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!