Sunday, February 22, 2015

600 foot "Ice BOG" antenna - night one.

So, last night I extended my "Beverage On Ground" antenna (aka "BOG") out to 600 feet and ran it NW/SE from my location. It's just #16 stranded copper wire (insulated) layed out on the frozen lake ice. The ice here is a little spooky due to currents, so I did some reconnaisaince during the day to make sure it was good. My wire doesn't go all the way to this duck blind, but it gives you an idea of what I'm working with.

Then, after dark, I walk out pulling the wire behind me. No spool for the wire, I just have it layed out on the ground in a neat pile. I leave it out over night, then in the morning, I simply pull it in through the window. This way, I only make one walk out reducing my exposure to falling through and reducing my exposure to nosy people!

Conditions this evening were rather flat. I wasn't hearing any Spanish language stations on medium wave, not even Cubans which can usually be heard now and again, however Manitoba was booming in.

I looked for other Canadians such as Saskatoon, but none were found. WCCO 830khz in Minneapolis was S9 +30db however. Down on longwave, I had good copy on some amateur experimental beacons which are low power.

Here's a quick band scan of the aeronautical navigation beacons on longwave (NDBs). I'm pretty much just listening for the Canadians with the 400hz shift, not digging deep and logging everything heard. Not really hearing any European broadcasters, they would be 90 degrees off to the side of the antenna and unlikely to be heard.

Around this time, I layed down and took a nap, getting up again around 4:30am in the morning. Again, conditions sounding rather flat, WWVH on 5 Mhz coming in nicely, but not on 2.5 Mhz. I did pick up these two gems though, kind of off the corner of the antenna. 

So, yes, 600 feet of wire layed out on lake ice does indeed work very well. I will try it again tonight, this time running the wire more or less E/W to see if I can pick up some west coast AM stations and maybe some south Pacific stuff in the morning. Check back later to see how I did! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lower Frequency DXing

Last night was my second night of experimentation of the "Ice Bog" antenna. BOG = Beverage On Ground, and mine is on the ice, hence "Ice Bog". 400 feet last night, with lots of room for expansion as long as the weather cooperates. Here's the layout:

So, how well does it work? Well, I don't think conditions were anything special this evening, but here's 50KW VL8K, ABC Northern Territories radio out of Katherine, Australia:

Also, here's Canadian Coastguard weather station in Tofino, BC:

The weather appears like it's going to cooperate and stay well below freezing this week,
 so stay tuned for more Ice Bog reports! I'll scope the bands
out on Saturday and Sunday night and depending on the conditions
I'll either point it towards South America looking for DX down there,
or simply run it east/west scanning the AM broadcast band.

As you can see, I've got plenty of room to work with, the ice is plenty safe to
walk on, and I've got LOTS of wire. The question is: do I have the balls
to push the envelope and make my antenna REAL long? 600ft? (my personal record)
or 1,000ft??? STAY TUNED! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

VOA Phillipines and Rwanda Long path

So, it's 9am local time and I'm tuning around and I park on a station that sounds far away and is in a language that I'm guessing is Japanese. I set the GoPro and let it record. I don't have the computer on because all that electronics causes too much interference on my radio, so later on I fire it up and find out what I had. Check it out:

This is VOA broadcasting from Tigali, Phillipines in Korean to the "Far East" (you know where they're broadcasting in Korean to, right?) and underneith you can hear the interval signal of another station. Recognize it?

This was at 1500z and here's the map:

Yeah, that's Deuche Welle broadcasting to eastern Africa, but if that's a direct path to me, it's all daylight and there's no way I'd be hearing 'em, so I figure it's long path!

Here's the beam headings for me to Rwanda:

9XRwandaAF67°/247°13089km / 26941km

Here's the headings to Manilla:
DUPhilippinesOC318°/138°13028km / 27002km

So, there's a whole lot going on in that one clip and those signals are traveling a LONG way. All heard with my Icom R75 and INDOOR whip. Simply amazing.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Radio New Zealand International

We have lost so many great shortwave broadcasters lately, but here's one that's overlooked here in the states, and it's a good one: Radio New Zealand International. In all my years of DXing, this one usually eluded me, must have been because of the time difference because ever since starting my new job, and my coming home everyday well after midnight, now I hear them every day! Here's two clips from the past few nights, between 0700 and 0800z. So, if you're a real night owl, check 'em out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New QTH!

This is my first posting from my new QTH. I've only moved some 25 miles from my previous location where I DXed for 40 years, but the band scans are different enough that I can start all over and get busy on my next 40 years.

Yes, the house is small, the lot is small, the trees are small, a complete switch from my old location that was an old farm house on 1/2 acre lot with a 225 year old oak tree in the back and an 80 foot pine tree in the front. The upside is that I'm just a few miles from 1,000s of acres of public land, so the possibilities are endless.  The challenge is on.  Here's a view out my back window.

One of the first things I did was to run a wire out onto the frozen lake. Just 200 feet at first, then 400 feet. My "Ice Bog" antenna (Beverage On Ground). Naturally, on most of HF it works horribly, but on the AM BCB band, it works great. Here's what I was hearing that first night, Cuba's Radio Rebelde on several frequencies, and Colombia heard over a much closer WJR in Detroit!No, I don't understand Spanish, but I did pick out "La Radio" which is enough to identify that station as RCN (Radio Cadena Nacional, "National Radio Network") out of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Since then, the weather warmed up and the ice has been too thin right here to venture out, but perhaps this next weekend I'll give it another go.  Until then, I've been doing the best I can with an indoor antenna, fighting electronic noises in the house. Yet, I have heard some interesting things, more on that next time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Radio Mosoj Chaski 3310Khz

It was late evening yesterday, the sun is going down, but it's still pretty light out yet, and I'm about to head out the door. I had my receiver on Voice of Russia up on 31 meters and before pushed the power button, I made a quick sweep across 90 meters, not expecting to find anything at all when ... WHOA! Here's Radio Mosoj Chaski from Cochabamba, Brazil on 3310khz, and their running S9! They were totally unexpected, but my location was right on the terminator of the grey line, so it shouldn't be that surprising. They only run 8Kw and have a low antenna, so this is a real treat. As the minutes passed by, their signal got weaker. So, here's your tip: don't wait until total darkness at your QTH to scan the lower bands, signals will often peak before your sunset! Here's the video I made:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Radio Argentina Exterior

The QRN levels on HF are finally down to where I can tune 25 meters at least. 31 meters and down are just plain useless however. I heard the usual suspects tonight with perhaps slightly lower signals than a few days ago. Radio Brasil Central was the clear winner.

May14, 2011
0052z    11765khz Super Radio Deus e Amor in Portuguese from Curitiba, Brazil. G S8 with some 11760khz Cuba slop.
0055z    11710khz Radio Argentina Exterior with interval signal for full 5 mins before start of broadcast. G S8. A little slop from 11700khz. Ident in multiple languages, then programming in Japanese. Exact freq. is 11710.47khz, off from their published 11711khz.
0115z    11815khz Radio Brasil Central in Portuguese from Goiania, Brazil G S7. Very listenable with nice music.
0210z     11925khz Radio Bandeirantes in Portuguese from Sao Paolo, Brazil P-F S3 with QRN but no QRM. Not so good at this time due to weak sigs.
0220z    11780khz Radio National de Amazonia in Portuguese from Brasilia, Brasil. G S8

Overall, signals were good at 0100z but by 0230z all of the South Americans were down in the mud. Not sure why.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 11, 2011 25 meters

Just took a spin through 25 meters. Anything lower is all QRN crashes, but nice conditions to South America!

May 11, 2011

0000z 13690khz Radio Australia in English from Sheppaton. Good S9
0005z 11645khz Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran in Mandarin from Kamalabad. F-G S7
0010z 11711khz Radio Argentina Exterior in Spanish from Argentina. Fair to Good with nasty het on weaker Taiwan, 11710khz. I've got their off channel freq. at 11710.5 which is .5 off their published off frequency, frequency. Hi Hi.
0015z 11765khz Super Rádio Deus é Amor in Portuguese from Curitiba, Brazil. Poor S6 with Cuban slop from 11760.
0020z 11720khz Radio National de Amazonia in Portuguese from Brasilia, Brazil. VG! S9+20db Sun just setting here.
0020z 11815khz Radio Brasil Central in Portuguese from Goiania, Brazil. Good S9. Nice copy.
0025z 11920khz HCJB Voice of the Andes in Porguese from Santiago, Chile. VG S9+10db. Super copy!
0025z 11940khz Radio Diffusion Portuguesa International in Portuguese from Lisbon, Portugal. VG S9+5db Sweet!

Here's a shot of my current antenna arrangement. Not much, but it works! That's right ... no leaves on the trees yet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

FM Broadcast DX

We've got a couple waves of thunderstorms passing through my area this week which has the S-meter on my HF rig stuck at S-9. Not good. So, that's got me thinking about getting my FM DX gear back into shape after a long winter. The receiver I'm currently using is the JVC FX-97 that is modified with 110khz ceramic filters. I've shown that video here a few months ago (link). My antennas are a pair of stacked Winegard 6065Ps.

Unfortunately, right now, one is facing backwards with respect to the other, so I need to crawl up on the roof of the house and spin it back to where it should be. Then I'll be ready to chase FM DX again.  I have been very happy with these antennas. Here is a detailed review of it. "The Winegard HD6065P is a Log-Yagi array with ten elements on a 127″ boom. Four of the elements are driven. A shorted transmission line terminates at a passive reflector. Winegard has discontinued the HD6065P and replaced it with the HD6055P, an eight-element design on an 82″ boom. I've actually got a 6055p sitting in a box that I haven't opened yet. One of these days. Before I put up the Winegards, I had up some Antennacraft FM-6s which, for small antennas, work really well. (link)

To aid in identifying stations I use these resources:

More on those later on, when the season starts picking up, but you can check them out now on your own. Then for a log, I just have a spreadsheet that I put together. Anyway, more on all that when I get my act together and share some awesome FM DX with 'yall!

Shortwave Log May 8, 2011

Spring is truly here, what with lightning static rising to a steady 20db over S9 early this morning on the lower frequencies. I'm still hearing some potent Brazilian signals on 60 meters, so that doesn't mean I'm done DXing my favorite band entirely, but it certainly does mean it's time to shift focus higher up the spectrum. Now, yesterday, I made repairs to my wire antenna and have it up a few feet higher than it was before, and I also changed the direction it's running by about 30 degrees, and so far I'm liking what I'm hearing. Here's my log from late last night, finishing up around 11:30pm local time. I was particularly impressed with how Iran was sounding. Not particularly strong, only about S9, but running all alone which made for wonderful copy. I think this is the best I have heard them in quite a while. Definitely encouraging for what I may hear in the upcoming weeks!

0405z    11945khz BBC in English via Seychelles Islands G S9
0410z    13775khz Voice of Russia in English via Petropavlovsk. Good S9
0415z    13710khz Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran in Azeri from Sirjan, Iran Good S9 Nice copy!
0415z    13695khz Radio France International in French from Issoudun. VG S9+10db
0420z    13690khz Radio Australia in English from Shepparton. F-G S7
0420z    13660khz BBC in Arabic via Cyprus Island. Fair S5 Good copy though.
0425z    13650khz Radio Cairo in Swahili from Abu Zaabal, Egypt. F carrier S5, P audio (nothing new there)

As long as the geomagnetic activity stays low, so that radio absorption over the poles is minimized, we might expect some nights where 19 and 21 meters is open all night long providing us with some exciting possibilities from across the globe. Here's the paths of the stations I logged above. Note that even if you're in middle of the night darkness, the path from across the globe will still be mostly in daytime. So, if you find yourself up out of bed during the wee hours, don't forget to spin across those upper bands. You may be rewarded with some extra special DX you don't usually expect!

This first one represents my location at 11pm local time as I listen to transmitters in full daylight.


This second one represents my location around noon local time as I listen to All India Radio at midnight their time. Half way around the world but most of the path is still daylight which is essential for the upper bands to stay open.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Loggings May 7, 2011

Finally sat down for a few minutes yesterday to check out the bands. The highlight was hearing Sudan on 40 meters. Unfortunately, there was a lot of ham contesting going on which made reception very difficult despite the strong, S9 signal. Will try again this week when the ham activity will be much lower.

FT-767gx + 120 ft inverted L wire up 40ft

May 6, 2011
1555z 11715khz KJES Spanish to Asia Good sig, S9, audio down.
1600z 13640khz s/off of Radio Free Asia from North Mariana Islands in Mandarin
1600z 13760khz China Radio Int. in English from Kashi, China Fair S6 QSB
1605z 13820khz Radio Marti in Spanish from Greenville, NC heavy jamming presumed from Cuba. S9
1610z 13860khz China Radio Int in Russian from Shijiazhuang, China fair S6 with quick polar QSB
1620z 11955khz Trans World Radio - India via Samara, Russia Poor signal S3. 250kw but beaming south, so perhaps hearing it long path? Lots of flutter from going over either north or south pole.
1625z 11815khz Radio Brazil Central fair S4 with Futbol game in Portuguese. 7.5 KW

May 7, 2011
0035z 7270khz Voice of Russia in Russian via Armenia. VG S9+10 with some QRN and QRM.
0040z 7285khz Voice of Russia in Russian via Moldova. VG S9+20 // programming to 7270khz.
0045z 7335khz Vatican Radio in Urdu from Vatican. Good S9, QRN
0045z 7305khz Vatican Radio in Portuguese to SA. VG S9+20db
0050z 7475khz Voice of Greece in Greek. VG Clear freq. S9+20db, only 100kw
0100z 7260khz Voice of Turkey in Turkish. Fair to good with ham QRM. Sun just setting here now.
0105z 7215khz Radio Liberty via German in Kazakh. Good sig S9 but heavy ham QRM (contest weekend)
0110z 7295khz Radio Farda via Germany in Farsi. Good sig S9+10, upbeat USA music.
0400z 7255khz BBC in English via Ascension Island. VG S9+10
0400z 7240khz Deutche Welle via Rwanda in English. VG S9+30db!
0410z 7200khz Sudan RTVC in Arabic via Sudan Tentative d/t heavy ham QRM. Fair S8. That's a new one if true. Will recheck a little later, see if the QRM goes down.

Friday, April 22, 2011

50 years of shortwave in Holland

RNW Historical Audio Archive: 50 years of shortwave in Holland

On 30 March 1977 Radio Nederland (as we were then called in English) broadcast a special programme marking our 30th anniversary, and 50 years since the first shortwave broadcast from the Netherlands. The complete programme is now available to listen to/download from the RNW Historical Audio Archive. Here’s a synopsis of the programme:
  • Hendrik (Henk) van den Broek, Radio Nederland’s first director, recorded in 1955, explains why Radio Nederland was set up.
  • The origin of Dutch overseas broadcasting goes back to 1927, the pioneering year of shortwave telephony. The Philips Laboratories in Eindhoven experiment with the PCJJ short-wave transmitter. The transmissions reach as far as the East-Indies. Mr. A C de Groot, a technical official of the Netherlands East Indies PTT and a radio amateur, is sitting up all night monitoring the 30 metre band in the hope of hearing amateurs operating in morse code from The Netherlands. Somewhere around 3:00 AM, he hears a voice speaking in Dutch saying “This is an experimental transmission from the Philips Laboratory in Eindhoven, Holland, on a wavelength of 30.2 metres”


Australian DX Report 252 April 23 2011

 Nifty podcast. Give 'er a listen!

Australian DX Report 252 April 23 2011

Shortwave Quiz!

I haven't had much time to tune around the bands lately, but tonight I found a little bit of time to at least spin through most shortwave bands once. Going through the 60 meter tropical band (my favorite), I noticed something wrong. VERY wrong! I made a video, so test yourself.What did I notice?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

48 Years Old and Still a Flamethrower

Great article from Radio World including some awesome photos!

While the International Broadcasting Bureau, which oversees Voice of America operations, has closed a number of its domestic and overseas transmitting facilities (relay stations) and moved into placement of programming on AM and FM outlets in countries where a VOA presence is desired, it still provides thousands of hours of programming for shortwave listeners every month. 

Need more photos?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

America’s Most Wanted Pirate Broadcaster

Broadcasting on the upper sideband of 3260 kHz with a handful of watts and a homemade antenna, KSMR caused a small stir in the shortwave pirate community: never before had a clandestine station targeting the United States government actually broadcast from within its own borders.
But, as more and more people tuned in KSMR, more and more began not to like what they heard.
On the air at the start for just an hour a day, Steve Anderson would begin each KSMR broadcast with David Von Kleist's pro-militia song "Take My Gun (From My Cold Dead Hands)." He would then proceed to ramble for about 60 minutes, passing on tidbits of militia news from around the country, relaying contact information for various militia groups, and engaging in some personal commentary.

Anderson started Kentucky State Militia Radio (KSMR) in March 2001 from his house; the first monitored broadcast transmission of the station was made on March 3 by veteran listener Harold Frodge and cited in Cumbre DX. He had floated the idea of such a station during a militia gathering the previous fall and got a favorable response.

The Kentucky State Militia was one of the most active paramilitary groups in the country at the time, according to the Anti-Defamation League; it conducted military training and hosted national gatherings of militia members. Its members were surprised when the station came on the air so quickly. More importantly, most were shocked to learn that it was an illegal pirate station.

“Most [militia] members thought that this was to be a commercial radio station licensed through the FCC,” said Patrick Perry, a communications officer with the KSM at the time. “Members had no reason to believe that this station would be otherwise.”

Anderson called his program “The Militia Hour.” He only operated for an hour a day on shortwave initially. He later expanded his schedule to a few hours a day. His intended audience was militia members and supporters in Kentucky and beyond.

A licensed radio amateur, AA8DP, Anderson transmitted KSMR in single side band, a mode many shortwave radio sets cannot receive. He said he did this to save wear and tear on the transmitter. KSMR also changed frequency from time to time. Early programs consisted of coded group and militia messages and news. 

 ‘Most Wanted’

Anderson managed to elude the authorities for quite some time. Frustrated that he remained on the loose a few months after the shootout, the Somerset Commonwealth Journal prepared a package on him and sent it into “America’s Most Wanted,” the television show that portrays criminal fugitives and asks viewers to call the police if they have any information. The show aired a segment on Anderson.

This did the trick. Police in North Carolina captured Anderson in November 2002 in response to a tip from someone who had seen the show. He was sentenced the following May to 15 years in federal prison.

During his trial, Anderson apologized for his actions and what he had said on the air. According to press reports of the time, he told U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves, “My actions were wrong — bad wrong. What I said was very wrong and I apologize for that.”

He remains in prison today. Anderson declined an interview request from this writer 10 years ago, and to my knowledge hasn’t talked to other journalists since.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Expansion of Guam Shortwave Station

"The station’s broadcast equipment consists of six towers, four curtain antennas, and five transmitters. The largest tower is 330 feet tall, and each curtain antenna is about the size of two football fields. The shortwave signals that are generated can travel for thousands of miles, enabling the gospel message to freely enter non‐ Christian areas without being subject to government control.
The current equipment cannot provide a signal of sufficient strength, at the right frequency, to adequately reach listeners in northern China, Mongolia, Siberia, and beyond. Adding a fifth antenna will enable AWR to
broadcast a strong signal to these areas during prime listening hours, as well as simultaneously transmit additional programs in more languages. ... AWR hopes that the installation of the new tower and antenna can be completed by the end of 2012, which is the Guam station’s 25th anniversary year."

Monday, April 11, 2011

South Africa’s top DXers

Check out the logs of these guys who just got back from their annual MW and SW DXpedition:

Armed with their favorite radios, a bunch of wire, and a seaside location, this quartet logged stations from around the world. Sounds like a great time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Radio Serbia

I'm sure you've heard the potent signal put out by Radio Serbia. Here's why!

  Period: 1900 UTC Oktober, 31 2010 - 1900 UTC March, 27 2011
  Language Zones of area  Target  Freq.
 01:30 - 02:00  02:30 - 03:00  ENGLISH
(Except Sunday)
 6190  250
 14:00 - 14:30  15:00 - 15:30  ENGLISH
27,29 37,39
          EUROPE  9505  100
 19:30 - 20:00  20:30 - 21:00   ENGLISH  27,28w   EUROPE/w
  22:00 - 22:30  23:00 - 23:30  ENGLISH  27,28w   EUROPE/w

World Christian Broadcasting

Owners of KNLS in Anchor Point, Alaska are building a new transmitter site in Madagascar and it's completion is getting close. The antennas are up, the three, 100kw transmitters are ready for shipment, and they should be on the air soon!