Saturday, 26 October 2013

First log of Turkish Civil Defence ALE Network

I made up a QRG file this morning of all the Turkish Civil Defence frequencies and at 0536UTC got my first catch, a sounding from the Turkish province of Karabuk on the Black Sea Coast. The ALE address was 3781, the 78 identifying the province.

I like this network as there is a way of identifying the station heard. Many ALE nets do not have such a system and when you receive the ALE addresses you have no way of knowing where the station was. SONATRACH, the Algerian Oil & Gas network are like this. It would be so cool to be able to identify which oilfield or pumping station you are receiving, but sadly I have found nothing online to suggest this is possible.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Israeli Air Force Boeing 707 Appears on ALE

This Boeing 707 serial #272 (a "vc" variant of the Boeing 707 - whatever that means. I can't find an explanation on the net except that it is somehow modified) appeared on my PC-ALE screen this morning at 06:57UTC on 9057khz. This is such a cool way of hearing aircraft. The other evening I was sitting down relaxing, listening to Rachmaninov's vespers whilst the PC was doing all the hard work of scanning lots of white noise in search of some interesting catches for me!

I like ALE so much I am hoping to get a second laptop running on my Icom 703  - the idea being to scan another range of freqs I might otherwise not scan due to their inactivity and thus increase my chances of a nice catch for the log book.

By the way, the aircraft ID appeared as M72.

73 Adam M6RDP

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Israeli Air Force Active on HF ALE Network

Last night between 1634 and 1733UTC I heard a number of cals on the Israeli Air Force HF ALE netwrok frequency 9219 khz. They were 3 Israeli Air Force C130H/KC130Hs K35, K22 and K45  (serial numbers #435 ,#522 and #545). Also got a call from TSM, though I can not find any address info on the net for it.

Since starting ALE decoding I have heard some great traffic I would never otherwise have heard on voice channels: USCG Jayhawk Helicopters, HC144s and Bombardier Q400s, RAF AWACS E3s, Air Force Bases across Northern Algeria, and now these terrific catches from the Israeli Air Force.

It is a really exciting mode, still very active and with plenty to offer the utility listener and aircraft/military enthusiast.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Yaeus FRG100 and PC-ALE

I just wanted to show you this video of G4ZLP Electronics' superb Yaesu CT62 Digimaster CAT interface set-up to scan the 50 Algerian Air Force ALE frequencies using PC-ALE at the 5 channels/sec scan speed. To scan HF freqs like this is, in itself, awesome. But that it actually stops on receipt of ALE signals and remains on channel to decode them is unbelievable.

The Algerian Military have divided up the countro into 6 military regions (RM):

ale address CM1 - First military region of BLIDA
ale address CM2 - Second military region of ORAN
ale address CM3 - Third military region of BECHAR
ale address CM4 - Fourth military region of OURGLA
ale address CM5 - Fifth military region of CONSTANTINE
ale address CM6 - Sixth military region of TAMANRASSET

ale address COF - Commandement de Forces Aeriennes, Cheraga, Algiers
ale address CNC - can't find this one but would hazard a guess at Centre National de Communications. It is at Algerian Air Force HQ at Cheraga, Algiers

HMG - Hammaguir Air Base (SW of Bechar) notable for its role in French Rocket Launches in the 1960s and 1970s. A close up view of Google Maps  shows the debris of decaying rocket towers in the desert sand.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Monitoring the Algerian Air Force ALE Network

It has taken a long time to get the software and hardware set-up correctly, but after a lot of help from Sam on the UDXF Yahoo Group and a lot of patience on my behalf, I am now successfully monitoring a whole host of interesting military HF networks using ALE. Although the software is easy enough to download (PC-ALE & MultiPSK) and I have used it before for single channel monitoring, getting it hooked up to my Yaesu FRG100 and then successfully scanning was a little trickier. I think the different versions of PC-ALE work better with some radios than others. Finally, the new Beta test version v1.08 was installed and it works like a dream, stopping on active channels even at the fast scan rate of 5 channels per second. Previous versions would scan but not stop properly. I still find MultiPSK a lot more sensitive to weak signals, but it is really not so well set up to monitoring large numbers of frequencies (The Algerian AF have over 50!) for SWLers like myself. Here are some of my latest decodes from the last few days:

[19:17:20][FRQ 11156000][TO ][CM3            ][TIS][CNC            ][AL0] BER 20 SN 05
[19:17:18][FRQ 11156000][TO ][CNC            ][TIS][CM3            ][AL0] BER 20 SN 04
[19:17:16][FRQ 11156000][TO ][CM3            ][TIS][CNC            ][AL0] BER 21 SN 04

[19:24:07][FRQ 11114000][TO ][COF            ][TIS][CM2            ][AL0] BER 30 SN 07

[06:23:41][FRQ 13377000][TO ][CM3 CLR        ][TIS][CNC            ][AL0] BER 18 SN 04

CM3 3rd Regional Command Centre Bechar AFB
CNC Algerian Air Force HQ, Cheraga
COF Algerian Air Force HQ, Cheraga
CM2 2nd Regional Command Centre, Oran AFB

Interestingly, I have hooked up MultiPSK with DX Labs free "Commander" software using the setting for the Yaesu FT757. I nned to disable the "continuous interrogation" button, and then it all works fine.

In addition to the Algerian Air Force, I have had decodes from the Brazilian Navy in Fortaleza contacting its vessels in the South Atlantic; the USAF air bases and AWACS aircraft; the UK AWACS aircraft on the UK DHFCS network; FEMA The Federal Emergency Management Agency in the USA; The Civil Air Patrol in the USA; .... there is so much to hear and what's more, you can leave the set-up decoding while you walk the dog or prepare dinner and come back to interesting transmissions on the screen!

I have also experimented with Sorcerer multimode decoder and although more sensitive than PC-ALE it won't hook up to my radio and in fact the facilities for scanning and radio hook up seem far too limited to be of much practical help.

Anyway, just wanted to update the blog with these latest ALE musings. Next project is to build a broadband HF loop for the back garden. The commercial offering are way out of my financial league for the moment and I suffer a lot of local QRM from a house full of youngsters next door! My single-freq tuned loops out in the garden offer total noise elimination, but being tuned devices are quite useless for scanning multiple frequencies. I have seen a design by Des (M0AYF) and with the help of an Mo friend in the radio club here in Torquay, I hope to build it myself.

73 for now. Adam