The Squeaky Wheel
|Name||Squeaky Wheel, Скрипящее колесо|
|Frequencies||3828 (nighttime), 5473 (daytime), 5361 (cw)|
|Voice||Male and female, live|
|Emission mode||J3E (USB)|
Rostov-on-Don, Russia; location not confirmed, either the 72nd Communication Hub, or the 4th Air Defense Army
"The Squeaky Wheel" is a Russian military commandment network serving the Southern Military District. It broadcasts on 5473 kHz during daytime, changing to 3828 kHz for nighttime.
While no other traffic is being sent, the station emits its signature channel marker. The traffic consists mainly of the following types of messages:
- Routine propagation checks, addressed to multiple units at a time, identified using word + number callsigns. Example: "Для ОТПОР-89, ПЕСОЧНЫЙ-21, ЧУЛЁБ-60, СТУПА-32, ЛЕГГИНА-38, БУРКА-37, как слышно, как слышно? Приём" (Dlya [...] kak slyshno, kak slyshno? Priyom; English: For [...] how do you hear me, how do you hear me? Over).
- "Monolith" type messages, addressed to either the collective callsign Альфа-45 (Al'fa-45) or, less commonly, to the individual units. These are also repeated on 5361 kHz in CW with the callsign VZFY/ЖЗФЫ
The frequency switch-over times depend on the season and can even vary by 5 - 30 minutes in a given season. All times are given in Moscow Time (MSK, UTC+3).
|3828 → 5473||09:00||08:00||07:30||08:00||09:00|
|5473 → 3828||17:10||18:45||21:30||18:00||17:10|
There are at least 24 callsigns that regularly appear in the routine propagation checks, and - less often - in the "Monolith" messages:
Пенза-07, Фирна-85, Ступа-32, Джигит-46, Сторож-62, Невка-26, Стажер-29, Заслонка-27, Песочный-21, Слива-94, Фонтан-34, Факел-36, Ковбой-39, Курган-40, Дублер-68, Леггина-38, Карта-11, Шулер-60, Утес-94, Алеут-09, Ружье-26, Бурка-37, Яхта-94, Ландыш-74
Callsigns no longer in use include Отбор-89 Секрет-76 and Бизон-64.
Pip/Squeaky Wheel connection
We have known Pip and Squeaky Wheel to be associated with each other for several years now owing to several factors. When a "monolith" is transmitted by Pip with the callsign 8С1Щ (8S1Shch) there is always a following "monolith" message transmitted by Squeaky Wheel with the callsign Альфа-45 (Al'fa-45) between 2 and 10 minutes afterwards, albeit with different message content. This, however, is usually not the case when Pip transmits a message with multiple header groups and only one codeword - in this case Squeaky Wheel will not typically transmit a follow-up message.
There have been instances of transmission from Squeaky Wheel with clearly audible Pip channel marker in the background having been picked up by the operator's microphone such as the below example. This demonstrates a direct connection in that the Squeaky Wheel operator is clearly monitoring the Pip. As can be deduced from the complete lack of follow-on message from Pip after a Squeaky Wheel transmission and also having never observed Squeaky Wheel channel marker bleeding into Pip transmissions, it seems that Pip does not need to monitor Squeaky Wheel.
Finally, as a "smoking gun", we have observed transmissions from both stations directed to the same unit(s) - callsign ПМВ5 (PMV5) is a good example of this, it is often asked to confirm reception with Pip in standard "dlya" messages and in April 2017 received a monolith transmission alongside two other callsigns transmitted from Squeaky Wheel.
On May 9th 2019 Squeaky Wheel accidentally began reading a message transmitted from Pip several minutes prior before the operator corrected herself and continued with the appropriate/correct message, definitively proving that Squeaky Wheel indeed copies transmissions from Pip.