Well, I am not proposing changes in the ULR scene. I am just a keen dxer that I do this to enjoy the radio (Paul Blundell statement is right) ;-)
But the reality of the DXing panorama in the Old World is slightly different. On MW we are changing the scene rapidly: we are leaving the band, less and less stations, and an indecent increase of noise generated by human activities with overall digitalization of our territory with the associated QRM. The most rewarding listening spots are now rural, wide open areas, and the wild. So all we that had comms receivers (I have an ICOM R71A and a YAESU FT2000, as I am also a ham op) looked back to small and light receivers to keep enjoying listening. At this level, the only 'serious' receivers on the market were portables: Sony, Sangean, Eton, Tecsun,... and the better ones were much more bigger than ULR's and/or pockets.
On the other side (at least for me) is the human scale. That worries me, bur what damm is this? Perhaps there is a 'Diogenes' inside of each DXer with the compulsion to add a one more receiver in the shack, or more SDR recordings to check in the future and so on. SDR have changed our DXing scene, but actually has also helped to kill the DXing spirit to discover something new and unknown by spinning the dial keeping the frequency while listening to it carefully. SDR needs a computer, and the flow of signals is so huge that the only way to store those is to schedule recordings and fill external HD with tonnes of GBytes. But storing audio does not mean a balanced and correct management.
I have been checking my FM dedicated hard disk with e-Skip recordings and I still have 2019 band lifts to check. Same with Medium/Long Wave stations, some of them with NDB signals from Alaska and Pacific Coast of Russia still 'unlogged'. That's crazy! and I wonder... What for? I am not an obsessive DX and as a sensible chaser just catch what he needs to eat, I want to remain a sensible DX and just catch what I can hear and process in a logical way, in a 'human scale' actually.
So, by using small portables and ULR I keep alive the real spirit of DXing. With them (and also my LOWE HF150 and non-sdr ones) the challenge is also alive. I am not going to curse SDR as it's an awesome and useful technology, but is much less funny and to achieve rare stations, easier.
I trumbled months ago with this original and lively group after have readen the antenna articles by Graham Maynard and after knowing the DXing tests made by Gary with his FSL samples. I coordinate in Spain the "IberiaDX" group with the only goal to put in touch DXers from the countries in the Iberian Peninsula, but of course opens to other European DXers also. From the group board, the blog and twitter I soon tried to spread the advantages of ULR DXing but, as I told before, "the reality of the DXing panorama in the Old World is slightly different."
That's why we propose the two categories that you read in the article. Could be also 'ULR' and 'almost ULR', or even simpler, widening the 'ULR' reality to reach 30 cubic inches. For me, the DEGEN DE1103 is the boundary in size. High quality and balanced in both MW and FM, good sensitivity, a decent selectivity, portable, not heavy and comfortable to use, with thousands of units sold in Europe and other countries. That gives us just one thing: Enjoying the hobby. And when people enjoys a hobby and find that can achieve difficult challenges, they stay and want to keep going forward!
I am sorry for this long message but it's Sunday and I have plenty of time today. In a couple of hours I will be checking the Iberian MW with our "IBOM-ULR" long-term project with a dozen of DXers spreaded on the four corners of the Iberian Peninsula. A proof that people enjoys and keep on going along the ULR scene!
¡73 y Buen DX!
Jorge Garzón (EB7EFA · EA1036 SWL)
QTH: IN83ag / 43º15' N · 03º56' W
Urb. San Roque 95, casa 5 (Villasevil)
39698 Santiurde de Toranzo (ESPAÑA - SPAIN)