Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #063 01/19/08

The VFD in Inwood, West Virginia received a grant from FEMA for three carbon monoxide detectors plus 18 portable radios. Such grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The radios fill a definite need. It will now be possible to maintain contact with the firefighters when they enter a building. In Morgan County, a decision is forthcoming regarding selection of a vendor for the upgrading of County radio communications. Homeland Security funds from the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program will permit the purchase of UHF 450 MHz radios for the Sheriff's Department and for use by the towns of Bath and Paw Paw. Another grant will be used for radios for the county's VFDs, the emergency services office plus the 911 center and the emergency medical services. These grants will assist in Morgan County participation in the West Virginia Interoperable Radio Project. Additional funds are required for completion of the upgraded system. The county is looking into a Public Safety Interoperable Communications Grant for the money.

In Report #057 I mentioned the problem of reception within the Berkeley County Judicial Center. Recently a cartoon appeared in the Martinsburg Journal making reference to the problem. Two individuals are in the same room trying to contact each on their radios and asking "Can you hear me now?"

In the 1990s the Soviets had a communications site near Guineo, Cuba. This facility, among other things, handled Ministry of Foreign Affairs traffic. The traffic was apparently sent from Moscow to Cuba via satellite and then on to Soviet Embassies/Consulates via HF RTTY. One day I tuned in the frequency for an upcoming schedule for one of those field stations. Instead of the appropriate callup, the transmission was in CW and was as follows: 824 TTTTT 824 TTTTT 824 TT and then abruptly discontinued. This type of callup had been identified as KGB agent related. A moment later, the transmitter was keyed with the proper callup for the field station. It would certainly seem that the communications duty operator had patched the Soviet Agent broadcast to the wrong transmitter and then had discovered his error.

I have experienced a delay in completing the installation of equipment for intercept of Digital Signals. A computer problem followed by one of my longwire antennas coming down during an ice storm has caused a temporary hold on the project.

End of Report

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2008 Don Schimmel.