Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #028 02/01/2002

WINTER SWL FEST - A reminder that the 15th Annual Winter SWL Fest will be held March 8-9 at the Best Western Hotel located in Kulpsville, PA. There will be another great lineup of seminars and you can enjoy talking "Radio" with fellow attendees. For full details go to http://swlfest.com/fest_registration.html Click on REGISTER

STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE - A visit to www.odci.gov/csi provided a look at the Fall-Winter 2001 Unclassified Edition of this most interesting publication. Among the various articles were several I particularly enjoyed: FBIS Against the Axis 1941-1945 (Open-Source Intelligence from the Airwaves); Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea 1950; and Behind Japanese Lines in Burma.

AGENTURA - This Russian web site was again the source of another tidbit regarding the USSR SIGINT sites. In addition to one in Cuba and one in Vietnam, it was revealed there was another such intercept installation and it was called "Ramona" and was located in North Korea until 1997. Unfortunately the details were in the Russian language but the accompanying map showed the location of the site to be in the general area of Haeju.

SECRET WIRES - History buffs who have an interest in cryptographic systems used during the Civil War will find the web site of Fred Chesson to be a gold mine of information. Texts of actual messages are included along with many nuggets of historical facts. The material was originally intended as a book but changes at the publishing company resulted in those plans being dropped. Therefore Fred decided to put the material on his web site. You can view "Secret Wires" at http://pages.cthome.net/fwc/INDEX.HTM

IT'S NOT WHAT IT SEEMED TO BE - This activity was observed on 16531 kHz at 1440 UTC in USB. Callsigns RAGTIME and AVALANCHE were seen with RAGTIME appearing to be net control. Upon checking a callsign book I found them both listed as USAF daily tactical callsigns. However the chatter on the net did not fit with that identification. For several successive days I checked the frequency and determined the net had a daily schedule commencing about 1430. The exchanges between stations involved a number of callsigns I was unable to find in any of my reference publications. As receiving conditions improved I could better hear the transmissions and noted many YL operators plus a few males. The chatter centered on mentions of locations along the Mexican, El Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan coasts. There were also comments regarding weather in those areas. It was now apparent that these folks were aboard private yachts and the callsigns were the names of the yachts. The net was used as a means of staying in touch with each other for the purpose of exchanges of travel information and plans for meeting at various locations.

CALLSIGN ID ERROR - During the coverage of the above described net, I checked the Confidential Frequency List to see what was shown as users for 16531 kHz. One ID given was WHD576, Owings Mills, MD., Maritime Medical Advisory System. The Grove International Callsign Handbook also gave the same identification for WHD576. But the online FCC Data indicates WHD576 is assigned to the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League, Inc., operating on 156.35, 156.45, and 156.8 MHz and located in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands. Perhaps the original license expired and it was reassigned???

JANUARY LOGGINGS In kHz order with comments and UTC date/time
NOTE: I was curious about low frequency reception with my TenTec RX-320 so I hooked the receiver to a longwire antenna and went beacon hunting for a few minutes. Here are the results I obtained at my West Virginia location:
216 CLB Wilmington (Carolina Beach) NC 25/0342
363 RNB Millville (Municipal - Rainbow) NJ 25/0346
364 TZ Winchester (Municipal - Boyce) VA 25/0348
379 BRA Asheville (Municipal - Broad River) NC 25/0352
404 ST St. Louis (Lambert Int'l - Zumay) MO 25/0354
419 RYS Grosse Ile (Municipal - Detroit) MI 25/0355

Here are my other loggings using my Kenwood R-2000 receivers.
14467 CQ DE DDH47 DDH9 DDH8 (Hamburg, Germany) in RTTY 51/400 w/frequency list at 08/1440
14555 DE RIW (Navy, Moscow, Russia) QSA3 WRK K at 10/1320. Other end not heard. Later short message passed of mixed F & L groups from unknown station. 10/1339
14996 Time signal from RWM (Moscow, Russia) 08/1447
16516 Cuban cut numbers ion auto Morse at 11/1206
18414 8BY (French Intelligence) sent 313/973/533 at 02/1247
21375 FRUPAC net w/check-ins and comments from net members. 08/2030
End of Report

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    The Underground Frequency Guide

    A Directory of Unusual, Illegal and Covert Radio Communications

    By Donald W. Schimmel
    A fascinating directory of unusual, illegal and covert radio communications. Learn where to tune to hear mysterious transmissions. With hundreds of frequencies and informative commentary. Third Edition. 1994 HighText 209 pages.
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    Available from Universal Radio and other select radio and book dealers.

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Click here for index of previous editions of Radio Intrigue

2002 Don Schimmel.