Dear Sparks,

please read carefully following News from ARRL website:

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community Set


Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a “communications interoperability” training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario.




EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse

Dear Sparks,

What is EMP?

Here is a short excerpt from a presentation by Dr. Peter V. Pry on EMP – the Electromagnetic Pulse that could come from the sun or from a nuclear weapon. Either could wipe out our electrical grid for months or years, and either could ‘fry’ all unprotected electronic devices. For the full, clear, explanation and discussion.




Nations still using CW

Dear Sparks,

the following article by:





The following Nations are certainly still using CW:

  • Russia — several navy and military stations on a regular basis, some diplomatic missions
  • China — military stations, sending cut number code, 3 or 5 figure groups (plain text Chinese in CW is also 4 figures)
  • Israel — 4XZ military or intelligence agency station, was very active just ahead of, during and after Paris terror attacks
  • Indonesia — 7CJ/7CB (P5O) national resilience institute and/or Indonesian Navy broadcasts 6635, 9945, 12235, 18980kHz
  • Pakistan — AQP Navy Station (not heard lately? certainly was active in 2015 and maybe early 2016)
  • Korea — S. Korea coastal stations active on 8, 12, 16 and 22MHz maritime mobile bands for some remote fishing vessels
  • Japan — at least one coastal station active (16 or 22MHz marine band?) owned by a fishing company, heard sending telegrams
  • India (Port Visakhapatnam)— heard VTP6 on 8646.0 kHz.
  • Algerian Army (tactical callsigns) incl. 17991kHz C/S 6V10 QSO 6V11 etc… 6V18 QRK5/5 QRU? K
  • Central African Republic, Ministry of Interior (used C/S “130” simplex with “101” on 16301kHz 0639z

Russia sends some weather reports in Russian from the Naval Stations such as RCV. Much encrypted military traffic, a very active daily communication network around Russia.

China may have finally dropped 500kHz CW, and was one of the last to do so. There were still one or two, possibly three or four coastal stations using CW on other MF frequencies in recent years. CW appears to no longer be used on the HF Maritime bands, though in recent years it was still in use. Much military traffic can be heard around top end of 40m band in the evenings, recently heard 3 figure Chinese cut numbers on 7298kHz.

South Korea and Japan, the two most technologically advanced nations in Asia, and certainly more advanced than Australia (even China is more advanced than Australia), continue to use CW although only for a few fishing vessels. We keep hearing that CW marine radio is dead and gone, but that is not true, Japan and Korea, though in their own languages CW, continue to use it.

Israeli station 4XZ remains very active, with its characteristic “==” dah-di-di-di-dah dah-di-di-di-dah sending encrypted traffic. Some say it is a navy station, some say it is Mossad the intelligence agency with its motto “by way of deception”. It was active on many frequencies, including 7050kHz, HOURS AHEAD of, during and until just after the Paris terror attacks sending a large volume of urgent messages. As usual agencies seem to know of or be involved in such events.

Pakistan Navy was still to be heard on the 6MHz maritime mobile band, at least fairly recently, perhaps the last of the navies to send the traditional style tuning wheel, which now can otherwise only be heard from the South Korean stations HLW, HLO, HLF, HLG etc. Tune around 8, 12, 16, and/or 22 MHz marine bands and you will have no trouble hearing the Korean “wheels”, which are quite worn (holes in a tape presumably) as the automatic CW sent for tuning is no longer perfect, but still very readable.

Gone are the days when HF was full of signals from the ICRC, Interpol, police forces, militaries, navies, embassies, and others, but thanks especially to South Korea (I’ve heard them sending traffic lists, but haven’t listened long enough to hear any telegrams) and Japan (I’ve heard Japanese CW being sent to and from a Japanese ship), and the Indonesian and Russian authorities, CW is still in good use outside of the amateur radio bands with the latter two showing no signs of giving it up.

There are many in the west who regret the GMDSS having totally replaced CW and the Radio Officer, but money, expediency, profits and cost saving led to the demise of radio officers, like many other things in the west, without any union to defend them.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE



Service Radio Stations on HF

Dear Spraks,

while it seems MW and SW will be abandoned in future, our Russian friends seem to have intentions in opposite side than Western Countries considering the large territory of Russia and the easy and reliable way to communicate by radio from remote places…


The following clip has been recorded in Chukotka weather station Baimka while Radio Operator Selivanov Andrew transmits the WX data.





Russia regains control of radio facility in Cubas Lourdes base.

From the “Voice of Russia”

Russia has retrieved the main Soviet radio interception facility – the signals intelligence center in Cuban Lourdes, the Kommersant newspaper wrote on Wednesday. “The decision to return to Cuba can be explained by Russia’s long strengthened financial capabilities, as well as cooling of relations with the US,” sources in the Russian power structures said.




F/V “Ile de la Reunion” – FT5XT/MM

Dear Sparks,

OM Gildas BALANNEC (FT5XT/MM) is a fisherman now busy near Antarctic waters on board F/T “Ile de la Reunion”. He is often on 40 meters CW, today I have worked him on 7021.2 kHz at 16.48 UTC, the sunset is the best time for Europe to have a contact with him.


Gildas aka F4HQZ (ex TU5KG) is QRV from Austral lands under the call of FT5WQ and FT5XT for Crozet and Kerguelen for the area.
Most of the time will be QRV from the Maritime Mobile, but can be occasionally QRV from the Islands.


Hve a Gud Watch!




Navy Returns to Compasses and Pencils to Help Avoid Collisions at Sea

Dear Sparks,

follwoing articles from “The New York Times”…maybe one day HF and MF 500 kHz will come back on board ships?


WASHINGTON — Urgent new orders went out earlier this month for United States Navy warships that have been plagued by deadly mishaps this year.

More sleep and no more 100-hour workweeks for sailors. Ships steaming in crowded waters like those near Singapore and Tokyo will now broadcast their positions as do other vessels. And ships whose crews lack basic seamanship certification will probably stay in port until the problems are fixed.

All seemingly obvious standards, military officials say, except that the Navy only now is rushing the remedies into effect after two collisions in two months left 17 sailors dead, despite repeated warnings about the looming problems from congressional watchdogs and the Navy’s own experts dating to 2010.

“Many of the issues we’re discussing today have been known to Navy leaders for years. How do we explain that, Admiral?” Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, demanded of Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, at a hearing last week.

“Senator, there is no explanation,” Admiral Richardson said.

The orders issued recently by the Navy’s top officer for ships worldwide, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, drew on the lessons that commanders gleaned from a 24-hour fleetwide suspension of operations last month to examine basic seamanship, teamwork and other fundamental safety and operational standards.

Collectively, current and former officers said, the new rules mark several significant cultural shifts for the Navy’s tradition-bound fleets. At least for the moment, safety and maintenance are on par with operational security, and commanders are requiring sailors to use old-fashioned compasses, pencils and paper to help track potential hazards, as well as reducing a captain’s discretion to define what rules the watch team follows if the captain is not on the ship’s bridge.

“Rowden is stomping his foot and saying, ‘We’ve got to get back to basics,’” said Vice Adm. William Douglas Crowder, a retired commander of the Seventh Fleet and a former deputy chief of naval operations, who reviewed the four-page directive issued on Sept. 15, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. “We ought to be doing this anyhow.”

Admiral Richardson is expected to announce additional guidance to the Navy in the next several days that builds off Admiral Rowden’s directive. “We took some time to stop, take a break and review our fundamentals, to ensure that we’re operating safely and effectively and to correct any areas that required immediate attention,” Admiral Richardson told the senators last week.

The new orders come as the fallout continues from four Navy accidents in the western Pacific this year, including the two fatal crashes: the destroyer Fitzgerald colliding with a freighter near Tokyo in June, and a second destroyer, the John S. McCain, colliding with a tanker last month while approaching Singapore.

The commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott H. Swift, said this week that he would retire after being notified that he was no longer in the running to take charge of the Pentagon’s overall Pacific Command, which would oversee any military operations against North Korea.

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, the former head of the Seventh Fleet, based in Japan and the Navy’s largest overseas, was removed last month in connection with the accidents. And Admiral Rowden himself has also said he will retire early.

It has been a sobering time for commanders not just in the Seventh Fleet, which has been closely scrutinized, but also the Navy’s other fleets based overseas. They are all taking a hard look at how to balance their operational requirements against eroding training and maintenance standards.

“We found some things about risk that didn’t match what we thought, and we’re making changes in things we discovered,” Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, said in a telephone interview.

“When we have something like this happen, we do rigorous homework,” Admiral Donegan said. “We’re not standing fast.”

There is little argument, however, that a shrinking Navy is performing the same duties that a larger fleet did a decade ago, and that constant deployments leave little time to train and maintain ships amid their relentless duties.

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators during a hearing on Tuesday about his visit to the Navy destroyer Barry several months ago, and of his learning that the ship had been at sea for 70 percent of the past 12 months.

“When we go back now and we look at were they able to do all the training necessary, and what was their life like during those 12 months, 70 percent of the time underway is an unsustainable rate,” General Dunford said. “We’re going to have to make adjustments in the demand. That will incur managing operational and strategic risk, there’s no doubt.”

Many of the changes in Admiral Rowden’s order smack of simple common sense.

Hard to see and track electronically, naval vessels have long posed special perils to nighttime navigation. In addition to radar, all but the smallest commercial vessels use the so-called Automatic Identification Systems to broadcast information about their position, course and speed. Military vessels typically carry the systems but often turn them off because the captains do not want to reveal so much information. That will change under the new orders.

“Successful mission accomplishment cannot be our sole measure of effectiveness,” Admiral Rowden said in his directive. “We must take greater heed of the manning, maintenance, training and certification pillars that collectively foster success.”

Admiral Rowden also ordered standardized rules for watch teams on the bridge when the captain is not present; new reporting requirements for major equipment failures and near misses; and manually tracking vessels that come with 5,000 yards of a Navy ship to avoid collisions.

The Navy has allowed ships to rely on grueling watch schedules that leave captains and crews exhausted, even though the service ordered submarines to abandon similar schedules two years ago. A Government Accountability Office report from May said sailors were on duty up to 108 hours each week.

The new rules essentially will adopt studies by the Naval Postgraduate School to develop a shorter watch schedule to match circadian rhythms, which uses three hours of watch duty and nine hours off. Recognizing the benefits, the Navy ordered submarines to move to a similar schedule in 2015.

Senators harrumphed last week that sleep-deprived sailors presented an obvious problem begging for a solution. “If we know that somebody’s working a 100-hour workweek, I’m not sure we need a study,” Mr. McCain said acidly.