Yosemite Sam (shortwave)

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Yosemite Sam is the nickname given by DXers to a number station that first surfaced on December 19, 2004. It transmits on several shortwave frequencies in dual side band: 3700 kHz, 4300 kHz, 6500 kHz, and 10500 kHz. The nickname is taken from the Looney Tunes character Yosemite Sam, whose voice is played as part of the unusual transmission.

The transmission series[edit]

The transmission begins on one of the frequencies. Ten seconds later, it is repeated on the next higher frequency, and so on for a total of two minutes. The entire pattern takes precisely two minutes, and always begins seven seconds after the top of an hour.

Each transmission starts with a data burst lasting 0.8 seconds, followed by the voice of Yosemite Sam exclaiming: "Varmint, I'm a-gonna b-b-b-bloooow yah t'smithereenies!" The clip is taken from the 1949 cartoon Bunker Hill Bunny.

The station disappeared on December 23, 2004, but returned during February 2005, on its old frequencies plus additional new frequencies, including those of time signals stations WWV and WWVH. Reception reports seem to indicate that the transmitter site is likely in the desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The Albuquerque location suggests another relation to Looney Tunes: the phrase frequently repeated by Bugs Bunny, "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque."

What it really was[edit]

Yosemite Sam was a test system project. The systems integrator was hired to use PXI and LabVIEW to make a system that would cycle through frequencies, power levels, and modulation schemes. The digital noise at the beginning was a header assigned by the end customer that contained the parameters of the individual transmission. The Yosemite Sam voice was a random payload that the customer supplied to the integrator for testing purposes. The ultimate intent of the system or its present whereabouts are unknown. The gaps in the date were due to reworking software back at the main office, other customer projects, and of course Christmas break. Details of the system were written into a case study that won an award at NIWeek 2006. The developer was a software guy, not a Ham guy and had no idea anyone was listening to his testing until someone pointed him to this Wikipedia page in 2013. All of the timing, frequencies and other oddities were essentially randomly selected variables selected for testing. For instance, the fact that it was always dual side band at first was because this was a setting in the software that was not connected to the user interface at first and DSB was the default. This bug was later corrected. [1]

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