The wonderful world of listening to the radio

Tag: SW (Page 3 of 10)

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!

QSL TWR PANI Kyrgyzstan (via Guam)

QSL TWR PANI Kyrgyzstan via Guam
eQSL sent bij TWR Asia to confirm reception of TWR PANI, Kyrgyzstan

As I was not sure whether the TWR PANI (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northern India) would resort under TWR CAMENA or TWR Asia I sent both of them a reception report.
Three weeks ago I shared the QSL email received via Mr. Kalman Dobos of TWR CAMENA. Last week I received the eQSL card for my report sent via the TWR Asia webform. Unfortunately, as was the case with the other confirmation, the QSL gave no other information about the QTH than the station ID “CAE”. This stands for “Central Asia East” according to attached information which did include the 1467 kHz schedule.

QSL XSX Keelung Radio 12577 kHz

QSL XSX Keelung Radio Taiwan
Fully detailed eQSL from XSX Keelung Radio, Taiwan

If I’m not mistaken this was my 3rd attempt to get this nice QSL for XSX Keelung Radio 12577 kHz. I sent my report to klgmdss@ms1.hinet.net .

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot of info about Keelung Radio on the internet. So I will finish this post with my QSL from 1982 from Keelung Radio, when we were still searching the bands for VVV and CQ markers in CW:

1982 QSL for reception of Keelung Radio in CW on 8 MHz.

QSL Skipperskole (MarTec) Skagen 8414.5 kHz

I got a friendly email to QSL Skagen Skipperskole (Martec) Skagen, Denmark, on 8414.5 kHz. Yes, Skipperskole is Skipper School in English, witnessing the Danish influence on the English language which, as most of you probably know, goes back to the Viking era.

QSL Skipperskole (MarTec) Skagen 8414.5 kHz

Mr. Andersen, principal of the school was so kind to answer my reception report. I sent it to martec@martec.dk and acta@martec.dk. The Skipperskole is part of MarTec a polytechnical education institute in Skagen, a harbor city in the most northern tip of Denmark.

The DSC transmission to a fictive MMSI 999999999 was made as part of a training session in which not only Danish students, but also students from Portugal, Sweden and Panama participated. I’m very pleased with this QSL, if only because I am a huge fan of any real technical study whatsoever. We need more technically educated people!

Martec Skagen, the “eneste” skipper school in Denmark. Eneste is close to “enigste” in Dutch, which means “only”. It’s funny that “only” is more like “ähnlich” in German, which means “similar”. Etymology is another of mine as you can guess.

It probably wouldn’t be too difficult to receive Skipperskole Skagen if it wasn’t for the fact that these training sessions are not an everyday event. So you have to be lucky. And if you are dependent on night time propagation you do have bad luck, as the courses are probably day time only.
Other schools that I know off that have DSC transmissions as part of their curriculum are Bergen and Tromso in Norway, but I never got an answer from the latter one on my reception report.

QSL Radio Marabu via Channel 292

Radio Marabu celebrates its 40th birthday this year. The station started as early as 1984. I received a classic QSL of Radio Marabu for their broadcast on Channel 292, Rohrbach, Germany. Their QSL is printed on a beautiful shiny silver card.

QSL card from Radio Marabu

As I said, Radio Marabu exists 40 year. It started as an independent non-commercial platform for an alternative music selection. Music that you typically won’t hear on today’s FM band. Personally I really enjoy listening to their web stream when I’m doing stuff like writing reception reports or working on my blog.

You can find Radio Marabu on www.radiomarabu.de.

QSL Sveriges DX Förbund (SDXF) on 9670 kHz

The Sveriges DX Förbund, SDXF (or Swedish DX Assocation) can be heard with a program via Channel 292. December 26th I heard them on 9670 kHz with a special Christmas edition. Unfortunately the program was mainly in Swedish, with a few minutes in German language only. Reception report should be sent to qsl@sdxf.se. QSL manager Gert Nilsson sent me an email confirming that my report was received, and a few weeks later I received their nice QSL card by mail.

QSL SDXF via Channel 292

Not sure when they are on the air again (they had a show on World Radio Day yesterday), so please check the websites of SDXF or Channel 292 for more information.

QSL Tianjin Coastal Radio 8414.5 kHz

Today I received a polite email to QSL my reception of Tianjin Coastal Radio on 8414.5 kHz. I sent my report to tianjinradio@163.com, and three hours later I received my reply. The call sign of Tianjin Radio is XSV.

Tianjin is the third largest port in the world, after Shanghai and Singapore. That said, I don’t see them in the DSC logs as often as for example Shanghai and Guangzhou Radio. The port is situated on the Haihe river. Tianjin has a population of 14 million.

Tianjin Coastal Radio Centre

By the way, last week I was away on a skiing holiday, but I kept my receivers on DSC watch. I also triggered remote logging on the YaDD decoder. The beauty is that I could see in Tirol what was being received via YaDDNet . So I already knew that I had received Tianjin before I got home… and DX Atlas confirmed it. Not all is bad in the modern age of DX-ing!

DX-ing continued while I was skiing…
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