Saturday, June 05, 2010

Introducing the Utility Nerd

L.A. Times has a long article about a blogger in Santa Barbara, CA, who goes by "Scanner Guy." He writes rambles about stuff he hears on his police scanner.

I decided HF utility deserved its own recognition. Enter The Utility Nerd. Most of this blog's readers look for information, frequencies, and numbers, and they will continue to get these. For the rest - it's The Utility Nerd.


10255 kHz has been on all day. I do my Morning Viet Nam Check daily at 9:00 AM local, 1600 UTC. (Vietnamese "Lighthouse" numbers station, USB, somewhere in SE Asia.) Actually, I do it at 1555, because this guy is always early. 1557 or 1558 are typical. (REAL Utility Nerds are obsessive-compulsive about setting clocks to WWV. There is a BIG difference between 1557 and 1558!)

Lately it's been recordings of a really wired guy who sounds as if he's in an awful hurry to get through it. Shout-out to the agency responsible for these transmissions: Get a computer voice synthesizer, OK? There have to be cheap ports of DECTalk out there. Many of us miss Perfect Paul, and you can help us here. It would also force you to broadcast in English, and I'd have less trouble trying to get "Sung hai bos, hai dang, numnum numbai" translated.

(Don't laugh, several agencies have been known to follow what we're speculating about them. Really. I wouldn't lie to you.)

Now... this Viet Nam numbers guy. Shouldn't ENIGMA be giving this thing a designator, so I can stop calling it the Vietnamese Lighthouse Station, since that's probably wrong anyway? One native speaker seems to think "Lighthouse" is actually the station/ group/ whatever being called, not the caller.

The speculation over whether this was a shipping company started largely because there was a company, vessel, or something over there called Hai Dang (Lighthouse). Well, yeah. Viet Nam is a coastal nation. It's a little skinny thing sort of like a partially deflated California, with a lot of coast. It has MANY lighthouses. Something like 80 of them.

Their culture is as big on lighthouses as ours is. You know, we have a lot of references to lighthouses in our culture. They can mean beacons, guidance, leadership, enlightenment, divine grace, rallying places, protection from danger etc etc etc etc. Well, they have all these too.

It would be like saying that, since there has to be a Lighthouse Gospel Mission somewhere in the USA, that the Vietnamese numbers station is a religious broadcast. Wouldn't that be a hoot? Some cult in Westminster, CA might be frantically scribbling down numbers and looking for their one-time pads. But not likely.

Just saying.