Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hotspot DXing: Fidel Castro Resigns

Press news reports and the morning newscast on Radio Rebelde carries news that Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro has resign as Cuba President and Commander-in-Chief.

You can monitor the latest developments (Spanish only) online at:

Radio Enciclopedia (Windows Media Player)

Radio Rebelde mms://media.enet.cu/radiorebelde (Paste URL into Windows Media Player)

Radio Marti Live (Office of Cuba Broadcasting) http://www.voanews.com/real/live/envivo.ram (Real audio service)

You can get the latest shortwave radio frequencies to monitor this story on our sister blog -- the Shortwave Central at http://mt-shortwave.blogspot.com/2008/02/hot-spot-dxing-cuba-castro-resigns.html

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Monitoring the Aussie Gold Coast

I will be the first to admit I am a bit of an audio freak and the Internet gives me the ability to monitor communications from around the world that I would not normally hear. Case in point - Australia Public Safety communications.

Now you can listen to Aussie Gold Coast Police, Fire/Rescue, Ambulance, Surf Rescue, Lifeguards, Gold Coast City Council Safety Patrol, VHF Marine channels 16, 63, 73, and the Gold Coast International Airport tower frequency courtesy of Geoff at the Moreton Diver website.

Point your browser to http://www.moretondiver.com/livescannerfeed.html for public safety comms with a G'Day twist.

The live scanner feed URL is

Friday, February 08, 2008

Rascom-QAF1 Service Life Reduced

Aviation Week and Space Technology is reporting in an online article by Michael A. Taverna/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, that the Rascom-QAF1 satellite will not operate the full 15 years service life as planned.

Thales Alenia Space says engineers have managed to place the Rascom-QAF1 satellite in final orbit, following a helium leak that occurred after its late December launch, but at the cost of a sharply reduced lifetime.

Engineers last week said four weeks of apogee motor firings, beginning with a main motor burst and followed by 18 apogee maneuvers using smaller backup thrusters, had moved the pioneering African telecom spacecraft into its intended orbit at 2.85 degrees east longitude (DAILY, Jan. 9).

However, barring further steps, satellite life will be barely more than two years, instead of the 15 years initially planned. Nevertheless, this could be enough for operator RascomStar-QAF to order a replacement satellite.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Beatles Will Be Beaming to Polaris the North Star

WASHINGTON -- For the first time ever, NASA will beam a song -- The Beatles' "Across the Universe" -- directly into deep space at 7 p.m. EST on Feb. 4.

The transmission over NASA's Deep Space Network will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA's founding and the group's beginnings. Two other anniversaries also are being honored: The launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite, and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the universe.

The transmission is being aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is located 431 light years away from Earth. The song will travel across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney expressed excitement that the tune, which was principally written by fellow Beatle John Lennon, was being beamed into the cosmos.

"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" McCartney said in a message to the space agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."

Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, characterized the song's transmission as a significant event.

"I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe," she said.

It is not the first time Beatles music has been used by NASA; in November 2005, McCartney performed the song "Good Day Sunshine" during a concert that was transmitted to the International Space Station. "Here Comes the Sun," "Ticket to Ride" and "A Hard Day's Night" are among other Beatles' songs that have been played to wake astronaut crews in orbit.

Feb. 4 has been declared "Across The Universe Day" by Beatles fans to commemorate the anniversaries. As part of the celebration, the public around the world has been invited to participate in the event by simultaneously playing the song at the same time it is transmitted by NASA. Many of the senior NASA scientists and engineers involved in the effort are among the group's biggest fans.

"I've been a Beatles fan for 45 years – as long as the Deep Space Network has been around," said Dr. Barry Geldzahler, the network's program executive at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "What a joy, especially considering that 'Across the Universe' is my personal favorite Beatles song."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., operates the Deep Space Network. For information about the Deep Space Network, go to http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/index.html

Monitor the Airspace at Superbowl XLII this Weekend

Are you are interested in hearing the coming and goings of aircraft in and around the SuperBowl in the Phoenix area this weekend? If the answer is yes then I have a neat online service for you (and it is free).

Now you can monitor Phoenix Approach/Departure Control communications and view their radar screen of air fraffic in the area via the Internet.

This service is courtesy of LiveATC.net and SquawkVFR. Point that browser at
http://atcmonitor.com/superbowl/superbowlairspace.html and get in on all the action.
Be sure to tell them that the Milcom and Btown Monitoring Post sent ya.