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Topics - Strange Beacons

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Amateur Radio / Reverse Beacon Network Questions
« on: July 05, 2020, 1328 UTC »
I posted this over on the Amateur Radio subReddit, but didn't get any response. I'm hoping someone here might be able to help me out.

I have been using the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) for many years, mostly while transmitting Morse code. It works great for Morse and my call sign shows up on RBN every time that I transmit.

Recently I have been transmitting many RTTY sessions using FLDIGI. But, I have never seen my call sign register on RBN, even after hours of sending out signals. Yet, while monitoring my own signal, I often see other call signs I'm decoding on my FLDIGI screen register on the RBN. Yet my call sign never does, even though I am transmitting on almost the exact same frequency and at the same time as RTTY call signs that do. (One call sign I checked last night that registered was located in New York and the skimmer that picked up the New York call sign was located in Europe. (My own location is in Florida).

Does anyone have any idea why my RTTY signal is not registering on RBN, while my CW/Morse signal does?

I'm not really savvy as to how the network of RBN skimmers are set up. Do all of them register/copy the same modes, i.e., Morse, RTTY, PSK31, etc? Or does a particular skimmer only copy certain modes? Like CW only. RTTY only, etc.

I'm asking this because I'm thinking that maybe there are more CW skimmers located in the United States, while there are more RTTY skimmers in Europe (I know from experience that more Europeans use RTTY than do those here in the States).

Can anyone help me out here? It is kind of driving me nuts! Thanks.

UPDATE: OK, I discovered that the Reverse Beacon Network had a contact page, so I sent them an email asking the same questions as I lay out above. One of their spokespersons contacted me and essentially validated what I suspected above, i.e., that there are more CW skimmers in the United States and more RTTY skimmers in Europe. So, it appears that my RTTY signal is not broadcasting far enough to ring any bells on the skimmers there.

I found two Morse code beacons within a few kilohertz of each other. A "D" beacon at 13527.50 kHz and an "S" beacon at 13528 kHz. Recorded May 15, 2020 at 1437 UTC via the UTwente WebSDR. I know very little about letter beacons. Are these two well-known?

Radio pirate transmitting siren sounds on 3460 kHz in LSB mode.

This transmission has appeared on this same frequency for the past few days, as I've seen recordings of the signal posted all over Reddit , YouTube, and Twitter. General word is that this is a French pirate, hence the reason why I chose a KiwiSDR located in Massignac, France. Shortly after I ended the recording, I heard snippets of music, sound files, and movie clips, all in the French language.

Everyone here likely already knows about this, but I just discovered it last night, and a quick search on here didn't find any threads about it, so...

Every Wednesday night at 9:00 pm EST / 6:00 PM PST / 0200 UTC, on 5850 kHz, This Is A Music Show broadcasts a variety of great music, all locally sourced vinyl from area thrift stores (a really nice touch, I think).

At the end of the hour, two MFSK64 transmissions for text and digital images were sent out, with a finale of a digital image on the waterfall at show's end. I recorded a a decode of the MFSK64 image decode.

HF Mystery Signals / UNID "Time Signal" at 7475 in AM mode
« on: December 16, 2019, 2034 UTC »
I was alerted to the presence of what sounds a bit like a time signal via a Reddit thread.

Anyone have any idea what this might be?

HF Beacons / 30 meter "One Second Dasher" at 10121.50 kHz
« on: March 27, 2019, 2034 UTC »
I made a recording of a 30 meter "One Second Dasher" today, 03/27/19 at 1700 UTC.

Has this signal ever been logged here?

Today, I recorded a strange whistling sound on "The Pip" frequency at 3756 kHz.

I've been monitoring the 80 meter band after reading a post on Reddit from a user who claims to have heard the old Lincolnshire Poacher signal being transmitted there. While listening and studying the waterfall, I noticed an unusual signal on top of the Russian frequency holder signal "The Pip" at 3756 kHz. It stopped just shortly after I tuned to that frequency and started up my screen recorder. To my ear, the "whistling" sounds like it might be actually coming from the lips of a human being. Couple this with the fact that the "Poacher" has been heard on that band, it suggests to me that there are pranksters aplenty afoot on that band (and in the past, I have heard from others this section of the amateur band is notorious for a lot of weird activity from European amateurs).

Software / FLDIGI question re automatic, timed transmissions
« on: March 23, 2019, 0350 UTC »
I use WSJT-X for WSPR transmissions and I like the way that it automatically transmits, stops for a timed interval, then transmits again.

Question: Is there any way that FLDIGI can be set up so that it will transmit automatically? (I'm wanting to use FLDIGI to send a CW signal at a timed interval).

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've searched online and cannot find any source that discusses this question.

Over the past week, I have been monitoring my SDR for drift net beacons, from around 1750 to 2500 kHz, mostly in the very early hours of the morning (before dawn, approximately 6:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) and in the evening (after dark, from around 7:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time). I'm a pretty patient radio listener, but given the wide frequency range where these signals can be found, along with the fact that they seem to only transmit every four or five minutes at a go, it has been a time-consuming effort on my part.

So far, I've not seen/heard anything at all. My location is in Seattle, Washington USA and I'm using my own KiwiSDR with W6LVP mag loop. I generally can hear all signals in the lower frequency ranges quite well.

So, this begs the question here, has anyone else been able to locate and track any of these beacons on the west coast of the United States? I note that Token has posted a video of his catches, but most of the talk on these signals seem to be coming from either people on the east coast of the US, or from the coastal areas of Australia and Asia.

If anyone has picked up any of these signals from a US west coast location, please post frequencies, dates and times, as I'd like to start keeping a log of what others are catching near my location in order to improve my chances.


General Radio Discussion / Sad News: Don Schimmel has passed away
« on: February 04, 2019, 0108 UTC »
Sad News: I just learned today that Don Schimmel has passed away at the age of 91. Don worked in communications with the U.S. Navy and CIA. He is best remembered by radio hobbyists as the author of the book, "The Underground Frequency Guide" and the online column about radio oddities, "Radio Intrigue." SK


ID and Translation Requests / UNID Low Frequency signal at 147.25 kHz
« on: January 19, 2019, 0511 UTC »
Tuning through the low frequency spectrum on my KiwiSDR tonight and found this odd signal. I have absolutely no idea what this is, but it sounds and looks a bit like a digital mode of some kind. You can listen to it yourself via my KiwiSDR (if it is still transmitting).

Software / Transmitting WEFAX images with FLDIGI
« on: January 18, 2019, 0130 UTC »
Does anyone here have any experience using FLDIGI to transmit images using WEFAX mode?

I have been attempting to transmit images, but keep running into the problem of the program timing out after 5 minutes of transmitting (a dialog box opens that says, "TX timeout expired! Are you awake"). The FLDIGI guide suggests going into the configuration settings and changing the browser settings for "Inactivity timeout" via the scrolling menu that is there. I have done this, using every setting possible and the program still times out after 5 minutes.

Not having any luck with that, I then tried making the images smaller, thinking that lower resolution and small sized might help. Still no luck.

I've reached the end of my tweaking and tinkering with this and could really use some help from anyone who has successfully transmitted WEFAX images with this program. If you could help me with any FLDIGI settings that I need to check, or with changing the images to make them more friendly to the program, I'd really appreciate it.


SDR - Software Defined Radio / KiwiSDR antenna question
« on: January 07, 2019, 0148 UTC »
I'm currently using a spare MFJ-1622 antenna I had lying around my radio shack on my KiwiSDR. It seems to work fairly well, but I'm wanting to make my SDR the best it can be. All of the research that I've done for KiwiSDR antennas keeps leading me back to the W6LVP mag loop. So far, I've read only glowing reports about it and I've been emailing back and forth with Larry, the antenna builder. I'm impressed with all of his responses and I am leaning pretty heavily towards buying one of these.

Does anyone here have any experience using this antenna?

Update: It always pays to search through older threads on here. Though not specifically about how the W6LVP works with a KiwiSDR, this thread discusses the antenna's merits.

SDR - Software Defined Radio / Need help getting my new KiwiSDR setup
« on: December 31, 2018, 0142 UTC »
UPDATE 1: I figured it out. Was able to access the SDR admin page using my iPad, then set up things so that I can now access using my Windows machine.

UPDATE 2: A bit of a head's up for anyone who purchases one of the KiwiSDR units and who (like me) primarily uses a Windows computer: If your router has a DHCP server, it will automatically assign an IP address to the KiwiSDR. This function is usually performed by your network firewall / router. The "kiwisdr.local" hostname resolves to that assigned IP address via software on the Kiwi and the host computer you're connecting from (the one running your browser). But the kiwisdr.local hostname may not be recognized by all systems, particularly any machine that is running Windows.

For a workaround to this problem, you need to specify the IP address manually by port forwarding 8073 in your router. I use Xfinity/Comcast and I was able to go into my router via the admin page and specifically port forward the IP assigned to the Kiwi (by default, normally port 8073). Once I had completed that, Windows would then recognize the URL and I was able to get inside the Kiwi admin page using the standard kiwisdr.local:8073/admin URL.

Hope this helps anyone who encounters difficulties. If you run into any trouble getting your Kiwi set up and configured, feel free to contact me. I'm not a computer guru and can't solve every problem, but I do know a few things about how to manipulate a home router to make it do things that you want them to do.


Received my KiwiSDR today, assembled it and connected everything. I'm able to connect to it locally, but am having trouble setting it up in order to share it with the world. When I say that I can connect locally, I mean that I can enter in the local IP my router has assigned to the KiwiSDR and specify port 8073 at the end of the IP and it works. Here is an example of the IP that works:

However, I cannot get the browser to load using the kiwisdr.local:8073 address. Which in turn means that I cannot access the kiwisdr.local:8073/admin page to try other suggested methods of making the SDR publicly available.

According to the Quick Start Guide! that I'm working with, trying to get kiwisdr.local: 8073 to open using Windows 10 is a known issue. Anyone know a workaround?

Here is what the quick start guide says about Windows 10: Most versions of Windows don't recognize the kiwisdr.local hostname. But do not use the workaround for Window 10 or later. There appears to be some sort of conflict and using kiwisdr.local will result in connections that have lots of audio overrun problems.

Thank you.

I was transmitting Digital SSTV on the 40 meter band this morning when I spotted this strange signal in the waterfall. I'm not sure if I was tuned to the proper frequency or not, and I tried both USB and LSB. I suspect that this is likely someone doing a radio test of some kind. Tuned via the Web SDR located in Newport, Oregon, USA.

Video of the signal here.

I've been on the air for about three hours this morning, on 40 meters, and I only noticed the signal pop up about two hours ago. It only transmitted twice, both times for about 5-7 minutes. At first, I thought it was someone else (like me) transmitting waterfall images via digital SSTV.

I've been monitoring this frequency since I recorded the video and it has repeated a few times. In fact, it is transmitting again as I type this.

Any ideas as to what it may be? I'm using this Web SDR if you want to check it out yourself: http://kiwisdr.smeter.net:8073

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