Washington maintains a waterfront radio tower in the Florida Keys to broadcast programming aimed at encouraging democracy and press freedom in Cuba, and on Sunday that area in Marathon was the landing spot for a group of migrants fleeing the island. A boat of 25 migrants arrived on the shores of Sister Creek, home to a Radio Martí transmission station on Sunday morning, said Adam Hoffner, assistant chief patrol agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami operations. The landing was one of two known migrant arrivals in the Keys on Sunday, with another 28 Cubans arriving on private property in Key Largo. While the government-run broadcasting agency targets Cuban listeners with Spanish programming, Radio Martí reports typically discourage the kind of voyage that reportedly landed some Cubans on or near Martí property, said Tomás Regalado, the former Miami mayor who also recently ran the agency that oversees Radio and TV Martí. “Historically, the migrant situation was something that was treated as news,” Regalado said. “But with the caveat that it’s a very dangerous trip and not recommended.” [Read more here…]
A nonprofit organization based in the U.S. is supplying Ukrainian forces with advanced electronic warfare gear assembled from simple off-the-shelf components. The secret is a new technology known as Software Defined Radio (SDR) which can locate Russian radio emitters, from command centers to drone operators. Previously this sort of capability required expensive, high-grade military equipment.
Serge Sklyarenko says his organization, American Ukrainian Aid Foundation, based in New York, is supplying Ukrainian intelligence with a number of the versatile SDR radio kits.
“The beauty of them is they are software defined, meaning they can be reprogrammed in the field to suit a multitude of use cases,” Sklyarenko told me.
In a traditional radio set, the signal from an antenna is processed by dedicated hardware – amplifiers, filters, modulator/demodulators and other components. This means that each radio set is dedicated to one particular type of radio signal, whether it is a 5G cellphone, AM radio, digital television or WiFi. In Software Defined Radio, the only dedicated hardware is the antenna. All the signal processing is carried out digitally with a computer. Simply by changing the programming, an SDR can extract the signal for cellphone, radio, Bluetooth, or any other defined waveform. One device can do everything. [Continue reading…]
On January 10, 1991, the U.S. Army Intelligence School Devens (USAISD) introduced the Basic Morse Mission Trainer to the 98H Morse intercept operator and 98D emitter identifier/locator advanced individual training courses. This system revolutionized the training of Morse code copying skills for both students and instructors, reducing course attrition, and turning out better trained operators faster. Continue reading →
If you had been monitoring 29.620 around 1615Z on January 5, 2023, it’s just barely possible that you could have heard me leap out of my chair and do the “Astonishment Dance,” while yelling: “Are you kidding me?!! Is this even possible?!!”
Let me set the scene: it was a quiet day, much like any other day. My Better Half was catching up with her sister on the telephone in another room. I was in the sun room/library/radio shack reading a book.
Two of my ham transceivers are ex-public-service units, and I decided to put the one dedicated to 70 cm on scan. In my area, 70 cm (440 MHz ham band) is generally pretty quiet, and I thought I would see if anyone was using it.
After a while, the scan stops, and the transceiver locks onto 442.9500 a repeater far to the south of me. A mellifluous French accent begins announcing a callsign: Foxtrot 3 Oscar India Japan. I drop my call on the repeater . . . KB2GOM . . . we chat. His name is Serge, he is in Rheims France.
Wait a minute, this is a 440 repeater. I’ve heard of extreme long distance propagation occasionally on two meters . . . but 440? This is crazy.
I am officially flipping out . . . is this some sort of X-files propagation on 70cm? Better call Fox Mulder.
I call my radio guru, K2RHI; he explains it is a 10 meter repeater linked to a series of other repeaters, including the 70 cm repeater my transceiver has locked onto. I settle down . . . a little . . . and continue to monitor. Then in rapid succession, I respond to the calls from hams from Texas, Northeast England and a place called Trout Creek in Delaware County. If you had been listening on 29.620, you might have heard one very excited oldster (me!) talking with those stations.
So dear reader, the moral of this story is two-fold: (1) you never know what surprise radio may deliver next, and (2) when it happens, it can be a source of fun and wonderment . . . so keep listening!
Bauer is removing Absolute Radio from Medium wave this month as it turns off all AM frequencies for the station across the country.
Absolute Radio launched exclusively on AM (as Virgin Radio) 30 years ago in 1993 using predominantly 1215 kHz along with fill-in relays on 1197, 1233, 1242 and 1260. Some of these have been turned off in recent years in places such as Devon, Merseyside and Tayside.
Whilst this is a historic milestone for the radio industry, it shouldn’t affect many listeners as just two percent of all radio listening currently takes place on AM.
Absolute Radio also lost its FM frequency in London in 2021 in favour of the ever-expanding Greatest Hits Radio network.
The move makes Absolute Radio a digital-only service, broadcasting nationally on DAB and online. [Continue reading…]
[…]Carlos Henrique Latuff de Sousa or simply “Carlos Latuff”, for friends, (born in Rio de Janeiro, November 30, 1968) is a famous Brazilian cartoonist and political activist. Latuff began his career as an illustrator in 1989 at a small advertising agency in downtown Rio de Janeiro. He became a cartoonist after publishing his first cartoon in a newsletter of the Stevadores Union in 1990, and continues to work for the trade union press to this day.
With the advent of the Internet, Latuff began his artistic activism, producing copyleft designs for the Zapatista movement. After a trip to the occupied territories of the West Bank in 1999, he became a sympathizer of the Palestinian cause in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and devoted much of his work to it. He became an anti-Zionist during this trip and today helps spread anti-Zionist ideals.
A large and potentially dangerous sunspot is turning toward Earth. This morning (Jan. 6th at 0057 UT) it unleashed an X-class solar flare and caused a shortwave radio blackout over the South Pacific Ocean. Given the size and apparent complexity of the active region, there’s a good chance the explosions will continue in the days ahead. Full story @ Spaceweather.com ( https://spaceweather.com)
For almost 20 years, Steve Galchutt, a retired graphic designer, has trekked up Colorado mountains accompanied by his pack of goats to contact strangers around the world using a language that is almost two centuries old, and that many people have given up for dead. On his climbs, Galchutt and his herd have scared away a bear grazing on raspberries, escaped from fast-moving forest fires, camped in subfreezing temperatures and teetered across a rickety cable bridge over a swift-moving river where one of his goats, Peanut, fell into the drink and then swam ashore and shook himself dry like a dog. “I know it sounds crazy, risking my life and my goats’ lives, but it gets in your blood,” he tells me by phone from his home in the town of Monument, Colorado. Sending Morse code from a mountaintop—altitude offers ham radios greater range—“is like being a clandestine spy and having your own secret language.”
Worldwide, Galchutt is one of fewer than three million amateur radio operators, called “hams,” who have government-issued licenses allowing them to transmit radio signals on specifically allocated frequencies. While most hams have moved on to more advanced communications modes, like digital messages, a hard-core group is sticking with Morse code, a telecommunications language that dates back to the early 1800s—and that offers a distinct pleasure and even relief to modern devotees.
Strangely enough, while the number of ham operators is declining globally, it’s growing in the United States, as is Morse code, by all accounts. ARRL (formerly the American Radio Relay League), based in Newington, Connecticut, the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the world, reports that a recent worldwide ham radio contest—wherein hams garner points based on how many conversations they complete over the airwaves within a tight time frame—showed Morse code participants up 10 percent in 2021 over the year before.
This jump is remarkable, given that in the early 1990s, the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses all U.S. hams, dropped its requirement that beginner operators be proficient in Morse code; it’s also no longer regularly employed by military and maritime users, who had relied on Morse code as their main communications method since the very beginning of radio. Equipment sellers have noticed this trend, too. “The majority of our sales are [equipment for] Morse code,” says Scott Robbins, owner of ham radio equipment maker Vibroplex, founded in 1905, which touts itself as the oldest continuously operating business in amateur radio. “In 2021, we had the best year we’ve ever had … and I can’t see how the interest in Morse code tails off.”
Practitioners say they’re attracted by the simplicity of Morse code—it’s just dots and dashes, and it recalls a low-tech era when conversations moved more slowly. For hams like Thomas Witherspoon of North Carolina, using Morse code transmissions—sometimes abbreviated as CW, for “continuous wave”—offers a rare opportunity to accomplish tasks without high-tech help, like learning a foreign language instead of using a smartphone translator. “A lot of people now look only to tools. They want to purchase their way out of a situation.”
Morse code, on the other hand, requires you to use “the filter between your ears,” Witherspoon says. “I think a lot of people these days value that.” Indeed, some hams say that sending and receiving Morse code builds up neural connections that may not have existed before, much in the way that math or music exercises do. A 2017 study led by researchers from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, and from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands supports the notion that studying Morse code and languages alike boosts neuroplasticity in similar ways. [Continue reading…]
In the 1980s, Margaret Iaquinto was an amateur ham radio operator who communicated with Russian cosmonauts in space. She talked to them for over a year. Iaquinto died in 2014. But her son Ben Iaquinto remembers the friendships she developed with the cosmonauts. Marco Werman speaks to Ben Iaquinto about his mom’s hobby and the conversations she had with these Russian cosmonauts.
If you’re a radio fan, or have merely been stuck in a car as day transitions into night, you may have noticed that you don’t get quite as clear signal in the hours of darkness.
Before you assume that it’s a plot by reverse vampires (possibly in conjunction with the saucer people) in order to make radio listeners go to bed, you should know that it’s actually the result of a requirement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to power down or turn off at night, and the FCC in turn are required to do this by the laws of physics.
It all has to do with wavelengths and the ionosphere. During the daytime, AM signals primarily propagate close to the ground (known as ground wave propagation) and follow the curves of the Earth. In the daylight hours, AM signals sent by radio stations can cover around 162 kilometers (100 miles) before you will struggle to hear the signal.
As good as this is, at night the ability of long waves to propagate large distances becomes a problem, thanks to the ionosphere. Between 80 and 600 kilometers (50-373 miles) above the Earth, particles in the Earth’s atmosphere are bombarded with Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) and x-ray solar radiation, ionizing them as they do so. The ionosphere grows and shrinks (on your side of the planet) depending on the time of day.
At night, the layer reflects AM radio signals (known as “skywave” propagation) to a much greater degree than during the day, allowing the signal to be carried for hundreds of miles further than during the day. While this may sound like good news, it is what’s known as a “pain in the butt” for any communication regulators out there, or people who want to listen to anything other than an indiscernible mess of static.
“Because of this change in signal propagation from daytime to nighttime, if every AM station kept its daytime operating power at night, massive interference would result,” the FCC explains on their website. [Continue reading…]
‘The sky’s the limit. There’s just so many different things that you can learn’
The amateur radio community on P.E.I. is growing, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-tropical storm Fiona.
Stratford resident Brent Taylor has been a ham radio operator for 38 years, in New Brunswick and P.E.I. He goes by the call sign VY2HF.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic. We have been so thrilled with the number of people that have come forward, and now that we’re getting them on the air,” Taylor said.
“Probably because of COVID, and maybe because of Fiona, there’s been a more of an interest, I think, in people wanting to be able to maintain their connections with each other, even from their own homes.”
Taylor said a dozen people started the 12-week training program in the fall, and eight passed their exams and are now licensed operators.
“The most diverse I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been teaching off and on this course for 35-plus years. To see the number of women in the course, for one thing, is just tremendous,” Taylor said.
“Also, cultural diversity and a wide range of ages from as young as 12 years old.” [Continue reading…]
“Please be informed that the production of the FT-818ND and FTM-400XDR will be discontinued. We are forced to make this unfortunate decision due to difficulty we are having with the availability of some components. We appreciate your long-term patronage of the FT-818ND and FTM-400XDR.”
I’m quite a fan of the FT-818 and FT-817 series radios. I purchased the original FT-817 from the very first production run in 2001. At the time, I was living in the UK and traveling extensively throughout Europe. The Yaesu FT-817 was such a capable traveling companion and also well-suited for the shack.
The FT-817 was the first affordable QRP general coverage transceiver from one of the “big three” manufacturers (approx. $670 US from the very beginning) that not only covered all of the HF bands, but even VHF and UHF. It also had a rechargeable battery pack and two separate and selectable antenna inputs (SO-239 and BNC); a unique feature set to this very day!
Yeasu knocked it out of the ballpark so hard that over two decades later, this same radio (slightly upgraded as the FT-818ND) was still being manufactured. It was a QRP-sized cash cow for Yaesu.
As a shortwave radio listener, I’m incredibly pleased with the 817/818’s performance as a broadcast band receiver. When I lived in the UK, especially, it was my only shortwave radio connected to a proper longwire antenna and it served me incredibly well. Its main drawback was the tiny front faceplate and mini encoder, but its other features compensated for its ergonomics.
While the FT-818ND is very much a legacy design and outdated when compared to modern SDR transceivers with built-in sound cards, spectrum displays, SWR analyzers, variable filters, etc. it still very much holds its own.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new FT-818ND, now would be the time to bite the bullet. It’s your last chance to purchase one new from an authorized distributor, carrying a full factory warranty. Most Yaesu distributors still have inventory, but they are being depleted fairly quickly.
Click here to check inventory at the following retailers:
For over a decade I’ve seen rumors floating around about a replacement for the FT-817/818. While I should hope that Yaesu is in the process of designing another QRP radio (especially since QRP and field radios are such a hot segment of the ham radio market at present), they’ve been clear that they’ve no plans to announce a replacement anytime soon.
A man, a Mouse and a morse key: the story of a radio amateur in Kyiv as the Russian invasion unfolds.
When his wife and two children flee Kyiv to escape the war, Volodymyr Gurtovy (call sign US7IGN) stays behind in their apartment with only his radios and the family hamster, Mouse, for company.
Before the war, he used to go deep into the pine forests, spinning intricate webs of treetop antennas using a fishing rod, catching signals from radio amateurs in distant countries.
Prohibited by martial law from sending messages, he becomes a listener, intercepting conversations of Russian pilots and warning his neighbours to hide in shelters well before the sirens sound. After three months of silence, he begins transmitting again. Switching his lawyer’s suit for a soldering iron, he runs a radio surgery for his friends and neighbours, dusting off old shortwave receivers and bringing them back to life.
During air raids, he hides behind the thickest wall in his apartment, close to his radios, their flickering amber lights opening a window to another world. A story of sending and receiving signals from within the darkness of the Kyiv blackout.
Music: Ollie Chubb (8ctavius)
Producer: Cicely Fell
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
An experiment to bounce a radio signal off an asteroid on Dec. 27 will serve as a test for probing a larger asteroid that in 2029 will pass closer to Earth than the many geostationary satellites that orbit our planet.
The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program research site in Gakona will transmit radio signals to asteroid 2010 XC15, which could be about 500 feet across. The University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array near Socorro, New Mexico, and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array near Bishop, California, will receive the signal.
This will be the first use of HAARP to probe an asteroid.
“What’s new and what we are trying to do is probe asteroid interiors with long wavelength radars and radio telescopes from the ground,” said Mark Haynes, lead investigator on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate the interior of an object much better than the radio wavelengths used for communication.”
Knowing more about an asteroid’s interior, especially of an asteroid large enough to cause major damage on Earth, is important for determining how to defend against it.
“If you know the distribution of mass, you can make an impactor more effective, because you’ll know where to hit the asteroid a little better,” Haynes said.
Many programs exist to quickly detect asteroids, determine their orbit and shape and image their surface, either with optical telescopes or the planetary radar of the Deep Space Network, NASA’s network of large and highly sensitive radio antennas in California, Spain and Australia.
Those radar-imaging programs use signals of short wavelengths, which bounce off the surface and provide high-quality external images but don’t penetrate an object.
HAARP will transmit a continually chirping signal to asteroid 2010 XC15 at slightly above and below 9.6 megahertz (9.6 million times per second). The chirp will repeat at two-second intervals. Distance will be a challenge, Haynes said, because the asteroid will be twice as far from Earth as the moon is. [Continue reading…]
The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) will be conducting a research campaign/experiment on December 27, 2022, with transmissions between 1100 – 2300 UTC (0200 – 1400 AKST).
[…]Actual transmit times are highly variable based on real-time ionospheric conditions and all information is subject to change. Currently, the Asteroid Bounce (2010 XC15) experiment will take place Dec. 27, 2022, from 1100 UTC to 2300 UTC; 9.6 MHz, LFM (linear FM), 0.5 Hz WRF (waveform repetition frequency), 30 kHz bandwidth. Reports recording echo are encouraged; demodulated recordings in .wav or .mp3 are recommended.
Amateur radio and radio astronomy enthusiasts are invited to listen to the transmissions/echoes and submit reception reports to the HAARP facility at [email protected] and request a QSL card by mailing a report to: