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Report #060 08/20/07
Beacon monitoring during the summer months can be really tough. The QRN crashes are extremely severe at times but if one sticks with it, some beacons can be heard and identified. The SYS beacon on 209 kHz is still sending negative keying on the low side of the frequency. On frequency it is correctly transmitted. Here are a few other beacons I heard during a brief period one afternoon: VBW on 241 kHz at Bridgewater, VA. LUA on 245 at Luray, VA. XPZ on 2675 at Mt. Weather, VA. CBE on 317 at Millville, NJ.
I have seen numerous transmission screw-ups in the past while monitoring "Spy Numbers" broadcasts. The Cuban sites were often guilty of such mistakes. One in particular sounded very strange. After several minutes of listening to the signal I finally determined it was 5-figure groups being announced by a Spanish female but the tape was being played backwards. It was evident the operator on duty did not catch the error because the complete message was sent like that and then repeated the same way.
A cut number message, 5-character groups was sent in CW. It had another CW signal under it. The latter was 4-character groups.
One broadcast was extremely distorted. A Spanish female was announcing a 5-figure groups message. The carrier kept shifting back and forth about 20 kHz. I had to keep one hand on the receive tuning dial to follow the transmissions. At the end of the message a flap-flap sound could be heard. It sounded like the loose end of a tape on a machine which had not been switched off.
Another operator error took place after the "Final Final" at the end of a 5-figure groups message on AM by a Spanish female announcer. A carrier came back on the air with the musical introduction for Radio Havana. A Spanish male then gave the ID as "Radio Havana Cuba" and this was followed by the beginning of a Shortwave Broadcast program in Spanish. Within a few moments the carrier was removed from the frequency.
One of my favorites was a triple screw-up. The CW call up was sent and indicated upcoming traffic. The text was sent twice followed by another message and it likewise was repeated. During the repeat of the 2nd message, I discovered there was another CW signal underneath the first one and was also 5-figure groups. It was then apparent that under these two signals there was yet another one. The latter was a Spanish female with 5-figure groups. The carriers went off the air one by one as each message was completed.
End of Report
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