Date   

Re: Current "best" UL DXing Radio

Rémy Friess
 

Maybe we ought to wait and see how the new Tecsun PL-330 performs. Might be an interesting set, especially since it has a sync detector.

Regards, Rémy.

Le 07/10/2020 à 08:51, Les Rayburn a écrit :

I’m not an ultralight expert, but do own several. Ounce for ounce, I think the CC Skywave is the best performer currently available-especially with the SSB reception capability. 

This is one of the most fun aspects of the hobby, so you’ll have lots of excitement without a huge investment. 

Welcome back! 


73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 

On Oct 6, 2020, at 6:15 PM, Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...> wrote:

Hi all.

I now have the time and money to get back in to the hobby more, what is the current "go to" Ultralight DXIng radio? I am keen to buy one and really focus on getting the most out of it.

Paul
https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/


Re: Current "best" UL DXing Radio

Les Rayburn
 

I’m not an ultralight expert, but do own several. Ounce for ounce, I think the CC Skywave is the best performer currently available-especially with the SSB reception capability. 

This is one of the most fun aspects of the hobby, so you’ll have lots of excitement without a huge investment. 

Welcome back! 


73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 

On Oct 6, 2020, at 6:15 PM, Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...> wrote:

Hi all.

I now have the time and money to get back in to the hobby more, what is the current "go to" Ultralight DXIng radio? I am keen to buy one and really focus on getting the most out of it.

Paul
https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/


Current "best" UL DXing Radio

Paul Blundell
 

Hi all.

I now have the time and money to get back in to the hobby more, what is the current "go to" Ultralight DXIng radio? I am keen to buy one and really focus on getting the most out of it.

Paul
https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/


KSEN 1150 kHz Shelby, MT DX Test

Les Rayburn
 

The Courtesy Program Committee of the National Radio Club and International Radio Club of America are pleased to announce another DX Test. This time from KSEN 1150 kHz in Shelby, Montana, near the Canadian border. KSEN plays an oldies format with the slogan, “Good as Gold.” They’re a fixture in the Shelby area but can be difficult to log outside of Big Sky country. 

This test for distant listeners is being done with the generous support of the owners of KSEN, station management, and Chief Engineer Todd Clark. We can also thank the efforts of CPC member Paul Walker who used his connections in broadcasting to arrange yet another test. 

The test will be on late night Saturday-Early Sunday morning on November 8, 2020 starting at 12:01AM Mountain Time for one hour. This is 0600-0700 UTC so it may be tough to log in Europe. 

Test will be at the daytime power of 10,000 watts, but we are not yet certain about which antenna pattern may be available for the test. 
Todd is attempting to arrange a change to the ND pattern, but may be limited to the night pattern which favors the North and South, with nulls towards E-W. 

KSEN AM Coverage Map


Test will consist of voice announcements, Morse Code ID’s, sweep tones, off-hook telephone sounders, etc. The station has a small staff, so they have asked the CPC Committee to handle reception reports and verifications. Verifications will be by e-mail only. A specially designed QSL card in Adobe PDF format will be sent to successful reports. 

The CPC prefers audio recordings in .MP3 or .WAV format. These should be e-mailed to: les@...

Put this on your calendar, and don’t miss the chance to log a great station in Northern Montana. Thanks again to CE Todd Clark and Paul Walker for this great DX Test. 




73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 


WNJC 1360 Weekly DX Test--NEW FACEBOOK PAGE DEVOTED TO THESE TESTS

Les Rayburn
 

Due to the popularity of the weekly DX Tests, Chief Engineer Duke Hamann, KC2DUX has created a Facebook page devoted exclusively to updates regarding the tests. You can see photos of the transmitter site, learn more about the history of the station, etc. Also a great spot to get the latest information on the test. 


If you’re not a fan of social media, not worries—the page is visible for all to see. 


QSL INFORMATION

If you do receive the test, you can request an e-mail verification from the station by e-mailing Duke Hamann at: 


If you would prefer a QSL card, you can send reception reports along with a self-addressed stamped enveloped (SASE) to: 

Duke Hamann, KC2DUX
P.O. Box 84
Dennisville, NJ 08214



Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC



COVID-19 - Changes

Paul Blundell
 

What changes have you noticed due to Covid-19 and has anybody had any issues undertaking portable sessions? Have you been moved on or have any local restrictions meant you have had to change how you undertake portable sessions?

I have updated a blog post with some information on portable sessions and COVID-19: https://7250radioscanning.blogspot.com/2020/07/planning-portable-radio-scanning-session.html

Paul


Receivers for Sale

Alfred Rugel <rugelj2002@...>
 

Due to health issues am downsizing and selling following receivers:
1.  Tecsun PL-660 Open Box  perfect condition 6 months old $80.00
2.   XHData D-808 New in Box 6 months old $80.00
3.   Sony ICF-2002 w/accessories Open Box looks hardly used $175.00
FREE SHIPPING in 48 States.  Full information and photographs available to interested parties.
Email...........rugelj2002@yahoo,com..........Al  W6JHO Santa Clara CA


WNJC 1360 Weekly DX Test, FT8 Basics, and HSFB

Les Rayburn
 

Chief Engineer Duke Hamann, KC2DUX has committed to continuing weekly DX Tests late night Saturday/early Sunday mornings until at least the end of October. They will always begin at Midnight Eastern Time (0400 UTC). At this point, it looks like Duke will continue to include FT-8 transmissions as well. 

Last weekend’s first-ever test of the mode brought some promising results. Conditions were poor overall yet the FT-8 transmissions from WNJC were successfully decoded on the West Coast of the United States, into Florida and Alabama and locations as distant as Spain.  Most of the DX’ers who had success with the mode were hams who already had experience—but there were exceptions. 

Below we’ll discuss a bit more about the mode and how you can get started on the fun. And never fear, in addition to this exotic mode, Duke plans to continue with the usual voice and Morse Code ID’s, sweep tones, and sound effects. This means you still have a great chance to log the station regardless. 

If you do receive the test, you can request an e-mail verification from the station by e-mailing Duke Hamann at: 


If you would prefer a QSL card, you can send reception reports along with a self-addressed stamped enveloped (SASE) to: 

Duke Hamann, KC2DUX
P.O. Box 84
Dennisville, NJ 08214


THE BASICS OF FT-8 MODE

First a little Q&A: 

Q. What the heck is FT-8? 

A. It’s a special mode that requires a computer to decode the transmission from the station. The station transmits a series of tones, in a pre-arranged sequence with careful timing. A computer “listens” for these tones, allowing it to identify them even when no audible signal can be detected by your ears. The computer can literally hear below the noise level. It can also hear “through” QRM from other stations in some cases. 

Q. Do I need an SDR (software defined radio) or a fancy receiver? 

A. Nope. You can use virtually any receiver and a laptop, desktop or tablet to receive the signals. You need a way to get the audio from your radio into the computer. A patch cord from  your earphone jack, a computer interface of the type used by hams, even a microphone placed close to the radio speaker can work. 

Q. What software do I need on the computer? 

A. There are several software packages that can be used, but the original and still the best is called WSJT-X You can download it for free here: 


Q. Can I record the audio and just play it back into the computer later? 

A. Technically, yes—but it’s difficult. The timing has to be precise and audio levels can be important too. Better to do it “live” during the DX Test. 


TIME SYNC

Timing is critical. The software is looking for tones transmitted at a specific interval of time in “blocks” or groups that make up the text. Your computer clock has to be in perfect sync with the transmitter clock. Yes, this could be done with GPS, but the easiest way is to use a NTP application. Again, there is free software.  Take a look at Meinberg.  You install it as a service on your system, let it disable the built-in time sync and it just works.

https://www.meinbergglobal.com/english/sw/ntp.htm#ntp_stable


MODES & BANDWIDTH

FT8 is normally done in USB mode by hams—but WNJC is transmitting the tones in AM mode as required by FCC rules. This means you want to use AM mode on your receiver. The tones vary in frequency, so you want a bandwidth of about 2.5-3 kHz…nothing too narrow. 

During last week’s test some of us got better results by using LSB mode. If the test starts and you can’t decode the signal try a different mode or wider bandwidth. Each transmission can take 30 seconds or longer to decode. Be patient. 

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND (YOUTUBE TOO) 

Do a Google search on “How to get started on FT8 mode” and you’l find lots of advice on how to get started. Likewise, YouTube has tons of videos on the topic. Search with a plus sign (+) sign and add your radio for specific advice. 

I.E. "Getting started on FT8 + Drake R8B"


HOW DO I….

FT8 is one of the most popular modes of operation in amateur radio. On any given day, there are more hams using FT8 than Morse Code (CW). But it’s not the easiest thing to get working the first time. There are lots of variables…what kind of radio, what kind of connection, your computer clock, etc. Too many for me to give you a “checklist” of instructions. 

Experience and trial and error are the best bets here. The good news is that it’s easy to test. Tune your receiver to 14.074 mHz in the 20 Meter ham band. Set your receiver to USB mode and start the software. Once you’ve got things set up right, you’ll quickly begin decoding signals nearly 24 hours a day. 


DON’T WAIT-VOTE EARLY 

Election officials across the country are advising citizens to request their absentee ballots early, fill them out, and mail them back right away. Good advice for November 3—and a DX Test too. 

The time to figure all this out is now. You’ve got two full days and most of Saturday to work out the bugs and be ready for the DX Test. Don’t wait. 

IS THIS ‘REAL DX?’ 

This trope is older than the NRC. Does it ‘count’ for the log if you don’t hear the ID on CW, only the sweep tones? Does it count if you don’t get the full, legal ID? Does it count if I can’t even hear the station with my ears? 

Folks—there is no rulebook on this. It’s a hobby. It’s supposed to be fun. You decide what counts as a ‘real’ reception of a station. No one else cares—not even your wife (stop talking to her about it…trust me on this one.) 

A few years ago, KFI 640 in Los Angeles had a problem with their transmitter. Their carrier frequency was ‘wandering’ all over the place—varying by several hundred hertz at times. It made a big het on 640 kHz, and on an audio spectrum analyzer on my computer, it was easily visible for several hours each night in Alabama. This continued for weeks. 

No other station on 640 kHz displayed this type of drift…nor anywhere else on the band. There was no doubt at all that it was KFI. Their woes were widely reported in trade magazines and online forums. 

I took a screenshot of the drift and put KFI into my logbook. To this day, I have never heard audio from KFI (though I hold out hope). But I still count the logging. Would you? I don’t know—and really don’t care. It’s my hobby…my log book…and my decision. 

Does an FT8 logging of WNJC ‘count?’ Their Chief Engineer Duke Hamann says it does. Good enough for me. 

Stop worrying about it and have fun. 

CREDITS

Thanks to Chief Engineer Duke Hamann for this amazing start to the 2020 DX season. Also to the owners and managers of WNJC 1360. Also to Paul Walker and Joesph Miller—our hard-working Courtesy Program Committee. 


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

COVID-19 continues to change the landscape of High School Football Broadcasts and your CPC is tracking it for you. Attached to his e-mail is this week’s update. Go get some new ones in the log. See you Friday night for the games and Saturday night for the test! Best of luck and good DX. 




Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC



Re: Tecsun PL-330 available

Paul Blundell
 

Here is a review I found:
https://swling.com/blog/2020/09/tecsun-pl-330-initial-impressions-overview-of-functions-and-operation/


Re: Tecsun PL-330 available

Paul S. in CT
 

The older models of DSP by Tecsun could defeat the Soft-Mute by tuning 1kHz above or below the target frequency. A small increase in volume is needed (very effective at 3kHz BW).

Though not an ULRadio, the Sangean ATS-405 also has an on/off button for Soft-Mute.

Regards
Paul S. in CT FN31nl


Historic WNJC 1360 DX Test

Les Rayburn
 


Listened for the entire first hour, and despite phasing, multiple antennas, and every trick I know—not a beep of audio tonight. 

Set up for the 2nd hour, ready to decode FT8. Within the first two minutes, I had a successful decode! This at 886 miles without a trace of audio in the headphones. By the 20 minute mark, I had three successful decodes. USB seemed to work better here, but I got successful decodes in AM mode at 5 kHz bandwidth as well. 

Rig was my Icom IC-7300 with an end fed wire, up about 40 feet. 

FT-8 is amazing. Duke—I gotta get a QSL for this one! History in the making. 




73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 


Re: Historic DX Test Tonight WNJC 1360 Washington Township, NJ FT-8 Weak Signal Mode

Gregory Mosher
 

That WNJC DX test is loud and clear into Western, NY.  Thanks for the heads up.  Listenable on internal antenna with a Radiwow R108, Tecsun S2000, Tecsun H-501, and an Eaton E1 with external antenna.

Clear skies to all,

Gregory


PL-606

Peter Laws
 

So I'm back in the MWDXing game and am participating in this year's
IRCA contest as I did last year. Normally, I use my Sangean HDT-20
(not an ultralight) connected to a Select-A-Tenna (because it's 1976)
or, in the unlikely even that I am driving, the JCVKenwood unit in my
car and am doing OK station-wise

Or so I thought.

Last night while waiting for my spouse to come home, I sat on the
porch with the PL-606. Holy cow, am I missing a lot on the other
radios! Got three new stations (for the contest) with about 20
minutes of listening.

Granted, this probably says more about how I need to improve my setup
with the the other radios, but don't forget your Ultralights!!

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


Historic DX Test Tonight WNJC 1360 Washington Township, NJ FT-8 Weak Signal Mode

Les Rayburn
 


Historic DX Test from WNJC-1360 late night tonight!

Duke Hamann of WNJC has announced another weekly DX Test of WNJC 1360, including a historic first-ever test of the FT-8 mode during a medium-wave broadcast test.

Reception reports can be sent to Duke at: kc2dux@duxpond.com

The test will be in two parts:

WNJC DX TEST PART ONE 0000 EDT-0100 EDT (0400-0500 UTC)

The test begin late tonight starting at midnight on the East Coast of the United States. Late Saturday/Early Sunday, 9/27 at 0000 EDT (0400 UTC) and initially air the same Morse code IDs, jingles, sweep tones, telephone off-hook sounders and other test material. This time, however, WNJC will use a backup antenna tower that has never been used before. It is located on a site the station has leased for 30 years. The land owners have refused to renew the lease as they want to develop the land, so the station will lose this tower site in 6 months. Power will be 1250 watts and the antenna pattern will be non-directional.

This should provide a good opportunity for the test to be received in Europe.

WNJC DX TEST PART TWO 0100 EDT-0200 EDT (0500-0600 UTC)

The second part of the test is really exciting.

Duke Hamann will be testing for a second hour using the amateur radio mode FT-8, developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist.

FT-8 is a “sound card mode” where you simply input audio from your receiver into your computer’s sound card, then use software to process that audio digging out weak signals in the noise. How well does it work? Using the software and the audio from your receiver, you can decode signals that are as much as -24db below the noise.

This means if you’re on the West Coast, and ordinarily you think you would have no chance of hearing the WNJC Test, tonight you may be able to put a new station in your logbook. In fact, worldwide reception may be possible using the FT-8 mode.

Chief Engineer Duke Harman explains:

“It will be a one-way transmission every 15 seconds for 1 hour calling “CQ WNJC FM29″. I am going to try to do it Sunday at [0100-0200 EDT] 0500-0600 UTC. The audio frequency will vary between 200 hz and 4000hz in 200hz increments over a 5 minute period then repeat.

(200,400,600,800,1000hz, etc.) All you would need to do is tune your radio to 1360 in AM mode, connect to your computer and receive. Looking forward to doing this unique test!

HOW TO RECEIVE FT-8

There are a ton of resources on the Internet for hams who want to get started in FT-8. It’s one of the most popular ways for hams to communicate. Whatever you read, simply substitute the word “receiver” for transceiver. Ignore anything about transmitting, calling CQ, etc. We won’t be transmitting—just listening.

An audio cable to run from your receiver’s headphone or line out jack to your computer is helpful. But for many folks make FT8 work fine using a microphone placed near the speaker of their radio. Portable radios may work great too. No fancy SDR or communications receiver needed.

Best bet is to set it up now and test it during the day on the ham bands. The most popular frequencies for FT8 (so you can test your ability to receive) are: 14.071 mHz (20 Meters) USB

Search for YouTube videos. Tons of help on the web. But don’t wait, test our your receiver and computer today in order to be ready tonight for this historic test.




73,

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

NRC & IRCA Courtesy Program Committee Chairman
Member WTFDA, MWC

Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy + Discovery, SDRPlay RSP-2 Pro, Sony XDR-F1HD [XDR Guy Modified], Dennon TU-1500RD, Sangean HDT-1X, Ray Dees RDS Decoders, Korner 9.2 Antenna, FM-6 Antenna, Kitz Technologies KT-501 Pre-amps, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip. 

“Nothing but blues and Elvis, and somebody else’s favorite song…” 


Re: Tecsun PL-330 available

gary_thorburn <gwt@...>
 

Most important question is, can 'soft mute' be disabled? Only little radio I know that permits disabling soft mute is the Sangean DT-800.


Re: Tecsun PL-330 available

Max Italy
 

According to the web it's still the Si4735 


Re: Tecsun PL-330 available

Andy ZL3AG
 

Does anyone know what chipset it uses?

On 26/09/20 2:30 am, Paul S. in CT wrote:
Tecsun has a new model PL-330 that is a DSP/SYNC/SSB model about the size of a PL-310et. I have viewed it at aliexpress and can confirm details. It is under 20 cubic inches and under $100. The current pricing seen there is about US$75. Be aware that this radio uses a Li-Ion flat-pack battery just like a celphone/smartphone. The supplied battery is a BL-5c, also available in the $3 to $5 range. Capacity is about 1000mAhr, and I would recommend a spare. As far as I know, battery charging is in the radio... external chargers for this battery are available. Or you might have an OLD nokia phone that uses this battery, phone chargers are 'more reliable'.


Tecsun PL-330 available

Paul S. in CT
 

Tecsun has a new model PL-330 that is a DSP/SYNC/SSB model about the size of a PL-310et. I have viewed it at aliexpress and can confirm details. It is under 20 cubic inches and under $100. The current pricing seen there is about US$75. Be aware that this radio uses a Li-Ion flat-pack battery just like a celphone/smartphone. The supplied battery is a BL-5c, also available in the $3 to $5 range. Capacity is about 1000mAhr, and I would recommend a spare. As far as I know, battery charging is in the radio... external chargers for this battery are available. Or you might have an OLD nokia phone that uses this battery, phone chargers are 'more reliable'.

Regards
Paul S. in CT FN31nl


Re: Discovery of FSL Antenna Phasing for Front to Side Rejection

Gary DeBock
 

Thanks Michael, Sudipta, Craig, aa, Jay, Max and Paul,

Your comments are all very much appreciated!

This dual FSL nulling procedure has been tested over and over with many pest stations, and works very well once you get the hang of it, and follow the instructions. I have some recommendations for the best results (please refer to the attached photo).

1)  The stronger the pest station, the more razor-sharp will be the null, both with the radio loopstick and with the "Nulling FSL's" variable cap setting. Best results will be obtained by placing the radio down in the exact null position (however "hair trigger" that might be).
2)  You can still null out a pest when DXing conditions are poor, but you may not receive any weak DX station in the null position. On the other hand, when conditions are good, you may end up with two or more DX stations fighting it out with the pest in its null position.
3)  Make sure that you have the exact same inductive coupling distance between the radio and the two FSL antennas (although the two FSL's will be perpendicular to each other, as shown in the attached photo). If you are familiar with using an FSL antenna, you should have some practice determining the best inductive coupling distance on different frequencies (such as around 2 inches for 1700 kHz, around 4 inches for 1000 kHz, etc.). Or, you can simply listen for the best gain boost when you move the "Reception FSL" up to the radio-- that will be the best inductive coupling distance.
4)  So far these experiments have concentrated on receiving DX stations on the same frequency as a pest station. Although this procedure should be effective in nulling out domestic stations on frequencies like 540, 630, 720, 810 (etc.) when chasing transoceanic DX, further experimentation will be conducted for nulling out domestic splatter on slightly different frequencies than a transoceanic target station. If those experiments prove successful, the compact FSL antenna will become far more effective for transoceanic DXing on flat ocean beaches, where domestic splatter runs wild (unlike at ocean cliffs).

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


Re: Discovery of FSL Antenna Phasing for Front to Side Rejection

Paul Blundell
 

Great work as always.

Paul

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