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RSID: <<2023-03-10T00:31Z MFSK-32 @ 9265000+1500>>

Welcome to program 295 of Shortwave Radiogram.

I'm Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.

Here is the lineup for today's program, in MFSK modes as noted:

  1:37 MFSK32: Program preview (now)
  2:45 MFSK32: Research: First Americans arrived ~15000 years ago
  8:00 MFSK64: How stratospheric balloons navigate the skies*
13:01 MFSK64: This week's images*
28:11 MFSK32: Closing announcements

* with image(s)


Please send reception reports to

And visit

We're on Twitter now: @SWRadiogram



From the University of Oregon:

New data suggests a timeline for arrival of the first Americans

By Becky Raines
February 24, 2023

Humans may have arrived in North America earlier than once
thought and encountered previously unrecognized challenges,
according to new climate research from an interdisciplinary team
that includes scientists from the University of Oregon.

Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist and director of the UO Museum of
Natural and Cultural History, is no stranger to research updating
the understanding of early human migration to North America.
Erlandson helped develop the "kelp highway" hypothesis, which
proposed that the first Americans followed a Pacific Coast route
from Northeast Asia to Beringia and the Pacific Northwest, using
boats to navigate highly productive nearshore kelp-forest

"When the kelp highway was proposed, we thought the first
Americans arrived between 16,000 and 14,000 years ago, when
Beringia was relatively warm," Erlandson said. "It is now more
likely that humans moved into North America between 20,000 and
16,000 years ago, with colder climates and extensive winter sea

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences on Feb. 6, Erlandson and his colleagues identify the
two most likely migration windows as 24,500-22,000 years ago and
16,400-14,800 years ago. The research team also included
scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State
University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Those time windows had the most favorable climate conditions for
coastal migration, including weak northward ocean currents to
ease southward water travel; winter sea ice to bridge island gaps
and facilitate coastal travel; ice-free summer water conditions
to provide food and water travel; and areas of terrestrial refuge
for the migrators.

The team used paleoclimate data and ran simulations to identify
time periods between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago that met the
criteria. Geochemical analyses determined times of likely winter
sea ice and summer melting periods, while geological evidence of
ice-rafted debris helped determine eras when huge glacial ice
sheets retreated enough to provide terrestrial refuges along the

The windows of favorable environmental conditions were correlated
with existing archaeological and genetic data, resulting in the
two most likely periods of migration. Archaeological and genetic
evidence suggests the first humans arrived in North America
between approximately 25,000 and 16,000 years ago.

The newly narrowed migration time ranges mean that instead of
only summer sea travel along the kelp highway, as Erlandson once
thought, "the First Americans had to be co-adapted to both winter
sea ice and summer kelp forest habitats. It's a much more
interesting story now," he said.

The UO and Museum of Natural and Cultural History archaeologists
have been at the forefront of such research, including the dating
of 14,000-year-old human feces, known as coprolites, and
artifacts in Oregon's Paisley Caves. Research on the peopling of
the Americas is a focus area for the museum's new Center for
Archaeological and Interdisciplinary Research and Education,
which studies historical ecology, human migrations and human
responses to environmental change.


Shortwave Radiogram now changes to MFSK64 ...

RSID: <<2023-03-10T00:38Z MFSK-64 @ 9265000+1500>>

This is Shortwave Radiogram in MFSK64

Please send your reception report to



From New Atlas:

"Sailing the winds": How stratospheric balloons navigate the

By Paul McClure
March 02, 2023

High-altitude platform stations (HAPS) are effective tools for
communication and surveillance because they operate from the
stratosphere, usually at around 12 miles (20 km) above the Earth,
much closer than satellites. There are two types of HAPS:
lighter-than-air (LTA) HAPS, such as high-altitude balloons, and
heavier-than-air (HTA) HAPS, such as fixed-wing aircraft.

LTA-HAPS are generally solar-powered, unmanned balloons that use
gases such as hydrogen or helium – hence, lighter than air – to
maintain buoyancy. But, they are at the whim of the winds. The
way LTA-HAPS maintain their position relies on a complex
interaction between naturally occurring phenomena and AI.

HAPS combine the flexibility of aircraft with the endurance of
satellites. For that reason, they can be used for overhead
communications like telephone and internet services or radio
station broadcasts, as well as for Earth observation and military
intelligence-gathering, reconnaissance and surveillance (IRS).

In order to deliver internet connectivity from the stratosphere
to the world's hard-to-reach places, Loon, a subsidiary of
Alphabet Inc., spent nine years in collaboration with Google
Brain developing the LTA-HAPS technology that would achieve this.

There are obvious challenges to relying on a solar-powered,
propellor-less, unmanned balloon to provide these types of
services; the primary one is the weather, which cannot be
controlled. The balloon needs to be able to withstand high winds
and huge swings in temperature over the long term while
delivering constant connectivity to the ground below. Relying
solely on weather forecasts can be dangerous, as they are often

Additionally, the balloon does not have an infinite onboard
energy source. It depends on the sun to provide the power for
both navigation and communication, so to have the balloon correct
itself if it is blown off course is a waste of precious power.

Research scientist Marlos Machado was part of the team that
developed the technology to ensure that the balloon did what it
was designed to do, with the greatest efficiency.

"We want the balloon to be in a specific position," Machado said.
"There is a catch, though. The problem with these balloons is
that they don't have propellors. The only way that they [can]
navigate in the stratosphere is by sailing the winds."

By "sailing the winds", Machado is referring to the way the
balloon harnesses the wind's strength, altitude, and direction to
either maintain the desired location – called station-keeping –
or travel to a new one.

These balloons are huge, the size of a tennis court. In the
stratosphere, winds are blowing in different directions at
different altitudes and speeds and, in terms of controlling its
own movement, the balloon is limited to two directions: up and

"The notion is that you have some lighter-than-air gas inside the
balloon, meaning that if you just leave the balloon by itself,
the balloon [will] go up," Machado said. "If you want the balloon
to go down – to sink – all you have to do is to pump air into the
balloon. It has a fixed volume, meaning that it's heavier for the
same volume."

Introducing a lighter-than-air gas into a bladder inside the
balloon causes it to rise into the wind stream required to move
it to the correct position. If the balloon needs to go down so
that it can be carried by the wind in a different direction,
ambient air is pumped into a fixed envelope that sits inside the
base of the balloon to provide ballast, or a valve opens on the
LTA bladder, expelling some of the gas so that the balloon
becomes heavier.

To gain some control over this somewhat limited maneuverability,
the researchers developed a reinforcement learning AI that
rewarded the balloon's behaviors. A simulator combined weather
forecasts with observed weather data and a Gaussian process to
provide the best wind predictor. If the balloon responded
"correctly", it was rewarded. On occasion, however, the wind

"Sometimes there is nothing you can do," Machado said. "If the
winds are not in your favor, there is nothing you can do but wait
until good winds show up."

Ultimately, the research was a success. In 2017, the team
navigated balloons to provide emergency connectivity to hundreds
of thousands of people following flooding in Peru and a major
hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, years of development proved to be a costly
exercise, and in 2021, Loon discontinued work on their LTA-HAPS
after the company was shut down. Other companies have picked up
the mantle, continuing to develop their own LTA-HAPS for use in
emergency communications, disaster recovery, providing private
wireless networks, and extended offshore coverage.


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This is Shortwave Radiogram in MFSK64

Please send your reception report to




This week's images ...

Jinling's photo of a heron in the Circle B Bar Reserve near
Lakeland, Florida. ...

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Helen Bruecker photo of Chapel On The Hill, a wedding venue near
Newport, Vermont. ...

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People walk in a park at sunset on an unseasonably warm day,
March 5, Kansas City, Missouri. ...

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A backyard peach tree bloom in Washington DC.

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March flowers in Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona. ...

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"And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils"
At the Dallas Arboretum. ...

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Last of the Bletia purpurea (pine pink orchids) at the José Martí
6-12 Academy Arboretum in Hialeah, Florida. ...

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Our painting of the week is "Tomorrow" (2020) by Sarah Gee
Miller. ...

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Shortwave Radiogram returns to MFSK32 ...

RSID: <<2023-03-10T00:58Z MFSK-32 @ 9265000+1500>>


This is Shortwave Radiogram in MFSK32 ...


Shortwave Radiogram is transmitted by:

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And visit

Twitter: @SWRadiogram or

I'm Kim Elliott. Please join us for the next Shortwave






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