Friday, December 30, 2011

KSM and K6KPH Will Operate New Year's Eve

MRHS stations KSM and K6KPH will be on the air for extended hours on New Year's Eve.

All KSM HF frequencies will be active.  We will also make a particular point of keeping 426kc active to give MF monitors a chance to copy us during night time winter hours.  Announcements will be made on 500kc, then the MF transmitter will be switched to 426kc for the transmission.  See:

for particulars of KSM.

K6KPH will be an active participant in Straight Key Night as we have in the past.  Multiple operators, including guest operators, will man the operating positions.  If you'd like to join us please let me know.  There's still space available.  See:


for information about K6KPH and Straight Key Night.

QSLs and reception reports should be sent to:

PO Box 392 
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

VY 73 and GL for the New Year,


Richard Dillman, WPE2VT
Chief Operator, Coast Station KSM
Maritime Radio Historical Society

Friday, December 23, 2011

1980s FCC 33.7 MHz NE US Fire Department Call Signs - Pt. 1

Once every decade or so, global skip causes interest in identifying stations heard on the still-active low-band VHF fire department frequencies in the US.  This can be a real research job, especially if licenses have expired.

Here's the first part of a really old list recently unearthed here.  It's guaranteed that at least a few of these are still on-air.  FC = Fire Company; FD = Fire Department; VFD = Volunteer Fire Department; VFC = Volunteer Fire Company; and Twp = Township.

KAV 493    PA    E. Taylor Twp
KBD 688    PA    Hempfield Twp VFD
KDU 489    PA    Goodwill FC, Bally
KEM 672    PA    Salford Twp/ Tylersport VFD
KFB 837    PA    Holiday Park VFD
KFF 225    PA    Amity VFC
KFF 335    PA    Carrolltown Fire Engine Co.
KFF 355    PA    Carrolltown Fire Engine Co.
KGB 857    PA    Harmonville FC
KGC 369    PA    Wissahickon
KGC 390    PA    Latrobe Borough VFD
KGC 902    PA    Conshocken FC
KGC 921    PA    New Haven Hose Co.
KGC 999    PA    Royersford Humane Fire Co.
KGD 760    PA    Washington FC
KGD 945    PA    Portage VFD
KGE 254    PA    Central City FC
KGE 403    PA    Young Men's VFD, Blairsville
KGE 467    PA    Ashville VFC
KGE 788    PA    Hiller VFD
KGE 880    PA    Derry Twp VFD
KGF 261    PA    New Haven Hose Co.
KGF 297    PA    Allison VFD
KGF 371    PA    Belle Vernon VFC
KGF 387    PA    Adah
KGF 400    PA    Brownsville
KGG 324    PA    Collegeville FC
KGG 408    PA    Conemaugh
KGG 856    PA    Hope FC, Barnesboro
KGG 863    PA    New Alexandria VFD
KGH 879    PA    Oklahoma Boro VFD
KGL 586    PA    Bullskin Twp VFC
KGL 587    PA    Commodore FD
KGW 744    PA    Rostraver Central VFD
KIJ 450    TN    Brentwood FD
KIU 257    PA    Acosta VFD
KKF 350    DE    Marydel VFD
KNAJ 316    PA    Adamsburg VFA
KNBF308    PA    Charleroi VFD
KNBW 243    PA    Aultman VFA
KNFL 978    PA    Coral Graceton VFC
KNFP 341    PA    Armagh VFD
KNFW 527    PA    Arnold VFC
KNFW 528    PA    Black Lick VFC
KQD 861    OH    Hillsboro
KQE 627    OH    Butler Twp
KQE 686    OH    Jefferson Twp
KQU 341    PA    Washington Twp VFD
KRP 753    PA    Jackson Twp. VFD
KSI 984    PA    Confluence CFD
KTA 870    PA    Cassandra VFD
KTX 540    PA    Crabtree VFC
KUM 632    PA    Rostraver Twp VFC
KVJ 848    PA    St. Michael VFD
KXA 206    PA    Boliver VFD
KZK 287    PA    Cherry Tree VFC
KZT 358    PA    Summerhill Twp VFC
WSZ 504    PA    Clyde VFC
WZX 412    PA    Indiana County FD

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why Sorcerer Won't Be On My Next Computer

You might have heard of a multimode decoder program for Windows that's been making the rounds of the utility scene lately.  It's called sorcerer, and it's apparently a crack of a larger commercial package once offered by a company that at the time was widely known in COMINT circles.

Everything about this program is scary.  Most of the sites it's available on seem to offer the same referrers to a couple of Internet bad neighborhoods.  I can't find any evidence that these sites or their referral pages plant malware on your computer, but neither do they screen their downloads.  It's definitely enter at your own risk time.

Upon download, most anti-viruses will detect sorcerer's zip archive as a Trojan dropper and unceremoniously delete its contents.  Not just Norton, which is notorious for false positives and heavy-handedness, but most other AV programs as well.  Again, after writing an exception for my AV to allow examination of the zipfile, I can find no files in the archive or its unzipped directory that look like Trojan droppers.

Sorcerer is basically one opaque executable.  Upon running, it does nothing scary.  The interface is pretty minimal, compared to what was available in the original package. You get a clickable FFT amplitude plot (no spectrum waterfall) and a list of decoders for a large number of modes.  A couple of parsers are available, but well short of the "hundreds" advertised for the commercial package.  Obviously, some modules are missing.

Some of the decoders work rather well.  Others don't seem to work at all.  A couple are for modes that usually aren't available except in packages costing thousands of US dollars.  These modes work, but I have found that there's not much here in California really worth copying with them.

Other decoders have issues.  Either fax or HFDL consistently launches a rogue process that grabs 99% of CPU and has to be killed from the task window.  I can't remember which one it is, and I have no desire to once again replicate the problem to find out. 

At some later point following this discovery, after closing sorcerer, something corrupted my recycle bin. Web logs showed no visits to malware sites, and in fact I was browsing through Symantec for information on sorcerer at the time.   A coded directory appeared in the bin matching one documented online as a malware hiding place.

The recycle bin is a popular place to conceal this sort of thing, since its file tree is hidden and hard to manipulate even when you find it.  One must always view recycle bin corruption with suspicion.  I got Windows to rebuild it, the unauthorized directory vanished, and all was OK again - for a time.

Fairly soon after, my computer began randomly locking up.  It's getting kind of old, and there's about a 99.9% chance that the issue is caused by memory or other mainboard hardware approaching end of life.  However, there remains, in my estimation, about a 0.1% chance that the appearance of the problem was not just coincidental to sorcerer's appearance on my machine.

I've ordered a new computer, but sorcerer will never be on it.  It's not worth the worry.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

White House Statement on Apparent Death of Kim Jong Il

Office of the Press Secretary
December 18, 2011

Statement by the Press Secretary on reports of the death of Kim Jong Il

We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.


Kim Jung Il Dead - Voice Of Korea Frequencies

This comes from PCJ Media, which distributes the new Happy Station Show:

At 0300UTC December 19th reports started coming out of North Korea that Kim Jung Il died. This gives us an opportunity to hear some more than strange radio from the DPRK. Below is the full Voice Of Korea B11 English schedule.

0100 GMT (10am local) to North East Asia on 7220kHz, 9345kHz and 9730kHz
0100 GMT (10am local) to Central and South America on 11735kHz and 15180kHz
0200 GMT (11am local) to Southeast Asia on 13650kHz and 15100kHz
0300 GMT (12pm local) to North East Asia on 7220kHz, 9345kHz and 9730kHz
1000 GMT (7pm local) to Central and South America on 11710kHz and 15180kHz
1000 GMT (7pm local) to Southeast Asia on 11735kHz and 13650kHz
1300 GMT (10pm local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1300 GMT (10pm local) to North America on 9335kHz and 11710kHz
1500 GMT (12am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1500 GMT (12am local) to North America on 9335kHz and 11710kHz
1600 GMT (1am local) to Near and Middle East, North Africa on 9990kHz and 11545kHz
1800 GMT (3am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1900 GMT (4am local) to Southern Africa on 7210kHz and 11910 kHz
1900 GMT (4am local) to Near and Middle East, North Africa on 9975kHz and 11535kHz
2100 GMT (6am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz