Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

A Dark and Stormy Night

Brought to you by Don Keith N4KC, fellow blogger and Ham Radio wordsmith extraordinaire.

Oh, to have the writing talent of Don N4KC or Jeff KE9V or Woody K3NG, fine writers one and all.

I hope you enjoy the story, I did!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

An unscheduled interruption

OVMRC and CUARC Field Day Site 2011, the Canada Science and Technology Museum

My last post was way back in June, when I was on business in St John’s Newfoundland. I had not planned for there to be an interruption in the postings but it just seemed to turn out that way. No single reason for the lack of output, things were busy with family, jobs around the home, work (I have taken on a new role) and radio with the Carleton University Amateur Radio Club (CUARC). Once I had stopped posting for a while it was too easy to not post. There may have been some writer’s block too. One reader advised me to write again when I was feeling the mood return, but emphasized not to change the format. So now it is time to pick up the blogging again.

I may post more on these items, but here is a brief run down of recent amateur radio and electronics related activities over the hiatus.

  • End of June there was Field Day and again CUARC participated with the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club after being kindly invited to join them  (see photo above).  We operated mostly as a GOTA station (I was a GOTA captain and rules were followed) but when one transmitter turned in for the night we became the 80m station. We used a homebrew full wave 80m horizontal loop and a homebrew ¼ wave vertical with three elevated radials for 15m.  Both antennas performed well.
  • Somewhere in the recent past this blog went over 100,000 views.  Top post in recent months has been details on the Z-Match tuner.  Thanks to all of you for reading the blog!
  • CUARC is constructing a 30m QRSS receiver and the oscillator, mixer, diplexer stages have been built and constructed individually.  A low noise audio stage is to be built next.
  • At work I have been  building small SMD microcontroller boards with on board RF capabilities.  The boards which we modified from some open hardware have been reduced down to about 4.5cm by 2 cm.  My SMD soldering has been getting better, especially using a professional rework station.
  • I have been programming the new ID-880H dualbander that I bought in Spring.
  • The Saturday morning Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group D-STAR net continues every Saturday at 8:30am local time here in Ottawa (8:30EST or EDT) and we link through to reflector REF016B.  Either Andrew, M0GRU, or myself run the net. Join us if you can.

Next post will be the pictures form a foggy Signal Hill that I promised in the previous post.

Another Blog

91AD on Module C

Recently, I have created a second blog for D-STAR radio, particularly in the Ottawa area.

You can find it at The focus is on D-STAR operations in the National Capital Region and activities of the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group.

My personal blog here continues to be my main blog.

Monitoring Odyssey Dawn

One of the most memorable DX programs was Radio Nederland’s Media Network presented by the energetic and innovative Jonathan Marks. Both the program and the presenter live on in different guises.

I remember being astounded to hear intercepted military signals from the early hours of the Falklands War being broadcast on the program. Long before crowdsourcing or the internet, Jonathan Marks had a network of highly skilled shortwave enthusiasts and gave them a destination – a tape recorder linked 24/7 to a phone number – where they could leave recordings they had made along with relevant details like time, frequency and identifying callsigns etc. From memory he had sounds of commands being issued by the Argentine Navy to the Belgrano.

After almost 20 years on air the last Media Network was broadcast in 2000. The program morphed into a weblog in the northern spring of 2003 as war broke out in Iraq.
I was reminded of Jonathan Marks’ ingenuity by reports this week of another radio enthusiast based in Holland and how his monitoring activities revealed a US Psyops broadcast as part of the current ‘Odyssey Dawn’ operation in Libya. It was heard on 6877kHz at 0900Z Sunday 20 March.

In fact Jonathan Marks may have been one of the sources of this latest story! It appeared on his Critical Distance blog the day before.

Now in place of Media Network’s phone and cassette recordings, we have blogs, twitter and audioboo! And a torrent of information.

The Milcom Monitoring Post blog is pulling material together including mp3 clips. But the action and spots are moving very fast. The most appropriate tools appears to be twitter feeds. The source of the psyops recording is @FMCNL. Other monitoring tweets come from @MilcomMP and @QSLRptMT, occasionally using hashtags such as #odysseydawn or #libya.

US Marines conduct air strikes in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn

An AV-8B Harrier jump jet returns to USS Kearsarge for fuel and ammunition resupply while conducting air strikes in support of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, March 20, 2011. (USMC/Flickr)

@cencio4 David Cenciotti is an aviation writer and he’s published comprehensively detailed daily ‘debriefings’ of Operation Odyssey Dawn. His writing is clear and military acronyms are de-coded and explained.  The posts on his blog reveal an deeply informed understanding of strategy and a profound knowledge of the aviation industry. His analysis shows how even in the heat of battle there’s some high powered marketing going on!

Here are some of the frequencies that were being monitored in the early stages of the campaign:
4196.0 Naval Military style CWC tracking net USB (American English accents). AGI (3/21 @ 2150 UTC). Early on in Operation Odyssey Dawn that was used as a NATO AWACS tracking net USB: Callsign Magic ##/NATO ##
5725.0 UK Royal Navy CWC-style net USB.
6688.0 French Strategic Air Force Net – Commandement Des Forces Aériennes Stratégiques (CFAS) USB: Callsign Capitol
6712.0 French Air Force Commandement De La Force Aérienne De Projection (CFAP) USB: Callsign: Circus Verte
6733.0 RAF TASCOMM YL weather traffic to Solex 11 a Sentry AEW1 with TAF weather for LCRA RAF
Akrotiri. QSYed to 9019.0 and 9031.0 kHz USB
6761.0 USAF Global refueling Operations USB
6877.0 USAF Psyop transmissions against Libyan Navy + jamming
9019.0 UK RAF TASCOMM USB TAF weather traffic.
9031.0 UK RAF TASCOMM USB Operational Messages + TAF weather traffic
10315.0 DHN 66 NATO Geilenkirchen GER E-3 AWACS/Magic to DHN66 Link USB
12311.0 French Air Force Centre De Conduite Des Opérations Aériennes (CCOA) USB: Callsign Veilleur/AWACS callsign Cyrano.
16160.0 French Air Force up with voice and RATT on 16160 kHz USB.
Libyan GMMRA HF ALE network was still active as of 3/21/2011 on 5368.0 6884.0 8200.0 9375.0 10125.0 10404.0.

Seems like a good time to sign up for and account with to get my radio ears a little closer to the action. If you follow any of the twitter accounts mentioned above you will have no shortage of up to the minute details of air (and radio) traffic to follow.

EEVblog entertains nerds!

I enjoy Dave Jones’ Electrical Engineering Video Blog, or EEVblog. He recently submitted this video to a competition.  It is a 90 second compilation showing the entertaining side of what he shares with followers and makes a great commercial for the EEVblog, so I include it here in case you have never watched one of his videos.  Warning, best not to watch this with the kids or grandma in earshot!

Don’t go thinking that Dave just fools around on his videos.  There is some pretty good information in the posts, so give his site a try if you like electronics.

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