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Messages - Charlie_Dont_Surf

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General Radio Discussion / Re: Last FCC Bust of a SW Pirate?
« on: April 07, 2024, 0014 UTC »
As I remember John Poet was doing a show from a friends house and FCC tried to bust his friend! ...

If they now go after landlords and property owners, I suppose that "makes sense", even though that incident you describe occurred years before they started (famously?) doing this in the current AM & FM pirate bust push.

Maybe this is a good justification for remote operation by internet or microwave link.  ;)

That same FCC agent was the same one to visit Ronin and leave his business card in Ronin's mailbox.

I heard about that one. This is laziness. We can call him "the low-energy agent".  ;)

The text of H.R.583 - PIRATE Act of 2020* indicates that it covers down to 87.7 MHz.

``(h) Definition of Pirate Radio Broadcasting.--In this section, the
term `pirate radio broadcasting' means the transmission of
communications on spectrum frequencies between 535 and 1705 kilohertz,
inclusive, or 87.7 and 108 megahertz, inclusive, without a license
issued by the Commission, but does not include unlicensed
operations in compliance with part 15 of title 47, Code of Federal


*As opposed to S.2237, The Protecting Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation (PIRATE) Act of 2004, which was aimed at curbing peer to peer music sharing.

Mistranslation again, "au plus" means "at the maximum level",

Yes. I somehow mixed up "au moins (de)" and "au plus". Thank you for the correction.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Last FCC Bust of a SW Pirate?
« on: March 31, 2024, 0151 UTC »
Anyone know the last time a shortwave pirate got busted in the US?

The format FCC enforcement database does not make it easy to determine that but my potentially incomplete search revealed the following in 2015, from operation on 6876 KHz in Michigan:
which would be associated with this thread about The Crystal Ship, which was the "reboot" of a very well-known HF pirate in the 1980s, though there is no mention of "the knock" here, for what that is worth:

Going backward in time from there, the next thing I found was the YHWH incident at the end of 2014, already discussed in this thread. Before that, I found this from 2013:
I was unable to find an HFU thread associated with this incident.

Later that year, I found this though it is unclear to me if this was associated with what we would consider to be a pirate broadcast, or something else like run-of-the-mill RF interference, which is documented quite often in the enforcement database:

General Radio Discussion / Re: Last FCC Bust of a SW Pirate?
« on: March 31, 2024, 0113 UTC »
As far as I know it was YHWH is 2014. He operated on several unusual frequencies very close to a military base. A few stations were busted around 2011 as well.

That must be this incident in the FCC enforcement database: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-331583A1.pdf

There are a number of US military facilities in that area though the specific services interfered with are not mentioned in the enforcement notice I linked to. Also, if this is the same incident (and it seems like it must be), "Josiah" is likely not his legal name.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Last FCC Bust of a SW Pirate?
« on: March 30, 2024, 2144 UTC »
And Charleston Radio got the bust not too long ago, as the authorities considered it a “pirate station”

But, of course, that was in Switzerland, where the FCC does not have jurisdiction.

Amateur Radio / Re: UNID FT8 6925 USB 0310 UTC 11 MAR 2024
« on: March 30, 2024, 2128 UTC »
Thank you for the feedback Charlie_Dont_Surf.

No LAN/pre-amp in use here., I do have a rather inelegant solution to running three receivers at the same time. I have three antennas feed a MFJ-1704 switch that outputs to an RF Systems SP-1 antenna splitter. One output goes to the NRD-545 and the other output goes to a PL259 "T" adapter to feed the other two receivers. Could this setup be the problem?

No. Those are all what are called "passive" circuitry; there is no active amplifier involved. As such, it's extremely unlikely. You would need to put kilowatts of RF power through them to generate the types of birdies we are talking about here and you are obviously not doing that in a receive application.

I'm running WSJT-X right now and I have the RF Gain control all the way to the 9 o'clock position to get it down to 40-60 range, thank you for that advice.

I don't know your receivers specifically but in general I always suggest setting the RF gain control wide open (maximum gain) and then controlling the audio to the computer using the AF (audio) gain, i.e., audio volume. The NRD-545 is by all accounts an excellent receiver that must have AGC that will fold back the RF gain automatically for you when it needs to. I think that you should be able to leave the RF gain setting on the front of the radio all the way up (maximum). This way you should probably get the best signal to noise ratio at all times. You can then use the volume control to provide a sufficient audio level to the computer input.

If for some reason you can't lower the audio input to WSJT-X enough to get it out of the red zone, then, yes, maybe decrease the RF gain slightly, just enough to back off the audio to the point where it is in the green zone.

Amateur Radio / Re: UNID FT8 6925 USB 0310 UTC 11 MAR 2024
« on: March 24, 2024, 0827 UTC »
If you are using some sort of LNA/pre-amp before all three receivers, then it is possible that you were hearing a mixing product/spur being generated in the LNA. However, if you aren't using an an LNA, then the fact that three receivers (all with three different dynamic ranges and input intercept points and at least two different receiver architectures, etc.) all heard it makes me think something else was going on.

Another thing to note, the thermometer below is red for a reason. It indicates that you had your audio cranked WAY up. Bad things tend to happen when you do that in WSJT-X. I find that I start to lose decodes and weird artifacts appear (which is exactly what we are talking about) if the receive audio is turned up enough that it averages 70 on that thermometer scale. I don't want to think about what 90+ means. Try to keep it between 40-60 on average and in the green.

I did see/hear some CW with an actual DX ham callsign briefly in roughly the 6930-6950 area about a month ago. I checked it on an SDR and it was there too. I assumed something was wrong with the op's TX because I only heard one side of the conversation. I went about my business and it disappeared after checking back an hour later. I forgot to write down the exact details. I think the op was Greek and I vaugely remember this happening during a contest weekend.

SUISSE: la station pirate Charleston Radio International a été fermée par les autorités helvétiques, le 28 février 2024 après-midi.  Cette station diffusait quotidiennement sur 5140 khz avec une puissance de 1 kw et était reçue dans toute l’Europe. Sa particularité était de diffuser de la musique des années 20 et 30, à l’occasion des 100 ans de la radio. Elle se faisait passer pour une station allemande et indiquait Berlin, en réalité son émetteur était situé au sud de la Suisse.
Harry Richman, son propriétaire a reçu la visite de trois agents qui ont pris des photos de l’émetteur et de l’antenne et ont emporté l’émetteur. Hardy sera certainement condamné à payer une amende dont il ignore encore le montant. Une mesure de clémence est plus que probable, car la Loi fédérale sur la radio et la télévision (LRTV) du 21 juin 1991 prévoit, à l’article 70, que "Sera puni d'une amende de 50 000 francs au plus celui qui aura rediffusé des programmes sans concession".
Alors Harry a dit que c'était maintenant de l'histoire ancienne et remercie tous ses auditeurs d'avoir écouté et publié au fil des années.  Il espère que vous vous souviendrez de moi avec tendresse.

Your translation completely missed the part I put in bold above. That portion of the sentence means "will be punished by a fine of 50,000 francs or more" so the complete sentence in translation would be:
"A measure of leniency is more than likely, because the Federal Law on Radio and Television (LRTV) of June 21, 1991 states in article 70 that, '(there) will be a fine of 50,000 francs or more for those that rebroadcast* programs without concession'".

So apparently this writer thinks that Harry will get a reduced fine because he cooperated in some manner.
50 000 CHF = $55,700 US = 51 400 EUR = 44 186 GBP at the moment. Ouch.

*French often uses the term "rebroadcast" when in English you would use "broadcast".

Not going to argue over a few hz.  :P

I got the frequency for the thread title from a GPS-locked kiwi SDR. (I didn't use the readout on my portable, which didn't quite agree). I then checked that kiwi against another GPS-locked kiwi and the two kiwis were within 1 Hz, which is expected. You might want to check your RX against CHU.

Just saw them go from DSB-AM to USB-AM to LSB-AM then back to DSB-AM

Yeah, I noticed this a few times too. I thought there might be some sort of weird selective fading or cancellation of one sideband going on in the ionosphere so I looked at other SDRs but saw the same thing happening there too, so it must have been coming from the transmitter.

Anyway, this just means that (I assume) they have independent control of the individual sidebands, so the transmitted signal is a summation of a carrier + LSB + USB. Which can be handy to have, I suppose. Unless you have a spectrum display you would never know by just by listening to the audio.

Off the air at 0301 UTC.

Caught the ID at 0257 on east coast SDR then carrier immediately off.  :-\

0238 - Obliterated for about 1 minute or so by digital interference. Otherwise SINPO 34343 / S6 on peaks when there isn't the interference. Listening while "glamping" near the beach in SoCal on my portable with a wire out the window.
0243 - Digital interference for 45 seconds.
0254 - Appears to be off the air when I checked back.

Changed freqs a couple times at start up. Currently on 6963.67 (approximately).
Listening on and off near the ocean in CA on a portable and a long wire. SINPO 33232 / S5 on peaks with a fair amount of flutter tonight. (The same thing was happening to Solar Federation Radio.)

0311 - Computer-generated male and female voices. Perhaps reading the email address in English and German.
0315 - Carrier off immediately after completion of national-anthem-type of song.

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