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Topics - zackers

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HF Mystery Signals / Carrier on 7033 kHz
« on: April 10, 2022, 1605 UTC »
There has been a steady carrier on 7033.04 kHz for several weeks. A lot of radio amateurs have been trying to track it down. I have been informed the source has been found by someone, but is not known to the general ham population yet. It's an odd signal. It is not strong enough anywhere on a Kiwi SDR receiver to indicate it is running high power. Yet at night in central Illinois I have seen it on SDR stations in western Europe. At sunrise in Illinois I have seen it on SDR receivers in Hawaii and Australia. During the daytime in USA it is only detectable on SDR receivers in western USA. It is the strongest at Colorado and Utah stations. Beam headings indicate it is somewhere in Colorado, Nebraska or South Dakota. When I find out what its location is, I'll let you know. I am really curious!

General Radio Discussion / HF Underground and Facebook?
« on: February 07, 2021, 0435 UTC »
Yesterday I posted a link to www.hfunderground.com in response to a question about shortwave pirate stations in a discussion on Facebook. Facebook immediately removed my post because it "goes against community standards." What? What is there about this website that goes against their standards? I don't get it.

Other / TP4C 4717 kHz
« on: February 02, 2021, 1550 UTC »
Several radio amateurs have reported hearing a station using the call TP4C on 4717 USB calling BSA5 at 0929Z. Any idea what this station is?

Spy Numbers / XSL
« on: January 28, 2021, 1539 UTC »
I have been wondering about the current state of XSL Slot Machine lately. I have been getting up early in the morning (central Illinois) and listening for it on known frequencies. I have a rather poor antenna at the moment and heard nothing. I listened on 4291, 6250, 6417, 6445, 8313, 8588 and 8703.5 kHz.

So I listened this morning on a few KiwiSDR stations.  I heard it on a more local one to me only on 8313 kHz. I tried a couple west coast USA KiwiSDR's. I heard XSL on all the above frequencies listed with very good signals. So it's still there, propagation is just not making it to central USA at this time.

HF Beacons / OK beacon?
« on: February 19, 2014, 2048 UTC »
A couple years ago I was routinely hearing this beacon on 3449.8 kHz. Then it went away, came back for a while and went away again. Is this beacon now defunct for good? I suspect it was a lot closer to me than the 4 MHz beacons.

I haven't been able to hear much this winter for some reason. I thought I heard about a second of the TMP beacon on 4079.6 kHz the other night but it never came back again over several hours.

HF Beacons / Ditter(s) on 13560.75 MHz
« on: January 12, 2014, 1912 UTC »
I've been sitting here listening to some sort of ditters on 13560.75 MHz on Sunday January 12 from about 1845Z to 1910Z (so far). In general there will be a string of 9 or 10 fast dits followed by a dit approximately every 1.3 seconds for several minutes, then two rapid dits and a long pause, then starting up again. There have been variations where seemingly random groups of fast dits in groups of 4 to 16 were sent. For a while there was another ditter about 50 Hz lower in frequency than the main one, which was only active for a couple minutes. It seemed to follow a similar pattern.

The frequency of the ditter seemed to slowly drift up and down over a few Hz range.

Right now (1910Z) it's been silent for several minutes.

Playing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.Very strong here, 20 over S9. No QSB noted. 55455.
Just did ID but I didn't get it. "This is __ Radio Pirate Shortwave."

Pee Pee Vagina Radio ID'ed in Morse over top at 0036Z but they were transmitting in AM before and this station is USB.

Played Going to California by Led Zeppelin, now at 0039Z Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac.

Now giving shout-outs to all of us who posted reports here at 0046Z. Thanks! You are stronger here than Pee Pee Vagina Radio, plus CW doesn't really interfere too much. :-)

More shout-outs at 0100Z. Now playing Rock and Roll Fantasy by Bad Company. Thanks for the show!

Decent signal, S7 or better. Music with repetitive ID over top. Just ID'ed in Morse code at 0023Z.

I thought they went QRT at 0024Z but they just sent a Morse message giving me a shout-out for the report. Thanks for the show!

And another Morse shout-out to me at 0029Z! I heard the words "Vacation Time" in there a couple times. Now either the same station or another is playing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush at 0030Z.

Other / Carrier on 3526 kHz
« on: March 08, 2013, 1657 UTC »
There has been a lot of discussion on a couple ham radio groups about a carrier that is on 3526 kHz. This is in the 80 meter ham band. I have been hearing the signal here in east central Illinois at night. It appears shortly after sunset here (~0000Z) and fades out here around 0530Z.

It is not actually a constant carrier; twice I have heard it transmit some sort of data mode of a type unknown to me for 45 to 60 seconds, then go back to the carrier. The times of these seem to be random and only once every hour or so at most.

It has been widely reported in Europe and the eastern USA for the last couple weeks. Based on the time of signal loss here, I am hazarding a guess that it is in either the European Russia area or western Asiatic Russia. No one has done any direction finding on the signal yet that I know of. If anyone can DF it or give any signal reports that might pin down its location, it would be appreciated.

North American Shortwave Pirate / UNID 6925 USB 2310Z Feb 23
« on: February 24, 2013, 0014 UTC »
I heard a couple voices say a few words and some very short SSTV transmissions that didn't amount to anything. No ID's of any sort.

HF Beacons / Beacons 11 Feb 2013
« on: February 12, 2013, 0007 UTC »
I haven't listened a lot for the various beacons lately but last night was the best night so far this winter when I've had a chance to listen.

At about 0830Z on 11 Feb I copied the TMP beacon sending "TMP (39) (40) (41)". The temperature was evidently fluctuating because it changed about every 5 times one way or the other. Signal was not too bad for a while here in east central Illinois.

Also copied the "Hexie" beacon on 4096.25 and the "Kelsie" beacon on 4096.61. I was also receiving the "dasher" on 4086.7 for a bit. I listened for some others but did not hear them.

It was good to hear the above again!

Equipment / Antennas
« on: February 04, 2013, 1803 UTC »
I am curious what some of you are using for antennas, particularly in the AM broadcast band and LF ranges. I have several amateur radio antennas that perform fine in the shortwave spectrum. I also have a 20-turn 5-foot square loop (with taps every 5 turns) that I thought would be a decent performer on MF and LF frequencies, but it just hasn't done what I expected for some reason.

I live in a house on a lot approximately 50 X 100 feet. There is a tree to the east on the neighbor's property that is about 50-60 feet tall. I can't use that as an antenna support.

I just finished building the AMRAD active whip antenna. I will probably get this up about 25 to 30 feet but there''s no way I can get it up 60 feet to clear that tree. So I don't know how well it will perform yet. I guess I'll know in a couple days. I hope it does well in this location as an LF antenna.

SDR - Software Defined Radio / New to SDR
« on: February 04, 2013, 1744 UTC »
I recently got a Softrock Ensemble II kit, built it for HF and am using it with HDSDR. I also use a Creative X-FI Soundblaster USB card, model SB1095. There are a couple mods for the SB1095 linked on the WB5RVZ site that involve adding a couple capacitors to the unit which greatly improve its performance as an SDR soundcard.

I've been having a blast with it; I've found some NDB's, numbers stations and other things pretty easily using the 50 kHz window displayed in HDSDR. For the money, the Softrock is a great deal. Although the bandpass filters in the Softrock are supposed to cut off at 1.5 MHz, I've been able to tune to AM stations as low as 800 kHz with it.

I'm going to order another one and build it with the LF option. People have said that the LF filters that mount on the Softrock board are not optimum, especially for the lowest frequency range, so I designed a set of 7th order Chebyshev bandpass filters that I hope work better. They will have to be on an additional board external to the Softrock. That's not a problem for me.

HF Beacons / 26 MHz beacons?
« on: February 03, 2013, 2041 UTC »
I saw report of a beacon sending "AAL" on 26935 kHz so I listened for it this afternoon and heard it. I also found what seemed to be a whole cluster of beacons - dashers or QRSS - around 26965. One sounded like someone fooling around with a hand key, sent "0" quite a few times and then sent some other things on CW (sounded like "4", "HI"). There were at least four other signals in there, spaced 100 Hz of so apart.

I have never listened to this segment of the SW band for beacons before, so I don't know if that is what I was hearing or not. The transmissions seemed to be too short to be AM transmissions by CB'ers and I could detect no modulation on any of them.

Has anyone else heard these?

North American Shortwave Pirate / Radio Gaga 6925 USB 2303Z Feb 2
« on: February 02, 2013, 2312 UTC »
Came on with music. Played a Doors song, part of another song, Michael McDonald "Minute By Minute," then Radio Gaga ID.

Signal about S9+10 here, some QSB. 45434.

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