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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WFTU and White's Radio Log



Midday Monday, I added my 170th AM radio station to the log: WFTU transmitting 1 kW on 1570 kHz from Riverhead, Long Island, New York, 40 miles to the south. The signal was a steady S-3 during the 10 minutes I monitored the station. Receiving equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

Oddly, I can not find a photo of the WFTU transmitter site. Radio-Locator points to 40° 54' 48" N,  72° 39' 16" W, but I don't see any antennas at that location on Google or Bing Maps. Go figure!

Meanwhile, Paul Mulford, KC8YHW, passed along a very cool link from the American Radio History website: online copies in Adobe Acrobat  format (.pdf) of radio log publications from 1922 to 1991 including White's Radio Log, which along with the World Radio TV Handbook were my constant companions during my radio  listening days in the 1960s.

By the way, even though nobody asked, these days I use an Excel spreadsheet for my LW, AM, and FM loggings.

Until next time, keep on Surfin' and go BoSox!

Monday, October 28, 2013



Sunday morning, I added AM radio station number 169 into the log: WKND transmitting 0.5 kW on 1490 kHz from Windsor, Connecticut, 21 miles to the northeast. It was a steady S-4 all the time I monitored it with a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

Thursday, October 24, 2013



Montreal AM radio stations were in the air around Downtown Wolcott last evening and I added a new one (#168) to the log at 0010 UTC: Concordia University’s CJLO transmitting 1 kW on 1690 kHz. The transmitter is located in Lachine, an industrial area southwest of Montreal and 260 miles north of here. The signal varied from S3 to S6 during the half hour I monitored the station using a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Logged WPTX on 1690 kHz at the strike of midnight UTC. The Lexington Park, Maryland station is number 167 in my AM radio log; it transmits 10 kilowatts 300 miles to my southwest. The signal varied between S0 and S5, but peaked momentarily at S7 when the station id was announced at the top of the hour. Equipment used were a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hello Springfield

Logged two new AM radio stations this morning. Both have Springfield, Massachusetts addresses, although one's transmitter is in Agawam.

WACM at 1490 kHz running 470 watts (!) from an island in the Westfield River in Agawam, 35 miles north-northeast of here.

WHLL at 1450 kHz running 1 kilowatt from the bank of the Connecticut River in Springfield, 36 miles north-northeast of here.

They are 166 and 167 in my AM radio log, respectively and they are also the first stations I have logged on their respective frequencies.

Both stations were very weak running 0 to 1 on the S-meter. In fact, while I was monitoring WACM, my wife walked by wondering why I was listening to noise! Equipment used were a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

The images above are courtesy of Bing Maps and Google Maps respectively embellished via Photoshop.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last Call

This is the last call for articles for the Fall 2013 - Post-Digital Communications Conference (DCC) issue of TAPR's quarterly newsletter, PSR.

So, please send your cards, letters, articles, etc., whatever you have, to the editor of PSR, wa1lou (@)


Monday, October 14, 2013

Stamp Marked ARRL’s Big 5-0


I just obtained this item on eBay: a First Day Cover for the U.S. commemorative postage stamp honoring the 50th anniversary of the ARRL in 1964.

Next year, is the 100th anniversary of the ARRL. I wonder if a commemorative stamp will be issued for that event.

UPDATE: I asked and it turns out there will not be a commemorative stamp for the ARRL centennial.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got OpenAPRS



When I bought my current set of wheels in 2007, I stopped using ham radio in the car except for special occasions because of the difficulty of installing ham radio equipment in a modern vehicle. On those special occasions, that is, my annual roadtrips to the Hamvention in Dayton, I would install a temporary 2-meter APRS set-up with wires and equipment laid out willy-nilly throughout the vehicle. Except for those trips, WA1LOU was off the APRS map.

And so it goes... until recently.

My family gifted me an iPhone 5 for Christmas and I love it. I am not a phone person; I only use the phone when absolutely necessary, so I never bothered owning a cell phone. However, the other capabilities of the iPhone sold me on it; for me, the iPhone is a pocket computer and its phone functions are secondary.

For my trek to Dayton this year, I uninstalled my Tom Tom GPS and replaced it with my iPhone mounted on the dashboard where the GPS used to reside uisng an iOttie HLCRIO104 Easy Flex 2 Windshield Dashboard Car/Desk Mount Holder (it works great and I highly recommend it).

Despite the disparaging reviews of the iPhone Maps app, I used Maps to get me to, from and around Dayton without a hiccup.

Since Hamvention, whenever I am in my car, I put the iPhone in the dashboard mount whether I use Maps or not because it is safer there than on the empty passenger seat or in the empty cup holder. And I have it plugged into a cigarette lighter charger so it is fully charged (or close to it) when I remove it from the dashboard mount.

Studying the iPhone mobile installation awhile back, I thought about running APRS with it. It would not be APRS via ham radio RF, but via cell phone RF, but it would still be APRS and a nice addition to my roadtrips. I searched the App Store to see what APRS apps were available for the iPhone. The App Store found a few, so I read the descriptions and the reviews trying to decide which one to download to my iPhone.

OpenAPRS was my choice. After downloading and registering it, I configured it. In the past, configuring an APRS installation was such a pain the dupa that you could write a book about it! Good news is that OpenAPRS is easy to configure - it took about a minute - and I had it up and running quickly.

After driving to work running OpenAPRS, I checked to see how well OpenAPRS performed and I was very happy to find my route perfectly drawn on the map; APRS via cell phone RF worked just as well as APRS via ham radio RF for that 22-mile trip.

By the way, Verizon is my cell phone RF provider and I am very happy with its service. For what it's worth, while staffing the TAPR booth in the Hara Arena at Hamvention this year, my iPhone had great cell phone RF service, while other people in the booth using iPhones with other cell phone service providers had poor or no service inside the arena.

Getting back to OpenAPRS... it has the following APRS-related screens:

Settings screen - where you push buttons and enter text to set up and control the software

Messaging screen - where you can enter texts to be sent via APRS

Search screen - to find other APRS stations

Objects screen - where you can create an APRS object

Maps screen - to display APRS activity on a map

OpenAPRS also has built-in a compass, a search FCC database function, technical support and help. Also, you can choose from three types of maps: a Google road map, a Google satellite map and a hybrid that combines features of the two.

What I like about the Google satellite map version is that when I zoom into my workplace, the current Google satellite image shows my green Subaru parked in the exact same spot where I usually park it every workday with my APRS station icon overlaid on my vehicle!

How cool is that!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

TAPR Officers and Directors Election Results

On September 19, proceeding the ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) in Seattle, the TAPR Board of Directors elected its officers for the following year:

President Steve Bible, N7HPR
Vice President Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z
Treasurer Tom Holmes, N8ZM
Secretary Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU

At the TAPR Annual General Membership Meeting on September 21, nominations for three Board of Directors positions were closed and the three unopposed nominated candidates John Ackermann, N8UR, Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z, and Mark Thompson, WB9QZB, will serve as board members for next three years. Thompson, a former director, fills the slot of Dan Babcock, N4XWE, who steps down as director after serving one three-year term, while Ackermann and McDermond were re-elected as directors.

Friday, October 4, 2013

$20 Multimode Software Defined Radio

By Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW


For this specialized piece of equipment, you will not be familiar with the manufacturers' nameplates as they are not your popular ham radio companies such as Alinco, Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, JRC, MFJ or WinRadio. To date there are three company manufacturers: Ezcap, Compro and Terratec, along with other no brand clones.

These devices have been used in Western Europe to watch terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB-T) since 1998. These 2.75" (L) x 1.0" (W) x 0.5" (H) 0.7 ounce dongle (stick) devices connect to your computer via a USB 2.0 port.

They are useless in North America as we use a different standard called Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC) for digital transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks. However, they can be adapted as Software Defined Radios (SDR) for ham radio for the 6m (50 MHz), 2m (144 MHz), 1.25m (222 MHz), 70 cm (420 MHz), 33 cm (902 MHz), and 23 cm (1240 MHz) on some models.

There are two major chip sets built into the STL-SDR dongle: RF silicone tuner and the DVB-T COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing) demodulator.

Elonics, a global leader in RF technology headquartered in the United Kingdom since 2003, has an E4000 multi-standard CMOS terrestrial RF silicon tuner designed to interface directly to a digital demodulator and contains a fully integrated LNA, programmable RF filter, and RF mixers providing superior real world performance. The front end tuner covers the frequency range from 64 - 1700 MHz. However, reports have confirmed they can be made operable from 50 - 2200 MHz with a 150 MHz gap from 1100-1250 MHz on some models.

The heart of the E4000 is an innovative DigitalTune architecture, which allows the user to adjust the performance of the tuner for optimum linearity or noise figure according to significantly improve reception quality.

The demodulator is a Realtek RTL2832U high-performance DVB-T COFDM that supports a USB 2.0 interface with an 8-MHz bandwidth at an IF (Intermediate Frequency) of 36.125 MHz, low-IF of 4.57 MHz, or Zero-IF output using a 28.8 MHz crystal and includes FM/DAB/DAB+ radio support. Embedded with an advanced ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter), the RTL2832U features high stability in portable reception.

The state-of-the art tuner features proprietary algorithms including superior channel estimation, co-channel interface rejection, long echo channel reception, and impulse noise cancellation, and provides and ideal solution for a wide range of applications for PC-TV, USB dongle and MiniCard/USB, and embedded system via USB interface.

The SDR/GUI (Software Defined Radio/Graphical User Interface) application software is called SDR# (pronounced as SDR Sharp) and was authored by Youssef Touil in C# programming language. It is being offered as freeware (donation supported) for non-commercial, educational use. This software is a high-performance, fully-featured SDR capable of handling sample rates from kHz level sound cards up to multi-hundred MHz dedicated samplers, thanks to it's multi-core architecture. The application can demodulate NFM, AM, LSB, USB, WFM, DSB and RAW modes. 

What makes this SDR fun to use are the two Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) display modes: Spectrum Analyzer and Waterfall. FFT is a clever algorithm which can be used to transform a signal from the time domain to the frequency domain.

Youssef's website is Feel free to ask questions on his webpage, SDR# Yahoo! group or  #sdrsharp@freenode.

A video tutorial of the installation process by David Savidge, AF5DN, is here:

And here is a video from Andy, M6PNP, performing an RTL-SDR 2-meter band scan:

So where can you purchase this cutting-edge technological breakthrough product? The answer is eBay or similar on-line auction websites. Since the product comes directly from China or Hong Kong, expect to wait two to three weeks for mail delivery using free shipping.

By the way, the dongle also comes with a portable magnetic base telescopic antenna and USB cable.

Bonus: If you get tired of listening to the ham radio bands, you can tune-in to the FM broadcast band from 88 – 108 MHz in the WFM mode.

Minimum System Requirements:

  • One available USB 2.0 port
  • Pentium 4 CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Graphic card supporting Direct X 9.0C
  • 1 GB HDD space
  • Windows XP/2000, Vista, WIN7, Linux


  1. The product comes with application software on a CD-ROM. You will not need it as you will use the SDR# (SDR Sharp) in its place.
  2. Since they are intended for the Western European market, the antenna socket on the dongle is a 50 ohm female Belling-Lee IEC-16902 (Din) not the North American  75-ohm F-type. So, you will need a Belling-Lee-to-F cable connector adaptor to connect to the antenna.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

WLIM AM 1580


Station number 164 in my AM radio log had a solid S-5 signal when I found it at 1580 kHz on Wednesday afternoon (October 2, 2013). The only problem was that the station was playing back-to-back 1960s-era oldies without any announcements or commercials that could give me a clue as to what I was hearing.

I listened for 15 minutes hoping that there would be a station identification at the top of the hour and I was rewarded when a voice broke in at 1903Z informing me that it was WLIM in Patchogue, Long Island, New York (see Bing Maps screen capture above). WLIM was transmitting 10 kW 49 miles to the south-southwest.

Receiving equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.