Tag Archives: Robert Gulley (AK3Q)

Black Cat Systems’ 22 Meter Band Part 15 CW Beacon Kit

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), who notes that Black Cat Systems has developed a simple 22 meter beacon kit. The price is $20 shipped! A few details:

The kit includes the PCB and components, including a custom programmed microcontroller that will continuously transmit the ID / callsign of your choice, up to 8 characters, at about 13 wpm.

Small size – just 2 7/8 by 1 1/2 inches. Easy to build, just a few components, all through hole, no surface mount.

When ordering you note your callsign/ID to send and it will be pre-programmed.

Black Cat Systems has all kit details including full instructions on their website.

If you like the idea of building a beacon, you must also check out the beacon Dave (AA7EE) built recently–a true work of art!

ETOW distributes radios to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico through amateur radio network

In November, we posted an update on the Ears To Our World website with information about our most recent work in Puerto Rico.

After Hurricane Maria left the majority of Puerto Rico without power and basic services, at ETOW we waited for the right opportunity (after food, water and medical supplies were rushed in) to send self-powered radios to those still living without power and in need of basic community information.

Once US Postal Service delivery was restored to the island, we turned to our amazing volunteer (and SWLing Post contributor) Robert Gulley (AK3Q) to coordinate the process.

Robert contacted the Lares Amateur Radio Emergency Service (LARES) in Puerto Rico and asked for their assistance. Nelson Santiago (WP3B) with LARES enthusiastically volunteered to venture out into the community and distribute radios to those who needed them the most–families still lacking mains power. The LARES club distributed the radios effectively and efficiently–they also photo-documented everything.

The whole process was simply amazing to watch unfold.

Many thanks to Universal Radio who helped us quickly procure 15 self-powered radios for our initial pilot shipment. As of December, we’ve now sent and distributed an additional 40 radios–totaling 55 units to 55 families.

This whole project became a reality through our network of radio enthusiasts. We’re so grateful to everyone involved.  Thank you!

Click here to view photos and read about this project at Ears To Our World.

Robert’s reviews and how-tos


Like a few of us contributors here on the SWLing Post, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), writes features for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (TSM).  Robert and I are both passionate supports of TSM–for a mere $24 per year, you get a monthly digital magazine that is simply chock-full of articles covering all aspects of our radio hobby. A phenomenal value indeed!

I’ve just discovered that Robert has published a number of his past TSM articles–reviews and how-tos–on his excellent blog All Things Radio.  Each article can be downloaded as a PDF. Here are the topics:

  • Using Weak Signal Software to Reach for the Sky! (Part 1)
  • Using Weak Signal Modes for Propagation, RFI, and Antenna Analysis (Part 2)
  • Putting My Handheld Antennas to the Test
  • Going Mobile with Software Defined Radio
  • Multipsk Software – A Review
  • TEN-TEC 1253 Build Review

Click here to view and download these articles at All Things Radio.

Thank you, Robert, for sharing these excellent articles with everyone! And many thanks to TSM for allowing its writers second publication rights. Click here to subscribe to The Spectrum Monitor.

The Ghostly Radio Station that No One Claims to Run

There is a great article by Zaria Gorvett in the BBC Future online magazine concerning several transmitting stations which have baffled folks for decades.

Here is a brief introduction:

In the middle of a Russian swampland, not far from the city of St Petersburg, is a rectangular iron gate. Beyond its rusted bars is a collection of radio towers, abandoned buildings and power lines bordered by a dry-stone wall. This sinister location is the focus of a mystery which stretches back to the height of the Cold War.

It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.

Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz.

It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to.

The whole article is a highly enjoyable read – check it out! 73, Robert AK3Q

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.