My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Transatlantic x 5


The last 24 hours on the AM/MW band have been remarkable. Conditions have been very good and I logged four five new stations and all four five were outside the USA.

ERTU Quran Karem on 864 kHz transmitting 500 kW from Santah, Egypt, 5,489 miles to the east-northeast at 2325Z, 2017-10-12

RNE Radio Nacional on 774 kHz transmitting 100 kW from Valenciana, Spain, 3,703 miles to the east-northeast at 0500Z, 2017-10-13

RNE Radio Nacional on 855 kHz transmitting 100 kW from Murcia, Spain, 3,700 miles to the east-northeast at 0507Z, 2017-10-13 

SER Radio on 1044 kHz transmitting 50 kW from San Sebastian, Spain, 3,503 miles to the east-northeast at 0513Z, 2017-10-13

SBC Radio on 1044 kHz transmitting from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 6,921 miles to the east-northeast at 2305, 2017-10-13

Equipment: ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW-2 SDR receiver and Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna for the Egypt logging and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna for the other loggings.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What's New in the Log


LW/MW/AM band conditions were very good last night.

On LW, there were a slew of navigational beacons – all Canadian and all already in the log. But I did log a new broadcast station on 234 kHz at 0255 UTC: Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) in Beidweiler, Luxembourg transmitting 1500 kW about 3686 miles to the northeast. The audio was weak, but good enough to ID the station.

On MW/AM, I heard plenty, but all already in the log. So I replayed my 0000 UTC top-of-the-hour recording and worked my way up the band recording any station identifications I encountered.

When I got to 760 kHz, there was WJR loud and clear as expected. WJR is the only nighttime station I have in the log for 760. It is so dominant, that I never expect to hear anything else. So I listened for their station ID, which was followed by a pause and during the pause, I heard the station ID for WETR in Knoxville, Tennessee transmitting 2.4 kW 703 miles to the southwest! WETR is a daytime-only station and this logging was almost an hour after Knoxville sunset, but I'm not complaining!

Equipment used was the ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiver and an 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Colombia!

AM/MW band conditions have been pretty, pretty good lately. Yesterday, I not only added a new station to the log, but also a new country.

HJAN, Emisoras Unidas, on 720 kHz transmitting 30 kW from Barranquilla, Colombia, 2,121 miles to the south. Those 2,121 miles represents my longest distance AM logging, finally topping my logging of Radio Americas on Swan Island (1787 miles) back in July 1967.

Equipment used was the ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 SDR receiver and the Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical antenna.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Advisory: Requests for Information from the Public and the Press Regarding Puerto Rico

Many individuals have loved ones in Puerto Rico and they are understandably hopeful that Amateur Radio operators can relay messages to them. As a result, some are contacting amateurs with requests to pass message traffic to the island.

At the same time, individual amateurs and clubs have reported that local press representatives have contacted them to request information about Amateur Radio involvement in Puerto Rico. This is likely to increase as word spreads in the national media about our activities.

For inquiries from the public, ARRL advises that these individuals should be informed that amateurs traveling to the island to support the American Red Cross effort will be tasked with handling outbound traffic only. With that in mind, members of the public should access the American Red Cross Safe and Well System online at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php. Status information from friends and relatives in Puerto Rico will be entered into the system as it arrives from amateurs stationed there.

For press inquiries, please ask reporters to contact ARRL directly at newsmedia@arrl.org.  A system has been established at ARRL Headquarters to respond to press inquiries in a timely and accurate manner.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Noise Gone At Last

As I wrote here in June 2016, I am very happy with my ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 SDR receiver, but there was a problem: interference from the MacBook Pro battery charger/power supply. The interference was so strong that only the strongest AM stations are above the noise.

I eliminated some of the noise when I reconnected an antenna switch to ground (after it had become mysteriously disconnected), but that did not eliminate the noise completely.

I installed ferrite cable clips on the charger's cable, but that made no difference. I wrapped the cable 20 times around a toroid ferrite core, but that made no difference.

The only solution that worked was to use the ELAD-MacBook Pro combo without the battery charger. This gives me a few hours operating without the interference, but sooner or later, the battery would need to be recharged.

A few days ago, I was using my MacBook and the battery was getting low. I was too lazy to go upstairs to fetch my charger, when I noticed my daughter's MacBook Air battery charger/power supply on the kitchen table unused. So I decided to try it even though it is a different model than the one bundled with my MacBook Pro (45W vs. 85W). Despite the difference, it charged my MacBook Pro without working up a sweat.

I wondered how my daughter's 45-watt charger would perform with the ELAD receiver, so I took it to the radio shack, made all the connections and voila! the 45-watt charger was clean. No noise at all!

I did a little Googling to see if there were any gotchas about using the wrong charger with my MacBook Pro and found this, which claimed that the charger, "will not charge the machine at all while in use, and will only trickle-charge the machine while asleep."

That was just the opposite of my experience, but to make sure I was correct, I used the 45-watt charger while running the ELAD FDM-SW2 software and it took my MacBook Pro's battery from 75% to 99% in about an hour.

That was good enough for me. I Googled the 45-watt charger, found it for sale here for $55 and ordered it as fast as PayPal could handle it.