Tag Archives: Brian Smith

Mystery Solved: Readers identify curious interval signal

Yesterday, we published a post asking SWLing Readers to help Brian (W9IND) identify an elusive interval signal (click here to read that post).

We received dozens of replies–thank you so much!

Many readers immediately identified the tune as some sort of utility station placeholder for Point To Point communications. Turns out, they were correct.

Many thanks to Dean Bianco who was the first reader to solve the mystery.

Dean discovered that the interval signal was for the Voice Mirror of the PTT Habana, Cuba.

Dean verified it via Rainer Brannolte ‘s excellent website, UtilityRadio.com.

Here’s the audio clip from Rainer’s website:

Here’s a link to the PTT Habana Cuba page which also includes two other audio clips of the PTT service.

Rainer even includes a scan of his verification letter:

Click to enlarge (Source: Rainer Brannolte)

This morning, I received a number of responses from readers confirming PTT Habana–thank you so much!

Not only have we helped Brian ID the station, but now there’s also one less UNID audio sample on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

In addition, I’m sure my friend Greg Shoom–who originally posted the recording–would be very pleased with this community effort.

Now I need to find some more shortwave archive mysteries to solve!

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Help Brian identify this 1970s era interval signal

[Mystery solved! Click here to read the update.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian (W9IND), who writes:

I want to thank you for stirring a memory that I never thought I’d relive – even though it still doesn’t solve the mystery of what the heck I was listening to in the first place!

Back in the early 1970s, I was a teenage SWLer with a curiosity for the worldwide signals that emanated from the speaker of my shortwave radio. Bitten by the SWLing bug after stumbling across Radio Nederland’s Bonaire relay station, I spent many a happy hour twirling the dial in search of fresh game to hear and QSL.

But on one such occasion (I’m going to guess it was in 1971), I was surprised and fascinated by what sounded like a snake-charming horn playing notes at random. Stranger still, the transmission would seemingly go off the air for a couple of seconds and then return to play the strange melody again. I chalked it up to one of the countless beeps, hums and other electronic noises that often appeared on utility frequencies in those days.

I never recorded it, I never had a clue what it was, and I never heard it again.

Until recently. On the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

A couple of weeks ago, while looking for old shortwave interval signals from the 1970s, I saw a recording marked “Unidentified interval signal 1” listed right after the interval signals of Deutsche Welle and Radio Nederland.

“OK,” I thought. “Sounds like a challenge. Maybe I can even help figure out what it was.”

Then it played … and I almost fell off my chair! I literally sat with my mouth open as the long-lost sounds of the “snake-charming horn” played again. Could it indeed have been an interval signal – and if so, for what station?

I wanted to contact the person who recorded it, but then I learned the sad news that Mr. Greg Shoom is no longer with us.

So I remain mystified, probably forever. But it sure was fun hearing that weird recording again! Thanks for the memories.

Let’s see if an SWLing Post reader can help, Brian!

I know of at least a dozen readers who are experts on all that is interval signals, so hopefully someone can listen and ID this one.

I’ve embedded audio from this SRAA recording below. Note that the unidentified interval signal can be heard between time marks 1:27 – 2:07 in the following recording:

Can you positively ID this interval signal?  If so, please comment!


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W9IMS: Last chance for the Checkered Flag Award

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian (W9IND), who writes:

If you’re chasing the W9IMS Checkered Flag Award, this weekend marks your last chance to snare the third and final special event of the year. The Brickyard 400 operation will conclude at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 (Indianapolis time)/0359 UTC Sept. 9.

The W9IMS crew will be working other amateurs around the world, but SWLs can qualify for the same certificate and QSL cards that are offered to hams. The Checkered Flag Award is available to anyone who contacts or tunes in W9IMS during all three special events commemorating the major races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the IndyCar Grand Prix (early May), the Indianapolis 500 (late May), and the Brickyard 400 (September).

For those who already logged W9IMS during the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, this is your opportunity to complete the clean sweep and earn the colorful 2019 certificate, as well as the three QSL cards. Even if you missed one or both of the previous races, you’re still eligible for a Brickyard 400 QSL card, which is redesigned every year.

Look for W9IMS on 20, 40 and 80 meters – generally as close as possible to 3.840, 7.245 and 14.245 MHz, and often with two SSB stations on the air simultaneously. W9IMS also has a digital presence, periodically transmitting in FT8 mode.

To see if the station is on the air at any given time, go to DX Summit – http://dxsummit.fi/#/ – and type “W9IMS” in the search box.

For more information about W9IMS, including how to obtain certificates and QSL cards, go to www.w9ims.org. The W9IMS page also contains a link to the Brickyard 400 operator schedule, but remember that ops can get on the air at any time between now and Sunday night.

If all else fails, look for W9IMS during its final hour of operation, between 11 and 11:59 p.m. Sunday (0300 to 0359 UTC Monday). That’s usually the time when W9IMS engages in a contest-style “happy hour” blowout, sometimes on two bands, as the closing minutes tick away.

Thank you for the reminder, Brian!

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“Night of Nights” CW Event Returns Tonight!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following announcement:

“Night of Nights” CW Event Returns Friday (U.S. Time) 

“It was 20 years ago today,” say members of the Maritime Radio Historical Society, but they’re not covering a famous Beatles song.

They’ll certainly be on key, however, when they fire up two maritime CW stations, KPH and KFS, and their amateur radio club station, K6KPH, for the 20th annual “Night of Nights” at 8:01 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, July 12/0001 UTC Saturday, July 13. (Alas, several previously participating stations will be absent again this year, including ship-to-shore stalwart WLO of Mobile, Alabama, and a quartet of Coast Guard stations.)

This weekend’s event marks the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. One year later, the preservation-minded MRHS staged its first “Night of Nights,” treating shortwave radio enthusiasts to the dits and dahs of historic maritime station KPH and other callsigns that were once presumed dead on shortwave CW frequencies.

This year, the society has put out a special appeal to anyone (licensed or not) with CW proficiency to help operate K6KPH. While KPH and KFS transmit “code wheels” (repeating messages), personal messages, and tributes to long-gone maritime stations and operators, K6KPH will make CW contacts with other amateur stations on 3550, 7050, 14050 and 21050 kHz.

Whether reporting for CW duty or not, the public is welcome to observe today’s event and tour the facility, located at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Doors open at 3 p.m. local (Pacific) time.

And if you’re not within driving distance, you can tune in the Morse signals on the following medium wave and shortwave frequencies:

KPH:  426, 500, 4742.0, 6477.5, 8642.0, 12808.5, 17016.8, 22477.5 kHz

KFS:  12695.5 kHz

Reception reports go to P.O. Box 392, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956. Please include an SASE if you’d like a QSL.

The following links provide additional information:

Maritime Radio Historical Society: 

http://www.radiomarine.org

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1109843077277&ca=156b371f-da9f-4fed-8819-4bb55bd7bd44

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1109843077277&ca=b54f353c-4692-4564-b79a-0059721f9206

National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

Okay, Brian…that “being on key” bit? Clever! 🙂

Looking forward to some sweet CW music on the Night of Nights! Thank you for sharing!

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W9IMS: New season of Indianapolis Motor Speedway-themed special events

2018 W9IMS QSL

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND) who shares the following W9IMS press release:

Amateur radio station W9IMS prepares to unveil a new season of Indianapolis Motor Speedway-themed special events, with three QSL cards and a certificate available to hams and SWLs.

DATE: April 24, 2019

Three colorful QSL cards and a glossy certificate await amateur radio operators and SWLs who manage to contact – or tune in – Indianapolis Motor Speedway special event station W9IMS during all three of its 2019 special events. And even those who fall short of the trifecta can claim one or two of the QSLs.

2018 W9IMS QSL

Your first shot comes in two weeks as W9IMS fires up from May 5-11 to commemorate the IndyCar Grand Prix. Only nine days later, the second W9IMS special event (May 20-26) gets underway, this one in honor of the venerable Indianapolis 500. Then comes a summer break until Sept. 2-8, when W9IMS stages its third and final special event of the year, celebrating the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race.

The certificate and QSLs change every year, so even if you scored the clean sweep in 2018, you’ll find new trophies to pursue this year.

But you’ll have a chance to snare the station on either of two bands (20 and 40 meters) and possibly three (80 meters). Remember, too, that on Race Day – the final day of each operation – W9IMS generally stays on the air late, sometimes until midnight local time (0400 UTC).

Here are a couple of hints for tracking down the station during special event weeks:

  1. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org), find the “2019 Operating Schedule” heading, and click on the link to the IndyCar Grand Prix or any other race. Although some W9IMS operators take to the airwaves at unscheduled times, you’ll have your best luck looking for the station during the hours and bands reserved with a name and a callsign.
  2. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) anytime for spots that identify the current frequency (or frequencies) of W9IMS, if any. And if you type “W9IMS” in the search box, you can customize it to show reports for only that station.

For additional details, consult the W9IMS web page. Feel free to submit all of your 2019 QSL and certificate requests in the same envelope. Again, although you’ll need to catch W9IMS during all three races to qualify for the certificate, you can earn a unique QSL card for each individual race.

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Today: W9IMS last special event station of 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares the following information about SWL-friendly awards offered by his amateur radio club to commemorate the three major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brian writes:

W9IMS: Last special event station of 2018

Amateur radio station W9IMS will conclude its special event season during the coming week by commemorating the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The W9IMS crew will be working other amateurs around the world, but SWLs are welcome to tune in and qualify for the same QSL cards and certificate that are available to hams.

For those who logged the station during the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, this is your chance to complete the clean sweep and earn the colorful 2018 certificate. Even if you missed one or both of the previous races, you’re still eligible for a Brickyard 400 QSL card, which is redesigned every year.

A previous SWLing post highlighted the 2018 W9IMS events.

Operating SSB on 20 and 40 meters (as close as possible to 7.245 and 14.245 MHz), W9IMS will take to the airwaves at various times between 0400 UTC Monday, Sept. 3, and 0400 Monday, Sept. 9. One of the best times to look for the station is during the evening from 2200 to 0200 (6 to 10 p.m. Indianapolis time). W9IMS also has a digital presence, periodically transmitting in FT8 mode.

To find out if we’re on the air at any given time, go to DX Summit – http://dxsummit.fi/#/ – and type “W9IMS” in the search box. For more information about W9IMS and the Brickyard special event, including scheduled operators, go to www.w9ims.org. Just remember that ops can get on the air at any time between now and Sunday night!

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“Night of Nights” Returns Tonight!

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who writes:

The cast may be smaller than in previous years, but the “Night of Nights” nostalgia show will go on. At 8:01 p.m. Eastern Time today (0001 UTC July 13), two maritime CW stations operated by the Maritime Radio Historical Society will begin transmitting Morse code on shortwave and medium wave bands, while the Society’s amateur radio station will be active on four ham bands.

Venerable KPH will reappear tonight in the company of KFS and ham station K6KPH, all transmitting from a century-old Marconi site at Bolinas, California. They’ll be directed from a 1930 RCA station at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore. Several previous participants will be absent this year, including ship-to-shore powerhouse WLO of Mobile, Alabama, and a quartet of Coast Guard stations.

The annual July 12 event commemorates the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. One year later, “Night of Nights” debuted in a defiant declaration that maritime CW stations would not go gentle into that good night.

Typically, the two 5 kw coast stations transmit “code wheels” (repeating messages), personal messages, and tributes to long-gone maritime stations and operators, remaining on the air till at least 0700 UTC. And K6KPH will not only be heard, but contacted by fellow amateur radio stations. A list of KPH, KFS and K6KPH frequencies can be found at www.radiomarine.org, including those used by ships. Reception reports go to P.O. Box 392, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.

The public is welcome to observe today’s event and tour the facility at Point Reyes. Doors open at 3 p.m. local (Pacific) time, and Morse aficionados are invited to operate K6KPH. Whisper the words “true believer” for a peek at the Treasure Room!

https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

For a comprehensive list of frequencies please click here.

Many thanks for the notice, Brian! We’ll tune in!

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