Wednesday, December 19, 2012

US UHF Milsat Pirate Busted

Many of us who monitoring Milsat activity are well aware of the hijinks involving Brazilian (aka Portuguese speaking) pirates transmitting over our UHF milsats. Well one another one of them has been busted, and no he was not in South America, but right here in the United States, New Jersey and an Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator to boot.

So who is our winner of the "Bonehead of 2012 award?" Here is part of the story courtesy of the ARRL website:

FCC Finds New Jersey Ham Violated Communication Act, Reduces Forfeiture from $20,000 to $16,000

After unsuccessfully appealing to the FCC to cancel his $20,000 forfeiture, Joaquim Barbosa, N2KBJ, of Elizabeth, New Jersey was issued a Forfeiture Order stating that he must pay $16,000 for “willfully and repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by operating a radio transmitting equipment on the frequency 296.550 MHz without Commission authorization.”

The FCC noted in the Forfeiture Order that based on the examination process involved in pursuing an amateur license, “amateur licensees are expected to have an understanding of radio operations and pertinent FCC regulations, including Part 97 of the FCC’s rules governing the Amateur Radio Service. Licensed amateur operators know that they are authorized to operate only on the frequencies listed in Section 97.301 of the rules, as designated by their operator class and license. Pursuant to the Table of Allocations, the 267-322 MHz band -- the band that Barbosa was operating in -- is allocated solely for federal government use, which we continue to believe Barbosa knew (or should have known) was not authorized for non-government use.”

Barbosa’s Amateur Radio license expired August 31, 2008, but his timely filed renewal application was listed as “Offlined for Enforcement Bureau Action” in the ULS. As such, Barbosa was legally allowed to operate while his case was undergoing the enforcement proceedings.

You can read the complete bizarre story on Barbosa and why he thought he could operate on a DoD Milsat uplink/downlink on the ARRL website at:

And what is 296.550 MHz? From my MilcomMP database:

296.5500 FLTSAT Charlie Navy Fleet Relay (25 kHz) Channel 04 Uplink
The downlink for this uplink is 255.550 MHz.

 Here are a couple of the notes in this regard from my database about this 255.550 downlink/296.550 uplink

255.5500 Portuguese pirates music and comms (also noted using DStar digital comms)
255.5500 Portuguese milsat downlink pirates, whistling

So N2KBJ guess we won't be seeing you hand around the ham bands in the future. Just curious how is that Brazilian milsat license you got working out for you?

As old P.T. Barnum you to say, "There's a sucker born every minute" or you may better recognize it in your 296.550 MHz native tongue, " um otário a cada minuto nasce."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

North Korea Launches a Unha-3 and what into orbit?

North Korea successfully launched a Unha-3 three stage rocket on Wednesday from its west coast launch site. The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

"The satellite has entered the planned orbit," a North Korean television news reader clad in traditional Korean garb announced, after which the station played patriotic songs with the lyrics "Chosun (Korea) does what it says."

The Unha-3 rocket fired just before 9:49 a.m. local time (0049 GMT), and was detected heading south by a South Korean destroyer patrolling the Yellow Sea. Japanese officials said the first rocket stage fell into the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula; a second stage fell into the Philippine Sea hundreds of kilometers (miles) farther south.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), later confirmed that "initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit," the first time an independent body has verified North Korean claims.
USSTRATCOM statement on N-Korea launch
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs 

December 11, 2012

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - North American Aerospace Defense Command officials acknowledged today that U.S. missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch of a North Korean missile at 7:49 p.m. EST. The missile was tracked on a southerly azimuth. Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippine Sea. Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America.

North Korea's rocket launches

Dec 2012: North Korea launches three-stage rocket, says it successfully put a satellite into orbit; US defense officials confirm object in orbit.

Apr 2012: Three-stage rocket explodes just after take-off, falls into sea.

Apr 2009: Three-stage rocket launched; North Korea says it was a success, US says it failed and fell into the sea.

Jul 2006: North Korea test-fires a long-range Taepdong-2 missile; US said it failed shortly after take-off.

Air Force sends mystery mini-shuttle back to space

A top-secret X-37B mini-space shuttle has blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Air Force launched the unmanned spacecraft Tuesday aboard an Atlas V rocket with an on-time liftoff at 1:03 p.m. at Launch Complex 41.

The Atlas rocket and its Centaur upper stage performed flawlessly through the first 17 minutes and 34 seconds. The mission then switched into a classified mode, and an information blackout followed.

It's the second flight for this original X-37B spaceplane. It circled the planet for seven months in 2010. A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit. The two previous secret flights were in roughly 200-plus-mile-high orbits. These spacecraft are capable of autonomous atmospheric reentry and landing. The first two missions concluded on a runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The military isn't saying much if anything about this new secret mission. But one scientific observer, Harvard University's Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, speculates the spaceplane is carrying sensors designed for spying and likely is serving as a testbed.

Friday, December 07, 2012

U.S. warships moving to monitor North Korea's planned rocket launch

A satellite image showing North Korea's Dongchang-ri missile launch site Photo: EPA/YONHAP/GOOGLE

Reuters is reporting that the United States is shifting warships into position to track and possibly defend against a planned North Korean rocket launch while urging Pyongyang to cancel its second such attempt this year, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said on Thursday.

"It should seem logical that we'll move them around so we have the best situational awareness," he said. "To the degree that those ships are capable of participating in ballistic missile defense, then we will position them to be able to do that."The United States and many other countries view it as a test of a long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile that would violate U.N. resolutions and further destabilize the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean launch attempt in April failed

Meanwhile in Japan, the order to destroy the missile should any part of it threaten to fall onto Japanese territory was issued after a meeting of the Security Council of Japan met in the morning and was informed that North Korea has begun has filling a fuel tank alongside the launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in preparation for the launch.

Japan has already deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile batteries in Tokyo, as well as in Okinawa and at locations along the northern and eastern coasts facing the Korean Peninsula.

Three Japanese destroyers equipped with the advanced Aegis detect-and-destroy weapons system have been deployed in the Sea of Japan.

Pyongyang claims the launch is an attempt to put an earth-observation satellite into orbit. But analysts and foreign governments share the belief that the it is part of North Korea's development of long-range missiles.

The head of US forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, told reporters on Thursday that the launch threatens the stability of the region..