International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend – ILLW

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend – ILLW

3rd Full Weekend in August since 1998

00.01UTC 18 August to 2400UTC 19 August 2018 (48 hours)

For some reason or other August seems to have become the international weekend for lighthouses. Countries all over the world have become involved in one for or another of lighthouse activity. Some years ago the United States Congress declared August 7th as their National Lighthouse Day and during that first week in August amateur radio operators in America set up portable stations at lighthouses and endeavour to make contact with each other. This event is known as the US National Lighthouse Week.

In Britain the Association of Lighthouse Keepers, conducts International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend on the 3rd full weekend in August. Their objective is to encourage Lighthouse managers, keepers and owners to open their lighthouse or lightstation and related visitors centres to the public with a view to raising the profile of lighthouses, lightvessels and other navigational aids, and preserving our maritime heritage.

More on:

From Central Adriatic sea and only in CW mode our friend OM Dom c/s I6HWD will be active from San Benedetto del Tronto Lighthouse and below his QSL card.




JCROSS 2018 north pole

GM0HCQ/MM from Arctic waters

Dear Sparks,

our friend and colleague Mike GLOISTEIN is on board I/B James Clark Ross for summer scientific campaign in Arctic waters, often active on HF bands, today PSN 76°N 26°E. When active Mike sends spots on DX Cluster.

Below some datails:

The RRS James Clark Ross departed Tromso,  Norway,  on the morning of Tuesday 10th July and has headed north for the final section of the Arctic summer on cruise JR17007.

Now the ship is outside of the communications satellite and so there will be no further updates.

The ultimate goal of the Changing Arctic Ocean programme is to generate a better understanding of the Arctic so computer models can more accurately predict future change to the environment and the ecosystem. Within the programme there are 16 projects with more than 170 scientists combined, from 32 German and UK research institutes. The programme’s scientists are working closely with Arctic teams in 15 other countries, particularly Norway, Canada and South Korea, to meet the programme’s objectives. The outcomes of the programme will contribute to improving predictions of change in the Arctic of benefit to decision making at levels ranging from indigenous populations to international policy.

more info on:

73’s es GW





Dear friends,

in the August start the expedition to North Pole from a ARMI member (IU5KUH) with her sailing ship MELORIA (or another sailing ship) from WAF (World Arctic Fund) a ONG from Berlin (Germany).

ARMI are the sponsor for this activation. Simone, IU5KUH will be operative in 20, 30, 40 meter in SSB, CW and PSK.
The special call-sign is II0PN (INDIA INDIA ZERO PAPA NOVEMBER) and trasmitting from maritime mobile with ICOM IC 7300, tuner AH-4 and a vertical TAGRA nautical antenna.

He will be in the Arctic area for the entire month of August and will begin his return in early September, touching the island of the Bears, the port of Oslo (Norway) and finally Rostok in Germany (ports may vary depending on the weather situation ).
I’m attaching an information in PDF from the “Bollettino dei Marinai” the official journal of ARMI.
We are preparing a web page on our site, where you will enter all the information to connect Simone and a guest book where all those who will connect Simone can post a personal message !!
At the end of the mission, a special QSL will be prepared which will be sent to all those who request it.
This activity is part of the project “90th anniversary of the expedition of Umberto Nobile with the Airship Italy” and the call-sign is “II0PN/mm” has been included among the many special stations that can be connected to receive the awards.

I kindly ask you to inform all your members about this activity! I also ask you to communicate with Simone because from those latitudes it is difficult to use other communication systems other than shortwave radio.
Simone will always be in radio contact and will be available to any amateur radio operator. Please communicate to all your members,
any communication intercepted or communicated by Simone to send it via email to this address or to write it in the logbook on the website of our ARMI website (page II0PN/mm).

It is very important to know the position of the ship and any information that Simone can communicate with the OMs.

Turn this information on, if you can, in the forums or in the radio amateur newspapers!

Thank you and I remain at your disposal for any information you want to receive!

A cordial greeting and see you soon!



Alberto Mattei, IT9MRM – W9MRM

Stephens-Whittington-JUN18 pic 1

Bringing Communications Back Down to Earth

Source:  June 1, 2018

By Kurt Stephens and Bill Whittington

High frequency radios can bridge a beyond-line-of-sight gap during operations in contested environments.

With the development and fielding of satellite communications throughout the U.S. military, today’s warfighters rarely use high frequency communications within and between units. International events have increased interest in high frequency communications as an alternative to connecting via satellites on current and future battlefields. U.S. military units already own a large amount of the radio equipment suitable for employment at various levels of the battlefield and for humanitarian relief as a redundant means of beyond-line-of-sight communications.

Prior to the advent of tactical satellite communications (SATCOM), high frequency (HF) radios were the prevalent communications method. Beyond-line-of-sight communications of voice or data has always been a challenge for fixed station, mobile and deployed warfighters as well as first responders. As SATCOM developed, however, it quickly became the preferred long-distance backbone of most voice and data transmissions. As the use of HF seriously declined, equipment was left on the shelf and training all but halted.

The advantages of satellite communications are well known, but the disadvantages are rarely noted. In any communications scenario, a redundant capability to transmit and receive messages beyond line of sight is a necessity for leaders who insist on covering all avenues for success. In addition, today’s warfighter is being challenged with satellite-denied environments.

Because HF has been relegated to a lower priority tier of training and deployment, the skills necessary for its successful use gradually have eroded. Understanding signal propagation and techniques of antenna employment have faded, as has the functional use of existing HF radios. Simultaneously, the cadre of experienced HF instructors has retired and hasn’t been replaced, resulting in a lack of genuinely experienced personnel with a strong background in the use of high frequency equipment throughout the armed services.

When environmental elements such as weather or terrain eliminate or degrade SATCOM as an option, warfighters must be well trained to use other methods of communication. Redundancy is still a key to success when requirements exceed the capabilities of a single method of communications. The capability to continue to communicate despite limitations provides an advantage over less prepared operational forces or governments.

The number of satellites available to handle communication requirements limits the use of SATCOM. During conflicts, military satellites are augmented by commercial satellites, which are more vulnerable to interference. In a contested environment, the demand for SATCOM often exceeds the supply, so an access priority system is established.

This is not the case for HF communications methods, which do not require prioritizing; only additional or an alternate set of frequencies or networks to facilitate communications are needed. Proper use of HF will alleviate the demands on SATCOM and supplement connections. However, good spectrum management is still needed.

Relying heavily on SATCOM also poses other challenges. The majority of today’s satellites are commercially owned, and all satellites are susceptible to jamming, eavesdropping, hijacking, antisatellite weapons, electromagnetic pulses, cyber or infrastructure attacks, and spoofing by either friend or foe. As a result, warfighters must be prepared to put an HF network into operation quickly as a redundant, or in some cases primary, communications method.

In addition to electronic warfare and cyber attacks, rugged terrain, foliage and unpredictable weather patterns can inhibit signals, causing them to be intermittent or even blocked. HF can overcome difficult terrain issues by configuring an antenna system that utilizes the technique of near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) propagation. This technique is specifically used for close communications within a range of up to approximately 600 miles, particularly in mountainous or jungle terrain. NVIS typically uses frequencies between 2 megahertz and 10 megahertz (MHz). Although weather and the environment can increase local noise levels on HF to varying degrees depending on the areas of the spectrum used, today’s radios have better noise filtering and error correction than past equipment.

For the military, HF has often been considered difficult and less than reliable. Many tactical commanders do not want to deal with what they perceive as a static-ridden, signal-fading, multiple-interference and sunspot-affected frequency band. However, technical advances have corrected many of these issues. For example, automated link establishment is one of the most significant improvements because it enables the radio to find the best signal path between stations for existing and changing conditions automatically. Vocoder technology, among other improvements, can virtually eliminate background noise.

U.S. government and military organizations own a tremendous amount of spectrum that falls into the high frequency range of 2 MHz to 30 MHz. Consequently, the newest wideband technologies can provide larger slices of bandwidth that can be used by HF radios at a much higher level of data throughput than previously available. Limited fielding of this capability is underway.

Other technical advances in high frequency communications include embedded encryption, advanced algorithms, frequency hopping and wideband operation. In addition, recent developments in engineering comprising silicon carbide and gallium nitride integrated circuit materials can handle more power in smaller packages and are more compatible over a wider frequency range, and improved antennas enable connection at lower power ratings, saving critical battery life.

Other advances include radios that operate in low probability of intercept/low probability of detection modes at very low power settings and often below the noise floor. HF equipment can be easily cross-banded to other radio platforms with plug-and-play devices. This includes HF to SATCOM to very high frequency, ultrahigh frequency, Wi-Fi, cellphones, landline and even two-way handheld radios. This capability extends the range of line-of-sight radio equipment to hundreds or thousands of miles, including beyond line of sight.

Position reporting via HF has been used for many years. In addition, the equipment can be used to interact with international allies, local or regional friendly forces, and first responders who have little or no SATCOM capabilities.

Advances in military antenna designs have improved communications and are adaptable to any mode of radio equipment. Antennas that comply with size, weight and performance requirements are available with lightweight rollup masts for easy transport as well as rapid setup and recovery by warfighters.

The path forward for the military to enhance operations in a contested environment or to rebuild a redundant method of beyond-line-of-sight communications is to capitalize on existing resources and reintroduce HF radio and antenna employment training into a working level of knowledge for the operators.

WO-4 Kurt Stephens, USCG (Ret.), is the CEO and technical director for White Wolf Systems, and Lt. Col. Bill Whittington, USA (Ret.), is the senior marketing director for the company.