Tuesday, 27 March 2007

A rare musical Enigma: XPL

A rare member of the polytones family appeared this morning while checking some E10 slots together with the E10 expert, AlphaVax. This was heard at 0934z over E10 ART, on 5435 kHz! It is XPL. The image shows a spectrogram made with CoolEdit, my favorite sound editing program.

The Enigma Control List #22 states:

XPL M12 family

Low Tones (Hz +-3Hz)

It would appear that the low tones are the product of mixing 2 non harmonically related tones, analysis not yet completed but tone pairs identified (Hz +-3Hz), tone product in parenthesis:- 150/235[80], 165/255[90], 180/245[65], 205/260[55], 215/290[75] Hz. Tone/value relationships :- Still under analysis.

Saturday, 24 March 2007


This is today's E25 transmission featuring a seriously-sounding OM calling "555" and delivering a 11-group message, after a couple of minutes of the song "Arouh Le Min". Log details: 9450 kHz AM 1218z, recorded in AM mode. Another excellent recording for all of you E25 fans!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

E25 this morning but no E15 yet

I'm doing some HF surfing to find E15 but still no luck... Frequencies to check: 18000, 14727 (discovered by Poacher), 14000, 11170, 11000, 6715 (Greek pirates' favorite also), 5834, 5530 and 4130, all USB mode. Take a look in the current Enigma2000 Newsletter (under E15) and in Newsletter #28 and the accompanying article regarding E15.

On the other hand, E25 appeared this morning on its usual spot (9450 kHz) in AM mode. A couple of transmissions in something like suppressed-LSB mode occurred lately. Personally I prefer AM mode, they sound a lot better, even if they play a little with audio gain and cause distortion.

Here is a sound sample of the 0912z E25 transmission. Too much audio gain in the beginning, then lower gain and background chat. I don't know which song they played. I wonder what the ops say in the background...

Monday, 19 March 2007

E15 reappears!

Poacher from Russia discovered E15 on 14727 kHz, USB, 0840z: http://strangesignals.narod.ru/audios/unid_signals/END_ROVER.mp3

Here is an old recording of mine (6715USB, 17/03/2005, 0703z). It is the ending of an E15 transmission, saying "Adam Rover (or Robert)" twice (AR AR). It is similar with Poacher's recording so it must be E15!

E15 transmissions with message ended with AR x2 in the past.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

A thousand sunsets

Now we will take a glance into an entirely different part of the spectrum. A total lunar eclipse was visible from my location (and almost half of the world). Here is one of the photos I took during totality using a Canon 350D digital SLR and a 300mm f/5.4 lens mounted on a simple altazimuth tripod. Exposure time is 1/4 sec, ISO 1600. Unfortunately it was a windy night so most of the images are blurry.

I thank my brother for letting me use his photo equipment!

Amateur astronomy is another hobby of mine, a demanding hobby requiring patience and endurance for staying outside in the night to fight the elements (and mosquitoes!) A hobby which doesn't like modern "achievements" like "light pollution".

Update 13/03/2007:

"OK, how dark is this?" You may ask. If you are familiar with photography, by noticing the ISO and shutter speed settings, you have your answer. If not, think of the following: The full moon is sunlit so it will require camera settings similar to a normal sunny scenery. This is true. Using the same lens and f/ ratio, a normal full moon will require 1/500 or 1/1000 sec at ISO 100 or 200. Pretty close to normal daylight photography. Here we have an eclipsed moon. Note the use of ISO 1600 and 1/4 sec exposure time. Compare that with say ISO 200 at 1/1000 sec. That implies 8 by 250 that is 2000 times less light from Moon during a lunar eclipse!

Hevelius' drawing of Leo, 1690

For the more familiar with Astronomy, 2000 times less light is about 8 stellar magnitudes drop. Full Moon shines at -13 mag. The stars (from down right to upper left of the eclipse photo) 56 Leonis (mag 5.8), 59 Leonis (mag 5.0) and χ Leonis (mag 4.6) will be very hard to notice due to the brightness of a Full Moon. During the lunar eclipse these three dim stars share the same frame with the moon. A normal observer under dark skies (no moon) can reach stars of mag 6, so 56 Leonis is near the visibility limits.

And another detail: I used the Daylight white balance setting of the camera. Auto white balance would produce a false-colored Moon. As I mentioned before, Moon is sunlit after all.

The Astronomy lesson is over. Just stop and think for a moment that the golden brown colors of an eclipsed moon is the combining result of all the sunrises/sunsets here on Earth... You can see all of them at once...

Strong signals and clear skies!

Why "the pip" named S30

Those scanning the low HF bands are familiar with the "piping" sound found on 3757 kHz. The "pip" also transmits on 5448 kHz during the day. Most of the time it pips continuously, exactly as its cousin, the "Buzzer" (S28 or formally UBV76), buzzes, but sometimes it sends a message. Today, on 5448 USB, 1520z a YL sent one in Russian. Listen!

Update 4/3/2007:

Mike provided a translation to Enigma2000 Group:

And a translation of what you heard!

For 080: 037 918 380 013 692 885 334 894 140
For 080: 037 918 380 013 692 885 334 894 140
How do you copy? How do you copy?
For 080: 037 918 380 013 692 885 334 894 140
For 080: 037 918 380 013 692 885 334 894 140
How do you copy? How do you copy? Over

Which is very similar to the XSW (S32) text I heard some time ago!
Thanks Mike!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

S17c calling "777" plus X06

S17c changed their frequencies as a part of its seasonal changes. Usually 5301 kHz is noisy and weak in my QTH. Lately I dial my tuner on S17c try to see what surprise the mechanical YL have for us. Today she called "777" along with a X06 transmission which was stronger. Here it is a sound sample, 5301 USB 1250z. The message was "62027" (as usual a "0" is in the middle).

V02a new voice, old habits

V02a operators are famous for errors, mixing with M08a or even Radio Havana Cuba. This morning a male voice heard just before the schedule start, on 9040 kHz AM, 0900z. They started with MCW for some moments, silence, and then the new voice of V02 started, with some brief MCW again. Listen here. That's how V02a sounds on AM in my location, 10000 km away from Cuba!

Tom H (Enigma2000) pointed that the voice is actually an older one used in the past. Also some new frequencies found, check Hugh Stegman's Utility World blog.