Date   

Summertime Shootout Produces New Ultralight Radio Sensitivity Winner

Gary DeBock
 

Hello Guys,
 
     Much to the astonishment of the reviewer, a new Ultralight digital radio model has finally managed to surpass the Sony SRF-T615 in wide-band stock AM sensitivity.  In doing so, it has also exceeded the stock sensitivity performance of the Eton E100.
 
     The new Sangean DT400W has a fully redesigned RF board, making it much more than just a DT200VX with a yellow cabinet.  The RF board AM components are nowhere near their DT200VX positions, and Sangean's engineers have obviously solved the problem of limited AM sensitivity bandwidth (evident in the DT200VX).
 
     The DT400W equals the SRF-T615 performance on low band, and the Eton E100 performance on high band, making it the only Ultralight model with unsurpassed sensitivity on all AM frequencies.  As a bonus, its image reception (900 Khz below locals) is negligible, and it has no detectable spurs in my suburban environment  Selectivity is superior to that of the SRF-T615, and approaches that of the E100.
 
     As a stock unit offered at $52.59 (Amazon), the DT-400W not only has unsurpassed AM performance, but an extremely sensitive FM section with outstanding audio quality and 19 programmable memories  Ultralight radio enthusiasts are encouraged to give this innovative AM receiver a serious look.
 
     The full Summertime Shootout article should be finished shortly, and includes detailed reviews of the DT-400W, E100, SRF-S84, SRF-M97, and SRF-M37W Ultralight models..
 
     73,  Gary DeBock 




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Personal UL Distance Record

John Cereghin <pastor@...>
 

Finally broke the 2000-mile barrier with my DT-200VX last night, running barefoot.

2200 EDT   750     YVKS Caracas, Venezuela, gave a list of network of stations at TOH, many in Caracas, mentions of "R. Gramma".  Good with WSB nulled.  2053 miles.  Also tentative logs of Colombia on 770 and another Venezuelan on 910 but no IDS on what seemed to be a good Latin American evening. 

John Cereghin
Smyrna DE



Re: New E100: First impressions

huelbe_garcia@fastimap.com <huelbe_garcia@...>
 

Stephan Grossklass wrote:
So they took the PL450, shrank it a bit, and there was an OEM-only set.
Following the brilliant work made by Stephan, I played around with Google Images and find this page:

http://www.5bcl.com/Article/Class11/200802/2059.html

It has internal pictures of Tecsun PL350 and Tecsun PL450.

I quickly compared the E100 old/new pictures in group's photo area [1] posted by John. There is no direct comparison, you soon realize PL3/450 are 4.5v receivers. However, here my quick findings:
. PL-350 and old-E100 share the same ferrite rod antenna (a small coil on the right of the rod);
. PL-350 and old-E100 have a 'eye-catchy' integrated circuit in square format;
. PL-450 and new-E100 have a centered, spread coil over the ferrite rod plus a pick-up coil at the right.

Stephan, your hypothesii make completely sense.

Besides that, if only constructional details could rate the performance of a receiver, I would say Tecsun's PL450 is good. It was nice to see a number of RF shields and real micro-switches (instead of membrane-kind) on the PCB.

--hg

[1] http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/ultralightdx/photos/view/7293?b=2


Re: Grundig G6

satya@...
 

I'm with John, and also wondering if with the small SSB tuning steps, one
can tune a couple khz down from a station and then zero beat back in, thus
prefering the lower sideband over the upper? Maybe even shaving the upper
one off? The ability to mimic true ECSS on the G6 would be incredibly
valuable.

Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA

If there are any G6 owners out there, I'm still wondering about the
MW tuning steps with the jog dial. The review that Steve pointed me
to talks of "small steps" or such, but I'm really hoping for at least
100 Hz as the smallest step in Slow.... for SSB use, natch. Anybody got
one??

John B.




At 12:24 AM 8/16/2008 -0500, you wrote:

John,

Read the G6 review by Ann E. Revelle on the Amazon webpage ...

<http://www.amazon.com/Grundig-G6-Aviator-aircraft-Shortwave/dp/B0014T5UM4>http://www.amazon.com/Grundig-G6-Aviator-aircraft-Shortwave/dp/B0014T5UM4

<snip>
"Unlike some other radios, SSB tuning is also available on the
G6 on the AM band as well as on SW which is a very useful feature.
The separate ability to step tune in very small increments with the
jog dial setting is also excellent in my opinion once a signal of
interest has been located."
<snip>

Sounds like this person may have answered your questions!

73,

Steve N5WBI
Houston TX


Re: Grundig G6

John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
 

If there are any G6 owners out there, I'm still wondering about the MW tuning steps with the jog dial.  The review that Steve pointed me to talks of "small steps" or such, but I'm really hoping for at least 100 Hz as the smallest step in Slow.... for SSB use, natch.  Anybody got one??

John B.




At 12:24 AM 8/16/2008 -0500, you wrote:

John,

Read the G6 review by Ann E. Revelle on the Amazon webpage ...

http://www.amazon.com/Grundig-G6-Aviator-aircraft-Shortwave/dp/B0014T5UM4


"Unlike some other radios, SSB tuning is also available on the
G6 on the AM band as well as on SW which is a very useful feature.
The separate ability to step tune in very small increments with the
jog dial setting is also excellent in my opinion once a signal of
interest has been located."


Sounds like this person may have answered your questions!

73,

Steve N5WBI
Houston TX


Re: New E100: First impressions

Stephan Grossklass
 

--- In ultralightdx@..., "John H. Bryant" <bjohnorcas@...>
wrote:

I would love to hear the manufacturer's explanation of this
design/marketing decision!!
Redesigns "under the hood" are not uncommon among Chinese
radio manufacturers. Just think of the Tecsun PL550 which
originally wasn't so hot on shortwave but was reworked
after the PL350 (with generally better performance) came
out. Similar moves resulted in the previous E100 (PL200)
versions. Admittedly a complete redesign isn't common.

A distinct advantage of the current design for the
manufacturer is that it has far fewer alignment points.
In addition, full shortwave coverage does not require
RF tracking on at least 2 ranges, as it would be necessary
for a single conversion set. The effort saved there can be
invested into a good 1st mixer, the ones integrated into
the usual ICs do not tend to be so great in terms of strong
signal handling. (That a wideband design is more
susceptible to intermod generated by further-off stations
is another matter.)

Basically the old design, being all single conversion, was
anachronistic even when it came out. Building a competitive
shortwave portable with single conversion just isn't
possible. (Mediumwave is a different story.) Tecsun could
only pull this off with very cheap labor.

I would guess that Tecsun wanted to discontinue the PL200
in order to harmonize radio production, but contracts for
the E100 weren't ending any time soon. So they took the
PL450, shrank it a bit, and there was an OEM-only set.
(Degen now makes a number of OEM-only models as well. This
reflects the changed role of these Chinese manufacturers.)
Since all of Tecsun's PLL portables are operated almost
identically anyway, this area could be left virtually
unchanged.

Stephan


OOPS! Sorry! Re: New E100: First impressions

John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
 

Stephan,

I just noticed that I made a spelling error with your given name. Sorry.  I'm a bit familiar with that, being known as John/Jon/Jack/Juan :>)

I noted that your serial number was only a couple of thousand above my NEW one, both starting 070903.

Thanks again!

John B.  (aka Big Juan)


At 02:26 PM 8/16/2008 +0000, you wrote:

After the report of the new, all-different E100s, I decided
to finally snatch one up before it was too late to get an
"old" version.

I received my sample (Lextronix branded over here) today,
which was originally bought in March this year and only
saw one vacation of use. Old enough, I thought.

After an initial performance check, I compared the serial
number to the others given - 0709032118, which means that
it's a new sample, unfortunately. This was later confirmed
by opening up the set. (Getting it back together was not
that much fun since sliding the volume control wheel back
in is not entirely trivial.) BTW, you can basically leave
the antenna screw alone.

My initial impressions are that while this set won't win
any awards with regard to audio fidelity (channel balance
seems noticeably off, and judging by noise level there's
the usual CXA1622 amp IC), it is a pretty decent performer.
Pitted against a Sony ICF-SW7600 on mediumwave, it didn't
come in far behind, just a little more noisy audio.
Shortwave sensitivity compares well to a DE1102, and the
3-step attenuator is neat. The IF filter seems to be a
6-element job with a medium bandwidth, judged by ear.
While background noise levels tend to be higher, AGC range
seems better than on the DE1102 (which is a little weak
in this regard). AM audio is similar to the DE1102, so
I assume the TA8132/CD8132 IC also found use here. (No
idea what that big squarish IC on the old E100 could be.)
AM is nice and clear over the speaker.

The carry pouch is nice, similar to what the Redsun RD1220
has on the outside but with more padding. The rubberized
coating also feels nice, but I'll be careful with it since
it has been reported to wear off. System settings are
non-volatile, while the clock is not kept if power is
removed for too long. Frequency entry has no apparent way
of cancelling other than waiting. Timeouts seem more user
friendly though.

Then I started chasing LO hets in order to determine
the IFs.

Nothing. Really nothing. Not at +/-450 or +/-455 kHz, not
at +/-10.7 MHz, not at +21.45 MHz. No traces of 10.25 MHz,
21 MHz or 21.9 MHz crystals either. There is some
internal oscillator around 11.15 MHz but it's always on
regardless of waveband and not especially stable.

This can only mean that the new E100 is DUAL CONVERSION
with a high 2st IF, presumably the standard 55.845 MHz. No
wonder that the MW section had to be changed, it is now
wideband. It is to be assumed that the set is more related
to Tecsun PL450 and PL600 than to older concepts, my guess
would be that it's a shrunk-down PL450.

Image rejection on shortwave appears to be better than
average - not as bulletproof as the DE1102, but better than
the ICF-SW7600.

Overall, this means good news for shortwave listeners
(which now have another small and well-performing set to
choose from) but not so good news for ultralight MW DXers.

Looks like distribution in North America is quite slow.

Stephan


Re: New E100: First impressions

John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
 

Steven,

Thanks for the comments on the newer version of the E100.  I'm sure that they will be helpful to Gary and I'll put your Serial Number in  the database.

 I would love to hear the manufacturer's explanation of this design/marketing decision!!

John B.



At 02:26 PM 8/16/2008 +0000, you wrote:

After the report of the new, all-different E100s, I decided
to finally snatch one up before it was too late to get an
"old" version.

I received my sample (Lextronix branded over here) today,
which was originally bought in March this year and only
saw one vacation of use. Old enough, I thought.

After an initial performance check, I compared the serial
number to the others given - 0709032118, which means that
it's a new sample, unfortunately. This was later confirmed
by opening up the set. (Getting it back together was not
that much fun since sliding the volume control wheel back
in is not entirely trivial.) BTW, you can basically leave
the antenna screw alone.

My initial impressions are that while this set won't win
any awards with regard to audio fidelity (channel balance
seems noticeably off, and judging by noise level there's
the usual CXA1622 amp IC), it is a pretty decent performer.
Pitted against a Sony ICF-SW7600 on mediumwave, it didn't
come in far behind, just a little more noisy audio.
Shortwave sensitivity compares well to a DE1102, and the
3-step attenuator is neat. The IF filter seems to be a
6-element job with a medium bandwidth, judged by ear.
While background noise levels tend to be higher, AGC range
seems better than on the DE1102 (which is a little weak
in this regard). AM audio is similar to the DE1102, so
I assume the TA8132/CD8132 IC also found use here. (No
idea what that big squarish IC on the old E100 could be.)
AM is nice and clear over the speaker.

The carry pouch is nice, similar to what the Redsun RD1220
has on the outside but with more padding. The rubberized
coating also feels nice, but I'll be careful with it since
it has been reported to wear off. System settings are
non-volatile, while the clock is not kept if power is
removed for too long. Frequency entry has no apparent way
of cancelling other than waiting. Timeouts seem more user
friendly though.

Then I started chasing LO hets in order to determine
the IFs.

Nothing. Really nothing. Not at +/-450 or +/-455 kHz, not
at +/-10.7 MHz, not at +21.45 MHz. No traces of 10.25 MHz,
21 MHz or 21.9 MHz crystals either. There is some
internal oscillator around 11.15 MHz but it's always on
regardless of waveband and not especially stable.

This can only mean that the new E100 is DUAL CONVERSION
with a high 2st IF, presumably the standard 55.845 MHz. No
wonder that the MW section had to be changed, it is now
wideband. It is to be assumed that the set is more related
to Tecsun PL450 and PL600 than to older concepts, my guess
would be that it's a shrunk-down PL450.

Image rejection on shortwave appears to be better than
average - not as bulletproof as the DE1102, but better than
the ICF-SW7600.

Overall, this means good news for shortwave listeners
(which now have another small and well-performing set to
choose from) but not so good news for ultralight MW DXers.

Looks like distribution in North America is quite slow.

Stephan


Re: New E100: First impressions

Gary DeBock
 

Hello Stephan (and John),
 
     Thank you very much, Stephan, for the excellent and thorough technical description of the "new" (serial # 0709XXXXXX) E100 model.  Until your detailed report, only John had reported receiving one of these radically redesigned E100's, which caused consternation here in North America due to the changes in the MW components.
 
     As you may be aware, the "old" E100's, with their 455 kHz IF, two-lead loopstick coil connection, and other refinements have proven ideal here in North America for DXpedition modifications, enabling the stock sensitivity and selectivity to be greatly enhanced.  Specifically, these involve replacement of the stock IF filter with a Murata CFJ455K5 ceramic-type upgrade, and the mediocre stock loopstick with an Amidon 7.5" x .5" ferrite-bar based sliding-coil loopstick.  According to your description of the revamped MW section in the "new" E100 model, these modifications may no longer be possible.
 
     I recently ordered my fourth E100 from Durham radio in Canada to investigate their willingness to screen serial numbers, to avoid sending out "new" models.  While not absolutely promising to send me an "old" model, Jamie and the Durham crew did indeed send me an "old" E100 (at $44.00 US, the current dxer.ca special price), which was very promptly shipped   European enthusiasts might try that source, if all else fails.
 
                                                                                                 73,  Gary DeBock 




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New E100: First impressions

Stephan Grossklass
 

After the report of the new, all-different E100s, I decided
to finally snatch one up before it was too late to get an
"old" version.

I received my sample (Lextronix branded over here) today,
which was originally bought in March this year and only
saw one vacation of use. Old enough, I thought.

After an initial performance check, I compared the serial
number to the others given - 0709032118, which means that
it's a new sample, unfortunately. This was later confirmed
by opening up the set. (Getting it back together was not
that much fun since sliding the volume control wheel back
in is not entirely trivial.) BTW, you can basically leave
the antenna screw alone.

My initial impressions are that while this set won't win
any awards with regard to audio fidelity (channel balance
seems noticeably off, and judging by noise level there's
the usual CXA1622 amp IC), it is a pretty decent performer.
Pitted against a Sony ICF-SW7600 on mediumwave, it didn't
come in far behind, just a little more noisy audio.
Shortwave sensitivity compares well to a DE1102, and the
3-step attenuator is neat. The IF filter seems to be a
6-element job with a medium bandwidth, judged by ear.
While background noise levels tend to be higher, AGC range
seems better than on the DE1102 (which is a little weak
in this regard). AM audio is similar to the DE1102, so
I assume the TA8132/CD8132 IC also found use here. (No
idea what that big squarish IC on the old E100 could be.)
AM is nice and clear over the speaker.

The carry pouch is nice, similar to what the Redsun RD1220
has on the outside but with more padding. The rubberized
coating also feels nice, but I'll be careful with it since
it has been reported to wear off. System settings are
non-volatile, while the clock is not kept if power is
removed for too long. Frequency entry has no apparent way
of cancelling other than waiting. Timeouts seem more user
friendly though.

Then I started chasing LO hets in order to determine
the IFs.

Nothing. Really nothing. Not at +/-450 or +/-455 kHz, not
at +/-10.7 MHz, not at +21.45 MHz. No traces of 10.25 MHz,
21 MHz or 21.9 MHz crystals either. There is some
internal oscillator around 11.15 MHz but it's always on
regardless of waveband and not especially stable.

This can only mean that the new E100 is DUAL CONVERSION
with a high 2st IF, presumably the standard 55.845 MHz. No
wonder that the MW section had to be changed, it is now
wideband. It is to be assumed that the set is more related
to Tecsun PL450 and PL600 than to older concepts, my guess
would be that it's a shrunk-down PL450.

Image rejection on shortwave appears to be better than
average - not as bulletproof as the DE1102, but better than
the ICF-SW7600.

Overall, this means good news for shortwave listeners
(which now have another small and well-performing set to
choose from) but not so good news for ultralight MW DXers.

Looks like distribution in North America is quite slow.

Stephan


Re: Grundig G6

John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
 

Thanks, Steve! That was an excellent review.

The G6 sounds like a winner, though I was disappointed to learn that the AM band only used the ferrite bar antenna, where SW was provided with an external antenna input port. I suspect that I'll be opening the back and installing an inductive loop from the ferrite bar to the antenna input port..... might even shorten the ferrite bar as I'm not interested in using the G6 Barefoot.

John B.





At 12:24 AM 8/16/2008 -0500, you wrote:

John,

Read the G6 review by Ann E. Revelle on the Amazon webpage ...

http://www.amazon.com/Grundig-G6-Aviator-aircraft-Shortwave/dp/B0014T5UM4


"Unlike some other radios, SSB tuning is also available on the
G6 on the AM band as well as on SW which is a very useful feature.
The separate ability to step tune in very small increments with the
jog dial setting is also excellent in my opinion once a signal of
interest has been located."


Sounds like this person may have answered your questions!

73,

Steve N5WBI
Houston TX


Re: Grundig G6

Steve Ponder <n5wbi@...>
 

John,

Read the G6 review by Ann E. Revelle on the Amazon webpage ...

http://www.amazon.com/Grundig-G6-Aviator-aircraft-Shortwave/dp/B0014T5UM4

<snip>
"Unlike some other radios, SSB tuning is also available on the
G6 on the AM band as well as on SW which is a very useful feature.
The separate ability to step tune in very small increments with the
jog dial setting is also excellent in my opinion once a signal of
interest has been located."
<snip>

Sounds like this person may have answered your questions!

73,

Steve N5WBI
Houston TX


Grundig G6

John H. Bryant <bjohnorcas@...>
 

Even though the G6 does not fit the definition of an ultralight, I'm very tempted to buy one as a spotting receiver to use on my upcoming trip to Peru. I'm going to be on the northern coast of Peru for several nights and a hotrodded E100 is going with me. I have very limited packing space, so the tiny G6 seems a perfect choice. I've looked over the specs and the manual and I can't find the answer to two burning questions:

1: What is the tuning resolution on MW.... surely, its at least 100 hertz to be able to resolve SSB on SW
2. For sure, does the SSB mode work on MW.

Help would be appreciated.

John B.


New file uploaded to ultralightdx

ultralightdx@...
 

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the ultralightdx
group.

File : /1431Sawa - Djibouti-081508.mp3
Uploaded by : vo1_001_swl <vo1_001_swl@...>
Description : Radio Sawa Djibouti on 1431 khz with the SRF-M37V

You can access this file at the URL:
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To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:
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New file uploaded to ultralightdx

ultralightdx@...
 

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the ultralightdx
group.

File : /720KNR Greenland-81508.mp3
Uploaded by : vo1_001_swl <vo1_001_swl@...>
Description : KNR Greenland on 720 khz with the SRF-M37V

You can access this file at the URL:
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To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:
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New file uploaded to ultralightdx

ultralightdx@...
 

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that
a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the ultralightdx
group.

File : /1521BSKSA -Saudi Arabia-081508.mp3
Uploaded by : vo1_001_swl <vo1_001_swl@...>
Description : BSKSA 1521 Saudi Arabia on the SRF-M37V

You can access this file at the URL:
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To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:
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Regards,

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Loggings

Allen Willie
 

 
 
 Logged with the SRF-M37V barefoot as follows:
 
 
855 khz - RNE1 Murcia Spain    8/12/08     3:04 UTC w/ woman  in Spanish,mentions of Espana, olympic games report ; fair
 
900 khz - COPE Madrid Spain    8/9/08    23:33 UTC w/ spanish commentary by man and woman ,COPE ID; fair
 
963 khz - R. Rennaissance, Sexial, Portugal   8/12/08   3:44 UTC w/ portugeuse song by man, ID  fair
 
990 khz - SER, Bilboa Spain   8/9/08   23:43 UTC   w/ spanish commentary , ID  good
 
999 khz - RTM Tangier, Morocco    8/12/08    23:55 UTC     8/12/08 w/ arabic chants and commentary ; good  *** NEW ONE *** ultralight
 
1152 khz - RNE 5 Malaga ,Spain  8/9/08  23:40 UTC w/ spanish comedy type show ; fair
 
1660 khz - WFNA - Charlotte , North Carolina 8/13/ 08 1:44 UTC w/ numerous ads mentioning Charlotte, event promo, baseball game, ID "1600-AM WFNA" good  *** NEW ONE *** ultralight and overall
 
Allen Willie
St. John's, Newfoundland
SRF-M37V barefoot
 


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Warning: DT-400W AM Alignment NOT Like the DT-200VX

Gary DeBock
 

Hello Guys,
 
     When performing a routine AM alignment on the new Sangean DT-400W unit in preparation for the Summertime Shootout, it was discovered that the 1400 kHz trimmer and AM IF transformer have been relocated to an almost inaccessible position under the digital circuit board.
 
     Whereas previously these adjustments were barely possible on the DT-200VX either by desoldering the speaker wires (or rotating the front panel while pulling all available slack from the speaker wires), the only current option is to run about 14 jumpers from the RF board to the digital circuit board, thereby providing both digital and RF functions while the technician separates these boards to provide enough space to make the alignment adjustments.  This assumes that the technician will not induce alignment errors because of the RF jumpers acting like stray "antennas."  For all practical purposes, this makes high-band (and IF transformer) alignment of the DT-400W a technical boondoggle which should be avoided.
 
     The loopstick may still be easily peaked for low-band sensitivity, and this adjustment is recommended for a moderate (in my test unit) boost in low-band performance.  For a design which already had a reputation for suffering from limited AM sensitivity bandwidth (enabling the technician to either peak low band or high band), however, this new design of the DT-400W may well condemn it to mediocrity in high-band DX performance. 
 
73,  Gary DeBock




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SONY E10W

lrdheat
 

Hello
 
Is anybody familiar with the SONY E10W from about 1984? It is slightly smaller than the SRF-59, is speakerless, and is mono (and as result, came with a nice earpiece for one ear. It has an analog dial on the top of the set as opposed to the front; the top of the set is metal, the rest of the case is plastic. It has a push button to turn it on, another to turn it off. The set automatically turns off if the ear piece is taken out, and turns itself off as well after about an hour to save batteries.
 
It is slightly more sensitive and easily more selective than the SRF-59 when the bottom right of the set is held by a finger (thumb works well). When a finger is not placed in that location, the set is less sensitive on the upper frequencies (say, 1100 KHz and especially above). The nulling is exceptional, even (amazingly) clearly better than the 59.
 
The tuning is stiffer than the 59, and, with the control on the top edge, more difficult than the 59.
 
I wonder what kind of a chip SONY used in this set. I also wonder how SONY managed to make the 59 equally sensitive across the dial without the aid of a well placed finger!


Re: BIG OOPS!!! Over !00 Ultralight Awards Conferred!

bbwrwy
 

John:

I knew when I saw the an award for six provinces someone had been left
of the list. I was just about to send you an email. Maybe some day,
but to date I've only heard six Canadian stations with an ULR, half in
Saskatchewan.

Good DX everyone.

Richard Allen.