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Report #013 07/01/2000

The May 2000 issue of Shortwave Magazine was a special issue on Propagation and one of the articles "Hindcasting" was written by Jacques d'Avignon who also writes a monthly column for Monitoring Times. I worked with Jacques by providing many months of copying target transmissions during various periods from the early 90s to the Spring of 2000. The propagation charts prepared by Jacques were jointly studied by both of us to see if we could arrive at some conclusions regarding field station locations. Problems we encountered were that so many of the frequencies were close to each other and some of the suspected locations appeared to be in neighboring countries within a rather small area. These two factors combined to make it difficult but not totally impossible in making matches of frequency with location. The studies have been a learning process and another collection effort is currently underway with the results to be studied during the early Fall of 2000.

One of the WP-3D Lockheed Orions used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suffered damage on May 1st while at Galveston. Strong storm winds blew several smaller planes into the parked NOAA aircraft causing damages to it estimated at $500,000. The report indicated no one seemed to know where the money was to found for making the repairs. We are now entering the hurricane season and several Congressmen have urged the Commerce Department to come up with the funds for the necessary repairs.

High traffic flow continues between the FAPSI HF relay site in Cuba and an unlocated field station. It certainly seems strange that almost all of the former network members have apparently switched to another mode, possibly CROWD-36, yet this two-way link remains in operation utilizing the old 75/500 RTTY mode. If the other sites qualified for the new equipment, why not link 00125?? A similar case is the 75/500 RTTY broadcast to KRN who used to have a daily schedule but was changed to once-a-week on Thursdays however still at the old time of 1735 UTC. What could have happened that caused a somewhat high volume recipient of traffic to be downgraded to a once a week callup only status?? This seems to have the appearance of a classic stay-behind or sleeper agent station. Perhaps the once per week callup is intended merely as a means for the field to check receiving conditions. In the past there was another once-per-week broadcast, that one being to NDO but broadcasts to that site ceased at some time prior to August 1999. The listening frequency for NDO remained at 17488 kHz for several years. It is noted that the frequency for the once-per-week broadcast to KRN is now 17414 kHz and has been unchanged since at least August 1999.

These items were intercepted on 13233 kHz on 16 June at 1401 UTC. The mode was RTTY 76/870 and stuttered Ys appeared at the beginning of each message just prior to what was probably the message heading. The first example commenced with 56 Ys followed by XKFGNDBSNFXBZSR DFXBZSR DFXBZSR DFXBZSR BEVLMD. These heading elements appear as transmitted with spacing between some elements. This was followed by garbage text (mixed letters, figures, and punctuation symbols). The second example started with 52 Ys followed by XFFGNDB YTCO APZCPQO APZCPQO APZCPQO APZCINO ZYOCTZ ZYOCTZ ZYOCTZ ZYOCTZ XEDIIB and into garbage. NOTE: I inserted the spaces between these heading elements to make them readily discernible.

JUNE LOGGINGS in kHz order with comments and UTC date/time
241 VBW, beacon at Bridgewater, VA at 10/2119
245 LUA, beacon at Luray, VA at 11/0239
375 SH, locator outer marker at Staunton, VA at 11/0244
The above were monitored at Keezleltown, VA
6379 4XZ, Israel Navy, Haifa, w/call tape at 29/0054
8436 4XZ, Israel Navy, Haifa w/call tape at 29/0056
9256 4XZ, Israel Navy, Haifa w/call tape at 29/0024
10943 CFH, Canadian Navy, Halifax, NS in RTTY 75/857 w/freq list -2822 3394 4167 6236 8303 12383 16574 22186 at 16/1429
13030 FUF, Ft. de France, MRT w/test tape in RTTY 75/849 at 16/1422
13347 Fast CW, u/i stn calling 249 249 249 and into 5F grps at 15/1305. Very weak sig.
13374 Cuban cut nbrs in CW at 12/1805. Loud hum on freq, typical of many Cuban transmissions.
13421 U/i stn in RTTY 75/859 at 13/1758. Seems be testing. Running sequences of ltrs & figs. During this testing, another stn comes on freq with high speed brief transmission and ends with WPC sent in CW. Hrd 13/1823
14695 4XZ, call tape, Israel Navy, Haifa at 29/0026
16263 U/i stn in RTTY 75/869 in enciphered transmission at 16/1416
16950 RFTJE, French Navy, Dakar, Senegal in RTTY 74/852 at 22/1848
18426 4XZ, Israel Navy, Haifa, w/call tape at 29/0021

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2000 Don Schimmel.