Wednesday, 17 January 2018

At The Dials

Courtesy

A recent never-ending series of equipment breakdowns, repairs, computer software problems, along with everyday household duties, has kept me away from blogging longer than usual.

However, the recent arrival of a fresh 'off the press' 2018 World Radio Television Handbook (WRTH) has really augmented my rekindled interest in what initially hooked me on the magic of radio ... tuning around the international shortwave bands.

The last time I purchased a WRTH was more than 40 years ago, but other than the information between its covers, the book still looks much the same as it did back in the good old days. There is a lot to digest in this book and although it's likely that a lot of it could be found on the Internet, it would probably take weeks of sleuthing to find it ... there is just a ton of valuable information here to accommodate the varied interests of radio fanatics.

As always, the first section of the book is devoted to technical articles or equipment reviews with the remainder being a quick-find reference guide of maps, frequency lists, broadcast schedules and mailing / e-mail contact info for those that like to gather QSLs. At 672 pages, the WRTH is a valuable tool in your listening arsenal and well worth the cost.

I often read comments on various reflectors of just how few international shortwave stations there are and that tuning through the bands often reveals little to be heard. There is no question that the number of SW stations on the air today is much less than it was a few decades ago, but there are still a huge number of stations to target throughout the various SW bands and a lot of DX challenges yet to be found on the international bands.

For example, one such challenge comes to mind for west coast DXers ... and that is India. Signals on any band, from India to western Canada, have always been difficult. All India Radio (AIR) has 22 shortwave transmitters, operating from a half-dozen different sites ... hearing all sites from here on the various bands would keep one pretty busy for some time. To make it even more interesting, AIR still responds to listener reception reports with a QSL ... and who doesn't like a real 'paper' QSL!

Here is a quick tune through the 31m SW band this morning, at around 10:20 a.m. local time, on my FT-1000mp Mark V and 40m half-sloper. Although approaching the lowest part of a very poor solar cycle (Cycle 24, the weakest in the past 100 years), witness the activity on a day of very poor HF propagation ... there are still a good number of signals to seek out.


With the present low solar flux, it's usually the lower SW bands that really come to life, with the bands bursting with signals from shortly before sunset, into the dawn.

In addition to the WRTH, there are several great reference sites on the Internet as well as some wonderfully helpful blogs devoted to SW radio listening.

Here are the sites I find myself returning to quite often:

Yahoo Group's Primetimeshortwave
Worldwide DX Club News 
Eibi Shortwave Time / Frequency Schedules
Shortwave Info
Hard-Core-DX Daily News

Blogs:

Mount Eveyln DX Report 
The SWLing Post 
Bulgarian DX Blog 
South East Asia DXing 

There are probably more but these ones are good. In addition, there are a lot of great Facebook sites that deal with SW radio, and much interesting discussion is available there via a quick search.

Now it's back to the repair bench to hopefully finish everything off for some time, but maybe you can find a few spare hours to have a closer listen to the international SW bands and see what you can dig up.

           SHORTWAVE BROADCAST BANDS

                          2300 -  2495   120m      
                          3200 -  3400     90m      
                          3900 -  4000     75m      
                          4750 -  5060     60m      
                          5850 -  6200     49m      
                          7100 -  7350     41m      
                          9400 -  9900     31m      
                       11600 - 12050     25m      
                       13570 - 13800     22m     
                       15100 - 15800     19m     
                       17480 - 17900     16m     
                       18900 - 19020     15m     
                       21450 - 21850     13m     
                       25600 - 26100     11m

Monday, 8 January 2018

CLE 226 / CLE 227 NDB Listening Event Results

 
CLE 226 and CLE 227, both running during the Christmas to New Year period, produced some excellent propagation on the MF NDB band in most parts of the world.


With the Sun behaving itself and acting more as it should for this time of the cycle, even the high latitude prop-challenged southwestern region of British Columbia enjoyed unusually good propagation. In fact, the night of January 1st was probably the best propagation I have seen on the NDB band in several years!

That night was particularly good to the east resulting in my first logging of a New Jersey NDB ... 50 watt RNB at Millville, on 363kHz.


In keeping with the Christmas spirit, CLE 226 was a north 'polar' event, with NDB's within the Arctic Circle being the targets.

Being away from home for several days, I missed out on the first four nights and got started on December 29th, but over the next few nights heard the following polar stations:

Map courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/

02 14:00 281.0 VIR Barrow, ALS
02 15:00 356.0 HHM Kotzebue, ALS
02 15:30 391.0 EAV Bettles, ALS

30 03:00 254.0 EV Inuvik, NT, CAN
30 05:00 361.0 HI Holman, NT, CAN
30 10:00 380.0 YUB Tuktoyaktuk, NT, CAN

01 10:00 241.0 YGT Igloolik, NU, CAN
30 12:00 245.0 CB Cambridge Bay, NU, CAN
30 06:00 263.0 YBB Kugaaruk, NU, CAN
30 07:00 335.0 YUT Repulse Bay, NU, CAN
30 10:00 350.0 RB Resolute Bay, NU, CAN
01 10:00 365.0 YGZ Grise Fiord, NU, CAN
30 10:00 372.0 YCO Coppermine, NU, CAN

Here is the Cambridge Bay NDB (CB) on 245kHz. As well, the much weaker Gore Bay, Ontario NDB (YZE) can be heard underneath.


The second half of the event, CLE 227, was a 'bearing' event, where each listener picked one bearing from their location and logged NDBs (10 maximum) in countries or states that were located or touched on that bearing.

Since the normal propagation from my location favors the southeast, I chose a bearing of 107 degrees. This bearing passes through BC, WA, ID, MT, WY, NE, SD, KS, MO, AL, AR, TN, MS, GA, FL, BAH and BRAZIL, giving me a lot of possible coverage. As the propagation favored the east as well, I might just as well picked one that went through the Great Lakes and the eastern provinces. As it turned out, beacons were heard in most of my chosen regions except for the Bahamas.

Great Circle Map courtesy: https://ns6t.net/azimuth/azimuth.html
Further illustrating just how good conditions were, three NDBs in Brazil were heard here, my first ever loggings from that country.

02 07:00 220.0 TUI Tucurui (PA), BRA
02 07:00 360.0 JAC Jacare-a-Canga (PA), BRA
02 07:00 520.0 BHZ Belo Horizonte - Pampulha Apt, BRA

ALABAMA
02 07:00 224.0 BH Birmingham, AL, USA

ARKANSAS
30 07:00 335.0 BV Batesville, AR, USA
30 08:00 352.0 VM Board Camp, AR, USA
30 08:00 353.0 LI Little Rock, AR, USA
02 06:00 385.0 HO Hempwallace, AR, USA

BRITISH COLUMBIA
30 15:30 200.0 YJ Sidney Island, BC, CAN
30 15:30 203.0 YBL Campbell River, BC, CAN
01 08:00 230.0 YD Smithers, BC, CAN
30 15:30 242.0 ZT Port Hardy, BC, CAN
30 15:30 248.0 ZZP Queen Charlotte Is, BC, CAN
30 15:30 257.0 LW Kelowna, BC, CAN
30 10:00 261.0 D6 Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, CAN
30 15:30 278.0 1U Masset, BC, CAN
30 15:30 326.0 XJ Fort St. John, BC, CAN
30 15:30 378.0 AP Mayne Island, BC, CAN

FLORIDA
01 10:00 257.0 SQT Melbourne, FL, USA
02 07:00 260.0 MTH Marathon, FL, USA
29 09:00 326.0 PKZ Pensacola, FL, USA
29 09:00 332.0 FIS Key West, FL, USA
30 07:00 344.0 JA Dinnsmore, FL, USA

Here is something not often heard. See if you can copy the three beacons all on 333kHz ... FIS in Tampa, Florida, POA in Pahoa, Hawaii and VVV in Ortonville, Minnesota.



GEORGIA
02 07:00 362.0 SUR Fitzgerald, GA, USA
02 07:00 385.0 EMR Augusta, GA, USA
01 07:00 426.0 IZS Montezuma, GA, USA

IDAHO
02 07:00 211.0 HDG Gooding, ID, USA
02 07:00 220.0 HLE Hailey, ID, USA
02 07:00 264.0 SZT Sandpoint Apt, ID, USA
02 07:00 324.0 ID Ucon, ID, USA
02 07:00 350.0 SWU Id Falls, ID, USA
02 07:00 359.0 BO Ustick, ID, USA
02 08:00 383.0 PI Pocatello, ID, USA
02 07:00 389.0 TW Twin Falls, ID, USA

KANSAS
30 09:00 341.0 OIN Oberlin, KS, USA
30 07:00 356.0 PTT Pratt, KS, USA
02 08:00 377.0 EHA Elkhart, KS, USA
02 08:00 380.0 OEL Oakley, KS, USA
02 09:00 386.0 SYF St. Francis, KS, USA
02 09:00 395.0 ULS Ulysses, KS, USA
02 09:00 395.0 CA Newton, KS, USA
02 07:00 408.0 JDM Colby, KS, USA
02 07:00 419.0 GB Great Bend, KS, USA
02 10:00 420.0 PK Olathe, KS, USA

MISSOURI
01 07:00 281.0 DMO Sedalia, MO, USA
01 08:00 338.0 LM St Charles, MO, USA
01 08:00 344.0 JL Joplin, MO, USA
30 08:00 388.0 GLY Clinton, MO, USA
01 09:00 400.0 TRX Trenton, MO, USA

MISSISSIPPI
02 07:00 349.0 GW Greenwood, MS, USA
02 07:00 388.0 HAH Adams, MS, USA
02 07:00 420.0 TU Tupelo, MS, USA
02 07:00 426.0 UV Oxford, MS, USA

MONTANA
02 06:00 236.0 FOR Forsyth, MT, USA
02 07:00 266.0 BZ Bozeman, MT, USA
02 09:00 283.0 SCO Scobey, MT, USA
02 15:30 286.0 EKS Ennis, MT, USA
01 08:00 344.0 BKU Baker, MT, USA
01 10:00 347.0 SBX Shelby, MT, USA
02 09:00 386.0 HAU Helena, MT, USA
02 07:00 414.0 LYI Libby, MT, USA

NEBRASKA
30 07:00 275.0 HIN Chadron, NE, USA
30 07:00 329.0 PMV Plattsmouth, NE, USA
30 07:00 347.0 AFK Nebraska City, NE, USA
30 07:00 356.0 ODX Ord, NE, USA
30 07:00 362.0 CD Chadron, NE, USA
30 07:00 383.0 CNP Chappell, NE, USA
30 09:00 389.0 CSB Cambridge Muni, NE, USA
30 07:00 392.0 FMZ Fairmont, NE, USA
30 07:00 400.0 AHQ Wahoo, NE, USA
30 08:00 414.0 GRN Gordon, NE, USA

SOUTH DAKOTA
30 09:00 245.0 FS Sioux Falls, SD, USA
30 09:00 335.0 BK Brookings, SD, USA

TENNESSEE
02 10:00 263.0 DYQ Greeneville, TN, USA
02 07:00 335.0 CK Clarksville, TN, USA
02 07:00 341.0 CQN Chattanooga, TN, USA
02 08:00 371.0 FQW Murfreesboro, TN, USA
02 08:00 394.0 MK Jackson, TN, USA

WASHINGTON
01 15:30 216.0 GRF Fort Lewis, WA, USA
01 14:00 284.0 FHR Friday Harbor, WA, USA
01 08:00 328.0 LAC Fort Lewis, WA, USA
30 07:00 338.0 K Port Angeles, WA, USA
01 15:30 353.0 AL Dixie, WA, USA
30 07:00 362.0 BF Seattle, WA, USA
01 15:30 371.0 YK Yakima, WA, USA
01 15:30 382.0 AW Marysville, WA, USA
01 15:30 408.0 MW Moses Lake, WA, USA
01 15:30 515.0 CL Cresent Beach, WA, USA

WYOMING
01 10:00 257.0 HCY Cowley, WY, USA
30 08:00 280.0 GYZ Guernsey, WY, USA
02 06:00 344.0 POY Powell, WY, USA
30 08:00 375.0 CP Casper, WY, USA
02 09:00 380.0 GC Gillette, WY, USA
01 10:00 392.0 PNA Wenz, WY, USA

As usual, my receiver of choice was the Perseus SDR in combination with my MF inverted-L, tuned to 300kHz. After listening to many hours of NDB recordings during the event, I was hearing CW coming from all sorts of things in the house, including the ceiling fan and the washing machine for the next several days!

More information on this particular CLE as well as NDB listening in general can be found at the NDB List website.

The very active Yahoo ndblist Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.