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 ii0pn@assoradiomarinai.it 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


https://www.afcea.org  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.


Event for Italian Coast Radio Station “TRAPANI RADIO” c/s IQM

Dear Sparks,

I report below the News about the coming activation with special callsign of the Italian Coast Radio Station TRAPANI RADIO.

The U.R.I. (Italian Radioamateur Association) club of Trapani to celebrate the history of TRAPAI RADIO/IQM will acivate special callsign II9IQM from the 23rd until 30th June.

The history of TRAPANI RADIO c/s IQM

It is assumed that in the first decade of the last century, a group of private individuals set up in this city a center for maritime commercial radio communications, which acted as a bridge between the mainland and ships in transit in the sea spectrum in front of northwestern Sicily . The first location was installed near the industrial area, on the turret where the Licari company stands today. Towards the Fascist period the coastal station was transferred to the Villa Nasi in the Lazzaretto area, and subsequently absorbed by the Ministry of Post and Telegraphic and Telephone Communications, with an allocation placed in the same central office within the Post Office building, still functioning today. The coastal station of Trapani radio, international callsign India Quebec Mike; after the last world war, he had his final arrangement in the Ronciglio area, as shown in the photo above the article, until the termination of the service, which took place in December 1993, when the administration passed to the Telecom group Italy, and therefore the suppression of the analog system replaced by the automated one. All the radio operators, employees of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, were transferred to the post offices with the duties of the desk clerk. For about 70 years, during the existence of the coastal station, had all its professional splendor, thanks to the ability of the staff in service, which guaranteed 24 hours the safety and the safety of human life at sea, on frequencies and on pre-established bands assigned by the International Telecommunications Union. It carried out radio traffic in VHF on channel 16 (corresponding frequency 156,800 MHZ) for emergency assistance (MAY PAN) and security (SECURITE ‘) assistance while carrying out commercial traffic on channel 25, (corresponding frequency 161.850 MHZ) to carry out requests for radiotelephony conversations to and from ships in transit within a radius of about 100 nautical miles. The coastal station, at certain pre-established times, in principle 3 times a day, spread the weather report, notice to sailors and storms, dictation radiotelegrams, and became the protagonist during the rescue operations to ships in difficulty, often entered in operational support to the Port Authority, through the repetition of messages in order to make communication more efficient, having a strategic geographical location. The same service was carried out on the medium wave band, on the international call and distress frequency 2182 KHZ and on the working frequency 1848 KHZ, a frequency that today falls within the band portion assigned for amateur radio activity. The medium waves (1605 khz 4000 khz) covered considerable distances; usually a ship when it lapped the shores of Gibraltar, was certain to be heard, the same if the ship was on the opposite side of the Mediterranean, once crossed the coasts of Greece, at the height of the island of Zakynthos, was able to carry out the radiotelephone service in stock directed towards crew members. 25 years have passed since its definitive closure, to us local radio-amateurs, the pride of organizing a worthy commemoration, reporting the city of Trapani, at the dawn of a time now buried in oblivion, in order to make echoing, at least the knowledge in citizens, that the coastal station of Trapani radio, carried out a benevolent service, and is to be counted in history, among the important things lived, which can be placed on the patrimony and heritage of humanity.
Sec. U.R.I. IQ9QV

Following photoes source: http://www.linoesposito.it/miscradio_it.php

Trapani Radio / IQM





Coltano Radio…a dream is becoming reality

Dear Sparks,

the first international radio center built in Italy by Guglielmo MARCONI has been COLTANO RADIO, it was a multifunctional radio center served the fixed radiotelegraphic service and the beginning of radiocommunications at sea. Coltano is located near the famous town of Pisa well known for the “miracles square”. Unfortunately since the end of the II WW the structures existing in the old radio center and the antenna systems have been completely abandoned. After big pressures arrived to the Government several months ago the big project for recovering the Radio Center started, the BIGGEST SOS has been launched by Pincess Elettra who expressed Her regrets for the conditions of Coltano where Her father built the first Italian International Radio Station.

Below some videos about this story:




Troubling US Navy review finds widespread shortfalls in basic seamanship


 Source: www.defensenews.com  article by

WASHINGTON — A three-month internal review conducted by senior U.S. surface fleet leaders found some or significant concerns with the ship handling skills of nearly 85 percent of its junior officers, and that many struggled to react decisively to extricate their ship from danger when there was an immediate risk of collision, according to an internal message obtained by Defense News.

Led by the Surface Warfare Officer School, officer of the deck competency checks were conducted on a random selection of OOD-qualified first-tour division officers (the newest officers in the fleet) in underway bridge navigation simulators fleet-wide between January and March. Of the 164 officers who were evaluated, only 27 passed with “no concerns.” Another 108 completed with “some concerns,” and 29 had “significant concerns,” according to the message, which was released by the Navy’s top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Richard Brown.

Brown, who leads Naval Surface Force Pacific, termed the results “sobering.”

The evaluations raise distressing questions about the level of ship handling training junior officers get both prior to their arrival at their first command and when they arrive. In a Tuesday interview with Defense News at the Pentagon, Brown said the checks would be used to inform new training in development for young officers and that changes were already underway that show the Navy is serious about self-assessment and improvement in the wake of the twin disasters that claimed the lives of 17 sailors last summer.

more on: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/06/06/troubling-us-navy-review-finds-widespread-shortfalls-in-basic-seamanship/


Special Event callsigns GB0GKA, GB0GKB and GB0GKC

From Radio Officer Larry BENNET:

The special event callsigns GB0GKA, GB0GKB and GB0GKC will be active during July.

The stations commemorate 90 years since the establishment of Portishead Radio, which commenced operations in July 1928 when the UK’s GPO (General Post Office) moved their HF maritime transmitter site from Devizes to Portishead.

The three stations will be operated by ex-GKA Radio Officers from the following locations:

GB0GKA – Tiverton, Devon from the QTH of Tony/G3ZRJ

GB0GKB – Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset from the QTH of Larry/G4HLN

GB0GKC – Weston-super-Mare from the QTH of Pete/G3TJE

Further details will be available during June.



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