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Shortwave Data Decoding - Discussions regarding decoding digital signals on the HF bands, including HFDL, ALE, RTTY, CW, and others.

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Old 01-28-2016, 12:35 PM
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Default Where did the US Coast Guard go?

Years ago, 5696 and 8983 khz USB were usually pretty active with the US Coast Guard. Now I never hear anything on 5696 anymore. Have they moved to COTHEN for HF communications? Out of the 15 or so COTHEN channels, are there a few that are in more common usage than the others?
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Old 01-28-2016, 5:47 PM
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Most of the CG routine comms are on COTHEN, The ALE system will poll and see what frequency is best for comms between the stations. So the answer is no, there are no preferred COTHEN frequencies. If there is a SAR or non-secure interdiction they will still show up on 5696 and 8983 but with only one comms center and ALE, there will not be much traffic on the old dedicated frequencies.
May be time to get a computer controllable RX and run an ALE program.

Bruce
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Old 01-28-2016, 8:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n0nhp View Post
Most of the CG routine comms are on COTHEN, The ALE system will poll and see what frequency is best for comms between the stations. So the answer is no, there are no preferred COTHEN frequencies. If there is a SAR or non-secure interdiction they will still show up on 5696 and 8983 but with only one comms center and ALE, there will not be much traffic on the old dedicated frequencies.
May be time to get a computer controllable RX and run an ALE program.

Bruce
What is an example of ALE software that would allow this type of monitoring? What sort of computer controllable radios? I have USB dongles, Airspy, and a CommRadio CR-1A.
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Old 01-28-2016, 9:30 PM
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There are MANY programs - some free - that can decode ALE, and interface with some radios. PC-ALE and Sorcerer (both of which are free), MultiPSK (some features require a payment) are just 3 - there is also MS-DMT (an offshoot, as I understand it, of PC-ALE) and of course just about all the multi-kilobuck digital decoders from Hoka, Wavecom, Krypto and many others.

Here is MS-DMT's website (I haven't added it to Mike Chace-Ortiz's site yet) - the others can be found on the link in my sig...

MARS-ALE Technical Forum file support site

MultiPSK requires a few DLLs be installed to talk to SDRs (but I understand it can be done - the SDRs it's known to talk with are on the page linked in my sig), and Sorcerer has a few that it also interfaces with. I'm not sure of PC-ALE's or MS-DMT's interfacing with SDRs, though. Nothing I know of supports the CR1A series, or AirSpy- yet. Mike
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Old 01-28-2016, 9:34 PM
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Here is our COTHEN frequency list - likely not up to date, but it's a place to start...

Customs Over The Horizon Enforcement Network - The RadioReference Wiki

A well structured search of the UDXF logs will undoubtedly turn more up

Mike
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4KRR View Post
Years ago, 5696 and 8983 khz USB were usually pretty active with the US Coast Guard. Now I never hear anything on 5696 anymore. Have they moved to COTHEN for HF communications? Out of the 15 or so COTHEN channels, are there a few that are in more common usage than the others?
Ken --

Nothing official but speculation is that most USCG units have switched to Satcom. MWARA flights are also using Satcom more and more especially for medlink. HF seems to be more of a backup system now.

USCG is still on 5696/8983 but they're pretty limited these days. I do hear comms on some of those COTHEN frequencies that Mike linked.

Those missing teens in FL a few months ago, the USCG had a pretty massive search effort and it was on HF. I believe I reported it on here to RR in the Utility forum.

If you're interested in HF utilities then I suggest getting on the #WUNCLUB channel on Starchat IRC network. Generally it's active from 7pm to 12pm Eastern time.
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Old 01-10-2017, 9:25 PM
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I just recently got started with ALE. I have PC-ALE and MARS-ALE up at the same time. There is still activity from the Coast Guard out there. Only all I have seen in the few days I've been monitoring is sounding frames. But CG ships and aircraft are on the ALE frequencies. Here's an example of what I have seen with my research notes thrown in:

[18:01:58][FRQ 08912000][SND][ ][TWS][MAG ][AL0] BER 25 SN 03
USCG Cutter Hamilton WHEC715

[20:01:52][FRQ 08912000][SND][ ][TWS][MAG ][AL0] BER 18 SN 03
USCG Cutter Hamilton WHEC715

[20:18:39][FRQ 08912000][SND][ ][TWS][N13 ][AL0] BER 28 SN 04
USCG HC-144A #2313, CGAS Cape Cod

[20:46:31][FRQ 08912000][TO ][LNT ][TIS][K95 ][AL0] BER 29 SN 03
TO: USCG Chesapeake, Va. CAMSLANT on COTHEN FROM: USCG MH-65D #6595

I monitor HFDL and ALE and the way I do it is to find the few frequencies both networks use and then bring up Sorcerer for HFDL and PC-ALE/MARS-ALE and have them monitor at the same time. Two birds / One stone. ;-)

Mike
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Old 01-23-2017, 8:18 PM
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Mike, How is your receiver connected to the PC? I have downloaded and installed PC-ALE, and I read the quick start guide, but they assume you are using a PC controlled ham transceiver, and not just an HF receiver.

Can I just connect an audio cable from the PC sound card to the receivers' line-in or headphone jack? Can you point me to a setup guide for setup using PC-ALE and an HF receiver? I searched and found mostly dead links.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:47 PM
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Ken

Actually I'm using an RTL-SDR or Software Defined Radio dongle. It plugs into a USB port on my PC. I use a special driver (Zadig) to allow it to work with the software I use (SDRSharp) to tune the HF frequency. I also use a free piece of SW that is a virtual cable to pipe the audio from SDRSharp to the other programs. Since neither of the two big ALE programs can CAT the dongle I can't scan like you would with a transceiver or communications receiver. I found that there is one frequency that both COTHEN uses and the HFDL (ARINC635) network uses for long haul flights to keep in contact with air controllers. I use Sorcerer for the ARINC635 decoding (it will also decode the MARS stuff but I use PC-ALE and MARS-ALE for that. Throughout the day they all 3 decode their respective packets and I get a display on my screen. I select that in the sound-card mixer SW in Windows. If you use the line out or headphones out on your receiver you would select the Stereo Mixer setting or What You Hear setting in the Configuration/Soundcard/Input Device setting in the ALE program. Here's what it looks like when its working.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:26 AM
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Mike, I have successfully set up PC-ALE to decode ALE channels as you have described above, thanks for your tips.

Question, in the Sorcerer program, what is the exact mode you have selected for decoding? I looked for, but couldn't find, "MIL-STD 188-141A".
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:40 AM
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Did you read the entire page? Under the link below, look for the category marked 'Selcall-ale-alm-aliS modes'. Interestingly it also lists the newer ALE 3G that is slowly making its way out there...

Sorcerer Decoder Download | KD0CQ

Also be careful about using Sorcerer for HFDL. AFAIK, the original version uses a very old file for referencing sites. There have been MANY updates to this; I hear whispers - nothing concrete - that there is a Sorcerer version floating around that has the correct list of sites, but beyond that, nada.

You can see a concise list of HFDL sites and frequencies here...(it's a PDF). Table version 49 is, AFAIK, the last known update.

http://www.udxf.nl/Digital-aero.pdf

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Old 01-24-2017, 11:35 AM
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Initially I was replying to Mike n5pwp. But I'll accept help from any Mike...

If I launch Sorcerer and select ARINC 635 as the decoder, I get this message:
Unable to load system database file
Unable to load ground station names from registry
Is this what you meant by using very old referencing files? (or non-existent)

Mike n5pwp said he was using Sorcerer to decode ARINC 635.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:38 AM
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I don't use Sorcerer, so it's possible (when I was decoding HFDL, I used PC-HFDL)...Mike
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:49 AM
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KEn

Here is a grab of where the ALE decoder can be selected. As Mike stated it is under the Selcall list.

As far as the error you get in Sorcerer for ARINC635 decodes I had to modify my registry entry to get the latest HFDL db (v49) to load for Sorcerer. Here is a link that describes how to get the hfdl.dat file and how to modify the registry.
https://www.hfunderground.com/board/...?topic=20709.0
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the help!
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