Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egyptian Crisis On HF

People in Europe are reporting radio transmissions associated with the Egyptian crisis. The ones of most interest to us are the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). The MFA maintains a global network using a couple of teleprinting formats, often in an Arabic alphabet called ATU80.

This network is still active. Traffic is encrypted. A recent hit comes from Ary Boender, who got it from an anonymous listener in Europe. It used ARQ on approximately 9078.7 kHz. The message body was enrypted, but the preamble wasn't. It was clearly a diplomatic cable to Washington, DC, marked URGENT.

Some other known Egyptian MFA frequencies (from the log) are: 5370 6785 7759.7 7815 8022 9035 9067.7 10176.7 11056.7 14923.7 16067.7 16236.7 17434.7 18331.7 18451.7.

HF radio in general appears to be serving as a back-channel communication mode in the absence of Internet and mobile phone circuits (though these are coming back). On Friday, CW comms were reported on several 40 meter amateur frequencies. Two I recall off the top of my head are 7010 and 7076, though the latter is also a JT65A weak signal channel. I do not know if the CW was "real" or some kind of black propaganda diversionary operation.

Egypt has a secured airport that is being used by members of the upper class to flee the country. Bizjets have been heard by Allan Stern on 5517 kHz USB (their local night) and 11300 USB day. It's assumed that, since Murabak is likely holed up at his vacation home nearby, that any flight carrying him out of the country might check in here.

On the broadcast side, Gayle Van Horn has posted a Radio Cairo International schedule here. We also have a warning out from informed radio sources that a US web site purporting to be Radio Cairo is not official and should be ignored.