Re: Need some help - response to Gary

dhsatyadhana <satya@...>

Hi Neil:

In case you aren't at the information saturation point yet, one other thing to consider as a fellow urban DXer is that ULRs with excellent nulling properties are really good for channels adjacent to strong locals, and in many cases on the same freq. As you probably know, good nulling can often offset poorer filtering, depending on the situation. The Sony T615 shines in this category, as do most analog sets (the Tecsun R-911 and 9012, for example). However, digital Ultralights generally aren't quite as good in this area. As a result, you may want to have more than one ULR :-).

I think my favorite is the Tecsun PL-310. As Gary mentioned, the "soft mute" cuts the audio stage by several dB, so that listening off-freq and then going on-freq will give your ears a 10-15 dB jolt. As far as I can tell, the actual RF signal strength stays the same. I normally never tune on-freq anyway, either for tone or interference considerations, and just leave the volume up a couple notches all the time to compensate for the soft-mute, so it's sort of a non-issue for me.

Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA

--- In ultralightdx@..., D1028Gary@... wrote:

Hi Neil (and John),

John's ULR recommendations certainly make sense, and I notice that he is
using radios that all have a reputation for above-average AM selectivity (in
the pocket radio class, that is). John's record of DXing success in spite
of multiple local 50 kw AM blowtorches is rare indeed, and almost unheard of
on the East Coast (Frank Welch also comes to mind).

In answer to your question, Neil, any of John's radios would be good
choices for you to get started in ULR DXing. The newer Si4734 chip-based DSP
models (D96L, PL-310 and PL-380) offer 1 kHz filtering, providing a big
improvement in AM selectivity over all previous ULR's. However, these radios come
with their own set of quirks, such as internally-generated heterodynes
(which some DXers find objectionable), the "soft mute" issue (somewhat toned
down in the PL-380 model), and lack of North America-based warranty service.

If you are primarily a domestic DXer and can live with the quirks mentioned
above, the PL-310 has a very good record of performance, with good
sensitivity, 1 kHz DSP filtering and good resistance to urban RF overload
(images, spurs, etc.). If you have occasional interest in transoceanic DX or plan
to use external antennas, the slightly less sensitive PL-380 would be a
good choice, because its less troublesome "soft mute" threshold allows tuning
1 kHz up or down from a DX station's frequency (to escape domestic
splatter) without a severe drop-off in the DX station's signal level. It also has
superb 1 kHz DSP filtering (like the PL-310) and costs about the same
(generally around $70, including shipping from Hong Kong).

If the Si4734 quirks mentioned above sound unappealing, you might consider
either the Eton E100 or Sangean DT-400VX models, both of which have a good
record of AM performance in urban areas. Both of these models are fully
described in the 2008 Summertime Shootout article, along with a discussion of
the tradepffs. I am also a west coast dweller, and one of my all-time
thrills in ULR-DXing was holding a stock Sangean DT-400VX in my hand on a
Grayland, WA beach one sunrise in August, and receiving a strong signal (with ID)
of 1575-VOA Thailand (over 7,200 miles) using nothing but the tiny stock
loopstick _
( . The point is that propagation and persistence can give you
great DXing results, even if your radio doesn't have all the latest "bells
and whistles." Good luck!

73, Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)

In a message dated 4/27/2010 11:12:12 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
jcereghin@... writes:

Can I jump in?

Your situation sounds like a typical Mid-Atlantic situation, with 50 kw
blowtorches abounding.

I haven't really had any problems with overloading on any of my ULs and my
RF environment is probably worse than yours (except for the mountains as
the Delmarva is generally flat as a griddle). For the record, I use:
PL310 (my current favorite)
PL-300WT (the FM DX champ!)

All of these radios do a good job barefoot and are sensitive enough for
good DX work. My favorite is the PL-310 since it has the filter selections
from 1-6 khz, which is a must for foreign DXing and splitting off adjacent
slop from the strong stations. We do have a cult following around the
SRF-T615, which is probably the best UL if you want to shell out $135 or so.

On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:44 AM, neilbellgroups <_neil.bell@sbcglobalneil_
(mailto:neil.bell@...) > wrote:

To explain my RF environment a little bit: I live about 30 miles east from
San Francisco and have the following 50 KW nighttime stations to contend

1100 KFAX - 23 miles
810 KGO (IBOC)- 30 miles
740 KCBS (IBOC) - 35 miles
1140 KHTK (IBOC) - 57 miles
860 KTRB - 67 miles
1530 KFBK (IBOC) - 68 miles

Given this RF environment and the fact that I have mountains (Mount Diablo
range)to the west and south, fairly close by, which radio would you
suggest as a starter?

These IBOC stations cover about 30 kHz in big slop!


John Cereghin WDX3IAO KB3LYP
Smyrna DE
My radio page _www.pilgrimway.www.pi_ (
The Ultralight Scoreboard _www.pilgrimway.www.pilgrim_

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