Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #032 07/01/2002

I have a legitimate excuse for not writing a column for May. Several weeks were spent in Northern Virginia hospitals due to congestive heart failure. I am much better now but must take all my pants to the seamstress to be taken in because I have lost 27 lbs thus far. A tough way to take off weight.

HISTORY - May 24th was the 158th anniversary of Samuel F.B. Morse sending the first telegraphic message, "What Hath God Wrought!" An experimental telegraph line had been installed between Baltimore, MD and Washington DC with a $30,000 appropriation from Congress. Seven years later some Rochester, NY businessmen started the "New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company on 8 April 1851. Operations commenced on 550 miles of wire and the license to use inventor Royal E. House's telegraph printer. This device was the first equipment to convert Morse code to Roman letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Other lines were acquired and on 4 April 1856 the company name was changed to "The Western Union Telegraph Company." Telegrams and mail were carried at that time by the pony express between the terminal at St. Joseph, MO to ?Sacramento, CA. Two groups of telegraph line builders, one starting from the West and the other from the East installed the 2,000 mile line, joining the two legs on 24 October 1861 at Salt Lake City, UT.

NEW RADIO SYSTEM FOR NEW YORK - A recent AP item indicated that the New York Fire Department had obtained a $14 million system upgrade. One step was to spread out the relay repeaters rather than have them all on one building as was the case on 9/11. When the aircraft struck the Trade Center the repeaters were destroyed on the building as well as in commanders cars as a result of debris falling on them. With the new radios it is possible for inter-communication between the Fire Department, Police, Office of Emergency Management plus other city systems. Also, the new radios will have the capability of operation on many radio channels as opposed to the previous usual one channel only.

BERKELEY COUNTY WV HIRES COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT - The radio system installed in the County in the 1960s has turned out to now be inadequate for handling communications during emergency situations. In an article in the Martinsburg Journal it was reported that County Public Officials want a new system to be capable of intercommunication between Police, Fire and Rescue Squads. The present system uses three different frequency bands which requires the Central Dispatch to accept traffic on one frequency and relay it on another. It is anticipated the consulting bid will be awarded at the end of July.

RUSSIAN "AGENTURA" WEB SITE - How I wish I could read Russian text.The Agentura site so often has interesting sounding articles. The capsule descriptions are in English but most full texts are indicated as being in Russian. Here are a few item titles from a recent list: Pueblo's last navigation; Plot of antihackers; How many secret services?; CIA's adventure ion Palestine; Secret of French Emissary; What CIA knew; Disguising; and Croatia's secret services. Another page on the site is titled "Opponent". This page has a heading of "Enemy/Opponent?ally" and list various countries. Unfortunately when you click on one of the countries you are met with the phrase "Invalid access from (Internet digital designation & Server ID) logged". So you are out of luck regardless of what the text language might be.

CRYPTOLOGIC MUSEUM - For a real treat,k go to www.nsa.gov/museum and look at the various exhibits. They include subjects such as: The Blkackl Chamber; Enigma; the Codetalkers; Into the Super computer Era; VENONA; just to mention a few. The museum is located near NSA off of Maryland route #32 and is housed in a former Motel. Spy aircraft are displayed in an adjacent area. If you are in the area, a visit to the museum is highly recommended. I have been there four times and go often because new displays are added from time to time.

JUNE LOGS - During the month I was only able to put in a brief period of monitoring but I did run across a Cuban DGI numbers CW transmission. This broadcast has been assigned M8a by the European Numbers Information Gathering and Monitoring Association (ENIGMA). The cut number system used is ANDUWRIGMT which equates to the numerals 1-0. On 23 June at 0207 UTC I caught the tail end of a message. I heard AR AR AR MGTGA MGTGA etc followed by BT and into the text of the next message. For recognition purposes here are the first 3 groups of that message: WUWRR WIRMG MGIRM.

End of Report

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2002 Don Schimmel.