Tag Archives: Bletchley Park

Radio Waves: More Solar Minimum, Cold War Moscow, C-19 Ham Radio Event, and a WWII Code-Breaker is SK

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 Bill Patalon, Dirk Rijmenants, Rodrigo Tarikian, and David (G4EDR) for the following tips:


Deep ‘Solar Minimum’ is feared (Southgate ARC via Forbes)

Forbes magazine reports a deep ‘Solar Minimum’ is feared as 2020 sees record-setting 100-day slump

Jamie Carter writes:

While we on Earth suffer from coronavirus, our star—the Sun—is having a lockdown all of its own. Spaceweather.com reports that already there have been 100 days in 2020 when our Sun has displayed zero sunspots.

That makes 2020 the second consecutive year of a record-setting low number of sunspots

So are we in an eternal sunshine of the spotless kind?

Read the full article at
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2020/05/12/the-sun-is-asleep-deep-solar-minimum-feared-as-2020-sees-record-setting-100-day-slump/

Radio Moscow and the Cold War (SIGINT CHATTER)

Geopolitics and international conflicts during the Cold War made it important for the United states and the Soviet Union to inform people or influence their political views, and this in many countries around the world. But how did they reach their audience?

Today, we can hardly imagine a world without Internet, cable and satellites that brings all the news and information from across the globe in your lap. Yet, during most of the Cold War, people only had newspapers, local TV, FM and AM radio. The only solution to spread ideas was shortwave radio, as these waves travel around the globe and can listened to by everyone with a shortwave radio.

Both East and West had, and still have, shortwave radio stations with a world service. The best known were Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty on one side, and Radio Moscow, Radio Beijing and Radio Havana Cuba on the other side. Everyone had their own truth and accused the other side of expansion drift, disinformation and inciting across the world.

One truly iconic station was Radio Moscow World Service. Their foreign service broadcasting started in 1929 with transmitters in Moscow and Leningrad, and later also relay stations in Vladivostok and Magadan. Radio Moscow reached whole Eurasia, Africa and North and South America. During the Cold War, their broadcasts reached across the world with transmitters in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Cuba, and they broadcast in more than 70 languages.[]

COVID-19 Radio Communication Event (SRAL)

COVID-19 RADIO COMMUNICATION EVENT
DATE: June 06-07, 2020.
STARTS 10.00 UTC SATURDAY – ENDS 09.59 UTC SUNDAY

For amateur radio operators worldwide, social distancing is not an issue. Our ham radio network of radio-wave signals flies high and wide, across all borders near and far. Amateur radio operators are well-known for their communication on skills during the happy days, but also during times of crisis.Even if ham radio operators are now confined to their homes, they are encouraged to communicate, to enhance their friendships, and to keep their minds and skills sharp for global messaging whenever needed.

Click here to download the full announcement with event details (PDF).

Tributes as World War Two code breaker Ann Mitchell dies aged 97 (BBC News)

Tributes have been paid to Ann Mitchell – one of the last of a World War Two code-breaking team at Bletchley Park – who has died aged 97.

Mrs Mitchell, who deciphered German codes at the British code-breaking centre from 1943, died at an Edinburgh care home on Monday.

Her family and friends said she had been declining in health for some years and had “a life well lived”.

The Scotsman reported she had tested positive for Covid-19 recently.

Her son Andy Mitchell, 61, told BBC Scotland: “She was a loving mother and it’s very sad but she was declining in old age with memory loss and physical frailties.

“I’m pleased she has been given the recognition for a life well lived.”[]


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Radio Waves: FCC Wipes Out Engineering Division, Last Nazi Message Decoded, Remembering Ronan O’Rahilly, and French Radio Society Free Publications

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 Mike, Eric McFadden, and Paul Evans, and for the following tips:


FCC Eliminates Its Own Engineering Division (Radio World)

The Federal Communications Commission has elected to eliminate the Engineering Division at the organization in an effort to, as it says, “streamline the organization of the Media Bureau” as part of the public interest.

The commission plans to fold the work of the Engineering Division into the Media Bureau’s Industry Analysis Division (IAD) due to changes in the duties of the Engineering Division.

“By incorporating the work and staff of the Engineering Division into IAD, we can better ensure that the bureau’s technical expertise is integrated more fully into the bureau’s adjudicatory matters and policy proceedings,” the commission announced on April 29.

Back in 2002, the Engineering Division was established to conduct technical reviews of media-related matters, including overseeing technical compliance of TV and radio broadcast licenses, as well as things like cable regulatory filings and license transfers. But as the industry transitioned from analog to digital and from paper to electronic filing, the Engineering Division’s tasks have diminished.[]

Last Nazi message intercepted by Bletchley Park revealed (BBC News)

The last German military communications decoded at Bletchley Park in World War Two have been revealed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

They were broadcast on 7 May 1945 by a military radio network making its final stand in Cuxhaven on Germany’s North Sea coast.

The message reports the arrival of British troops and ends: “Closing down for ever – all the best – goodbye.”

After Germany surrendered, VE Day was declared the next day.

In 1944, this German military radio network, codenamed BROWN, had extended across Europe sending reports about the development of experimental weapons.

But a year later, as the Allies entered the town and closed in on his position, a radio operator at his post signed off to any colleagues who might still be listening.[]

Remembering ‘Radio Caroline’ Founder Ronan O’Rahilly, A Pioneer Of Pirate Radio (NPR)

NPR’s Scott Simon talks to U.K. broadcaster Johnnie Walker about Ronan O’Rahilly, the founder of the pirate Radio Caroline, who died on April 20 at the age of 79.[]

French Society makes Radio REF free for April and May

Paul Evans notes that two REF-Radio publications are now free to download via the REF website. If you know French, you’ll enjoy these quality radio publications:

Click here to download REF-Radio (PDFs) for:


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Radio Waves: New FCC RF Exposure Limits, Rediscovering Spark Gap, Zoom Vulnerabilities, and Extremely Rare Film of MI6 Section VIII

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 Evans, and Robert Gulley for the following tips:


FCC Publishes new RF exposure rules (Federal Register)

The FCC has published the new rules in the Federal Register.

Paul notes:

Different above 6GHz
Expanding rules from 3 kHz – 300 GHz to 3 kHz – 3 THz (inc. light
frequency RF sources, essentially future proofing rules)
Introducing SAR measurements from 100 kHz to 6 GHz (impact to ARS)
Introducing MPE measurements above 6 GHz
Introducing ideas for WPT at and below 100 kHz, with control over the
wires or remotely over the air. This is (obviously) for EV charging.
They say nothing about harmonics, filtering, etc.[]

We Rediscover Spark Gap Radio by Accident (CuriousMarc via YouTube)

It’s 1890 all over again in the lab. By complete accident, I find myself the new owner of a high voltage box that turns out to be a vintage Xenon lamp sparker. Not only do we make it work, but we use it to retrace the critical experiments that led to the discovery of radio, using the lamp starter as the spark gap transmitter, and a coherer as the receiver.[..]

Click here to view on YouTube.

Zoom taking your club online – DON’T (Southgate ARC)

On Friday 3rd April, we carried an item regarding the use of Zoom for club meetings.

However, we have since been contacted by Paul, VP9KF, who offers this note of caution.

He says:
“This story http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/april/zoom-taking-your-radio-club-online.htm on your page recently is over-shadowed by the news as follows:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/02/zoom-technology-security-coronavirus-video-conferencing

Don’t use Zoom and get hacked ”

Our thanks to Paul for this informative, if not rather worrying, news item.

[Paul notes that Skype Conference Call is the best method because it is “secure, end to end. In browser (sandbox) with HTML5 embedded features.”]

WW2 Codebreakers: Bletchley Park activities revealed in unique footage – The Hidden Film (YouTube)

Discover the story behind the recently discovered only known wartime film footage of a secret site connected to Bletchley Park.

A silent film, recently donated to Bletchley Park Trust, is believed to be a compilation of footage recorded between 1939 – 1945, showing members of MI6 Section VIII at Whaddon Hall, Buckinghamshire. During World War Two, this was a most secret site where Ultra intelligence produced by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park would be sent, and then passed on to Allied commanders in the field.

In this mini-documentary, hear Bletchley Park Veteran, Geoffery Pidgeon who worked in MI6 Section VIII during WW2, recall how it felt to watch the film for the first time and recognise his father. Peronel Craddock, Bletchley Park’s Head of Collections and Exhibitions and Dr. David Kenyon, Research Historian at Bletchley Park also talk about why the discovery of this film is so important.

Watch the original footage: https://youtu.be/bvVaFE5O3eY


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The Listeners: Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps who secretly monitored the airwaves

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares the following fascinating video from the CBC and notes:

“The Listeners” Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps monitored the airwaves for German U-Boat traffic. Their participation was secret for decades.”

Click here to view this video via the CBC.

This is such an amazing story, Fred, and the CBC did a fine job putting it together. Thanks so much for sharing.

Editor’s note regarding WWII history: Regular SWLing Post readers know that I’m an avid WWII history buff, in that I read, view, and especially listen to many accounts of the Second World War era, the glory days of radio. I’ve traveled and lived in several of the countries that were, at that time, among the Axis Powers, some of my close friends are from or reside in these countries now, and feel much as I do about this history: that this was a devastating war which we must not forget or romanticize, and from which we can learn about ourselves as human beings, hopefully with the view of preventing such chilling events from ever being repeated.  As we have readers and contributors from all over the world in this radio community, I sincerely hope that WWII-related articles are regarded in this light of understanding. The takeaway? Times have changed.  I firmly believe that a deep understanding of our shared history makes us all better people.

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Bletchley Park replica Turing Bombe decodes 40M Enigma message

Remember the weekend 40 meter Enigma message transmitted by DL0HNF? At least one recipient decoded this message:

(Source: Southgate ARC)

40m Enigma Message decrypted at Bletchley Park

On Friday, April 7 the amateur radio station DLØHNF transmitted an Enigma encrypted message on 7036 kHz to Bletchley Park

DLØHNF is the club station at the Heinz Nixdorf Museum in Paderborn, Germany. The encrypted telegraphy message they transmitted was received at the home of the World War Two UK Codebreakers in Bletchley Park. There the message was fed into a replica of the Turing Bombe which enabled the encryption to be cracked.

The message read:  “Paderborn greets the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park”

Read the report and pictures of the event down the page at
http://www.hnf.de/en/veranstaltungen/events/cipher-event-wer-knackt-den-enigma-code.html

Bletchley Park
https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

I would have loved to watch the Touring Bombe in action!

Out of curiosity, did anyone record the Enigma transmission?  I’ve had a number of readers inquire about this. Please comment!

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WWII: Sussex home provided Bletchley Park with intercepts

SWLingPost-Numbers1(Source: Eastbourne Herald)

Much has been written about Bletchley Park and the decoding of German Enigma signals. However, the code breakers first needed the raw material – transcripts of enemy messages.

The British Y Service was the ‘ears’ of Bletchley Park and without this, code breaking was impossible. There were several departments under the control of MI-8. The RAF, Army, Navy, Metropolitan Police, Post Office and Foreign Office had interceptors and American units also contributed. Haystoun House in Church Street, Willingdon – today flats and previously an old people’s home – was the base of the American 129th Signal Radio Intelligence Company. In the 1940s it stood alone with space for the so-called ‘aerial farm’ – 40 aerials in the form of inverted L’s, 20 on each side of the house.

These were fed to a ‘set room’ that could cater for 42 receivers. Tables around walls had partitions to separate operating positions. Operators kept four-hour watches, known as ‘tricks’ and searchers tuned over a segment of the short wave spectrum listening for any new stations that might pop up. Experienced operators were able to recognise the Morse styles – the so-called ‘fists’ – of individual German signallers. Message pads were ferried by dispatch rider to London. Operators were trained at Camp Crowder in Missouri where they learnt to copy high-speed Morse onto a typewriter. However, a pencil and message pad proved easier because receivers drifted off frequency and one hand was needed to re-tune. The daily schedule was 15 sets at night and 25 during the day.[…]

Continue reading: http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/nostalgia/nostalgia-willingdon-home-was-the-sussex-bletchley-park-1-7269441#ixzz43fTvD8hO

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Historic Bawdsey Radar site receives £1.4 million grant from the UK government

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for sharing this article about the historic Bawdsey Radar site:

(Source: Engaget)

save-radarA radar site considered by some to be as historically important as Bletchley Park will be preserved, thanks to a £1.4 million ($2 million) grant from the UK government. The Bawdsey facility in eastern England, established in 1938, was the world’s first operational radar station. The then-brand new technology helped the allied forces win the Battle of Britain, and some historians think it may have shortened World War II by as much as two years. The facility was closed in 1991, and is on Britain’s “at-risk” heritage list because of structural issues and water damage.

According to the preservation group Bawsdey Radar, construction work will start in September 2016 and the building will open to visitors in September 2017. The goal is not just to conserve it, but also to unveil a new visitor exhibition featuring physical and virtual displays. The UK’s “Heritage At Risk” adviser John Etté said the facility “played a vital part in the development of radar technology during [WWII], and had a huge impact on post-war electronics and defense system,” including GPS, water technology, radar guns and the microwave oven.[…]

Continue reading at Engaget…

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