Tag Archives: Morse Code

Andy hears Morse Code in B52s concert

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andy, who writes:

Thomas,

I was just listening  to an old B52’s music gig on YouTube when it got
to 51:57 mins in.

You can clearly hear NAWS DE CFH and some other stuff.

How did that get there–?

73 de Andy

Thanks for sharing, Andy!

Ah yes, Planet Claire! I actually heard the eB52s play this one live at a concert in the early 90s.

The “CHF” that you hear is the callsign of the Canadian Forces Station Mill Cove. This is a partial recording of a CHF broadcast listing frequencies for RTTY transmissions. The B52s have been known to incorporate radio feedback and snippets in their work. You can hear CW more clearly in this video:

In fact, when I saw the B52s live, Fred Schneider used a walkie talkie Morse Code button (the type that you could find on kids’ walkie talkies) for audio feedback in at least Planet Claire and Rock Lobster

I bet there are some other B52s fans out there who will have even more insight! Thanks again, Andy!

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Radio Waves: Radio Liberty Journalist Bugged, Invisible Battle, RNZ Shortwave After Tonga Eruption, Closing Analog FM in Spain to Save Energy, and Keeping Morse Code Alive

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Journalist Vitaly Portnikov was found to be “eavesdropped” at his home in Lviv, – Knyazhytskyi (Espeso)

Note this article has been translated in English. Original in Ukrainian found here.

The police promptly responded to the call, but the SBU for some reason delays its response to illegal actions People’s deputy Mykola Knyazhytskyi announced this on Facebook .

“In Lviv, journalist Vitaly Portnikov, who hosts programs on Espresso and Radio Svoboda, found a eavesdropping device at home. It is a voice recorder with the ability to record for a long time. The police were called. They arrived quickly. The SBU was called. They are not going. As a member of the Verkhovna Rada, I ask the SBU to come immediately and disrupt case. We don’t know who installed this device and for what purpose: our services, foreign services or criminality,” the politician said.

Image via Espreso

Vitaly Portnikov commented on the incident for “Espresso”:

“Today, while cleaning the apartment I lived in at the end of February, when the war started, I found a recording device under the bed. The device had an inventory number. I informed the law enforcement authorities about my discovery so that they could investigate this incident.”

The journalist added that he hoped for a high-quality investigation and clarification of all the circumstances of the case:

“After my statement, the investigators of the SBU of the Lviv region conducted an inspection of the premises and seized a device that is a device for listening and recording information. I hope that the relevant structures will conduct an examination and find out by whom and why this device was placed in my apartment.”

Vitaly Portnikov is a well-known Ukrainian journalist, publicist and political commentator. Cooperates with Radio Svoboda and Espresso. On the Espresso TV channel, he creates the programs “Political Club of Vitaly Portnikov” and “Saturday Political Club”. [Click here to read the full article at Espreso.]

The Invisible Battle of the Cold War Airwaves (Bureau of Lost Culture)

This Episode explore three stories of cold war era radio in the USSR: Soviet Radio Jammers, the Russian ‘Woodpecker’ and the Soviet Radio Hooligans

[Click here to listen to the podcast via PodBean.]

We meet with Russian broadcaster Vladimir Raevsky to talk about radio jamming in cold war era Soviet Union.

As East and West super powers square up to each with nuclear weapons, a parallel invisible war is being fought in the airwaves. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: Brooklyn Pirate Radio Interview, Emergency Radio Evolution, SOTA Hams Prevent Forest Fire, and Morse Code Documentary

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Interview about Brooklyn pirate radio (Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive)

Although Irish pirate radio is our main interest, today we explore the lively pirate scene in the Brooklyn area of New York City. The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is a fascinating project established by radio producer and audio archivist David Goren and provides interactive maps and historical and contemporary recordings of the many unlicensed stations in Brooklyn.

This is a longer version of an interview by John Walsh with David Goren first featured in Wireless, a series about radio, audio and media on Flirt FM in Galway. It covers the history of pirate radio in Brooklyn and New York generally, attempts to crack down on the unlicensed stations, the role of low-powered FM, the background to the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map itself and plans for the future. Many thanks to David for taking the time to explain this fantastic project for us. [Read the full article and listen to the interview on the Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive…]

The Evolution of the Emergency Radio (Radio World)

From AM-only portables to multi-function machines

With the advent of the 9V battery-powered transistor radio in the 1950s, the “Emergency Radio” was born.

Unlike vacuum tube receivers with heavy batteries or unpowered crystal radios, these handheld AM portables were small and simple enough to keep in a drawer. They could then be retrieved whenever man-made or natural disasters knocked out the power, providing listeners with lifeline connections to news, weather and relief information. Continue reading

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Kostas explores an alternative to Morse Code that’s been used in prisons, with roots in ancient Greece

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), for sharing the following guest post which originally appeared on his radio website:


TAP: A Morse alternative mode for the HAM, with no need for training

by Kostas (SV3ORA)

Introduction

The thinking of this new mode, came to me when someone posted that he quit the HAM hobby because he did not learn Morse code and he did not want to use computers to do the job for him. Some time I faced a similar situation and I believe many do one day or the other. So I thought that I had to do something about it. It is too bad people quit the hobby or missing the fun of the KEY operation, because of the obstacle of Morse code. No matter what CW operators that already learnt Morse might say, the fact is that Morse requires patience, continuous practice and most importantly time. After all military had dedicated courses on it in the past, so it must be more than true. These are things not all people can, or are willing to do. An alternative that gives the same pleasure like Morse and operates with the same techniques, but requires no training and time must exist. Meet the TAP mode!

Mode description

This mode has its roots to ancient Greece. You may read the article in Wikipedia for more information on the Polybius square. A form of it, was used in the previous century in was times, for in-prison communication. A modified version is presented here by me, that fits perfectly the HAM radio. This modified TAP code scheme, is dedicated to HAM radio and includes the numbers and the letter “k”.

This is all you need to know in order to send and receive TAP. It is easy to follow and easy to generate on paper. This is a 6 by 6 table, with the first six alphabet letters placed in the first line, the next six in the second and so on. After the alphabet ends, the numbers are put in the same manner. Thats it!

Sending TAP

It is better to describe the sending procedure with an example.
To send the letter “i” you send two dots (“i” is on the second row), wait a bit and then send 3 more dots (“i” is on the third column). In other words, you first count the number of rows where the letter exists, then wait a bit and then you count the number of columns where this letter exists. Before sending the next letter, leave a bit of more time, so as to distinguish that this is a separate letter and not the time between rows and columns. Thats it!

Try it now without any transceiver! Write the TAP table on a piece of paper (you do not need to write the row and column numbers), or read it from the website. Tap on your desk with your finger and send some words to the colleague near you. See how easy it is?

There are actually four spacings involved. The spacing between adjacent dots, the spacing between the row and the column, and the spacing between letters and the spacing between words. Follow the PARIS spacing, like Morse code does, if you intent to write a software for it. However, in practice, manual operators would need to consider just two spacings, the spacing between rows and columns and the spacing between letters. These are the most important. Just make the one bigger than the other and communication should be achieved without problems.

Receiving TAP

It is better to describe the receiving procedure with an example.
To receive the letter “i” you listen two dots (“i” is on the second row), then a short scilence time and then listen 3 more dots (“i” is on the third column). In other words, you first listen for a number of dots (this is the row where the letter exists), then sense the scilence and then you listen for the next number of dots (this is the column where the letter exists). The scilence time between two letters is greater than the scilence between rows and columns and this can be distinguished easily. Thats it!

Try it now without any transceiver! Write the TAP table on a piece of paper (you do not need to write the row and column numbers), or read it from the website. Put your coleague to sent you some TAP words and you should be able to decode them by counting the rows and columns in the TAP table.

A programmer that may need to implement the mode in software, should follow the PARIS spacing to distinguish the different parts of the code, as described above.

TAP advantages

Here are some advantages I can think, of TAP in comparison to Morse.

  • No training is required, start using it imediatelly, even by non-HAM people and kids. This probably is the greatest advantage and this is why most would want to use TAP in HAM radio.
  • The encoding/decoding square can be drawn easily, it is very easy to remember how to draw it.
  • Decoding by hardware or software means, becomes very easy, as there are no dashes to account for. Dot lengths can be anything and can be even varying from dot to dot, it does not matter.
  • All you count, is how many ON-states (taps) there are and the rough timing between them, to decide between a row-column or a letter. Because of this intependency from dashes, the code can be used on any means, radio, light, pipes, walls, desks etc.
  • If dot lengths are kept very short (up to the point where channel noise allows it), RF amplifiers can be pushed beyond their limits (due to limited duty cycle), or otherwise run cooler within their limits. There are some mediums, like light communication, where bright pulses of light can be produced easily (eg. xenon tubes), but not kept for duration and TAP is ideal on them.

TAP disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages I can think, of TAP in comparison to Morse.

  • Speed limit issues probably. TAP beginners achieve for sure faster speeds than Morse beginners. However, a trained Morse HAM, can achieve greater speeds with Morse.
  • Learning the table by heart, can be tricky in comparison to Morse. However war prisoners had tricks to learn by heart the 5×5 TAP  square.
  • Not known (yet) among the HAM community, like any new mode. Why not change that by let HAMs know about it?

TAP common points to Morse

There are some common points shared between TAP and Morse code.

  • Both are relatively slow modes.
  • Both are ON/OFF keying modes, efficient class-E amplifiers can be used.
  • Both share the same channel bandwidth and noise-related characteristics.
  • Both are human-oriented, although TAP does not require training. Both share the PARIS timing when implemented in software.
  • Both allow for the “joy of the KEY”. You send TAP with the same equipment as Morse.
  • Both are ideal for homebrew QRP, due to efficiency and transceivers simplicity.
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Radio Waves: North Korea Fights Outside Influence, Phishing Scam Uses Morse Code, The Power of Radio, and Afghanistan International TV

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!


That’s ‘Comrade’ To You! North Korea Fights To Purge Outside Influences On Language (NPR)

SEOUL — In the show Crash Landing on You, a rich South Korean woman accidentally paraglides into North Korea, where she is rescued by an army officer and falls in love with him. The series, which was released on Netflix in 2019, was a hit across the Korean Peninsula — including in the North, where it circulated on smuggled thumb drives.

“It created quite a stir, with Kim Jong Un even forbidding people from watching it,” says Kang Nara, a North Korean defector in Seoul who served as a consultant to the show.

That’s not surprising, as all South Korean content is effectively banned in North Korea.

Kang says she found Crash Landing on You appealing for its realistic depictions of life in the North, including the language. As in real life, North Koreans in the drama, for example, call their intimate partners “comrade” instead of “honey.”

But differences in language from the South are a sensitive issue for the North Korean regime. It has fought for more than half a century to purge North Korea’s language of foreign influences, and for roughly two decades to keep out southern-style expressions that northerners are gleaning from bootlegged South Korean TV dramas, movies and K-pop music. [Continue reading…]

Microsoft catches hackers using Morse Code to help cover their tracks (CyberScoop)

Clever hackers use a range of techniques to cover their tracks on a target computer, from benign-looking communication protocols to self-erasing software programs.

It’s not very often, though, that digital attackers turn to Morse Code, a 177-year-old signaling system, for operational security. Yet that’s exactly what played a part in a year-long phishing campaign that Microsoft researchers outlined on Thursday.

Morse Code — a method of representing characters with dots and dashes popularized by telegraph technology — was one of several methods that the hackers, whom Microsoft did not identify, used to obscure malicious software. It’s a reminder that, for all of their complexities, modern offensive and defensive cyber measures often rest on the simple concept of concealing and cracking code. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: 20K Hz & The Buzzer, Cuba Jamming, Rugby Radio Station soon a school, HRO Opens a store in FL, Police Use Morse, Tool Box Spy Radio, and “Einstein Listened”

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, David Goren, Pete Polanyk, Ulis Fleming, Troy Riedel, Tracy Wood, Dan Robinson, and Kris Partridge for the following tips:


The Buzzer (Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast)

This episode was written and produced by Olivia Rosenman.

Since World War I, countries around the world have been broadcasting mysterious numerical messages via shortwave radio. Though concrete evidence is hard to come by, the general consensus is that these coded messages are meant for undercover agents operating abroad. And one particular Russian station may have an even more sinister purpose. Featuring computer engineer Andrus Aaslaid, historian Maris Goldmanis, and documentary photographer Lewis Bush.

Cuba Jamming Ham Radio? Listen For Yourself (IEEE Spectrum)

A public SDR network triangulates the island as the source of mystery signals

By Stephen Cass

As anti-government protests spilled onto the streets in Cuba on July 11, something strange was happening on the airwaves. Amateur radio operators in the United States found that suddenly parts of the popular 40-meter band were being swamped with grating signals. Florida operators reported the signals were loudest there, enough to make communication with hams in Cuba impossible. Other operators in South America, Africa, and Europe also reported hearing the signal, and triangulation software that anyone with a web browser can try placed the source of the signals as emanating from Cuba.

Cuba has a long history of interfering with broadcast signals, with several commercial radio stations in Florida allowed to operate at higher than normal power levels to combat jamming. But these new mystery signals appeared to be intentionally targeting amateur radio transmissions. A few hours after the protest broke out on the 11th, ham Alex Valladares (W7HU) says he was speaking with a Cuban operator on 7.130 megahertz in the 40-meter band, when their conversation was suddenly overwhelmed with interference. “We moved to 7170, and they jam the frequency there,” he says. Valladares gave up for the night, but the following morning, he says, “I realize that they didn’t turn off those jammers. [Then] we went to [7]140 the next day and they put jamming in there.”[]

New school at home of former radio station on track for autumn launch (Coventry Telegraph)

Houlton School, where Rugby Radio Station once stood, is set take its first influx of pupils in September

Plans for a new school at the historic former home of Rugby Radio Station are being fine-tuned and remain on track for a September start.

Houlton School, which will be named after the town in America that received the first transatlantic voice broadcast from Rugby Radio Station in 1927, will take its first influx of 180 Year 7 pupils this autumn.

The school, which forms part of the 6,200-home urban extension in Houlton, east of Rugby town centre, will take a new year group of 180 pupils every 12 months.

Michael McCulley, the school’s Principal Designate, said: “Whilst building a fantastic £39m new school during three lockdowns has had its challenges, we are also acutely aware that we have had a completely blank page from which to develop our exciting curriculum and pastoral programme.

“This freedom has been important as we have needed to evolve to the changing needs of our first group of students.[]

Ham Radio Outlet to open store in Florida (Amateur Radio Newsline)

Ham Radio Outlet, the nationwide amateur radio retailer in the US, has announced that its ongoing expansion plans will include a store in the state of Florida. The new store will join 12 already open in such states as California in the West, where the company is based, to Delaware in the East, Arizona and Texas in the South, New Hampshire in the North. The company’s announcement on social media set off a wave of speculation about the new location, especially on Instagram where the company wrote, “We’re not telling yet! We’re open to suggestions.” The closest Ham Radio Outlet to Florida is in Atlanta, Georgia. The company, which calls itself the world’s largest supplier of amateur radio equipment, is also known for shipping internationally.

Old is gold: In times of satellite & internet, Pune cops keep Morse Code in use as a robust stand-by communication mode (The Indian Express)

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

IN THE era of satellite communication, which involves transmitting signals into space and back, and internet based systems transferring gigabytes of data in a flash, police have kept alive the age-old system of Morse Code – a primitive method of sending messages in the form of dots and dashes.

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra. While this is their way of paying tributes to one of the earliest modes of telecommunication, it is primarily a way of maintaining a robust stand-by mode of message delivery in case all other means of communication fail.

Pune City police have recently started a series of tweets featuring the communication systems used by the police and their evolution till date. On Sunday, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta tweeted, “As an ode to the beginning of wireless communications, the Commissioner’s Office still uses Morse Code to transmit Messages every Sunday.”[]

Antiques Roadshow: Spy radio disguised as toolbox found in garden shed worth huge sum (The Express)

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW saw a World War II spy radio which was disguised as a toolbox fetch a huge valuation when it travelled to Kenilworth Castle.

Antiques Roadshow’s expert Mark Smith marvelled at the ingenuity of a spy radio which was used in World War Two in a recent episode. The item, from the outside, was made to look like a toolbox but when opened, displayed a detailed radio which could be “powered by any source”. So how much was it worth? Mark put a £10,000 to £15,000 price tag on it.[]

Einstein Listened (WNYC)

Former WNYC director Seymour N. Siegel suggested that WNYC once received fan mail from Einstein. As I continue to look far and wide for evidence of this alleged bit of praise, I can’t help but wonder, what broadcast prompted the great man to write? Alas, so far, the document has eluded me. But, we do know that the father of the theory of relativity was a subscriber to both the WNYC and WQXR program guides. And we have no less than Erwin Panofsky, the noted German-American art historian and friend of Einstein’s, to thank for that.

It all began when the distinguished gang at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey decided to chip in and build the Nobel laureate a “high-fidelity” radio for his 70th birthday. The 1949 gift included subscriptions to the WNYC, WQXR, and WABF program guides.[]


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G6QA’s Slow Morse Morning Club

While some SWLs and radio listeners dislike Web-based SDRs because they don’t feel like “real radio” there’s no denying that they do offer up listening opportunities you might not otherwise be able to enjoy from home.

Case in Point

Friend and SWLing Post contributor, Pete Madtone, has been enjoying dropping in on a local Slow Morse Morning Club via the G0XBU WebSDR. He’s shared a bit of recorded audio with me in the past, but this morning he sent me a link to the SDR with the frequency of the class in progress.

We both listened live with Pete and the repeater in the UK, and me in the States.

The class is wonderful and what I consider an ideal use of local repeaters.  Linda serves up a sentence of slow code, then reads back what she sent. The others on the repeater then chime in with their copy–what they copied and what they missed. There really is no better way to build up your CW chops in the beginning than to do this–it’s interactive, supportive, and the audio very clear via FM on the repeater. It’s proper distance instruction using my favorite medium: radio!

Plus, well, the whole thing has some serious charm. I started an audio recording of the class this morning. Here’s it is for your enjoyment:

Thanks for the tip this morning, Pete!

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