Thursday, May 24, 2018

From ARRL Newsleter: FT8 Activity Bumping Up at Some Expense to Other Modes

Despite largely dismal HF conditions, there is no doubt that the recent FT8 digital protocol has hams on the air. The mode has caught on so quickly that co-developer Joe Taylor expressed surprise last fall at the rapid uptake of FT8 for making contacts on HF bands Judging by Logbook of The World (LoTW) data, more than 2.3 million FT8 contacts were uploaded in 1 month -- a net gain of 1.2 million contacts on all modes over the same month last year, ARRL Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, said. Over the same period, activity in some of the other modes has declined.

"Year-to-date DXCC applications are up by 11% over the same period last year," Fusaro said. "So far, we have processed 898 Worked All States (WAS) applications -- a 72% increase over the same period last year. Of those applications, 347 -- or 39% -- were FT8 endorsements. Application for VUCC are also up by 33% over 2017."

Fusaro said that while some feel that FT8 is "taking over the world," subsuming all other modes, that's not the case. "Activity in the traditional modes of SSB and CW has decreased only slightly, by 10%," he said. "The real decrease is in RTTY and PSK activity and in the other WSJT-X modes. I believe poor propagation would have cut into SSB and CW activity, regardless of the new mode." Anecdotal reports support Fusaro's hard numbers, with wall-to-wall signals surrounding the FT8 watering holes.

Late last year, Denny Berg, WB9MSM, achieved his goal of completing DXCC using FT8. It took him just 4 months.  "I can tell all of you that this mode is spreading like wildfire throughout all the HF bands," Berg told The Daily DX at the time He said he was able to work all states on FT8 in about 6 weeks of operating. Taylor has characterized SSB and CW as "general-purpose modes" that are good for ragchewing, DXing, contesting, disaster communication, and other purposes. On the other hand, he has said, FT8 and the other protocols in the WSJT-X suite are "special-purpose modes," designed for making reliable, error-free contacts using signals that may be too weak to work using more traditional modes -- and sometimes even too far down in the noise even to hear.

ARLS005 Amateur Radio Transponders on Planned Chinese Satellites to Include HF

China's Amateur Radio Satellite organization, CAMSAT, has released some details of three new Amateur Radio satellites that could be launched as early as September. Two of the satellites, CAS-5A and CAS-6, will carry transponders, and one of them will have HF capability.

CAS-5A is a 6U CubeSat. It will have an HF/HF (21/29 MHz) mode linear transponder; an HF/UHF (21/435 MHz) mode linear transponder; an HF CW telemetry beacon; VHF/UHF mode linear transponder; a VHF/UHF mode FM transponder; a UHF CW telemetry beacon, and UHF AX.25 4,000/9,600-baud GMSK Telemetry. Transponders will have 30 kHz passbands, except for the H/U unit, which will be 15 kHz.

The tiny CAS-5B, weighing 1/2 kilogram, will be deployed from CAS-5A in orbit. It will carry a UHF CW beacon on an Amateur Radio frequency. It will be placed into a 539 x 533 kilometer, 97.5-degree orbit.

CAS-5A/B will launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

CAS-6, a 50-kilogram microsat, will include a VHF CW telemetry beacon; a U/V mode 20 kHz linear transponder, and AX.25 4,800-baud GMSK telemetry downlink. It will also carry an atmospheric wind detector and other systems that will operate on non-amateur frequencies.

A launch at sea is planned for CAS-6 from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The microsat will be placed into a 579 x 579 kilometer, 45-degree orbit.

CAMSAT has applied to the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) to coordinate frequencies for all three spacecraft.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

ARLS004 Three CubeSats with Amateur Radio Payloads Deployed from ISS

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that three CubeSats carrying Amateur Radio payloads, including one with a V/U linear transponder, were deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) on May 11 at around 1030 UTC.

Irazu (Costa Rica) and 1KUNS-PF (Kenya) carry beacon/telemetry in the 70-centimeter Amateur Radio band, while UBAKUSAT (Turkey) carries an Amateur Radio linear transponder for SSB and CW, in addition to CW and telemetry beacons. Irazu is a 1U CubeSat developed by students at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, with a telemetry beacon at 436.500 MHz. 1KUNS-PF is a 3U CubeSat developed by students at the University of Nairobi, with a telemetry beacon (9.6 kbps) at 437.300 MHz.

UBAKUSAT, a 3U CubeSat developed by students at the Istanbul Technical University, has a CW beacon at 437.225 MHz, and a telemetry beacon at 437.325 MHz. The linear transponder downlink is
435.200 - 435.250 MHz; the uplink is 145.940 - 145.990 MHz.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Summer 2018 International Shortwave Broadcast Guide Now Available at Amazon

Older ham radio operators and radio listeners might remember a time when shortwave radio stations broadcast a nearly constant drumbeat of political propaganda during the Cold War years. Shortwave radio stations such as Radio Moscow, the Voice of America, and the BBC, to name a few, played an important ideological role during that confrontation between the East and the West.

Once again, Global Radio broadcasters have moved to the front lines at what is now shaping up as a new Cold War by some of the world’s major super powers. As tensions heat up in the world’s hotspots such as eastern Europe, the Middle East and Eastern Asia, you can follow breaking international events on the radio waves, but you need an accurate and comprehensive guide to broadcast frequencies to hear it.

Teak Publishing is pleased release that important guide – the 10th edition (Summer 2018) International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (ISWBG) electronic book by Amazon bestselling author Gayle Van Horn W4GVH.

If you want to get in on the action, then this Amazon electronic book is your ticket to travel the Global Radio bands. The ISWBG is an exclusive 24-hour station/frequency guide with schedules for selected mediumwave broadcasters and all known longwave/shortwave radio stations transmitting at time of publication. This unique resource is the only radio publication that has by-hour schedules that includes all language services, frequencies and world target areas for over 500 stations. It has a complete listing of DX radio programs and Internet websites addresses for many of the stations listed in the book. There are also listings for standard time and frequency stations, and even a few intriguing spy numbers station listings.

New in this 10th edition of the ISWBG is a feature, Monitoring Brazil on Shortwave Radio. It is more than futebol! by Gayle Van Horn. Soccer teams from around the world will compete this summer in the FIFA World Cup, and Brazil is expected to be a top contender to win the event. This article will aid you in monitoring broadcasters that will be carrying Brazilian soccer team news during this international event.

Other authors with articles in this edition include The Spectrum Monitor’s Fred Waterer, with a feature on summer radio programming, and Hans Johnson with a profile on the state of DRM broadcasting in 2018. There are also two First Look reviews on the new AirSpy HF+ SDR and the W6LVP Magnetic Loop Antenna by Loyd Van Horn W4LVH.

Spectrum Monitor e-zine columnist/feature writer Larry Van Horn N5FPW has a special feature on Who’s Who in the Shortwave Radio Spectrum that will assist the reader in monitoring Global Radio activity outside the broadcast radio spectrum. This article also includes an update to the Teak Publishing HF 1000+ non-broadcast frequency list.

International Shortwave Broadcast Guide 10th edition of this semiannual Teak Publishing publication is available worldwide from Amazon and their various international websites at

The price for this latest edition is still US$7.99. Since this book is being released internationally, Amazon customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia can order this electronic book (e-Book) from Amazon websites directly servicing these countries. All other countries can use the regular website.
Don’t own a Kindle reader from Amazon? Not a problem. You do not need to own a Kindle to read Amazon e-book publications. You can read any Kindle book with Amazon’s free reading apps on literally any electronic media platform.

A Kindle app is available for most major smartphones, tablets and computers. There is a Kindle app available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch; Android Phone; Android Tablet; PC; Windows 8; Mac Kindle Cloud Reader; Windows Phone; Samsung; BlackBerry 10; BlackBerry; and WebOS. This means with a free Kindle reading apps, you can buy a Kindle book once, and read it on any device with the Kindle app installed*. You can also read that same Kindle book on a Kindle device if you own one.

You can find additional details on these apps by checking out this link to the Amazon website at

For additional information on this and other Teak Publishing radio hobby books, monitor the company sponsored Internet blogs – The Military Monitoring Post (, The Btown Monitor Post ( and The Shortwave Central ( for availability of additional e-books that are currently in production. You can learn more about the author by going to her author page on Amazon at

Global Radio listeners are routinely entertained with unique perspectives to events, music, culture, history, and news from other countries that you won’t see or hear on your local or national broadcast channels. Global Radio broadcasts are not restricted by country borders or oceans, and can travel thousands of miles, reaching millions of listeners worldwide, now in over 300 different languages and dialects.

Listeners can easily hear shortwave broadcast stations from China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, North/South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, and many other counties. If you have a shortwave radio receiver or Internet connection, and this unique radio resource, you will know when and where to listen to your favorite radio broadcast station.

The International Shortwave Broadcast Guide will have wide appeal to amateur radio operators, shortwave radio hobbyists, news agencies, news buffs, educators, foreign language students, expatriates, or anyone else interested in listening to a global view of world news and major events as they happen.

Whether you are an amateur radio operator or shortwave radio enthusiasts and want to get in on the action outside of the ham bands, then this new electronic book from Teak Publishing is a must in your radio reference library.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Swaziland Name Change - Kingdom of eSwatini

For all my DXing ham friends, Swaziland is no more.  In an article posted on Snithsonian,com (, Mswati III of Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarch, has declared that his nation’s official name is now the Kingdom of eSwatin.

Though it sounds like an attempt to bring the small, landlocked nation into the digital age, it’s actually the country’s name in Swazi, the local tongue. AFP reports the change was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country’s complete independence from British rule in 1968. The move also coincides with the king’s own 50th birthday, which was on April 19, Sewell Chan at the New York Times reports.

“I would like to announce that Swaziland will now revert to its original name,” the king said during the independence day celebration, according to Reuters. “African countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before they were colonized. So from now on, the country will be officially known as the Kingdom of eSwatini.”

The change, according to the king, is also an attempt to distinguish the country’s name from other nations. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland,” he added.

The switch is not out of the blue. Reuters points out the country had recently begun using its traditional name at the U.N. General Assembly and at the African Union. In recent years, during addresses to parliament, the king has used the name for the region used before British colonization in 1906.

ast absolute monarch, has declared that his nation’s official name is now the Kingdom of eSwatini.
Read more:
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
Guess we will have a new name pop up on the ARRL DXCC list soon.
Image result for ham radio swaziland qsl card

Thursday, November 23, 2017

AO-91 Commissioned - Declared Open for Amateur Use!

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-327.01
ANS-327 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletins - AO-91 Commissioned
Declared Open for Amateur Use

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 327.01
Month Day, 2017
BID: $ANS-327.01

AO-91 Commissioned - Declared Open for Amateur Use!

At 06:50 UTC November 23, 2017 @AMSAT Engineering officially
commissioned AO-91 (RadFxSat/Fox-1B) Satellite. AMSAT VP of
Engineering, Jery Buxton N0JY turned over operation to Mark Hammond
N8MH and AMSAT Operations in a QSO on the AO-91 repeater during the
pass over the Eastern U.S.

N8MH responded and declared AO-91 open for amateur use!

[ANS thanks AO-91 Ops Team for the above information]

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Milcom Files - MT Editions - Are Now Available on Amazon

Mention the words "Monitoring the Military," and most radio hobbyists will immediately think of military air shows, sporting event Military Aircraft Flybys or a whole host of other military activities they would like to hear on their radios. There is a big radio frequency spectrum out there to monitor, and if you know where to listen, you can eavesdrop on some of the coolest radio communications you will ever hear on a scanner or shortwave radio. Military communications monitoring is the one segment of the radio hobby that has exploded in growth in recent years and is getting more popular among the listening community every day.

Larry Van Horn N5FPW, spent 15 years documenting activity in the military radio spectrum in his monthly Milcom column in the pages of Monitoring Times magazine. And now for the first time ever, he is publishing and making available all those columns here at Amazon in the Kindle E-Book format.

Teak Publishing is pleased to announce the release of their latest Kindle e-books -- the first edition of the Milcom Files – Monitoring Times edition by Amazon Bestselling author Larry Van Horn, N5FPW.

The Milcom Files edition one covers the 15 years of Military Communications (Milcom) columns that Larry wrote for the now defunct-Monitoring Times magazine from 1998-2013.

Volume one (ASIN: B077NN7RQ5) of the Milcom Files covers columns published between 1998 to 2006. The column was bimonthly from September 1998 to November 2002, and monthly from January 2003 to December 2006. Volume two (ASIN: B077NQXH3C) covers columns published between 2007 to 2013. These columns were published monthly during this period. A complete index to all the columns is available on the Milcom MP blog at

The MT Milcom columns documented the U.S. military conversion to narrowband LMR systems, the move from conventional to trunk radio systems, the 225-400 MHz band plan shift, including the new 380-400 MHz sub-band, and HF military frequencies, both foreign and US. This two-volume set of e-books has over 327,000 plus words, and nearly 1,000 pages of frequencies, call signs, and how-to style articles.

Even though these columns were originally published from 1998-2013, you will find a lot of material that is still valid even today. All US military services, HF. VHF. UHF, military satellites, FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center frequencies, base profiles, foreign military frequencies, airshow frequencies, equipment, and a lot more are included. Each column will be presented as it was published in MT in this e-book except for photographs.

If you are interested in monitoring the military, own a scanner and/or shortwave radio, then the Milcom Files two volume set is a must reference on your radio shack shelf.

Teak Publishing’s The Milcom Files Monitoring Times edition is now available for purchase worldwide from
Volume one is on Amazon at
Volume two is on Amazon at

The price for each e-Book edition is US$7.99. This book is being released internationally. Amazon customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia can order the e-Book from Amazon websites directly servicing these countries. All other countries can use the regular website.

You do not need to own a Kindle reader to read Amazon e-book publications. You can read any Kindle book with Amazon’s free reading apps. There are free Kindle reading apps for the Kindle Cloud Reader, Smartphones (iPhone, iTouch, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry); computer platforms (Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and Mac); Tablets (iPad, Android and Windows 8), and, of course, all the Kindle family of readers including the Kindle Fire series. A Kindle e-book allows you to buy your book once and read it anywhere. You can find additional details on these apps at this link on the Amazon website at

For additional information on this and other Teak Publishing radio hobby books, monitor the company sponsored Internet blogs – The Military Monitoring Post (, The Btown Monitor Post ( and The Shortwave Central ( for availability of additional e-books that are currently in production.

Information on other publications by the author is available on the author’s page at Amazon