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Topics - R4002

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1
Virginia House Radio continues going strong as of this morning. 

Logged yesterday and a couple days before that as well.  I've noticed that, in the morning when there's propagation enhancement - there's QRM from two distant stations on the same 107.7 MHz FM frequency.  The main one seemed to be the WTOP (WTOP-FM 103.5 FM) simulcast transmitter WWWT-FM 107.7 FM doing 29 kW ERP 646 feet HAAT out of Manassas, VA.  WWWT-FM is 86 miles straight line distance from downtown Richmond.   

WWWT-FM seems to mix in with WMOV-FM 107.7 FM out of Norfolk, VA (15 kW ERP 427 feet HAAT).  WMOV is 80 miles straight line distance from Richmond. 

The 107.7 MHz FM frequency is also bracketed by two equally busy FM frequencies, 107.9 MHz and 107.5 MHz.  I often hear multiple stations on both frequencies, with WBQK on 107.9 MHz often being the winner for that frequency.   

There was a translator station for WLES-AM on 107.9 MHz - W300DK doing only 45w ERP - but that translator has since gone quiet, WLES apparently then switched a different translator on 97.7 MHz - W249CI out of Belwood, VA (doing 240w ERP). 

The Richmond metro FM band is now full of these translators and repeaters...some of them repeating local AM stations (for example, WRVA 1140 kHz AM - the city's powerhouse 50kW AM station - is also repeated on 96.1 MHz FM with W241AP (145w ERP 837 feet HAAT) even though WRVA's AM signal is strong enough to be heard under a bridge with poor local noise conditions.    WXGI on 950 kHz AM - one of the city's two local AM sports talk stations has no less than three translators - WTPS-AM in Petersburg on 1240 kHz, W258DC in Richmond on 95.5 MHz and W274PX on 102.7 MHz in Petersburg. 

WRNL on 910 AM, the other local AM sports station, now also has a Richmond-based FM translator (on 105.1 MHz). 

It seems like 107.7 was basically Virginia House Radio's only option when it came to even sort of clear frequencies. 

They're certainly using it though. 

2
January 20th, 2020 Lobby Day downtown Richmond Virginia.  Thousands of militia users arrived.  Did some monitoring of their various radio nets (or "nets" - some were a lot more professional/military-sounding than others.  Also including some public safety radio traffic heard.

The vast majority of traffic was heard on the MURS channels and the FRS/GMRS frequencies.  Many nets appeared to be carrier squelch, with different users transmitting various PL (CTCSS) tones but leaving their radios in carrier squelch or open receive mode.  Lots of actual FRS radios were heard, in addition to folks obviously using Baofeng UV-5R, UV-82 and similar radios on the MURS, FRS and VHF/UHF business band frequencies.  The Baofeng radios have a distinctive "roger beep" that many folks apparently decided to leave switched on. 

Use of the channel 3 system was noted (MURS 3 - 151.9400 MHz / FRS 3 - 462.6125 MHz) as a calling/general meetup frequency), but FRS 1 462.5625 MHz was also very heavily used. 

Militia Nets:

Frequency   Tone   Remarks   
151.5050   CSQ   Militia net (portables, various tones)   
151.6250      DMR (strong digital voice traffic on frequency causing QRM to the various users)   
151.6250   CSQ   Militia net (CSQ), with QRM from DMR and other nets on frequency   
151.6250   79.7 PL   Militia net (possibly tone protected net)   
151.6250   100.0 PL   Tone protected militia net    
151.6250   114.8 PL   Tone protected militia net    
151.6250   136.5 PL   Construction?  Likely unrelated traffic, mixing with other traffic on frequency   
151.6250   156.7 PL   Tone protected militia net    
151.6250   167.9 PL   Possibly Crane Master (licensed user)   
151.6250   179.9 PL   Tone protected militia net    
151.7000   CSQ   Militia net, various tactical callsigns heard (no CTCSS or DCS tones)   
151.7600   CSQ   Militia net with radio checks, various CTCSS tones (100.0 PL, 88.5 PL, 77.0 PL, etc.) heard in the same net   
151.8050   CSQ   Single militia net heard here, tactical callsigns (portables) "Longshot" and other callsigns   (one station was TXing 77.0 Hz PL)
151.8200   CSQ   Multiple nets heard, various CTCSS tones   
151.8200   CSQ   "Virginia militia" "net 1" "MURS 1"    
151.8200   77.0 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.8200   88.5 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.8200   100.0 PL   Tone protected milita net (Baofeng roger beep heard)   
151.8200   107.2 PL   Militia net   
151.8200   162.2 PL   Tone protected milita net   
151.8200   192.8 PL   Voice inversion noted   
151.8800   CSQ   Multiple nets heard, various CTCSS tones   
151.8800   100.0 PL   Tone protected net heard with 100.0 Hz PL   
151.8800   156.7 PL   Simplex repeater    
151.8800   167.9 PL   Tone protected net heard with 167.9 Hz PL   
151.8800   192.8 PL   Talking about parking (likely related to event)   
151.9400   CSQ   Multiple nets heard, various CTCSS tones   
151.9400   74.4 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.9400   77.0 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.9400   114.8 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.9400   123.0 PL   Possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.9400   173.8 PL   Militia net, possibly CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
151.9550   77.0 PL   Militia net, possibly CSQ, tactical callsigns heard   
151.9550   88.5 PL   Militia net    
154.5275   100.0 PL   Militia net, possibly tone-protected   
154.5275   136.5 PL   Construction?  Likely unrelated traffic    
154.5400   67.0 PL   Portables (weak)   
154.5700   CSQ   Multiple nets heard, various CTCSS tones (CSQ net, users transmitting differnet tones)   
154.5700   77.0 PL   Likely CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
154.5700   88.5 PL   Likely CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
154.5700   100.0 PL   Likely CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
154.5700   156.7 PL   Likely CSQ net user transmitting PL tone   
154.5700   162.2 PL   Tone protected net heard with 162.2 Hz PL   
154.6000   CSQ   Multiple nets heard, various CTCSS tones (CSQ net, users transmitting differnet tones)   
154.6000   88.5 PL   Carrier heard with sound effects and people talking in background   
154.6000   136.5 PL   Militia net   
154.6000   162.2 PL   Militia net, mobile to mobile chatter (strong signals)   
154.6000   627 DPL   Tone protected net heard with 627 DCS/627 DPL   
462.1250   69.3 PL   Militia net (tone protected, likely Baofeng BF-888 radios)   
462.5500   CSQ   Various nets heard here   
462.5500   67.0 PL   Militia net (tone protected FRS radios)   
462.5500   110.9 PL   Militia net (tone protected FRS radios)   
462.5500   127.3 PL   Militia net (tone protected FRS radios)   
462.5625   67.0 PL   Various tactical callsigns heard, including DCE-11, XZ-11, NCW-13, NCW-14 - net control appeared to be XZ-11   
462.5625   67.0 PL   "Group 4" "meeting location" (with FRS roger beeps)   
462.5625  74.4 PL      Heard mention of "free parking" (with Motorola FRS roger beeps)
462.5625   77.0 PL   Different net heard, mixing with numerous stations on freq   
462.5625   156.7 PL   Separate net heard, multiple stations   
462.5750   CSQ   Militia net    
462.5750   67.0 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.5750   131.8 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.5875   67.0 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.5875   71.9 PL   "Pennsylvania" "copy that" "bring it back to Cary St."    
462.5875   77.0 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   100.0 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   127.3 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   131.8 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   141.3 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   233.6 PL   Militia net   
462.5875   250.3 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.6000   67.0 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.6000   136.5 PL   Militia net    
462.6125   74.4 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6125   127.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6125   141.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6250   CSQ   Militia net (portables with Baofeng roger beep)   
462.6250   110.9 PL   Militia net (portables with Baofeng roger beep)   
462.6250   127.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6375   CSQ   Various nets heard   
462.6375   77.0 PL   "Virginia" heard, possible Virginia milita freq   
462.6375   131.8 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6375   156.7 PL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
462.6500   71.9 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6500   123.0 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6625   67.0 PL   Weak UNID traffic heard   
462.6625   71.9 PL   Talking about "Broad Street"    
462.6750   CSQ   Militia net (portables)   
462.6875   CSQ   Coordinating meeting locations, mobiles/portables   
462.6875   82.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6875   91.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.6875   100.0 PL   Militia net (portables with FRS roger beeps)   
462.7000   CSQ   Militia net   
462.7000   71.9 PL   Possibly a TX tone only member of the CSQ net on frequency   
462.7000   100.0 PL   FRS call tone heard    
462.7000   136.5 PL   "Floyd" "copy that" "radio check" (portables)   
462.7125   CSQ   "Virginia 10th" "team 1" "channel check" radio checks   
462.7125   85.4 PL   Militia net   
462.7125   94.8 PL   Militia net    
462.7125   97.4 PL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
462.7125   167.9 PL   Militia net    
462.7125   225 DPL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
462.7250   CSQ   Militia net (portables with Motorola FRS roger beep)   
462.7250   67.0 PL   Militia net (Baofeng UV-5R roger beeps)   
462.7250   136.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.7250   141.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
462.7250   754 DPL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
462.7625   026 DPL   Likely TV or camera crew (simplex)   
462.8875   565 DPL   Camera crew/TV crew coordinating camera shots, etc.     
462.9125   177.3 PL   Coordinating parking, etc. (portables, simplex)   
462.9125   703 DPL   Camera crew/TV crew   
464.5500   88.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
464.5500   100.0 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.5625   CSQ   Militia net (portables)   
467.5625   82.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.5625   85.4 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.5875   CSQ   Militia net (portables)   
467.5875   82.5 PL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
467.6125   85.4 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.6125   107.2 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.6375   67.0 PL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
467.6375   97.4 PL   Portables (weak)   
467.6625   69.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.6625   123.0 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.6875   82.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.6875   192.8 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.7125   192.8 PL   Militia net (portables)   
467.7125   250.3 PL   Militia net (FRS radios, tone protected)   
467.9250   123.0 PL   Unknown if related to event, possibly news media?   
467.9250   196.6 PL   Unknown if related to event, possibly news media?   
469.5000   69.3 PL   Militia net (portables)   
469.5625   155 DPL   Unknown if militia users or TV crew/media    
469.9500   203.5 PL   Militia net (portables)   
469.9500   210.7 PL   Militia net (portables)   








PUBLIC SAFETY:

  39.5400 MHz [CSQ]  - Virginia State Police car-to-car chatter "barrier" "command post" (statewide interop frequency - SIRS)
154.6650 MHz [CSQ] - Virginia State Police car-to-car and air-to-ground (old statewide "TAC" car to car channel)
155.8950 MHz [91.5 Hz PL] - Virginia Department of Emergency Management analog/backup EOC repeater - radio checks
852.5125 MHz [156.7 Hz PL] - 8TAC93D Interoperabilty - simplex
853.0125 MHz [156.7 Hz PL] - 8TAC94 Interoperability - repeater - patched to statewide VHF P25 trunking system

853.0125 MHz [156.7 PL] was patched to the Virginia STARS VHF Project 25 trunking system talkgroup "RIC 3" (Richmond 3) - identified as "Unified Command".  Several other STARS talkgroups were active as well as special event/interop talkgroups on the Richmond metro area 800 MHz trunking system.    852.5125 MHz [156.7 PL] was also used for unit-to-unit communications (portable to portable)

3
Virginia House Radio pirate FM station Richmond VA 107.7 FM 107.7 MHz

I know I haven’t posted about this FM station in a while....but I was tuning around the FM band this afternoon and figured I see if Virginia House Radio was still on the air.  They certainly are!  SIO 444 to 555.  Good signal on the Toyota car AM/FM radio with the fender-mounted 1/4 wave FM broadcast antenna. 

Heard what sounded like a live church broadcast, complete with technical hiccups, people chattering in the background, etc..  I listened between 1530 and 1545 or 1550 local time.  Downtown Richmond, Virginia 107.7 MHz FM. 

4
Heard during a sporadic-E opening. 

https://youtu.be/uGNSTvwjWdE

Radio is an older-generation Superstar 3900 (aka Superstar 3900 MK1) made in Taiwan with the EPT3600-11Z board and the antenna is a Wilson Little Wil magnetic mount mobile antenna...

5
Coming in nicely this morning at 0650 local time on 107.7 FM.

6
10/11 meters / 11 meters is active 2140 UTC 9 October 2019
« on: October 09, 2019, 2142 UTC »
In-band channels are relatively quiet, but 26.705 MHz and 26.715 MHz are both quite busy with Spanish language chatter.  Busier than channel 6 (27.025 MHz) and the other usual legal 40 AM DX channels. 

Noted 26.725 MHz, 26.605 MHz, 26.585 MHz and several other low channels active with Spanish language traffic in AM mode. 

7
Virginia House Radio is back on 107.7 MHz FM in Richmond.  Hearing them with their usual fare in southside Richmond at 1000 local time. 

Good signal further away from downtown then I usually am.  Mixing in with DX QRM from the 107.7 WTOP translator/repeater.  Virginia House Radio is generally winning though. 

8
I picked up a pair of Maxon PC-50 5 channel 49MHz band FM transceivers (they’re actually made by Midland apparently).  These radios are very similar to the Radio Shack TRC-512 and TRC-503 5-channel FM walkie talkies - same channel plan, same circuit board, etc.  The Maxon radios have removable antennas (!!) and, of course, they’re rubber ducks.

I did some basic range testing with the stock antennas and got about 90-100 meters away before the signal started dropping out.  I replaced the rubber duck on one with a 50-foot piece of wire and the range went up to 400 meters (1300 feet, around 1/4 of a mile) before the signal started dropping in and out.  This is in a heavily built up area too.  I used 49.875 MHz as it appears to be the less-used of the 49 MHz frequencies.  The Maxon and RS radios use a standardized channeling plan,

Channel A - 49.830 MHz
Channel B - 49.845 MHz
Channel C - 49.860 MHz
Channel D - 49.875 MHz
Channel E - 49.890 MHz

But my research indicates there is no official channel plan, only the band limits per Part 15: 49.820 MHz - 49.900 MHz.  Commercial/consumer equipment is limited to 10,000 microvolts per meter at 3 meters.  Baby monitors use random channel plans, often with 2 channels - 49.850 MHz and 49.870 MHz are popular pairs, as are 49.835 MHz and 49.865 MHz.  Yes, they are still making regular 49 MHz FM baby monitors today, most of them are 2 or 3 channel units...again with arbitrary channel plans (49.830 MHz, 49.850 MHz, 49.870 MHz seems to be pretty common too).

I’ve driven around with my scanner and have noticed three different open mics/baby monitors within a mile radius of my house on 49 MHz.  Two of them are on 49.830 MHz and the other is on 49.860 MHz (it sounds just as strong on 49.865 MHz, however...maybe it’s closer to 49.8625 MHz?).  The 49.860 signal is strongest in the downtown central business district away from residences and doesn’t have background noise and people talking like baby monitors do.  It’s not a birdie, multiple radios hear it....and it has the range you’d expect from a 49 MHz monitor transmitter...

One of the 49.830 MHz ones carries a pretty impressive distance, and this is with a scanner and an antenna tuned for 150 MHz.  Side by side comparisons between the Maxon 49 MHz walkie talkies and the scanner show that these little HTs have excellent sensitivity.

I plan on replacing the stock rubber ducks with telescopic whips and maybe getting a pair of RadioShack TRC-512 49 MHz radios, since they come with telescopic whips that could easily be upgraded.

The rules also state that while consumer gear is limited to the 10,000 microvolts/meter at 3 meters...hobby or home built equipment can transmit up to 100mw (measured at antenna terminals at the highest level of modulation) on any frequency within the 49.82-49.90 MHz band using any modulation type as long as it stays within the band.  Certainly a beacon opportunity there. 

Anyway, I see equipment on this band as serving a niche communications need.  FRS radios, MURS, and other VHF/UHF bands (even handheld CB radios) carry a lot further than these 49 MHz rigs do.  Cheap intra-squad radios for militia types maybe?


9
10/11 meters / 11 meters is active 2200 UTC 26 August 2019
« on: August 26, 2019, 2215 UTC »
Some late afternoon/early evening activity on the ΣSDR - CT/MA Border (COMMSIGMA KiwiSDR).

Several stations talking on channel 6 - 27.025 MHz AM and several other in-band channels, generally the usual AM high power CB channels (6, 11, etc.).  Locals talking on channel 31 / 27.315 MHz AM and some sporadic activity on 38 LSB 27.385 MHz LSB.   The usual local FSK bursts are also coming through nicely on 27.255 MHz...no sign of distant data bursts or telemetry on 27255 or 26.995/27.045/27.095/27.145/27.195. 

Edit:  weak FSK noted on the waterfall on 27.255 MHz - channel 23 at 2212 UTC.

Channel 20 27.205 MHz is active with AM DX traffic as I type this (2213 UTC).  Lots of fading though. 

10
NOAA Weather Radio audio loop from tune-in (at 2015 UTC) until 2130ish UTC, OM DJ came on with Happy House Radio Richmond Virginny ID, a couple false starts, banjo music, then more DJ talk about good ol’ mountain music...music continuing at 2138 UTC.

Received on the car radio.  “Patty On The Turnpike” at 2139 UTC. 

Driving around downtown and the signal is jumping up and down but it’s still sounding quite nice at 2146 UTC. 

SIO 555 downtown!

ID as “Commercial Free Virginia House Radio...relics from the past, country and non-country” at 2148 UTC.
107.7 FM downtown Richmond.

“That Knotty Old Cane” at 2153 UTC.

more old style country/bluegrass to 2203 UTC.

Checked again at 2300 UTC and bluegrass was still going strong.

11
10/11 meters / 11 meter / CB opening 6 August 2019
« on: August 07, 2019, 1032 UTC »
Recorded yesterday afternoon around 6:30pm local time (2230 UTC)

Lots of AM activity on in-band legal 40 CB channels on several online SDRs, and the usual freeband frequencies, 26.665 MHz, 26.685 MHz, 26.716 MHz, 26.735 MHz, 26.775 MHz, 26.785 MHz, 26.805 MHz, 26.815 MHz, 26.835 MHz, 26.885 MHz, 26.915 MHz, 26.925 MHz, 27.425 MHz LSB, 27.435 MHz LSB, 27.465 MHz LSB, 27.505 MHz AM, 27.525 MHz AM, 27.605 MHz LSB, 27.615 MHz AM, 27.665 AM, 27.745 MHz AM and 27.775 MHz AM.

In-band the usual suspects in AM mode: channel 6 (27.025 MHz), channel 11 (27.085 MHz), channel 12 (27.105 MHz), channel 15 (27.135 MHz), channel 19 (27.185 MHz), channel 20 (27.205 MHz), channel 22 (27.225 MHz), channel 26 (27.265 MHz), channel 28 (27.285 MHz), etc.  SSB DX on channel 37 (27.375 MHz LSB), channel 39 (27.395 MHz LSB), channel 40 (27.405 MHz LSB, with AM mixing in, of course)...and, naturally, channel 38 (27.385 MHz LSB) was very busy.

Locally there was a lot of activity on 11 meters...including channel 38 LSB booming in at points.  I got three videos, with three different radios!

Galaxy DX 959

https://youtu.be/H_IlQxhXEiU

CRE 8900 (aka DR-135CB)

https://youtu.be/ruQDlonQjCM

Superstar 3900 (aka a dozen other names and models)

https://youtu.be/7xVMULZG4DY

Note the activity on 27.435 MHz LSB, midwestern accents on 27.435 LSB and several other SSB frequencies/channels, including channel 38 LSB / 27.385 MHz LSB.  On the second video (the CRE 8900) I caught some CB operators using R/C channel 19A - 27.195 MHz - for AM voice communications.  Channel 19 was messy, which explains use of the +10 kHz switch.  27.195 is pretty popular.

I actually make a point of dropping the RF gain down while monitoring 27.025 AM on the Galaxy 959.  I had to adjust the RF gain on the CRE 8900 just a bit to reduce some of the background noise...sometimes that radio (it’s an early production version) does better with the RF gain at 75% or 80% instead of 100%.  I was able to drop the RF gain all the way down and still hear the stations on channel 6. 

12
8210 kHz USB 8.210 MHz USB, ITU 8 MHz marine channel 806 (ship transmit frequency).  Yes, this is a legit marine frequency.  Spanish language chatter, general laid-back CB-like talk.  At least two OMs talking, heard mention of la pez.  At 2102 UTC, a third station tried to break into the QSO...with the usual "HOLA HOLA HOLA!" - now the other stations are letting him into the net.  Nice conditions on 8 MHz this afternoon.

Via Westminster, MD KiwiSDR.

13
Also known as the "yachtman's net" (among other frequencies, including 4003 kHz USB, there are several of these nets).  OMs talking about sailing conditions, where they're currently located, weather, etc.  Some variation in signals, but that's to be expected.  Stations IDing by name of their vessel. 

8152 kHz USB 8.152 MHz USB 8 MHz marine band frequency.  Received via Westminster, MD KiwiSDR. 

14
Peskies / 8155 kHz USB - Spanish Chatter 2055 UTC 19 July 2019
« on: July 19, 2019, 2055 UTC »
Right next to the 8152 kHz USB marine frequency where the Yachtmen's nets operate.  Several OMs yakking away in Spanish.  Likely marine users given the frequency and band.  Yes, this is a legit 8 MHz marine band - maritime mobile service frequency!

8155 kHz 8.155 MHz 8155 USB

Received via Westminster, MD KiwiSDR.

15
Middle to upper end of 7 MHz into 8 MHz, lots of SSB QSOs in progress this afternoon/early evening.  Spanish heard on 7900 kHz USB and 7930 kHz USB.  There are likely other frequencies active...They like this little band between 40 meter amateur/41 meter broadcasting and the 8 MHz fixed/mobile, marine and aeronautical bands. 

 

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