Friday, September 25, 2009

iPhone Scanner App Very Popular

Andrew Clegg on the Scan-DC reported the following to the list:

Amazingly, Police Radio, an iPhone app that provides access to streaming scanner feeds from all over the U.S., has reached the #5 spot in popularity among the 80,000+ paid iPhone apps. It seems the broader universe has suddenly discovered the fun of tuning into public safety radio transmissions. Police Radio lags only AppBox Pro (a general-utlilty app), Frogger, ESPN Radio, and Sketchbook Mobile.The list of top iPhone apps is accessible in the App Store on the iPhone, and the following link also lists them:

Turku Radio QRT


Coastal radio HF tranceivers up for scrapping in Finland

FMA (Finnish Maritime Administration in c/o with the Finnish Communication Authorithy) is closing down the coastal radio station OFK (Turku Radio) HF/MF services at 010110 00:00 UTC. (VHF service still as usual, new transmitters located at Järsö, Hammarland and Geta, ASL +150m).

In OH0 country Mariehamn and Geta HF/MF remote controlled stations will be closed at this time.

This means that all of the (3x)5 kW transmitters located at the former Mariehamn Radio QTH is up for scrapping whith a swift timetable.

This includes all the towers and antennas. The transmitters are old school, modified Standard
Radio Company 1220 or 1610 with a capacity of more than 10 kW. Also a lot of 50 ohm 2'' forced air cable with compressors is up for scrapping..

The former coastal radio network infrastructure provider Erillisverkot Oy has terminated the contract with FMA as from 010110 00:00 UTC

Due to this, the whole commercial ship-shore and safety network on VHF & MF/HF has been completely rebuilt whith a new service provider.. (Navielektro)

All HF/MF stations along the Finnish coast will be terminated and scrapped!!!

This is a shame. Good working equipment scrapped...

Good huntings....


Pittsburgh G20 Summit Comms on IBN TeamSpeak

For September 24 and 25, 2009, IBN will be providing a dedicated live scanner feed channel with exclusive 24/7 coverage of public service radio communications related to the G20 Summit Conference taking place in downtown Pittsburgh for these two days. International dignitaries will begin arriving this date along with President Obama, and the downtown area has been placed under extreme security lockdown by local and federal law enforcement. The US Secret Service has command of this special security event with support from all city, county, state and some out of state agencies.

Log on to IBN TeamSpeak and join the "PA - Pittsburgh G20 Comms" channel located in the 'In Progress/Special Events' section up top.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Russian Fax Meteo Stations

From my good friend and colleague Hugh Stegman -- he is working on a new project and needs your help.

"I'm involved in a major project bringing Marius Rentsen's 1998 "HF-FAX" list into the 21st century. This is the standard list you find all over the Internet, and it hasn't been updated in 11 years. I've hit a dead end on the Russian fax stations. They don't update to the international bodies, so they've fallen off the NOAA and IMO lists, but people still report them. The old list shows stations in Moscow, Irkutsk, Kiev (Ukraine), Khabarovsk, and Arkangelsk that I can't verify as to on or off-air status. (Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamkatchatskiy have been verified by recent listener reports). Anyone know anything about this? Also, is the Chuo Gyogyo fishery station in Japan kaput?"

You can reach Hugh via utilityworld at

Friday, September 18, 2009

South African Amateur Radio Payload Reaches Orbit

ARLS007 South African Amateur Radio Payload Reaches Orbit

Space Bulletin 007 ARLS007
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT September 18, 2009
To all radio amateurs

ARLS007 South African Amateur Radio Payload Reaches Orbit

After several delays, South Africa's SumbandilaSat satellite finally
blasted to orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
in Kazakhstan on September 16. The main payload is a multi-spectral
imager, but the satellite also carries an Amateur Radio component
consisting of a 2 meter/70 cm FM repeater.

After SumbandilaSat is fully commissioned, the repeater will be
activated with an uplink at 145.880 MHz and a downlink at 435.350
MHz; there will also be a voice beacon at 435.300 MHz. The
transponder mode will be controlled by a CTCSS tone on the uplink
frequency. The CTCSS tone frequencies have yet to be announced.

SumbandilaSat was sponsored by the Department of Science and
Technology and was built at SunSpace in cooperation with the
Stellenbosch University.

In addition to the SA-AMSAT amateur module, the satellite carries
Stellenbosch University's radiation experiment and software defined
radio (SDR) project, an experiment from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
University and a VLF radio module from the University of


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kansas City Region TICP

I have located an interesting pdf from the Mid-America Regional Council for PS scanner buffs.

At you will find a document titled the Kansas City Region Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan dated April 25, 2006.

It is loaded with interesting background info on interoperability and frequencies.

Kansas City is part of a bi-state metropolitan area straddling the Missouri-Kansas state line. This Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP) has been created for the Kansas City Urban Area, an 8 county region including over 100 cities. The 8 counties include Leavenworth, Wyandotte, and Johnson Counties in Kansas and Platte, Clay, Ray, Jackson, and Cass Counties in Missouri.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cass County Minnesota Public Safety Freqs

If you live in Cass County Minnesota and need some scanner freqs check out the link below.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Federal Itinerent Freqs

From Peter Sz per the 2008 red book from NTIA

Federal channels for shared use / common use - none of these channels are assigned to any one specific agency - the freqs can be used when there is no need for a specific authorized channel - (whatever that means in actual practice)

Countywide or statewide - repeater ops - transient use
163.1000R/168.3500 in
409.0500R/418.0500 in
409.3375R/418.3375 in

Countywide or statewide - simplex ops - bases and mobiles - no repeaters - wide area - transient
412.8250 412.8375 412.8500 412.8625 MHz

Local ops - common use - all federal users - repeaters
173.6250R/167.1375 in
407.5250R/416.5250 in
409.0750R/418.0750 in

Local ops - common use - all federal agencies - simplex - bases and
mobiles - no repeaters
168.6125 163.7125 412.8750 412.8875 412.9000 412.9125

I guess these freqs would be used for special short term operations -
maybe like county sharks in Chatham - or taking the census - or maybe
even for disaster teams - but since any fed agency could use them, I
am guessing that only low priority uses would prevail - possibly
nothing life or death - but who knows

Friday, September 11, 2009

Norwegian Offshore Vessel to Test Tonight

Tonight there will be a transmission test from a Norwegian offshore vessel. Interesting possibility to test your gear.

From the NDB list;

Offshore vessel Transocean Searcher V7DO3 has responded positively to do a DX test. The radio op. has not confirmed the schedule, but the request called for Friday Sept 11th at 2030 UTC. The vessel is at sea on the West Norway coast between Bergen Florø (= quite far south).

Older lists had this vessels beacon ident as LF5W and frq 598 kHz. Radio op now indicates 570 kHz, there might also have been a change of ident.

Requested transmission duration around ten minutes.

Geir Stokkeland, Vestnes, Norway

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Radio issues reported nationwide - Communications problems might be endemic to digital systems.

On the Evening Sun website, Joseph Denilein has a story on public safety communications problems might be endemic to digital systems.

York County isn't the only place that has been having problems with a digital radio system.

Such systems have been failing from Virginia, to California to Canada, according to a weblog compiled by a California telecommunications entrepreneur that lists 79 links to different news reports and other documents concerning problems with digital radio systems. The reports, listed by Daryl Jones on his site, date back to 2002.

"There are a sufficient number of stories to establish reasonable doubt as to the suitability of these systems," Jones writes. "In fact, there is a clear pattern that would cause a reasonable and prudent person to entertain a strong and honest suspicion as to the suitability of this technology for mission-critical public safety radio communication."

See the rest of the copyrighted story at

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Newcom Group PS Interoperability Bandplan

For my scanner friends in the north, here is the link to the Newcom Group Wisconsin interoperability bandplan, dated 6/16/2006.

Are Sunspots Disappearing?

Another day with a spotless sun.

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

The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing?

"Personally, I'm betting that sunspots are coming back," says researcher Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. But, he allows, "there is some evidence that they won't."

Penn's colleague Bill Livingston of the NSO has been measuring the magnetic fields of sunspots for the past 17 years, and he has found a remarkable trend. Sunspot magnetism is on the decline.

"Sunspot magnetic fields are dropping by about 50 gauss per year," says Penn. "If we extrapolate this trend into the future, sunspots could completely vanish around the year 2015."

This disappearing act is possible because sunspots are made of magnetism. The "firmament" of a sunspot is not matter but rather a strong magnetic field that appears dark because it blocks the upflow of heat from the sun's interior. If Earth lost its magnetic field, the solid planet would remain intact, but if a sunspot loses its magnetism, it ceases to exist.

"According to our measurements, sunspots seem to form only if the magnetic field is stronger than about 1500 gauss," says Livingston. "If the current trend continues, we'll hit that threshold in the near future, and solar magnetic fields would become too weak to form sunspots."

"This work has caused a sensation in the field of solar physics," comments NASA sunspot expert David Hathaway, who is not directly involved in the research. "It's controversial stuff."

The controversy is not about the data. "We know Livingston and Penn are excellent observers," says Hathaway. "The trend that they have discovered appears to be real." The part colleagues have trouble believing is the extrapolation. Hathaway notes that most of their data were taken after the maximum of Solar Cycle 23 (2000-2002) when sunspot activity naturally began to decline. "The drop in magnetic fields could be a normal aspect of the solar cycle and not a sign that sunspots are permanently vanishing."

Penn himself wonders about these points. "Our technique is relatively new and the data stretches back in time only 17 years. We could be observing a temporary downturn that will reverse itself."

The technique they're using was pioneered by Livingston at the McMath-Pierce solar telescope near Tucson. He looks at a spectral line emitted by iron atoms in the sun's atmosphere. Sunspot magnetic fields cause the line to split in two—an effect called "Zeeman splitting" after Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman who discovered the phenomenon in the 19th century. The size of the split reveals the intensity of the magnetism.

Astronomers have been measuring sunspot magnetic fields in this general way for nearly a century, but Livingston added a twist. While most researchers measure the splitting of spectral lines in the visible part of the sun's spectrum, Livingston decided to try an infra-red spectral line. Infrared lines are much more sensitive to the Zeeman effect and provide more accurate answers. Also, he dedicated himself to measuring a large number of sunspots—more than 900 between 1998 and 2005 alone. The combination of accuracy and numbers revealed the downturn.

If sunspots do go away, it wouldn't be the first time. In the 17th century, the sun plunged into a 70-year period of spotlessness known as the Maunder Minimum that still baffles scientists. The sunspot drought began in 1645 and lasted until 1715; during that time, some of the best astronomers in history (e.g., Cassini) monitored the sun and failed to count more than a few dozen sunspots per year, compared to the usual thousands.

"Whether [the current downturn] is an omen of long-term sunspot decline, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, remains to be seen," Livingston and Penn caution in a recent issue of EOS. "Other indications of solar activity suggest that sunspots must return in earnest within the next year."

Whatever happens, notes Hathaway, "the sun is behaving in an interesting way and I believe we're about to learn something new."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

HBG Swiss VLF Time Station to Close in 2011

Andrea Borgnino is reporting on the UDXF newsgroup, that the Swiss VLF time station HBG on 75-khz time will close down operation in the 2011.

HBG has been in continuous operation since 1966, providing free VLF time signals. The station was originally under the control of the Swiss postal and telecommunications authorities until 1997. From that year until May 2000 the station was operated by Swisscom. In June 2000 HBG has been operated by the Swiss Federal Office of Metrology (METAS).

During recent inspections of the station's antenna mast, tangible signs of aging was noted by the inspection teams. Due the cost of restoration, the Swiss federal council recommeded that the station be closed. The decision to close HBG is being announced well ahead of the shutdown so that users can switch their systems that use the signals to the German time station DCF77, which is well received in Switzerland.

According to the METAS officials, the clocks of some 3600 institutional users (clocks of bell-towers and school clocks school) can be adapted to the signal of the German VLF transmitter with an acceptable investment. In addition to the institutional users noted above, there are other apparatuses that receive signals from HBG (radio controlled alarm clocks, weather receivers, etc). Many of them are also compatible with the time signals from DCF77 and will be able use the German time signals.

Official Swiss time signals from METAS will be available after HBG shuts down via the Internet at

The news article announcing this is located on the web at
Some photos of HBG are located at

The official announcements are published below in French and German (sorry no English).

L'émetteur de signaux horaires HBG de Prangins (VD) cessera son activité fin

Berne, 26.08.2009 - Le Conseil fédéral a décidé aujourd'hui que l'émetteur de signaux horaires HBG de Prangins (VD) cessera son activité fin 2011. L'émetteur est exploité par l'Office fédéral de métrologie (METAS), l'autorité de la confédération compétente en métrologie.

Depuis 1966, l'émetteur HBG de Prangins (VD) diffuse, sur une fréquence de 75 kHz, des signaux horaires officiels qui sont raccordés au temps universel coordonné. Les informations horaires, parfaitement synchronisées avec une horloge atomique, peuvent être utilisées pour des horloges radiocommandées ou des appareils techniques. L`émetteur est en service 24h sur 24h et la diffusion des signaux horaires par HBG est un service public gratuit. Jusqu'en 1997, l'émetteur était sous la responsabilité de PTT, puis sous celle de Swisscom jusqu'en mai 2000. Depuis le 1er juin 2000, l'émetteur HBG relève de l'Office fédéral de métrologie METAS.

A l'occasion des travaux d'entretien périodiques effectués sur l'installation émettrice, des signes de vieillissement tangibles ont été observés à plusieurs endroits sur les mâts des antennes. Il est ressorti d'expertises confiées à des spécialistes indépendants que, à moins de procéder à un assainissement complet, l'installation devrait être fermée car elle présentait des risques non négligeables.

Maintenir l'exploitation de l'émetteur HBG de Prangins serait très onéreux : le signal horaire HBG est trop peu utilisé pour justifier les coûts élevés d'une révision, selon une étude réalisée par des experts extérieurs. La possibilité de développer les activités du site, de lui trouver une fonction annexe ou un éventuel repreneur a été examinée, sans succès. Le Conseil fédéral a donc décidé de fermer l'installation pranginoise à fin 2011.

La décision d'arrêter l'émetteur a été prise assez tôt, pour laisser le temps aux utilisateurs d'adapter leurs horloges au signal de l'émetteur allemand DCF77, qui est capté en Suisse dans une qualité comparable à celle de l'émetteur suisse HBG. Les horloges des quelque 3600 utilisateurs institutionnels (horloges de clochers et horloges scolaires) peuvent être adaptés au signal de l'émetteur allemand avec un investissement acceptable. Outre ces utilisateurs institutionnels, il existe un marché d'appareils qui reçoivent les signaux HBG (réveils radiocommandés, récepteurs météorologiques). Beaucoup d'entre eux sont compatibles avec l'émetteur allemand DCF77 et pourront donc continuer à fonctionner parfaitement. La
majorité des appareils mis sur le marché sont configurés uniquement pour l'émetteur allemand ; c'est le cas de presque toutes les montres-bracelets radiocommandées.

L'heure officielle suisse continuera à être diffusée par METAS. Un serveur de temps, entre autres, est disponible sur internet (, qui permet de synchroniser les horloges des ordinateurs avec l'échelle de temps suisse. METAS est chargé de la réalisation et de la diffusion des unités en Suisse, dont l'unité de temps, la seconde. Il a également pour tâche de réaliser l'heure officielle suisse et de la diffuser. METAS continuera à assurer l'exploitation de l'émetteur de Prangins (VD) jusqu'à fin 2011.


Zeitzeichensender HBG in Prangins (VD) auf Ende 2011 eingestellt Bern, 26.08.2009 - Der Bundesrat hat heute beschlossen, den Betrieb des Zeitzeichensenders HBG in Prangins (VD) auf Ende 2011 einzustellen. Der Sender wird vom Bundesamt für Metrologie (METAS), der Fachbehörde des Bundes für das Messwesen, betrieben.

Der Langwellensender HBG in Prangins (VD) verbreitet seit 1966 auf einer Frequenz von 75 kHz offizielle, auf die koordinierte Weltzeit abgestimmte Zeitzeichen. Die exakt mit einer Atomuhr synchronisierten Zeitinformationen können für die Steuerung von Funkuhren und für technische Zeitsteuerungen verwendet werden. Der Sender arbeitet im 24-Stunden-Betrieb. Die Zeitzeichen stehen gratis zur Verfügung und können von jedermann genutzt werden. Der
Sender wurde zunächst von der PTT und dann bis Mai 2000 von der Swisscom betrieben. Seitdem betreibt ihn das Bundesamt für Metrologie (METAS).

Im Rahmen der regelmässigen Unterhaltsarbeiten an der Sendeanlage wurden bei den Antennenmasten an verschiedenen Stellen erhebliche Alterungserscheinungen festgestellt. Expertisen unabhängiger Stellen haben gezeigt, dass ohne eine umfassende Sanierung ein nicht zu verantwortendes Sicherheitsrisiko besteht und der Betrieb des Zeitzeichensenders eingestellt werden muss.

Ein Weiterbetrieb des Zeitzeichensenders HBG in Prangins (VD) würde hohe Sanierungskosten verursachen. Die Nutzung des HBG-Zeitzeichens ist zu gering, um die Kosten für eine Sanierung rechtfertigen zu können. Das hat eine externe Studie ergeben. Abgeklärt wurde auch, ob Zusatznutzungen des Langwellensenders oder die Übernahme des Betriebs durch andere Interessenten möglich wären, was nicht der Fall ist. Aus diesen Gründen wurde beschlossen,
den Betrieb des Senders auf Ende 2011 einzustellen.

Der Entscheid zur Einstellung wurde frühzeitig gefällt, damit Nutzer des Zeitzeichensignals rechtzeitig geeignete Massnahmen treffen können. Es gibt rund 3600 institutionelle Nutzer (Betreiber von Kirchturm- und Schulhausuhren). Deren Uhren können mit vertretbarem Aufwand auf das Signal des deutschen Zeitzeichensenders DCF77 umgestellt werden, das in der Schweiz mit vergleichbarer Qualität wie dasjenige des Senders HBG empfangen werden kann. Weiter existiert ein gewisser HGB-Konsumgütermarkt (Funkwecker, deren Empfänger auf die Frequenz des Senders HBG ausgelegt sind; Empfänger für aktuelle Wetterinformationen). Viele dieser Geräte sind mit Empfängern ausgerüstet, die sowohl auf den Sender HBG wie auch auf den deutschen Sender DCF77 ausgelegt sind und werden somit weiterhin einwandfrei funktionieren. Der grösste Teil solcher Geräte auf dem Markt ist ohnehin nur auf diesen
deutschen Zeitzeichensender ausgelegt; das gilt etwa für alle Funkarmbanduhren.

Die offizielle Schweizer Zeit wird weiterhin durch METAS verbreitet werden. Unter anderem steht ein Zeitserver im Internet ( zur Verfügung, mit dessen Hilfe Computeruhren mit der offiziellen Schweizer Zeitskala synchronisiert werden können. METAS ist verantwortlich für die Realisierung und Bereitstellung der Einheiten in der Schweiz, und damit auch der Einheit
der Zeit, der Sekunde. Zu seinen Aufgaben gehört ebenfalls die Ermittlung und Verbreitung der offiziellen Schweizer Zeit. METAS wird auch den Zeitzeichensender HBG in Prangins (VD) weiter betreiben bis zum Zeitpunkt der Einstellung des Betriebs, Ende 2011.