Monday, October 31, 2011

WD2XSH Experimental Stations to Be Active on November 3

ARLX007 WD2XSH Experimental Stations to Be Active on November 3

Special Bulletin 7 ARLX007
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT October 26, 2011
To all radio amateurs

ARLX007 WD2XSH Experimental Stations to Be Active on November 3

A number of the WD2XSH experimental stations will be on the air on
Thursday, November 3 to mark the 105th anniversary of the Berlin
International Radiotelegraphic Convention. According to ARRL WD2XSH
Coordinator, stations operating in the band from 495-510 kHz will
call CQ on 500 kHz and then QSY to complete the QSO. Stations
operating in the band from 461-478 kHz will call CQ on 474.5 kHz and
then QSY. Other stations may operate beacons with special messages
in the bands from 508-510 kHz and 476-478 kHz. For a complete list
of stations participating in the WD2XSH experiment, as well as
information on how to send your reports, please see the WD2XSH
website at

Friday, October 28, 2011

NPS Oceanography Faculty, Students Maintain, Utilize World's Largest Coastal Radar Network

By Amanda D. Stein, Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs

MONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) -- Through a coastal network of transmitters and receivers dotting the coast of California, students and faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School are taking part in a West Coast research effort to map coastal current patterns.

The school maintains nine of the 54 stations, and has utilized the data in a number of far-reaching research projects.

The current maps are key for a number of institutions and agencies, including the State of California as they look at potential oil spill dispersion, and for the U.S. Coast Guard to help locate missing swimmers. The data is also made available to the public.

Since getting involved in current monitoring using high frequency radar back in 1993, NPS has acquired four observation stations with the support of the Navy, and also works in conjunction with the University of California, Santa Cruz to monitor the systems. NPS Professor and Chair of Oceanography, Dr. Jeff Paduan, explained that the technology gained momentum and attention from the state government, which allocated funds approved by Propositions 40 and 50 to get a larger network off the ground.

"In 2004 the state of California issued a call for proposals for creating a network of monitor stations that would help pollution and oil spill response," Paduan said. "At that point, NPS and several other campuses combined to create a consortium that responded to that proposal and was then funded to expand from Santa Barbara and Monterey out to the rest of the state."

NPS maintains the systems from Point Sur in the south to Half Moon Bay in the North, and is part of the much larger West Coast network commissioned by the state for coastal research. The land-based stations look a lot like simple metal antennas, with black boxes to house the electronics, and are stationed along the coast, near the shoreline. Their function is to house both a transmitter and receiver, which send out radio waves to be reflected off the surface of the water, delivering real-time data of the ocean's movement.

The system remotely transmits the data back to NPS, where it is then analyzed, and used as part of a number of student and faculty research projects. Student involvement has been key for not only NPS, but all of the partner institutions, in monitoring the data and finding real-world applications for it.

"We are not as interested in the real time data flow, as much as looking at the historical data to determine what the patterns of circulation are like in different seasons - for example, summer versus winter in the Monterey Bay," Paduan said. "So the analysis has a lot of impact on the local biology. The marine biologists in the area where the data are collected are very interested in seeing what the current patterns are like in the different seasons because a lot of the coastal species depend on the currents for larval dispersal."

The historical data can also provide valuable information to responders in the event of an oil spill or pollutant off the coast. In 2007, the current patterns and predictions from the West Coast Radar Network helped crews determine the dispersal path of over 53,000 gallons of oil when the COSCO Busan container ship hit the Bay Bridge.

John Largier, Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of California at Davis, explained that each of the key participants of the network has found a way to apply the data gathered. This collaboration of ideas and research has helped address local and statewide concerns.

"Developing the network required a co-investment of time and energy from the universities. NPS and San Francisco State University (SFSU) have done a lot to look at oil spills and Coast Guard search and rescue, where would the spill go," said Largier. "Down in Southern California, they look a lot at beach pollution and water quality. Up here in Davis we focus a bit more on the ecosystem aspects, marine protected areas and how they're connected in relation to salmon, larvae dispersal and things like that. There is a lot of added value in the local focus."

"Every place, like the data we have, you can see local everyday maps and currents off Bodega and San Francisco, and the people who go fishing out of Bodega will look at those maps, and they'll ask us about them," he continued. "Ecologists do work here, using the data to study dispersal or oil spill people will want to be looking at where the water is going. So I think the integrated component is very valuable, and then being integrated with each university means it will have local benefits."

Toby Garfield, director of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies at SFSU, echoed that sentiment, noting that his institution is in the process of developing an app that would show local users the ocean current patterns near their location. Understanding ocean currents in the San Francisco Bay is important for recreational boaters and swimmers to safely enjoy the often-turbulent waters in the bay. It is also useful for biologists and environmentalists studying the local maritime environment.

In addition to the local projects fostered by the West Coast Radar Network, the thesis research conducted by Oceanography students at NPS has addressed larger issues of interest to the U.S. Navy, and its international partners. Oceanography student Lt. Ricardo Vicente, a Portuguese naval officer, explained how his thesis work with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) will help prepare him for his duties in the Oceanography department of the Hydrographic Institute in Portugal.

"My thesis will be an effort of characterizing SAR image features of the ocean as a function of wind speed," Vicente said. "To accomplish this, I'll overlap wave mode SAR images with High Frequency Radar data. By combining both remote sensing systems, the potential final product is a high resolution wind driven surface currents map, from the coastline to approximately 100Km.

"The ultimate goal is to develop our knowledge of the oceans. SAR and HFR systems create synergies that have a direct impact on a range of maritime operations such as search and rescue, oil spill tracking, ship routing, offshore engineering and fisheries."

Monday, October 24, 2011

RAI MW Time Signals Can be Decoded

Courtesy of our friend Patrick Lindecker, F6CTE - developer of Multipsk and the UDXF newsgroup.

"For information, Paolo (IZ1MLL) made a list of RAI frequencies. Normally each RAI transmitter transmits at the end of each hour a time signal (decodable with Clock the companion of Multipsk located in the Multipsk package):"

The updated situation of the italian RAI transmitters divided by frequency (kHz) and power (kW) is the following:

567 Bologna (60 kW), Caltanissetta (20)
657 Pisa (2x55), Napoli (50), Bolzano (25)
693 Potenza (20)
819 Trieste (20)
846 Roma (50)
873 Taranto (1)
900 Milano (600)
936 Venezia (12), Trapani (10)
999 Volpiano/Torino (50), Perugia (25), Rimini (6), Capo Vaticano (2)
1035 Pescara (10), Lecce (2)
1062 Cagliari (60), Catania (20), Ancona (10), Trento (2)
1107 Roma (6)
1116 Cuneo (20), Palermo (10), Bari (5), Aosta (2)
1143 Sassari (10)
1314 Matera (2)
1431 Foggia (2)
1449 Squinzano (50), Biella/Belluno/Bressanone/Brunico/Como/Sondrio (2), Cortina (1)
1575 Portofino/Genova (50), Gorizia (2), Campobasso/Nuoro (1)
1584 Terni (2)

Thanks Patrick for sharing this information with the rest of the radio community.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Draconid Meteor Outburst

Oct. 4, 2011: On October 8th Earth is going to plow through a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the result could be an outburst of Draconid meteors.

"We're predicting as many as 750 meteors per hour," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The timing of the shower favors observers in the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Europe."

Every 6.6 years Comet Giacobini-Zinner swings through the inner solar system. With each visit, it lays down a narrow filament of dust, over time forming a network of filaments that Earth encounters every year in early October.

"Most years, we pass through gaps between filaments, maybe just grazing one or two as we go by," says Cooke. "Occasionally, though, we hit one nearly head on--and the fireworks begin."

2011 could be such a year. Forecasters at NASA and elsewhere agree that Earth is heading for three or more filaments on October 8th. Multiple encounters should produce a series of variable outbursts beginning around 1600 Universal Time (noon EDT) with the strongest activity between 1900 and 2100 UT (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT).

Forecasters aren't sure how strong the display will be, mainly because the comet had a close encounter with Jupiter in the late 1880s. At that time, the giant planet's gravitational pull altered the comet's orbit and introduced some uncertainty into the location of filaments it has shed since then. Competing models place the filaments in slightly different spots; as a result, estimated meteor rates range from dozens to hundreds per hour.

One respected forecaster, Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario, says the meteor rate could go as high as 1000 per hour -- the definition of a meteor storm. It wouldn't be the first time. Close encounters with dusty filaments produced storms of more than 10,000 Draconids per hour in 1933 and 1946 and lesser outbursts in 1985, 1998, and 2005.

Meteors from Comet Giacobini-Zinner stream out of the northern constellation Draco--hence their name. Draconids are among the slowest of all meteors, hitting the atmosphere at a relatively leisurely 20 km/s. The slow pace of Draconid meteors minimizes their danger to satellites and spacecraft and makes them visually distinctive.

"A Draconid gliding leisurely across the sky is a beautiful sight," says Cooke.

Unfortunately, many of this year's Draconids will go unseen. Draconids are faint to begin with, and this year they have to complete with an almost-full Moon. Lunar glare will reduce the number of meteors visible from Europe, Africa and the Middle East by 2- to 10-fold. The situation is even worse in North America where the shower occurs in broad daylight—completely obliterating the display.

That isn't stopping a group1 of middle school and high school students from Bishop, California, however. They plan to observe the shower from the stratosphere where the sky is dark even at noontime.

Led by Science@NASA's Tony Phillips, the 15 students have been launching helium balloons to the edge of space since May of 2011. With more than 95% of Earth’s atmosphere below the balloon, the sky above looks almost as black as it would from a spacecraft—perfect for astronomy.

"The students are going to attempt to fly one of our low-light meteor cameras in the payload of their balloon," says Cooke. "I hope they catch some Draconid fireballs for us to analyze. They could be the only ones we get."

Stay tuned for results after Oct. 8th.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Radio Spectrum Jamming in Europe

From the Southgate Amateur Radio News website:

Ofcom has announced that jamming of radio spectrum will take place during 2 weeks in October.

Times: 0700Z 3 Oct 11 to 2000Z 17 Oct 11.

Location: The jamming events will take place throughout the UK FIR/UIR north of 51 degrees North.

GPS Jamming locations: Faraid Head - from N58° 36.2' W004° 46.4'. Loch Ewe B - from N57° 51.9' W005° 41.1'. Loch Ewe A – from 57.7869N 5.7917W.

Frequency: Radar – discrete spots within MOD allocated frequencies within Charlie / Delta (specifically avoiding IFF/SSR frequency bands), Echo / Foxtrot, Golf. India / Juliet (avoiding Marine Navigation Bands in conditions of poor visibility) and Kilo Bands.

Communications – Exercise JW discrete frequencies only in bands HF 2000-26500 KHz and V/UHF 137-400 MHz (avoiding international Distress, Emergency and Exercise Safety frequencies).

In all cases jamming will be avoided on the TABOO frequencies listed in the UK Procedures for the Control of Non-Operational Jamming (Annex B).

For further in formation contact

Wiki - Flight Information Region (FIR) & Upper Information Region (UIR)

EW letter bands

Global Navigation Space Systems: reliance and vulnerabilities

NATS - GPS Jamming in July

SatNav jamming in September and October

Graham Tanner, longtome member of the WUN/UDXF newsgroup pinned the following on the UDXF newsgroup this morning:

"It occurs to me what this is all about ... there is a big naval exercise around the northern UK for the next 2 weeks. The exercise is known as 'Joint Warrior', and there is plenty of info on the 'web if you just search for it.

"It involves maritime patrol aircraft, surface ships, and submarines; it also usually attracts the attention of some Russian long-range aircraft who come for a look-around and to make things 'interesting!'"