...The radios we'll always remember

Monitoring The Airwaves During Ukrainian Conflict

Using Shortwave and WebSDRs

Other nets and on-air events 0 Comments 04/26/2022 

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Posted By: Robert Nickels (W9RAN)
Posted on 04/26/2022

Web-based Software Defined Radios (SDR) have exploded in popularity in recent years. SDRs located in Ukraine give you the ability to monitor the airwaves from the middle of potential military action. As of this writing, there are still WebSDRs active within Ukraine. However, there have been warnings about what running a SDR available to the Internet could mean for Ukrainian citizens as at least one has been arrested and charged with spying for monitoring ADS-B aircraft positions.

Here's a map that can help select a Kiwi SDR in the region:   KIWI MAP

The Web SDR at the University of Twente in Netherlands supports multiple users with good European coverage.   There's also a list of other webSDRs using the same browser-based software at WEB SDR

Of course the old fashioned way also can do the job - direct reception via skywave.   The following frequencies have been reported as active with Russia-Ukraine military traffic:  

  • 5125 KHz USB
  • 5130 KHz USB
  • 4615 KHz USB
  • 7580 KHz USB
  • 7811 KHz USB
  • 8033 KHz USB
  • 8131 KHz USB (Russian Air Force)
  • 4220 KHz USB
  • 4625 KHz USB 

Numerous recordings of clear (unencrypted) transmissions on these frequencies have been reported and when conditions are good it's possible even low powered signals from the field may be heard at great distances.

The Russian Air Force also uses USB HF, ground stations typically simulcast on all frequencies so are easier to catch.   Aircraft callsigns are 5 digits and activity has been heard on the following frequencies:

  • 6685 kHz USB
  • 8847 (secondary) kHz USB
  • 11360 kHz USB
  • 18030 kHz USB

Ground station callsigns include:

  • Davlenie: 708th Regiment, Taganrog
  • Kasta: 224th Detachment, Tver
  • Klarnetist: 196th Regiment, Tver
  • Korsar: Military Transport Aviation HQ, Moscow
  • Magnetron: 566th Regiment, Seshcha
  • Lad’ya: Heard in radio checks, location unconfirmed
  • Polis: 117th Regiment, Orenburg
  • Polotno: Heard in radio checks, location unconfirmed
  • Proselok: 334th Regiment, Pskov

Military transport aircraft comms include:

Voice Frequencies (USB) 5827, 5833, 5803, 5617, 5827, 8131, 8090, 8909, 8033, 8131, 11223, 11320
Call signs “Balans” (Moscow)
“Katolik” (Saratov)
“Dvojchatka” (Moscow-2)
“Limit” (Saratov-2)
“Nabor” (Moscow)
“Shpora” (Saratov)
“Balans” (Moscow-2)
“Tezis” (Saratov-2)
“Ochistka” (Moscow)
“Medyanka” (Saratov)
“Duga” (Saratov-2)
“Stupen” (Moscow)
“Tablica” (Saratov)
“Kedr” (Saratov-2)
“Balans” (Moscow)
“Katolik” (Saratov)
“Dvojchatka” (Moscow-2)
“Limit” (Saratov-2)

There's also a long-range "Bear Net" that supports the TU-95 ("Bear") transports.  Frequencies are changed but typically fall into the 8 MHz range.   When the net is active, a single letter (“W” for Europe, or “G” for the Pacific) is repeatedly transmitted on one of the Morse ground frequencies around H+00, H+20, and H+40 for 2 minutes, making it easy to spot.

Good Monitoring!


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