Date   

Re: Try Something New This Winter!

Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Todd.

I have been getting some great signals from Qld the past few nights at the top end of the band.

On Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 8:10 p.m. Todd via Groups.Io, <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
I judge my DX receiving systems by distance, but not quantity of logs received.

For a contest over a given n period:

Longest distance winter groundwave MW reception.

Longest distance residual noon daytime skywave reception.

Longest distance regular evening skywave reception.

Longest distance rare evening skywave reception.

Brisbane MW has been received around noon into NE Tasmania at ~ 1400 km. The main contributor was the high conductive saltwater path.

Todd
Sydney, AU




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Re: Try Something New This Winter!

Todd
 

I judge my DX receiving systems by distance, but not quantity of logs received.

For a contest over a given n period:

Longest distance winter groundwave MW reception.

Longest distance residual noon daytime skywave reception.

Longest distance regular evening skywave reception.

Longest distance rare evening skywave reception.

Brisbane MW has been received around noon into NE Tasmania at ~ 1400 km. The main contributor was the high conductive saltwater path.

Todd
Sydney, AU




Software - MWDXerDB

Paul Blundell
 

The latest version of MWDxerDB is now avaiable online for download:
This version includes a remplate database and all the latest code updates as of 22/01/2020.

https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/01/software-mwdxerdb.html
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Re: Try Something New This Winter!

Paul Blundell
 

That sounds like a good idea but I don't know how that would work here. I was thinking something that anybody could be a part of.

Paul

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 2:01 PM Peter Laws <plaws0@...> wrote:
On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 8:43 PM Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...> wrote:
>
> I would like to encourage us as a group to look at running some form of "challenge" or contest in 2020 to really get our group moving and encourage more operations.
>
> Does anybody have any ideas?


IRCA has a stations heard contest.  This year (I think it's different
every year?  Not sure) the stations' calls need to have certain
letters in them to "count".  A little easier for IRCA since most
members are in North America, so targets are somewhat limited.  One of
the rules is that you have to hear the callsign spoken.  :-)   Fun,
but I don't know if it translate to a group with world-wide -- well,
at least in the Anglosphere, anyway -- membership.

--
Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!





--
Paul


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Re: Try Something New This Winter!

Peter Laws
 

On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 8:43 PM Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...> wrote:

I would like to encourage us as a group to look at running some form of "challenge" or contest in 2020 to really get our group moving and encourage more operations.

Does anybody have any ideas?

IRCA has a stations heard contest. This year (I think it's different
every year? Not sure) the stations' calls need to have certain
letters in them to "count". A little easier for IRCA since most
members are in North America, so targets are somewhat limited. One of
the rules is that you have to hear the callsign spoken. :-) Fun,
but I don't know if it translate to a group with world-wide -- well,
at least in the Anglosphere, anyway -- membership.

--
Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!


Re: Try Something New This Winter!

Paul Blundell
 

I would like to encourage us as a group to look at running some form of "challenge" or contest in 2020 to really get our group moving and encourage more operations.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Paul
--
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UltralightDX


Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

h. garcia
 

Hey Bill.

Awesome article! Looking at the picture, it seems they used 2 ceramic filter for the AM section.

You reported about dial stiffness or tightness. I could not find the article, but I remember another colleague complaining about it and how he got it solved: it seems you can move dial string off one of the anchor posts or pulleys. This gives just the exact amount of looseness that keeps the tuning knob lighter and proper traction at the variable capacitor wheel.




On Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 01:38 mediumwavedx <desertbilly@...> wrote:
Check out the Panasonic RF-562DD. Newer, outstanding sensitivity, Some drawbacks though.

Check out my extensive review at RADIO-TIMETRAVELLER.

https://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/2019/03/review-of-panasonic-rf-562dd-receiver.html

Bill


Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

Paul S. in CT
 

In the world of digial/DSP receivers there is ONE that stands above all the Tecsun radios of $US75 price or less, and that is the Sangean ATS-405. This radio, especially after reading the previous link to the Panasonic RF562, shines for two important reasons.

1.) Soft Muting can be switched OFF
2.) AGC can then be set to 30/Auto/50 slew (50 is best for weak, 30 for strong, and Auto for general listening).

There are also a few more options BW, Squelch, 1kHz tune, etc., but no SSB. I have seen this receiver recently at amazon for under $US70. I paid about $85 for 1st release.

If going digital DSP, though not an UL, this is a good choice.

Regards
Paul S. in CT fn31nl


Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

mediumwavedx
 

Check out the Panasonic RF-562DD. Newer, outstanding sensitivity, Some drawbacks though.

Check out my extensive review at RADIO-TIMETRAVELLER.

https://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/2019/03/review-of-panasonic-rf-562dd-receiver.html

Bill


Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

Todd
 

Hi Jay,

The Sangean PR-D3 does produce a degree of soft muting (probably equal to the Crane CC 2E). This is most noticeable when the PR-D3 is used 'barefoot'. Most non-DXer listeners use their radios without any additional antenna. Mainly fringe area listeners would receive somewhat compromised reception of weak AM signals. However, the situation with DXers is different. They know that serious DX reception is highly inefficient without at least a medium size loop, or FSL antenna used with a sensitive portable radio. 

When a medium size size loop antenna is tuned to resonance, and the radio is positioned next to the loop at the optimal distance, the soft mute feature is completely negated. The loop antenna high signal signal pickup effectively acts as the first RF stage. This is especially true with larger higher gain loop or FSL antennas. A faint signal reading 0 bar strength can dramatically increase to full bar strength when a loop is tuned to resonance. The most sensitive 'barefoot' portable radio in the world will be greatly outperformed by an average sensitivity radio inductively coupled to a high gain loop. This is why small differences in 'barefoot' RF AM sensitivity are not important for serious DXers. Selectivity, and overload-desensitization performance is more important.

I was able to compare the 'barefoot' RF sensitivity differences by tuning to a weak stable distant groundwave AM signal noon. The best time to do this testing is when there is a major power blackout where all house and street light power is temporarily off. Remote rural areas without power poles are also ideal. Not very practical, but ideally there should only be QRN (natural noise) when doing sensitivity comparison testing.

There is a drop in signal when even tuned only 1 KHz away from the center wanted AM channel. I assume this also applies to the Crane CC 2E. This is a disadvantage when attempting to 'slope tune' in order to obtain a better signal within the selectivity curve. The 1 KHz tuning offset signal drop is not as great on the Sangean PR-D15.

Again like the Crane CC 2E, the PR-D3 AM memory preset stations on AM will sometimes not optimally tune the twin-coil antenna system, hence the rotary 1 KHz step knob needs to be re-tuned back to get full signal. This slight inconvenience is worth tweaking to obtain the strongest signal.

The PR-D3 front display is exactly the same as the Crane CC 2E. The weather and two meter ham band markings are on the display, but of course do not light up.

The Crane CC 2E auto-alignment feature also works on the PR-D3.

Compared to the more bullet-proof superior RF MW design of the Sangean PR-D15, the PR-D3 and CC Crane 2E more easily desensitize when a loop is aimed towards a local MW transmitter site. This desensitization factor requires loop placement further away from the radio. Optimal inductive coupling varies with frequency. Higher frequencies such as 1575 KHz require closer loop placement. Optimal loop placement is obtained by trial and error for every unique mix of factors.

The Sangean PR-D15 (and possibly PR-D5) is exceptionally selective on AM. You may want to verify this for documenting on your website. A simple test is 10 KHz adjacent signal readability for a skywave signal next to a strong local.

Most portable radios should be operated by DC batteries for the lowest RF noise floor and associated higher sensitivity. AC power operation introduces a slight continuous buzz on the PR-D3. The PR-D15 buzz is much more dramatic.

I found the Panasonic DR-22 at the front of someone's house. It was thrown out with some other AM/SW portables. The DR-22 RF sensitivity is way down, hence needs alignment or switch contact clean maintenance. I don't know anyone near me that specializes in restoring old radios. I may someday attempt to align it using the service manual. But I don't see the point of using an old radio that doesn't offer accurate digital readout down to 1 KHz steps. 

Regards,

Todd

https://www.canohm.com.au/products/radios/sangean?view=article&id=593#downloads

https://www.canohm.com.au/images/product-ranges/Sangean/Sangean-AR-pdf/PR-D3G.pdf

https://www.canohm.com.au/images/product-ranges/Sangean/Sangean-AR-pdf/PR-D3_Manual.pdf


Re: Australian Stations - January 2020

Paul Blundell
 

Thanks for that. I did know that but forgot to remove them from the list.


On Sun, Jan 19, 2020 at 11:33 AM Theo via Groups.Io <theod438=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
2XL/918 Cooma, NSW is no more.  They've gone to the Great FM Heaven in the sky.

Another group reports the tx switched off on 13 January.



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Paul


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UltralightDX


Portable Ultralight Radio DXing Kit 2020

Paul Blundell
 

This is an update on my previous case which has now been improved.

Last year I was sent a baby 3" FSL aerial which I wanted to carry and protect, this was my main reason for changing how this case is setup. Recently I changed this and mounted the aerial to the lid of the case, basically using it upside down. After a week or so of using this I decided that it was not working, it was time to go back to the drawing board.

This afternoon I spent some time in the shed working on this, I removed the aerial, the wood that was supporting it and the extra piece I had added to the top to hold my clipboard and notes. I started by instead placing my clipboard holder under the bottom of the case and screwing this to the bottom of the case. Next, I cut a small amount off the PVC base for the aerial which allows it to fit better, it also gives me more room at the front to store my radios. Once I was happy with the placement, I screwed some timber to the inside bottom of the case and attached the aerial to this with some screws. Finally, I added some new foam to the inside of the lid to add another level of protection.

This setup has the benefits of protecting the 3" FSL aerial from damage, keeping it off the ground and also allowing me to lean my radio against it, this provides a great level of coupling to the aerial and leaving my hands free for logging. This setup is also a lot more stable as all the weight is on the bottom section.

Overall, I am very pleased with how well this case has come out, I am able to carry and store my baby 3" FSL plus two – three radios, log sheets, pens, notes, spare batteries and ear phones, everything I need for portable sessions. It is also a good size to fit in my back pack. 

While this case was designed for ultralight DXing the same ideas could be used for amateur radio, radio scanning or any other storage need.








 

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UltralightDX


Re: Australian Stations - January 2020

Theo <theod438@...>
 

2XL/918 Cooma, NSW is no more.  They've gone to the Great FM Heaven in the sky.

Another group reports the tx switched off on 13 January.


Re: New for 2020- Hand Held Radio + FSL DXing Combos

radiojayallen
 

Another impressive project!

Jay


Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

radiojayallen
 

Todd,

I have a question and a comment. The question: Does the PR-D3 have any soft muting...can you slightly tune off center on AM and not lose any volume?

The comment: I agree that the CC-2E and the OEM version PR-D3 as well as the PR-D15 are hot radios but it's too bad your DR-22 is not...that clearly is not right. It should run neck and neck with your top radios. I know it is packed way in storage but tell me - do you recall if it is only slightly less sensitive or grossly so? I would think that if it was working properly you would love it. Can you or do you know someone near you who could bring it back to its full glory?

Jay
https://radiojayallen.com


Re: New for 2020- Hand Held Radio + FSL DXing Combos

Gary DeBock
 

Hi Paul,
 
<<<   Excellent work Gary. Are the radios attached to the frames or just sitting on them?    >>>
 
The radios will have a Velcro mounting system to the frames, which means they can either be attached securely for transport inside a backpack or plastic tote, or removed for optimal peaking of the tuned gain boost. For chasing DX on the higher MW frequencies the radios can simply be left in the securely mounted position, and the FSL tuned for maximum gain. On the middle and lower MW band frequencies the radio's distance from the FSL should be adjusted for the peak gain boost, and the multiple Velcro straps on the PVC frame will allow mounting of the radio at this optimal-gain position. 
 
For unattended DX signal recording, once the radio and FSL are tuned to the same frequency and the radio is secured at the optimal-gain position, the entire assembly can be deployed outside a window (to escape RFI) with a plug-in PVC mounting base attachment. For travel overseas to a location like Hong Kong, this capability should dramatically increase the long range transoceanic DXing potential around sunrise or sunset.
 
73, Gary     


Re: New for 2020- Hand Held Radio + FSL DXing Combos

Paul Blundell
 

Excellent work Gary. Are the radios attached to the frames or just sitting on them? 

My solution to keeping my kit together and making portable session's as easy as possible is this:


On Sat, 18 Jan 2020, 1:31 p.m. Gary DeBock via Groups.Io, <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
     Last April during a trip to Hong Kong I was highly motivated to chase long range AM-DX, but there was a bizarre "Catch 22" problem-- all of the buildings had nasty indoor RFI, while almost all of the outdoor areas were overcrowded, and unsuitable for setting up an elevated 5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna. For the entire week I pushed a 7.5 inch loopstick CC Skywave to the absolute limit, taking it on daytime DX trips to Macau and HK's plunging Cape D'Aguilar, as well as shoving it outside a 12th floor security window to escape the indoor RFI. For the first 5 days "long range DX" was a laughable term-- my farthest catch was 693-Bangladesh, at about 1,500 miles. 
 
     Finally I sacrificed some sleep and shoved the souped-up Ultralight outside the security window prior to sunrise, and somehow managed to track down 1431-Radio Sawa (Djibouti), 1413-BBC (Oman), 1413-Vesti FM (Moldova) and 1548-TWR (Moldova) on the 7.5" loopstick. The performance of the souped-up Ultralight was thrilling, but the harsh lessons of the Hong Kong trip had already been taken to heart. A fully portable, hand held DXing combo was needed which could provide more gain than a 7.5" loopstick, but which could be easily carried anywhere in a backpack, and which would not attract too much unwanted attention on crowded public beaches. In addition, it would need to routinely pass through TSA inspections at airports, and need to be capable of deployment outside of windows (with a PVC support system) in order to escape interior RFI.
 
     Only one type of hand held antenna could satisfy all of these requirements--- a portable radio + tuned FSL combination attached to a compact PVC frame. Since the TSA-friendly FSL's are all relatively lightweight, combining them with a compact portable radio on a common PVC frame is well within reason for hand held capability. Such a DXing combo would be the master of convenience-- it can track down MW-DX (with decent gain) while being held in the hands, placed on a picnic table, placed on a 5' PVC base, or even elevated to a higher level. The combo's PVC frame can be supported (with attachments) to provide decent DXing gain outside of an apartment window to escape indoor RFI. And even for those who usually have no interest in live DXing, it can check transoceanic propagation and even go after exotic targets prior to broadband antenna setup.
 
     Current experimentation has resulted in four different FSL sizes for combo frames (see photos)-- a 3 inch model (10 Russian surplus 100mm bars), a 3.5 inch model (13 bars), a 4 inch model (16 bars) and the standard 5 inch "frequent Flyer" model (20 bars). The latter FSL is the same model which was used a couple of months ago in Hawaii, tracking down AM-DX from all continents except Europe during sunrise and sunset sessions. The option of having one of these high gain FSL's in a go-anywhere, hand-held combo is pretty thrilling. Future experimentation will use some of the new R40C1 ferrite to make up another series of compact FSL's for this project, as well as drafting a few of the 3 inch "Baby FSL's" with Russian surplus 125mm ferrite rods into the effort. It's looking like an exciting experimental year is coming!
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)

 


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UltralightDX


New for 2020- Hand Held Radio + FSL DXing Combos

Gary DeBock
 

     Last April during a trip to Hong Kong I was highly motivated to chase long range AM-DX, but there was a bizarre "Catch 22" problem-- all of the buildings had nasty indoor RFI, while almost all of the outdoor areas were overcrowded, and unsuitable for setting up an elevated 5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna. For the entire week I pushed a 7.5 inch loopstick CC Skywave to the absolute limit, taking it on daytime DX trips to Macau and HK's plunging Cape D'Aguilar, as well as shoving it outside a 12th floor security window to escape the indoor RFI. For the first 5 days "long range DX" was a laughable term-- my farthest catch was 693-Bangladesh, at about 1,500 miles. 
 
     Finally I sacrificed some sleep and shoved the souped-up Ultralight outside the security window prior to sunrise, and somehow managed to track down 1431-Radio Sawa (Djibouti), 1413-BBC (Oman), 1413-Vesti FM (Moldova) and 1548-TWR (Moldova) on the 7.5" loopstick. The performance of the souped-up Ultralight was thrilling, but the harsh lessons of the Hong Kong trip had already been taken to heart. A fully portable, hand held DXing combo was needed which could provide more gain than a 7.5" loopstick, but which could be easily carried anywhere in a backpack, and which would not attract too much unwanted attention on crowded public beaches. In addition, it would need to routinely pass through TSA inspections at airports, and need to be capable of deployment outside of windows (with a PVC support system) in order to escape interior RFI.
 
     Only one type of hand held antenna could satisfy all of these requirements--- a portable radio + tuned FSL combination attached to a compact PVC frame. Since the TSA-friendly FSL's are all relatively lightweight, combining them with a compact portable radio on a common PVC frame is well within reason for hand held capability. Such a DXing combo would be the master of convenience-- it can track down MW-DX (with decent gain) while being held in the hands, placed on a picnic table, placed on a 5' PVC base, or even elevated to a higher level. The combo's PVC frame can be supported (with attachments) to provide decent DXing gain outside of an apartment window to escape indoor RFI. And even for those who usually have no interest in live DXing, it can check transoceanic propagation and even go after exotic targets prior to broadband antenna setup.
 
     Current experimentation has resulted in four different FSL sizes for combo frames (see photos)-- a 3 inch model (10 Russian surplus 100mm bars), a 3.5 inch model (13 bars), a 4 inch model (16 bars) and the standard 5 inch "frequent Flyer" model (20 bars). The latter FSL is the same model which was used a couple of months ago in Hawaii, tracking down AM-DX from all continents except Europe during sunrise and sunset sessions. The option of having one of these high gain FSL's in a go-anywhere, hand-held combo is pretty thrilling. Future experimentation will use some of the new R40C1 ferrite to make up another series of compact FSL's for this project, as well as drafting a few of the 3 inch "Baby FSL's" with Russian surplus 125mm ferrite rods into the effort. It's looking like an exciting experimental year is coming!
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)

 


Re: Other DXing Groups

Paul Blundell
 

Perfect, I will join up.


On Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 6:12 AM Paul S. in CT <dxrx@...> wrote:
There is also World of Radio hosted by Glenn Hauser at groups io
https://groups.io/g/WOR

Glenn's been at this since the 70's writing the "Whats on Shortwave?" column for Pop. Electronics.

Regards
Paul S. in CT fn31nl





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Paul


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Re: Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

Paul Blundell
 

Excellent information Todd.


On Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM Todd via Groups.Io <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
Hello All,

I own the following portable radios:

Panasonic DR-22 (Australian version of the RF-2200).
Tandy Realistic TRF radio.
Tecsun PL-380 / 390.
Sangean PR-D3 (Australian version of the Crane CC 2E).
Sangean PR-D15.

My Panasonic DR-22, and Realistic TRF radios are insensitive compared to the other Tecsun and Sangean radios. Moreover, I don't bother using any radio that doesn't feature digital frequency readout to minimum 1 KHz steps. They are both packed away in storage.

My favourite radio for general MW DX reception from home is the Sangean PR-D3. When used 'barefoot' it is the most sensitive of all six radios. From a single 5 inch diameter speaker, it produces the best overall audio fidelity. As expected the CC Crane 2E reportedly also sounds excellent. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. It features nominal 6 KHz wide, and 3 KHz narrow bandwidths. The SiLab 4734 3 KHz narrow bandwidth setting improves weak signal S/N. Narrow bandwidth also assists when peaking loop antenna. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. It doesn't suffer from any overload in my city area. Selectivity is good, but not as good as the PR-D15.

My next MW favourite is the Sangean PR-D15. Its main attribute is high MW selectivity when attempting to receive split channels (e.g. weak 1580 KBLA California next to strong Australian 1584 KHz), or a 9 KHz weak signal adjacent to a strong local. Selectivity is better than all six radios. SiLab 4731 chip default selectivity is ~ 4 KHz. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. Fair audio quality. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. Signal overload rejection is better than all six radios.

Tecsun PL-380 / 390 are mainly used for their excellent digital signal strength meter. Potential applications include determining relative ambient RF noise on blank channels. Internally generated spurious hets are a disadvantage unique to these two radios. None of the other four radios generate signal spurs. Audio quality via the speaker is arguably relatively poor. Quality headphones would improve this. Shorter length internal ferrite rod inductive signal coupling is fair to air core loops.

FM:

The most sensitive radio: Sangean PR-D3.

The most selective radio: Sangean PR-D15.

Regards,

Todd
Sydney, AU



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