Saturday, 17 December 2011

ALE Logs December 2011

15043  USAF Scope NET 09DEC11 1445UTC
05708  USAF Scope NET 10DEC11 0740UTC
13215  USAF Scope NET 10DEC11 1305UTC
07527  Spanish Police        13DEC11 1520UTC
05708  USAF Scope NET 14DEC11 0843UTC
04706  TASCOMM, UK   15DEC11 0919UTC
05295  TASCOMM, UK   15DEC11 0941UTC
06251  TASCOMM, UK   15DEC11 1532UTC (presumed)
04703  TASCOMM, UK   15DEC11 1913UTC
4168.5 TASCOMM, UK   16DEC11 0728UTC
4239.5 TASCOMM, UK   16DEC11 0825UTC
11226  USAF Scope NET 17DEC11 1748UTC (with best ALE DX of NSF Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean)

I am perhaps missing something about ALE, but i have been monitoring transmissions all week and have not received a single "message". Soundings (stations announcing their presence on the frequency) and a few calls to other stations, but nothing more, not even encrypted data like you get on STANAG transmissions. so I am asking myself, "what is the point of ALE"?

Anyway, what is the point of SWLing at all really, it's just for fun, and i have to say I really enjoy the ALE decoding. I especially like the link with aviation. I would love to receive a transmission from one of the stations in the Algerian Air Force NET.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

More ALE Logs

I have been monitoring the USAF Scope network on ALE in the local morning, and on 14DEC11 at 0843 received a sounding from code "FAA", which I understand is the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. That was an interesting one! And this morning I received my very first signals from the uK DHFCS ALE Network, with logs from XSS (Forest Moor) and XGE (unknown QTH). I am currently using MultiPSK by F6CTE to decode these transmissions, and it is dead easy to use and, more importantly, decodes considerably better on weak signals than PC-ALE. I am going to buy the registration soon in order to give the program full functionality.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

STANAG and ALE Monitoring

I have recently started getting into receiving the data modes on HF after reading the deocde column in December 2011's "Radio User" magazine. I downloaded a copy of the free "MultiPSK" program and in no time at all I had my first STANAG (4285) message on the screen.
The station callsign was FUE, this being the French navy in Brest. Here is a screenshot of MultiPSK as it decoded the strange sounding transmission:

Later this weekend, I downloaded a copy of the PC-ALE program by Charles Brain. This a neat pieace of software and I used it for just the simpler, single-channel monitoring. I put 15043khz into the Icom 703, opened up the program, selected mic input, and in no time at all messages from the USAF bases around the world were coming in. From my simple station, receiving using only a 20 meter longwire from the window of my shack down to the garden fence, I have already received ALE messages from as far away as Offutt AFB, Nebraska, US! All of the aforementioned messages were standard "sounding" messages, where the station sends an ALE data burst to announce its presence on the network. But I have subsequently received a message from a USAF C5 Galaxy, serial number 70-0463. This is the message sent from station 100463 at 0752 hours below:

[07:52:43][FRQ 05708000][SND][               ][TWS][100            ][AL0] BER  0 SN 00
[07:52:43][FRQ 05708000][SND][               ][TWS][100            ][AL0] BER 21 SN 05
[07:52:43][FRQ 05708000][SND][               ][TWS][100463         ][AL0] BER 22 SN 04

For an interesting list of worldwide ALE stations and station identifiers, this is a fascinating read:

So far, the USAF is the only net I have successfully monitored, but watch this space as I spend the next few days trying out a few more. The oil and gas industry networks in Algeria interest me a lot, so I will probably try these first.