Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


Up Front





Glenn Hauser's DX Listening Digest

Glenn Hauser's Continent of Media

Don Schimmel's Radio Intrigue

Joe Carr's Tech Notes

Radio Basics

Frequency vs. Wavelength

Modes and Modulation

Call Sign Prefixes

UTC/GMT Conversion

Radio Terms

Shortwave Radio

Introduction to Shortwave Listening

Tuning 150 kHz to 30 MHz

Selecting a Shortwave Radio

Reporting and QSLs

Receiver Reference

Modern Shortwave Receiver Survey

Favorite Tube-Type Shortwave Receivers

Scanner Monitoring

Introducing the "Action Bands"

The World Above 30 MHz

Selecting a Scanner

National Scanner Frequency Guide

Other Radio Hobbies

Ham Radio

AM Band DXing

Longwave DXing

Clandestine Radio

Pirate Radio

Numbers Stations


Radio Links

Shortwave Listening

Radio Clubs

International Broadcasters

Scanner Listening

Ham Radio

Web-Controlled Radios


Universal Radio

Top of Page

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

Click here for index of previous editions of Radio Intrigue

2007 Don Schimmel.