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Updated Oct 8, 2022

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    The LOWDOWN Latest Issue
In the Sept-Oct 2022 edition of the LWCA publication:
  • "Notes from Headquarters" by Kevin Carey.
  • "DX Downstairs" Peter Laws 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. Why the best place for history museums is not historic buildings.
  • "News From the Old World" Alan Gale with latest LF news from the "other side of the pond."
  • "Natural Radio" by Rick Ferranti. An overview of magnetometers.
  • "Member News Spotlight"
Interested in subscribing? Click here for contact information.
   Canadian Hams Finally Have Real 630 Meter Access

      Although it is hard to believe any Western democracy took longer than the United States did to implement WRC-2012, that was evidently the case in Canada. Joe Craig, VO1NA, posted the following announcement on our Message Board in late July: "Ten and a half years after WRC 2012 approved a new 630 m band, Canadians are now permitted to transmit on 472-479 kHz as of 28 July 2022."
      The band first became part of the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in 2014, was used for an historic JT9 contact between VE7SL and VK4YB in 2016, and was again touted on RAC pages as open for amateur activity in 2017, so the significance of this most recent announcement was not immediately clear. Joe later explained that the initial hoopla eight years ago was the result of a misimpression. "In the past, Inustry Canada/ISED had issued temporary authorisations for 504-509 and 472-479 kHz. Until 28 July there was no other official authority for Canadian amateurs to transmit in the band. Some, including yours truly, were advised by ISED officials that with the publication of the table of frequency allocations in 2014 that the band had become available to Canadian amateurs. ISED later clarified that this was not the case until the publication of RBR-4."
      Dave Goodwin VE3KG, Regulatory Affairs Officer for RAC (Radio Amateurs of/du Canada, confirmed for LWCA that 472-479 kHz was not an authorized Amateur band in Canada until 28 July 2022 when RBR-4, a key regulatory document, was updated. He explained that, like the US Table of Allocations from the FCC, "The Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations (CTFA) is not regulatory authority. The CTFA is a planning document. It may indicate a regulatory intention, but it is not a regulatory document."
      "There were many Canadian Amateurs who mistakenly believed the CTFA gave them permission to operate on 472-479 kHz. They were wrong. As far as I know, our regulator never took action against any of them, and I am aware of no complaints of interference to the primary users. I'd say those hams were lucky, but they were not wise."
      It was a long time coming, but we look forward to encountering more of our Canadian neighbours on the band this coming DX season.

   LWCA Switches to Calendar Year Membership Term

      Kevin Carey, LWCA Publisher, announced in the Jan-Feb 2022 issue of The LOWDOWN that henceforth memberships will run from January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year. The change is expected to greatly reduce the time currently required each month to update the member database and send out renewal notices at different times of the year. There will be no increase in dues.
      Existing members will have their renewals pro-rated to accomodate the new expiration date. New members will be welcome to join at any time, but their terms will be based on the current calendar year. Kevin explains that "(they) will receive all back issues of The LOWDOWN which have already been released since (the start of the year). Back issues are processed as PDF deliveries, as our print runs are limited to members of record at the time of production. Should you need to have a printed copy of your back issues, HQ can provide guidance on how to print the PDF file into a 'booklet' format using any printer capable of double-sided printing."
      "With the limited staff at HQ (me, and some occasional volunteers), we want to focus on what we do best; getting the longwave news out to you!"
      "To be clear, this change will be seamless to our members, and there is no increase to the cost of your membership."

   New NDB Handbook Editions Available

      Michael Oexner announces: "The 2022 editions of my NDB handbooks and CDs are ready now and have once again been updated extensively to reflect the latest changes and monitoring results."
      "The new GNDBH contains the details of more than 17100 NDBs worldwide. It is the perfect listening companion for radio listeners who use the extensive and ever-growing network of WebSDRs. The updated ENDBH shows the data of more than 8300 NDBs, and the new NANDBH features more than 5900 NDBs."
      You can find all relevant details at: ndblist.info/beacons/NDBpublications2022.pdf

   LWCA Mentioned on WRMI Broadcast Dec. 4/5, 2021

      Radio Miami International carried a program from Texas Radio Shortwave on 5 December, UTC (Saturday evening the 4th in North America), highlighting very briefly each of the eight radio clubs that remain from the umbrella organization, ANARC, including LWCA.
      The LWCA segment, near the end of the hour, started out: "The Longwave Club of America is arguably the most interesting club, for experimenting with radio signals below the broadcast band..." They'll get no argument from us.
      You can hear all of the LWCA segment, plus an excerpt containing the WRMI station ID at 0200 UTC, in this MP3 audio clip (2 minutes and 2 seconds total): WRMI_2021-12-05Z_5950kHz.mp3

   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 actual 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, 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:
        - KA7OEI Blog Clint Turner has discussed many topics over past years of interest to hams and LWLs.
        - W1TAG.com John Andrews also has many resources for both hams and LW listeners.
      - 472kHz.org A project created by Rik Strobbe with a goal "to provide information about the 472 kHz (or 630 m) ham band, for newcomers as well as for advanced users."
    Pages formerly located at John Langridge's NJD Technologies.net site are, unfortunately, no longer available. Thanks to Bob KB7AQD for helping us correct out links section!
    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 with lots of features beyond plain lists, Michael Oexner's North American, European, and Global NDB Handbooks are now updated for 2022 (click this link for info in PDF form). All editions are available for download or as physical CDs, and the NA and EU versions can also be ordered in printed form.

   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 originally devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK, as an MS-DOS program. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Büscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF WOLF page.
      Spectrum Lab, at the DL4YHF site, 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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