Tag Archives: @K7al_L3afta

The TAR-224 CIA Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, @K7al_L3afta, who suggested I post photos of the TAR-224 Radio. Obviously, he knows I’m a fan of this sort of rig!

He discovered the TAR-224 on the excellent CIA online museum where they give a brief description of the unit:

A compact, high-frequency, paramilitary transceiver, the TAR-224 enabled communications with field agents operating behind enemy lines. It saw service in Vietnam as well as during Operation EAGLE CLAW.

31 cm x 18.3 cm x 12 cm
(L x W x H)

A much better description of the TAR-224 can be found at the CryptoMuseum:

TAR-224 was a very compact, self-contained spy radio station, developed by AVCO Corporation in Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) around 1970 for the CIA. It was intended for communication with field agents operating behind enemy lines, and can be seen as a successor to the ageing GRC-109 (RS-1) of the 1950s. It was used for many years until it was phased out in the late 1980s.

The entire unit is completely waterproof, with all switches and controls at the front panel properly sealed, allowing the radio to be stored under harsh conditions for an extended period of time. A plastic lid can be placed over the controls to protect them against dust and dirt. It is held in place by three metal latches at the edges.

[…]The radio coverages all frequencies between 2 and 24MHz. The receiver has a Variable Frequency Oscillator (VFO), allowing continuous tuning of all 4 frequency bands, whereas the transmitter is crystal operated. The unit can be powered by an external 12V source that is connected to a 3-pin socket at the front left, or by a special 12V battery pack that is installed behind a watertight panel at the front left. A plastic grip, at the left of the radio, allows the unit to be carried around easily.

[…]Most TAR-224 units were used by the CIA on special (overseas) missions, but the radios were also used by intelligence services in Europe. It is known to be used on a mission in Angola in 1975. According to CIA communication specialist Teddy Roberts, the TAR-224 was still being used in operational context in 1983, when he trained a unit of US Army Green Barets on its use.

Continue reading…

Evidently, the TAR-224 is quite rare and I was not aware of it. Thanks for sharing, @K7al_L3afta!

There’s a pattern in that noise!

Digital-Image-VOA-Radiogram

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, @K7al_L3afta, who just shared the image (above) and noted, on Twitter:

“I just discovered the noise at the start of [the VOA Radiogram has] a purpose!” 

That’s a brilliant discovery!

Click here to learn about the VOA Radiogram.

Click here to follow @K7al_L3afta on Twitter.

Listening to the Nepal Emergency Amateur Radio Nets

Nepal-Earthquake-Map

My pal, @K7al_L3afta, recently posted the following recording of the Nepal emergency amateur radio net via Twitter:

He also recorded this short segment relaying that A65DR is alive and well:

@K7al_L3afta is using a PL-660 in an RFI-heavy, urban environment in Morocco. Even knowing some of these operators are using high power, I’m impressed the PL-660 is getting such good reception.

If you have SSB mode on your receiver, you can try monitoring some of the Nepal emergency nets on 14,205 and 14,215 kHz USB.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: EAM messages

StrategicAirCommand

Inspired by SWLing Post reader @K7al_L3afta, a few weeks ago, I monitored 15,016 kHz for US Air Force EAM (Emergency Action Messages).

I’m no expert on military communications, but I did manage to catch a few messages–that I assume are EAM(?)–on the same frequency.

All of these recordings were made on the afternoon of February 15, 2015 on 15,160 kHz in the upper sideband:

Recording 1

Recording 2

Recording 3

Recording 4

Catching a USAF HF-GCS transmission in Morocco

My buddy, @K7al_L3afta (on Twitter), posted this interesting recording of the US Air Force High Frequency Global Communications System on 15,016 kHz USB at 18:01 UTC yesterday:

HF-GCS-logoI don’t believe I’ve ever heard or noticed this type of USAF HF-GCS transmission before.  Sounds almost like a numbers station.

Update: SWLing Post reader, Daniele, comments:

It’s an EAM, “Emergency Action Message”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Action_Message

http://mt-milcom.blogspot.it/p/what-is-emergency-action-message-or-eam.html

http://www.monitoringtimes.com/html/eam.html

Thanks, Daniele!

As I’ve mentioned before, @K7al_L3afta lives in an urban area of Morocco and his shortwave radio listening is plagued with radio interference (RFI). Still, he seems to snag some interesting catches on the shortwaves just like this one which he said he caught by “turning the tuning knob randomly.”

Serendipity is, indeed, the best type of SWLing!

You can follow @K7al_L3afta on Twitter by clicking here.