Tag Archives: Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

Radio Waves: DIY Internet Radio With Real Buttons, Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Test, Tokyo Rose, Shortwave Collective, and RAC Portable Operations Challenge

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 Paul, Dennis Dura, and David Goren for the following tips:


Internet radio with real buttons using Stream Deck (Bjørn Erling Fløtten)

How I used a Stream Deck Mini from Elgato in order to give my mother-in-law a super easy Internet radio experience.

By Bjørn Erling Fløtten, Trondheim, Norway. April 2021.

See also comments on Hacker News

Background

My mother-in-law is from Poland. When she stays in Norway in order to help us with babysitting she misses Polish radio. In principle this is easily accessible through the Internet now from all kind of devices.

BUT, my mother-in-law is not PC-literate, nor does she use a so called ‘smart’-phone. With my long experience in teaching people far younger than her simple mouse and keyboard techniques, I knew that operating Windows and finding Internet radio stations on her own would just be too cumbersome. I therefore had to create a super simple setup for her, and my hacker mind started to think.

(I did of course consider special purpose Internet radios. They should in theory be quite simple to operate, but they all have som kind of quirks that I did not like. And besides, constructing something of your own is of course always more satisfying.)

I want Real Buttons!

What I really wanted was big buttons with tactile feedback. I had earlier experienced with some Behringer products (sound mixing board) in order to demonstrate mathematical functions. The idea then was to use turning knobs and sliders in order to see how changing parameters changed the outcome of the function, especially graphs in 2D and 3D.

I thought this would be useful also for an Internet radio, but then I remembered having read about the Optimus Maximus keyboard (keyboard with programmable led icons on each key), and I thought such a product would be even better. This search led to Elgato and their Stream Deck Mini. This has 6 buttons, just enough for a radio. I might have preferred the bigger version with 15 buttons but their products are ridiculously expensive, so I had to be content with just 6 buttons.

In addition to the Stream Deck Mini my son donated his old school laptop with Windows 10 installed. It was a cheap ThinkPad L-series which, although 3 years old and somewhat battered from daily use to and from school, was quite capable of streaming some audio from the Internet. My son created a guest account in Windows 10 with auto login. He set ‘Fn lock’ as default, meaning that keys F1, F2 and F3 was volume off, down, up without having to press Fn. We also found a pair of speakers lying around in the house.

No programming necessary *

(* But understanding of HTML, URLs and Windows command line arguments is a requisite.)

Initially I thought I would make a Windows application for controlling which radio streams to play. But it turned out that Elgato’s accompanying software was quite capable by itself.

I assigned five of the six available buttons to launch the standard web browser (Google Chrome in this case) with a corresponding streaming URL (radio channel).

Continue reading the full article by clicking here.

Annual Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Test set for May 7 – 8 (Southgate ARC)

The US Department of Defense will host this year’s Armed Forces Day (AFD) Cross-Band Test, Friday and Saturday, May 7 – 8, in recognition of Armed Forces Day on May 15. The event is open to all radio amateurs.

For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this exercise, designed to include amateur radio and government radio operators alike.

The AFD Cross-Band Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military and amateur radio stations, as authorized under FCC Part 97 rules. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly controlled exercise in which military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and will announce the specific amateur radio frequencies being monitored.

The schedule of military/government stations taking part in the Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Test and information on the AFD message is available on the MARS website.

Complete the request form to obtain a QSL card. ARRL

“Tokyo Rose” – WW2 Traitor or Victim? (YouTube)

Shortwave Collective – FENCETENNA (YouTube)

RAC Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award (Southgate ARC)

The RAC Challenge Award: An Overview
Radio Amateurs of Canada is pleased to present a new Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award for RAC members.

The objective of the new “RAC Challenge Award” is to recognize and encourage portable operations by RAC members from locations throughout Canada.

The new program will begin on Canada Day, July 1, 2021 and we hope it will become an annual event for RAC members.

Note: the following information is tentative as the new Awards program is still being organized so please stay tuned to this webpage for future updates.

Portable Operations
Portable operations are those in which Amateurs take their equipment, antennas and power supply to a location away from their home station to operate. This includes mobile stations, backpackers, DXpeditions and participation in events such as those described below:

Parks On The Air (POTA), a worldwide program of park activations – https://parksontheair.com/
Quebec Parks On The Air (QcPOTA) April 1 to December 31
Field Day: June 26-27
There are several other programs that celebrate portable operations including Summits on the Air (SOTA), Islands on the Air (IOTA) and the International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend.

Features of the “RAC Challenge”
The new “RAC Challenge” will recognize all portable operations in which RAC members participate and will have similar features as a contest. Amateur Radio contests in VHF, UHF and the Microwave bands all have categories for “Rovers” – who move from grid square to grid square and “Backpackers” – who seek out hilltops from which to operate with highly portable equipment and antennas.

For many satellite operators, making contact with as many grid squares as possible is a mark of success. Some of those operators go on satellite DXpeditions to activate rare grids or operate from the intersections of grids to offer multiple grids with a single contact. In addition to being fun, these activities provide an opportunity for Amateurs to experience what is required to set up and operate under challenging conditions – valuable experience for emergency preparedness.

For more on the RAC Challenge Award, please see:

RAC Canadian Portable Operations Challenge Award


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Radio Waves: Crossband Test Postponed, VI3RA Event Videos, WWII Radio, and Look Inside a Panasonic RF-4900

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 Harald Kuhl, Michael Bird, and Carel Kuijer for the following tips:


Annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Test Postponed (ARRL News)

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response and mitigation actions, the 2020 Armed Forces Day (AFD) Crossband Test scheduled for Saturday, May 9, has been postponed. Because it’s uncertain just when stay-at-home orders will be lifted across the US, AFD planners chose to postpone this year’s event, because the government stations that typically support this event may not be available. Armed Forces Day Crossband Test planners are considering scheduling a November event in honor of Veteran’s Day, depending on COVID-19 mitigation actions. During the AFD Crossband Test, military stations in various locations transmit on selected military frequencies and announce the specific ham frequencies they are monitoring to work radio amateurs. — Thanks to US Army MARS Program Chief Paul English, WD8DBY

Radio Australia Event – Antenna Overview (Mount Evelyn DX Report)

Thanks to Lee VK3GK for this short video of the antennas used for the recent Radio Australia event using the call sign VI3RA. Take what will possibly be a final look at the feeders, switching boxes and antennas before they are pulled down and junked!

Also here is the final transmission of the event weekend with, of course, the famous Radio Australia music box interval signal.

Click here to view both videos at the Mt Evelyn DX Report.

World War II and Radio (All Things Radio)

I have added an article I wrote some years back on the code breaking efforts of the Allies during WWII. While certainly not exhaustive, I found many of the connections between countries and equipment rather fascinating, and new things continue to pop up regarding Bletchley Park’s role in training officers and decoding texts. While most famously known for breaking the Enigma code, also significant was the breaking of the Lorenz Cipher.

Click Here to download the article in PDF format.

73, Robert K4PKM

Look Inside This Radio Receiver! The Collectible Panasonic RF 4900 (Mr. Carlson’s Lab – YouTube)

Let’s look inside this Panasonic RF-4900 radio receiver, and see what we have to restore.


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This weekend: Historic NSS Call Sign reactivated during Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

100th Anniversary QSL card for NSS

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following press release regarding the historic U.S. Navy callsign NSS that will be reactivated during the 100th anniversary of the former Naval Radio Station in Annapolis, Maryland:

Historic NSS Call Sign to be Reactivated During its 100th Anniversary

Historic U.S. Navy callsign NSS will be reactivated during the 100th anniversary of the former Naval Radio Station in Annapolis, Maryland.  The U.S. Naval Academy Radio Club (W3ADO) and the Potomac Valley Radio Club (W3GRF) will reactivate the historic callsign during the upcoming Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test.

NSS operations from the location of the former Naval Radio Station on Greenbury Point will be from 1300Z Saturday May 12 to 0200Z May 13.  CW and SSB transmissions will be on 4038.5, 5330.5, 7533.5, 9447, 14487 and 17545 kHz.  NSS will listen for callers on announced frequencies in adjacent amateur bands.  Commemorative QSLs will be sent for all QSOs.

NSS began operations in 1918 as the Annapolis High Power Radio Station using a pair of Federal Telegraph Company 500 kilowatt Poulson Arc transmitters and four 600 foot towers operating in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band.  At that time VLF provided the only known capability for trans-oceanic radio communications. NSS began continuous operations in the HF bands about ten years later until 1976 when its HF mission was transferred to Naval Radio Station NAM in Norfolk, Virginia.  The 1200 foot central tower and dozens of other towers and masts were demolished in 1999, except for three iconic 600 foot Eiffel towers that remain at the southern tip of Greenbury Point.

A brief video history of NSS is here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWuJ6DB9drw

A virtual tour of NSS is here:

http://j-hawkins.com/nss.shtml

Important: Click here for details about the Armed Forces Day Crossband Test this Saturday May 12, 2018.

Many thanks for sharing this item, Brian!  I will do my best to snag a few stations during the crossband test tomorrow!

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Armed Forces Day Crossband Test on May 12, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian (W9IND), who shares the following announcement regarding the next Armed Forces Day Crossband Test:

The Army Military Auxiliary Radio System will host this year’s Armed Forces Day Crossband Test, scheduled for May 12, 2018. This annual event is open to all radio operators, and will not impact any public or private communications. For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this event, which is only an exercise scenario, designed to include hobbyist and government radio operators alike.

The AFD Crossband Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military communicators and radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS), as authorized in 47 CFR 97.111. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly-controlled exercise scenario that does not impact any public or private communications.

Military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and will announce the specific ARS frequencies monitored. All times are ZULU (Z), and all frequencies are Upper Side Band (USB) unless otherwise noted. The frequencies used for the test will not impact any public or private communications, and will not stray outside the confines of the exercise.

The following stations will be making two way radiotelephone contacts with stations in the ARS between the time periods listed on the frequencies listed in kilohertz below. WAR, WUG-2 and NSS will also make CW contacts.

AAZ / FT HUACHUCA, AZ

1500Z – 2359Z 5,330.5 14,438.5 18,211.0

AAC / BARROW ARMY RESERVE CENTER, KY

1300Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,542.0 13,963.5 20,920.0

ABH / SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI

1600Z – 2300Z 5,357.0 14,438.5 18,272.0 20,997.0

ABM1 / CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN

1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0

ADB / CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA

1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0

WAR / PENTAGON WASHINGTON, DC

1200Z – 2400Z 5,357.0 13,963.5 18,211.0 24,760.0 USB + CW

WUG-2 / ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TN

1300Z – 0200Z 5,403.5 13,910.5 18,293.0 20,973.5 USB + CW

AIR / ANDREWS AFB

1200Z – 2400Z 4,517.0 7,305.0 15,807.0 20,740.0

AGA2SY / HANCOCK FIELD, NY

1200Z – 2400Z 4,575.0 7,540.0 13,993.0

AGA5SC / SCOTT AFB, IL

1600Z – 2300Z 3,308.0 4,872.0 7,545.0

AGA9TR / TRAVIS AFB, CA

1600Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,329.0 13,996.0 14,411.0

AFM4AF / NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY MID-SOUTH MILLINTON, TN

1200Z – 0300Z 7,375.5 13,498.0

NMC1 / COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, CA

1700Z – 2359Z 7,542.0 15,740.5 22,924.5

NIIW / USS MIDWAY CV-41 SAN DIEGO, CA

1400Z – 0400Z 4,013.5 5371.5 7,493.5 14,383.5 18,211.0

NWKJ / USS YORKTOWN CV-10 CHARLESTON, SC

1200Z – 2200Z 4,000.0 7,360.0 14,663.5

NEPM / USS IOWA BB 61 LOS ANGELES, CA

1500Z – 2359Z 4,043.5 6,903.5 14,463.5 18,293.0

NWVC / LST-325 EVANSVILLE, IN

1200Z – 0400Z 4,007.0 6,913.0 9988.5 13,974.0

NSS / US NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS, MD

1300Z – 0200Z 4,038.5 5,330.5 7,533.5 9,447.0 14,487.0 17,545.0 USB + CW

An AFD test message will be transmitted utilizing the Military Standard (MIL-STD) Serial PSK waveform (M110) followed by MIL-STD Wide Shift FSK (850 Hz RTTY) as described in MIL-STD 188-110A/B.

Technical information regarding these waveforms is provided at:

http://www.n2ckh.com/MARS_ALE_FORUM/MSDMT.html.

The AFD test message will also be sent at 0300Z in Continuous Wave (CW) mode (refer to the far right column in the table below). The message will be transmitted on the following frequencies in kilohertz and at the listed times:

1400Z AGA2SY 13,506.5 kHz ACC 17,443.0 kHz

1420Z WAR 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

1440Z ACC 13,506.5 kHz WAR 17,443.0 kHz

1500Z AAZ 13,506.5 kHz AAZ 17,443.0 kHz

2200Z ADB 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

0300Z NWVC 5,346.5 kHz

For those who wish to document their contacts with a QSL card, go to

http://www.usarmymars.org/events and complete the request form.

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