a lot will be asked of them in 2008."

The liftoff date from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system. The shuttle's planned launches on Dec. 6 and Dec. 9 were postponed because of false readings from the part of the system that monitors the liquid hydrogen section of the tank.

Atlantis' main objective during its STS-122 mission to the International Space Station is to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.

For the latest information about the STS-122 mission and the ECO sensor system, visit:


Sunday, December 09, 2007

STS-122 Postpones Until January


Dec. 9 -11:30 a.m. EST

Space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station is targeted to launch no earlier than Jan. 2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The liftoff date depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system.

Early Sunday, one of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of Atlantis' external fuel tank gave a false reading while the tank was being filled. NASA's current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly.

The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low. Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday, Dec. 6, was delayed after two liquid hydrogen ECO sensors gave false readings.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Earliest STS-122 Launch Now Sunday Afternoon

NASA is targeting the launch of space shuttle Atlantis no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3:21 p.m. EST from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Shuttle program managers made the decision after a meeting Friday to review data on a problem with a fuel cutoff sensor system inside the shuttle and its external fuel tank.

Because of the length of the meeting, the managers agreed that targeting Sunday would allow the launch and management teams appropriate time to rest and prepare. The Mission Management Team will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. to decide whether to make a Sunday attempt. A news conference will be held after the meeting's conclusion.

Atlantis' scheduled launch Thursday was delayed after two ECO sensors gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel. The fuel cutoff sensor system is one of several that protects the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.


Large Increase in Russian Military HF Traffic

Russia continues to step up its military presence worldwide. Strategic bombers are flying again, and major naval exercises have dramatically increased HF utility transmissions.

Details of the underlying issues are in this UK Telegraph article of December 6.

MT's Milcom Blog is all over this story, and has a frequency list coming in the near future.

Meanwhile, here are a few busy ones (many more on UDXF):

18.1 Navy 75-hz shift teleprinting (Bee mode), parallel transmissions all over the place, including 7657, 8130, 9044, 9346, 11468, 12741, 14411
583.0 Russian Navy, CW
3217.0 Russian military, CW, duplex with 3393
9145.0 Russian Navy, CW
10308.0 Russian Navy, CW
11155.0 Russian Navy, CW

In addition, the air defense "time stamp" broadcasts and even the old Air Force FSK Morse stations are active again.

Next STS-122 Opportunity on Saturday

Following a day of meetings, NASA set the earliest possible launch time as Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3:43 p.m. EST. Engineers concluded that more time than 24 hours was needed to deal with the fuel sensor issue.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

STS-122 Scrubs for 24 Hours

During a routine fueling of the LH2 tank, a possible open circuit caused two low-liquid-level sensors to malfunction. These are a mission critical system, forcing a scrub for at least 24 hours for troubleshooting. New tentative launch day is Friday.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Swedish RF Alternator to Transmit Christmas Eve

From Ary Boender via UDXF:


There will be, as last year, a transmission with the Alexanderson alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz from Grimeton Radio/SAQ on Christmas Eve, Monday December 24th 2007.

The message transmission will take place at 08:00 UTC and will be repeated at 08:15 UTC. The transmitter will be tuned up from around 07:30 UTC, so you will get time to test your antennas and equipment during that time.

There will be no activity on amateur radio frequencies with the call SK6SAQ this time.

QSL-reports are kindly received:
- E-mail to:
- or fax to: +46-340-674195
- or via: SM bureau
- or direct by mail to: Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner,
Radiostationen, Grimeton 72


That is not a typo. The frequency is 17.2 kilohertz, with a K. That's low.

This alternator is part of a radio museum at SAQ, a historic maritime coastal station. It's the last of a network of 200 kW General Electric rotary RF alternators that once covered the planet. They were set up to send Morse code (and, on occasion, AM voice) using truly enormous antennas. This was quite the hot setup in its time, and it had already pretty much replaced spark in coastal stations when vacuum tubes replaced both of them.

This station has global coverage, and anyone with low noise and good enough equipment on very low frequency has a shot at hearing something.

Monday, December 03, 2007

STS-122 Web Schedule



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A prelaunch webcast, live blogs, podcasts, pictures and videos highlight NASA's Web coverage of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. NASA will provide continuous online updates at:

A live webcast featuring NASA astronaut Robert Satcher will start the in-depth coverage of the mission at 11:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

A blog will update the countdown beginning about six hours before Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on Dec. 6 at 4:31 p.m. EST. Originating from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to launch.

During the 11-day mission, Atlantis' crew of seven astronauts will deliver the European Space Agency's new Columbus laboratory, setting the stage for expanded science capabilities on the orbiting outpost. Visitors to NASA's shuttle Web site can read about the crew's progress and watch the spacewalks live from the space station.

As Atlantis' flight wraps up, NASA will offer a blog detailing the spacecraft's return to Earth.


Space Shuttle Launch This Thursday Afternoon

RELEASE: 07-262


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA senior managers completed a thorough
review Friday of space shuttle Atlantis' readiness for flight and
selected Dec. 6 as the official launch date for mission STS-122.
Commander Steve Frick and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off
to the International Space Station at 4:31 p.m. EST.

During the 11-day mission, the crew will install the European Space
Agency's new Columbus laboratory. Columbus will expand the research
facilities of the station and provide scientists around the world
with the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials
science experiments. The mission will include at least three
spacewalks, delivery of a new crew member to the station and the
return of another astronaut after nearly two months aboard the

Atlantis' launch date was announced after the conclusion of Friday's
Flight Readiness Review. During the one-day meeting, top NASA and
contractor managers assessed any risks associated with the mission
and determined whether the shuttle's equipment, support systems and
procedures are ready for flight.

Joining Commander Frick on STS-122 will be pilot Alan Poindexter and
mission specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love and
European Space Agency astronauts Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts.
Eyharts will replace current station crew member Dan Tani, who has
lived on the outpost since October. Eyharts will return to Earth on
shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 mission, currently targeted for launch on
Feb. 14, 2008.

For more information about the STS-122 mission, including images and
interviews with the crew, visit: