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Report #108 02/01/15

My new CommRadio CR1a receiver was put to very good use in late January in tracking NOAA weather advisories and storm warnings as several snow storms hit my West Virginia location. I continue to be impressed with the performance of this tiny unit. I am anxious to try it out in a portable mode and hope to do that as soon as we have somewhat warmer weather. The VHF/UHF antenna I am using with the CR1a is what I call "El Cheapo Antenna". It merely consists of an aluminum tube 48 inch long with a 18 inch tube as the bottom part with the two pieces glued into a PVC fitting with a F connector between the two sections. It is very easy to make and works like a charm across the bands. I have it installed on one of my towers at a height of about 25 feet above the ground. I think I will make another one just like it for portable use. Click here to view my Easy-To-Make VHF/UHF antenna plans.

The recent press references regarding the return of the Russian SIGINT installation in Cuba reminded me that I had read something about the Chinese also having a presence there. I found an item in one of my files which had appeared in the China Reform Monitor dated March 2003. According to this article the Chinese have two intercept facilities in Cuba. These bases have been active since 1999. The larger of the two is at Bejucal, south of Havana. It has ten Satellite antennas. The second station is northeast of Santiago de Cuba.

On 8 January, 8135 kHz, 2300 schedule. It certainly sounded as if two transmitters were being tuned on the frequency. One carrier then went off and the transmissions proceeded of Cuban cut numbers in CW.
On 16 January 11435 kHz at 161603. Brief appearance of Radio Havana SW Broadcast. Off at 161604 and HM01 commenced at 161605.
9 January 11435 kHz, 1600 schedule. Another brief appearance of Radio Havana at 191601 and then off and HM01 commenced.

After studying my logs of the past six months of the Cuban cut numbers transmissions in CW, 2300 schedule, I realized I was mistaken in believing the Cubans were in error for some of the frequencies. Here are the correct ones:
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
8009 8135 8009 8135 8135 8009 8135

FAPSI was a Russian government agency responsible for signal intelligence and security of governmental communications. With the recent appearance of two instances of traffic in the format previously seen in use by the FAPSI Western Hemisphere network, I decided to review some old FAPSI material. I recall that traffic evidently being passed from Moscow to Cuba via satellite. It was then relayed to various Russian Diplomatic facilities in the WH area via HF RTTY. The network was composed of 13 outstations plus the relay site in Cuba. In the early years of the network there were only 7 outstations. Two used RTTY and 5 used CW. My guess is that the two RTTY sites might have been the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and the Russian Delegation at the UN in New York. I say this because it seems logical those two sites would have had the RTTY equipment before any other sites. Eventually all sites were converted to RTTY. The only two locations that were confirmed were Cuba and Nicaragua. There was belief that outstation GMN was likely Mexico City. Comparing the above with an early 1970s listing of Russian SIGING facilities in the Western Hemisphere, it was interesting that there were 13 outstations and a Lourdes, Cuba location. The breakdown was 3 sites in Washington DC, 3 sites in New York, 2 in San Francisco, and 1 each in Montreal, Mexico City, Havana, Brazil plus 1 in Lourdes, Cuba. Managua Nicaragua was apparently added a few years later.

kHz ID Location/Date-Time [DDHHMM] of Intercept
209 SYS Somerset, PA 272006
209.8 T Sent every 7 seconds. Unknown location 272010
216 CLB Wilmington NC 220324
245 LUA Luray VA 220327
317 CBE Cumberland MD 141036
332 FIS Key west FL 220331
335 YLD_ Chapleau ON Canada 220332
341 YYU_ Kising ON Canada 141034
362 SB_ Sudbury ON Canada 220335
363 RNB Millville NJ 220336
366 YMW_ Maniwaki QC Canada 220337
386 D8_ Dolbeau QC Canada 220339
388 AM Tampa FL 220338
388 RNW Chocowinity NC 220340
391 DDP Dorado lPTR 220341
392 ML_ Charlevoix QC Canada 220342
397 ZHA_ Ancaster ON Canada 220343
400 PTD Potsdam NY 220344
403 ZTO_ Woodhill ON Canada 220345
407 ZHU_ Hauts Buis QC Canada 220346
410 JU Jefferson NC 220346
417 SLP Shelby NC 220347
417 HQT Coats NC 220347
432 IZN Lincolnton NC 220349
516 YWA_ Petawana ON Canada 220352
523 JJH Johnstown NY 220353

End of Report

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2015 Don Schimmel.