Special activation on HF by U.S. NAVAL RADIO STATION

Dear Sparks,

below the schedule of US Naval Radio Station for operation cross band with radio amateurs in the occasion of the 100th Year Anniversary. Read carefully and good luck!

NSS station

Best Rgds,



Spy ships during the Cold War

In the picture the Soviet spy ship “LINZA”

Main source: wikipedia

Dear Sparks,

after a small research a short article about the history of spy ships during the period of the Cold War.

Spy ships in the modern sense have been used at least since the early Cold War, and they are in use by all major powers. Their uses, in addition to listening in on communications and spy on enemy fleet movements, were to monitor nuclear tests and missile launches (especially of potential ICBMs).

One of the most important functions for both Cold War spy ship fleets, especially in the 1960s, was the gathering of submarine “signatures” – the patterns of noise that could often identify the specific type of submarine and were thus valuable in anti-submarine warfare. During that era, the United States fielded about 80 vessels, usually classified as “environmental research” craft, while the Soviet Union had around 60 ships, often converted trawlers or hydrographic research ships.

In the late 1980s, the Soviet fisheries fleet was known for having equipped many of their thousands of ships with sophisticated SIGINT and ELINT equipment, thus functioning as auxiliary spy ships tracking western naval vessels and electronic communications (though their main function remained commercial fishing).

A spy ship usually stays in international waters (or at least outside territorial waters), so as to not violate territorial borders. From there, it will use its electronic equipment to monitor sea and air traffic, radio and radar frequencies and also try to intercept and decrypt coded radio or phone communications. This is mostly done via passive means such as radio receivers or passive sonar.

Tracking vessels for space missions/control stations for satellites/spy satellites also have some of the capabilities of spy ships, and as they are controlled by their national governments, they are also intermittently used for similar purposes, such as tracking enemy missile tests.

Soviet AGI trawlers

As the United States Navy began deploying ballistic missile submarines in 1960, the Soviet Union attempted to obtain more information about the capabilities of the UGM-27 Polaris missile and the locations of the submarines capable of launching them. While the Soviet Navy requested more sophisticated ships, they were allocated trawlers (called tral’shchiki) from the fishing fleet equipped with more sophisticated sensors and communication equipment. Very capable crews were assigned to these little trawlers of unremarkable appearance, and they were assigned to patrol stations off United States naval bases to photograph and report arrival and departure of United States warships and auxiliaries. Other trawlers of similar appearance would patrol weapons firing ranges used by the United States Navy to observe practice firings of modern weapons and record the acoustic and/or electromagnetic signature of the sonar, search radar, fire-control radar, guidance, and/or command electronics of each weapons system. The United States Navy officially designated these trawlers as Auxiliary, General Intelligence or AGI, and they were informally known as “tattletales”.

An AGI might be assigned to a single patrol station for as long as six months before being relieved by a similar AGI. These AGIs were not fast enough to keep up with most warships, but they sometimes congregated around aircraft carriers conducting air operations of the United States Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean or United States Seventh Fleet in the western Pacific Ocean, or in suspected patrol areas of ballistic missile submarines. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized a counter AGI program for United States destroyers to come alongside the AGIs to push against them, foul their screws with steel nets, and focus high power electromagnetic transmitters to burn out the amplifying circuitry of their electronic sensors. The AGI crews then revealed their ship-handling skills using superior maneuverability to evade the destroyers’ intentions. This jousting in international waters continued until signing of the U.S.–Soviet Incidents at Sea agreement in 1972.

Best rgds,



EXPEDITION NORTH POLE “Spedizione Comandante Simone Orlandini” callsign IQ9MQ/MM

Dear Sparks,

please read carefully the following News about the Expedition to North Pole by Italian Navy, according to last info received, Captain Orlandini will mantain daily radio watches as follow (except when in ports):

Callsign IQ9MQ/MM

From 07.00 UTC up to 16.00 UTC on 14300.0 kHz USB

From 16.01 UTC up to 06.59 UTC on 7183.0 kHz LSB

No CW activity

While writing this post the S/V MELORIA is sailing between Brest to the Ile of Wight.


The communications on this expedition will be fundamental, as besides letting the entire world of the radio know the activity we are going to carry out, we will be constantly in contact with various Italian radio operators who will support us during the outward and return journey.

We will establish radio contacts in short waves and we will have the opportunity to make ourselves heard all over the globe supported by the Radio Amateurs of the A.R.M.I., an association that counts thousands amateur radio operators in Italy and in the world.

This is similar to what was done in 1928 between the ship of the Royal Navy “Citta di Milano” IGJ (ship used for the radiotelegraphic support to the dirigible ITALY) that kept the radio contacts in short waves, with the radiotelegraphic station of the Royal Navy Rome-San Paolo (IDO) and the airship ITALY.

Now modern means are avant-garde and allow us real-time communications with totally different emission modes since then. The equipment is very low, for example we will use an ICOM transceiver an IC-7300 with a radiating power of 100 watts, and a myriad of functionalities, from digital communications to those in voice or in clamps.

Our transceiver is very compact and not bulky, about 25 cm wide, just under 10 cm high and 23 cm deep, imagine that ONDINA the transceiver used by Biagi to send the emergency call (SOS) from the Red Tent from similar dimensions to a wooden trunk.

The antenna that we will use on board is a vertical glass fiber resistant to wind and cold icy Arctic, is 7.50 meters long and is functional across the spectrum of HF (1.3 to 30 MHz) .

The radio contacts with our station on board the Meloria, will be confirmed by cards called QSL which in radioamateur jargon means “confirmation of radio contact” and will be sent to all the amateur radio operators who will have connected us. It’s a way to get a confirmation from these polar latitudes that unfortunately they are not inhabited by any amateur radio





Special activation: GB4AMT – HMS Amethyst

Dear Sparks,

following information coming from M1EDF OM Geoff Powell

on the 20th of April until the 17 May I am doing a special event on the Yangtze incident.. the call will be GB4AMT standing for HMS Amethyst


In April 1949 the Chinese people liberation army swept across the Yangte river  against the government of Chiang Kai-Shek.. The Royal navy frigate HMS Amethyst became involved whilst on a routine mission to Nanking with supplies to the British Embassy,and for a change over with HMS Consort, She was driven ashoreby heavy gun fire from the bank, hit 53 times with 23 deaths including the commander HMS London, Black Swan, and Consort went to her rescue but sustained casualties ,

After four months stuck on the mud she made a break for it at night in July by following a Merchant ship called the Kiang Ling140 miles down the Yangtze to escape to open waters at Woosung .. ” The Yangtze Incident “” A lot of Telegraphy in it really great film.. Best wishes Geoff…

Below a clips of the movie “The Yangtze inident” at the end of the clip some radiotelegraph communications



Rogaland radio, 1974 5

Norwegian radio maritime mobile service

Article by former Radio Officer M.M. (Norway)

Bergen and Rogaland Radio they were both national shortwave radio stations for service to approx. 3000 Norwegian ships (manned by 60.000 men) running between countries all over the world. The ships were built far away, and 95 percent of them never entered a Norwegian port. The sailors had two-year contract before free travel home.


Bergen Radio

So, first Bergen Radio for many years, and then Rogaland Radio – near Stavanger, a little farther south – were very important links between the ships and their shipping companies – and between the sailors and their families back home.

These stations were intended to serve big ships far out in the world, whereas a number of coastal radio stations served the local fishing fleet without a radio officer on board – mainly using the radio telephone frequencies – 2182 kHz and the band of 3 MHz

Kristiansund radio

Kristiansund Radio

Tjome Radio 3 1965

Tjome Radio

Radio officers were trained at a number of Merchant Navy Colleges,  in one-year courses with Morse Code, Radio Theory etc. – basically for Certificate 2nd Class. Most ships had only one radio officer, going eight-hour watches and using automatic distress signal apparatus as support.

Radio officers started out with one gold stripe, then earning two stripes after one year. Three stripes were only for leading radio officer on large passenger ships with more than one radio officer and day-and-night watch.

Monthly pay was comparable to mate of same rank. It was possible to save money because room and board was free, of course. One friend of mine borrowed money in the bank and had a house built for him and his coming wife, while he himself sailed for several years – between US West coast and islands in the south Pacific – until the house had been fully paid down.



6 flaws that expose the maritime sector to cyberattacks

security flaws

The maritime sector is particularly vulnerable to threats from cyberattacks on its operational technology (OT), largely because of the recent profound digital transformation it has undergone. However, exactly how vulnerable is this sector? Let’s take a closer look at the 6 main cybersecurity flaws of maritime transport.

The 6 cybersecurity flaws of maritime transport

Flaw #1: The cargo management system

The cargo management system is relying more and more on digital processes. The cargo control room and its material as well as systems for the remote control of sluice gates, for ballast water management and liquefaction of gases, all benefit from advances in digital technology. They have also inherited the flaws that come with digitization and, like all IT systems, are susceptible to cyberattacks.

Flaw #2: Navigation tools

Navigation relies on a large range of parameters, each one managed by a different system: dynamic positioning, visualization of electronic navigational charts, distress safety system (GMDSS), radars… Furthermore, unconnected gateways are vulnerable to viruses imported from peripheral storage systems such as USB falsh drives, external hard drives… A cyberattack can distort the transmission of information or render navigation tools (AIS, radar, etc.) unavailable.

Flaw #3: Control systems for the engine room

Systems managing propulsion and the operation of machines (energy control system, engine regulator, etc), the integrated control system and the alarm and emergency systems are all entry points for cyberattacks. These attacks can leave a ship stranded at sea, cause a ship to break down or even threaten its safety.

Flaw #4: Access control systems

Surveillance systems (closed-circuit television networks), bridge navigational watch alarm systems, ship security alert systems (SSAS) and even the electronic systems of on-board personnel all need to be protected and segregated in order to guarantee security. If this is not put into place, the systems could be vulnerable to attacks from ransomware (such as Petya or Wannacry) or from worms.

Flaw #5: WiFi

Public networks for passenger use (entertainment, LAN network, communications) are extremely sensitive access points. In order to guarantee the security of these systems, public networks “for enjoyment” must be 100% contained.

Flaw #6: On-board computers

On-board computers are comprised of passenger management systems, (management of goods, ship boarding access, identification systems), basic IT infrastructure (routers, firewalls, VPN, VLAN, etc.), as well as administration systems and entertainment systems for crew members. Cybersecurity on these systems must be able to prevent intrusions. These different systems must be contained.

In order to ensure the security of their networks, passengers, cargo and even the conditions of their ships, maritime companies must become aware of the flaws they are exposed to so they can implement the necessary protections. These industries must contain their different networks and equip themselves with high-performance cybersecurity systems. To provide a solution to cyber risks, the NIST standard recommends a 5-prong approach: identification of risks, protection, detection, response, and system recovery.

Source: https://www.sentryo.net on date 5 October 2017

The Lloyds and Maritime Communications

Dear Sparks,

from the Lloyds to Portishead Radio on the video below, enjoy our past!

Best regards,



Radio room M/V Samuel L. Cobb

Dear Sparks,

below few seconds in the radio room of US M/V Samuel L. Cobb.. enjoy the video.





Dear Sparks,

our friend OM Geoff POWELL – M1EDF –  from England had some correspondance with OM Zele on board M/V SIDER MOMPOX and reported me the following maritime mobile activity;

Hello Geoff,
thanks for all QSO and your QSL card. I receive your lettet but have not time to answer, i will do when I next time be at home.
Now I am on other vessel, Sider Mompox, in this moment in Barraquilla, Colombia. For few days we sailing to Turkey and I will be on the air again, so maybe catch you again

Best 73’s de Zele YU2AX/mm

Good Watch,



Italian Royal Navy Award 1918-2018 (First World War)


A bit of history
During the First World War several naval operations were carried out in the Adriatic Sea, which began with the declaration of war between France and the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 11 August 1914. With the immediate blockade of the Canal d’Otranto by the French navy, in which even the Royal Navy units participated, the Austro-Hungarian naval forces were forced to operate only within the waters of the Adriatic, without being able to carry out long-range actions within the Mediterranean Sea for reaching and potecting their ports, shipyards and naval divisions with enemy numerical superiority.

Initially the weight of the allied operations fell on the French navy; Italy at the outbreak of the conflict had declared its neutrality, while the United Kingdom was engaged against the Kaiserliche Marine in the North Sea and in the escort to mercantile traffic in the Mediterranean. At the same time the kuk Kriegsmarine carried out mainly disturbing actions by submarines and light ships, using U-Boot supplied by the German ally since August 1914, which operated with base in the port of Pula under the Austro-Hungarian flag. The situation changed on May 23, 1915, the day on which Italy (in compliance with the commitments made with the London agreement) declared war on Austria-Hungary. The Royal Navy soon took on the burden of undertaking and managing the war on the Adriatic front throughout the course of the conflict.

The confrontation immediately left ample space for submarines’ ambushes, for the air companies and later for the bold incursions of the assault vehicles such as the MAS. The two opposing supreme commanders, Admiral Paul Thaon of Revel and Admiral Anton Haus (later replaced by Maximilian Njegovan and then by Miklós Horthy) did not want to risk the large battleships in narrow water, instead focusing on rapid attacks on the block of the main airports and the strategy of the “fleet in power”; a setting to which the Austro-Hungarians in particular abide. The operations did not see a clear dominance of one of the contenders and ended with the entry into force of the Villa Giusti armistice on November 4, 1918, the day in which the Royal Navy completed or put in place a series of amphibious occupations of major cities coastal enemy.

The recurrence of the Centenary of the Great War allowed many associations that took part in commemorating the most important historical milestones. Even ARMI did not want to be less and immediately set to work to create the diploma ” The Royal Navy in the Great War “.


The Diploma is dedicated to the Royal Navy during the Great War (1915-1918). It is represented in three versions ” Bronze 100 – Silver 200 – Gold 300 “; the layout of the three diplomas is the same and the north-eastern part of Italy is represented and mainly that of the Adriatic Sea. Depicting a young Italy and on the right a coffa of a ship with the flag of Regia Marina. The diplomas in the three versions are different and represent three great admirals of the period with three naval symbols. The diploma ” Bronze 100 ” depicts Admiral Luigi Rizzo, and a MAS, a boat used by the hero to sink the Corazzata Wien into the Buccari outlet. The ” Argento 200 ” diploma represents Admiral Diego Simonetti and a naval unit of that time. The ” Gold 300 ” diploma depicts Admiral Paolo Emilio Thaon of Ravel (Chief of Naval Staff and Commander in Chief of Naval Forces) with a naval cannon.

The Diploma is achievable by all the OM and SWL of the world.

The period of the activity is announced from 1 January to 11 November 2018 ( 11 November 1918 is the date on which the First World War ended).


All stations not registered with ARMI are worth 1 point.

All ARMI stations that are not accredited are worth the following score:
SSB: 2 points
DIGI: 3 points
CW: 5 points

Accredited ARMI stations:
All radio amateurs belonging to ARMI can operate, they can operate with their own station name, it is enough to accredit themselves by sending an email to the national office info@assoradiomarinai.it
The name of the station will be credited and will appear in the official list on the ARMI site marked by a suffix in the balance that will correspond to a ship of the Royal Navy.

IT9M RM – RM – Battleship R egina M argherita

The suffix is roughly associated with your name; where it can not be associated with a ballot equal to one’s own name, one will be assigned to an office.

The ships and submarines (not including the minor fleet) of the Regia Marina during the Great War were in all 131, so hypothetically only 131 operators can participate.

The accredited stations are worth the following score in all ways:
SSB / DIGI / CW: 10 points

Wildcard ARMS stations:
The accredited Jolly stations are all IQ stations registered at ARMI, they will be assigned a trilict suffix and the name of an Admiral of the Royal Navy during the Great War (the three-letter suffix always begins with the letter A – Admiral) .

IQ9MQ – AAAA mmiraglio A ugusto A ubry

The Jolly stations are worth the following score in all ways:
SSB / DIGI / CW: 15 points

Super Jolly station:
It is a station operating throughout the period with a special name:


(World War I)

The Super Jolly station is worth the following score in all ways:
SSB / DIGI / CW: 25 points

[ CLICK HERE to view the official list]

All stations can only be connected once for each individual emission MODES (SSB-CW-DIGI) for the entire period of the event. The connections in the digital mode are valid only for a mode of the two provided.

All connections made during the naval contest period (IT NAVY COASTAL – IT NAVY SHIPS) are not valid!

The following modes are allowed: CW – SSB – DIGI (PSK – RTTY)

All HF bands, according to the IARU Band Plan

There are four classes:

Bronze: 100 points; (at least one Jolly station and a Super Jolly station)

Silver: 200 points; (at least two Jolly stations and a Super Jolly station)

Gold: 300 points; (at least three Jolly stations and a Super Jolly station)

Top Honor Plaque: 1000 points (at least four Jolly stations and one Super Jolly station).

The call will be as follows:




The non-accredited ARMI Stations will pass the RST reports followed by the registration number (MI #) .

The accredited ARMI stations will pass the RST reports followed by the assigned ballot .

The JOLLY (IQ) stations will pass the RST ratios followed by the assigned trilogy .

The SUPER JOLLY station will only pass the RST report.

All the stations that will log the connection with the accredited stations, Jolly and Super Jolly stations will receive the diplomas in JPG format based on the requests received. The Diplomas will all be free .

For the request of the ” Top Honor Plaque ” a flat-rate charge of € 35 is foreseen.

The Italian stations that wish it, can send the contribution for the Top Honor Plaque through the following ways:

– via “POSTEPAY” 4023600645946759 in the name of Mattei Alberto;

– via “PAYPAL” at the following address it9mrm@gmail.com

– BANK TRANSFER: IBAN IT46V0200884625000103416422 c / o UNICREDIT branch of Augusta.

The Diploma will be requested from the National Award Manager:

IT9MRM Alberto Mattei – Via E. Millo, 20 – 96011 Augusta (SR) – Italy –

e-mail: info@assoradiomarinai.it

They must be in ADIF / CBR / TXT / DOC / XLS format.

The use of any electronic log is allowed.

Those who wish can use the Electronic Sheet ( RegiaMarinaLog ) for the management of connections (including the ARMI database).
You can download it from this link -> [ click here ]

Requests for the diploma must be received no later than 31. 12. 2018 .

The Diplomas (Bronze – Silver – Gold):