Tag: sorcerer

Decoding HF ACARS – ARINC 635 (HFDL)

NOTE:- It has been recently discussed on the UDXF Yahoo group that Sorcerer is using an old freq/site list – you may get correct decodes, but not correct site IDs. One option is to consider some of the other methods of decoding ARINC on this page.

This article was updated on 28/11/17 to reflect some changes highlighted by Mike KA3JJZ


ARINC 635 is an HF data protocol defined in a document of the same name. The data is sometimes described as HF ACARS, and uses this protocol to exchange packets of data with aircrafts and ground stations over HF. The frequencies and ground stations are designed to provide worldwide HF coverage, and you can listen and decode them with any HF or SDR receiver.

I used the Sorcerer software and previously described using the program to decode other digital modes. The program provides you with decoding opportunities not available in other programs and provides an ideal opportunity to experiment with decoding HF data. I’ve also written about VHF ADS decoding, but this article deals with the HF version of ACARS.

So what is ACARS 

ACARS is the Automatic Communication Addressing and Reporting System. You can download a free VHF ACARS decode online. I haven’t checked, validated or used this VHF software, so at this point, cant offer any further advice.

Getting started

Download Sorcerer, and select PSK then ARINC 635 as your decoder. Tune your HF receiver to one of a number of frequencies, this will depend on your location and the time of day / HF propagation conditions. In the UK I used frequencies listed for Shannon ILR and found 6.532 MHz USB as a starting point, you may also wish to try 2998, 3455, 5547, 8843, 8942, 10081, 11384.

 

Other frequencies are available in this article.

 

 

Once on the correct frequency, the program should start decoding.

arinc_sceen_decode

The message contents vary, but here are some examples.

———————————————————————————————————————–

[MPDU 18:40:06 GND SLOT 1,2 600 BPS ]
Ground station ID SHANNON – IRELAND SYNCHED
NR AIR CALLS 1
AIR CALL 0 = F5
LPDUS = 1
Max Bit rate 1200 bps
[LPDU UNNUMBERED DATA FM GND TO AIR HY0273]
HACARS mode: 2 Aircraft reg: UK78701
Message label: A9 Block id: D [Uplink]
Message content:-
/ESBATYA.TI2/LTBA ARR ATIS T 1820Z EXP ILS DME APPCH 05 SFC/ WET FOR RWY 05 TRL 110 BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT GP AND LOC DISTORTIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS FOR RWY 05 OR 23 AFTER VACATING RWY CONTACT 121.8 VIS 9999


The message above would indicate its directed towards HY0273 a flight is shown as leaving TAS (Tashkent to Istanbul)

Others messages contain location information

——————————————————————————————————————————

[LPDU UNNUMBERED DATA FM AIR SAS150 TO GND]
[HFNPDU PERFORMANCE]
18:51:20 UTC Flight ID = SAS150 LAT 51 40 43 N LON 0 13 32 E

——————————————————————————————————————————

In this message, I think it is communicating what frequencies are being used/monitored by each ground station. You can match the numbers with the allocated frequencies shown in this table.

Preamble 300 bps 1.8 sec Interleaver FREQ ERR -6.403492 Hz Errors 0
17:18:16 UTC SHANNON – IRELAND DB = 49 SV = 0 GS UP LIGHT OFFSET 10
SHANNON – IRELAND UTC LOCKED Active freqs 3 5
REYKJAVIK – ICELAND UTC LOCKED Active freqs 3 4 6
RIVERHEAD – NEW YORK UTC LOCKED Active freqs 2 4

If you have any further information, additions or corrections please get in touch.

Sorcerer Decoding Software

Whilst looking for digital decoders I read a review on the software package Sorcerer. The software can be used with any HF receiver and allow you to decode a multitude of digital modes. You will find the standard FAX, CW, PSK and olivia decoders, but also the Nato standard Stanag.

Whilst testing the software I centered the receiver on 127.5 Khz and decoded the European EFR data signal. The European EFR system is described on their website, and uses 3 x 100 KW transmitters at Mainflingen 129.1 Khz, Burg 139 Khz and Lakihegy 135.6 Khz. Your dial frequency may vary a little depending on the location of the signals in your passband.

The EFR signal sounds like this.

You can download the free software. To decode EFR, run the program and select “Add Decoder” select EFR.

A setup guide is provided by the UXDF group.

Once received the decoded signal and  Sorcerer software should look like this.

EFR_time_signal

The development of Demand Side Management (DSM) and the history of Radio Ripple control and load management is also explained here.

The decoded text shows the time, date and hex address, and the message is transmitted every 10 seconds. The system is described in some detail in this PDF file.

The system can be used to remote control street lights and power load management.

The decoding software Sorcerer would seem to have been developed by Avonlea Services, although the web provides no trace of this company today.

I cant find any trace of the described website in the help file and therefore cant credit anyone with the software. I have hosted the software for free download on my site, although if you are the author please get in touch.

The software is capable of decoding many modes including

DPRK 600 bd FSK* EFR Telemeter
Facsimile (FAX) 60-90-120-240 LPM
Facsimile (FAX) B&W – Gray Scale
France-Inter Time Signal
Globe Wireless Dataplex Marker
Globe Wireless FSK & PSK
G-Tor ARQ G-Tor FEC
Greek 145bd 1265 Hz FSK*
Grintek DT-309
Harris RF-3560 PSTN TIU
Hart PRIME
Hellschreiber – Basic Hellschreiber – FELD
Hellschreiber – FM Hellschreiber- MT
Hellschreiber- Duplo Hellschreiber – PSK
HF Datalink (HFDL) ARINC 635
IRA-ARQ (ASCII-ARQ)
Israeli Tadiran Burst Message System*
Italian FSK Burst 600 bps*
Italian FSK 300/600 bd*
Italian FSK 1200 bd*
IRA-ARQ (includes Zip archive recovery)
MD-513B 16PSK MT63
MD-674 Asynchronous FSK
MD-1061 16PSK MD-1239 16PSK
MD-1268 16PSK MFSK8 & 16
Mil-Std 188-110A App A 16DPSK
Mil-Std 188-110A serial
Mil-Std 188-110A serial HRS variant
Mil-Std 55529A NB Asynchronous FSK
Mil-Std 55529A WB Asynchronous FSK
MSF Rugby Time Signal
Nokia M85200 M90*
OLIVIA (all submodes)

 

Dave M0TAZ

© 2015 Dave, M0TAZ