Tag Archives: Digital Modes

Radio Waves: Data RX via Web SDRs, Mystery Signals from Space, Public Media’s role in Democracy, and Pirates SPAM UVB-76

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 Marty, Troy Riedel, and Rich Cuff for the following tips:


Receiving data with web based shortwave radios (Nuts and Volts)

Your computer and the Internet give you free access to over 100 web based shortwave receivers that you can use as if they were your own. Unfortunately, employing these radios to decode data transmissions can be very difficult or impossible — unless you know the secret.

[…]A while back, I discussed how to receive data signals with a low cost shortwave radio (N&V May 2015). Now, the concept takes on a new dimension since we are using virtual radios not in our possession.

As astonishing as it seems, many of these Web based shortwave receiver data signals can be processed and decoded using just your PC and some free decoding software. Yes, some signals are encrypted, and can’t be decoded. Fortunately, there are plenty of unencrypted data signals around to keep us busy for a long time.

However, as will be discussed later on, it does require a special trick to allow you to pipe the streaming audio signals from the Web to the decoding software. In this article, I will show you how to use these Web based shortwave receivers to access data transmissions and to get started in this exciting hobby. [Click here to read the full article…]

Unknown objects at the heart of the Milky Way are beaming radio signals, then mysteriously disappearing (Business Insider)

Ziteng Wang found a needle in an astronomical haystack.

Wang, a physics PhD student at the University of Sydney, was combing through data from Australia’s ASKAP radio telescope in late 2020. His research team had detected 2 million objects with the telescope and was classifying each one.

The computer identified most of the stars, and the stage of life or death they were in. It picked out telltale signs of a pulsar (a rapidly rotating dead star), for example, or a supernova explosion. But one object in the center of our galaxy stumped the computer and the researchers.

The object emitted powerful radio waves throughout 2020 — six signals over nine months. Its irregular pattern and polarized radio emissions didn’t look like anything the researchers had seen before.

Even stranger, they couldn’t find the object in X-ray, visible, or infrared light. They lost the radio signal, too, despite listening for months with two different radio telescopes. [Continue reading…]

Do countries with better-funded public media also have healthier democracies? Of course they do (Nieman Lab)

But the direction of causality is tricky. Do a democracy’s flaws lead it to starve public media, or does starving public media lead to a democracy’s flaws?

There’s a new book coming out in the U.K. this week called The BBC: A People’s History, by David Hendy. Its publisher calls it a “monumental work of popular history, making the case that the Beeb is as much of a national treasure as the NHS…a now global institution that defines Britain and created modern broadcasting.”

Cross the pond: While Americans generally like PBS and NPR, I wouldn’t expect them to come up quickly if you asked someone on the street to begin listing national treasures. (I’m even more sure America’s health care system would go unmentioned, too.) Who “created modern broadcasting” in the U.S.? It certainly wasn’t the two public broadcasters that didn’t hit airwaves until 1970. And what TV network is a “global institution” that “defines” the United States abroad? Apologies to PBS Newshour, but that’s CNN.

No one says “Auntie Peebs.”

It’s obvious that the U.S. approached the new broadcasting technologies of the 20th century in ways wildly different from their European peers — and in ways that reflect on the countries themselves. American radio began wild and unregulated, experimental, a bubbling font of creativity — and then quickly became commercialized, optimized for mass audiences and massive profits. The BBC, which turns 100 this year, was more structured, more statist, more controlled — but has remained more central to residents’ lives, more civic-minded, and more beloved. [Continue reading…]

Pirates Spammed an Infamous Soviet Short-wave Radio Station with Memes (Vice)

The UVB-76 numbers station took a break from being a suspected communications tool of Russian intelligence to blast ‘Gangnam Style’

Pirates hijacked an infamous short-wave radio station, which dates from the Soviet era but is still online today, and used it to broadcast everything from Gangnam Style to audio that draws memes when inspected under a spectrum analyzer.

For decades the numbers station known as UVB-76 has emitted an enigmatic series of beeps and a voice reading numbers and names, in what people suspect is a long running communications method for Russian intelligence. Since the broadcast is public, pirates are able to use their software-defined radio (SDR) transmitters to effectively flood the frequencies with noise and memes.

The recent barrage of attacks on the station come as Russia prepares to invade neighbouring Ukraine, where radio enthusiasts speculate at least some of the pirate broadcasts originate. [Continue reading…]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Bill recommends Slow Scan Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who writes:

I have enjoyed listening to Scow Scan Radio SWL Program.

I used a WebSDR to receive it.

http://www.slowscanradio.com/

But it has been off the air for the past weeks due to some minor health issues. The program was interesting in that besides Slow Scan photos, he also did other digital modes using FLDigi.

Some of the test included multiple digital signals in the same waterfall.

When I went to website today to check to see if there were any updates on when it might return to the air, I discovered that he is doing a podcast: Daily Minutes Podcast. Following is podcast feed:

https://dmpodcast.net/feed/

This podcast is a combination of new items as well as some re-runs of earlier Show Scan Radio programs. They also are a combination of English & Dutch. The June 13 & 14 podcasts are about off-shore radio. Very interesting and enjoyable.

The Jun 12 & 14 podcasts include a re-run of an earlier Slow Scan Radio Show in the last thirty minutes of the podcast.

[The screen shot at the top of the page is a] sample of the start of the digital portion.

Very cool! Thank you for sharing this, Bill!

Spread the radio love

FT4 digital mode now available in WSJT-X release candidate 5

Joe Taylor presenting FT4 at the Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The new amateur radio digital mode FT4 is now available for download as part of WSJT-X Release Candidate 5

You can download wsjtx-2.1.0-rc5-win64.exe (or for other O/S) from near the bottom of the page at
http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html

FT4 Protocol document
http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/FT4_Protocol.pdf

See the WSJT Group at
https://groups.io/g/WSJTX/

For more information about FT4, check out this previous post.

Spread the radio love

Ham Radio Digital Modes: Joe Taylor talks FT8 and introduces FT4

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Eaton, who shares the following note and video:

Here is a You Tube Video of a presentation given by Joe Taylor last night at the Fair Lawn ARC Club Meeting on FT8 & Beyond an introduction to FT4.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you for the tip, Pete!  FT4 looks like a fascinating iteration of the popular FT8 mode.

Post Readers: Any fans of FT8 out there?

Spread the radio love

“Slow Scan Radio” is a new digital program on Channel 292

(Source: Southgate ARC via Mike Hansgen)

New Datamodes programme on BC bands

Starting on Wednesday 25th of July 2018 at 1830 UTC, there will be a new 30 minute programme featuring various datamodes, such as SSTV and some of the more complex and interesting PSK modes.

The programme is called ‘SLOW SCAN RADIO’, and will go out on 6070 kHz AM via the transmitter of German based relay station Channel 292, and should be audible throughout many parts of Europe.

http://www.channel292.de/schedule-for-bookings/

Spread the radio love

Video: Professor Joe Taylor K1JT talks FT-8 and WSJT-X

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Work the World with WSJT-X

Video of the talk given by Professor Joe Taylor K1JT about the FT-8 and WSPR modes at the 2018 MicroHAMS Digital Conference on March 24

Budd Churchward WB7FHC writes:

Dr. Joe Taylor, K1JT, author of many of the weak signal digital modes and co-author of the very popular FT-8 mode presented: “Work the World with WSJT-X”  at the 2018 MicroHAMS Digital Conference in Redmond, Washington about the WSJT-X Digital Software Suite for Amatuer Radio.

Dr. Taylor gives a detailed description of both the FT-8 and WSPR modes that so may Hams are using all over the world.

Watch Work the World with WSJT-X – Dr. Joe Taylor

Click here to view on YouTube.

Spread the radio love

The HF Voyager: Make contact with an “autonomous ocean-going drone”

The HF Voyager (Source: JRF Amateur Radio Club)

(Source: Southgate ARC)

David, AA6YQ, author of DXLab – ‘Better DXing Through (Free) Software’, posted the following: ‘Jupiter Research Foundation Amateur Radio Club (JRFARC) has integrated an HF transceiver with an autonomous ocean-going drone. Our mission is to deploy a ham radio station that roams the world’s oceans while providing an opportunity for amateur radio operators everywhere to make contacts with rare locations.’

“We sent this new Voyager out to the open ocean on its way to California on January 15th, 2018 as a passenger on the JRF HUMPACs mission. As they search for ‘missing’ humpback whales, JRF’s pilots will guide HF Voyager to sections of the Equatorial North Pacific that are not normally available to ham operators. The station will use FT8 and PSK-31 on the 20 meter band as its primary operating modes. You may also find it using WSPR in times of poor propagation.”

See http://www.jrfarc.org/hf-voyager/

The portal in http://hfvportal.jrfarc.org/ takes a minute or two to display data.

The club plans to give a certificate of recognition to operators world-wide that have a confirmed contact with the HF Voyager. In the future we hope to collaborate with Amateur Radio organizations and publishers to sponsor operating events and contests for HF Voyager contact milestones.

Gridsquare collectors, maritime operating fans, Islands on the Air participants, and all other hams interested in this unique opportunity to make a contact with an autonomous roving maritime station should find this to be an exciting new aspect of their favorite hobby.

Be sure to check out our HF Voyager Blog for updates and schedules:
http://www.jrfarc.org/hf-voyager-updates

I think this is a pretty fascinating project–especially if the system can withstand the rigors of ocean travel and can be tracked and picked up later for replacement and upgrades.

I had never spent much time on the HF digital modes until last year when I caught the FT8 bug. While FT8 lacks some of the social nuances of, say SSB voice and CW, it is a fascinating mode that seems to defy HF propagation rules. It’s certainly an accessible way to work HF stations across the globe with a very modest setup. I think it’s an ideal pairing for a project like the HF Voyager.

Even if you don’t have a ham radio license, with an HF receiver and a free PC application, you can receive/decode FT8 contacts from across the globe.

Spread the radio love