Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #031 05/01/2002

WINTER SWL FESTIVAL - The dates have been established for the 16th Annual Festival so be sure to mark down March 7-8 2003. During the upcoming months, check www.swlfest.com for registration details, etc.

RFE/RE NEWSLINE - Defense Minister Ivanov told journalists he has no regrets in the closing of the Russian SIGINT installation in Lourdes, Cuba. He stated that the Russian Military now has "technical means that can well compensate for the loss."

SPACE WEATHER SCALES - NOAA has defined three categories of scales for describing space weather.
Geomagnetic storms: disturbances in the geomagnetic field caused by gusts in the solar wind that blows by Earth .
Solar radiation storms: elevated levels of radiation that occur when the numbers of energetic particles increase.
Radio blackouts: disturbances of the ionosphere caused by X-ray emissions from the Sun

These three categories have a direct relation to communications depending on the severity of the particular disturbance. WWV reports such activity at 19 minutes past the hour. For the complete details of the scales go to www.sec.noaa.gov/NOAA scales/EosNewScales.html

CUBAN SPY - Various newspapers reported the arrest by the FBI of Ana Belen Montes, an employee at DIA since 1985. Using typical Spycraft, Montes received her instructions via short-wave radio. The messages were in numerical code which she converted into Spanish text through the use of a computer program she had been given by the Cuban Intelligence Service (DGI). Using public pay phones, Montes sent coded numeric messages to a DGI pager. The FBI analysis of her Toshiba computer hard drive revealed a coded message of 150 5F groups. The FBI matched this text with one broadcast on February 6, 1999 on a frequency of 7887 kHz in AM mode with a female Spanish announcer who began the broadcast with the words "Atencion!, Atencion!".
The FBI "AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT, ARREST WARRANT, AND SEARCH WARRANTS" contains very interesting details relating to the investigation and arrest of Ms. Montes. Go to

FAPSI ACTIVITY - A few FAPSI transmissions were heard during the month but judging from the weak signal strength, they were certainly not coming from Cuba. APRIL LOGGINGS in kHz order with comments and UTC date/time
16396 Four tones each played 3 times rapidly in a 4 3 1 2 pattern over and over. Picked up at 22/1233 and was still going over an hour later.
16621 Hand sent CW, completing message of 5F groups at 05/1340. Then sent CMG 63 and the following heading BT NR1 CK 63 5/1345 BT and into 5F grps. Sent EE at end of every 10 grps. Was sending repeats evidently as requested by other end which was unhrd. 0 cut as T when sending text, rest of digits sent full. However, when repeating grps, the operator would frequently use other cut nbrs from the cut nbr system 1-0 = AU34567DNT.
17236 Very fast CW. Sent UDAM (u/i Russian vessel). Then sent TEST 12564.5. I checked that freq and hrd weak RTTY. 13/1406
20989 U/i stn in FSK Morse sending GOD GOD GOD (impressive callsign!) QSY 22865. A stn came up on 22865 kHz but weak copy here. 06/1430
22856 RTTY 99/417 sending 274 274 274 etc. Picked up at 06/1335 and he still going at 06/1556.
23224 Two OM/SS in conversation using various military terms. 12/1326
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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2002 Don Schimmel.