Date   

"Shelter at Home" -- A Tinkering Nerd's Dream!

Gary DeBock
 

While the Governor of the state of Washington has decreed that all "non-essential" businesses must shut down (marijuana sellers excluded, of course) and all state parks and most ocean beaches are off limits, the "Shelter at Home" situation is actually an experimental bonanza for someone who has always had dreams of many fanatical new antennas-- but never enough time to complete them. Our Maui vacation went up in smoke when Hawaii decreed that all tourists must stay away for 2 weeks, but despite Costco Travel's reluctance to issue a full refund (a common practice in the collapsing travel industry, I understand), weird new FSL antennas that never had a chance of existence are coming out of the woodwork, augmented by funding from the now-aborted Maui vacation (see photo). In addition, the crash course in SDR-DXing that was planned for this month in preparation for Maui has now been replaced by a deliberate, thorough investigation and testing program, so that future sunsets in Hawaii should be fully exploited with spectrum capture of African, South American and Caribbean signals.

My advice to all DXers with a sudden surplus of time is to use the time productively, exercising both your body and mind to keep both in top shape, eager for the opportunities that are sure to come in the future. Nobody has control over the current pandemic, but we certainly have control over our psychological reaction to it. It's kind of similar to what many American DXers faced as teenagers, with the Vietnam War raging, and the draft breathing down our necks. Worrying about a situation beyond our control accomplishes nothing. Use the time productively, and prepare for the future by continually exercising both your mind and body in creative ways, complete with a mindset of determination and optimism. Even though the current situation might seem dire, things will surely turn around, and the future will belong to those who are excited about it!


Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


Re: COVID-19 Radio Challenges

Paul Blundell
 

Not a bad idea, or stations that are not talking about COVID-19 at all....


On Sun, Mar 29, 2020 at 6:29 PM Larry Smith via Groups.Io <larfla2=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Number of individual  stations heard with breathless Wuhan Virus reports/ news items in a UTC 24  hour period?



--
Paul


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: COVID-19 Radio Challenges

Larry Smith
 
Edited

Number of individual  stations heard with breathless Wuhan Virus reports/ news items in a UTC 24  hour period?


Re: COVID-19 Radio Challenges

Paul Blundell
 

That sounds like a great spot and good idea, hopefully once the world is back to some sort of normal you can get back to it.

Paul

On Sun, 29 Mar 2020, 3:39 p.m. Todd via Groups.Io, <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
In recent months, every Monday afternoon I have had the opportunity to travel to Narrabeen, Sydney for a 8 km lake walk, and subsequent evening dinner at the host's home. The host home location is only 10 minutes walk from the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, hence I have considered taking along a 65 cm diameter PK loop + portable radio for monitoring at the beach during Monday evenings. This has to be done with discretion and planning because the social party are not DXers. This is an opportunity to monitor for TP MW DX from North America, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji.

With the recent Australia government regulations attempting to minimise the exponential growth of COVID-19, car pooling is now restricted to two people. Also, the Narrabeen home gathering is up to 10 people in a relatively small house area. So with these recent group number per area restrictions in mind, I have temporarily delayed a portable radio DX trip to Narrabeen beach.

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: FM Radio Testing x 4

Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Todd. That is some interesting reading and I will also check out your website more. 


On Sun, 29 Mar 2020, 3:22 p.m. Todd via Groups.Io, <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
Portable FM radio + inbuilt whip weak signal DX performance is down some 30 to 40 dB relative to a commercially available 8-element rooftop Yagi + sensitive high-end tuner (e.g. Sony XDR tuner). In practice my testing demonstrated that a faint FM signal received on the most sensitive portable radio, translates to a simultaneous noise-free signal on my 8-element rooftop Yagi + XDR-S3HD tuner. This is why I don't use portable radios for FM DXing. However, a portable radio will sometimes produce impressive results in outstanding areas where signal field strengths are massive. But even in these relatively infrequent instances, the portable radio is the weak link in the signal chain. One example is when tropospheric ducting modulates signals to unusually high levels to the extent that New Zealand FM at average 2200 km is received on low gain portable radios.

A portable radio with external antenna input (e.g. PL-390), coupled via coax cable to a collapsible 3-element FM Yagi + portable mast, will produce stronger distant signals.

The medium wave band propagates widely, with some comparisons to the shortwave band. Conversely, the 88-108 MHz FM band is much shorter distance range, and shorter time duration requiring more sophisticated receiving gear. 

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: COVID-19 Radio Challenges

Todd
 

In recent months, every Monday afternoon I have had the opportunity to travel to Narrabeen, Sydney for a 8 km lake walk, and subsequent evening dinner at the host's home. The host home location is only 10 minutes walk from the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, hence I have considered taking along a 65 cm diameter PK loop + portable radio for monitoring at the beach during Monday evenings. This has to be done with discretion and planning because the social party are not DXers. This is an opportunity to monitor for TP MW DX from North America, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji.

With the recent Australia government regulations attempting to minimise the exponential growth of COVID-19, car pooling is now restricted to two people. Also, the Narrabeen home gathering is up to 10 people in a relatively small house area. So with these recent group number per area restrictions in mind, I have temporarily delayed a portable radio DX trip to Narrabeen beach.

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


Re: FM Radio Testing x 4

Todd
 

Portable FM radio + inbuilt whip weak signal DX performance is down some 30 to 40 dB relative to a commercially available 8-element rooftop Yagi + sensitive high-end tuner (e.g. Sony XDR tuner). In practice my testing demonstrated that a faint FM signal received on the most sensitive portable radio, translates to a simultaneous noise-free signal on my 8-element rooftop Yagi + XDR-S3HD tuner. This is why I don't use portable radios for FM DXing. However, a portable radio will sometimes produce impressive results in outstanding areas where signal field strengths are massive. But even in these relatively infrequent instances, the portable radio is the weak link in the signal chain. One example is when tropospheric ducting modulates signals to unusually high levels to the extent that New Zealand FM at average 2200 km is received on low gain portable radios.

A portable radio with external antenna input (e.g. PL-390), coupled via coax cable to a collapsible 3-element FM Yagi + portable mast, will produce stronger distant signals.

The medium wave band propagates widely, with some comparisons to the shortwave band. Conversely, the 88-108 MHz FM band is much shorter distance range, and shorter time duration requiring more sophisticated receiving gear. 

Regards,

Todd

http://home.iprimus.com.au/toddemslie/dx.html


COVID-19 Radio Challenges

Paul Blundell
 

With the current situation around COVID-19 and the restrictions on travel, I think it would be great to have some radio challenges which fit around these rules.

Does anybody have any ideas on some challenges we could run?

Paul

--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: Portable FM Telescopic Aerial Testing - 28/03/2020

Paul Blundell
 

At maximum it is 112cm. I normally have it at 72cm which is a 1/4 wave for 100MHz.

On Sun, 29 Mar 2020, 1:49 a.m. radiojayallen, <radiojayallen@...> wrote:

Paul,

How long is your rod antenna?

Jay


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: Portable FM Telescopic Aerial Testing - 28/03/2020

radiojayallen
 

Paul,

How long is your rod antenna?

Jay


Portable FM Telescopic Aerial Testing - 28/03/2020

Paul Blundell
 

With my new focus on the FM broadcast band, I decided to find a way to have a portable FM aerial which would improve the signals I am able to receive on my various ultralight radios.

Following the redesign of my radio case (https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/03/portable-ultralight-radio-dxing-case.html) I added a mounting point to the top of my case for future use to mount an aerial Over the past few days I have been working on a way to use this. I tracked down an old telescopic aerial from my junk box and mounted this to a piece of wood, this then has a metal mount on the bottom which allows it to connect to the bolt on the top of my radio case.

Tonight I got some time to undertake some testing of this setup, the radio used was my Digitech AR1690.


FREQUENCY - STATION
Internal
External
87.6MHz - TOTE SPORT RADIO
POOR
EXCELLENT
95.3MHz - TAMAR FM
POOR
GOOD
96.9MHz - MEANDER VALLEY FM
NILL
GOOD
98.9MHz - 7AD
NILL
GOOD
101.1MHz - CHILLI FM (CBD)
WEAK
EXCELLENT
102.1MHz - ABC (DEVONPORT)
NILL
WEAK
107.7MHz - SEA FM
NILL
WEAK
 
Comparing the internal aerial (built in) to the portable FM telescopic shows a 2 to 3 level signal increase. Four stations that could not be received at all on the Digitech AR1690 with it's built in aerial, came in when using the portable FM telescopic at varying signals levels. 7AD on 98.9MHz was the real standout and was almost to the level of being able to decode the RDS data. In the photos below you can see the improvement in the signal levels between the built in aerial and the portable FM telescopic.
 





-- 
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


FM Radio Testing x 4

Paul Blundell
 

 

Recently I have been undertaking some testing of four Ultralight radios on the FM broadcast band, this focused on five FM frequencies. Below is a table which shows the results on each frequency for each radio. These were all undertaken with their standard aerials.


The Flea Market FMRAD2 is the radio which I use the least and is my "poorest" radio on the largewave band, here on the FM broadcast band it worked better than I was expecting and surprised me. I am glad I didn't write this radio off totally without testing it on the FM broadcast band.


Both the Teac PR130 and Digitech AR1733 worked as well I expected, neither was a standout in any way but both were around the performance I was expecting.


My new Digitech AR1690 was easily the standout, it preformed well on all frequencies and on all frequencies except one, it pulled in the best signals. The fact this is a FM / DAB+ only radio means it is tuned for these bands and does not have the compromises that also including the largewave band bring.



FREQUENCY - STATION
DIGITECH AR1690
TEAC PR130
FLEA MARKET FMRAD2
DIGITECH AR1733
87.6MHz - TOTE SPORT RADIO
EXCELLENT
POOR
GOOD
GOOD
95.3MHz - TAMAR FM
NILL
NILL
NILL
FAINT
96.9MHz - MEANDER VALLEY FM
FAINT
NILL
NILL
NILL
98.9MHz - 7AD
FAINT
NILL
NILL
NILL
107.7MHz - SEAFM
WEAK
NILL
WEAK
NILL
 

 
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: Portable Ultralight Radio DXing Case - March 2020

Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Michael.

I am a big fan of these cases and like to find different ways to use them.

We are up to 42 cases here in Tasmania so just doing what I can to stay at home and only head out for work as needed. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

On Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 10:57 PM Michael.2E0IHW via Groups.Io <blumu=btinternet.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks for the nudge, Paul.

Last week I was about to throw out a similar plastic case.
Glad I didn't (although the XYL wished I had...).

Nighttime bedside listening has brought in some TA.
Not bad with walls and domestic QRM in the way!

Almost local, I can still get the latest from
France and Spain on MW and LW.

We now have one suspected infection in the village,
so up drawbridge and up DXing!

Michael UK

On 26/03/2020 10:10, Paul Blundell wrote:

> ...Here I found this new case for $50, I decided to
> replace my previous case as I found it was not working as well as I
> would have liked.
...
> While this case was designed for ultralight DXing the same ideas could
> be used for amateur radio, radio scanning or any other storage need.
> Photos:
> https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/03/portable-ultralight-radio-dxing-case.html
> --
> Paul - Moderator
> UltralightDX





--
Paul


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: Portable Ultralight Radio DXing Case - March 2020

Michael.2E0IHW
 

Thanks for the nudge, Paul.

Last week I was about to throw out a similar plastic case.
Glad I didn't (although the XYL wished I had...).

Nighttime bedside listening has brought in some TA.
Not bad with walls and domestic QRM in the way!

Almost local, I can still get the latest from
France and Spain on MW and LW.

We now have one suspected infection in the village,
so up drawbridge and up DXing!

Michael UK

On 26/03/2020 10:10, Paul Blundell wrote:

...Here I found this new case for $50, I decided to replace my previous case as I found it was not working as well as I would have liked.
...
While this case was designed for ultralight DXing the same ideas could be used for amateur radio, radio scanning or any other storage need.
Photos: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/03/portable-ultralight-radio-dxing-case.html
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Portable Ultralight Radio DXing Case - March 2020

Paul Blundell
 

Recently I have been looking for a way to carry my portable radio collection and my other ultralight related items. I have used a variety of bags and cases in the past, my most recent case worked very well but it has recently become too small for everything I wanted to carry with me. I had added a bottom section to this for my notes but even with that I was struggling to fit everything in.
 
 
I was out doing some shopping yesterday when I called passed my local Super Cheap Auto. Here I found this new case for $50, I decided to replace my previous case as I found it was not working as well as I would have liked.
 
 
Last night I had some spare time so I sat down and set up this case. I have added some pieces of timber to divide my radios and give each of them a location.
 
 
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 radios, log sheets, pens, notes, spare batteries and ear phones, everything I need for portable sessions. It is also small enough to fit in my back pack. For $50 it provides a great level of protection.
 
 
While this case was designed for ultralight DXing the same ideas could be used for amateur radio, radio scanning or any other storage need.
 
Photos: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/03/portable-ultralight-radio-dxing-case.html
 
 
 
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: COVID-19 and DXing

Michael.2E0IHW
 

On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 Phillips <phillicom@hotmail.com wrote:
Stay safe Paul.
...
Still using slow old QWERTY?
Why don't you join the 21st Century?
Try Colemak(recommended) or Dvorak.
Time to leave the Victorian era behind!
...................

Yea, how about a 21st Century upgrade :
tiny screen, RSI-precursory one-thumb operation ?

:-)

But chin-up - there is a new uldx sub-category :
reception at home amidst the QRM fog.

Now that is a *real* challenge !

Michael UK


Re: COVID-19 and DXing

Paul Blundell
 

Yeah, it is getting bad with how far the lock down is going.


On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 11:06 AM Phillips <phillicom@...> wrote:
Stay safe Paul.  Tassie is likely to be the least affected of Aussie states but thems that takes chances will pay the price.

 
Still using slow old QWERTY?
Why don't you join the 21st Century?
Try Colemak (recommended) or Dvorak.
Time to leave the Victorian era behind!


From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> on behalf of Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...>
Sent: Wednesday, 25 March 2020 7:51 AM
To: UltralightDX@groups.io <UltralightDX@groups.io>
Subject: [UltralightDX] COVID-19 and DXing
 
Based on the latest advice locally, I am cancelling all portable Ultralight Radio DXing sessions for the foreseeable future.


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX



--
Paul


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Re: COVID-19 and DXing

Phillips
 

Stay safe Paul.  Tassie is likely to be the least affected of Aussie states but thems that takes chances will pay the price.

 
Still using slow old QWERTY?
Why don't you join the 21st Century?
Try Colemak (recommended) or Dvorak.
Time to leave the Victorian era behind!


From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> on behalf of Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...>
Sent: Wednesday, 25 March 2020 7:51 AM
To: UltralightDX@groups.io <UltralightDX@groups.io>
Subject: [UltralightDX] COVID-19 and DXing
 
Based on the latest advice locally, I am cancelling all portable Ultralight Radio DXing sessions for the foreseeable future.


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


COVID-19 and DXing

Paul Blundell
 

Based on the latest advice locally, I am cancelling all portable Ultralight Radio DXing sessions for the foreseeable future.


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


MiniDXpedition - Scamander, Tasmania - March 2020

Paul Blundell
 

Over the weekend of March 20th - 22nd 2020, I undertook an Ultralight Radio miniDXpedition to Scamander on the East coast of Tasmania.
 
This location is one of the closest locations in Tasmania to New Zealand so I made this the focus on this miniDXpedition. I undertook three sessions over the Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday, the results of these sessions are below. 
 
This location was very nice and it is somewhere I will make a point of returning to in the future.
 
Loggings, photos and a video can be found here: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/03/minidxpedition-scamander-tasmania-march.html
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX

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