Other Radio Hobbies
Report #010 04/01/2000
KULPSVILLE FEST 2001 - As an aid to those who require long lead times for making arrangments to attend the Fest, the dates for the 14th Annual Fest have been set for March 9-10, 2001.
MARYLAND RADIO PROBLEMS - A recent Baltimore Sun article pointed out that several counties in the State were experiencing radio dead zones or interference to police and/or firefighter frequencies. In Anne Arundel, the problem seems to stem from cellular towers located in each of the dead spot areas. The County is testing a new radio system which provides better filtering and this seems to have eliminated the interference encountered with the old system. If the 22 million dollar project receives approval, all present radios would be replaced with the newer models which have both analog and digital capability. Howard County is also planning to upgrade its radio system for police and firefighters. The contract being negotiated is estimated at 20-30 million dollars. The police in Baltimore County have also reported problems with their present radio system. According to a police spokesman, some of the dead spots are evidently due to the terrain of hills and valleys. Other troubllesome communications sites are believed to be related to the cell towers in those particular areas.
FAPSI COMMS - Thirty skeds of the Americas activity were monitored during the month. The only apparent link, 00125, remains very active with a huge volume of traffic passed ion March. On 14786 kHz the xmtr beldieved to be in Cuba sent a string of Ys in RTTY 75/850 and then off at 02/1412. At 1445, Cuba sent this note to WFO - FM 2/3 QSO 1445 OLD QSW 16218/14457. On the 21/1445 sked the out station sent Cuba this msg: 11177 00125 92667 21189 00023 followed by a cipher text of 1 grp - KJQGU. On the 2145 Sked 14455 AND 14785 kHz were simulkeyed. The O/S was on 13423 kHz. Cuba utilized 15887 kHz frequently when the O/S apparently had reception problems. On 27/1538 Cuba told the O/S to QSY 6933 but there was nil hrd on that freq. On 29/1801 a xmtr which sounded like the Cuba xmtr, called U1K in FSK Morse on 15887 kHz. The calliing continued until 1804 when U1K was told QSY 9371. Then at 1810 U1K was told QSY 8158. Nothing was hrd on either freq. During the month, use of the ETFNJX TKAGAS calling sequence was observed on several occasions and extra skeds followed.
CUT NUMBERS - Not all numbers transmissions are voice broadcasts. Many messages are passed in either CW or MCW. By abbreviating the Morse code for the numbers, the amount of on-the-air time is reduced. There are many different Cut Numbers systems in use. Here are some of those frequently seen.
This first one is used in maritime communications.
The next one has just the zero cut, as a T. A variation substitutes the letter O in place of the T.
This system is based on the typewwriter keyboard.
Here is the system seen on the 4F numbers broadcasts.
A modification of that system looks like this./
The Cuban DGI reportedly uses this one for their numbers messages.
STRANGE SIGNAL - On 06/1747 a very unusual transmission was observed on 14786 kHz. Every 9 seconds a short duration tone was heard which quickly went from a high pitch to a low pitch. The sequence continued for a few minutes and then went off the air.
FAPSI REVISITED - I now suspect that perhaps the O/S of link 00125 is maintaining a continuous listening watch on at least one and possibly two of the frequencies used by the Cuba site during 1300-2300 UTC. I say this because the O/S often answers immediately when Cuba sends the FSK Morse sequence of ETFNJX TKAGAS. In addition, at times when Cuba merely sends the callsign WFO just once, the O/S comes right back with K. Traffic of link 00125 has been seen, other than at regular skeds, as follows: 1349, 1406, 1538, 1608, 1636, 1825, 1905, 2048, and 2115 UTC.
For further information on numbers stations, mystery CW networks, embassy radio systems, and espionage communications we recommend . . .
©2000 Don Schimmel.