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Author Topic: Heard a Russian Letter Beacon recently?  (Read 2462 times)
N3QE
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« on: January 22, 2018, 06:49:43 AM »

It's been several years since I heard the Russian letter beacons in 7037-7040kc.

I seem to recall the one I used to hear most often was "V".

Of course this slice has also become more and more populated by digital modes but I doubt a bunch of low power PSK stations with bad antennas drove the Russians away. It is possible I'm just likely to zip through that segment with all weak-ass whiny digital carriers without listening for the letter beacons.

Anyone heard a Russian letter beacon recently? Even outside the ham bands.
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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 07:14:43 AM »

I have not noticed them on 40m for quite a while.

The report of the IARU Region 1 intruder watch still lists some of these beacons around 7039 kHz and a few extra ones on 7027, 7091: https://www.iarums-r1.org/iarums/news2017/news1712.pdf

The list also contains a number of similar beacons around 3595 kHz, which I have actually heard lately. You can also use one of the Russian WebSDRs (like http://sdr.ua9a.ru/) to verify them.

73
Fabian
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VE3VEE
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 07:23:19 AM »

Hmm, not sure about those, but I have not heard a woodpecker for at least a year or two. Has anyone?

Marvin VE3VEE
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N3QE
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 07:25:41 AM »

The list also contains a number of similar beacons around 3595 kHz, which I have actually heard lately.

Here in the US, large swaths of 3580-3599 are rendered useless because of unattended ALE digital modes. (Winlink? Winmor? Sailmail? All proprietary so I cannot decode.) It is possible this is not quite as severely bad as a few years ago.

I suspect that when those automatic stations are quiet I could hear a Russian 80M beacon at my QTH in W3. I will have to give a listen.
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N3QE
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 07:30:44 AM »

Hmm, not sure about those, but I have not heard a woodpecker for at least a year or two. Has anyone?

Not exactly the "woodpecker" but spread-spectrum OTH radar from Russia, China, and third world countries is increasingly common. It sounds like a super broad digital hash covering tens of kHz or more. I have the impression that 15M suffers more than 20M (at least when 15M is open to Asia! That's been a few years for me.).

And the west coast guys complain about Asian OTH radars at the bottom end of 40M, although I have only occasionally heard it myself. Only rarely do I hear China on 40M.
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K0UA
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 08:12:15 AM »

Hmm, not sure about those, but I have not heard a woodpecker for at least a year or two. Has anyone?

Not exactly the "woodpecker" but spread-spectrum OTH radar from Russia, China, and third world countries is increasingly common. It sounds like a super broad digital hash covering tens of kHz or more. I have the impression that 15M suffers more than 20M (at least when 15M is open to Asia! That's been a few years for me.).

And the west coast guys complain about Asian OTH radars at the bottom end of 40M, although I have only occasionally heard it myself. Only rarely do I hear China on 40M.

I have seen these Chinese OTH radars here in Missouri on the low end of 40.  I notice them on my panadaptor first. They are so wide you notice them.
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N2NL
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 11:10:53 AM »

There are still lots of "woodpecker" type OTH radars heard on the bands out here in the Pacific.  Most recently (about a week ago) there was one on 20m that sounded identical to the classic Russian Woodpecker of the 1980s.

I speculate that much of this stuff is pointed at KH2 on bands with mutual propagation between KH2 and Asia because of the continuous bomber presence there.  This may explain why it's not heard quite as often on the mainland (no propagation).

From 2010-2014 when I lived on Guam there was always a ton of garbage on the bands coming from Asia - my noise floor was on average three S-units louder when listening toward Asia than other directions, on all bands, despite being on the west coast of Guam with no local noise sources in that direction.  I still hear some of that stuff here in KH6, but it's not quite as bad.

73, Dave N2NL/KH6
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W0XX
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 08:11:16 PM »

Woodpecker is gone (can see the installation on Utube) and haven't heard a numbers station for a while...I think they can do all that better today in other ways and modes then over the HF airwaves...likely why we don't hear them these days...
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KB7PWJ
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2018, 11:54:32 PM »

The K beacon, said to be in Kamchatka, is very strong tonight in San Francisco on 7039. Underneath it is the F, which I'm told is in Vladivostok.

Creepy old-fashioned Cold War vibe.
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OZ8AGB
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 02:35:23 AM »

Yes. No letter stations on 40m here in the EU for at least a year.
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