Radio Waves: ATC Communications, ABC is Highly Trusted, New SW Forum in Turkey, and Did a Ham Speak To Crew Dragon?

Photo credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Michael Bird, Seyfi Genç, and London Shortwave for the following tips:

Can you hear me now: How pilots communicate with ATC while 35,000 feet in the air (The Points Guy UK)

When you’re in a sealed, pressurised tube five miles above the ground, being able to communicate effectively is essential. In the early days of aviation, flags and light signals were used before designers were able to fit basic radio equipment into aircraft.

Modern aircraft now have an array of communication devices from the rudimentary HF radios of old to sophisticated satellite-based systems that enable us to talk almost as if we were on a mobile phone.

[…]The most common form of communication in aviation, very high frequency (VHF) radio calls are what we use for around 95% of our communications with ATC. In simplified terms, the transmitting station sends a signal that travels in a straight line and is picked up by the receiving station.

VHF comms provide clear voice communications. However, as the radio signals travel in straight lines, they are limited by the curvature of the earth and objects that they may come into contact with, such as hills and mountains.

The distance which a VHF signal can travel depends on both the height from which the signal is sent and the height of the receiving station. If both the sender and the receiver are on the ground, the distance will be relatively small. If both stations are in the air, the distance the signals can travel is much further.[]

Bushfire Research shows ABC Radio highly trusted and saves lives (Radio Info)

As the Bushfire Royal Commission continues, the ABC has released independent research that shows Australians turned to the national broadcaster in record numbers during the recent bushfire crisis.

The research shows that the ABC was the most trusted information source during the fires and that lives were saved as a result of people acting on information the ABC provided.

At the height of the bushfire crisis (31 December-14 January) ABC Sydney and ABC NSW local radio produced 296 hours of rolling/continuous fire coverage, ABC Gippsland 134 hours, and ABC Melbourne 83 hours.[]

New Shortwave Forum in Turkey

73 and hello from Shortwave Forum!

A dedicated Facebook and parallel Whatsapp group, to exchange news and info by SWL’s and DX’ers from Turkey, NOW goes wider and more permanent:

The Shortwave Forum will be open to all who want to join and contribute. Membership is free.

With members from all corners of the globe, the content of our beautiful hobby will reach the richness it always deserves.

Register now! And keep those tips and news coming!

Did a Ham Radio Enthusiast Actually Speak to Crew Dragon? (Popular Mechanics)

In a strange turn of events, a ham radio enthusiast in Gujarat, India falsely claimed to have made contact with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley during their historic journey to the International Space Station last weekend.

Engineer Adhir Saiyadh told the Ahmedabad Mirror he decided to try to connect with the ISS as it sped over India and “coincidentally got connected to their frequency and received a response from one of the commandants of the capsule,” he said.

But NASA says it simply isn’t true.

Behnken and Hurley blasted off from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A on Saturday, May 30. After 19 hours in orbit, the astronauts docked with the ISS and reunited with fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy—whose ham call sign is KF5KDR, by the way—and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

“We did check with SpaceX to confirm that they were not aware of any communication with the astronauts via ham radio, and the crew did not report having received communication,” a NASA spokesperson told Popular Mechanics via email. “We are also under the impression that may be technically impossible for the Crew Dragon to communicate through ham radio.”[]

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2 thoughts on “Radio Waves: ATC Communications, ABC is Highly Trusted, New SW Forum in Turkey, and Did a Ham Speak To Crew Dragon?

  1. Mangosman

    ABC Trusted. Part of the their report was a survey on knowing where to get the emergency information.
    They recommend that much of the audience do not know where to hear emergency warnings. They were asking if audience members knew their local AM frequency. Most of the bushfire areas are covered by FM transmitters many are high powered. One of the hotspots was Bateman’s Bay where the local ABC local radio FM transmitter was burnt down because it is at the top of a hill in a dense forest.

    The ABC is continually pushing the audience to listen using mobile phones or now on TV. All of these transmitters are also on the tops of hills and are not only vulnerable to fire but also strong winds. This also makes the electricity supply vulnerable or even supplying liquid fuel to generators.

    A better option is to use a high powered high frequency (SW) DRM transmitter in the centre of the country which is free of hazards. DRM and DAB+ standards have the ability to transmit different program to an area as small as 7 x 7 km to give audible warnings, the receiver can be told what frequency and program stream, wake up the receivers and listeners. Maps of the emergency and indexed detailed text messages and data to vehicle navigation systems to direct drivers away from closed roads can also be transmitted.

    1. Ron F


      As I point out every time the idea is raised by anybody, the ABC *is not an emergency broadcaster, and is not an official source of information during an emergency*. At least, no more than any other broadcaster – public or commercial, radio or TV – or telco is required to be through their codes of practice.

      The real issue – and, given that the country regularly suffers from cyclones, floods, bushfires, etc, it’s an almost criminally negligent one – is that Australia doesn’t have a designated emergency warning or disaster information system for the public. Unless you count Emergency Alert Australia – a joint Federal/State government organisation whose sole method is sending SMSs and phone messages through the normal mobile/landline networks.

      In short, it’s not the ABC’s responsibility to set up a resilient emergency warning system when the Government won’t do it – and when the commercial radio, TV, & media networks will almost certainly oppose it (as they have done since the days of Keith Murdoch opposing the formation of ABC News in the 1930’s)…


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