Shortwave Radiogram 1 April 2018 / MFSK32/64

Welcome to program 41 of Shortwave Radiogram.

I’m Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.

Here is the lineup for today’s program, in MFSK32 except where

1:35 Program preview (now)
2:46 MFSK64: Happy Dyngus Day! What is Dyngus Day?*
8:24 MFSK32: Australia plans lasers to destroy space junk*
14:52 The great Pacific garbage patch*
19:49 SSTV from the International Space Station*
24:44 Image* and closing announcements
27:37 Surprise mode

* with image

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This is Shortwave Radiogram in MFSK64 …

From the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune:

Drink Up: Polish brandy booms on Dyngus Day

Jake Brown
29 March 2018

Long-standing ethnic celebrations aren’t without their

Dyngus Day, the Polish holiday that falls one day after Easter,
is no exception. Devotees flock to bars and social clubs for a
mixture of traditional Polish foods, alcohol and dancing.
Politicians descend on places such as the West Side Democratic &
Civic Club in South Bend, eager to make a speech and press the

All this is done over the din created by big crowds and music,
sometimes live, to which people polka. South Bend does it like
few other cities.

“The day also is big in Buffalo, N.Y., and in some other
communities,” longtime Tribune columnist Jack Colwell wrote in
2007. “Nowhere is it celebrated just the way it is in South

Beer is often the go-to drink for those inclined to celebrate
with booze in hand.

Domestic offerings such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite and
Coors Light take center stage. They’re easy drinking and can be
consumed in volume. Drewrys, a beer brewed locally into the early
1970s then briefly brought back to life a few years ago, has been
popular in the past.

Yet there is another, lesser-known alcohol that powers Dyngus Day

In some bars, it might collect dust. But to the establishments
that brim with patrons on Dyngus Day and cater to the Polish
community in general, there is no mistaking its importance.

Everybody within that sphere knows about jezynowka, a
blackberry-flavored brandy.

“It was for any event,” Stella’s Crumstown Tavern owner Marcia
Rathwick says. “You always had a bottle at the house. It’s best
cold. I believe so. It was always in the fridge.”

Jezynowka – often shortened to just “jez” and pronounced “yazh” –
is the Dyngus Day spirit of choice, without question. Proof is in
the consumption.

Rathwick says Stella’s goes through about a bottle each week, on
average. She’ll have six or so on hand for Dyngus Day.

The nearby Crumstown Conservation Club gears up in a serious way.
Dyngus Day celebrations at the club begin about 7 a.m. with folks
lined up outside the door in hopes of scoring a prime spot
inside. Shortly thereafter, the shots of jezynowka start flowing.

Annette Wise, bar manager and secretary on the Conservation Club
board, says she ordered four cases of the liquor for Dyngus Day.
She expects to go through every bit of it by the time the club
closes up for the day.

“We carry it all year round down here,” Wise says. “Down here,
it’s used for any type of celebration – birthdays, weddings, they
use jez. Any time they celebrate, it’s a shot of jez, especially
in the Polish community.”

The unfamiliar might be wondering: What, exactly, does it taste
like? Let the veterans be your guide.

“You ever had Robitussin?” Julie Brown, a longtime bartender at
Stella’s whose father always kept a bottle around, quips.

“It tastes like Vicks Formula 44 if you ask me,” Wise says.

Cough syrup comparisons, admittedly, aren’t the most flattering.
The brandy is fruity and smooth. It does, in fact, coat the
throat like cough syrup. Most would admit it’s an acquired taste.
That doesn’t keep jezynowka from having its fans.

“I like the flavor,” Rathwick says. “A lot of people are like,
‘How can you drink that stuff?’ I don’t think it’s that bad. I
like it. But it’s not something you sit around and drink every
day. You’re not like, ‘Hey, I’m going to go to the bar for some
jez. Want to come?'”

One more thing about jezynowka: It’s almost exclusively taken as
a shot.

Rathwick says she’s seen it mixed in the past with Southern
Comfort to make a concoction called “Wyoming wobbling water.” In
recent years, some customers have mixed it with Red Bull, the
energy drink, to create a jezynowka bomb. Hunters might sip it
when they’re out on a cold morning.

But for the most part, it’s taken straight and quick, never
mixed. So if you’re inclined to give it a try this Dyngus Day,
make sure to do it as tradition dictates.

“I’ve been a bartender for 32 years,” Brown says, “and I’ve never
had anyone order it in a drink. It’s always been in a shot.”

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Australia Developing Lasers to Track, Destroy Space Junk

Phil Mercer
24 March 2018

SYDNEY – Australian scientists say a powerful ground-based laser
targeting space junk will be ready for use next year. They say
there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris circling the
Earth that have the potential to damage or destroy satellites.

Reducing the amount of space junk in orbit has been the focus of
a meeting of scientists this week in Canberra organized by
Australia’s Space Environment Research Center.

The meeting has heard that a laser using energy from light
radiation to move discarded objects in space could be ready for
use within a year. Researchers in Australia believe the
technology would be able to change the path of orbital junk to
prevent collisions with satellites. The aim is to eventually
build more powerful laser beams that could push debris into the
Earth’s atmosphere, where it would burn up.

Professor Craig Smith, head of EOS Space Systems, the Australian
company that is developing the junk-busting devices, explained
how it would work.

“We track objects and predict collisions to high accuracy and if
we think a space debris object is going to have a collision with
another space debris object then we can use our laser to change
its orbits rather than crashing into a satellite or another space
debris object causing more space debris. Again as we ramp up the
power to bigger and bigger lasers then, yes, you can actually
start moving it enough to what we call de-orbit the satellite by
reducing its velocity enough that it starts to change orbit
height and eventually hits the atmosphere and the atmosphere
takes over and drags it,” Smith said.

The system, which would operate through a telescope near the
Australian capital, Canberra, is expected to be finished early
next year. It is estimated there are 7,500 tons of trash in
space. This includes an estimated half-a-million marble-sized
pieces of junk, while other items, such as discarded rockets and
disused parts of space crafts, are much larger.

In 2012, the eight-ton Envisat Earth Observation satellite
unexpectedly shut-down in orbit, where it remains. The size of a
school bus, the satellite is one of the largest pieces of ‘junk’
in orbit and could become a catastrophic hazard if struck by
other space debris and broken into fragments.

But space debris does not have to be big to cause damage. A
floating fleck of paint is thought to have cracked a window on
the International Space Station.

In Europe, large nets and harpoons are being developed to catch
debris encircling our planet.

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From Science News:

The great Pacific garbage patch may be 16 times as massive as we

Helen Thompson
22 March 2018

We’re going to need a bigger trash can.

A pooling of plastic waste floating in the ocean between
California and Hawaii contains at least 79,000 tons of material
spread over 1.6 million square kilometers, researchers report
March 22 in Scientific Reports. That’s the equivalent to the mass
of more than 6,500 school buses. Known as the great Pacific
garbage patch, the hoard is four to 16 times as heavy as past

About 1.8 trillion plastic pieces make up the garbage patch, the
scientists estimate. Particles smaller than half a centimeter,
called microplastics, account for 94 percent of the pieces, but
only 8 percent of the overall mass. In contrast, large (5 to 50
centimeters) and extra-large (bigger than 50 centimeters) pieces
made up 25 percent and 53 percent of the estimated patch mass.

Much of the plastic in the patch comes from humans’ ocean
activities, such as fishing and shipping, the researchers found.
Almost half of the total mass, for example, is from discarded
fishing nets. A lot of that litter contains especially durable
plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are
designed to survive in marine environments.

To get the new size and mass estimates, Laurent Lebreton of the
Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit foundation in Delft, the Netherlands,
and his colleagues trawled samples from the ocean surface, took
aerial images and simulated particle pathways based on plastic
sources and ocean circulation.

Aerial images provided more accurate tallies and measurements of
the larger plastic pieces, the researchers write. That could
account for the increase in mass over past estimates, which
relied on trawling data and images taken from boats, in addition
to computer simulations. Another possible explanation: The patch
grew – perhaps driven by an influx of debris from the 2011
tsunami that hit Japan and washed trash out to sea.

Image: Used fishing net on a beach …

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Space Station’s Slow-Scan Television System to be Active in April

28 March 2018

The Amateur Radio Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) system on the
International Space Station (ISS) is expected to be active in
April on 145.800 MHz (FM). The Russian segment’s Inter-MAI 75
SSTV has announced transmissions on Monday, April 2, 1505 – 1830
UTC, and on Tuesday, April 3, 1415 – 1840 UTC.

“Reviewing the crew schedule, the SSTV activity, which uses
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) radios,
was coordinated around ARISS school contacts and is listed for
April 2 and April 3,” said NASA ISS Ham Project Coordinator
Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO.

The SSTV system, which uses the call sign RS0ISS, is also
expected to be active from April 11 – 14 worldwide to mark
Cosmonautics Day in Russia on April 12. Specific transmission
times are not yet available. Images on all dates will be related
to the Soviet Union’s Interkosmos cooperative space ventures

SSTV images will be transmitted in PD-120 format on 145.800 MHz
(FM) using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver in the ISS Russian
Service Module. ISS transmissions use the 5-kHz deviation FM
standard. It’s possible to receive SSTV transmissions with only a
handheld transceiver and appropriate SSTV software: connect the
audio output of the transceiver or a scanner to the soundcard of
a Windows PC or an Apple iOS device. The free Windows application
MMSSTV can be used to decode the signal. On Apple iOS devices,
the SSTV app is available for compatible modes. For Linux
systems, try QSSTV.

This event is dependent on other activities, schedules, and crew
responsibilities on the ISS and subject to change. Check for
updates on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station’s
(ARISS) SSTV blog and picture gallery.

See also:

Image: The transmitted SSTV images will be related to the
Interkosmos project …

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On Shortwave Radiogram, time for one more image.

First the image, then the caption …

Sending Pic:292×326;

“One day, son, all of these perfectly good A.C. adapters, which
have long outlived the products they were originally designed
for, will be yours.”

Transmission of Shortwave Radiogram is provided by:

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Space Line, Bulgaria,

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I’m Kim Elliott. Please join us for the next Shortwave

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This is Shortwave Radiogram in MFSK32, where your decoded MFSK32
text should still be in the receive pane …

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Shortwave Radiogram 18 March 2018 7780MHz

Welcome to program 39 of Shortwave Radiogram.

I’m Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.

Here is the lineup for today’s program, all in MFSK32:

1:32 Program preview (now)
3:26 Urban mining to reuse materials*
12:14 Polluting the world with noise**
20:39 Chinese lunar satellites will include amateur radio*
27:04 Closing announcements

* with image

** During the second news item (about noise pollution), an
MFSK32 image will be transmitted centered on 2200 Hz,
concurrent with the text centered on 1500 Hz.

To decode the text and image simultaneously, run two instances of
Fldigi. (Turn off the RxID on the second instance.) Or you can
record the broadcast and decode the image later.

The RSID will not be transmitted at the beginning of the image.
However, there will be a 15-second tuning signal to help you
center on the correct audio frequency.

At the end of the text, the image will be transmitted again,
centered on the usual 1500 Hz.

Please send reception reports to

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Twitter: @SWRadiogram

From Deutsche Welle:

Urban mining: Hidden riches in our cities

Karin Jäger
12 March 2018

Cities hold tons of materials that can be reused – and
doing so can address over-exploitation of scarce natural
resources. From buildings to electronic waste, we are
surrounded by value. So how does urban mining work?

With demand of natural resources increasing and supply
decreasing, the use of recycled materials is gaining importance.

Mineral resources like concrete, bricks or ceramics can be found
in large quantities in many buildings across countries like
Germany. Metals such as steel, copper, and aluminum, and
materials like plastic, gypsum, asphalt and wood are also
abundant. Household waste is also a major source of valuable

Urban mining has many advantages over primary mining: the
materials are already in the city where they are likely to be
needed again, so there is no need for long transport routes. And
the environmental impact, particularly in land use, is clearly
lower than mining for natural resources.

“As the use of fossil fuels becomes more complex and expensive,
recycling secondary raw materials will become more competitive,”
predicts Jasmin Mangold of Bonn Orange, a German waste

Just about everything can be reused

Each German produces almost 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of waste
per year. Workers at the Bonn Orange recycling facility in Bonn,
Germany, struggle to sort out all kinds of citizen waste:
computers, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines,
batteries, fluorescent lamps, rubble, CDs, oils and paint.

The paint is dried up to make chalk, the rancid oils are
processed into cosmetics, and old devices dismantled to recycle
materials such as paper, plastics, metals or glass, workers
explained to DW.

Buildings, furniture, electrical appliances and old radiators are
just as much part of industrial society’s “anthropogenic
deposits” as disused railways, industrial wastelands, underground
cables or that old cell phone forgotten in the depths of your

These so-called secondary raw materials can be reused for
commercial and industrial production, thus limiting imports from
abroad, protecting natural resources and the environment.

For recycling experts, a simple car represents a large manmade
stock of raw materials; even a rusty old car has value. The
Internet is full of retailers looking for gears, drni D3ItFhnn¿acement
parts. The iron, plastic, glass and metal can all be
sold to make new products. Tires can be processed into road
surfaces or insulating material.

A fortune in waste

“We are surrounded by a manmade stockhouse of more than 50
billion tons of materials,” Maria Krautzberger, president of the
German Environment Agency (UBA), said in a statement.

If all industrial infrastructure, buildings, and waste products
were considered as valuable materials, this would represent for
each German citizen: 317 tons of mineral materials, 14 tons of
metal, more than 4.3 tons of wood and 3 tons of plastics.

And this anthropogenic deposit is growing each year by another 10
tons per inhabitant of Germany, according to UBA data.

The value of metals alone in Germany’s anthropogenic deposit is
estimated at €650 billion ($800 billion). In an ongoing shift,
those materials are being viewed not as a burden, rather as a

Urban mining for a circular economy

“Recycling is a key industry for the way to a resource-efficient
circular economy,” Felix Müller, an industrial chemist with UBA,
told DW.

The production of a one-ton car requires 15 tons of primary raw
materials, including mineral ores and fossil fuels.

“Secondary raw materials represent high savings, because they do
not have to be refined – only melted down,” Müller explained.

By means of comparison, “To produce one ton of electrical steel
from scrap, only 0.8 tons of primary raw materials are required
and only one-third of the energy input,” Müller pointed out.

At least in Germany, that seems to be acknowledged as the way
forward: 30 percent of semi-finished copper and copper casting
production in Germany, for instance, is already produced from
domestic copper scrap, according to the UBA.

Recycling also enjoys high popularity among citizens, and is
often the public preference to plundering natural resources
abroad or shipping large quantities of garbage to Africa or

Backing this up more broadly, circular economy has been
identified as a major target across the European Union.

Image: From accompanying video …

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From Deutsche Welle:

How humans are polluting the world with noise

Klaus Esterluss
12 March 2018

In the early 20th century, Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist
Robert Koch busied himself with discovering the causes of
infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and anthrax. That he
identified an epidemic that would plague humans – particularly
those in cities – much later is perhaps unsurprising.
“The day will come when man will have to fight noise as
inexorably as cholera and the plague,” the German scienIaDz6

Back thdáteould have been more likely to hear the clash of
horse hooves on cobblestonesentf revving engines on the streets
of Germany’s capital Berlin. But within a few years,i,·nqtuld become
Europe’s busiest traffic
junction, with more than 33,000 vehicles roaring through each

From airplanes flying overhead to subways rumbling underfoot, now
few places on earth are free from the cacophony of man-made
sounds. Yet not all sounds are bad.

“Noise is a very widespread environmental factor,” Dorota
Jarosinska, from the World Health Organization, told DW. “It’s
worthwhile to make a distinction between sounds, because we are
surrounded by some natural and [some] man-made sounds.”

It is the sudden, jarring – and oftentimes, painful – “unwanted
sounds,” as Jarosinska terms them, that can cause problems for
both humans and animals.

Humans: Stress factor

Humans aren’t always the source of bothersome racket. Classical
music is likely to be less disturbing to most people than a
pigeon squawking on a windowsill, says Maxie Bunz from the German
Environment Agency.

Still, we generally have positive associations with sounds from
nature – for instance, the sound of the ocean, adds Bunz.

“For that reason, they have less of a negative impact than, say,
a mechanized street sweeper rushing past us,” said Bunz.

We sleep with one ear open, so we can quicklyp and fight
or run in an emergency situation. That means in a world filled
with racket, we’re often in a state of alarm. According to
various studies, permanent background noise stresses people out,
leading to high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

“Exposure to noise in our living and working environment can
result in serious effects not only on our physical health, but
also on our mental health and well-being,” said Jarosinska.

Mammals: A tsunami of sound

The same goes for animals, writes naturalist Charles Foster in
his book Being a Beast. More poet than scientist, Foster works at
the University of Oxford where he researches questions of
identity and personhood.

If we humans get annoyed by constant noise, how must animals

Although in his book, he tries to put himself into the paws of a

Foster lived in a badger sett for several weeks, eating worms and
learning to sense the landscape through his nose, rather than
with his eyes.

“It’s thought that they may be able to hear … the rasp of the
earthworms’ bristles as they scratch through the earth,” he
writes of the badger. “Just think what the obscene tsunami of a
nearby motor vehicle does to an animal that can do that.”

Badgers aren’t the only animals overpowered by man-made sounds.

Andrew Radford, a professor of behavioral ecology at the
University of Bristol, studied dwarf mongooses in South Africa.
In field trials, his research team presented the small carnivores
with feces samples from their predators, while exposing them to
man-made noises.

Under those conditions, the mongooses lost the ability to sniff
out and adequately respond to potential danger. The noise
distracted them.

The researchers also observed that the animals spent less time
foraging, were less successful at catching prey, and less able to
care well for their young.

Radford also studied a number of fish species under comparable
conditions, and recorded strikingly similar results.

Full text:

Image: Mongooses can be distracted easily by man-made noise,
which endangers themselves and their offspring …

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Chinese Lunar-Orbit Amateur Radio Payload Could Launch this

14 March 2018

China’s twin-launch Chang’e 4 mission to the far side of the moon
will place a pair of microsatellites in lunar orbit this spring
“to test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based
interferometry.” The two satellites, unofficially called DSLWP-A1
and DSLWP-A2 (DSLWP = Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths
Pathfinder), could launch this spring. The pair represent the
first phase of the Chang’e 4 mission, which involves placing a
relay satellite in a halo orbit to facilitate communication with
the Chang’e 4 lander and rover, which will be sent to the far
side of the moon in December. Because the moon’s far side never
faces Earth, the satellite is needed to serve as an Earth-moon
relay. The Chang’e 4 mission will be the first-ever attempt at a
soft-landing on the far side of the moon.

The two spacecraft also will carry Amateur Radio and educational
payloads, but not a transponder. Developed by students at the
Harbin Institute of Technology, the Amateur Radio payload on
DSLWP-A1 will provide a telecommand uplink and a telemetry and
digital image downlink. Radio amateurs will be able to transmit
commands that allow them to send commands to take and download

The satellites will piggyback on the Chang’e 4 relay package and
will deploy themselves into a 200 × 9,000 kilometer lunar orbits.
The 50 × 50 × 40 centimeter spacecrafts each weigh about 45
kilograms and are three-axis stabilized. Two linear polarization
antennas are mounted along and normal to the flight direction.
The satellites will use the moon to shield them from radio
emissions from Earth.

The Harbin Institute of Technology team has proposed downlinks
for A1 on 435.425 MHz and 436.425 MHz. Downlinks for A2 would be
435.400 MHz and 436.400 MHz using 10K0F1DCN or 10K0F1DEN
wide FM single-channel data) 250 bps GMSK with concatenated codes
or JT65B.

Equipped with low-frequency antennas and receivers, the astronomy
objectives of DSLWP-A1 and -A2 will be to observe the sky at the
lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum – 1 MHz to 30 MHz –
with the aim of learning about energetic phenomena from celestial

The launch is anticipated for May or June on a CZ-4C vehicle,
putting the satellites’ deployment about 6 months ahead of the
launch of the Chang’e 4 lander and rover.

Image: Drawing of a Chinese DSLWP lunar satellite …

Sending Pic:222x182C;

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I’m Kim Elliott. Please join us for the next Shortwave

Shortwave Radiogram 11 March 2018, 2330 UTC

Welcome to program 38 of Shortwave Radiogram.

I’m Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.

Here is the lineup for today’s program, all in MFSK32:

1:36 Program preview (now)
2:44 Clocks in Europe affected by power grid irregularities*
11:16 Odd and amazing cyclones at Jupiter’s poles*
16:53 Goodyear’s photosynthesizing concept tire*
22:16 MFSK image enhancement experiment*
25:00 Closing experiments

* with image(s)

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From Deutsche Welle:

Clocks in Europe are running late because of the Kosovo conflict

7 March 2017
Fabian Schmidt

Clock radios and timers on microwaves and stoves have gotten out
of sync in Europe in recent weeks. The reason: Coordination
problems between the power grid operators of Kosovo and Serbia.

Since mid January power companies in Kosovo and Serbia have
failed to mutually balance their electricity grids in the case of
irregularities. According to the grid codes of the European
Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity
(ENTSO-E), they are obliged to maintain a mean frequency of 50
hertz (oscillations per second) and help each other out if

But in reality, the mean frequency was lower most of this year.
The reason: The operators did not talk to each other. This
resulted in power deficits of the larger regional grid control
area Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, also known as the “SSM

Lower frequency means less energy

All in all the, frequency deviations amount to the equivalent of
113 Gigawatt hours (GWh) in lost energy. That is roughly the
daily production of a larger scale brown coal power plant.

There are 36 member states in ENTSO-E with interconnected power
grids, ranging from Spain to Norway and from Turkey to the
British Isles. The recent reductions of the frequencies have
affected 25 of the member-states.

This resulted in a situation in which clocks which are dependent
on the power grid, such as clock radios or clocks built into home
appliances like stoves or stereo systems, have lost time. Since
the beginning of the problems in January it has amounted to
roughly six minutes.

Better to lose six minutes than suffer a blackout

To maintain the required frequency of 50 Hertz, the electricity
grid uses a primary control. This is a technical mechanism which
makes sure that power deviations will be quickly balanced by
drawing additional energy from batteries or other sources in
neighboring power grids – until additional power plants have been
activated and reached their full power levels.

If balancing doesn’t work, a five-step plan takes effect: If the
frequency drops below 49.8 hertz, the first step takes effect,
and additional primary regulation sources must be activated.

If that isn’t enough to stabilize the network, operators may have
to disconnect selected consumers or parts of the grid. In the
fifth step, when the frequency drops below 47.5 hertz, a total
blackout can occur.

A continuous frequency decline, as we’re seeing now, had never
previously happened in the joint European grid.

“I don’t know of any other case where a partner has not met the
rules over a longer period of time,” says Christian Rehtanz, a
professor at the Institute for Energy Systems at the Technical
University of Dortmund. “The situation is new and needs to be

Rehtanz says he could imagine separate areas of the grid having
to be disconnected – but he also warns of the consequences.

“The dilemma is that we should not risk triggering a blackout in
any region. On the other hand, the political actions of some
should not endanger the secure operation of the whole system.”

A technical, but also political, problem

ENTSO-E has called on its member states to solve the problem with
urgency, both in a technical and a political sense. Some states
should not be put into a position where they have to provide
“primary regulation energy” (the energy used to balance short
term irregularities in the system) over a longer period of time
in order to compensate for regional deficits.

But, there is no reason for panic, either. Frequency deviations
of up to one percent (49.5 to 50.5 hertz) for up to 44 hours per
year are normal, says Jutta Jansen. She’s a professor of electric
power supply with renewable energies at the Technical University
of Darmstadt. “This shows that the frequent but minimal
deviations we’ve seen recently do not appear critical for
operating the power grid.”

And the fact that the clocks are running late is “an unpleasant,
but not really dangerous, situation,” she says. In the long run,
the lost time could actually be compensated for by raising the
frequency again slightly above 50 hertz.

So maybe it’s better to wait before resetting your clock –
otherwise, you might have to set it back again later.

See also:

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From Ars Technica

Scientists find odd and amazing cyclones at Jupiter’s poles

Eric Berger
7 March 2018

Scientists studying data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft have
published a trove of papers in Nature this week, making a number
of intriguing and surprising findings about the atmosphere of the
largest planet in our Solar System. The papers are summarized and
linked in this NASA news release.

Some of the most striking discoveries come from visible and
infrared observations made by Juno during its first five science
passes in its elongated orbit around Jupiter. (The spacecraft
entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. It will make its 11th
pass on April 1.) In these initial passes, scientists found
clusters of strange and long-lasting cyclones orbiting the north
and south poles of Jupiter.

At the north pole, eight persistent, polygon-shaped cyclones were
observed around a single polar cyclone. In the south, five storms
circled a single cyclone. Scientists confirmed the circulation of
these storms through time-lapse imagery. The northern storms,
measuring 4,000 to 4,600km in diameter, are smaller than the
southern hemisphere storms, which are 5,600 to 7,000km in

Normally, scientists would expect these cyclones to migrate
toward the pole due to the Coriolis beta effect, in which
vortices in a fluid would naturally drift toward the pole.
However, on Jupiter, these vortices have persisted and not
drifted substantially or merged during Juno’s initial
observations. This has surprised scientists, because the polar
cyclones are so densely packed, with the spiral arms of each one
coming into contact with its neighbors.

They should be pushing and pulling at one another and merging as
a result. “The question is, why do they not merge?” said Alberto
Adriani, Juno co-investigator from the Institute for Space
Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome, and lead author of the paper.
“We know with Cassini data that Saturn has a single cyclonic
vortex at each pole. We are beginning to realize that not all gas
giants are created equal.”

As the researchers note, “The configuration of the cyclones is
without precedent on other planets.” NASA scientists are now
trying to model the atmospheric conditions under which such
features might form and persist in the Jovian atmosphere. More
data from future Juno passes by Jupiter will certainly help.

See also:

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From New Atlas:

Goodyear goes green in Geneva with photosynthesizing concept tire

Nick Lavars
6 March 2018

For the last few years, Goodyear has rolled into the Geneva Motor
Show with new tire designs that could be described as intriguing
concepts at best and crazy, outlandish ideas at worst. Either
way, they do provoke thought around the future of transport and
this year’s rendition is no different, hiding living moss inside
the sidewall to cleanse the surrounding air as the car rolls down
the road.

Goodyear’s earlier concepts have included tires that convert heat
and motion into an electrical current, a spherical tire that
enables cars to drive sideways, and another spherical version
that incorporates artificial intelligence.

The newly announced Oxygene won’t spin sideways, but it will
harvest energy through photosynthesis. It inhales C02 from the
air and moisture from the road, feeding a living moss in its
sidewall and releasing oxygen into the air. The way Goodyear sees
it, in a city the size of Paris with 2.5 million vehicles on the
road, a society-wide adoption of the Oxygene tire would create
3,000 tons of oxygen and soak up more than 4,000 tons of C02 a

What’s more, the tire would also capture energy generated during
photosynthesis and use it to power electronics inside it, such as
onboard sensors, a customizable safety light, and an artificial
intelligence processing unit. It would also use Li-Fi to hook up
with the Internet of Things and talk to other cars and road
infrastructure. The tread would be 3D-printed using rubber powder
from recycled tires.

This thing is never going to make it onto the road, at least not
in its current form – scientists have been trying to draw
meaningful amounts of energy from artificial photosynthesis for
decades, for example – but take it for what it is, a thought
experiment in how we might move people around cities in cleaner,
more environmentally ways, and it is certainly an interesting

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Next on Shortwave Radiogram, our MFSK image enhancement

The experiment was designed by Mark Braunstein, WA4KFZ.

Complete details are available at

Basically, the experiment involved transmitting an MFSK32 image
at normal speed, then at half speed.

Please record the image transmitted at half speed, then play it
back at full speed.

If you use the Audacity software, use Effect > Change Speed >
Percent Change: 100

After you have decoded both the images transmitted at normal
speed and at half speed converted to normal speed, compare them
for quality.

Please report your results, attaching the images if possible, to

Next, the image transmitted at normal speed …

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Now, the image transmitted at half speed …

(wasn’t fast enough, I was getting a beer)

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Best NOAA Satellite “How To” That I’ve Been Able to Find.

I think you need to take a look at this if  you’re looking for that first SDR project.

Here’s some of my favorite.  This is with rabbit ears.  My first quadrifilar was a colossal failure.  But I’m working on it.


Shortwave Radio Broadcast 19 Feb 2018, 0800 UTC


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Here’s a new plan for finding life on other planets

Barbara Moran
14 February 2018

Instead of looking for water as a sign of life on distant
exoplanets, scientists should instead look at an exoplanet’s
ionosphere, the thin uppermost layer of atmosphere.

For decades, astronomers have been searching these distant
exoplanets for signs of life, mostly looking for that most
essential molecule, water. But Michael Mendillo and his
colleagues have a different idea: search for an ionosphere like
our own planet’s.

Find an ionosphere like Earth’s, they say, packed with single
oxygen ions, and you have found life. Or, at least, life as we
know it.

On January 9, 1992, astronomers announced a momentous discovery
two planets orbiting a pulsar 2,300 light years from our sun. The
two planets, later named Poltergeist and Draugr, were the first
confirmed “exoplanets” — worlds outside our solar system, circling
a distant star.

Scientists now know of 3,728 (confirmed) exoplanets in 2,794
systems, each one begging the question: “Is anyone else out

“What more important question could we ask? Are we alone?” asks
Mendillo, professor of astronomy at Boston University. “I don’t
know of any more fascinating question in science.”

‘A great adventure’

“Throughout the history of human civilization, we have never
gotten to the point — until basically the last 15 years — where we
could see planets around other stars. And now we’re at the point
where we’re coming up with ideas to discover life outside Earth,”
says John Clarke, professor of astronomy at Boston University,
and director of the Center for Space Physics. “This is a great
intellectual adventure that we’re on.”

Their work began when Mendillo and associate astronomy professor
Paul Withers received a grant from the National Science
Foundation to compare all planetary ionospheres in the solar
system. (All the planets have them except Mercury, which is so
close to the sun that its atmosphere is stripped off entirely.)
Simultaneously, the team was also working with NASA’s MAVEN
mission, trying to understand how the molecules that made up
Mars’ ionosphere had escaped that planet.

Since the early years of the Space Age, scientists have known
that planetary ionospheres differ greatly, and the research team
started to focus on why that was the case, and why Earth’s was so
different. While other planets stuff their ionospheres full of
complicated charged molecules arising from carbon dioxide or
hydrogen, Earth keeps it simple, with mostly oxygen filling the
space. And it’s a specific type of oxygen—single atoms with a
positive charge.

“I started thinking, how come our ionosphere is different than
the other six?” recalls Mendillo.

The team ticked off numerous possibilities for Earth’s high
concentration of O+ before settling on a culprit: green plants
and algae.

“It’s because we have this atomic oxygen that traces its origin
back to photosynthesis,” says Mendillo. “We have atomic oxygen
ions, O+, in the ionosphere as a direct consequence of having
life on the planet. So why don’t we see if we can come up with a
criterion where the ionosphere could be a biomarker, not just of
possible life but of actual life.”

Oxygen: ‘a perilous beast’

Most planets in our solar system have some oxygen in their lower
atmospheres, but Earth has much more, about 21 percent. This is
because so many organisms have been busy turning light, water,
and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen—the process called
photosynthesis—for the past 3.8 billion years.

“Destroy all the plants on Earth and our atmosphere’s oxygen will
vanish away in mere thousands of years,” says Withers, who notes
that all this oxygen exhaled by plants doesn’t just stick around
the Earth’s surface. “To most people, O2, the oxygen we breathe,
is not a very exciting molecule. To chemists, however, O2 is a
wild, exhilarating, and perilous beast. It just will not sit
still; it chemically reacts with almost any other molecule it can
find and it does so very quickly.”

On Earth today, excess oxygen molecules, in the form of O2, float
upward. When the O2 gets about 150 kilometers above the Earth’s
surface, ultraviolet light splits it in two. The single oxygen
atoms float higher, into the ionosphere, where more ultraviolet
light and x-rays from the sun rip electrons from their outer
shells, leaving charged oxygen zipping through the air. The
abundance of O2 near the Earth’s surface—so different than the
other planets—leads to an abundance of O+ high in the sky.

This finding, says Mendillo, suggests that scientists seeking
extraterrestrial life could perhaps narrow their search area. PhD
candidate Paul Dalba, who was working on exoplanet atmospheres
with assistant professor of astronomy Philip Muirhead, joined the
team to weigh in.

“Dalba’s knowledge of star-exoplanet systems really helped,”
Mendillo says.


The researchers report their findings in the journal Nature

Source: Boston University

Full text:

Here’s a new plan for finding life on other planets


Image: The search for extraterrestrial life has focused mostly on
exoplanets like Kepler-186f, shown here …

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Astronomers image 40-light-year-wide space donut

Michael Irving
15 February 2018

The supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies
have been known to chow down on anything unlucky enough to pass
too close, but the opportunity to see that in action rarely
occurs at the Milky Way’s quiet core. Now, astronomers using the
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory
in Chile have imaged a very active black hole at the center of
spiral galaxy M77, which is apparently feasting on the universe’s
largest donut.

The heart of M77 is what’s known as an active galactic nucleus
(AGN), meaning that gas and matter is constantly being sucked
into the central black hole and giving off intense light. These
active regions in the universe could help unlock the mysteries of
how galaxies and the supermassive black holes at their cores
develop in tandem.

Apart from the occasional spectacle, our own galactic center
isn’t very active, so astronomers need to look further away to
find those clues. The team, made up of researchers from the
National Observatory of Japan, SOKENDAI and Kagoshima University,
used ALMA to image M77’s galactic nucleus.

The team spotted a compact gaseous structure, resembling a
gigantic donut, surrounding the black hole. The cloud stretches
some 20 light-years out from the center, and is spinning around
the black hole. The existence of these spinning torus structures
has been hypothesized for decades, but according to the
researchers, this marks the first time one has been directly

“To interpret various observational features of AGNs, astronomers
have assumed rotating donut-like structures of dusty gas around
active supermassive black holes,” says Masatoshi Imanishi, lead
author on a paper describing the find. “This is called the
‘unified model’ of AGN. However, the dusty gaseous donut is very
tiny in appearance. With the high resolution of ALMA, now we can
directly see the structure.”

The resolution of ALMA’s images can’t hog all the credit for the
discovery. The researchers say it was also important to focus on
specific molecular emission lines, and microwave emissions were
detected from hydrogen cyanide (HCN) molecules and formyl ions
(HCO+). Since these molecules only emit microwaves in dense gas,
it tells the team a lot about the donut’s density.

But there’s more to the story. The researchers say that the torus
isn’t spinning perfectly in line with the black hole’s gravity –
instead, there’s a high degree of randomness to its motion. That
implies a violent past, which may have involved a collision with
a smaller galaxy.

The research was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Image: An artist’s rendition of the gigantic donut of gas that
surrounds the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy
M77 …

rmos tewneirtn
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At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Perrine Lafont of
France, who won gold in the women’s moguls …

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