Any recommendations on good utility "voice" frequencies?

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raisindot

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Hello!

After finally giving up on trying to find anything worth listening to on SW and finding banter about antennas do be deathly dull on the ham bands, I'd like to see if I can pick up some voice transmissions either on AM or SSB.

So far, in all my dial spinning on my JRC NRD 545 connected to a 100 foot outside longwire I've never once picked up an aircraft or coast guard or any other voice transmission. Then again, this probably due to timing, lack of knowledge of "where to scan", or just dumb luck.

Given my location (in Boston), can any recommend certain frequencies or frequency ranges where I may pick this stuff up? I know the receiver is receiving because it picks up tons of machine-made signals outside the SW bands.

Jeff in Boston
 

ka3jjz

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There's so much out there that it's hard to know where to start, but these are a good beginning....

HF Aeronautical Communications - The RadioReference Wiki
(these are very good to get a handle on propagation to many parts of the world)

HF Maritime Communications - The RadioReference Wiki

USAF High Frequency Global Communications System - The RadioReference Wiki

To a certain extent, it's not luck that determines whether you hear something - it's understanding how HF propagation works. Not all bands are open all of the time. For now, stay below 10 or 11 mhz or so at night, above this during the day. Educate yourself on how and why this works...

HF Propagation - The RadioReference Wiki

AE4RV's website is a good place to begin.

A 100 foot random wire (not a longwire - that's a totally different animal) on a 545 is a good combination - but with the conditions still down in the dumps a bit, the better the antenna, the better the results. The summer months are coming; don't be afraid to start building! Hopefully the flux levels will continue to rise - they are beginning to come out of the doldrums, albeit very slowly

You might even consider hooking your 545 to the PC - there are a number of packages out there where you could store all these frequencies in a series of files that you can have at your fingertips when you want them.

Receiver Software Applications - the RR Wiki

73 Mike
 
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brandon

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I have attached my logs from part of last year that should help get you started. These were received at my location in SoCal, but you can likely hear them from your location as well. Times are Pacific time zone, so you'll have to convert them.

The VOLMET listing is a great way to check propagation conditions and point your antenna.
SW Volmet Broadcasts

Be sure and check out the HFmonitors group. This is a great place for logs and other information.

If you want to hear some audio samples of what you can expect to hear when monitoring utility stations, I post some to this folder: Index of /audio/hf

Good luck and welcome to the USB side of the hobby :cool:
 
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ka3jjz

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Propagation of signals from the Pacific is VERY different on the West Coast than it is to the East Coast. That being said, being in Boston as the OT is, during the morning hours, it might be possible to get some Pacific stuff. I know a few top DXers that even get some SE Asian stuff in the pre-dawn hours.

73 Mike
 

brandon

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Of course the Pacific will be harder to pick up, but there there are many eastern freqs in the log file.
If you want to try a real busy one plug in 5598.0 USB. It has aero traffic for the North Atlantic region. 5616, 6628, 3016 are other busy ones. Here are maps of the other MWARA regions in case you need something more exotic than the Europe bound flights :)
MWARA - HF Underground

For Coast Guard most of their activity has shifted to COTHEN
COTHEN - The RadioReference Wiki
They still come up on 5696, 8893 and 11202 kHz quite frequently.

11175.0 USB is very active for USAF this is part of the HF-GCS net.
http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/USAF_High_Frequency_Global_Communications_System
You should hear something within 15-30 mins of tuning this frequency on any given day.
 

ka3jjz

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It's very important to keep the time of day, and the place the report is from, in mind when you are trying for a specific target. Let's take a simple example; if I wanted to try for Point Reyes California on 5696 at 1300UT, it won't work - there's too much daylight between me and California. However, at 0400UT, it's a possibility. (OK, you online audio folks would say that I could use Global Tuners, but that's a whole 'nother ballgame...)

In general - there are exceptions to this rule, and whole books have been written on the subject - you and the target must either both be in darkness or daylight to have a shot at hearing it.

The AE4RV site introduces this concept very well. If you are just starting off, I would highly encourage you to read and watch (it uses Flash animation) it.

Your next question would logically be how can I find out whether it is dark or light in a given part of the world?

Glad you asked!

The propagation wiki I referred to earlier has links to utilities that will tell you exactly this vital piece of information. Utilities like GeoClock and SunClock are but 2 examples. Some software control packages have a function for this built in (I believe SWLog does, for example).

HF DXing is very different from scanning, and has many of its own rules. This is but one of them. Taking the time to learn about them only increases your understanding of the subject, and therefore adds to your chances of success in hearing your desired target.

73 Mike
 

raisindot

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Of course the Pacific will be harder to pick up, but there there are many eastern freqs in the log file.
If you want to try a real busy one plug in 5598.0 USB. It has aero traffic for the North Atlantic region. 5616, 6628, 3016 are other busy ones.
Thanks for the ip. Tried all of thise. 5598 was fairly humming all evening. Came in great on the JRC 545, but not at all with the Sat 800 with the masthead antenna alone. 5616 and 6628 had some traffic as well. I couldn't pick anything in any off the 88** frequencies on either radio though.

Jeff
 

ka3jjz

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Not all freqs will be audible all the time - you have to find the freqs that are active, and know when to look. That is also part of understanding daylight and darkness effects on propagation. It's also quite possible that 8 mhz simply wasn't propagating well at the time you were listening. 73 Mike
 
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