23 June 2017

the beauty of grayline

188-141A calls copied this morning around 0455 UTC on 11111.0 KHz/USB (Fig. 1). The ALE addresses  belongs to the French Navy naval bases at overseas departments and territories Papeete and Noumea:
1OMFUM French Navy OMAR Net, Papeete OCE
1OMFUJ French Navy OMAR Net, Noumea NC
more than 16000 Km far from my antenna: reception has been possible thanks to a grayline-path (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1 - decoding
Fig. 2 - the grayline at the reception time

It's interesting to note that, at that same time, exploiting the same grayline path I also had a good copy of CHU Ottawa Canada (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Grayline observations and predictions can be read at the VOACAP (Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program) site:
as well as a lot of interesting and accurate services about about HF propagation:

French Navy OMAR (Organisation MARitime des transmissions haute fréquence) HF New-Generation program have the task to modernize all the High-Frequency transmissions media of about 80 assets of the Ocean forces of the French Navy, maintaining interoperability with other NATO Navy. The project was committed to Thomson-CSF (now THALES):

21 June 2017

THALES HFXL modem, "SALAMANDRE" tests go on

Likely another "SALAMANDRE" test session for the new Thales HFXL modem spotted this morning on the 7MHz band. This time the modem uses 12 non-contiguous 3 kHz channels from 7505.8 KHz up to 7656.1 KHz (~150 KHz bandwidth). The HF waveform is a modified STANAG-4539 with the extended preamble of 124 symbols added by Thales developers; further info about the modified waveform and the modem, as well as useful links, can be read in this post.

Fig. 1
It's interesting to note in Figure 2 the use of a double 188-141A 2G link setup exchange before the beginning of the HFXL session: the ALE exchanges happen just on the first and last channel of the next HFXL transmission as to negotiate/announce the used band; anyway, the HFXL session starts after the usual 2G 3-way handshake (as in Fig. 1). This initial link setup part is termed by Thales as the "3KHz phase" and it is illustrated in one of their presentations
By the way, the used ALE calls are XLA and XLB and almost surely they stand for (HF)XL modem-A and modem-B and belongs to French Forces network.

Fig. 2
The HFXL modem 12 channels have been tracked using SDR-Console v3 software configured for twelve simultaneous receivers, in this sample all the channels exhibit a PSK-8 modulation at 2400 symbols/sec (Figs. 3,4): the channel #4 is damaged by an adiacente FSK-2 transmission.

Fig. 3
Fig. 4

19 June 2017

unid STANAG-5066 RCOP/UDOP client, Swedish Army "C2" integrator? (tentative)

[read all the posts about this topic]

As said in the previous post, in all the monitored transmissions the chosen 3G-HF service is the Circuit Mode, and 1200 bps MIL 188-110A is the used traffic waveform. Data are transferred by STANAG-5066 D_PDUs and both the RCOP (Reliable Connection Oriented Protocol) and UDOP (Unreliable Datagram Oriented Protocol) are used as basic end-to-end transport protocols, but so far the client protocol which run over S-5066 has not been yet identified. Me and S4538 (the nickname of a friend of mine) started to analyze these transmissions since several days and below are exposed the tentative results in order to get comments from out there, further posts will follow.

protocol data units

Figure 1 shows two bitstreams after MS-110A removal and after synced on 0xEB90 (S-5066 D_PDU synchronisation sequence): in this cases all the D_PDUs are of type 7 (non-ARQ delivery) and 0 (Simplex data transfer) and carry UDOP and RCOP protocol.

Fig. 1
It's interesting to note in Fig. 2 the initial same structures which are present in all the recordered copies, in both RCOP and UDOP cases, after the removal of the DTS overhead (D_PDU encapsulations):
Fig. 2
 Let's have a look at ASCII rapresentations of a series of decoded transmissions (Fig. 3):

Fig. 3
Data are structured as a series of headers having the format {<length>,<content>}:


A possible explanation could be:

source and destination IDs

number of the current data-block 

total number of data-blocks

most likely a timestamp

unknown. So far, never seen something different at this position, probably marks the start of a data block (SOF).

number of bytes followed by data.

So far, never seen something different at this position, probably marks the end of a data block (EOF).

The particular format of the headers {<length>,<content>}, the iteration of the transmissions and their duration, lead to think to a wrapper protocol that acts as a "bridge" to passing data between T-MMH systems (eg X.400 and ACP127 networks, although STANAG-4006 performs that task) or between C2 systems.

By the way, "The Sweidish Army uses C2 systems that are not interoperable and data must be manually transferred between them. Sweden began to integrate all the service's C2 systems, at all levels, in 2005 under the name SWECCIS. [...] Swedish Armed Forces HQ tasked FOA, FMV and FHS to propose a vision for a mobile military joint C2 system for 2010, this project has been expanded to include civilian C2 elements [...] the goal is a single C2 environment..." [1].
But these are only suppositions(!), although some clues come also from this picture [2]

For what concerns the timestamp header, it seems related to the "wrapped" data file. By examining consecutive transmissions, if granularity of the clock is 1 mesc then the current Epoch Time started on Sat May 13 2017 00:00 CEST (GMT +2).

nature of the data
For what concerns the nature of the data, since the {<length>,<content>} headers  are in plain-text, the encryption if any is performed upstream before this protocol.
A termed here "magic string", in the form  ZLLLL (ie "Z" followed by 4 uppercase letters), appears in the first 40 bytes of the data-block and it is always preceeded by the 34-byte sequence 0x7E0862...61D5EE20 (Fig. 7). In case of a multi-blocks transfer the magic string is present only in the first block ( Fig. 4a). So far, the seen values are: empty, ZXPBC, ZXPBD, ZRTBC, and ZRTBD. This is another unclear point and needs further observations.

The data obtained after the removal of the headers do not exhibit particular structures or recognizable patterns, unless the firts 40 bytes followed by the magic string. 

S-5066 Addresses

For what concerns the HF network, they have tens(!) of channels. Anyway, at least from a monitoring by S4538, each channel is always used with the same RCOP/UDOP protocol.
So far, matching S-5066 addresses and src/dest headers we got:

[006.046.000.zzz] block

[006.046.001.zzz] block

In the vast majority of the cases (almost 99%) traffic is originated from 006.046.000.zzz block nodes (HWK01,ZMK002) to 006.046.001.zzz block nodes. Very few traffic in the reverse direction. Maybe 006.046.000.zzz block is assigned to the main (strategic?) nodes of the net?
Anyway, it's interesting to note that in some transmissions the same ID "HWK01" appear in both the src and dest blocks, although with different S-5066 addresses (anyway belonging to the same block 006.046.000.zzz):

{5,HWK01}{5,HWK01} have the S-5066 addresses and

Perhaps two possible reasons:
a) the ID HWK01 acts like a sort of ZIP-code or global-ID with different users/services, each with a distinct S-5066 Address 
b) these are two physical instances. As shown in [2] they have separated Rx and Tx stations. Maybe this is a information transfer from one Tx to its corresponding Rx station which logically share the same ID.

[read all the posts about this topic]


13 June 2017

(not such) logs

06303.0: ---: Unid 1959 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by LDL32 transfer(09Jun17) (AAI)
06363.2: ---: Unid prob French Navy 0550 USB THALES HF XL modem, likely "SALAMANDRE" tests (09Jun17) (AAI)
06909.0: ABC7: Croatian Military, HRV 0737  USB MIL 188-141A call ABG6 (06Jun17) (AAI)
07401.0: ZBOR: German customs Patrol vessel Borkum, D 0732 USB MIL 188-141A call BMEK (29May17) (AAI)
07498.5: ---: Unid 0600 USB STANAG-4197 modem (31May17) (AAI)
07500.0: AI1: Polish Military, POL 1030 USB MIL 188-141A call SZ1 (28May17) (AAI)
07559.0: ---: Unid 0731 USB 3G-HF Circuit Mode in MIL 188-110A Serial (29May17) (AAI)
07559.0: ---: Unid 0800 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL+ transfer (29May17) (AAI)
07628.0: A98: Unid Chinese net, C 2108 USB MIL 188-141A handshake D78 (07Jun17) (AAI)
07630.0: ---: Unid 0618 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by LDL352 transfer, sending 675-byte Citadel encrypted data (07Jun17) (AAI)
07651.0: ---: Unid 0403 USB 3G-HF FLSU failure (02Jun17) (AAI)
07712.0: ---: Unid 0407 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL12 transfer (02Jun17) (AAI)
07745.0: TBB: Turkish Navy, TUR 0617 STANAG-4285 600bps/L CARBs "//TBB040I(0)/TBB041I(0)/TBB044I(0)/TBB042I(0)/TBB043I(0)/TBB047I(0)/TBB045I(0)/TBB046I(0)/TBB048I(0)/TBB049I(0)/TBB050I(0)//" (31May17) (AAI)
07756.0: ---: Unid NATO stn 0707 ISB LINK-11 SLEW modem (29May17) (AAI)
07761.0: 6007: Unid 2024 USB MIL 188-141A sounding (09Jun17) (AAI)
07788.0: ---: Unid 0823 USB R&S GM2100 modem (06Jun17) (AAI)
07793.0: ---: Unid 0615 USB 3G-HF Circuit Mode in MIL 188-110A Serial (31May17) (AAI)
07803.0: ---: Unid French Forces stn, F 0653 (cf) ARQ-E 184.6Bd/388 modem (29May17) (AAI)
07813.0: J62 Moroccan Military, MRC 0600 USB USB MIL 188-141A sounding (06Jun17) (AAI)
07814.0: ---: Unid 0609 USB 3G-HF Circuit Mode in MIL 188-110A Serial (31May17) (AAI)
07860.0: PC21: Unid (Algerian Military?) 0612 USB MIL 188-141A call NX20 (31May17) (AAI)
07898.0: 049112: German Red Cross, D 2113 USB MIL 188-141A sounding (07Jun17) (AAI)
07899.0: XS72: Unid 0627 USB MIL 188-141A handshake NX40 followed by unid vocoder (06Jun17) (AAI)
07930.0: ---: Unid 0413 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL12 transfer (02Jun17) (AAI)
08000.0: ---: Russian Military, RUS 0747 USB CIS-Makhovik BPSK 1200Bd before CIS-12 (31May17) (AAI)
08005.0: 920: Unid 2103 USB MIL 188-141A sounding (07Jun17) (AAI)
08023.0: BX80: Unid 0713 USB MIL 188-141A call NX80 (03Jun17) (AAI)
08072.0: PEM01D: French Navy, F 0645 USB MIL 188-141A call PEM05D (07Jun17) (AAI)
08151.0: TYMT2: Spanish Police Toledo, E 0628 USB USB MIL 188-141A sounding (07Jun17) (AAI)
08162.0: 035: Hungarian Army, HNG 0712 USB MIL 188-141A handshake 082, female voice comms followed by unid vocoder (10Jun17) (AAI)
08163.0: ---: Unid 0339 USB 3G-HF FLSU failure (02Jun17) (AAI)
08182.0: XGL: Unid UK-DHFCS node 0811 USB MIL 188-141A call XSS (29May17) (AAI)
08218.0: ---: Unid 0614 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL12 transfer (06Jun17) (AAI)
08297.0: ---: Portuguese Air Force, POR 0742 USB STANAG-4197 (03Jun17) (AAI)
08297.0: ---: Portuguese Air Force, POR 1205 USB STANAG-4197 16-tone library only (02Jun17) (AAI)
08327.0: ---: Unid 2016 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL24 transfer (09Jun17) (AAI)
08906.0: ---: Santa Maria, AZR 1953 J3E/USB wkg 9364ER (09Jun17) (AAI)
09018.3: NAVY1: Iraqi Navy HQ, IRQ 1754 USB MIL 188-141A call P103 (10Jun17) (AAI)
09018.3: P102: Iraqi Navy Patrol Boat P103, IRQ 1741 USB MIL 188-141A call NAVY2 Iraqi Navy HQ (10Jun17) (AAI)
09019.0: 220208: GBR-RAF A/c C17A 1730 USB MIL 188-141A call [?] CMD AMD [TAZ RRR6395 REQ TAF EGVN]
"to XSS (TAZ) de RAF flight 6395, request weather for Brize Norton, UK (EGVN)" (10Jun17) (AAI)
09025.0: 220208: GBR-RAF A/c C17A 1727 USB MIL 188-141A call XSS (10Jun17) (AAI)
09272.5: ---: Unid French Forces stn, F 1155 (cf) ARQ-E 184.6Bd/388 modem (29May17) (AAI)
10035.0: K36: Israeli Air Force, ISR 1356 USB MIL 188-141A call AA2 (28May17) (AAI)
10211.6: ---: Polish Intel, POL 0700 FSK 100Bd/620, 96-bit ACF (26May17) (AAI)
10590.5: ---: Swedish Armed Forces, S 0831 3G-HF Circuit Mode in MIL 188-110A Serial carrying STANAG-5066 data (31May17) (AAI)
10627.0: ---: Unid 0740 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL3 transfer (30May17) (AAI)
10638.0: EK9: Greek Military, GRC 0848 USB MIL 188-141A call GEF (29May17) (AAI)
10642.0: AC4: Unid 1730 USB MIL 188-141A call DD3 (29May17) (AAI)
10750.0: HQ4: Unid (presumed Egyptian net)1534 USB MIL 188-141A handshake GANOB5 followed by CLOVER-2000 modem and voice comms in Arabic (29May17) (AAI)
10820.0: ---: Unid 1744 USB 3G-HF Asynchronous FLSU call (29May17) (AAI)
10947.0: CAIRADIO: Unid 1504 USB MIL 188-141A sounding, also on 11300.0 KHz/USB (29May17) (AAI)
10960.0: HWK01: Swedish Armed Forces, S 1124 3G-HF Circuit Mode, MIL 188-110A carrying STANAG-5066 as bearer for unid MMHS (06Jun17) (AAI)
10975.0: 1SR: NATO BALTOPS-2017 Exercise 0650 USB MIL 188-141A call BRO (06Jun17) (AAI)
10994.2: HWK01: Swedish Armed Forces, S 1036 3G-HF Circuit Mode, MIL 188-110A carrying STANAG-5066 as bearer for unid MMHS (06Jun17) (AAI)
11022.0: ---: Israeli Navy 0710 ISRNy-HYBRID Parallel/Serial modem (06Jun17) (AAI)
11050.0: SK1: Unid (Egyptian net ?) 1343 USB MIL 188-141A call SZ1 (30May17) (AAI)
11050.0: SK1: Unid (Egyptian net ?) 1348 USB MIL 188-141A handshake SV1 followed by MIL 188-110A Serial (30May17) (AAI)
11050.0: SK1: Unid (Egyptian net ?) 1354 USB MIL 188-141A handshake XV1 followed by MIL 188-110A Serial (30May17) (AAI)
11112.0: CLC: Unid 1020 USB MIL 188-141A call CLB (11Jun17) (AAI)09018.3: BOT: Iraqi Navy HQ, IRQ 1844 USB MIL 188-141A call P104 (10Jun17) (AAI)
11112.0: CLC: Unid 1045 USB MIL 188-141A call HIC (11Jun17) (AAI)
11112.0: CLC: Unid 1232 USB MIL 188-141A call VIK (11Jun17) (AAI)
11114.5: ---: Unid 0647 USB ARCOTEL MAHRS 2400Bd serial modem (06Jun17) (AAI)
11215.0: 400001: Unid Mauretanian net, MRT 1944 USB MIL 188-141A sounding (09Jun17) (AAI)
11215.0: 400013: Unid Mauretanian Net, MTN 1750 USB MIL 188-141A call 400001 (29May17) (AAI)
11217.0: UKE303: RAF E-3 Awacs 1504 USB MIL 188-141A sounding (30May17) (AAI)
11430.0: ---: Unid 1743 USB 3G-HF 2-way FLSU handshake followed by HDL+ transfer (29May17) (AAI)
12386.0: ---: Unid 1416 Unid BPSK 62.5Bd (BPSK63 HAM) modem, encrypted msg (28May17) (AAI)
13077.1: ---: Unid USB STANAG-4285 600bps/L modem, KG-84 encrypted messages (02Jun17) (AAI)

10 June 2017

STANAG-4539 in multichannel mode: Thales HF XL modem (likely "SALAMANDRE" tests)

This system has been copied on 9 different simultaneous channels from ~6200 to ~6400 KHz on USB during 9 June morning. The analysis reveals it's a STANAG-4539 modem (frame length is 287 PSK-8 symbols) running at different data signaling rates at constant 2400Bd data rate. The system uses bursts and (possibly) ARQ mode. My friend KarapuZ too copied this system but on a different HF segment.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

The decisive contribution for the identification of the signal came from my friend ANgazu: he suggested that these transmissions could be the Thales HFXL modem, since they use up to 16 narrowband channels in 200 Khz bw just using 4539 waveforms. Most likely, the heard transmissions are tests related to the Thales /French MOD contract: PEA "SALAMANDRE".

Indeed, as depicted in Thales presentation of the HFXL modem:
they uses an evolution from the SANAG-4539 frame structure, mainly differing in the preamble parts as shown in Figure 3 

Fig. 3
Other than the long miniproble (32 symbols length rather than 31), they added a third 124 PSK-8 symbols part (termed "Extended") to the S-4539 initial synchronization preamble. The data block length (256 symbols) and the mini probe length (31 symbols) remain unchanged so that the period counts 287 symbols as in S-4539 (Figure 2).
The extended synchronization preamble is specific to  HF XL.  This part, not included when operating according to S-4539 or MS 188-110C ISB modes, is combined with the main preamble to carry all  information  necessary  to  the  HF XL  waveform, in particular information on modulation choice for each channel. Furthermore, a specific redundancy capability is introduced, that ensures resilience to the loss of a channel as long as the number of channels is greater or equal to 3.

A deeper look at the preamble of one heard transmission confirms the Thales HF XL modem, as depicted in Figures 4,5

Fig. 4 - the whole preamble
Fig. 5 - the 124 symbols (51.6 msec) added by Thales
As further confirm, ANgazu measured the parts of the preamble (Fig. 6) and time durations fit perfectly:

Fig. 6 - parts durations in HF XL preamble
A: syncronization preamble (76 ms)
B: initial sync 287 symbols (b1 of 184 and b2 of 103 symbols)
C: extended Thales preamble (124 symbols)

The adaptive wideband HF waveform termed “HF XL” relies on the usage of several non-contiguous 3 kHz channels spread over a 200 kHz wide sub-band.

Fig. 7
Expanding on the high performance of the serial tone modem technology standardized in STANAG 4539 for 3 kHz sideband to conjugate a plurality of channels in a multi narrow band (MNB) waveform, this approach can be seen as an extension of the US MIL-STD-188-110C appendix F “ISB”, with the addition of specific redundancy capabilities to provide resistance to the highly variable HF channel conditions.  As illustrated in Figure 7, these channels do not need to be contiguous, which allows to select only good quality and authorized channels. A 4G ALE alternate proposte ?
(continue in this post)

Thanks to ANgazu for the identification and collaboration.



5 June 2017

CIS Makhovik ("The flywheel") before CIS-12

CIS Makhovik ("The flywheel") is classified as "vocoder" but can be used also for sending encrypted data. It was originally designed to operate in the UHF but very often is found on the HF as a waveform of the AT-3004D/AT-3104D modem. In this ample (Figure 1) is possible to see the switch from the flywheel to CIS-12 waveform. The flywheel modulation can be QPSK, MSK, and PSK-2 as in this sample (speed is 1200 Baud).

Fig. 1
Fig. 1 - 425.8 msec period