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Updated 25 Sep, 2017

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    The LOWDOWN This Month
In the Oct 2017 issue of the club publication:
  • "DX Downstairs" Kevin Carey presents best of members' LF and VLF loggings.
  • "Longwave Ham Bands Become Real" Announcement of effective date of rules... and...
  • "The LF Notebook" Conducted by John Davis. News from, for and about LWCA members.
  • "On The Air" Experimenters operating on the 160-190kHz and lower bands... and...
  • "The Top End" MedFER and HiFER beacon lists, with Beacon Bits & Mailbag, by guest columnist Chris Waldrup.
  • "History of the 630 Meter Band" Part 1 Fritz Raab W1FR relates the story of how this new amateur band came to be.
  • "LF Receiver Performance: RA6772E" John Reed tests a TEMPEST-qualified classic receiver.
  • From the Archives: "ELF Reflections" by Sal J. DeFrancesco.

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   LF-MF Ham Rules Update!
Effective date now set.

      The Federal Communications Commission rules for the 630 and 2200 meter ham bands, are outlined in the FCC's recent Report & Order, were published in the Federal Register as of June 12, but the new rules did not take effect after the usual 30 days because coordination arrangements still had to be worked out on procedures for the required PLC frequency coordination with Utilities Telecom Council. The Office of Management and Budget has now approved the plan. Details can be found in this post by W1TAG.
      In addition to these two new WRC bands, the Docket 15-99 proposals will relieve HiFER hobbyists of CODAR interference in a few years, elevate the status of amateur operation between 1800 and 2000 kHz, and impact experimentation below 9 kHz as well, because radio spectrum is now formally allocated down to 8.3 kHz.

   Oexner NDB Handbooks Available

      The 2017 editions of Michael Oexner's popular European NDB Handbook & North American NDB Handbook and CDs are now available. The updated ENDBH contains the data of more than 7200 NDBs on 150+ spiral-bound pages in A4 format, and the NANDBH shows the data of more than 5000 NDBs on 130+ pages.
      The CD versions of the handbooks contain an updated Google Earth waypoint file so that you can "visit" NDB locations around the globe. New pictures have been added to the NDB picture collection, and the NDB sound clip section has grown as well.
      Click or tap this link for a PDF file containing information about the 2017 NDB Handbooks.

LW Resources & Additional Topics

   Related Longwave Sites

      •William Hepburn's DX Information Centre has probably the best online list of aero and marine beacons based on official license information, plus lists of LW broadcasters and time signals, and numerous resources for other types of DXing as well.
      •The searchable RNA database of LF beacons...not compiled from official sources, but a digest of signal reports from experienced listeners in North and Central America. It's a great tool for identifying those unknown signals. It won't always be up-to-date regarding decommissioned beacons, of course. This might somewhat limit its usefulness in targeting specific beacons to listen for, but it's still helpful if you pay attention to the most recent reported date for a given beacon.
      •Radio Waves Below 22 kHz Renato Romero's eclectic collection of topics pertaining to both manmade and natural radio signals from near DC to the upper end of audibility. Includes the VLF Open Lab, and articles by many contributors...some fairly orthodox, and some not. Visit: www.vlf.it
      Not viewable online but a resource which can be ordered there...Michael Oexner's North American and European NDB Handbooks, now updated for 2017 (click link for info in PDF form).

   QRSS and WOLF Software

      Rik Strobbe's QRSS software (for transmitting extremely slow CW) and Rik's other useful software at the ON7YD download page.
      Continuing Development of Argo. Alberto di Bene posts the latest version of Argo, a receiving tool for displaying slow CW, that performs FFT spectral analysis and displays it in ways optimized for QRSS. Many of the transoceanic LF amateur records were set using Argo at the receiving end. Argo has somewhat similar performance to Spectran, but interacts better with the user's soundcard and is customized for QRSS modes.
      WOLF. Stewart Nelson devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK. See his announcement of the MS-DOS version for more details. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Büscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF site.
      Spectrum Lab, at that same link, is another of Wolf's creations. In conjunction with your computer's sound card, not only is it an especially advanced spectrum analyzer, but it's also a filtering and sound processing tool, and can serve as the demodulator part of a software defined receiver.
      Slow CW for Linux. Claudio Girardi (IN3OTD) has released Slow CW software for users of the Linux operating system, currently v 0.42. The program (called glfer) contains both transmit and receive capability, the latter including an FFT-based spectrum analyzer somewhat similar to those found in popular Windows Slow CW programs. As with much open-source software in the X-world, you have to compile the C source code yourself. Users will also need additional code libraries. Links to those, plus downloadable source code, can be found at Claudio's glfer page.

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