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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I'm with Snoopy


Friday, December 16, 2016

WTIC on 161.76 MHz


Wednesday evening, I was listening to the local NOAA weather station on 162.4 MHz (WXJ42 in Meriden) with the ELAD FDM-S2/SW2. The waterfall display showed activity on all seven NOAA weather channels, which is typical from my location. I also noticed another signal down the band a ways... on 161.76 to be exact.

I tuned in the signal and was surprised to hear the voice of Joe D'Ambrosio, who does a sports talk show on WTIC AM (1080 kHz). It sounded like he was doing the show on the air, but on FM instead of AM and on 161.76 instead of 1080. So I grabbed the nearest transistor radio and tuned it to WTIC AM. Lo and behold, there was Joe D doing his show, but delayed by about 15 seconds from what I was hearing on 161.76.

My initial thought was that I was hearing a radio relay from the WTIC studio to the WTIC transmitter.  The studio is in the valley below my QTH about 6 miles away, while the transmitter is 12 miles away.

I revisited 161.76 MHz Thursday evening and the signal was still there, but now the volume of the signal's audio was low. After about 15 minutes, the volume of the signal's audio jumped up in strength as its contents changed from talk radio to news. This just confused matters.

Researching the mystery, I found in the 1994 edition of the Connecticut Scanner Guide that 161.76 was assigned to Chase Communications. Chase was the previous owner of WTIC, so that made sense.

How they are using 161.76 is still a mystery. I am sure there is a simple explanation, but I don't know what it is.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Late November Loggings


New loggings since my last post:

Nov. 17, 2016, 0600 UTC: WEKZ on 1260 kc transmitting 19 watts from Monroe, Wisconsin, 854 miles to the west-northwest.

Nov. 22, 2016, 2355 UTC: YXK on 373 kc transmitting 25 watts from Rimouski, Quebec, 520 miles to the north-northeast

Nov. 28, 2016, 2100 UTC:

WZSK on 1040 kc transmitting 4 kw from Everett, Pennsylvania, 304 miles to the west-southwest

WCRW on 1190 kc transmitting 50 kW from Leesburg, Virginia, 297 miles to the west-southwest

WNWW on 1290 kc transmitting 490 watts from West Hartford, Connecticut, 14 miles to the north-northeast

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2/SW2 SDR receiver/software and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time for Three

My first desktop radio. I sold the radio 30 years ago,
but still have the manual. (I wish I still had the radio.)
Sometimes, life gets in the way and hobbies take a back seat. That's my story and I'm sticking with it, yet I managed to add three new stations to the log since my previous post.

WWJZ on 640 kc in Mount Holly, New Jersey, transmitting 950 watts, 146 miles to my southeast.

W218AV, a translator for WMNR on 91.5 Mc in Warren, Connecticut, transmitting 250 watts, 22 miles to my west-northwest.

CFNV on 940 kc in Montreal, Quebec, transmitting unknown power, 269 miles to my north-northwest. This is a new station and is reportedly running tests at this time (mostly French music, occasional French voice station identifications and no commercials). This station is strong; not only did I log it from the home station, but I heard it clearly on my car radio throughout my sunrise 35-minute commute this morning.

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2 / ELAD FDM-SW2 receiver, an 80-meter inverted Vee for the AM/MW band and an ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna for the FM band.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Six Twenty


Tuned to 620 kc on the way to work today and found a cacophony of stations vying for dominance of the frequency. I heard bits and pieces of various stations, but the one station that stood out from the rest for the longest period of time was a new one for me: Stephen King's WZON transmitting 5 kW from Bangor, Maine, 304 miles to the northeast. Equipment used was the excellent stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On the Car Radio


Driving to work Friday morning (1030 UTC), I was monitoring 680 kc for anything unusual. The usual (WRKO) was overtaken by the unusual for about 30 seconds: WAPA transmitting 10 kW from San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1655 miles to the south-southeast. Equipment used was the stock radio and antenna in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cuba!

UTC 0300 top-of-hour on October 12 was very productive.

I was thrilled to log WFLF on 540 kc transmitting 46 kW from Pine Hills, Florida, 1032 miles to the south-southwest.

And then I logged five Cuban stations:

Radio Rebelde on 600, 610 and 620 kc and Radio Progresso on 640 and 690 kc. All five are around 1400 miles to the south-southwest.

As usual, the receiver was the ELAD FDM-S2 / ELAD FDM-SW2 and the antenna, an 80-meter inverted Vee.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

WOMR on the radio again


Yesterday, as I headed out to buy groceries in my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport, I hit the button preset for WLNG on 92.1 MHz on the AM-FM radio and drove down the north side of my 1,000-foot mountain, which is not favorable to WLNG, 50 miles to my south-southeast. Yet, WLNG hung in there as I descended the mountain and continued my drive through the relatively flat river valley of ESPN-land.

I was paying more attention to the traffic than the radio, but sitting at a red traffic light about 2 minutes after my descent, it occurred to me that the female announcer now on the radio was not a voice I had ever heard on WLNG. In passing, the announcer mentioned the station's call sign: WOMR, which is on the tip of Cape Cod, about 145 miles to my east-northeast.

After the light turned green and I continued on my journey, WOMR hung in there for about a half mile, then gave up the frequency to WLNG.

For what it's worth, WLNG and WOMR run similar transmitter outputs, 5300 and 6000 watts respectively and neither is line-of-sight by any means in ESPN-land, so there was some enhanced radio conditions yesterday morning.

This is not the first time that I have heard WOMR in my neck of the woods, but it is always interesting when I do.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Good Weekend


Radio conditions on the AM band were very good over the weekend and I have top-of-the-hour recordings that will take me awhile to peruse for new station loggings. So far, I have found four new ones from 0600 UTC on October 1.

KFSW in Fort Smith, Arkansas, transmitting 1 kW on 1650 kc, 1240 miles to the southwest.

Radio Rebelde near Havana transmitting 5 kW on 1620 kc, 1388 miles to the south-southwest.

WCOJ in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, transmitting 5 kW on 1420 kc, 187 miles to the west-southwest.

WITK in Pittstown, Pennsylvania, transmitting 500 watts on 1550 kc, 148 miles to the west-southwest.

I also logged one new navigational beacon

YRR in Greely, Ontario, transmitting 25 watts on 377 kc, 283 miles to the north-northwest.

All heard using an ELAD FDM-S2 with an 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Navigational Beacons Galore!


I never heard so many navigational beacons on LW as I heard on my top-of-hour recording at 0500 UTC today. Most of them were already in my log, but I did add two new ones:

ZMX on 317 kc, transmitting 20 watts from St. Janvier, Quebec, 288 miles to the north-northwest.

UWP on 323 kc, transmitting 1,000 watts from Argentia, Newfoundland, 1012 miles to the east-northeast.

I also logged a new AM broadcast station near the top of the band:

WWCS, "Yahoo sports radio 540," on 540 kc, transmitting 500 watts from Canonsburg, Pennsylavania, 389 miles to the west-southwest.

As usual, equipment used was an ELAD FDM-S2 with an 80-meter inverted Vee. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

More 0500 UTC Top-of-the-Hour Loggings


I have been recording the 0500 UTC top-of-the-hour each morning for a week and have logged the following new stations.

Sept. 9:

  • CMLA  on 640 kc from Las Tunas, Cuba, transmitting 10 kW, 1447 miles to the south

Sept. 11:

  • Europe 1 on 183 kc from Felsberg, Germany, transmitting 2000 kW, 2771 miles to the northeast
  • Rikisutvarpid Ras on 189 kc from Gufuskalar, Iceland, transmitting 300 kW, 2482 miles to the east-northeast

Sept. 12:

  • PTD navigational beacon on 400 kc from Potsdam, NY, transmitting 25 watts, 235 miles to the north-northwest
  • WSJW on 550 kc from Pawtucket, RI, transmitting 500 watts, 82 miles to the east-northeast
  • WCSS on 1490 kc from Amsterdam, NY, transmitting 1000 watts, 112 mils to the north-northwest
  • WNBP on 1450 kc from Newburyport, MA, transmitting 1000 watts, 135 miles to the northeast
  • WGAW on 1340 kc from Gardner, MA, transmitting 1000 watts, 83 miles to the north-northeast 

Equipment used was an ELAD FDM-S2 with an 80-meter inverted Vee.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Eight New Loggings!

Conditions were excellent at the 0500 UTC top-of-the-hour on September 6... so good that it took me two days to listen to my recording of that top-of-the-hour. It resulted in eight new stations in the log including WDAE in St. Pete, Florida (1095 miles). I also heard previously logged WWL in New Orleans (1256 miles).

Here are all the new loggings:

WSVA on 550 kc from Harrisonburg, VA, 1000 watts, 384 miles south-southwest

WDAE on 620 kc from Saint Petersburg, FL, 5500 watts, 1095 miles  south-southwest

WFNC on 640 kc from Fayetteville, NC, 1000 watts, 556 miles south-southwest

WNIS on 790 kc from Norfolk, VA, 5000 watts, 362 miles south-southwest

WPHB on 1260 kc from Philipsburg, PA, 34 watts !, 277 miles west-southwest

WMID on 1340 kc from Atlantic City, NJ, 890 watts, 175 miles south-southwest

WCED on 1420 kc from Dubois, PA, 5 watts !!!, 307 miles west-southwest

WPGG on 1450 kc from Atlantic City, NJ, 1000 watts, 175 miles south-southwest

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

By the way, I also heard some stations that were affected by aurora, but I did not log any because they were unintelligible.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

This Day in History… Farnsworth's First TV Demo


On September 7, 1927, inventor Philo T. Farnsworth made his first successful presentation of the “image dissector,” a crucial part of the first televisions. Read the rest of the story here.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Busted Vee

KGO Radio Tower Collapse 1989 (http://bayarearadio.org/schneider/)

Walking the dog in the rain Wednesday morning, I noticed that one leg of my 80-meter inverted Vee antenna was missing!

Trying to investigate further with a leash in one hand and an umbrella in the other, I discovered that the antenna had come undone after the wire passes through the end insulator and wraps back around itself. It is an easy fix and I will get to it this weekend.

I gathered up the pieces and wrapped the loose end of the wire around the base of my tower to get it out of the way. By the way, the bungee cord that spanned the air between the end insulator and an eye hook bored into a tree was nowhere to be found.

And for what its worth, I listened around the LW and MW bands and did not notice much of a loss of signal strength using the busted antenna with the ELAD FDM-S2 receiver.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beyond My First Transatlantics

NIST radio site in Fort Collins, Colorado

Since I heard my first transatlantic stations with my "new" radio, I have been sticking around the low end of the long waves to hear what I can hear.

WWVB was loud and clear on 60 kHz. The Fort Collins, Colorado, time signal transmits 50 kW, 1661 miles to the west-northwest. I might have been able to log it before, but this was the first time I tuned around that part of the band. (I checked a few older top-of-hour-recordings and sure enough, I heard WWVB on each recording).

I also heard an AM station at 216 kc at 0400 UTC, but I could not identify it. It was too weak for intelligence, but it definitely was not English... probably French or Spanish. Radio Monte Carlo is the only station listed for 216 kc, so that is what I probably heard... with transmitters in nearby France (Roumoules) using 900 kW, 3855 miles to the east-northeast.

In this morning's 0400 UTC top-of-the-hour recording, I again hear Radio Mediterranee Internationale (Medi 1) (171 kc, Nador, Morocco).

I hear France Inter (162 kc, Allouis, France) again and again in my top-of-the-hour recordings. I even heard it live and in person at 2300 UTC Tuesday.

During the first transatlantic excitement, I forgot to mention two other new loggings made that morning:

AY navigational beacon on 356 kc transmitting 25 watts, 1043 mile northeast in St. Anthony, Newfoundland,

WGOP on 540 kc transmitting 243 watts, 283 miles south-southwest in Pocomoke City, Maryland.

Equipment used was my ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver with my 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Transatlantic

Recorded the 0500 UTC top-of-hour Sunday morning and upon playback, I was very surprised to hear my first transatlantics with my newest radio:

France Inter from Allouis, France, on 162 kc, 1000 kW over 3585 miles

Radio Mediterranee Internationale  (Medi 1) from Nador, Morocco, on 171 kc, 1600 kW over 3712 miles

BBC 4 from Droitwich, on 198 kc, 200 kW over 3278 miles

RTE Radio 1 from Clarkstown, Ireland, on 252 kc, 300 kW over 3096 miles

Also heard a carrier on 153 kc; likely suspect is Antena Satelor in Brasov, Romania, 200 kW over 4598 miles

Also logged AY (navigational beacon) from St. Anthony, Newfoundland, on 356 kc, 25 watts over 1043 miles

Equipment used was an ELAD FDM-S2 with an 80-meter inverted Vee.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sixteen

I added the following 16 new stations to the log during the past few days using an ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver, an 80-meter inverted Vee antenna (for HF) and my 2007 Subaru's stock radio and antenna (for the FM logging) an ICOM IC-AH7000 discone antenna (for VHF/UHF).

YUY on 219 kc transmitting 500 watts from Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, 540 miles to the north-northwest

QB on 230 kc transmitting 500 watts from Quebec, Quebec, 360 miles to the north

OW on 236 kc transmitting 14 watts from Ottawa, Quebec, 289 miles to the north-northwest

YVB on 243 kc transmitting 90 watts from Bonaventure, Quebec, 576 miles to the north-northeast

YXR on 257 kc transmitting 400 watts from Earlton, Ontario, 538 miles to the north-northwest

YQA on 272 kc transmitting 400 watts from Muskoka, Ontario, 396 miles to the northwest

YLQ on 289 kc transmitting 550 watts from La Tuque, Quebec, 398 miles to the north

QT on 332  kc transmitting 1000 watts from Thunder Bay, Ontario, 929 miles to the northwest

GW on 371 kc transmitting 500 watts from Kuujjuarapik, Quebec, 967 miles to the north-northwest

JT on 390 kc transmitting 450 watts from Stephenville, Newfoundland, 838 miles to the northeast

3B on 391 kc transmitting 100 watts from Brockville, Ontario, 253miles to the north-northwest

Y8 on 401  kc transmitting 126 watts from Drummondville, Quebec, 393 miles to the north-northwest

YTA on 409 kc transmitting 13 watts from Pembroke, Ontario, 359 miles to the north-northwest

3U on 414 kc transmitting 85 watts from Gatineau, Quebec, 300 miles to the north-northwest

WAZZ on 1490 kc transmitting 1000 watts from Fayetteville, NC, 556 miles to the south-southwest

WNYZ-LP on 87.7 Mc transmitting 3000 watts from New York, NY, 80 miles to the southwest simulcasting WWRU-AM

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Still More Navigational Beacons

This symbol denotes an NDB on an aeronautical chart. (Source: Wikipedia)
I heard these new navigational beacon loggings around 0700 UTC Sunday:

QB on 230 kc transmitting 500 watts from Quebec, Quebec, 360 miles to the north

OW on 236 kc transmitting 14 watts from Ottawa, Quebec, 289 miles to the north-northwest

YVB on 243 kc transmitting 90 watts from Bonaventure, Quebec, 576 miles to the north-northeast

YLQ on 289 kc transmitting 550 watts from La Tuque, Quebec, 398 miles to the north

Y8 on 401 kc transmitting 126 watts from Drummondville, Quebec, 393 miles to the north

3U on 414 kc transmitting 85 watts from Gatineau, Quebec, 300 miles to the north-northwest

As usual lately, equipment used was an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More Navigational Beacons

CA to WA1LOU
Before I went to bed last night, I tuned down the navigational beacon longwave band and logged six new ones:

BX on 220 kc transmitting 2 kW from Lourdes de Blank Salon, Quebec, 1005 miles to the northeast

QY on 263 kc transmitting 24 watts from Sydney, Nova Scotia, 718 miles to the east-northeast

YHR on 276 kc transmitting 500 watts from Chevery, Quebec, 881 miles to the northeast

NM on 278 kc transmitting 15 watts from Matagami, Quebec, 606 miles to the north-northwest

CA on 281 kc transmitting 1 kW from Cartwright, Newfoundland, 1111 miles to the north-northeast

YTA on 409 kc transmitting 13 watts from Pembroke, Ontario, 359 miles to the north-northwest

Nice thing about chasing navigational beacons is that as soon as you hear one, you can identify it because all it transmits is its callsign over and over again.

As usual lately, equipment used was an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Friday, August 19, 2016

F8

Victoriaville Airport
After feeding the cats at 0900 UTC, instead of going back to bed, I checked the AM band, but found nothing interesting. So I tuned to the navigational beacons and heard a half dozen beacons I had logged before including ML in Monroe, Louisiana, on 392 kc, 1232 miles away.

I heard a very weak beacon on 384 kc, so I hung in there for awhile and finally heard F8, a new logging from Victoriaville, Quebec, transmitting 25 watts, 310 miles to the north.

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

This Day in History… Transatlantic Cable Service


Better late than never...

On August 16, 1858, the first message was sent via the transatlantic cable.

The telegraph was the first device to send messages using electricity. Samuel F. B. Morse is credited with inventing the telegraph. He first demonstrated the telegraph in 1837.

Read the rest of the story here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bear III


Late Friday afternoon, my daughter yells out that there is a bear in our back yard. Sure enough... I look out the ham shack window and there is a black bear walking around the premises.

This is my third bear sighting here at the WA1LOU QTH on the top of Compounce Mountain and I have seen evidence of other visits in the past. It sure makes life interesting and for the next few days, I will make sure that all is clear before I go outdoors.

Friday, August 5, 2016

8 at 0800


Instead of recording the 0900 UTC top-of-hour, I switched to 0800 UTC and logged eight new stations!

WMSA on 1340 kc in Massena, NY, transmitting 910 W, 246 miles to the north-northwest

WASR on 1420 kc in Wolfeboro, NH, transmitting 137 W, 161 miles to the north-northeast

WAZN on 1470 kc in Watertown, MA, transmitting 3.4 kW, 104 miles to the northeast

WUVR on 1490 kc in Lebanon, NH, transmitting 640 W, 145 miles to the north-northeast

WSMN on 1590 kc in Nashua, NH, transmitting 5 kW, 107 miles to the northeast

CHRN on 1610 kc in Montreal, PQ, Canada, transmitting 1 kW, 266 miles to the north

WNRP on 1620 kc in Pensacola, FL, transmitting 1 kW, 1108 to the miles SW

WPLA on 1670 kc in Dry Branch, GA, transmitting 1 kW, 845 miles to the SW

Using an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Friday, July 29, 2016

"Clear Channel" 1700


Most of the time, all I hear on 1700 is WRCR out of Ramapo, NY. However, WRCR was missing from my top-of-the-hour recording at 0900 UTC today. Instead, I heard Radio Mega WJCC running 1 kW out of Miami Springs, FL, 1666 miles to my south-southwest.

1700 is a great frequency for long haul DX. It's a 21st Century "clear channel" with only six stations licensed for 1700 in the USA. Except for WRCR, they are all over 800 miles away.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mystery on 1420


I added five new stations listening to my 0900 UTC top-of-hour recordings on Monday and Tuesday (using an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna).

WBEC on 1420 kc in Pittsfield, MA, transmitting 1 kW, 59 miles to my north-northwest.

WKOX on 1430 kc in Everett, MA, transmitting 1 kW, 109 miles to my east-northeast.

WCEC on 1490 kc in Haverhill, MA, transmitting 1 kW, 123 miles to my northeast.

WQCP849 (Rhode Island DOT TIS) on 1630 kc in Newport, RI, transmitting 10 watts, 85 miles to my east.

And finally, the mystery station: WAAF on 1420 kc. WAAF, "Boston's Rock Station," is an FM-only station, but I heard it loud and clear on 1420 AM at 0900 UTC Monday. Was this a test or a pirate or what? 

Twenty-four hours later, WBSM (New Bedford, MA) dominated 1420, but there was a station that I could not ID playing rock music under WBSM. Driving to work two hours later, WLIS (Old Saybrook, CT) dominated 1420 on my Subaru's receiver, but again I could hear an unidentified rock station under WLIS.

I will listen again tomorrow morning.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Four More

My July 17, 0900 UTC top-of-the-hour recording yielded four new stations (using an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna).

WRSC on 1390 kc in State College, PA, transmitting 1 kW, 266 miles to my west-southwest.

WNRS on 1420 kc in Herkimir, NY, transmitting 64 W, 145 miles to my northwest.

WRED on 1440 kc in Westbrook, ME, transmitting 5 kW, 193 miles to my northeast.

WHKT on 1650 kc in Portsmouth, VA, transmitting 1 kW, 378 miles to my south-southwest.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Amazing DX


When I can hear the Hudson County (NJ) TIS in Jersey City on 1710, it bodes well for AM band DXing. Such was the case recording the 0200 UTC top-of-the-hour Wednesday night. As a result, I made four new entries in the log... two of them were amazing!

WOBM on 1310 in Lakewood Township, NJ, transmitting 8,900 watts, 123 miles to my south-southwest

WHOL on 1600 in Allentown, PA, transmitting 56 watts, 150 miles to my southwest

WQKJ417 (State of Florida Radio Service TIS) on 1630 in Fort Pierce, FL, transmitting 10 watts, 1063 miles to my south-southwest

WDHP on 1620 in Frederiksted, Virgin Islands, transmitting 1 kW, 1719 miles to my south-southeast

I'm not sure whether 10 watts over 1063 miles or 1 kW over 1719 miles is more amazing, but both impressed me!

Using an ELAD FDM-S2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

First Top-of-the-Hour After Dark


Monday evening, I recorded the first top-of-the-hour (9 PM EDST) after local sunset and heard two new ones for the log:

  • WWTR on 1170 kc transmitting 600 watts from Bridgewater, NJ, 113 miles to my southwest
  • WDER on 1320 kc transmitting 1,000 watts from Derry, NH, 120 miles to my northeast

The WDER catch was particularly nice considering 1320 is occupied by local station WATR, which is strong here day or night (5 kW or 1 kW, 5 miles away).

Equipment used: ELAD FDM-S2 receiver, 80-meter inverted Vee antenna

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Nielsen Loggings


Last summer, we became a Nielsen family.

In exchange for some crisp new $1 bills, my wife and I kept diaries of our television viewing for a week. My diary was easy: Law & Order binge-watching with an occasional switch to see how badly my Scarlet Hose were losing.

My wife's diary was more complicated. She switches channels all day long and I think she spent more time filling in the diary than viewing the shows she was logging.

After the week was up, we sealed the diaries and mailed them back to Nielsen.

I thought that would be the last we would hear from Nielsen, but lo and behold, in April, Nielsen asked us to do it again. But instead of keeping TV diaries, they wanted us to keep radio diaries. We agreed and a few weeks later, an envelope arrived with some crisp new $1 bills and blank diaries.

My wife's diary was easy. She seldom listens to the radio, so she did not have much to log. And I played it straight and did not log any ham radio stations, nor any broadcast stations that I heard while tuning between 530 and 1710 kHz.

In addition to my "normal" radio fare (WCBS, WINS and WTIC on AM; WLNG and WAQY on FM), I could have included the flamethrowers out of the Midwest and South like WBT, WGN, WJR, WLW, WSM and WSB, as well as a variety of peanut whistles from all over the Northeast. I could have even included Cuba's Radio Rebelde a couple of times. But I want to keep receiving those crisp new $1 bills, so I only logged the stations I actually listened to for information and/or entertainment.

And after a week, we sent our diaries back to Nielsen. I wonder if we will be hearing from them again next year.

(Thank you, Art, W1AWX for suggesting that I write this story.)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Three on the Fourth


There have been a lot of distractions this week that have prevented me from completely sifting through the two early morning recordings I made on July 4 with my ELAD FDM-2 SDR receiver.

I finished one, the 0400 UTC top-of-the-hour recording and am happy report that it has resulted in the following new additions to the log:
  • WARM -  590 kc - Scranton, PA - 5 kW - 152 miles
  • CFGO - 1200 kc - Ottawa, ON - 50 kW - 256 miles
  • WLAM - 1470 kc - Lewiston, ME - 5 kW - 270 miles
Still using the 80-meter inverted Vee antenna. Plan to put some more wire up in the air real soon now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Manual and My Imagination

Three additional top-of-the-hour recordings with the ELAD FDM-S2 receiver yielded five new stations:

  • WZBK - 1220 kc - Keene, NH - 146 W - 149 miles
  • WWRV - 1330 kc - New York, NY - 5 kW - 75 miles
  • WEZS - 1350 kc - Laconia, NH - 412 W - 149 miles
  • WOPG - 1460 kc - Albany, NY - 5 kW - 80 miles
  • WJDY - 1470 kc - Salisbury, MD - 43 W - 265 miles

The ELAD FDM-SW2 software has a lot of features, but its manual leaves a lot to the imagination. As a result, I may not be using all the capabilities of the software.

So I will continue to study the manual, play with the software and try to figure it all out.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time Machine

I am having a great time using the ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver. I particularly like the "time machine" feature, which I have been using to record the whole AM broadcast band at the top of the hour and then play it back to hear all the recorded stations.

In the "I learned something new" department, switching to LSB or USB, I was able to identify stations that were down in the mud and unidentifiable in the AM mode.

I am also trying to find out which overnight hours are the most productive. Here is the tally, so far:

  • 0200 UTC = 6 new stations
  • 0400 UTC = 6 new stations
  • 0500 UTC on June 16 = 2 new stations

My latest recording at 0800 UTC resulted in 8 new stations:

  • CMBR - 530 kc - Habana, Cuba - 10 kW - 1390 miles
  • WRGC - 540 kc - Sylva, NC - 140 W - 702 miles
  • WFIR - 960 kc - Roanoke, VA - 5 kW - 480 miles
  • WLLI - 990 kc - Somerset, PA - 100 W - 340 miles
  • WBLQ - 1230 kc - Westerly, RI - 1 kW - 60 miles
  • WCMC - 1230 kc - Wildwood, NJ - 1 kW - 206 miles
  • WBIX - 1260 kc - Boston, MA - 5 kW - 107 miles
  • WNBF - 1290 kc - Binghamton, NY - 5 kW - 158 miles
Antenna used is an 80-meter inverted Vee.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gone


Thank you for your suggestions on how to fix the interference problem I encountered while using the ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver with my MacBook Pro computer.

The source of the noise seemed to be the computer's battery charger/power supply, but all my attempts to fix the problem failed until I noticed that my Heath coaxial switch was not grounded. I assume its connection to ground had been disconnected while I was rearranging the furniture and I forgot to reconnect it.

Reconnecting the switch to ground made a big difference and eliminated most of the noise on the AM/MW band.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What's New!


While getting to know my new ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver, I have logged the following new 18 stations:

  • WGYM - 1580 kc - Hammonton, NJ - 1 kW - 168 miles
  • WACK - 1420 kc - Newark, NY - 500 W - 232 miles
  • W241CG - 96.1 Mc - Southington, CT - 250 W - 7 miles
  • WQFG689 - 1710 kc - Jersey City, NJ - 10 W - 85 miles
  • WNEB - 1230 kc - Southbridge, MA - 1 kW - 73 miles
  • WICH - 1310 kc - Norwich, CT - 5 kW - 45 miles
  • WEMG - 1310 kc - Camden, NJ - 250 W - 162 miles
  • WWRU - 1660 kc - Jersey City, NJ - 10 kW - 85 miles
  • WTTM - 1680 kc - Lindenwold, NJ - 1 kW - 162 miles
  • CKAT - 600 kc - North Bay, ON - power unknown - 455 miles
  • WLVP - 870 kc - Gorham, ME - 1 kW - 188 miles
  • CIAO - 530 kc - Brampton, ON - 250 W - 378 miles
  • WHLO - 640 kc - Akron, OH - 500 W - 450 miles
  • WPKX - 930 kc - Rochester, NH - 5 kW - 153 miles
  • WFGL - 960 kc - Fitchburg, MA - 1 kW - 88 miles
  • WRNI - 1290 kc - Providence, RI - 10 kW - 78 miles
  • WGAN - 560 kc - Portland, ME - 5 kW - 195 miles
  • WSYR - 570 kc - Syracuse, NY - 5 kW - 190 miles

The first four stations were found by randomly tuning of the bands. The remainder were gleaned from recordings of the complete AM band recorded at 0400 and 0700 UTC on various nights this past week.

Antenna was an 80-meter inverted Vee.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Nine New Ones!

Tuning around the AM band with my new ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver last week, I logged three new stations:

- WGYM on 1580 kc in Hammonton, NJ, transmitting 1 kW 168 miles to the SSW.

- WACK on 1420 kc in Newark, NY, transmitting 500 W, 232 miles to the WNW.

- WQFG689 on 1710 kc in Jersey City, NJ, transmitting 10 W, 85 miles to the SW. WQFG689 is a TIS for Hudson County, NJ.

Friday night, I tried recording the whole AM band for two minutes at 10 PM EDST. I spent a few hours listening to the recording and logged six new stations:

- WNEB on 1230 kc in Southbridge, MA, transmitting 1 kW, 73 miles to the NE

- WICH on 1310 kc in Norwich, CT, transmitting 5 kW, 45 miles to the WSE.

- WEMG on 1310 kc in Camden, NJ, transmitting 250 W, 162 miles to the SW.

- WWRU on 1660 kc in Jersey City, NJ, transmitting 10 W, 85 miles to the SW.

- WTTM on 1680 kc in Lindenwold, NJ, transmitting 1 kW, 162 miles to the SW.

- CKAT on 600 kc in North Bay, Ontario, 455 miles to the NW.

All were heard using an 80 meter inverted Vee antenna.

I am very happy with my new radio, but there is a problem: interference from the MacBook Pro battery charger/power supply. The interference is so strong that only the strongest AM stations are above the noise.

The cable between the charger and the computer is the problem because the noise disappears completely when I disconnect the cable from the computer even though the charger is still powered.

I installed ferrite cable clips on the cable, but that made no difference.

I wrapped the cable 20 times around a toroid ferrite core, but that made no difference.

One solution that works is 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 will need to be recharged.

Anyone have any other solutions?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Running Windows and Mac OS X in Parallel

WGYM: My first new logging with the ELAD FDM-S2 SDR Receiver.
I have owned Macintosh computers since they were originally released in 1984. Way back when, I had a clunky DOS emulator on one of my desktop Macs. I cannot recall why I bought it because I don't remember using it much... maybe because it was so clunky.

Windows emulators/enablers for the Mac have been around for awhile. I have never had a need for one until now, so I had not paid much attention to them and had to educate myself quickly.

I read a few articles comparing what was available and found myself on Parallels' website where there was a link to download and try out their enabler for 14 days. I downloaded and installed the enabler without a problem, but there was not much I could do with it because it needed Windows.

My computer at work runs Windows 7, so I am familiar with that OS and figured I would be more comfortable running 7 on my Mac rather than another version of Windows. But I asked around about Windows 10 because the Parallels enabler was being touted as ready for Windows 10 and folks on the Yahoo ELAD group (elad_sdr_en) said the FDM-S2 software ran fine on Windows 10. So I ordered Windows 10 from Amazon and received the installation USB flash drive two days later.

There were no gotchas installing Windows under Parallels, nor installing the FDM-S2 software onto Windows under Parallels.

I connected the ELAD FDM-S2 receiver to my MacBook Pro, powered up the receiver and started the software. The software started up on my Mac just as quickly as it started up on the Windows laptop I tried it out on and has run perfectly under Mac-Parallels-Windows since I have installed it four days ago.

Some observations:

  • I can run Windows 10 and Mac OS X simultaneously, which is something I did not expect.
  • Windows 10 starts up faster on my Mac than does Windows 7 on the Lenovo laptop at work.
  • The FDM-S2 software crashed a number of times on the Lenovo laptop running Windows 7. It always crashes if I try to expand the GUI window beyond a certain point and it has crashed numerous times while playing back on-the-air recordings. So far, the FDM-S2 software has not crashed on my Mac.
  • I have a shortcut on my Mac's desktop for the FDM-S2 software, which loads Parallels, Windows 10 and the FDM-S2 software with just one click.

But Cupertino, we have a problem!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It works, so, so far, so good!


I bought an ELAD FDM-S2 SDR Receiver at Hamvention.

Its software is Windows-based, but the gent in the ELAD booth assured me that it would run on a Mac under a Windows emulator. Even if it did not, I had some old Windows laptops at my disposal that I could use, although I preferred to run it on my Mac because empty space on my radio desk was lacking,

Back at my Hamvention hotel room, I checked the contents of the box containing my purchase. In addition to the receiver, there was a USB stick containing the SDR sofware and documentation, two BNC-to-SMA adapters to mate the receiver's HF and VHF SMA connectors to antennas, a USB cable, a USB Y-cable, a cloth bag for storing and transporting the receiver and four stick-on feet to attach to the receiver.

After returning home and catching up, I installed the software in a laptop running Windows 7. The installation was quick and easy without any problems.

I connected the receiver to the laptop and to my 80-meter inverted Vee antenna, then I powered up the receiver and started the software. The software loaded quickly and soon I was staring at an impressive graphical user interface (GUI), but I could not hear a thing and the display indicated that nothing was being received, as seen in the image above.

My first thought was "dead on arrival" and I was not a happy camper. Thumbing through the manual did not provide a solution and then I noticed an on/off button in the lower left corner of the GUI! I clicked it once and, voila!, I could hear plenty ― what a relief!

Without reading the manual, I fumbled around and managed to tune the receiver to the AM broadcast radio band. My first impressions were that the receiver was as sensitive and perhaps more sensitive than my Elecraft KX3 on the AM band.

That was promising, but I did not play with the receiver much because I wanted to concentrate on getting the software up and running on my two-year-old MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch laptop.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Channel Master 6515 “Super Fringe” AM radio


RadioJayAllen's latest post reviews an oldie, but goodie: the Channel Master 6515 “Super Fringe” AM radio.

The 6515 was my first transistor radio  a circa 1960 Christmas gift from my parents.

Jay's review confirmed that the 6515 was an excellent receiver in its day. Back then, I didn't know a QSL from a Q-Tip, so I didn't know any better and did not log anything, but that radio pulled in stations from all over the left half of the USA and beyond.

Jay's review also revealed that the 6515 was an expensive radio. I had no idea my folks paid $60 for it ― that's about $480 in 2016 dollars!

I have no recollection what happened to my 6515 ― it is long gone. However, in a nostalgic moment, I acquired one via eBay for about $15 ― that's about $2 in 1960 dollars

Cosmetically, my eBay acquisition is in pretty good shape. Functionally, it needs some work. Replacing the electrolytic capacitors would probably bring it back to life... a project for another day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Instant QSL


Memorial Day afternoon, I was relaxing on the front porch listening to random shortwave stations as my C.Crane CC Skywave receiver scanned the bands. I logged four new ones including WRMI, Radio Miami International on 19 meters, which was broadcasting an interesting shortwave listener's program at the time.

At the end of the broadcast, they announced their address for reception reports, but I was conversing with my wife and missed the details. So I visited their website and found their e-mail address for reception reports. I cannot recall the last time I sent a reception report ― certainly not in this century, but I could not resist the ease of sending a report by e-mail and so I did.

Within minutes, WRMI confirmed my report in an e-mail with the cool QSL card pictured above attached.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hamvention

HARA

The Dayton Hamvention is this weekend and I will be there attending forums, buying ham radio necessities, receiving the Hamvention's Special Achievement Award and staffing the TAPR booths (451-454) in the Ball Arena of the HARA complex.

During my commute to and from and around Dayton, I will be running OpenAPRS from my iPhone, so watch for me on your APRS maps.

Friday, May 13, 2016

This Day in History



This day in history marks a major step in the history of radio. On May 13, 1897, Guglielmo Marconi sent the world's first wireless communication over the open sea. Click here to read all about it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Swan Island in my QSL Collection

I saved this QSL for last because it is for a medium wave station reception rather than a shortwave station reception and the validity of the verification is incomplete, which comes as no surprise due to the nature of this particular radio station.

I received Radio Americas, also know as Radio Swan, in early 1967 (my logs are misplaced, so I don't know the exact date). In response, I received a signed QSL card that is otherwise blank and does not mention the frequency, time nor date of my reception report.

A program schedule accompanied the QSL card and both were contained in an envelope postmarked Miami, but with two conflicting return addresses and a fake Swan Island postmark.

Back in 2008, I wrote the following in my weekly Surfin' column on the ARRL website:
In early 1967, I heard Radio Americas operating on 1160 kc. Honduras-to-Connecticut (almost 1600 miles) on the AM broadcast band is an excellent catch in anybody's logbook, but what made this one more interesting was that Radio Americas was supposedly a clandestine operation run by a secret government agency that was trying to undermine the Castro regime in Cuba.
At the time, the Radio Americas story was just speculation, but it was pretty exciting stuff for this teenager during the height of the Cold War and the era of Goldfinger and 007. Just the words "clandestine radio" sounded exciting and mysterious back then. Needless to say, I was shocked when the Radio Americas QSL card arrived in the mail, since I did not think that spies acknowledged their clandestine operations.
Radio Americas was indeed a CIA operation broadcasting US propaganda into Cuba during the 1960s. The station claimed to transmit from US territory, but the FCC claimed that it knew nothing about it!





Sunday, May 1, 2016

United Kingdom to West Germany in my SWL QSL collection

Here are yet more QSLs from my mid-1960 shortwave listening days.

United Kingdom: BBC




United Nations: United Nations Radio



United States: Voice of America




United States: WINB



United States: WWV




United States: WWVH




Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: Radio Kiev





Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: Radio Moscow




Vatican: Radio Vatican




West Germany: Deutsche Welle