Saturday, November 28, 2015
The weather on Friday was unseasonably mild for this time of year in this neck of the woods: sunny, dry, mid-60's temperatures with a slight breeze. It was probably our last gasp before the winter weather sets in, so I thought some antenna work was in order.
The performance of my 40-meter inverted V is adequate for 7 MHz, but not much else, so I decided to try an 80-meter inverted V.
I did not have the time (or inclination) to climb the tower, take down the 40-meter antenna and replace it, so I stretched it for 80 meters by splicing 30 feet of copper wire onto each end of the 40-meter antenna. It took about three hours to accomplish the task, which included almost an hour of tree trimming with my trusty old pruning pole.
I was very happy with the results. Received signals on all bands were considerably stronger with "Stretch" and the SWR was very good on all bands... so good on some bands that the automatic antenna tuner in my KX3 did not have to work up a sweat.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Wednesday evening at 2200 UTC, I logged a new AM station: WHVW on 950 kc located in Hyde Park, NY, transmitting 57 watts 50 miles to the west. I used a C.Crane Skywave receiver with its internal antenna to nab WHVW.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Saturday, November 14, 2015
This week, I monitored 1200 kc off and on because I could often hear other stations down in the mud under WXKS, which dominates that frequency here. Thursday evening at about 2345 UTC, I was rewarded with an unknown station broadcasting modern black gospel music; it was coming in so strongly that at times, I could not hear WXKS at all. The signal got stronger at the top of the hour approached, but I missed a station identification. However, I did hear the name of the program that was on at 0000 UTC: the Big Brother CJ Show.
Checking my sources, there are not many gospel stations on 1200 in my neck of the woods. I narrowed the choices down to WCHB near Detroit and WMIR in South Carolina. The station's signal peaked with my Terk Advantage loop antenna favoring the south and north, so WMIR was more likely than WCHB to the west. Checking with WMIR, they do broadcast the Big Brother CJ Show at 0000 UTC, so that is how I logged it using my Elecraft KX3 transceiver with the Terk.
WMIR is 630 miles to my south-southwest and was transmitting only 11 watts at the time!
Friday, November 6, 2015
After my C.Crane Radio 2E Enhanced tied for first place in the Midday C.Crane Shoot-Out, I decided to spend some time using it to chase broadcast band DX. I immediately caught two new ones on the AM band:
CJEU on 1670 kc transmitting 1 kW from Gatineau, Quebec, 300 miles to the north-northwest.
WUNR on 1600 kc transmitting 20 kW from Brookline, Massachusetts, 100 miles to the east-northeast.
CJEU was playing contemporary French music, whereas all I heard from WUNR was its ID at the bottom of the hour and then it disappeared!
In both cases, I was using the C.Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna with the 2E Enhanced receiver.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
I now own five models of C.Crane receivers and after FARMERIK published a comparison of Sony receivers he owned on the Ultralight DX list, I decided to compare my C.Cranes in a similar manner using the radio's stock AM antennas.
I parked each radio in the same spot on my radio desk and in turn tuned across the AM band counting the number of stations heard. I did this between 1550 and 1655 UTC (1050 to 1155 local time/EST). My location is in Wolcott, Connecticut (41° 37' 48" N, 72° 56' 43" W) at 912 feet ASL. Radio conditions were flat.
Here are the results:
CC Radio 2E Enhanced: 60
CC Skywave: 60
CC SW Pocket: 53
CC Radio SW: 50
CC Pocket: 45
The CC Skywave and CC Radio 2E heard the same 60 stations with two exceptions: the Skywave heard a station on 850 kHz that the 2E did not and the 2E heard a station on 920 kHz that the Skywave did not.
Comparing the Skywave and the 2E, their sensitivity is similar on the AM band in my opinion, but the Skywave is more selective. 1070 kHz is a problem area at my location because the 50 kW of WTIC on 1080 kHz blasts through here 24/7. Until I added the Skywave (and an Elecraft KX3) to my radio shack, I never heard anything but QRM from WTIC on 1070 kHz. With the Skywave, I’ve logged four stations on 1070.
On the other hand, the 2E sounds much better than the Skywave. Of course, size matters and you would expect the 2E to sound better than its pint-sized cousin. The 2E is the best sounding AM radio I have ever owned.