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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

3 new stations

Added three new stations to the AM radio log this week.

WOON on graveyard channel 1240 kHz transmitting 1 kW from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 79 miles to the east-northeast.

WBRK on graveyard channel 1340 kHz transmitting 1 kW from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 58 miles to the north-northwest.

WVBF on 1530 kHz transmitting 4 watts (!!!) from Middleborough Center, Massachusetts, 99 miles to the east-northeast.

Thursday night, I also heard BBC4 on 198 kHz stronger than they have been in long awhile.

Everything was heard on my ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Got DX?

I check almost every day and yesterday morning, it indicated that 2-meters was wide open throughout the eastern half of the USA. All I have up at this point is a VHF-UHF discone antenna, so I did not expect to hear much DX, but at least, I could hear the locals and find out what DX were working.

Mid-morning, there were about a half-dozen locals hanging around 144.200 working stations throughout the Northeastern USA and Canada. (A VE3 seemed to be the best DX.)

I listened for about a half-hour and then I left the shack because I had other fish to fry. When I returned at 3 PM, the band was still open according to the website, but I only heard one local calling CQ and he was not having much success.

Anyway, I wish I had my 144-MHz beam up and running!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Still Traveling Executively

I am still playing with my latest radio acquisition: an Eton Grundig Executive Traveler.

Some commenters claim that the radio is not the most sensitive FM radio, but I managed to work a new station on FM using the Traveler: W251BY on 98.1 MHz from Patchogue on Long Island transmitting 250 watts 54 miles to the south-southeast. My opinion the Traveler is sensitive on FM, but could be more selective.

📶 📶 📶

In my first post about the Traveler, I complained about the manual. Playing with the radio, I have an additional complaint about the manual. The manual explains how to save a channel to memory, but it is not clear when it comes to explaining how to recall what you saved to memory. I spent about 15 minutes one night trying to figure out how to do it. Here's how:

Assuming you have saved channels to memory:

1. Short press the VF/VM STEP button until the display reads "PRESET"

2. Use the TUNING control to select the saved preset channel.

Easy enough once you know how!

Friday, July 14, 2017

UFOs and 1070 kHz

On Monday, I started reading a book that I could not put down, Mark O'Connell's The Close Encounters Man. It is a biography of J. Allen Hynek and it is one of the best books, if not the best book I have ever read about UFOs (and I have read a lot of books about UFOs).

The book cleared up some of the controversies surrounding Hynek (remember "swamp gas") and it gave me a better understanding about the man. It also revealed that Hynek was a ham radio operator. (Anybody know his call sign?)

I finished the book last night, but before I went to bed, I wanted to give my new radio the "1070 test." So I took my Eton Grundig Executive Traveler outdoors and tuned to 1070.

I heard nothing initially, but turning the radio 360° horizontally and vertically, I found a spot where I could hear a very weak station playing music. The station was too weak to identify, but I imagine that some nights, conditions will be better and an ID would be possible.

Anyway, the new radio passed the "1070 test."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Traveling Executively

I need another radio like another hole in my head, so I had no intention of buying another, but Woot made me an offer I could not refuse: a $90 Eton Grundig Executive Traveler for only $52 (sales tax and shipping included).

Woot has great deals and over the years, I have been a good customer, but I do not recall them ever offering a hobbyist type radio. So when this deal came along, I had to investigate especially since I was not familiar with this particular model.

I searched the Internet for reviews and found one by Jay Allen, who claimed that the Executive Traveler "offers the best AM reception I have seen yet in this size and price category among DSP equipped designs."

Note that Jay's review was published in September 2015, so that statement may not be true two years later, but that made no difference to me. Besides a hot AM receiver, the radio had other features that I found attractive (like RDS on FM) and I was sold.

I ordered the radio on June 30 and it arrived yesterday. I immediately opened the box, installed four AA batteries and began playing radio.

AM reception was excellent. Wall-to-wall stations from one end of the band to the other. After hearing stations from all over eastern halves of Canada and the USA, I performed the 1070 test.

It is very difficult to hear anything much on 1070 with 50,000 watt's of WTIC on 1080, 12 miles from house. I have logged six stations on 1070, four with a C.Crane CC Skywave and two with an ELAD FDM-S2/SW2. Nothing with my other radios and unless conditions are exceptional, nothing with the Skywave or FDM-S2/SW2. Conditions were decent last night, but the Executive Traveler heard nothing but WTIC's slop on 1070. Trying to give my new radio the once over, I only listened once on 1070, so I will try a few more times tonight.

I concentrated on AM last night and only listened briefly on FM, LW and SW, so I will spend more time on those bands before I say anything, but the AM performance is pretty pretty good.

I do have two complaints.

Evidently, English was not the first language of the writer of the radio's manual and some of the instructions require repeated reading to figure out what's what. The description for setting the local and world clocks was particularly muddy (to me) and it took a half dozen attempts before I figured out how to set the clocks correctly.

The other negative is that the labels of the various buttons and controls are too small for my 66-year-old eyes, but that is a personal problem and I am sure younger whippersnappers will not have a problem reading the labels.

I will have more to say in my next post.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Five New Ones

Vintage WFMD verification letter Bob Schmarder's Old Time Radio DX Page

After a very slow spring, I finally logged some new LW/MW/AM stations.

📶   WCCM (0400 UTC June 14) on 1570 kc transmitting 140 W from Methuen, Massachusetts, 115 miles to the northeast.

📶   LW (0242 UTC June 28) navigational beacon on 402 kc transmitting from Lawrence, Massachusetts, 113 miles to the northeast.

📶   WRNJ (0400 UTC July 1) on 1510 kc transmitting 230 W from Hackettstown, New Jersey, 113 miles to the west-southwest. This logging was possible due to the shutdown of Boston's WMEX.

📶   WNRI (0500 UTC July 7) on 1380 kc transmitting 18 W from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 80 miles to the east-northeast.

📶   WFMD (0500 UTC July 7) on 930 kc transmitting 2500 W from Frederick, Maryland, 282 miles to the west-southwest.

All were heard on my ELAD FDM-S2/FDM-SW2 receiver and 80-meter inverted Vee antenna.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2CSC Television Network

Atlas Obscura posted an interesting article about the history of the television network of Allen Dumont, 2CSC.

"Before getting into the broadcast game, DuMont Laboratories, the company of inventor and TV tech pioneer and Allen B. DuMont, was known for being one of the first firms to manufacture television equipment. Launching their own content factory to fill the screens it was selling must have seemed like a no-brainer.

"In the late 1930s, DuMont began experimenting with small TV stations in the New York and Washington, D.C. metro areas. Eventually, they all came together as the DuMont Network, which was officially created in August of 1946. By comparison, NBC and CBS launched around 1940-41, and ABC came on the scene around 1948, putting DuMont smack in the middle of the dawn of television programming."

Read the rest of the story here.