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Updated 4 April, 2020

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    The LOWDOWN Latest Issue
In the Mar-Apr 2020 edition of the LWCA publication:
  • "Notes from Headquarters"
  • "DX Downstairs" Kevin Carey presents members' LF and VLF loggings.
  • "On The Air" Experimenters operating on the 160-190kHz and lower bands... and...
  • "The Top End" MedFER and HiFER beacon activity, and..
  • "Operator Contact List" ...and..
  • "The LF Notebook" Conducted by John Davis. News from, for, and about LWCA members. Longwave in space on the DSX satellite.
  • "News From the Old World" Alan Gale keeps us informed of latest LF news from the "other side of the pond."
  • "Natural Radio" by Rick Ferranti. Tweeking the ionosphere, part one.
  • "Ask Mr Answer Guy" by A. Guy. How to avoid getting beacon reception reports, among other stuff.
  • "St. Kitts and Nevis Trip" by Kriss Larson.
Interested in subscribing? Click here for contact information.
   Successful Christmas Eve Operation at SAQ

      The annual Christmas greeting from SAQ on 17.2 kHz took place early Tuesday morning, 24 December, without the glitches that scuttled the attempted transmission on United Nations Day in October. Tune-up preceded the message, which was sent at 0800 UTC (3:00 AM EST/2:00 AM CST in the Americas). Amateur station SK6SAQ operated on 7.035 kHz CW, 14.035 kHz CW and/or 3.755 kHz SSB throughout most of the day, too, and visitors were welcome at the Grimeton site.
      In the northeastern US, Jay Rusgrove W1VD reported "good copy of SAQ 17.2 kHz in CT despite moderate spherics," employing a modified AMRAD e-probe antenna, low-noise amplifier, Delta 44 A/D coverter, and SpectrumLab for filtering. (An MP3 clip of tuneup and message start is at http://www.w1vd.com/SAQ122419.mp3.) And, John Andrews W1TAG wrote of his reception: "SAQ copy was pretty good in central Massachusetts, through the wishes for a happy new year. Then something 'growly' kicked on, and made copy difficult." As for John's setup, "I used the big loop from the WD2XES days, untuned, a home-brew converter up to 10 MHZ, and an Icom R75 receiver. Set up Cool Edit to record... The resulting file was processed with a sharp 700 Hz filter."
      In the Central region, the additional atennuation of the overland path conspired with QRN from storms off the Southeastern coast tp preclude reception. AEØCQ hopes to use a loop antenna next winter to improve his chances by nulling some of that noise.
      Additional SAQ information can be found at the Alexander Association pages. There is also a link to a replay of their YouTube live stream.

   Related Longwave Sites

      •William Hepburn's DX Information Centre has probably the best online list of aero and marine beacons based on official license information, plus lists of time signals and numerous resources for other types of DXing as well.
      •The searchable RNA database of LF beacons...not compiled from official sources, but a digest of signal reports from experienced listeners in North and Central America. It's a great tool for identifying those unknown signals. It won't always be up-to-date regarding decommissioned beacons, of course. This might somewhat limit its usefulness in targeting specific beacons to listen for, but it's still helpful if you pay attention to the most recent reported date for a given beacon.
      •Gunter Lorenz' VLF/LF Station List. More recently updated than some other VLF military/utility station lists; but as with any amateur band, the listings around 137 kHz are subject to frequent change and should be taken with a grain of salt.
      •LF/MF Amateur Radio Sites. Now that the 2200 and 630 meter bands are finally available in the US to amateurs, not just Part 5 licensees, there's even more interest in websites about ham operation. We'll be adding more links soon, but for now we'll begin with:
            - 630 m QSO List by WØPRK, with link to N1BUG list as well.
            - John Langridge's Site, primarily 630m with some 2200m.
            - KA7OEI Blog Clint Turner has discussed many topics over the past 8 or so years of interest to hams and LWLs.
            - W1TAG.com John Andrews also has many resources for both hams and LWLs.
            - www.500kc.com Ralph M. Hartwell W5JGV documents (mainly the history of) the WD2XSH Part 5 license and its participants.
      If you know of more ham sites that should be included, or find broken links, please advise us at mb@lwca.org ASAP.
      •Radio Waves Below 22 kHz Renato Romero's eclectic collection of topics pertaining to both manmade and natural radio signals from near DC to the upper end of audibility. Includes the VLF Open Lab, and articles by many contributors...some fairly orthodox, and some not. Visit: www.vlf.it
      •NDB Handbooks Available to order in print form or as physical or downloadable CDs with lots of features beyond plain lists, Michael Oexner's North American and European NDB Handbooks, are now updated for 2020 (click this link for info in PDF form). In addition to the two regional versions, Michael now offers a combined Global edition (CD & download only).

   QRSS and WOLF Software

      Rik Strobbe's QRSS software (for transmitting extremely slow CW) and Rik's other useful software at the ON7YD download page.
      Continuing Development of Argo. Alberto di Bene posts the latest version of Argo, a receiving tool for displaying slow CW, that performs FFT spectral analysis and displays it in ways optimized for QRSS. Many of the transoceanic LF amateur records were set using Argo at the receiving end. Argo has somewhat similar performance to Spectran, but interacts better with the user's soundcard and is customized for QRSS modes.
      WOLF. Stewart Nelson devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK. See his announcement of the MS-DOS version for more details. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Büscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF site.
      Spectrum Lab, at that same link, is another of Wolf's creations. In conjunction with your computer's sound card, not only is it an especially advanced spectrum analyzer, but it's also a filtering and sound processing tool, and can serve as the demodulator part of a software defined receiver.
      Slow CW for Linux. Claudio Girardi (IN3OTD) has released Slow CW software for users of the Linux operating system, currently v 0.42. The program (called glfer) contains both transmit and receive capability, the latter including an FFT-based spectrum analyzer somewhat similar to those found in popular Windows Slow CW programs. As with much open-source software in the X-world, you have to compile the C source code yourself. Users will also need additional code libraries. Links to those, plus downloadable source code, can be found at Claudio's glfer page.

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