Expand the Ultralight Awards Program to Include LW-DX?


Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
As most of you are aware, the Ultralight Awards Program was originally set up by John, Rob and me (in early 2008) to provide incentives for DXers to accept the challenge of Ultralight MW-DXing, and has proven to be one of the most popular attractions of our Ultralightdx Yahoo Group. Although we were all saddened by the sudden loss of John, Rob and I have been honored to continue the program, and have recently agreed to expand the incentive program to offer new Award Certificates for FM-DXing on approved Ultralight Radios (as soon as we can both find the spare time to discuss and organize the new program).
 
Since there is general agreement that offering Ultralight FM-DXing awards is a good idea, it would be interesting to hear your comments regarding the possibility of additionally expanding the program to include LW-DXing on approved Ultralight radios. As most of you know, this would not have been practical two years ago, since there weren't any commonly available ULR's that had LW coverage. The situation has changed greatly with the introduction of the Tecsun Si4734-chip DSP radios like the PL-300WT, PL-310, PL-380 and PL-360, however. All of these units offer LW coverage, with the new PL-360 the first to offer full coverage from 150-530 kHz. LW-DXing on Ultralights will probably become increasing popular as new loopsticks and external loops are developed to enhance LW reception, the first of which are already providing great boosts in the Tecsun radios' LW sensitivity. The upcoming fall LW season looks like a thriller!
 
Your comments regarding the possibility of LW-DXing awards and the type of awards desired (countries, TA/TP, NDB states, provinces, etc.) will be greatly appreciated. With input from all interested DXers, the program (if adopted) can provide a new way to enjoy exciting DX on Ultralight Radios. 
 
73, Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
 
 
 
 
            


Rick Robinson <w4dst@...>
 

Sounds like a great idea to me. I've already logged several NDBs and would like to see what other folks can do on LW. I logged a few LWBC stations back in the winter with a modified G8 and external antennas and I"m sure others here in the east can too when better conditions return. Some of these LWBC stations can actually be a real pest when trying to DX the non-directional beacons on LW.

If you count anything below 530kHz, ZLS in the Bahamas on 526 is an easy barefoot/stock catch along the east coast with good conditions. I logged ZLS the first night I had my G8.

Rick W4DST


Rik
 

I guess it's the wrong time of year, but I am on the east coast [CT], and experimenting with new antennas. Are there any LW BC stations using English I should look for this time of year? - FARMERIK

--- In ultralightdx@..., Rick Robinson <w4dst@...> wrote:

Sounds like a great idea to me. I've already logged several NDBs and
would like to see what other folks can do on LW. I logged a few LWBC
stations back in the winter with a modified G8 and external antennas and
I"m sure others here in the east can too when better conditions return.
Some of these LWBC stations can actually be a real pest when trying to
DX the non-directional beacons on LW.

If you count anything below 530kHz, ZLS in the Bahamas on 526 is an easy
barefoot/stock catch along the east coast with good conditions. I
logged ZLS the first night I had my G8.

Rick W4DST


Bill M <radioexray@...>
 

farmerik wrote:
I guess it's the wrong time of year, but I am on the east coast [CT],
and experimenting with new antennas. Are there any LW BC stations
using English I should look for this time of year? - FARMERIK
Only if you are very lucky. LW BC has 'band openings' just like the higher frequencies but they are scarce this time of year. They are still infrequent during the winter, you just have to keep slogging away at it checking nightly or checking the reflector groups that might alert you to activity.

Don't let English language be a criteria. BBC on 198 is pretty much the only thing you'll hear in English. French dominates, even from the North African stations since they are serving the French listening market. Its not like the AM-BC in the US where you have to sort out 'which' station. The super-power West European and North Africans have the frequencies all to themselves. Basically, if you hear it you'll know what station it is.

GL,
Bill


pianoplayer88key
 

Sounds like it could be interesting... except I can't get anything on LW at all on my PL-380 - I'm basically getting 15,00 readings across the entire LW band (although a few higher frequencies may have a little higher RSSI due to strong local MW stations).
Is there some website I could use to try to find nearby LW beacons or other transmissions to try for, in case I may have missed something, or don't know what to listen for?
Also, I can't remember, but is skywave a major factor on LW like it is on MW, or is it primarily groundwave? If so... then it would be an interesting challenge to do TP DX of LWBC stations.

Speaking of TP, more specifically in the AM and FM bands... As I've said before, I'm near San Diego, CA. If you look at a map, you'll see that there is a curve in the coastline. All of the following stations at least partially go across an ocean (salt water) path to get to me, and I have received them all from here around mid daytime (11am to 2pm approximately)...
670 KIRN Simi Valley, CA
740 KBRT Avalon, CA
990 KTMS Santa Barbara, CA (heard under dominant XECL Mexicali)
1070 KNX Los Angeles, CA
1250 KZER Santa Barbara, CA
1280 KFRN Long Beach, CA
1290 KZSB Santa Barbara, CA
1340 KCLU Santa Barbara, CA
1490 KIST Santa Barbara, CA
1520 KVTA Port Hueneme, CA
93.7 KDB Santa Barbara, CA
103.3 KVYB Santa Barbara, CA
(There are also a few others I left off the list, as only a small portion of the path was over water.)
Considering the fact that much of the path to those stations is over a portion of the Pacific Ocean (I used the ruler in Google Earth to verify this), do any of those stations count as TPs? :)
It looks like due to the high RF near where I live, and the possibility that I have a somewhat dud PL-380, that those may be the only "TPs" I will ever receive from here. :(

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

Hello All,

As most of you are aware, the Ultralight Awards Program was originally set
up by John, Rob and me (in early 2008) to provide incentives for DXers to
accept the challenge of Ultralight MW-DXing, and has proven to be one of the
most popular attractions of our Ultralightdx Yahoo Group. Although we were
all saddened by the sudden loss of John, Rob and I have been honored to
continue the program, and have recently agreed to expand the incentive
program to offer new Award Certificates for FM-DXing on approved Ultralight
Radios (as soon as we can both find the spare time to discuss and organize the
new program).

Since there is general agreement that offering Ultralight FM-DXing awards
is a good idea, it would be interesting to hear your comments regarding the
possibility of additionally expanding the program to include LW-DXing on
approved Ultralight radios. As most of you know, this would not have been
practical two years ago, since there weren't any commonly available ULR's that
had LW coverage. The situation has changed greatly with the introduction
of the Tecsun Si4734-chip DSP radios like the PL-300WT, PL-310, PL-380 and
PL-360, however. All of these units offer LW coverage, with the new PL-360
the first to offer full coverage from 150-530 kHz. LW-DXing on Ultralights
will probably become increasing popular as new loopsticks and external loops
are developed to enhance LW reception, the first of which are already
providing great boosts in the Tecsun radios' LW sensitivity. The upcoming fall
LW season looks like a thriller!

Your comments regarding the possibility of LW-DXing awards and the type of
awards desired (countries, TA/TP, NDB states, provinces, etc.) will be
greatly appreciated. With input from all interested DXers, the program (if
adopted) can provide a new way to enjoy exciting DX on Ultralight Radios.

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


Alex
 

Ever though it's not my personal cup of tea, I'd support a LW or even a SW category if theirs interest. For I'm all for the promoting of this club and for drawing the interest of future members.

You may see from time to time in the winter, another member of this club is Mark Meece. Mark started a club in the 80's called the Cincinnati Monitoring Exchange (or Monix for short). He is President of the club and he's not been voted out since he very likable a
and their are no dues! :) MONIX is an ALL band radio Club, Whether it's the traditional police and fire, railroad, maritime, civil and military aviation. But we cover TV DX, Shortwave, AM/FM DX, if it transmits .... Our member listen to it.

So when we go to a meeting their a subject or two covered for the night. and even though I might not have a particular interest in a given subject, I still listen, learn, and respect a great deal the members interest and continued pursuit of his chosen niche of the hobby.

So it boils down to, yes I'll support it if the administrators of the awards willing to support it.

Alex N8UCN / KOH8IG / SWLR-RN037


MarkWA1ION
 

The European longwave stations are audible pretty much anytime when I listen right after sunset from out at the Granite Pier DXpedition site in Rockport, MA. Of course they are somewhat weaker and definitely more static-plagued this time of year versus October / November.

UK on 198 and Ireland on 252 are about the only European broadcasters in English. Others that are in German, French, Arabic, and other languages can sometimes run in parallel to medium wave and shortwave outlets. This simplifies identification. It should be noted that some of the frequencies have more than one possible station but seldom are there multiple stations with the same language, so ID'ing is straightforward if you can recognize the language or find parallels.

Mark Connelly, WA1ION

--- In ultralightdx@..., Bill M <radioexray@...> wrote:

farmerik wrote:
I guess it's the wrong time of year, but I am on the east coast [CT],
and experimenting with new antennas. Are there any LW BC stations
using English I should look for this time of year? - FARMERIK
Only if you are very lucky. LW BC has 'band openings' just like the
higher frequencies but they are scarce this time of year. They are
still infrequent during the winter, you just have to keep slogging away
at it checking nightly or checking the reflector groups that might alert
you to activity.

Don't let English language be a criteria. BBC on 198 is pretty much the
only thing you'll hear in English. French dominates, even from the
North African stations since they are serving the French listening
market. Its not like the AM-BC in the US where you have to sort out
'which' station. The super-power West European and North Africans have
the frequencies all to themselves. Basically, if you hear it you'll
know what station it is.

GL,
Bill


Rik
 

Thanks for the frequencies to look for. I guess at heart I am more of a long range program listener, than a hard core DXer. I do keep a 'log' on 3X5 cards, and get a kick out of hearing skip or any rarely heard station. My home is inland between 60 and 80 miles, depending on the direction to the Atlantic. I will be right on the coast in Maine for a few days in the Fall. It would really help to know the frequency, and then focus on adjusting the antenna.

I wish I spoke other languages, but I do not. I do enjoy some music I hear. - FARMERIK

--- In ultralightdx@..., "MarkWA1ION" <MarkWA1ION@...> wrote:

The European longwave stations are audible pretty much anytime when I listen right after sunset from out at the Granite Pier DXpedition site in Rockport, MA. Of course they are somewhat weaker and definitely more static-plagued this time of year versus October / November.

UK on 198 and Ireland on 252 are about the only European broadcasters in English. Others that are in German, French, Arabic, and other languages can sometimes run in parallel to medium wave and shortwave outlets. This simplifies identification. It should be noted that some of the frequencies have more than one possible station but seldom are there multiple stations with the same language, so ID'ing is straightforward if you can recognize the language or find parallels.

Mark Connelly, WA1ION

--- In ultralightdx@..., Bill M <radioexray@> wrote:

farmerik wrote:
I guess it's the wrong time of year, but I am on the east coast [CT],
and experimenting with new antennas. Are there any LW BC stations
using English I should look for this time of year? - FARMERIK
Only if you are very lucky. LW BC has 'band openings' just like the
higher frequencies but they are scarce this time of year. They are
still infrequent during the winter, you just have to keep slogging away
at it checking nightly or checking the reflector groups that might alert
you to activity.

Don't let English language be a criteria. BBC on 198 is pretty much the
only thing you'll hear in English. French dominates, even from the
North African stations since they are serving the French listening
market. Its not like the AM-BC in the US where you have to sort out
'which' station. The super-power West European and North Africans have
the frequencies all to themselves. Basically, if you hear it you'll
know what station it is.

GL,
Bill


bbwrwy
 

Gary:

I've always felt stations in the long wave broadcast band (153 - 279 kHz) should be included in the medium wave awards. This should not include NDB and other utilities heard below 530 kHz. Thus far very few listeners, including myself, have heard a long wave broadcast station with an ULR. Only a few of the ultralight receivers are capable of receiving long wave broadcasts. These are primarily the Tecsun receivers.

I do not favor any type of awards for short wave. It is too much to add to the responsibilities of the awards committee. There are other places for people to go if they wish to receive such awards.

Good DX everyone.

Richard.

Richard Allen
36°22'51"N / 97°26'35"W


jcereghin@...
 

I agree with Richard. For LW Broadcast stations, I think it would be better to include that with MW broadcast loggings. Beacons would be a different story!


John Cereghin
Smyrna DE


On Jul 16, 2010 1:18pm, RichardA wrote:
>
> Gary:
>
>
>
> I've always felt stations in the long wave broadcast band (153 - 279 kHz) should be included in the medium wave awards. This should not include NDB and other utilities heard below 530 kHz. Thus far very few listeners, including myself, have heard a long wave broadcast station with an ULR. Only a few of the ultralight receivers are capable of receiving long wave broadcasts. These are primarily the Tecsun receivers.
>
>
> Good DX everyone.
>
>
>
> Richard.
>
>
>
> Richard Allen
>
> 36°22'51"N / 97°26'35"W
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
Thanks to all the DXers who have responded with excellent comments and suggestions concerning the concept of Ultralight radio LW-DXing awards. 
 
There seems to be a universal consensus that such awards would be a good idea, although further discussion regarding the types of LW awards desired (International Broadcast countries, NDB states/provinces, or both) would certainly be useful in helping us set up a program with the greatest popularity. Please keep your suggestions coming!
 
Thanks especially to Rick, Bill and Mark for their expert comments on east coast LWBC TA reception. Here on the west coast the LW-TP possibilities are much less diverse, although Radio Rossii in Far East Russia (on 189 and 279 kHz), is a regular during the DX season, with the 279 kHz transmitter having been heard here on a stock PL-310.  
 
Even though the stock Tecsun PL-300WT, PL-310, PL-380 and PL-360 loopsticks are unlikely to provide much LW mileage, LW-oriented replacement loopsticks (and external loops) already exist to greatly boost sensitivity in these models, and should provide a lot of LW-DXing excitement this coming season for ULR DXers. With the introduction of the Tecsun LW-capable models, the LW situation now is similar to the beginning of the MW-DX Ultralight Radio boom in early 2008-- interested DXers may wish to get in on the ground floor!
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA)               
 

In a message dated 7/16/2010 1:54:38 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, lfravel@... writes:
 

As difficult as they are to receive (except for perhaps the north east) I think there should be a separate category for LW Broadcast Stations.  Maybe set up the awards in increments of 5 due to to work it takes for most of of us to of receive them.
 
Just my 2 cents.
 
 
Larry N4SEA
Shinnston, WV


Larry Fravel
 

As difficult as they are to receive (except for perhaps the north east) I think there should be a separate category for LW Broadcast Stations.  Maybe set up the awards in increments of 5 due to to work it takes for most of of us to of receive them.
 
Just my 2 cents.
 
 
Larry N4SEA
Shinnston, WV


Bill M <radioexray@...>
 

Larry Fravel wrote:
As difficult as they are to receive (except for perhaps the north east) I think there should be a separate category for LW Broadcast Stations. Maybe set up the awards in increments of 5 due to to work it takes for most of of us to of receive them.
Just my 2 cents.
Larry N4SEA
Shinnston, WV
I sort of agree because there ain't that many of them to start with! I'm mixed on excluding NDB beacons. That's the only option some LW DXers have available. Catching a 100 watt beacon two states away is a pretty good catch in my book, just like catching a distant TIS broadcaster on 530 or 1610.

New Englanders have it relatively easy...that's just the way it is. West Coast guys are out of luck. FWIW, I (in Puerto Rico) did some real time comparisons once with a fellow in Michigan and we were hearing pretty much the same stations at similar signal strength. So its not a 'necessity' to live on the East Coast close to the water although that's a big advantage.

-Bill M


Larry Fravel
 

Why not a separate award for each category?  Broadcast and beacons.  Seems that would make sense because they are both really distinct stations.
 
Again, just throwing it out for what it is worth.
 
Oh, and notice the call sign change.  Just got it today.
 
Larry Fravel K8YYY
Shinnston, Wv


Bill M <radioexray@...>
 

Larry Fravel wrote:
Why not a separate award for each category? Broadcast and beacons.
Why? Why not make a distinction for someone in Southern California who can log 200 stations in 30 minutes vs a guy in Calais, ME who might struggle for 50 loggings?

Beacons aren't 'bad things'. Most of them are above the LW BC band and logging them does add something to the 'below 540' experience.

-Bill


pianoplayer88key
 

I have yet to log a single station below 520kHz, and I'm in Southern California. However, on a good day I can log at least 100 stations on AM around noon (and sometimes 2 on the same frequency in a few cases). Also, if I take my PL-380 up on the roof of my house, I can log stations on most frequencies (and the majority of the ones I can't log anything on are because of IBOC hash). If I went up to the tops of a couple hills about 3/4 mile from my house (a few hundred feet higher elevation or so - one's to the southwest, another is north/northwest) I could probably add several more FM stations.
Unfortunately, with the AM, I generally have to use external antennas to log many of them. I thought this was supposed to be ultralight DXing? Yes, I realize that there is an allowance for external antennas, but I think it would be nice to be able to have a pocketable radio (that would meet the ultralight size definitions, INCLUDING the antenna) that is sensitive enough to log stations at noon on every single frequency even if you happen to be in west Texas, northeast Nevada, or north central Canada, and selective enough to do the same (listenable audio on every frequency) even if you live right in the thick of the multi-megawatts of combined local RF in Los Angeles or New York City.

--- In ultralightdx@..., Bill M <radioexray@...> wrote:

Larry Fravel wrote:


Why not a separate award for each category? Broadcast and beacons.
Why? Why not make a distinction for someone in Southern California who
can log 200 stations in 30 minutes vs a guy in Calais, ME who might
struggle for 50 loggings?

Beacons aren't 'bad things'. Most of them are above the LW BC band and
logging them does add something to the 'below 540' experience.

-Bill


Larry Fravel
 

My point exactly -  beacons are beacons and should be treated as such and a separate award created for them.  LW Broadcasters are in a lower part of the band than beacons and much much more difficult to log.  That was why I suggested they be broken down into two awards.
 
Larry Fravel K8YYY
Shinnston, WV