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Messages - Strange Beacons

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HF Mystery Signals / Re: Need help on multi-tone signal ID
« on: July 31, 2020, 1940 UTC »
I tried decoding your sound file using several different modes in FLDIGI. The only mode that even attempted to decode it was MFSK128L. And as you suggested in your post, yes, I'm pretty sure that it is a type of MFSK.

So from what you have posted, you have heard this signal at the three frequencies you provided. Was this an intermittent signal, or did it run for many minutes at a time? Or hours at a time?

I just checked all three frequencies that you provided, using a KiwiSDR located in Edinburgh, Indiana. Nothing heard.

But this is definitely an interesting signal.

Curt | W9SPY | Strange Beacons

I'm hearing the pirate right now on 6950 kHz in USB mode via the N3JLY KiwiSDR. Very weak signal. A voice that keeps repeating "Baa, baa, baa" over and over again. Sheep noises?

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.

Thanx for the comments! I will try to make a better description of the transmitter/arduino package and how to build it. The code is available in .txt format on the link below :)

Excellent, thanks. Questions: Is the photo that you posted above just the transmitter part of the Ardushcreiber? I can't tell by looking, but I don't see the Arduino Nano there.

And thanks for the code.

I thought i would share a small side-project, sending Hellschreiber from a small HF-beacon using a arduino.

This is very, very cool. Any chance that you have, or could supply, a step-by-step project page (via the Internet) for building one of these?

I have toyed around with Arduino, but not enough to just build something like this without a lot of assistance, typically in the form of websites that show step by step how to wire up, what kind of antenna to use, etc. And posting the code somewhere as a .txt file or on the web would really help.

Thank you. And thanks for sharing this.

Utility / Re: RTTY Transmissions
« on: June 02, 2020, 1838 UTC »
You're going to need a time machine as well, unfortunately. RTTY news and weather is pretty much gone now. There's still NAVTEX weather, and you may find some left on the ham bands. I am not sure if anything else is left?

Sadly, this is the case these days. When I first got interested in shortwave, I also was very much into RTTY and decoding the signals. For awhile, there was a great signal available coming out of Mobile, Alabama (WLO Marine), which ceased operation last year.

About the only thing that I can offer up are two Internet Teletype stations, one that broadcasts North American news and another one that broadcasts news out of EUROPE. Both are streamed over the Internet, but you can at least get a decode out of them using something like FLDIGI.

Amateur Radio / Re: FCC Cancels W6WBJ License
« on: May 31, 2020, 2000 UTC »
Crowell recorded (sang on) a couple of songs that can only be described as racist which became part of the jamming. There were racist comments made. He had some sort of run-in with Moody Law, WQ6I, of WARFA some years ago that seemed to escalate, but I don't know the specifics of it. Also with the late Art Bell, W6OBB, who was a member of WARFA.

I'm down with brotherhood, but it's a sad fact that there's no shortage of people who aren't.

OK, that explains what I heard from the jammer a few times (blatantly racist music and racist speech). I 100% draw the line at that kind of crap. Thanks for the reply.

Amateur Radio / Re: FCC Cancels W6WBJ License
« on: May 31, 2020, 1121 UTC »
Peace, brothers! Promotion of brotherhood, which is WARFA's stated goal, became the worst troll bait ever, it seems.

I really don't know much about the jammer's motives, but I have to wonder whether the fact that WARFA appears to be an all-inclusive, multi-racial net has something to do with this? In plain speak, I'm wondering if there is some sort of racism involved on the jammer's part? Does anyone know?

Amateur Radio / Re: FCC Cancels W6WBJ License
« on: May 21, 2020, 1550 UTC »
When I lived on the west coast, I actually was able to tune into the net in question and was an ear-witness to some of the abuse from that guy. It was indeed pretty bad. I don't know much about how the FCC works, so far as enforcement is concerned. But it really surprises me just how long it took the FCC to address that issue.

Equipment / Re: What are you using for SWLing?
« on: May 18, 2020, 2235 UTC »
I mainly use my KiwiSDR with W6LVP mag loop, or my ICOM 7300 with Alpha Loop (I live in a condo, hence the reason for my reliance on magnetic loop antennas. Fortunately, my experience with them has been very positive). Finally, I occasionally hit the road with my Tecsun PL-660 and separate factory long-wire antenna.

I've really gotten more into SWLing since I moved from Seattle, Washington to Southwest Florida. The propagation in my current area is vastly superior to what I formally had in mountainous Washington.  8)

Both the beacons you reference are mentioned in this Wikipedia entry, and are referred to as cluster beacons -


Nice research, thanks. I figured that both of them had likely been around for awhile, but since I don't really follow letter beacons as much as I do other signals, I wasn't sure.

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?

For Sale / Wanted / Barter / Re: WTB: KiwiSDR
« on: May 10, 2020, 1009 UTC »
They can be purchased either way.

From the Seeed web site...
The KiwiSDR is a custom circuit board (cape) you connect to the BeagleBone Green  or  BeagleBone Black computer. You simply add an antenna, power supply and network connection. The KiwiSDR is available in two versions: the cape alone and a more complete version including BBG, enclosure and GPS antenna. Both versions include software supplied on a micro-SD card.

Yes, that is what I thought. I purchased the version with Beaglebone Green and GPS and added a W6LVP mag loop. I've been very happy with it.

For Sale / Wanted / Barter / Re: WTB: KiwiSDR
« on: May 10, 2020, 0309 UTC »
Probably a long shot, but looking to buy a KiwiSDR with the Beaglebone board.

I'm a KiwiSDR owner. I thought that all KiwiSDRs came bundled with Beaglebone.

SDR - Software Defined Radio / Re: Kiwi SDRs
« on: May 04, 2020, 2253 UTC »
Why is it these SDRs have time limits. Some cease to be active after so long.

While I no longer have any time limits set on my Kiwi, I once had to put them in place due to the large number of people who were camping out on local AM stations listening to football games. Now, I'm not saying that is a bad thing. But I want to run my radio primarily as a service to shortwave listeners and they don't tend to sit on a frequency for three or four hours at a time. Given the fact that most Kiwis only allow a maximum of four users at a time, I wanted to make sure that slots were available for them.

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