Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Monitoring Times Staff Blog Newsfeeds Now Available

There is a new service for radio hobbyists from the No. 1 radio listening hobby magazine - Monitoring Times.

When you need to know what is happening now in the monitoring world, MT's staff blog news streams will keep you informed on the latest news in the radio spectrum.

So point that browser at and bookmark the new spot on the net for radio news at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Russian Spies Arrested in US - Used Shortwave for Spy Comms

Blog Note: These suspects were allegedly highly trained in shortwave radio operation and the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages. These were probably Enigma M8A spy number station broadcasts.

Here is a link to the actual criminal complaints:

* * * * * * * * * *
Ten alleged Russian spies have been arrested in the United States, the result of a multi-year investigation in four states, the FBI said Monday.

Eight of the 10 arrested were "carrying out long-term, 'deep-cover' assignments" the FBI said, while two had lesser roles in the Russian intelligence program. The arrests took place Sunday in Montclair, N.J., Yonkers, N.Y., Manhattan, Boston, and Arlington, Va.

The New York and New Jersey defendants were expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Monday. The Virginia defendants were to make court appearances in Alexandria.

One additional defendant has been charged but remains at large.

Their job, according to the court papers in the case, was "to search and develop ties in policymaking circles" in the United States.

Criminal complaints state that the defendants had an overarching goal of becoming highly "Americanized" so as to be able to freely gather intelligence in the U.S. and to "recruit sources who are I, or are able to infiltrate United States policy-making circles."

The U.S. government intercepted a message from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants, Richard and Cynthia Murphy.

"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip," the message from Moscow. "Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. - all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and sent intels," the message added.

The complaint states that such agents - known as "illegals" - are highly trained in "foreign languages; agent-to-agent communications, including the use of brush-passes; short-wave radio operation and invisible writing; the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages; the creation and use of a cover profession; counter-surveillance measures" and more.

A "brush pass" is a covert hand-off of secret information, made as two agents brush past one another in public.

All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. All but two of the defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The charges are filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Revolution in Scanning is Coming

A Revolution in Scanning is Coming
Uniden Releases a New Revolutionary Scanner
by Larry Van Horn, MT Assistant Editor

Fort Worth, Texas -- A major revolution in our hobby is on the way and it will forever change the very nature of the scanner radio hobby. Today, June 26, 2010, Uniden America held an open house here at their corporate offices in Fort Worth, Texas, for the public and the media. At this open house they unveiled a new revolutionary scanner called the "HomePatrol."

So what is so revolutionary about this new scanner? Simply put, it is simplicity! There has never been one like it before. To say that it will be easy to program by the user is to totally understate the facts.

The only thing you will need to know to program a "HomePatrol" scanner is – wait for it – the Zip Code where you are currently located. Yes, you punch in your zip code on the LCD touch screen, press enter, and you will instantly start hearing local scanner communications (conventional and trunked, analog and digital). No other operator interface is needed and it is truly just that simple.

Maybe you don't want to monitor civilian or military air comms that got loaded when you punched in your zip code, just police, fire and EMS. No problem: touch the screen to set up what you want to hear and it is done. No banks, no systems, no groups, no programming of frequencies: your location is all you need to get you started. And did I mention that all the controls for this scanner is via a full color touch screen?

If you are traveling and you have a GPS, plug that puppy into the "HomePatrol" scanner and it will ensure that your unit has up-to-date frequencies for the area you are traveling in. You don't have to do anything except to make sure that the GPS is working and plugged into the "HomePatrol." Of course you will have to supply the GPS unit since it is not included with the "HomePatrol" scanner.

That is why I think that the Uniden "HomePatrol" has the potential to create a major revolution in the scanner world.

Since the unveiling is still taking place as this is being posted, the full details and specs are not yet available. I will be bringing a test unit home from Fort Worth and will be conducting a full blown MT First Look review of the "HomePatrol." I will also post some of my first impressions on the "HomePatrol" scanner on the Monitoring Times website at or on my personal blog, the BTown Monitoring Post at You can also check out a new website that Uniden has setup for their new unit at for everything "HomePatrol."

We will have a full detailed First Look review of this revolutionary new scanner in the October issue of Monitoring Times magazine, but check back here for future updates.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enroute to Big D

Well tomorrow morning I will be enroute to a very special radio hobby event in the DFW Metroplex. Uniden America will be holding an Open House on Saturday, June 26, 2010, from 10 am to 2 pm CDT at their corporate headquarters in Fort Worth. Uniden will be unveiling their new revolutionary scanner at this Open House.

I will have a full report on this blog and on the Monitoring Times website upon my return from the event. in the meantime if you are attending this event, I look forward to meeting you on Saturday. I will be making some brief remarks during the open house and you may hear something about Milcom monitoring you haven't heard before.

Until Saturday, 73 and good hunting. CU on the flip side.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New National CAP Command Net Freq Found

Jon in Florida discovered last weekend a new CAP National Command ALE Net frequency:- 29.894 MHz. The frequency was also confirmed by Monitoring Times magazine Utility World columnist Hugh Stegman out in California.

The nationwide set of CAP ALE freqs for the "National CAP Command Net" are as follows:

2011.0 3204.0 4477.0 4585.0 5006.0 5447.0 6773.0 6806.0 7602.0 7665.0 8012.0 9047.0 10162.0 11402.0 12081.0 13415.0 14357.0 15602.0 17412.0 19814.0 29894.0 kHz (all USB/ALE)

Here is some background information I have on the current state of the CAP HF network(s). Any additional information on frequencies is sincerely appreciate and you can contact me offlist via the email address published in the header of my blogs" or

The National Command Net operates in the Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) mode. It is composed of stations specifically approved by the NTC using equipment provided for this purpose. Most of these stations are “message center” stations which relay message traffic between the national and region levels of the CAP net structure.

The National Command level of the HF-ALE system, the "top level" of the CAP radio system, uses Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) radios to which a "suite" of frequencies is assigned, each with different radio propagation characteristics, and the radios automatically monitor which frequency is best to communicate with each other station in the net. Each region operates two ALE radios, serving as "message center" stations (see below), plus additional radios for Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska. The ALE stations at the National Technology Center (NTC) and the National Operations Center (NOC) serve as the net control stations for the National Command level of the HF-ALE system. There are no scheduled formal National Command net meetings. Rather, ALE station operators are expected to attend their radios regularly and be ready for messages, as they may be received.

The mission of the National Command level of the HF-ALE system is to provide a survivable, commercial infrastructure-independent command and control communication (C3) link among regions and between regions and higher headquarters.

The specific functions of National Command level stations are:

• Provide a strategic communications tier of the communications network available for adaptive communications during high-level missions.

• Provide decentralized contact points to relay traffic between incident command posts and the NOC or other national CAP office.

• Conduct and report regular confidence checks, in accordance with the current CAP Communications Alert Level, and no less than once per week.

• Be available, as needed, for training.

Pending activation of region ALE frequency suites (see below) the following guidance applies to all stations operating on the National Command frequency suite (ALE Net #1):

1. Other than the two region stations and nationally designated stations, any CAP station may monitor the ALE suite, but should not sound in routine operations.

2. Pending release of region ALE channels, wings may use the national ALE suite (ALE NET #1) for actual missions and specific training events with the understanding that this use and active sounding will be for relatively limited periods of time. For ALE use during a training exercise, place a request several days in advance, but for actual missions, coordinate with the NOC.

3. Only NTIA compliant equipment with Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) certification may transmit on National and Region ALE suites of frequencies.

4. The NTC and National Headquarters determines and standardizes all ALE parameter settings, such as sounding interval.

To Jon and Hugh, nice job. Now if we can find the missing freqs I belive are there around 18 MHz and from 20 to 28 MHz.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Release of MultiPSK (4.18) Now Available

Multipsk is my absolute favorite digital decoder for the computer soundcard and the author, Patrick, F6CTE, just keeps making it better. This morning he has just announced the release of a new verson of MultiPSK (v4.18). His announcement is present below in its entirety

Hello to all Ham and SWL,

The new release of MultiPSK (4.18) is on my Web site ( It is not yet on Earl's and Terry's WEB sites.

The main modifications of MULTIPSK 4.18 are the following:

1) Decoding of the NWR SAME mode

NWR (National Weather Radio) SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) is simply a method of identifying the local area to which an alert message applies. It utilizes a digital data stream that contains the alert message with information about the type of event expected, its timing, duration, and location. The NWR SAME system is used in USA and Canada, in VHF (162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, 162.550 MHz).

To listen NWR SAME messages: the NWS tests the NWR and SAME alerting technology weekly. These tests normally occur on Wednesday between 10 AM and Noon with some variations to accomodate local requirements.

This mode is available for licencied copies, only (otherwise, the decoding is stopped after 5 minutes). See specifications further on.

2) Transmission/reception of ARQ FAE QSP (indirect) mails through a "mails Server"

Differences between a direct mail and a QSP mail (indirect). A mail is direct if you can transmit it directly to the final addressee: A -->B.

If you can't transmit the mail directly because the final addressee can't be directly reached due to the link conditions, the mail can be forwarded by the connected station, which acts as a "mails Server": A-->C (mails Server)-->B.

For this, you must use a QSP mail.

A paper based on snapshots presents this new system:

3) New macros:

- permits to ask to the other Ham or to the SWL monitoring your QSO to send you a reception report by e-mail. Your address must be specified in the "WEB ADDRESS" of your personal data ("Personal" button). It will be transmitted the following command "RPRT@LENemail addressCRC" which is the report demand. If correctly decoded, a reception report will be transmitted to the e-mail address that you specified, through Internet.

Examples of use of this macro

1) The main objective is to ask the other Ham with whom you are in QSO to send you a reception report by e-mail.

2) But it can be also done by a SWL monitoring your QSO.

3) This macro can be used in conjuction with a Multipsk beacon which mode can be controlled by a RS ID. For example, you can switch the beacon in BPSK31 and asks the beacon for a reception report. Afterwards, the beacon can be switched in Olivia by a new RS ID and a new reception report can be asked...

Note: this macro can be used for all digital modes (except JT65), CW included.

A paper based on snapshots presents this new system:«RPRT@»_email_reception_report_with_Multipsk.doc
The source code (in Pascal/Delphi and in English) to code/decode this command is available for the coding/decoding software developpers, by making the demand to F6CTE by e-mail.

- permits to send a Tune (non modulated carrier) with the command: . For example: (5% of power at 4000 Hz for 1 sec)

This function can be used for transmission tests or, perhaps, to create his/her personal "jingle" (short musical sequence).

- 's' gives the Signal to Noise ratio (in dB) obtained about 4 seconds before the switching to transmission.

- 'quality' for PSK modes only, gives the signal quality from 1/5 to 5/5 obtained about 4 seconds before the switching to transmission.

4) Improvements

Addition of a filter possibility in the SELCAL mode. Addition of 6 new memories of frequency and mode in the Transceiver window, for a total of 10 memories.

Some improvements for contesters: addition of a manual control of the QSO number, proposition of standard HF QRGs for the "Freq MHz" field, possibility to double the size of the "QSO->log" or "DXKeeper" buttons (in the "Logbook" window).

Note about translation of Multipsk.exe and Clock .exe: the 4.17 version of Multipsk/Clock has been completly translated to Spanish by Joachin (EA4ZB), from French. The translation file is on my Web site (


The NWR (National Weather Radio) SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) is a digital system for transmission in USA and Canada, in VHF, of warning messages. There are, in fact, other agencies that NWS (National Weather Service) which use the SAME system. There are also many other messages that warning or watch messages.

Description :

Baud rate: 580.83.
Modulation : Logic 0 at 1562.5 Hz and logic 1 at 2083.3 Hz
Reception mode: FM
Character set : ASCII characters (8 bits)
Shape of pulse : rectangular
Bandwidth : about 1 KHz
Demodulation : non coherent
Bit synchronization : automatic using the signal
Character synchronization : automatic using predefined strings of characters (« ZCZC » and « NNNN »)
Lowest S/N: +4 dB

Each NWR/SAME message contains:

* 3 same digital messages containing (on a coded form) the event, the concerned areas, duration and broadcast station (for example: ZCZC-WXR-TOW-039173-039051-139069+0030-1591829-KCLE/NWS-). These messages are decoded by Multipsk.
* possibly a 1050 Hz warning alarm tone for 8 to 10 seconds,
* possibly a verbal spoken oral text of message,
* 3 digital messages « NNNN » for end of message.

If you don't already have MultiPSK, it is a most have program in any radio hobbyist shack. The registered version opens up a whole new world of radio listening and worth every penny of the inexpensive registration fee. If you pick up Patrick's program, be sure to tell him that The BTown MP sent you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mystery Canadian HF ALE Net

Time for our friends up north to have a mystery ALE network to work on. If you would like to have some of ours, I will be happy to share a few.

As posted to this website yesterday, Jack monitored a new Canadian HF ALE net on 9295.0 and 12115.0 kHz (ALE/USB) with the following stations:

YELLOWKEXLONGW Yellowknife, NWT, Canada

So who do you folks up north think we have here. One guess is a CanForce net. I'm not convinced. Email me at the address above if you have any ideas.