Fifth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 23:23:48 +0200)

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Morse Stations

by Guy Denman

I have been trying out some of the morse practise programs, that Ary mentioned last month. The one that was mentioned Numorse 4 is very good, but I have found an even better one, MRX, the file is mrx_win.exe and can be obtained from this site. The advantage of MRX is that you can practise receive with figures only, which is the main requirement for numbers stations. Numorse does not have that facility which I think is a drawback.

(You must have overlooked this option, Guy. You can use your own ASCII files -e.g. dumps from numbers stations- and play them in NuMorse. To achieve this, you have to go to 'FILE' and open the file. Now click on 'PLAY', then click on 'continuous' and 'serial' and click on 'play' to start. NuMorse will now play your file. Or, if you don't wanna use files you can force NuMorse to generate only numbers by clicking on Settings/ Filters/Numbers. -Ary-)

If any of you have tried any of the training programs, or know of any others that are good, I would be very pleased to have your comments. I still seem to have very little interest in this column, I thought that the large number of morse logs in the last newsletter might persuaded some of you to have a go at learning morse.

I have been wondering how those of you in the USA get on with copying the morse stations. I have one listener who listens every weekend, but so far he has not been able to copy anything.

Are there any others of you are able to copy any of those stations. I realise it must be very frustrating to know that there are a lot of stations on that are not audible in the USA. The same applies to us in Europe, when the FAPSI RTTY stations are mentioned, I have yet to hear one of them. Hopefully with the increased sunspot cycle, possibly conditions might improve and let you hear some of them. I have seen a log recently on WUN from Canada, reporting an M12, so some of them can be hear over there. I have also tested out that Web radio that was mentioned on Spooks. There seems to be one major problem with it as it allows 5 persons to use 1 receiver at the same time, which to me seems very confusing. I did also try it when I was the only one using it, I tried to tune it to some very strong signals that I was listening to on my own receiver, but I was unable to hear any of them.


To continue with the profile of a few more stations.....

M23

Mode ICW. Another strange station always changing times and frequencies. Can use 2, 3 or 5 figure identical IDs. Or strings of dots, Vs or Is, and no figures.

ID variants, 2 figure even/odd, 3 figure even/odd, 3 zeros, 5 zeros, 5 fives, 5 ones, etc, Vs with gap every half minute, Is with gap every half minute, Continuous Vs, continuous Is. In some cases of 3 figure IDs if all figures are odd there is no message, if even, there will be a message sent. They do have one regular transmission, that has been going now for 19 months. It is on daily at 0800 and 1400. 2 frequencies used at same time 8307 and 9285. It just sends the ID 579 for 10 minutes. When they do send a message they use long zeros and the format is

Call Preamble Message Repeat Ending
00000 R3 to 20 = 33 33 = 33x5f = IMI IMI = 33 33 = =

First and last groups are normally the same. Not all groups are random.

One frequency that has seen regular use is 6999 at 1100. Another in use at present, April 1998 is 7795 at 1500. Usually sends long messages. Is still on this frequency in July repeating the same messages from April. Has now in August started sending a new message. Many variants on this theme, some EG all 3 fig groups are 2 parallel frequencies, others not.

Frequencies used to date:
3380 4767 4825 4893 5019 5180 5349 5540 6525 5550 5665 6290 6520 6560 6870 6918 6928 6999 7647 7520 7850 7795 8307 9285 10775 11346

More about M23 to be found in Newsletter 8.

M24

Modes ICW, MCW, MCW CC. The same format as M14 except that the 5 zeros at the end are sent spaced out, and the whole transmission is sent at high speed. Usually 40 WPM.

Sometimes sends very long messages. Longest so far is 431 groups which took 45 minutes to send. Has been noted to be back on same frequencies and times as in 1997. Not very easy to find as it changes frequency often, and can be on at any time in the hour.

Any reports of this station appreciated.

See also Newsletter 34.

M26 ('98')

The station transmits irregularly with a speed of 10 WPM, and can easily be recognized because of its typical messages. The messages mostly start with '98' but other numbers were also copied, most of them in the 90's.

Format: 98 + several 5FG, continually. The first groups in the various messages often start with the same figure(s), e.g.

98 12744 13111 11111

98 07802 13111 11111

98 04742 11111 11111

The final group is almost always 11111, but other groups of the same figures have been noted (55555 and 22222).

Sometimes the station sends '98 98 98' for hours.

Speed: 10 WPM.

Freqs: 2379 3153 3146 3159 4439 4442 4445 5171 5196 kHz often on two parallel frequencies.

Note: the station hasn't been logged for well over a year.

See also Newsletter 8.

M29

Mode ICW. VDE Has three formats, the first M29a, is in regular use each day. Another is not heard as often but when it is can send several messages over a period of time, changing frequency each time. The first format transmits on the same frequency for 1 month and trans mits the same message for one week. The messages are usually 10 to 14 groups. Although the message is changed each week quite a lot of the same groups appear in many messages. Although the call is VVVx2 the rhythm of sending is unmistakable. Speed 12 WPM.

It favours frequencies in the lower part of the band from 3 to 6 MHz. This time of the year at the lower end. Was on 3200 in December, and at present in January is on 3270. Will change on 1 February. 1 March on at 2000 on 5460 1 April on at 1700 on 6590, 1900 on 5709, 1 August on at 1700 on 6749, 1900 on 6569.

Call Preamble Message Ending
VVVx2 de VDEx3 R5 VVVx2 de VDEx3 = = 14x5F AR

Very strange messages, groups often repeat from week to week, and also may appear 5 times in the same message.

Second format, M29 Call as above followed by

18 18 58 58 8 8 1930 1930= 58x5F AR

Third format M29B Call as above

28 28 25 25 11 11 04 04 0800 0800 25x5F

25 is G Count 11 and 04. Extra figures 0800 Time of first transmission

UTC+1. No = = signs. Repeats 30 minutes later 100 kHz HF.

More about M29 to be found in Newsletter 8

M34

11 12345 2 Fig IDs. No ending.

Logged recently on 2 March at 0820 on 5040.

Format: Call 11 27 R5

11 11 11 13x5f single group message

11 11 11. Same message repeated

27 27 27 13x5f single group message

27 27 27. Same message repeated. No ending

Machine sent at 15 WPM, using long zeros. Note that the second and last group in the message are the same.

Round up of Morse happenings.

I have not put a lot of frequencies in the morse happenings, as you can find them in the logs column. If any of you need the logs in Date and Time order, please contact me.

M1 will make its usual change of ID and frequencies on 1 September. ID will be 463 and frequencies are:

Sunday 0700 on 6508
Tuesday and Thursday 1800 on 5474, 2000 on 5017
Saturday 1500 on 6261

The end of the Month transmissions in July were not as usual, there were none in June, and the last Saturday in July was a normal transmission. Then on Tuesday 28 July were sent 2 end of month transmissions, they have never been logged on a Tuesday before. Then on Thursday 30 July there was a short end of month at 1800 and nothing at 2000.

M1B

Still remaining the same skeds as last month. In the past they have tended to change frequency quite often but at the moment seem to be stable. Will probably change in the Autumn or Fall.

M3

Still very active from 0630, which is the earliest I have heard it, any reports of earlier skeds appreciated. Still diong the same thing, repeating transmissions exactly as in 1997, even sending the same message. The special ID has appeared again. This ID comes up from time to time. On at all different times but the same frequency 5365. heard at 1800 on Wednesday 29 July, sending a message of 40 groups. This same message was repeated at 0630 on Friday 7 August. Messages to 121 seem to be around 40 groups where the normal M3 is 50 to 59.

M4

Still only on the Second week of the Month as per last months skeds. ID for August 99516. Sends the same message for the complete week.

M7

I have not heard any this month, not to say that there are not any on, they do not stick to any regular times so it is just a matter of luck if you find them. They are still around as I caught the end of one on 10 August on 7475 at 1020.

M10

Some present skeds

Sunday 1645 on 5028, 1810 on 8191, 1920 on 10921
Monday 1500 on 6946, 1645 on 5028, 1920 on 10921, 2100 on 5028
Tuesday 1500 on 6947
Wednesday 1645 on 5028, 2100 on 5028
Thursday 1100 on 11416, 1810 on 8191
Friday 1710 on 9454
Saturday 0710 on 8191, 1645 on 5028

Remember that you will find most of these are using a second parallel frequency. If you hear any other skeds I always appreciate reports of them.

M12

Still as busy as ever, see the logs column for a list of frequencies. They are still coming back on the same frequecies as they used last year. Using the same IDs. A recent one of these is on Sundays at 0710 on 6783 to ID 631 with a null message.

One regular sked that I have not heard since Sunday 26 July is the Sunday sked at 1840 1900 and 1920 that used to send the same message, 792 66 792 66, has anyone heard it anywhere else ?

M13

Still as unpredictable as ever. Is coming back on frequencies used a year ago, but not always. Another thing it is doing is changing Ids. You can tell this from the serial number of the messages, and the fact that the sked remains the same. The one on Friday 14 August at 1700 ID 629 was previously 228 and before that 915

M14

Still carrying on sending the strange double messages, although the DK is different, the second message is always 1 group more.

M23

Found on a new frequency recently 13450. Active on Friday 14 August at 0900 to ID 195 and 0930 to 513, you will note that as these are odd numbers there were no messages sent. Missing on 7795 for 1 week but back on there again.

M29

This Months frequencies 1700/6749 and 1900/6569. Will change again on 1st September. Still sending a new mesage each week of between 11 and 15 groups.

M51

Still churning out its endless 100 group messages. It seems to favour frequencies used by other numbers stations.

M53

Not on every night, but is easy to find as it uses the same time and frequency 2000/8231. Another station I would like any reports of as it is hardly ever a very good signal in the UK and I wonder where it might be located.

That is all for this month, any logs of morse stations are always appreciated.

73, Guy


P7X

Thanks Guy, great stuff as usual. I'd like to end the morse section with a profile of mystery station P7X. Thanks to those who sent us the logs. Comments are most welcome.

General

P7X is a mystery CW station that is logged frequently by -mostly- N.American dxers. Who, what, where is still a mystery. It seems to be some kind of training station. Stations with the same message format but different IDs have also been heard occasionally:

Frequency Id
4235 F3B
6456 H0E
6507 J3E
6527 F3B
6911 E3N
7549 E4I
9550 D6T (CW QRA marker repeated, no groups)
29996 N8S (CW "QRA N8S II 00 II" repeated twice then off)

On one occasion, P7X and F3B were heard simultaneously, with a total of 4 transmitters audible.

The F3B station and others mentioned haven't been heard in years and are presumably gone.

Frequencies

3343 3344.5 4416.5 4439.5 4444.5 4829 4859.5 4869.5 5127.5 5211 5212 5215 5302 5397 5398 5423 5431.5 5779.5 5819.5 5879.5 8039.5 8048 8056 8057 8059 8158 8168 9619 9665 10692 10798 11403

Format

 There are two bursts of FSK prior to the CW transmission; this used to be like clockwork, but has become less so in recent months, and is sometimes omitted. They used to run about 15 wpm CW, now runs 10. Operation is more irregular now than in the past few years.

Transmission times are normally at h+00, h+15, h+30 and h+45, then into typical CW "QRA DE P7X II PII 151300Z 120 GR BT" and then 120x 5LG's. There are always exactly 120 groups.

Example

Two databursts (not always)
QRA DE P7X IIPII 101400Z GR120 BT
followed by 120 5LG's
BT AR
T T

The "T" is a long dash which occurs when P7X switches between CW and data modes, and isn't part of the message content.

The date/time group after II P II changes each cycle of course.

Modes

See also Newsletter 37 for more about M77, the Enigma designator for P7X.

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