Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #087 04/08/13

Jacques d'Avignon
I want to add my comments to those of other SWLers regarding Jacques d'Avignon who passed away this past February. I met Jacques at a Monitoring Times convention and we then frequently saw each other at the Winter SWL Fests in Kulpsville, PA. We corresponded and he often supplied his loggings to me for inclusion in a column I wrote.

In the 90s Jacques was working on a Radio Propagation research project which he called "Hindcasting". I assisted him by providing background details and a large volume of logs which I had collected over a number of years. The target activity was the Soviet FAPSI communications network in the Western Hemisphere. Control was located at the Soviet communications center in Cuba and it was believed the out-stations were located in South, Central and North America and possibly one in Western Africa. Through a study of the frequencies, dates and times of transmissions plus knowing the location of the control station, Jacques had developed a method to determine the possible locations of the individual out-stations. While it was not 100% accurate it was never-the-less quite promising. One error we noted was a station originally thought to be in New York City turned out to be in the opposite direction in Managua, Nicaragua. Jacques prepared a Special Propagation article using the research results and it was published in Monitoring Times magazine.

I imagine Jacques continues to study propagation at the monitoring site in the sky.

Winter Fest 2013
I was very impressed at the Fest with the session which demonstrated that digital text mode can also be transmitted on analog amplitude-modulated Shortwave Broadcasts. Here is an excerpt from the Fest Program. "The signals can be received by an inexpensive SW radio, patched to a PC for decoding, using free software. Often when SW reception conditions result in difficult comprehension of voice bcsts, digital text can be received 100%, or nearly so. Digital text via SW bcst can fill in when the Internet is disrupted by disasters and dictators. Digital text might also be effective against jamming. The session featured recorded examples of digital text via SW, but the decoding was done live on the PC in the room. In the demo some of the recorded examples were so badly jammed you could hardly make out a single word but the digital text printed out 100%.
Per Sheldon Harvey's Radio HF Internet Newsletter VOL 015 Number 003 March 2013 there are instructions for obtaining the software for decoding the digital content in the VOA Radiogram transmissions. Go to http://www.w1hkj.com

Loggings (Freqs in kHz, times in UTC, Month is March)
  5615.8 Gander w/Selcal check with uniden plane 200211
  8419 WLO, Mobile, AL SITOR 261811
  8473 WLO, Mobile, AL in RTTY 45/174 w/wx 141955
12789 Poss NMG (USCG New Orleans) w/Fax 281913
14108 Bubbly signal, poss Coquelet-8 251356
14467 CQ DE DDH47 DDH9 DDH8 Hamburg, Germany Meteo, w/RYs, RTTY 70/816 251439
16268 Uniden stn w/RTTY 76/826, garbage tgext 251421
16331.7 Russian Military beacons C and D 251416
16928 Weird signal, various tones 251414

Unidentified Signal
12969.3 Hand sent CW sounds like a cut number transmissions. 081235. I checked with Ary Boender and he suggested this might be XSV Tanjin Radio As they are known to be on the frequency. At the end of the transmission I had copied XEEV SK so I had apparently dropped a dot from the S in XSV

International Beacon Project
14100 W6WX, U.S. 251400
18110 W6WX U.S., VE8AT, Canada, OH2B, Finland 271743

End of Report

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2012 Don Schimmel.