Wednesday, October 14, 2015

List of Known Transmitting Stations on the SKYKING Channel.

SKYKING is not the name of the transmitting station, it is the generic name for the broadcasts heard on 8992 and 11175 kHz USB. In fact, many transmissions aren't even directed at SKYKING. Many are directed at stations assigned alpha-numeric codes, usually 5 or 6 letters & numbers long (Four Whiskey Foxtrot Niner Kilo or something to that effect).

NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and US Military (among others) use a phonetic alphabet when they say letters over a radio channel. It makes it easier to understand the letter being said through static by saying a word, distinct from anything else, that begins with the letter being transmitted.

To say "A," a military user (and in many cases, law enforcement) would say "Alpha." It's unmistakable to the recipient -even with heavy static- that "Alpha" was sent. "A."

The most common phonetic alphabet in the English and European world is the NATO Standard.

Transmissions come from two distinct sources on SKYKING; base names and code names.

Known Bases:

  1. Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. HQ to the American Air Force's nuclear arm. A commonly heard broadcaster, typically sends messages to SKYKING. "Offutt out" at the end of transmission.
  2. Andrews Air Force Base (Joint Tactical Base) in Maryland, not far from D.C. and home to Air Force One. Typical messages are sent to SKYKING, (also leaning the theory of SKYKING being TACMO elements further). "Andrews out" at end of transmission. 
  3. Edwards Air Force Base in California (near Rosamond). Uncommon transmitter. "Edwards out." 
  4. Reykjavik. This is a NATO base not commonly used since the Cold War. It has, however, been very frequent in broadcast in the last week as of the time this blog has been posted. "Reykjavik out." 
Code names. Unsure if these are bases, stations or vehicles (aircraft) transmitting:

  1. MAINSAIL: Common transmitter. Typically sends the messages to SKYKING specifically. Many of the longer codes heard in the last year have been sent through MAINSAIL. "MAINSAIL out." 
  2. TOY SHOP. Uncommon. Heard in the late 1990s and began transmitting again in the early 2010s. Typically a weak signal through WebSDR, suggesting it is West Coast in America or possibly in Japan or in the Southern Hemisphere (Diego Garcia?) "TOY SHOP out." 
  3. FUZEBOX. Again, a code name not heard in many years that is recently transmitting again, but some speculate it is NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain Complex which has recently been re-activated to active duty (2014) instead of reserve. Signal quality on WebSDR would suggest either a very powerful transmitter or something on America's East Coast (Mount Weather?) as opposed to Central North America. "FUXEBOX out." 
  4. COLLAPSE. A rather ominous code name that began transmitting again when Russia started supporting Assad in Syria and a code name that has not been heard in many years. COLLAPSE has a signal strength similar to FUSEBOX when listened to on WebSDR.  Female voices have been heard on this callsign on several occasions in recent days along with male voices."COLLAPSE out."
  5. FLAT TOP. I cannot find any sources on this name being used before. Since SKYKING is an USAF channel, it is unlikely FLAT TOP means an Aircraft Carrier, but rather is an ode to the flat top haircut common to the military in the 50s-90s. "FLAT TOP out." 
I'm sure I am forgetting bases and code names, but I'm starting the list here.

If you're looking to build an SDR to use at home, the best package I have come across is this NooElec bundle that includes an SDR dongle, Ham It Up converter (including the $20 case), a 9:1 Balun for a longwire antenna (the antennas this kit comes with are not designed to receive HF frequencies like the ones HFGCS broadcasts on), and several adapters. To get going, you will only need a USB-A to USB-2.0 cable for the Ham It Up and a length of UNSHIELDED speaker wire for an antenna (the longer, the better and split into a "T" if possible. Search for "Randomwire Antenna" for more information).

All and all, this is roughly $170 when sold separately, but can currently be found for only $90! Combined with the USB cable and speaker wire listed above, $115 gets you all frequencies from 100 kHz up to 6 GHz! 


  1. 7/31 1:45 am est got a "GOLFCLUB out"

  2. 7/31 1:45 am est got a "GOLFCLUB out"

  3. I've recently heard one used called Short Hand. He appeared to only be broadcasting test messages.