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Report #008 02/01/2000

FINAL REMINDER - The Kulpsville, PA Winter SWL Festival is being held 10-11 March 2000. Costs, registration form and other details are available at www.trsc.com/winterfest.html

ON-LINE DICTIONARIES - You have been copying some operators chatter. You recognize the language as German but you don't know what they are referring to in their brief exchange. Check out http://www.rahul.net/lai/glossaries.html This site has 62 language dictionaries available covering languages from Afrikaans to Zulu.

EQUIPMENT CAUTION - One of my receivers got zapped recently during an electrical storm because I had forgotten to ground the antenna. I should have know better. Some years ago I was also guilty of the same thing. I urge you to ground your antennas. By-the-way, be careful during snowstorms when you are changing antenna connections. A static charge can build up on the antenna and you can receive a jolt when moving coaxial connectors from one receiver to another.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTIVITY - During the month I devoted time to some transmissions, all commencing and ending with strings of Ys. On 14786 kHz the Y sequences were seen at 20/1741 and again at 21/1604. Also on the 21st on 13234 kHz. This time I got a portion of the message heading with what looked like callsigns UBMZ9, UBMZ5, and UBMZ5E. The M-7000 showed the transmissions to be 75/859. At 25/1620 on 14686 kHz the Y sequences were running but while touching up the tuning I missed a portion and at 1635 the station was in 5L groups. It was very interesting to see that the last group of the message broke out just like the last group of messages sent on the FAPSI Americans network.
To decrypt the group: Cipher I U Z T R E W A P O = Plain 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. Thus the group of the message I copied, URAOT, broke to 25804. This indicates the date of origination and a group count of 3 less than the preamble group count would have shown.

FAPSI DETAILS - While tuning around looking for previously unheard FAPSI signals, I ran across some 5L groups on 13448 kHz in RTTY 75/500. When the message was completed another was sent with a preamble of 11177 80061 30500 25774 03179 and into 5L groups. I had never seen the 80061 link indicator before. I have checked the frequency a number of times since that first time but have not heard the activity again.

The FAPSI skeds copied this month differed from the December coverage as follows: Skeds held for GMN but on the days I monitored there was no traffic sent to that station. No 1540 sked for SPK. no 1650 and 2155 skeds for PSN. In addition to being called on the usual 14455 kHz, WFO was also called on 15587 kHz which has been used at times in the past. All other skeds and freqs were the same as in December.

In messages of 5L groups, the 5th group of the preamble shows the number of text groups plus 1. That additional group is probably represented by the 3rd group of the preamble as it evidently has some crypto relationship. The last group of text breaks out to the date of message origination and a number which is 3 less than the group count shown in the 5th preamble group. The 3 groups probably include the 3rd preamble group (crypto related), a group somewhere in the text (probably also crypto related), and the last group of the message.

During the past weeks I have seen a repetitive pause in the transmission of traffic from the relay transmitter in Cuba. The number of characters between pauses varies. One day during the sked for SPK, I saw pauses at 394 characters, then 349, then 420, 420, 418, and 320. On another dayd the traffic to WNY had pauses every 420 characters as did the messages for SPK. On yet another day, the callup sequence for BPA had pauses every 233 characters.

On an 1800 sked for SPK and WNY, the WNY transmission had the glitch but the transmission to SPK was ok. Then I have seen the 1800 skeds where both transmissions had the pauses. Perhaps a malfunctioning paper tape punch unit (if that is what is being used) is to blame. Only one freq change was copied to be effective in February. On 29 January, SPK was told in a TIKAS: FM 01/02 QSO 1100 QSW 10343/12185. I checked the 1100 sked on 1 Feb and the new freqs were being utilized.

During the month, excluding Sundays, I was able to monitor some of the skeds each day starting with 1100 and ending with 0045. A chart was prepared so I could see at a glance what the activity had been on any date or during any period of the month. Several points were readily apparent. BPA has a daily sked but has not been sent any traffic. KRN only has a sked once a week on Thursdays. The last traffic sent to PSN was on 14 Jan, QRU on the 15th and no sked at 2240 since the 17th. There has either been a freq change or sked time change or the site has been deactivated. Another possibility is that the radio operator is away from the post?? There are no Saturday skeds for WFO/MIG, WNY, JMS and GMN. Skeds for SPK are held on Saturdays and traffic was sent on two such dates. The leader in traffic received was SPK with messages sent to that site on 18 days.

JANUARY LOGGINGS in kHz order with comments and UTC date/time
11637 149 repeated over and over in CW. Then into 5figure groups each repeated twice. 19/0030
11737 Ton followed by burst transmission & then all quiet. 19/0048
14787 Very strong carrier - sends Vs KI. Other end not hrd. 27/1645
18417 CLP1 (MinRex Havana) working unheard stn in CW. 25/1508
19085 CLP1 slending press items to unid. station in RTTY 50/500. 19/1825
19087 CLP7 (Cuban Emb., Brazzaville, Congo) DE CLP1 in RTTY 50/500 w/Spanish text msg re Cuban boy in Florida whose Mother died during their escape from Cuba. Father (and Cuban authorities) demanding return of boy to Cuba. 10/1818
20739 T T T Burst T T T Burst and then all quiet. 17/1840
22864 FSK Morse, very weak sig, station calling RDL RDL 98381 nos 1739-302 K. Other end not heard. 30/1502

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2000 Don Schimmel.