The wonderful world of listening to the radio

Tag: Shortwave (Page 1 of 8)

QSL PowerRumpel via Channel 292

QSL PowerRumpel via Channel 292, Germany. PowerRumpel is a program maker that has been active via Channel 292 for quite a while. But somehow I had never listened to them. I was pleasantly surprised this weekend tuning into their program telling the story of the Rain Man movie and playing music from the sound track.

eQSL PowerRumpel via Channel 292

The QSL nicely reflects the program content. I sent my report to radiopr@partyheld.de . Their coming broadcasts are scheduled on 6070 kHz for each 2nd Sunday of the month on 18 h UTC, with a repeat on the next Friday, also on 6070 kHz, 18 h UTC. Theme of the June broadcast will be the movie Barfuss (Barefoot).

QSL Radio Casanova Int. 6060 kHz

Last weekend I was able to receive Radio Casanova International on 6060 kHz. This is a legal shortwave station broadcasting from Winterswijk in The Netherlands. They are in the air on 6020 and 6060 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They use 400W, 1600 PEP via an inverted V antenna. Within a few hours I received their beautiful eQSL via radiocasanova@hotmail.com .

e QSL Radio Casanova, The Netherlands

Despite their strong signal the reception quality was a bit compromised due to interference from solar panels as it was a sunny day.

QSL FRS Holland 5940/7405 kHz

I received a paper QSL card, nice letter and sticker for my reception of FRS Holland on 5940 and 7405 kHz. I sent my report to P.O.Box 2702, 6049 ZG Herten, The Netherlands, and added 5 Euro. They also have an email address frs@frsholland.nl and a new website: https://frsholland.nl/

Paper QSL card from FRS Holland

The station started in 1980, and has been off and on in the air. On their website you can find plenty of info about the rich history of this station. They welcome QSLs, also for reports from WebSDRs. If you want to receive a hard copy (paper) QSL please make sure to included 3 Euro or USD to cover return postage. More info on: https://frsholland.nl/qsl-policy/

The QSL that I received is on glossy paper, A5 format, printed on both sides. You can actually choose a QSL card design from their collection of legacy QSLs. The one I received was #5 showing the Akai tape recorder used to produce jingles.

It looks like the next broadcasts of FRS Holland are scheduled for July 21st and 28th, do check their website!

April 2024 QSL Atlantic 2000

Because of its interesting mix of music, featuring French chansons, I like to listen to Atlantic 2000 via Channel 292 in Germany. This is the e-QSL for their program last week. In my garden I enjoy similar cherry blossom as on the QSL. The temperatures are however lagging… it is windy and too cold for the time of year.

April 2024 QSL for Atlantic 2000

QSL Texas Radio Shortwave via Ch.292

An e QSL for Texas Radio Shortwave via Channel 292, Rohrbach, Germany. TRS ran two test programs last weekend Channel 292. On Saturday I heard them with a relatively weak signal on 6070 kHz, 9 h UTC. On Sunday significantly better on 9670 kHz, 10 h UTC. I sent my report to Texasradioshortwave@protonmail.com .

e-QSL Texas Radio Shortwave test transmission via Channel 292

During the test program they were playing different versions of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” song. The song is from around 1850. The singer tells about his love for a “yellow girl”, a term that in those days was used to describe a light-skinned girl of mixed black and white ancestry. Later the lyrics were changed from “yellow girl” to “yellow rose”.

There is a story that the song refers to Emily D. West, whose statue you see on the e QSL card. Working as a servant in Texas she was kidnapped by the Mexican Cavalry and forced to travel with the forces of General Antonio López de Santa Anna. In the battle of San Jacinto the Mexicans were defeated in 18 minutes by the Texan Army led by General Sam Houston. It is said that the Mexicans were caught unprepared as Santa Anna was in bed with West.

QSL From the Isle of Music 9670 kHz

From the Isle of Music is a new program on Radio Channel 292. I like listening to Channel 292 and its programs in the weekend while doing some admin tasks. As such I ran into this lovely program with music from Cuba. I sent my report to: tilfordproductions@gmail.com . Their facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic/

The station announced that they will be on air next week as well:
Next week, my world music program, Uncle BIll’s Melting Pot, will be on same times and frequencies plus a test simulcast from 1900-2000 on 3955 kHz. 

QSL HAARP Gakona, Alaska

A QSL from the HAARP facility in Gakona, Alaska. HAARP stands for High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. As they write on their website:

It is the world’s most capable high-power, high frequency (HF) transmitter for study of the ionosphere. The principal instrument is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a phased array of 180 HF crossed-dipole antennas spread across 33 acres and capable of radiating 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Transmit frequencies are selectable in the range of 2.7 to 10 MHz. Since the antennas form a sophisticated phased array, the transmitted beam can take many shapes, can be scanned over a wide angular range and multiple beams can be formed. The facility uses 30 transmitter shelters, each with six pairs of 10 kilowatt transmitters, to achieve the 3.6 MW transmit power.

QSL HAARP Gakona, Alaska

The facility was built in 1993, funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). With HAARP energy can be “pumped” into the ionosphere. In a controlled way this changes the local ionosphere in what otherwise happens more or less randomly under the influence of the sun. Think about the impact of solar flares causing Aurora. This allows researchers to study the impact of ionospheric changes on radio propagation. For the military this is important to assess impact on radar and communication systems or to develop new systems.

Controversy

HAARP is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories as you can read on this Wikipedia page. It is thought to be a military weapon, it is accused of deliberately triggering hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, used to down aircraft or causing chronic fatigue syndrome. Being a physicist and radio enthusiast I can only laugh about such allegations. True, 3.6 MegaWatt is a a lot of power for a transmitter. But its energy is tiny when compared to a lightning flash which can be up to 10 GigaWatts: 3000 times as much. On a global scale and compared to the sun it is nothing.

The US Air Force shut down their research program in 2015. The control and operation of the facility was turned over to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The facilities are open to researchers on a pay-for-use basis. Between August 1-14, 2023 there was such a campaign. And as part of this on August 14th the “Ghost in the Air Glow” show was performed.

The August 2023 HAARP campainged featured “Ghosts in the Air Glow”

“Ghosts in the Air Glow” Art Work

Ghosts in the Air Glow is described by the artist/composer Amanda Dawn Christie as a “Transmission Art Work for Ionospheric Research Instruments”. It was already the third performance via HAARP and like a symphony it was referred to as “Composition No. 3“, consisting out of 10 so-called “Movements”.

The frequency on which these movements were broadcast varied from 5 to 10 MHz. The antenna direction was also different each time. In two of them two antenna beams were apparently sweeping as if they were searchlights. Modulation was AM usually, but there was also one SSTV, one FM CW and one CW movement. While I did see the carriers on the majority of them, only one (directed to Marseille) was strong enough to hear some modulation: faint choir singing.
CW showed its strength again. Although the beam in Movement XXVII was directed to Dallas I could clearly pick up and decode a poem by ear: “IF MY VOICES LOW GHOSTS SHUNDER MEANING INTO THE (……) YOUR BONES”. Apparently this is a poem from T.D. Walker, but I couldn’t find the full text.

Reception report for “Ghosts in the Air Glow” – August 14th, 2023, via HAARP

QSL

I submitted my report to the website . Unfortunately I never received a QSL card. A week or two ago I saw someone on Facebook who got a QSL directly from the HAARP organization via UAF-GI-HAARP@alaska.edu . Within a day I had my e-QSL and a physical QSL was promised. I also sent a gentle reminder to the artist Amanda Dawn Christie.

I have no idea when the next opportunity is to receive HAARP, and what it would look like. They do announce campaigns on their website though. The Facebook page looks less up-to-date. And otherwise you could maybe just ask them: the response mail I got was very friendly towards radio amateurs.

QSL Faversham Radio MNC 8414.5 kHz

Among the DSC stations Faversham Radio, call sign MNC, is something special. You have the major Coastal Radio Stations and Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC or MRCC) and then there are a few maritime colleges and training institutes like MarTec in Skagen, NuTec in Bergen and Trondheim, and the Constanta Maritime University. Faversham Radio in Kent, United Kingdom is also a training facility but operated by volunteers. It is situated in Faversham along the Swale, a tidal channel in the Thames estuary.

Roger Taylor was so kind to confirm my reception of Faversham Radio. After serving as a radio officer at sea and then teaching Decca radar systems all over the world, he joined the Merchant Navy College at Greenhithe in Kent. After a stint at the National Sea School in Gravesend he and a few colleagues decided to become independent and start Snargate Radio as a training facility for GMDSS. They gave it call sign MNC, referring to the old college at Greenhithe. But also the first coastal radio station in the UK using an M (as in the old days of the Marconi Stations) rather than G in their call sign.

Later MNC was relocated to Faversham, and the name was changed accordingly. The station is entirely voluntary run by ex seafarers. The transmitter is a Sailor 5000 SSB kit because, as Roger explains, this is the only kit that allowed them to program an MMSI number starting with “00” indicating that it is a coastal radiostation. This is indeed something that is odd with stations like MarTec, NuTec, CMU or ANFR Donges: their MMSI is like that of a ship.

Faversham Radio is allowed to acknowledge DSC test calls. Making it the only HF maritime provision in the United Kingdom. In the beginning (2013-2015) the station was heavily used. But then a drop in requests was noted. Apparently due to the fact that the UK MCA had asked the entry in the ALRS (Admiralty List of Radio Signals) to be deleted. This has no been decided otherwise, but the use of Faversham Radio is still very low. Making it a rare catch.

Sealter Road along the Swale

QSL ANFR SR Donges

European listeners to DSC/GMDSS messages on the various frequencies know that there are a few stations like Coruna Radio who are heard almost every hour, every day. And there are stations that you can only hear when propagation conditions are favorable: true DX. But there are also stations that are just not that often on the air. Martec Skagen is one of those, and this QSL ANFR Donges, the Agence Nationale des Fréquences is for another one.

ANFR is big organisation, and as decribed on Wikipedia their mission is:

“… ensuring the planning, management and control of the use, including private use, of the public domain of radio frequencies subject to the application of article L. 41 of the Postal and Commercial Code. electronic communications , as well as the skills of administrations and authorities allocating radio frequencies. Its budget is allocated to budgetary program 134 “Business and tourism development”, of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.”

By the way: one of the things they do is licensing radio amateurs.
That said, I have no clue why this agency was contacting utility ship JIF Helios on 8 and 12 MHz near the Canary Islands.

I decided to give it a try and sent a report to ANFR Donges, Department Radiomaritime, 223 La Pommeraye, 4480 DONGES, France. I added the “Department Radiomaritime” hoping this would help to get the email on the proper desk. A week later I got a polite email back confirming my reception:

Email to QSL my reception of ANFR Donges on 8 and 12 MHz.

A scan of my reception report,with SR Donges stamp was also included. But no answer on my question what this transmission was all about…

If you do know what ANFR does with DSC transmissions… please leave a comment!

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