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November 8, 2014

DX Extra Show No.14 Released!

Hello fellow dxers,

It is with great excitement to release the latest shortwave news DX Extra No.14 special double length show to the world wide web!

In this fortnight's podcast:


U.S. Radio Stations cyber-attack
Amateur Radio Dxexpidition - Navassa Island
CHU Canada turns 75
Halloween Pirate logs
Amateur Radio Special Events
Global 24 Special QSL
Audio: VOA 

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TRANSCRIPT DX EXTRA NO.14

[Intro:] From Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Welcome to the DX Extra, the extra thing you need to digest your shortwave news – its show number 14. Hope you are all doing well. 

Just a reminder, our blog is at www.dxextra.blogspot.com.au  and our email address is hriradio[SPAM-remove]@gmail.com 

If you haven't looked the blog has been revamped with an inbuilt audio player, now featuring transcripts and a selection of our popular shows. 

In the headlines this fortnight:

  • U.S. Radio Stations cyber-attack
  • Amateur Radio Dxexpedition - Navassa Island 
  • CHU Canada turns 75
  • Halloween Pirate Logs
  • Amateur Radio Special Events
  • Global 24 Special QSL
  • Audio: VOA 

“Several radio stations in small markets throughout the United States are licking their wounds after suffering cyber-intrusions.

The alarm was first sounded by a cluster of radio stations in Louisiana on October 16. When the morning crews arrived, they found they had no access to the stations’ automation systems or music libraries. Instead, the data on their computers had been encrypted and frozen…and then they began to receive e-mails asking them to pay hundreds of dollars in order to set their machines free. 

The stations’ owner reports that instead of paying the ransom demand, they’ve reported the intrusions to the police and plan to rebuild their systems from scratch. It will cost “tens of thousands of dollars” to undo the damage that the malicious software has inflicted, and they apparently keep finding more compromises as they continue their damage assessment. 

Then last week, stations in Arkansas and Virginia announced that they, too had been infected by software that scrambled several of their computer systems and demanded payment to restore them. And this week, a cluster of stations in Michigan belatedly reported that they suffered the same sort of attack in September.

The malicious software in these incidents is commonly called “ransomware“—a type of trojan horse that’s downloaded to computer systems and infects those that are vulnerable. The software effectively scrambles the data on infected machines and locks down access to them. Then, victims are e-mailed ransom demands: pay hundreds or thousands of dollars (typically in Bitcoin) and the hackers will un-scramble the systems.

Ransomware attacks target computer systems with open vulnerabilities. All the radio stations affected in these latest intrusions were running Windows XP—an outdated operating system which Microsoft officially stopped supporting and updating in April. Ransomware gets installed when some user inadvertently clicks a link on a website carrying the payload, not by active intrusion by a hacker. At that point the download and installation of the ransomware is pretty much an automatic process if the system is not already properly secured. However, there have been recent cases where the servers of Yahoo, AOL, and several media outlets around the world were infected by ransomware, thereby putting those who visited those sites (and have susceptible computers) at risk.

According to the industry trades, the radio stations were victims of the CryptoLocker ransomware program, which has been in the wild for more than a year. However, security researchers were able to decode CryptoLocker in August, which means many of its victims may be able to recover their data. 

U.S. broadcasters falling victim to cyber-intrusion is not a new phenomenon. I pondered this possibility all the way back in 2000, and just last year several radio and television stations around the country broadcast hoax Emergency Alert System messages warning of a zombie apocalypse after their EAS systems were hacked. In those cases, it turns out that victim-stations did not change the default password on their EAS receivers.

All of these cyber-intrusions can be traced to lax information security practices at the victim-stations themselves. Not changing default passwords is a sure vector for hackers, and so is running mission-crititcal systems on outdated operating systems. In fact, most IT professionals recommend isolating such systems from the public Internet and making regular off-site backups. Running station staff through rudimentary IT security training (like strong passwords and avoiding shady links) should also be standard policy.

Unfortunately, many broadcast stations, especially in smaller markets, do not have the time nor talent to harden their systems. Paul Thurst has written extensively on the learning curve broadcast engineers face working with networked technology, and he’s published a handy checklist of essential IT security practices that all broadcasters would be wise to heed.”
Via DIY Media's website

[Audio: Taylor Swift – Shake It Off]

“"Navassa Island is currently ranked #2 on the DX Magazine's "Most Wanted List".

KP1, Navassa Island (Press Release)

From the The KP1-5 Project […]

"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has notified the KP1-5 Project that they will be the team to activate Navassa Island (KP1) in January 2015. The DXpedition will be a maximum of fourteen days. The exact dates in January will be determined by USFWS mission requirements and weather windows.

Our experienced team of fifteen is complete and is ready for the challenge. The weeks ahead will be extremely busy as the team has less than 90 days before the DXpedition comes on the air. January is the month of minimum bird nesting activity and this is the primary reason USFWS is asking that the operation be completed during that month. However, the weather is unpredictable in January and because Navassa is surrounded by cliffs, this may preclude a safe landing by boat. For safety reasons and in order to maximize our time on the island and on the air, a helicopter operation is planned. Navassa is over 100 miles (160 km) from the nearest helicopter staging point and as many as ten round trips will be required at the beginning and end of the operation.

Obviously, this means that there will be a significant cost for activating this #1 ranked DXCC entity.
In the next few weeks, we be working with USFWS and as details firm up, we will issue periodic press releases. Check our webpage www.kp1-5.com for more details of the operation and how you may financially support this DXpedition.

The KP1-5 Project team has committed to fund 50% of the total costs. We are hopeful the DX community at large will fund the remainder for The KP1-5 Project.”
Via the Shortwave Central Blog 

[Audio: DX Extra Promo No.1]

November 05, 2014 — Ottawa, Ontario
Seventy-five years ago, the broadcast of Canada's official time signal was first heard on CBC Radio. It was November 5, 1939, as a war was being waged in Europe. Since then, listeners all across the country have used "the beginning of the long dash" to set their clocks to the exact time. Time has a huge impact on our lives. Cellphones, computers, GPS systems, and stock exchange markets are but a few examples of applications relying on accurate time.
Metrology and measurement standards lie at the heart of every industrial process, from research and product development to commerce and international trade. As a world-leader in the science of measurement, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) keeps improving the measurement capability of the industry and ensures our country's interests are well-represented internationally.
The National Research Council houses and operates the precision clocks that disseminate the time signal, and is responsible for the metric system and the standard for mass in Canada. NRC is engaged in a wide variety of other related activities, including calibration services provided to cancer clinics, ensuring that patients receive accurate radiation doses. Through three research programs, NRC helps scientists, researchers, and industries where high-precision measurements are critical for market success.
Via The National Research Council Canada website. 

Of course you can hear CHU Canada on 3330, 7850 and 14670.  

[Halloween music]

Trick or treat? Last weekend was Halloween and that means European and American pirates go crazy doing Halloween specials. Even China Radio International 11750 on the 1/Nov/2014 at 06h25UTC got in on the cultural event, here is an audio recording:
[CRI recording 1m43]
There were plenty of pirates and in Australia we do struggle to hear any, and only under fantastic DX conditions would we be likely to hear them. 

Here are American and Europirate logs from November 1st:

Undercover Radio 6925USB saying it's Halloween 2005 with strange music.  Logged by William Callesen, USA.  6930USB had another pirate.

Chris Crosby, Viriginia, USA logged 6835 UNID, 6900 UNID, 6925 Mustang Radio Europirate and 6953 CYOT Radio at around 0h00 UTC and 6935USB Wolverine Radio with Halloween show and around 1:58UTC which was S9+ booming in. 

Brian Green heard 6965USB XFM Radio S7 into North-West Arkansas. I think he heard that at 0h28UTC. HF Underground reports they played the Cranberries – Zombie at 0107UTC and at 1h33UTC Smashing Pumpkins – Ava Adore. All 3 logs via The Shortwave Listeners Worldwide facebook group 

6930USB 0402UTC Casey Kasem Halloween Top 25 Countdown playing techno, space-type music, ghostly voice-overs, a lovely ID “This is Casey Kasem with Halloween's Top 25, I'm back from the Dead.” A spoof transmission from mission control and international space station discussing the pirate's radio program finishing off with song Cold as Ice and an Amy Grant song. Via HF Underground forum – user rcci 

11595AM 1805UTC YHWH poor listening conditions.  Via HF Underground forum user – Token

6925USB WAHR 0305UTC playing Monster Mash, Purple people eater, wally wally bing bang  Via HF Underground forum user- Rafman 

6925AM 0238UTC Captain Morgan Shortwave sound of a chainsaw over music, now playing Thriller, Goulish Dave mix, Turkey in the straw, more chainsaw sounds at 02h55UTC and finishing with “They're coming to take me away”! Via HF underground forum – user myteaquinn. 

6925AM 0203UTC Area 51 Radio playing Alien and hellish voices, weak off at 0235UTC. Via HF Underground forum user – jFarley 

The list goes on, Peskie Party Radio, Southern Relay Service, The Count, Turtlehead Radio, Radio Ga-Ga and Radio Halloween. 

As you can see Halloween makes fantastic pirate listening. I actually also heard a pirate on 6930USB 01h05UTC  from a Dutch SDR. It's a bit early for the Casey Kasem Halloween show. Also on the Dutch SDR were other stations, it was pretty packed around 6800-7MHZ at times! 7375 had the Mighty KBC. 

[UNID Pirate 6930USB]

Also heard Laser Hot Hits on 4025 Sunday 2nd November 3h17UTC via a Dutch SDR. 

[Laser Hot Hits] 

I have a couple of promos from Halloween Radio Germany that I'm going to play so you really get an idea how creative it is. Nine years ago they asked me to do voiceovers for them.

[Halloween Radio No.2 & No.6 ]

I've got goosebumps - And finally many Amateur operators are abroad for a special November, it would be great to see if we can hear these guys from the various locations:

November 1 - December 31
Italy-IY, (Special Prefix). Look for special event station IY1EY to be active, from Loano www.ariloano.it to commemorate the experiments conducted by Gugliemo Marconi from his yach
'Elettra' in the Ligurian Sea between 1919 and 1936. Expect activity on CW and SSB, and on all bands including 30/17/12m. Receive a special QSL card via IK1QBT direct.

November 3 - December 12
Madagscar, Eric, F6ICX, will once again be active as 5R8IC from Saint Marie Island (AF-090). Activity will be holiday style on all HF bands operating maily CW, but some SSB, RTTY, and PSK63, using a FT450 with 100 watts into various GPs or Inverted-Ls and a Hexbeam for 20-10 meters. There will be no online log during his activity. QSL via his home callsign (QRZ.com).
Logs will be uploaded to ClubLog and LoTW.

November 5-12
Brunei-V8, Lady operators Kyoko/JR3MVF, Evelyne/F5RPB, Ruth/IT9ESZ and Waltraud /DJ6US will be active as V84YL from Darussalam. Activity will be on all HF bands using CW and SSB.
QSL via DJ6US, by the Bureau or direct.

November 7-10
Micronesia-V6, Operators Shinji/JF2SDR and Nobuaki/JA0JHQ will be active as V63PJ and V63XP, respectively, from the SouthPark Hotel on Phonpei Island (OC-010). Activity will be on 40-6 meters.
QSL via the operator's home callsign. More details are forthcoming.

November 17 - December 2
Ascension Island-ZD8, Marko, N5ZO, will be active as ZD8O from Ascension Island between November 17th and December 2nd. Activity will be mainly in contests. His activity in the CQWW DX CW Contest will be Single-Op/All-Band entry. QSL via OH0XX.

November 19 - 27
Juan Fernandez Island-CE0Z, Felipe, CE5WQO, will be active as CE0Z/CE5WQO from Juan Fernandez Island (SA-005) between November 19-27th. He informs OPDX that this will be a vacation, so operations will be holiday style on 160-10 meters using CW, SSB and the Digital modes. Equipment will be an Icom IC-746Pro + Icom PS 125 with a Yaesu FL-2100z amp (600w) into a
W8AMZ G5RV antenna and 2 element yagi for 10m. Please note ...Felipe would like to know which bands and modes the HAM community needs for CE0Z. Also, if any one wants to sponsor a better antenna, to please contact him so he can receive any package at his address in Miami, FL. QSL via KA3LKM (w/2 IRCs or green stamps).

November 22
Kuwait-9K, Ned, AA7A, Voodoo Contest Group team leader for 2014, sent out the following press release [edited] "The Voodoo Contest Group is on the move again in 2014 for the CQWW DX CW Contest. The team has been invited to operate at the emerging Multi-Multi contest station being assembled by 9K2HN, Hamad Alnusif in the Abdali area in northern Kuwait. They will operate using the callsign 9K2HN in the Multi-Multi category in the contest. In addition to 9K2HN, operators will include Ned/AA7A, Don/G3XTT, Fred/G4BWP, Ray/G4FON, John/G4IRN, Mike/KC7V, Dave/N4QS, Bus/N7CW, and Bob/W6RGG, with the potential for other local 9K operators. The visiting Voodudes will arrive on November 22, and will operate before the contest with particular emphasis on the lower bands. QSLs for 9K2HN are via instructions on QRZ.com. Further information about the Voodoo Contest Group can be found at: http://voodoocontestgroup.com

November 25 - December 24
Vietnam-3W, Tony, KM0O, will be active as 3W3O from Danang. His main activity will be the CQWW DX CW Contest (November 29-30th) as a Single-Op/All-Band entry. Tony likes 80 and 160 meters, so he will probably be emphasizing those bands before and after the contest. QSL via LoTW, by the Bureau or KM0O (see QRZ.com). He will upload his logs to LoTW as promptly as possible. QSLs will not go out until summer of 2015.


Global 24 November 4, 2014
Global 24 is pleased to announce a special QSL card remembering the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Global 24 will be broadcasting several special programs throughout the weekend about the tumultuous events in Berlin.  Our special QSL card will be available for confirmed reception reports from November 6 through November 10.
about.global24radio.com

Via Mike Terry DLXD digest
And of course you can hear them 24/7 on 9395.  

And if this news was not enough, we recommend The World of Radio by Glen Hauser, the website www dot world of radio dot com
DX Extra is being relayed via World FM 88.2FM in Tawa, near Wellington in New Zealand.. Worldfm dot co dot nz – all the details are on the website. 

[promo]

Before we go it's time to get an audio clip out of the archives. This is audio from last saturday, VOA Music mix 15580 at 06h37UTC.

[VOA 15580 06h37UTC]

Until next time remember shortwave radio is still full of mysteries – keep tuning and keep reporting. Take care and stay safe. 

Image: Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart.

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