Hundred thirty-first edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: August 2008)

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Military stations | Utlility round-up | Logs
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Utility round-up

Several DXers have reported an unid station that transmitted a loop containing an old coded message. This is most probably the infamous French pirate that operates quite often on frequencies between 6400 en 6990 kHz.

The station was heard on 4 August at 2015 UTC on 6400 kHz AM. The loop was repeated for hours.

The message was: "Achtung achtung, wir rufen Kaffeekraenzchen, der Kuchen ist angebrannt" followed by a music box melody.

The message is probably an oldie from the former Deutsche Freiheitssender 904.

Unid numbers station

Logged by Jon-FL:

Unid RTTY station

Alf sent us this log of an unid RTTY station and writes

"The unid "=50=" RTTY station could be monitored again. Interesting is that it use typical CIS MIL procedure and terms ("SLV") but it use UTC for time!"

5751 kHz : DYFS; unid CIS? 0010 CW clg CIML "QSA NO QSY 95036 95036 K SLV K", "R 332 0017 K" at 0017z & at 0039z "R 225 0039 ... ZZC K" into RTTY-ITA2/50/500 "RYRYRYRYRY 417 138 20 0035" w/end in CW "CFM NIL SK"; 0117z 5FGs in RTTY ("23336 ... 83650 =50= 95338 ... 94969 =100= 50337 ... 02053 - 0117". 20Aug08

Transcript of the message:

RYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRY

175 144 20 0232 ...
... 22798 40966 21734 27552 33170 22953 59261
73777 00974 83429 73279 70714 76401 54386 40216 26999 09675
48702 82252 77859 72643 96797 91680 60257 00526 92030 83779
37841 46029 77501 93565 21226 89282 32714 73664 66653 13315
67414 64936 57809 06919 53341 31744 13678 40211 57148 18990 =50=
81072 30791 50526 82195 36948 83396 20876 36267 60512 83959
71005 18667 19948 16464 26922 27090 02126 49895 38448 45691
84375 77574 20752 86340 12345 89586 45976 34488 31077 30886
66080 70442 72748 43223 13371 53279 34986 73999 30936 58007
87281 84045 89563 32356 72665 65706 21753 61251 69195 92533 =100=
98704 24967 58751 87469 29044 66878 91906 04619 60128 36395
66667 94539 57469 27836 22600 98348 80659 42867 41516 42827
54324 45941 04397 10604 13263 26657 81030 49881 43158 78703
90631 70192 28565 22679 66118 16407 53868 75758 79516 05588
15095 05442 62492 28837 - 0239 K

Thanks Alf. The station has been heard before during the past 3 years, see the logs below. The group count reminds me of the habit of the Czech MFA in the 1990's. They did also include a group count after each 50th group.

05121.0 --- : UNID 2323 RTTY//50/N/500 tfc in offline encrypt (5fig grps) word count eg "=50=" "=100=". Occ ry's. Msg hdr (typ) "342 148 8 2300 1547". Freq stops midstream. (8/Nov) (DW)
05351,0   : unid 1747 rtty 50/500 .... 22988 69499 37474 62284 75191 29930 09258 32157 =100= 93289 33924 45865 - 1750 (cfm nil hr ok as sk sk sk sk 16Nov07 (wp3)
09052.0 --- : UNID 1943 RTTY//50/R/500 Tfc in 5fig grps. Each fifty marked =50=, =100=,. Ends with time "1943". Further sigs in cw and "qrx "qrx 85945 85945" (08/Oct) (DW)
09148   : Unid. FAPSI? 1130 RTTY/50/500 In Morse OK. SLD K. Then 35x5FG msg in RTTY: 422 35 24 1130 3711 = 75642 098606 ... 53386 74903 = -1133 K. CFM NIL. OK ZVP SLV K. Marker every 50 groups =50= =100= Morse: QRV K. R 490 1136. SK (24Feb06) (RGA)
10363.0 --- : UNID 1139 RTTY 50/R/500 In cw "qtc1 zzc?" "sldk" followed by rtty msg with tfc in offline encrypt (5 figs). Blocks marked every 50 grps eg =50= =100=. Then offair (27/May) (DW)
11025   :

unid EU MIL 1408 RTTY-ITA2/50/500 RYs end w/out id into CW (4graphs calls) OP-chat "ZZC? K", "SLD K", back into RTTY for 101 5FGs ("=50=", "=100=") w/preamble "941 101 29 1400 7513 =".

Time = UTC!

29Mar08 (ALF)
14823.0 unid : 0930 rtty 50/500 rpt cfm qrv ? 152 261 22 0823 9781 then 5l with =50= and =100= after 50/100 groups 2000-11-22 (WP3)

Any info about this station is most welcome.

Satellites

Thousands of satellites are in orbit today. They are used for Radio, TV, navigation (GPS), weather predictions, communications, espionage, etc. They are owned and used by governments, military, universities and commercial enterprises. It is an interesting area for many dxers. You do not always need a satellite dish or fancy equipment to listen to these birds. Especially the LEO (Low-Earth Orbiting) satellites are rather easy to catch. Most of them are so-called polar orbiters, meaning that they are flying over the poles, from north to south or the other way around. Many LEO satellites are using downlink frequencies in the VHF or UHF bands <500 MHz. A simple scanner and a table discone antenna are usually enough to hear these satellites. I have mentioned the Russian GONETS system earlier in this column. Here is an update and call for help.

The GONETS LEO (Low-Earth Orbiting) System is global data relay system comprised of LEO satellites, low-cost gateway stations and a fleet of highly portable subscriber terminals for government (military) and commercial use. Russian telecommunications company Gonets SatCom, states that the system can be used for environmental monitoring (geodesy, hydrogy, meteorology), data gathering, control of electric grid, oil-wells, pipe-lines, disaster-stricken, isolated area communications, etc.

History

Strela-3 (Russian for "Arrow") was a second generation of strategic store-dump military communications satellite. Development of this generation to replace the first generation Strela-1M and Strela-2M satellites began in 1973. A civilian version of the Strela-3 is offered as the Gonets-D series, which shared some launches with Strela-3 satellites. The Gonets system was originally offered to support international health organizations to meet their global communications needs for the transfer of medical data and records to remote sites.

Current situation

The current Gonets (Russian for "Messenger") system comprises 18 satellites in 2 orbital planes, and the system is planned to grow to 36 satellites in 6 orbital planes once the market is established. One set of 8 satellites entered the incorrect orbit and its plane will drift with respect to the others. Some of the satellites carry digital Store and Forward payloads. With earlier launches of two 250kg prototype Gonets-D satellites in 1993 and three more Gonets-D1 in 1995, a further three satellites were launched in 1996 at a height of 1400km inclined at 82.5 degrees. Another similar launch of six satellites took place in early 1997. Each of these later two launches also included three similar satellites to make up a similar military constellation. A 1998 launch placed six satellites in a slightly different orbit due to launcher problems.

The Gonets system includes 2 generations of satellites, the Gonets-D1 series and its successor, the Gonets-D1M series. There are also a large number of military Gonets active under the name Cosmos. The current Gonets system ground infrastructure includes a Net Control Center in Moscow , three Gateway Stations in Moscow , Krasnoyarsk (Syberia) and Sakhalin ( Far East ), and regional relays stations in Alma-Aty ( Kazakhstan ) and Murmansk (Far North).

Satellite characteristics and frequencies.

Note that both GONETS systems and the military variant are sending an identification bliep every minute.

GONETS-D1 characteristics:

MHz Satellite Catalog Id
264.8250 Gonets D1.1 23787 min+44 sec
265.0625 Gonets D1.2 23788 min+16 sec
265.1375 Gonets D1.3 23789 min+37 sec
264.4000 Gonets D1.4 24728 min+31 sec
265.1375 Gonets D1.5 24729 min+02 sec
262.9125 Gonets D1-6 24730 min+50 sec
263.0875 Gonets D1-7 27058 Inactive
  Gonets D1-8 27059 Defect
262.9125 Gonets D1.9 27060 min+56 sec

GONETS-D1M characteristics:

MHz Satellite Catalog Id  
? Gonets D1M1 28909 ?  
? Cosmos 2416 28908 ? (also known as Rodnik)

GONETS Military variant "COSMOS"

Listed are only the satellites that have been heard recently.

MHZ Satellite Catalog Id
244.5125 Cosmos 2384 27055 min+57
244.5125 Cosmos 2385 27056 min+16
244.5125 Cosmos 2386 27057 min+52
244.5125 Cosmos 2390 27464 min+08
244.5125 Cosmos 2391 27465 min+29
244.5125 Cosmos 2400 27868 min+36
244.5125 Cosmos 2401 27869 min+02
244.5125 Cosmos 2408 28419 min+19
244.5125 Cosmos 2409 28420 min+44
244.5125 Cosmos 2437 32954 min+48
244.5125 Cosmos 2438 32955 min+07
244.5125 Cosmos 2439 32956 min+39

Another frequency that is used by so far unid Gonets/Cosmos satellites (or others) is 261.0375 MHz. We still have no idea which satellites are using this frequency. An interesting fact is that Cosmos 2337, 2338 and 2339 are often within range when the bursts are heard, but not always. Assuming that we're hearing those 3 satellites, an additional 3 or 4 other satellites must be using it too.


Voice stations | Morse stations | Various modes
Military stations | Utlility round-up | Logs
Index | NS NL Home

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