Radio Waves: Virtual Winter SWL Fest March 4-5, 2022, SDRplay Updates, Contact with Ukraine Radio Ops, and Hams in Poland Provide WinLink Options

David Goren (left) and Richard Cuff (right) during the Shindig live broadcast at the Winter SWL Fest.

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!


Winter SWL Fest: March 4-5, 2022, Online using the Zoom webinar platform

The Winter SWL Fest is a conference of radio hobbyists of all stripes, from DC to daylight. Historically, every year scores of hobbyists have descended on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs for a weekend of camaraderie. The Fest is sponsored by NASWA, the North American Shortwave Association, but it covers much more than just shortwave; mediumwave (AM), scanning, satellite TV, and pirate broadcasting are among the other topics that the Fest covers. Whether you’ve been to every Fest (all 34, starting with the first year at the fabled Pink & Purple Room of the Fiesta Motor Inn) or this year’s will be your first, you’re sure to find a welcome from your fellow hobbyists, even if it’s a “virtual” welcome!.

In 2022, the 35th Annual (!!) Winter SWL Fest will again be going virtual courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic.  All activities will be conducted online via the Zoom webinar platform.

Registration will be $10 per computer screen to defray the Zoom hosting expenses.  If you already have a PayPal ID you can simply send $10 from your account to swlfest [at] naswa.net.  If you aren’t a PayPal member you may also register online via PayPal here.  Paper registrations will not be processed for 2022.

Your hosts, Richard Cuff and John Figliozzi, work throughout the year to ensure that attendees have a great time over the weekend, and by all accounts, they succeed stunningly. How else could this event have lasted for 35 years (egad) — even with a Pandemic — and draw people from around the world to southeastern Pennsylvania? Won’t you join us?

Click here to join the 2022 Winter SWL Fest!

SDRplay Updates on Hardware Shortages (RTL-SDR Blog)

As we all know many electronic components are currently in shortage, and this global shortage is affecting some SDR manufacturers like SDRplay. Recently on their blog SDRplay have provided some updates on their hardware shortage situation. They write:

As we have mentioned before,  due to the worldwide shortage of electronic components, we are suffering from production delays at both our manufacturing subcontractor operations here in the UK.  This means that many of our resellers have completely run out of RSP1A and RSPdx devices.

However we are pleased to say that this week, we have  been able to build some additional units.  This means that by the end of next week (February 25th), our resellers should have more stocks of RSP1A and RSPdx.   More RSPduos are promised for mid to late March.

It is highly likely that even after the latest production runs are delivered, some of our resellers will run out again in the weeks ahead.  Meanwhile we are working to do all we can to secure more critical components for our manufacturers. This includes tweaks to the designs so that they can accommodate alternative more readily available parts.

Many thanks to customers who have been left waiting to buy, and to our resellers for your patience as we navigate though this situation.

A list of our authorised resellers can be found here: https://www.sdrplay.com/distributors/

[Read this full post on the RTL-SDR Blog…]

Meet the Jersey man using his radio set to make contact with people in Ukraine (Southgate ARC)

A man in Jersey is using amateur radio equipment to make contact with people caught up in the fighting in Ukraine.

Paul Mahrer spoke to more than 1,700 Ukrainian radio operators last year, but says all communication has been lost since the country declared martial law.

Paul says he was talking to people in the country as Russia launched a full-scale invasion yesterday (Thursday 24 February), but now the radio waves have fallen silent.
Speaking on ITV Channel TV, he said: “There were two operators in Ukraine, they were upbeat and positive, there was no mention of the troubles, but one can never tell. They were both in Kyiv.

“This morning, I briefly had a chat with a guy in Donetsk [in the east of Ukraine] and that conversation was just a hello goodbye conversation. He was trying to speak to as many people as possible.

“With the two people I was talking to yesterday, there was nothing untoward to indicate they were in trouble but that was yesterday.

“With the proclamation of martial law in Ukraine, all amateur radio communication has stopped so I have not heard a single thing.

“There are Russian people operating, there’s no issue there, but there has been no correspondence from Ukraine since midday yesterday.

“I think the operators appreciated my expressions of concern and best wishes.”

Watch the ITV report at
https://www.itv.com/news/channel/2022-02-25/meet-the-jersey-man-using-his-radio-set-to-make-contact-with-people-in-ukraine

Ukraine: Poland’s radio amateurs provide WinLink email links (Southgate ARC)

Members of Poland’s national Amateur Radio society PZK (Polski Zwi?zek Krótkofalowców) are providing WinLink email communications links in the 1.8, 3.5 and 14 MHz bands

A post on the Polish Amateur Radio Union Facebook page reads:

Dear HAM operators, in the face of the latest threats in our region and a possibility of an incoming wave of refugees, with over 2 mln already living in Poland, we would like to remind you that we are at your disposal.

If you are a licensed amateur radio operator, you can send information by e-mail to your relatives in Poland or Emergency Services with via the Winlink system, which works on HF bands, independently of access to the local ICT infrastructure https://winlink.org/WinlinkExpress.

We advise you to download the software, install it and check its operation.
Polish WinLink nodes are QRV on 160,80,20m
SR5WLK dial frequency 3595,5 kHz USB
SR3WLK dial requency 14111 kHz USB
SP3IEW dial frequency 1865 kHz USB

If we receive information about the cut-off of the Internet in the region in danger, we will be QRV daily as SP0MASR @ 18-20 UTC on the frequencies 3770 kHz +/- QRM, 7110 kHz +/- QRM. In such a situation, please communicate in Polish or English.

We are here to serve you.
Source: PZK Facebook page
Click here


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3 thoughts on “Radio Waves: Virtual Winter SWL Fest March 4-5, 2022, SDRplay Updates, Contact with Ukraine Radio Ops, and Hams in Poland Provide WinLink Options

  1. Mike N7MSD

    SDRPlay: here in USA, http://www.hamradio.com (their USA dist) have plenty of stock. I also just confirmed airspy.us has stock of their stuff.

    Winlink: I’m exhausted from repeating this over and over again, but again: VARA (and the main winlink software) requires M$ windoze. If you run it you are ASKNG to be cracked, hacked, scammed, & spied on–from even M$ themselves (you can’t turn it off on 10 & 11). If I had more time I would be putting my own effort to helping the M17 project replace VARA and upgrade the non-wndoze programs like Pat. Especially if the truly bad guys do cyber attacks, your system will be bricked and your winlink will be useless.

    FWIW, outside of war zones Star Link is probably the best replacement for winlink as you can use just regular e-mail (or anything else). The other satellite systems work for low bandwidth too (usually), its just winlink is “free” on the ham bands, shoving other ham ops off.

    Reply
    1. Mike N7MSD

      To make this clear, from a cyber security perspective, if it isn’t 100% disconnected from the “grid” (using the widest possible definition), it can be attacked and bricked. In addition, if you don’t have access to the firmware, your radio could also be bricked over the air: most commercial radios do this as a feature, but it could also be a hidden one in amateur and other radios (I don’t know).

      Finally, if you’re *REALLY* paranoid, as of this writng Putin has ordered the nuclear forces to high alert: all the suits think this is a bluff, but they’ve also been totally wrong so far and Putin is demonstrating increasingly irrational behavior. I mention this because all of your radios are susceptible to NEMP, perhaps even your cell phones (but it won’t matter because the towers will most likely be fried). If you want to be the most careful you need to keep a spare set of radios in a Faraday Cage style container (details online).

      Remember, just like propagation, TEMPEST goes both ways: if you can still hear your strongest local FM station (assuming you’re in a city) on a radio in your container of choice, it isn’t shielded enough especially considering NEMP peaks ~100MHz (unlike lightning, which peaks at one MHz–AM-BCB).

      Feel free to forward this to those in need of it.

      Reply

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