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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conservative Logging - Part 2

Radio Algerienne's logo – An Algerian longwave
station I have heard regularly throughout this
winter on 252 kc with audio!
In yesterday's post, I wondered about logging the transatlantic carriers I hear on LW and MW. Do I log them as new stations when I am pretty sure I know who they are despite the fact there is nothing on-the-air, call sign or otherwise, to confirm their identity?

So far, I had been taking a conservative approach and not logging them as new stations even though I am 99% sure that the carrier I heard on 1215 kc is Absolute Radio out of the UK.

Curious about how other LW and MW DX'ers handle carriers, I posed this question on the International Radio Club of America (IRCA) e-mail list and received nine replies. The consensus was to take the conservative approach and not log a carrier unless you hear audio with contents that confirms the station's identity.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Conservative Logging

Moorside Edge transmitter site of BBC Radio 5 Live 909 kHz, Talksport 1089 kHz and Absolute Radio 1215 kHz. (Source: MediumWave.info)

Conditions on the AM band seemed pretty good this morning on the stock radio in my Subaru as I drove to work at the crack of dawn. The French Canadians were strong and WSB and WGY were so strong that you would think they were locals. But there was nothing new to enter in the log.

Last week was a good week for transatlantic DX'ing. Thursday evening, I heard weak audio on 171, 198, and 216 and weak carriers on 183, 252, 531, 549, 684 and 693. Friday evening there were weak carriers on 549, 684, 693, 855 and 1215.

The stations between 171 and 252 were already in the log. Everything in the AM band was not. Do I log carriers as new stations when there is no way to identify them to a certainty? It is likely that 1215 was Absolute Radio out of the UK, but without hearing any audio to confirm that fact, I don't log it as a new station.

Am I being too conservative?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

seventy-seven double-you aye bee see


When I was a teenager, I was an avid listener of AM radio station WABC in New York City. Day and night, it was loud and clear in Waterbury and my radio was tuned to 770 kc most of the time.

Awhile back, I purchased a DVD titled 1960’s WABC Radio Airchecks. In addition to airchecks, the DVD contains 75 hours of pure nostalgia from 77 WABC including “Actual Broadcasts By Big Dan Ingram, ‘Cousin Brucie’ Bruce Morrow, Ron Lundy, Scott Muni, Chuck Leonard & More,” like the Cousin Brucie theme song sung by The Four Seasons or the old Palisades Amusement Park commercial.

Seventy-five hours is a little much to listen to in one sitting, so I loaded the contents of the DVD into my iPod (by way of iTunes) and I hear random selections during my daily commute.

A 16-minute segment from October 7, 1964, with Dan Ingram spinning the platters was very entertaining and enlightening.

Here are some items of note from the broadcast:

đŸ“¶   Telephone numbers still used two-letter alphabetical prefices, for example, "PL 5-1516" instead of "755-1516" (in this example, the "PL" was short for "plaza").

đŸ“¶   Mailing addresses still used one or two-number postal zones instead of ZIP Codes, for example, "Waterbury 6, Connecticut" instead of "Waterbury, Connecticut 06706."

đŸ“¶   Firestone advertised snow tires: $24.24 for a pair.

đŸ“¶   During the broadcast, Dan Ingram announced score updates from the World Series. On the air, he admitted rooting for St. Louis (against the hometown Yankees). Can you imagine an on-the-air personality rooting against the hometown team today? (I can’t.)

đŸ“¶   This broadcast was during the height of Beatlemania and there were two commercials in a row: one for a contest to win a Beatles poster, followed by a commercial for the Beatles' appearance on Shindig! Both commercials used snippets from the Beatles’ hit She Loves You. Following the commercials, Ingram says, “Well, I guess it was inevitable” and the next song you hear him play was She Loves You.

Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chasing DX with My Car


The stock radio in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport is very good. It is very sensitive on AM and FM and is very clean with regards to car-generated noise. The only negative is that the selectivity on FM could be better (strong stations spill over to adjacent channels).

I have logged 67 new AM stations and 29 new FM stations during my 22-mile daily commute with that car radio. Best AM DX was WAPA on 680 kHz in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1655 miles away; best FM DX was WLHR on 92.1 MHz in Lavonia, Georgia, 744 miles away.

I'd like to keep the radio if I ever sell the car, but the new owner might mind the gap.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quantum Phaser

Quantum Phaser under the ELAD FDM-S2
Quantum Phaser under the ELAD FDM-S2
I recently added a Quantum Phaser to my ham radio shack. This tool "combines the signals from two separate antennas and allows the manipulation of level and phase of the signals so that a single, steerable null results. It is optimized for use on the crowded MW band, can be used with antennas of virtually any type and is capable of snagging DX not usually obtainable with conventional antennas alone."

In other words, the Quantum Phaser allows you to null out a strong radio station so that you can copy a weaker radio station on the same frequency that you ordinarily would not hear because of the stronger radio station.

Living where I live (about half way between New York City and Boston), there are a lot of strong AM radio stations and a lot of weaker stations on the same AM frequencies, so the Quantum Phaser has the potential of unearthing a lot of new stations for the log.

Problem is that I am antenna poor at this time. All I have outdoors is an 80-meter inverted Vee and an ICOM AH-7000 VHF-UHF discone, but I connected them up to the Quantum Phaser and gave it a try.

It did not take long to get the hang of using the Phaser and it was able to null out strong stations to hear weaker stations on the same frequency. The only catch is that the discone is a poor choice for MW DXing, so when I nulled out a strong station there was usually nothing left but dead air. I hope that when I get some more aluminum up in the air this spring, I will have more success hearing the weak stations.