Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010NYC Listen to the Ball Drop - From Behind the scenes

Due to previous year's feedback and continuing with a tradition- "Listen to the Ball Drop - From Behind the scenes" returns for another year, and will continue to do so each and every year!

That's right - Listen to Dick Clark's Rock'in New Years from the Director's Chair.

True, you won't be hearing it "as it happens" due to streaming delays - but the sync should be close enough with Satellite delays for you to enjoy hearing the action while watching the live event! The feed will start mid-day, and run well past midnight.

There was plenty of action on the feed after the sun went down. Camera crews and the director were hunting for "filler shots" to record and use during the live broadcast of the night's events.

This is not a "Public Safety" type of feed. Feedback is always welcome. Catch the feed on my "special" stream.

73 and Happy New Years
Phil - w2lie

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Milcom Blog Logs - 29-30 Dec 2010 Brasstown NC

LaMoure, ND -- Ed Krell operates FEMA's Incident Response Vehicle (IRV) set up at the base of Lake LaMoure sillway to provide live streaming video to local and state emergency operations center for planning and documentation purposes. Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA.

Ran PC-ALE on the various known FEMA net frequencies. Found a new 15 MHz FNARS net ALE freq, and a new FEMA sponsored HF ALE net that I have discovered, usage yet to be determined (see the HIJ listings). My good friend and colleague Hugh Stegman on twitter (Twitter feed at UtilityWorld)posted up a couple of additional freqs yesterday. My best guess is that HIJ may be WGY 912 at Mt Weather in Virginia.

This new FEMA sponsored net uses the following frequencies:
4610.0 4979.0 5837.0 7870.0 10424.0 11448.0 12109.0 13437.0 16011.0 18475.0 20361.0 23390.0 kHz. More monitoring research is needed to determine the usage of this net.

Here are the ALE addresses and frequencies spotted up until 0530 EST (1030 UTC) this morning. Conditions yesterday were the pits thanks to the prop gods.

12/29-30/2010 Intercepts

4610.0 HIJ
4780.0 FC6FEM002 FC8 FC0FEM002
4979.0 HIJ
5192.0 MA1NC NA1SH
5402.0 FC6FEM FC8 FC0FEM008 FR7FEM
5820.0 FC8
5821.0 FC8 FC0FEM008
5837.0 FC8 HIJ
6809.0 FC8
7360.0 SAOPS (US Military?)
7428.0 FC1FEM002 FC6FEM002
7805.0 MA1NC NA1SH 2104CTSCSP
7870.0 HIJ
7935.0 CM4 MNA (Algerian Military)
8050.0 CLS (Fort Campbell KY) FC8
8160.0 CLS (Fort Campbell KY) FC8
10899.0 FC4 FC1FEM002 FC6FEM002 FC0FEM002
11108.0 FC0FEM008
12129.0 FC1FEM002 FC6FEM002 FC0FEM002 C4M F2H (Unknown DoD Tri-Graphs)
12164.0 C4M (Unknown DoD Tri-Graph)
13446.0 FC6FEM FC8 FR7FEM
13894.0 FC1FEM002
14450.0 FC6FEM FR7FEM
14776.0 FC6FEM FC8 FC8FEM
14885.0 FC6FEM
15708.0 FC6FEM
15840.0 FC6FEM002 FC8

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Risk of Information Theft on Inmarsat C

Interesting article on threats to monitoring Inmarsat-C message traffic using freely available software at

Thanks to UHF_Satcom on twitter for the heads up.

Be sure to check out our twitter feed at MilcomMP.

Launch Notification: Dragon Launch Satellites

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 December 8, 1543 UTC
Site: Air Force Eastern Test Range, Florida, USA
Launcher: Falcon 9
International Designator(s): 2010-066A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J

SSC Name Owner
37244 DRAGON C1 US
37245 QBX2 US
37247 PERSEUS 003 US
37248 PERSEUS 001 US
37249 QBX1 US
37250 PERSEUS 002 US
37251 PERSEUS 000 US

"A private rocket company launched an unmanned spacecraft and returned it safely to earth on Wednesday in a test flight to demonstrate future ferry flights to the International Space Station.

"Space Exploration Technologies or Space X is a private company founded by PayPal founder Elon Musk. The company has developed their Falcon 9 rocket in support of lofting an unmanned cargo craft to the space station in 2011, and attempt human space flights over the next decade."

"The 180-foot [55-m] tall Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida with an active Dragon C1 craft at 10:43 am EST, following a brief delay due to a technical issue.

"The white candle stick darted straight up and then out over the central Atlantic Ocean on a chilly, beautiful morning along the Space Coast.

"The Falcon 9 later delivered the Dragon module into an orbital inclination of 34.53 degrees, and an altitude of about 140 miles [225 km].

"The active cargo craft performed two orbits of earth testing on board systems and performing several firings of its eighteen cone-shaped thrusters.

"The Dragon, loaded with patches, ID badges and not much else from the company's hundreds of employees, completed two orbits of the earth before being maneuvered for it's return to earth.

"The craft made an on target splashdown at 2:04 pm about 500 miles [800 km] east of the Mexican coastline, SpaceX announced."

"The ten-foot [3-m] high capsule worked solely on lithium ion batteries on this brief flight. Future flights lasting several weeks will use dual solar arrays to generate power.

"SpaceX is working toward launching a fully loaded supply craft to the space station as early as next November as NASA prepares to retire the space shuttle program. The Falcon 9 is rated to carry as much as 23,050 pounds [10,455 kg] to the space station.

Musk said on Wednesday he feels confident that his company can launch an empty craft to the station, fly it around and return it back home. The first docking flight with the complex is scheduled for around November."

[Note: This report was updated to reflect the identification of eight previously unreported objects associated with this launch: QBX1 & 2, SMDC ONE, PERSEUS 000-003, and MAYFLOWER.]

Source: Atlanta NASA Examiner, "Private spacecraft launches, successfully returns to earth"

Launch Notification: Beidou IGSO 2

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 December 17, 2020 UTC
Site: Xichang Launch Facility, PRC
Launcher: Long March 3A (Chang Zheng 3A)
International Designator(s): 2010-068A

SSC Name Owner

"Another Chinese Beidou navigation satellite soared into space Friday, the fifth craft to join the country's fleet of positioning satellites in 2010.

"The successful launch also marked the 15th time this year a Chinese rocket has reached orbit, extending the country's record number of space missions in a single year. China has not announced any more satellite launches before the end of 2010.

"A Long March 3A rocket blasted off at 2020 GMT (3:20 p.m. EST) from the Xichang launching center in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to the Xinhua news agency.

"Liftoff was at 12:20 a.m. Beijing time Saturday.

"The 172-foot-tall [52-m-tall] rocket was supposed to haul the Beidou navigation payload to a temporary orbit stretching from 100 miles [160 km] to more than 22,000 miles [35,400 km] above Earth. The three-stage booster was targeting an orbital inclination angle of 55 degrees.

"The rocket's launch was successful, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

"The spacecraft will fire an on-board engine to raise its altitude to about 22,300 miles [35,900 km]. The high-inclination orbit will put the satellite in range of users in polar regions.

"It is the seventh operational Beidou satellite launched since 2007. Five Beidou craft have been sent into orbit this year.

"Four spacecraft are in geosynchronous orbit over the equator, one satellite circles about 13,000 [miles or 21,000 km] above the planet, and two craft are in high-inclination orbits, including the Beidou launched Friday.

"The Beidou, or Compass, network should be ready to provide positioning and navigation services for China and neighboring countries by 2012. Global service should be available from up to 35 Beidou satellites by 2020, according to Chinese officials.

"The Beidou fleet will provide Chinese military and citizens an indigenous source of precise navigation information. The country currently relies on the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System.

"The constellation is China's counterpart to the U.S. GPS system, Russia's Glonass navigation satellites and the Galileo network being developed by Europe.

"China says Beidou services will be available at no charge to civilians with positioning accuracy of about 10 meters, or 33 feet. More precise navigation data will be given to Chinese government and military users."

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Chinese rocket sends navigation satellite to space"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Federal IWN Under Way in National Capital Region Without DHS

Sandra Wendelken on the Radio Resource Media Group website is reporting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is deploying the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) in the National Capital Region (NCR), including Richmond, Va., and the Baltimore and other Maryland metropolitan areas. The mobile radio system, originally planned to be a collaborative federal nationwide LMR network, is already in use in the Pacific Northwest and San Diego regions.

Unlike the previous IWN deployments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not participating in the IWN network in the NCR region. DHS partnered with DoJ and Treasury on IWN in the western region systems.

“DOJ and DHS have worked collaboratively to deploy and manage the radio systems currently in use in the Pacific Northwest and San Diego regions,” said Gina Talamona, a DOJ spokeswoman. “A new system is also being deployed in the National Capital Region (NCR). Although DHS is not a specific partner in this area, some components of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Treasury are participating in this system.”

The following federal agencies are using IWN: Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and U.S. Park Police (USPP).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Launch Notification: Soyuz-TMA 20

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 December 15, 1909 UTC
Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launcher: Soyuz-U
International Designator(s): 2010-067A

SSC Name Owner
37254 SOYUZ-TMA 20 CIS

"A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three crew members bound for the International Space Station blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday, kicking off a two-day flight to catch up and dock with the orbital lab complex.

"With Russian commander Dmitry "Dima" Kondratyev at the controls, the booster's first-stage engines roared to life on time and the rocket lifted off at 2:09:25 p.m. EST (1:09 am. Thursday local time), quickly climbing away from the same pad used by Yuri Gagarin at the dawn of the space age 50 years ago next April.

"Live television shots from inside the cabin showed Kondratyev in the capsule's center seat, flanked by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli on his left and NASA astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman on his right. All three appeared relaxed and in good spirits as the rocket streaked toward space.

'Nine-and-a-half minutes later, the Soyuz TMA-20 capsule separated from the rocket's third stage and slipped into its planned preliminary orbit. Solar arrays and antennas deployed a few moments later and Russian flight controllers said the spacecraft was healthy and on course for a docking with the International Space Station around 3:12 p.m. Friday."

"If all goes well, Kondratyev will oversee an automated docking with the space station's Rassvet mini-research module Friday afternoon. Waiting to welcome them aboard will be Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, who were launched to the station Oct. 7."

"The six-member Expedition 26 crew faces a busy timeline that includes research, normal maintenance, two Russian-segment spacewalks and work to unload a variety of supply ships. A Japanese HTV cargo craft is scheduled to arrive in late January, followed by a Russian Progress supply ship, the shuttle Discovery in early February and a European Automated Transfer Vehicle, or ATV, at the end of the month that will deliver another load of supplies and equipment.

"The shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to show up in early April along with another Progress later that month."

"Along with the government-sponsored supply ships and crew rotation flights, Coleman, Nespoli and Kondratyev also may get a chance to oversee the first visit by a commercial cargo craft, the Dragon capsule developed by SpaceX. The company carried out a successful test flight earlier this month and is pushing to combine the next two test flights into a single mission that would deliver supplies to the station next spring or summer."

"Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka are scheduled to return to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft on March 16, leaving Kondratyev, Coleman and Nespoli behind as the core members of the Expedition 27 crew. They will be joined on April 1 by Alexander Samokutyaev, Andrei Borisenko and Ronald Garan, scheduled for launch March 30 aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft."

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Crew from three nations launches aboard Soyuz"

From the Archives: The U.S. and West German Agent Radio Ciphers

If your radio resume extends back into the days of the Cold War and the German call signs DFC37 and DFD21 sound familiar, then you will want to check out the link below.

From the link: "The translation of an in-house research paper of the communist Polish counterintelligence depicting the ciphers and the one-way radio communications patterns used by the U.S. and West German intelligence services against Poland in the 1960s and early 1970s is presented."

This material appeared in an edition of Cryptologia and shows how the number transmissions were decrypted if you had the one time pads and in some cases the codebook.

"The agent management behind the Iron Curtain posed several problems to the western intelligence services during the Cold War. Because of security considerations, the safest way to communicate with the agent was through non-personal manners such as dead drops, invisible ink letters, or radio. In addition, the messages were encrypted to provide security.

"While the letters could be opened and read by the enemy and the officers, for example, working under diplomatic cover could be captured while filling or emptying the dead drops in a hostile country, the one-way high frequency (HF) radio communications provided an ultimate solution to the security issues while controlling the assets on unfriendly soil. First, the commercial receiver could be possessed even in oppressive regimes without causing suspicion. Second, it was almost impossible for enemy counterintelligence to detect the instances when an agent was listening to the broadcasts unless the person was under tight surveillance or the counterintelligence was monitoring the radio spectrum in close distance from the agent's receiver at work. Third, the agents did not need long and laborious training in radio communications, for they were simply to copy the cipher text and decrypt it according to prearranged schemes. More attention could therefore be granted to the ciphers and the decryption process.

"The agent broadcasts took the form of groups of numbers transmitted in voice or telegraphy on HF bands in the various languages of the world, hence their transmitters are known as “numbers stations.” Such a way of controlling the assets in socialist countries, especially Poland, was implemented by western intelligence services during the Cold War, as evidenced by the presented document."

You can read more of this fascinating document online at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Launch Notification: Strela 3, Cosmos 2467 and 2468

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 September 8, 0330 UTC
Site: Plesetsk Missile and Space Complex, Russia
Launcher: Rockot
International Designator(s): 2010-043A, 2010-043B, 2010-043C

SSC Name Owner
37152 COSMOS 2467 CIS
37153 STRELA 3 CIS
37154 COSMOS 2468 CIS

"Three small communications satellite blasted off Wednesday from northern Russia into low Earth orbit on a converted ballistic missile.

"The 95-foot-tall [29-m-tall] Rockot launcher lifted off at 0330 GMT Wednesday (11:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday) from Complex 133 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 500 miles north of Moscow.

"Made of retired missile parts, the Rockot's two core stages finished their work a few minutes after launch. A Breeze KM upper stage later injected the payloads in the planned orbit, according to Khrunichev, the launch vehicle's prime contractor.

"Spacecraft separation was scheduled for 0514 GMT (1:14 a.m. EDT), according to the Novosti news agency.

"It was the 14th flight of the space-rated Rockot vehicle, which also launches international commercial and research satellites.

"The rocket was carrying three satellites for the Russian government, including the second civilian Gonets M communications spacecraft designed to store and relay personal messages.

"Gonets satellites are built by Information Satellite Systems Reshetnev Co.

"The 617-pound [280-kg] satellite was joined by two Russian military payloads. Russia did not disclose the identity of the other payloads, but they are likely Strela communications satellites, military variants of the Gonets system."

[Note: This launch notification was delayed awaiting official identification by USSTRATCOM.]

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Rockot hauls three Russian satellites into space"

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Launch Notification: Hylas-1 and Intelsat 17

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 November 26, 1839 UTC
Site: Europe's Spaceport, Kourou, French Guiana
Launcher: Ariane 5
International Designator(s): 2010-065A, 2010-065B

SSC Name Owner
37237 HYLAS 1 UK

"An Ariane 5 rocket blasted off from French Guiana and soared into a deep blue sky Friday, hauling into space a video broadcasting satellite for Intelsat and a high-tech British-owned spacecraft to meet the ever-changing demands of the vibrant European broadband market.

"The rocket took off from the Guiana Space Center at 1839 GMT (1:39 p.m. EST), disappearing into a cloudless sky a few minutes later on the power of two massive solid-fueled boosters and an efficient hydrogen-burning Vulcain main engine.

"Nine minutes after liftoff, the Ariane 5's cryogenic upper stage began a nearly 16-minute burn to inject the Intelsat 17 and HYLAS 1 payloads into an elliptical orbit that will take the satellites more than 22,000 miles [35,400 km] from Earth.

"According to Arianespace, the firm managing the rocket's operations, the mission reached an on-target orbit, completing the Ariane 5's fifth successful flight this year.

"Intelsat 17 separated from the rocket first, then on-board computers jettisoned a dual-payload adapter specially designed for the Ariane's two-at-a-time satellite launches. HYLAS 1 was released nearly 35 minutes after liftoff.

"Both satellites were intentionally left short of their planned operational points in space, and each craft will fire on-board engines to reach a circular 22,300-mile-high [35,900-km-high] orbit over the equator in the coming weeks.

"Intelsat 17 is bound for a position in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean, a prime location to distribute video and other communications services to customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

"The 12,214-pound [5,540-kg] spacecraft C-band and Ku-band transponders will operate for more than 15 years. It was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif.

"Intelsat says the satellite will provide a range of telecommunications services, joining the Intelsat 10 spacecraft at an adjacent location in geosynchronous orbit. The platform will replace Intelsat 702, an aging satellite launched in 1994.

"Jean-Luc Froeliger, Intelsat's senior director for space systems acquisition, said ground controllers already established contact with the newly-launched satellite

"Four main engine burns are planned to raise Intelsat 17's orbit to geosynchronous altitude, and the spacecraft will be handed over from Loral to Intelsat in January to replace older satellites and establish fresh capacity."

"HYLAS 1 is the product of a unique public-private partnership between the European Space Agency, the U.K. Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization and EADS Astrium.

"The partnership's beneficiary is Avanti Communications of the United Kingdom, an entrepreneurial firm with a mission to link rural European residents through broadband Internet services.

"HYLAS stands for Highly Adaptable Satellite, denoting the craft's ability to allocate on-board resources to meet spikes and lulls in demand."

"The new capability, funded by ESA and engineered by Astrium, will give Avanti "the ability to independently adjust our uplink frequency, our downlink frequency, our bandwidth and our power," said J. Cooke, the HYLAS 1 satellite mission director from Avanti Communications.

"ESA initially provided $45 million to jump start the development of HYLAS 1's generic flexible payload. The funding came through ESA's Advanced Research in Telecommunications, or ARTES, program. The agency has two more public-private projects in the pipeline for launch in the next few years, including partnerships with Hispasat for a small communications satellite and Inmarsat for Europe's next-generation Alphasat platform."

"Avanti officials say HYLAS 1's Ka-band and Ku-band payload will serve between 150,000 and 300,000 users in Europe from a position at 33.5 degrees west longitude The 5,666-pound [2,570-kg] satellite was built by Antrix, a subsidiary of the Indian space agency, and should last more than 15 years.

"HYLAS 1 was originally contracted to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, but Avanti switched to Arianespace in 2009 to allay investors' concerns about launch risks. Arianespace assigned HYLAS 1 to launch on the first Soyuz rocket flight from French Guiana, but launch pad development delays forced another rocket change to the workhorse Ariane 5 to ensure liftoff by the end of 2010."

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Intelsat, Avanti get a lift from Ariane 5 launcher"