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Working some LW

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CLB

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I'm still relatively new to the whole HF listening thing, I only have a Eton E10 and an old Realistic DX-390 that I picked up for free. I want to get a more dedicated "desktop" receiver sometime in the near future...but on to my question.

I remember a 20/20 (is that show even still on?) episode several years back of some people claiming to hear the LW waves passing through their heads (claimed it sounded like a diesel engine idling in the background). They also claimed that the noise got much louder and intense during the first Gulf War. One possible cause was the US Navy communicating with submarines as LW can pass through sea water.

Now, the DX-390 has longwave capability (for what it's worth haha). I can hear the beacon for Charleston, I'm assuming it's Charleston, VERY VERY clearly- CH ( _._. .... ). Think with what I have, can I actually hear something else on LW or am I wasting my time , should turn the Pro-95 back on and listen to the locals haha?

Anyone else have any luck on LW?
 
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ka3jjz

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LW listening is an extremely unique form of the hobby. The Longwave Club of America specializes in this area. Unfortunately here in the States, CW beacons from airports, maritime buoys and experimenters are about all you would likely hear. In Europe - altho this is slowly dying out in favor of FM, and to a certain extent, satellite radio - and in other parts of the world, part of this band is used for broadcasting, much like our own AM band.

With a real good antenna and the right conditions it is possible to hear these broadcasts on the East Coast - I used to see logs of these in the various pubs, not so much now. Usually folks start reporting these in the dead of winter.

73s Mike
 

Joseph11

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CLB said:
I remember a 20/20 (is that show even still on?) episode several years back of some people claiming to hear the LW waves passing through their heads (claimed it sounded like a diesel engine idling in the background). They also claimed that the noise got much louder and intense during the first Gulf War. One possible cause was the US Navy communicating with submarines as LW can pass through sea water.
Wasn't that ELF?
 

bobbybeachbum

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Like you I was intrigued w/ the possibility that my recievers could concievably pick up LW broadcast bands. But w/ a relatively short wire antenna all you can hope for is to pick up some regional beacons. The logs you read about picking up rare Euro LW DX broadcasts are generally operating on the extreme northeast coast using Beverage antennas hundereds of feet long. Just do the math to see how long a wire you need to be resonant on 150 kHz!
 
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ka3jjz

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No, not exactly true. I know a few LW DXers using loops - which unless you happen to have lots - and I do mean lots of room - is pretty much the way to go. I even happen to know one or two from my old NJ home that were LF experimenters that built their own vertical system that could hear 'em.

73s Mike
 

CLB

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Joseph11 said:
Wasn't that ELF?
It might have been. I vaguely remember the episode, they interviewed several people who were hearing this, then the crackpot scientists/ doctors who proposed the theory that it was the US Navy talking to their submarines.

Certainly strange, I've heard stranger, but still would chalk it up there with bigfoot, UFO's, chupacabra etc...
 

VernM

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"CH" is likely the Charleston airport's landing system beacon.

Listening to LF is better with a dedicated tuner or radio prepared for LF. Most HF receivers aren't very sensitive at those frequencies, but there is a lot to hear there in the way of beacons such as you found and, sometimes Navy transmissions. They used to use LF for reaching subs under water. There was quite an antenna array for LF across the bay from Anappolis, MD, when I was there last (a dozen yhears back).

You can tune in the earth on LF too. Growlers are what the sounds are called. See www.lwca.org home page.

Good listening!
 

trimmerj

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Supposedly Annapolis had a time and frequency station down around 21khz. I've never had a reciever that would tune below 30khz..... so I can't verify this. Think the call was NSS.
 

kb2vxa

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Hi all,

Let's get something straight first off, Joseph is right, the 20/20 segment was on ELF. There was a lot of crackpot stuff going around about the Navy's submarine comms and GWEN, the military VLF ground wave emergency network. At those frequencies (between 10 and 100KHz) the waves travel the Earth/sky boundary thus the term "ground wave", ELF (audio frequencies actually) penetrates land and sea but miles long antennas are used, buried in the ground and trailing from subs. ELF used extremely slow CW which would hardly sound like a Diesel even if there were some sort of transducer present to convert the electrical energy into sound.

The somewhat off topic swerve was about LF, about 100 to 500KHz which is the beacon and slow speed data band now that CW was abandoned. It was used mostly by marine interests, 500KHz was the international distress frequency. The segment around 300KHz is popular with experimenters and radio Amateurs called "lowfers", stick the word into a searh engine and see what comes up.

BTW, about the funniest radio related interview I ever saw was Lucielle Ball claiming she heard an unidentified spy station using Morse Code on the fillings in her teeth. I never did figure out how she could copy CW without a BFO or product detector even if she knew the code. (;->) The interview was whacky enough but the Mythbusters playing up on it was hysterical! I used to hear the VOA all over the AM dial while driving past the site in Bound Brook NJ but at least the car radio had a speaker. (;->)

Then there was The X Files episode about the Navy's ELF site in Michigan (misplaced somewhere in the desert Southwest) and a guy whose wife exploded when she went off the beam. No the truth isn't >out there< but Australian drillers discovered beer at the center of the Earth a few years ago so the truth must be >in here<. Nah, not one shock too many rattling my brain, you just had to be a ham with a packet radio setup and a firm belief that Foster's really isn't Australian for beer, mate.
 
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GWEN died around 98, 99, 2000 timeframe I thought. I also seem to remember reading recently that the Navy also discussed dumping the VLF system for the SSBNs which I found quite surprising. That may have been in the QDR I'll have to look through it.
 

gcgrotz

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I saw a website with info and pictures on the Navy's VLF stuff in MI/MN. I think I remember too that it is abandoned. They had antenna lines stretched for miles that looked like power lines only the poles were shorter. It might have been on or linked to that coldwar.com site.
I think.
 

k9rzz

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You can do pretty well with a loop or 'EWE' antenna on longwave. I have heard some of the European broadcasters with an 'EWE' antenna and Icom R-71a. I find chasing the Aero NDB beacons lots of fun - it's good CW practice, you get to use ~narrow~ filters, and there's tons of them out there. I've logged over 150 Canadian beacons so far - I get a kick out of listening to the ones FAR up north. Some small transmitter at a little airport with a gravel runway in the high arctic when it's -30 degrees ... and there it is !!

John K9RZZ
 

kb2vxa

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Hi again Hostile and all,

GWEN died around 98, 99, 2000 timeframe I thought."

Yup, it was supplanted by what may be loosely termed "FTS Phase 2" which is the fiber optic upgrade of the ages old Federal Telephone System. Being EMP immune it's "pre-hardened", something you can't say about a radio facility. There was a GWEN site in southern NJ (I don't remember exactly where I saw it) that used a surprisingly short umbrella antenna which obviously is vulnerable to a nuclear strike while the bunker under it would survive all but a direct hit. I never could understand why they would call what ammounts to an ordinary transmitter site with the "shack" underground a hardened site.

"I also seem to remember reading recently that the Navy also discussed dumping the VLF system for the SSBNs which I found quite surprising."

Not one bit, by the time the launch codes are received "your planet will be reduced to a burned out cinder in space" as Klaatu put it in The Day The Earth Stood Still. Remember at those frequencies the only thing copyable is extremely slow speed CW, it would take well over an hour just to send this text.

Gort, Klaatu barada nikto. Nanu nanu nanofarad to you all, grock ya later.
 
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Like I said I'm digging in a hazy part of my memory. It seemed like maybe they were talking about dumping the ground based component and keeping the air based long wire system on the E-6s or something. I remember it was some part of the SSBNs very deep water connectivity that I and some others were shocked they were either dumping or contemplating dumping. When I get my laptop back I'll look through the QDR and my other files and see if I can rustle up info. I have to. It's gonna bug me to death now :)
 

gcgrotz

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k9rzz said:
........ (edited)...I've logged over 150 Canadian beacons so far - I get a kick out of listening to the ones FAR up north. Some small transmitter at a little airport with a gravel runway in the high arctic when it's -30 degrees ... and there it is !!

John K9RZZ
On the other hand, I remember the excitement sitting in my cold basement shack on a mid-winter central VA night and hearing the beacon from Key West. MMMmmm, Palm trees, 78 degrees, Margaritas

Just last night I tuned around LF and the band is full of DGPS stations, easily decoded with software. Pop' Comm this month has an article with a list of all stations. They ID in the text message so you just tune, decode, and move on down the band. Almost takes the fun out of it.
 

gcgrotz

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Hey Warren:

Try this web site if you haven't already

http://long-lines.net

It is full of stuff on the old AT&T network, mostly on the east coast, and the cold war era comm network. Links to stuff like Mt Weather, Sugar Grove, and the old troposcatter sites (one of which is here in my area and still used for something). Enjoy.
 

k9rzz

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gcgrotz said:
Hey Warren:

Try this web site if you haven't already

http://long-lines.net

It is full of stuff on the old AT&T network, mostly on the east coast, and the cold war era comm network. Links to stuff like Mt Weather, Sugar Grove, and the old troposcatter sites (one of which is here in my area and still used for something). Enjoy.
Some great stuff on that link. THANKS.

John K9RZZ
 
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