Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year from Utility World!

It's zero Zulu - utility New Year's. Happy New Year to all reading this blog!

[UDXF] K6KPH on for SKN - KSM Too

The MRHS amateur station K6KPH will participate in the annual Straight Key Night once again this New Year's Eve.

Coast station KSM will be on the air as well to give listeners a chance to hear the station in later evening hours than usual.

Straight Key Night is sponsored by the ARRL for those who love Morse and enjoy practicing the art using manual, non-electronic keys. K6KPH will be on 3550kc and 7050kc. Both Denice Stoops and myself will be at the key.

For information about Straight Key Night see:

KSM will be on the air as well. Transmissions will take place on 426kc in the medium frequency band and on 4, 6, 8 and 12Mc HF. Press and weather will be transmitted. It's our hope that the lateness of the hour and the winter season will allow listeners to copy the station on frequencies they may not have heard before. We're especially hopeful that distant listeners will be able to copy us on 426kc.

Operations will probably begin sometime between 2100 and 2200 Pacific time (0500 - 0600Z) and last for about two hours.

Reception reports and QSLs may be sent to the QSL Mistress at:

Denice Stoops
PO Box 381
Bolinas, CA 94924-0381

VY 73,


Richard Dillman, W6AWO
Chief Operator, Coast Station KSM
Maritime Radio Historical Society

Saturday, December 26, 2009

MARS Gets New Name As It Fine-Tunes Mission

MARS has changed its name slightly to "Military Auxiliary Radio System." Also, the US Navy/Marine Corps MARS will not be closing down.

From ARRL:

On Wednesday, December 23, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued an Instruction concerning MARS, effective immediately. This Instruction gives the three MARS services -- Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps -- a new focus on homeland security and a new name: Military Auxiliary Radio System. The Instruction is the first major revision to MARS since January 26, 1988 -- as such, the first revision since the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, two major events that changed the way Amateur Radio dealt with emergency communications.


In the past, MARS had focused primarily on emergency communications and health and welfare support. The DoD's Instruction now directs the three MARS services to provide "contingency radio communications" to support US government operations, DoD components and "civil authorities at all levels," providing for national security and emergency preparedness events. MARS units will still continue to provide health and welfare communications support "to military members, civilian employees and contractors of DoD Components, and civil agency employees and contractors, when in remote or isolated areas, in contingencies or whenever appropriate." MARS must also be capable of operation in "radio only" modes -- without landlines or the Internet -- and sustainable on emergency power (when public utility power has failed); some MARS stations must be transportable for timely deployment.


This revision -- which was years in the making -- keeps the Navy/Marine Corps MARS intact; until now, members of this MARS service were concerned that their part of MARS might be terminated by Navy commanders.

Full story is here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So Who Is GM-11F?

"GM-11F" is the identification on mysterious radiofaxes apparently coming from the Ukraine, perhaps the Russian Navy in Sevastopol, on 5103 and 7090 kHz USB. These have been seen in Germany for at least a year. Content is the usual marine weather information. One transmission occurs daily at 1430 UTC.

7090 kHz is in the 40 meter amateur band, but other Russian military stations also operate there. This includes one of those single-letter beacon clusters (ENIGMA designator MX). "D" (Sevastopol, 7038.7) and "C" (Moscow, 7039.0) are especially loud pretty much 24/7 in central Europe.

The Last Time This Blog Will Ever Mention Power Line Telecommunication (Unless HF Becomes Useless)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Largest Cycle 24 Sunspot Group Yet

Sunspot group 1025 has appeared on the sun. It is 7 times the diameter of Earth, and definitely part of Cycle 24. Best yet, it is very active, with well-developed plage and strongly contorted magnetic lines.

Daily radio flux has jumped to 82, with the latest K index remaining low at 1. These are numbers which can definitely improve HF propagation.

Unfortunately, a C-class flare in this region has caused a coronal mass ejection aimed in the general direction of the Earth. It will arrive in about a day and a half, probably while we still have a southward interplanetary magnetic field (Bz). It is likely to cause beautiful auroras, and not-so-beautiful degradation of high-latitude and transpolar paths.

Plenty of data on both events is at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Japanese 3-Letter Call Signs #4

These are from various unofficial sources. As always with utility radio, it's only as good as the people who've taken the time to research it.

JOx This block was coast stations; these might be old/ obsolete:

JOE Omaezaki fishing guild (old)
JOF Choshi, may be used in Antarctica
JOG Shizuoka Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station (old)
JOH Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Laboratory
JOI Miyagi Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station JOJ Iwate Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JOK Yokohama International Marine Signal Station
JOL Aomori Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JOM Kochi Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JON Makurazaki fishing association
JOO Ibaraki Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JOP First fishing town Ama Association
JOQ Second fishing town Ama Association
JOR Chiba Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JOS Nagasaki Radio (old public coastal station, now off air)
JOT URA fishermen's union, Muroto
JOU Nagasaki Radio (old coastal station)
JOV URA fishermen's union, Watanoha
JOW Fishery cooperative, Misakicho Yagasaki
JOX Mie Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JOY Aburatsu fishing association
JOZ (JOZ, JOZ2-7) HF broadcasting

JPx This block mostly police, JPA might be INTERPOL

These calls may also be obsolete:
JPV Fishermen's union Kesennuma
JPW Chiba Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station
JPX Great Japan Sugar, Daito Jima
JPY Far Seas Fisheries Association, Fukuoka, Trawlers
JPZ Far Seas Fisheries, Nagasaki Trawler Association

JSC Call currently used at Kagoshima for Kyodo News FAX on 16971 kHz, 5kW

Japanese 3-Letter Call Signs #3

These are from various unofficial sources. As always with utility radio, it's only as good as the people who've taken the time to research it.

JIA## Aero, includes Tokyo Volmet, now Kagoshima (NTT closed Nazaki)

JJx This block is mostly governmental:

JJC Newspaper facsimile (Kyodo)
JJD Radio astronomy data (Ursigrams, etc), was 10415 kHz
JJD2 Radio astronomy data, was 15950 kHz
JJF2 Navy submarine comm on VLF
JJY Frequency Standards Bureau, off HF

JKx A series of JKx2n calls for NHK HF broadcasting

JMx Mostly Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) for wx:

JMB Call was used for wx at Nazaki, fate unknown
JMB37 JMA, Fussa, was 14665 kHz
JMC Marine Weather Agency, may be VHF only
JMG (JMG-JMG6) JMA, Intl. Regions, was Nazaki (NTT closed site)
JMH (JMH2,3,4,5,6) JMA FAX, tx now Kagoshima
JMI (JMI-JMI4) JMA, Intl. Hemisphere, Tokyo was 13963 kHz
JMJ (JMJ-JMJ6) JMA, Ibaraki Prefecture, was 18441.2 kHz (off air)
JMN22 JMA, Naha, 14940 kHz

JNx This block is for the Coast Guard:

JNA CG, Tokyo
JNB CG, Naha
JNC CG, Maizuru
JND CG, Akita
JNE CG, Hiroshima
JNG CG, Ishigaki
JNH CG, Tanabe
JNI CG, Hakodate
JNJ Coast Guard 10th Maritime Safety HQ, Kagoshima
JNK CG, Sasebo
JNL CG, Otaru
JNN CG, Shiogama
JNO CG, Kochi
JNP CG, Esashi
JNR Coast Guard 7th Maritime Safety HQ, Kitakyushu
JNS CG, Urakawa
JNT CG, Nagoya
JNU CG, Muroran
JNV CG, Niigata
JNW CG, Wakkanai
JNX CG, Kushiro
JNZ CG, Fushiki

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Japanese 3-Letter Call Signs #2

These are from various unofficial sources. As always with utility radio, it's only as good as the people who've taken the time to research it.

JGx This block for government and fishery:

JGA Fuji meteorological observatory
JGC Coast Guard/ Customs, Yokohama
JGD Coast Guard/ Customs, Kobe

JHx This block for fishery, with some gaps:

JHA Ibaraki Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Wireless Nakaminato
JHB Fisheries Kushikino
JHC Chiba Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Radio
JHD Fisheries Hakodate Radio Association
JHE Ehime Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative Wireless, Fukaura
JHF Niigata Fishery
JHG Fishing Usuki
JHH Fisheries Owase
JHI Fisheries Cooperative Wireless Natikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture
JHJ Fisheries Cooperative Ootsuti Wireless
JHK Hakodate
JHL Fisheries Tosashimizu
JHM Aomori Fisheries
JHO Otaru fisheries
JHP Fisheries Ofunato
JHQ Fisheries Shiogama
JHS Fisheries Karatsu
JHT Miyako (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JHU Nemuro fishing cooperative
JHW Abashiri Fisheries
JHX High-Samani Fishing (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JHY Port of Nagoya
JHZ Fisheries Monbetsu

Japanese 3-Letter Call Signs #1

These are from various unofficial sources. As always with utility radio, it's only as good as the people who've taken the time to research it.

JBx This block for common carriers other than NTT
JCx This block for NTT common carriers
JDx This block for NTT coastal stations

JFx This block for Fishery Radio Stations:

JFA Central Fisheries National Radio ("Chuo Gyogyo")
JFB Mugi Tokushima Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Radio
JFC Fisheries Radio Association, Misaki, Kanagawa Prefecture
JFD Ishikawa Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative wireless [Ogi]
JFE Fisheries Radio Association, Okinawa
JFF Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Wireless Corporation
JFG Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Radio
JFH Tuna Fisheries Cooperative Associations in Mie Prefecture
JFI National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative, Hyogo Prefecture [Kasumi]
JFJ Unknown company
JFK Shimonoseki (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JFK2 Akkeshi Radio Association (Whaling)
JFL Fisheries Suzaki
JFM Kochi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative wireless, Muroto
JFN Tobata (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JFO Fukuoka (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JFP Miyazaki Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative, Aburatsu
JFQ Makurazaki
JFR Radio Association of Fisheries, Nagasaki
JFS Aomori Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative
JFT Kamaishi Fisheries Cooperative Wireless
JFU Ishinomaki (Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing
JFV Kesennuma
JFW Fukushima Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Radio, Iwaki
JFX Kagoshima Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative Radio
JFY Wakkanai ( Terrestrial radio facilities for fishing)
JFZ Kushiro Fisheries Cooperative (ship equipment)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"JFC-FAX" Copied in California

This grungy picture faded up and down at just the right time. It doesn't look like much, but it's enough to identify yet another Japanese fishery station transmitting radio faxes on HF. This was on 16907.5 kHz USB at 0030 UTC on December 9:

Thankfully, fax is a "fuzzy" mode, and people can make decisions computers can't. I knew all but the first two letters of the station callsign. Now I know them too.

JFC is a radio station at the Kanagawa Prefectural Fisheries Technology Center, Misaki, Japan. It has been reported before on Japanese fishery frequencies. Back when there were such things as sunspots, the "JFC-FAX" transmission was seen in Australia on 22559.0 kHz, alternating with other prefectural fisheries.

This brings the number of prefectural fishery fax stations identified in the US up to three. The others are JSC, Kagoshima, and JFW, Fukushima. Primary frequencies for all the fishery fax transmissions are 6414.5, 8658.0, 16907.5, 22559.6 kHz USB. Normal dial offset for fax is around 1.9 kHz lower.

The fishery radio has many other frequencies and modes, often encrypted. What's for sure is that whoever is using some of this stuff does not want the public knowing it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

JMH Wave Chart Received 1 December 09

This chart was received from JMH, Tokyo Meteo (via Kagoshima) on December 1:

As many may know, JMH ("Tokyo Meteo") and the Tokyo VOLMET both changed their transmitter locations on March 4, 2009. They moved from the old Nazaki transmitting site (36.10N by 139.51E) to Kagoshima Fishery Radio (31.19N 130.31E). Kagoshima Prefecture is in the extreme south of Japan, well situated to cover the Pacific Ocean.

Alaskan DXer Attu Bosch has made an interesting point on the SWL Nomad blog, that the "fishery radio" might not always be what it seems.

Here's what I know, and it's not much:

These stations receive funding from various government and private sources;

They broadcast a vast amount of sometimes rather secretive information all over HF in all modes, not just radiofax;

Their coverage is much larger than the area of primary interest to the Japanese fishery (though this might just be the nature of HF propagation, or be designed to include fleets working closer to the US west coast);

And some of it is scrambled, or encrypted.

What I don't know is whether this less public content is commercial data meant only for subscribers, communication by and for specific companies or fleets, or something else. As always in utility, the people who know aren't telling.