Monday, February 2, 2015

Backwoods Ham Radio Net: Kook Broadcasters & Submarine Comms

Yesterday, we only had 9 die-hard ham radio operators on Ol' Backwoods' ham radio net on Superbowl Sunday, but we had a great discussion on our ragchew/roundtable segment, which extended even after the net was declared officially over.

Old Fred was discussing details of a filter he was helping another ham build to reject interference to the WWVB 60 kHz time signal.  That's the signal that synchronizes the so-called "atomic" clocks that you can buy.

Fred was also discussing an old 14 kHz Navy RTTY system, which actually had separate transmitters and antennas for mark and space frequencies!  The antenna, which he thought was a quarter-wave of some 3.3 miles in length, was stretched between two mountains, in Colorado, if he recalled correctly.

Of course, VLF stations are still on the air, because their low frequency allows the signals to penetrate deep into the oceans to send data to submarines. Here's some history of Navy VLF. We live in a fortunate era, because these days all it takes to create a receiver for VLF is to connect a long wire antenna (long as you can make it!) to an adjustable L-C resonator you can make yourself, then connect that to the microphone input of a spare sound card on your computer.  Here's a YouTube video recording of a Russian submarine signal.

We also discussed a pirate religious broadcaster who has been transmitting in the 40-meter phone band, and on aeronautical HF frequencies:
The FCC has ordered an unlicensed California religious broadcaster, who sometimes broadcast on a frequency in the 40 meter phone band, to shut down his station. The FCC’s Los Angeles District Office on December 31 issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation to Martin K. Elliott of Inyokern, California. ... The FCC said its agents used radio direction-finding techniques to confirm that signals on 6280 kHz and 11,595 kHz were emanating from [his] residence ... 
“The Commission’s records show that no license was issued for operation of a station on either the frequencies of 6280 kHz or 11595 kHz at this location,” the FCC wrote. “Unlicensed operation of this radio station must be discontinued immediately.”
Ol' Backwoods did a quick check of the QRZ database for amateurs living in  Inyokern, CA, and Elliot is not a licensed amateur radio operator.

From the Religion News Blog, we learn about this kook Elliot:
Broadcasting under the name ‘YHWH,’ Elliott stated that he preached “Old Testament doctrine without any of the erroneous, destructive and confusing traditions of men.” 
Referring to himself as a “spiritual Jew,” in one broadcast available on YouTube he explained, “My goal is to magnify and amplify the divine name of YHWH, creator of heaven and earth.”
Yeah, OK, but you ain't magnifying anything but your fines and jail time for unlicensed broadcasting.  The article continues:
Elliott says that he had been a Christian for 40 years before YHWH ‘revealed the truth’ to him. He notes that he can document that “tens of millions of Christians have been fooled by the dark side into believing in the so-called god Jesus.”
In addition to being a blasphemous crackpot who's causing illegal interference to lawful communication, Elliot isn't much good with numbers, either; he's off by a couple of billion.


The Commission gave him 10 days to respond. The FCC said its Notice “does not preclude this office from pursuing additional sanctions based upon our investigation of this incident.”

We discussed where Elliot might have gotten the equipment for his illegal broadcasts, and conjectured that he either had a) modified amateur radio equipment, or b) a signal generator connected to a power amp, or c) gotten some commercial AM broadcasting equipment off eBay, or something.  Who knows?

Ol' Steve, another one of our participants on our Net tonight, talked about the old days when there were pirate broadcasters on the AM broadcast bands.  He and I discussed having built low-power (legal) AM transmitters for that band when we were kids.


1 comment:

  1. There really isn't much you can do about someone who says something as rabid as “tens of millions of Christians have been fooled by the dark side into believing in the so-called god Jesus.” Pray for him is about it. I'm sure you weren't disturbed by him, only for him. As for his illegal occupation of a restricted frequency, well, that's his problem!