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It is high time to register to this year’s EDXC Conference which will be held in Tampere, Finland on 18-20 August organized by the Finnish DX Association.
We have already received about 30 registrations from abroad and registration of the Finnish participants will also activate these days. Altogether we expect to have a participation of 120-150. This meeting will most probably be the last big DX and shortwave meeting in Europe, so don’t miss it!
We are working hard to have a comprehensive conference program. A new version has just been updated to the conference website http://www.sdxl.fi/edxc2017. More details will be added later, when some still tentative sessions have been confirmed.
A tour to the beautiful Finnish Lapland will follow after the conference for those interested. We do have already a good list for tentative participants of the tour, but the possibility to join the tour will still be open for 10 days, so if you want to join it, act quickly. After 26 of May we will make a final decision on how the tour will be done and what the costs will be.
Conference registrations, tour inquiries and all questions are welcome to rv at sdxl dot com.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gary DeBock, who shares the following notes and recordings from an Ultralight DXpedition in Kona, Hawaii:
April 2017 Kona, Hawaii Ultralight DXpedition
The first long-range test of a “Frequent Flyer” FSL Antenna
By Gary DeBock, Puyallup, WA, USA April 2017
Ever since the U.K.’s Graham Maynard published his innovative article about the “Ferrite Sleeve” antenna in early 2011 an enthusiastic group of DXers and tinkerers has continually refined and upgraded the design, with most of them going in the pursuit of maximum possible gain. Monster FSL models were designed with weights of up to 38 pounds (17 kg), and considering the size, weight and subversive appearance of the typical model, the general assumption was that this new type of antenna was highly unsuitable for air travel, since it would send airport security personnel into a serious panic.
This situation continued for a full 6 years, during which the FSL antenna became a star performer in the related new niche of ocean cliff transoceanic DXing. But was there another possible application for the antenna’s compact performance advantage? What if a very lightweight, high-performing model could be designed which would not only provide a huge boost in DXing gain, but fit inside a hand-carry suitcase, and routinely pass airport security screening inspections around the world? This was a tough design challenge, but well worth the effort if successful!
Since the new antenna would need the maximum possible performance for its small, lightweight size, the use of the Russian surplus 100mm x 20mm x 3mm ferrite bars was mandatory. Every possible effort would be used to make the antenna as compact and lightweight as possible, although the choice of the highest-sensitivity 1162/46 Litz wire was critical for best performance. The PVC frame would be shrunk down to the smallest practical size. Finally, in a major experimental effort here over the winter season, the first of the new 5 inch (127mm) “Frequent Flyer” FSL’s became a reality. The finished antenna had a very non-subversive appearance, and could fit inside a custom-sized plastic tote within a hand-carry suitcase. Most importantly, it could still deliver a serious amount of inductive coupling gain– roughly similar to that provided by a 4 foot (1.22m) air core box loop, but with the advantage of somewhat lower noise reception.
Because the Russian surplus 100mm x 20mm x 3mm ferrite bars are extremely scarce (without any current supply source) only five of these original “Frequent Flyer” models would be made, although alternative models using the commonly available 140mm x 8mm ferrite rods were also designed. These antennas would be somewhat heavier and larger, but these “Baby FSL” ferrite rod models could be easily assembled from parts available on eBay, fit inside the hand-carry suitcases, and still deliver a lot of DXing performance (while routinely passing airport security screening). Finally, an economic model using the commonly available 62mm x 12mm x 4mm Russian surplus ferrite bars was also designed. This lightweight FSL can be constructed for around $65 US, and can still provide a serious DXing gain boost to a stock Ultralight radio. For want of better terms, these three classes of “Frequent Flyer” FSL antennas are called the “first class,” the “business class” and “coach class” models, with FSL sensitivity scores (ferrite length x coil diameter) of 585, 490 and 300 respectively.
From April 9-12 a Mini-DXpedition was conducted on a 6th floor oceanfront room at the Royal Kona Resort Motel in Kona, Hawaii. This was the first of many long-range DXing trips based upon the performance boost provided by the compact new antenna– which was specifically designed to easily pass through airport TSA security checkpoints. A 5 inch (127mm) “Frequent Flyer” FSL antenna was packed inside a matched-size plastic tote within a hand-carry suitcase, and breezed through TSA security screening in both the Seattle and Kona airports (without even a single question ever being asked). This was one of the “first class” Frequent Flyer models described previously, and was used to boost DX station gain on a 7.5″ loopstick C.Crane “Skywave” Ultralight radio. This combination was effective enough to track down many exotic Pacific Island stations (540, 621, 1440, etc.) at S9 levels during transmitter-site sunset skip propagation into Kona, as well as Asian TP-DX of varying strength around local sunrise.
This Kona trip was primarily designed as an anniversary celebration with my wife, so before we took off I had (somewhat reluctantly) agreed that DXing would have a secondary priority to sightseeing over the four days. Because of this there were many frequencies that could not be investigated in Kona, but I knew very well which Pacific island stations were tough challenges in both North America and Japan, and I was determined to go after them with a vengeance. 540, 621 and 1440 would all receive serious attention in Kona– not because they were great challenges in Hawaii, but because most DXers in both North America and Japan needed all possible information about them if they were to have any chance of reception at all. Besides this I was eager to try my long-range luck chasing exotic Asians around local sunrise with the innovative FSL antenna, but I knew that east-west propagation was almost totally dependent upon solar activity– and as it turned out both the A and K indexes shot up after our arrival.
Overall the Kona MW propagation to the Pacific islands was exceptional around local midnight (as expected), but the sunrise propagation was somewhat challenging for long range Asians. Perhaps the biggest success of this entire trip was the interest and excitement that the “Frequent Flyer” FSL antenna series (the major experimental project here this past winter) has inspired among DXers who routinely travel to foreign countries and other faraway venues. As I write this Craig Barnes of Wheat Ridge, Colorado is conducting his own 5 inch “Frequent Flyer” FSL- based DXpedition to Hawaii. Good luck, Craig!
[Note: a selection of audio files have been embedded in the post below, but all audio is available to download and stream via the links provided.]
531 6DL? Dalwallinu, Australia Presumably the one with the same-sounding announcer and program as the one on 630-4QN at the time (at 1547 on 4-9; see MP3 for 630-4QN), but it didn’t seem to be exactly parallel (maybe a time zone delay?)
540 2AP Apia, Western Samoa This station features a lot of Samoan music (with both male and female announcers), and dominates the frequency in Kona at night as long as it transmits. Unfortunately it doesn’t follow the listed PAL sign off time of 1000, but runs past this time routinely, which made it tough to track down an exact sign off time during my limited sessions. My guess is that it signs off sometime between 1030 and 1100. The following MP3 is of S9+ level Samoan Christian worship music at 0931 on 4-9. This overwhelming signal was one of the most awesome recorded during the entire DXpedition:
558 Radio Fiji One Suva, Fiji Somewhat of an underperformer considering its South Pacific location and (nominal) 10 kW power level. My guess is that the station has some transmitter and/ or antenna issues. Here is some fair level male speech with island music at 1001 on 4-9, which was the strongest signal it managed during the entire trip
621 3RN Melbourne, Australia This LR network station would start to fade in just when Radio Tuvalu was about to sign off (around 1000), although it never provided any serious competition for the exotic station. This MP3 was made just after Tuvalu’s sign off at 1006 on 4-9
621 Radio Tuvalu Funafuti, Tuvalu A very tough station to track down on the mainland, but certainly a “piece of cake” in Kona. Routinely has sign off at 1003 UTC, preceded by island choral music and the national anthem (sung by the same choral group). Around 0950 a female announcer begins the routine by giving a monolog news broadcast about 5 minutes long, typically followed by an island music song right before the fixed 5-minute sign off routine. The latter two features are included in the following 8 minute recording (at near S9 strength) made at 0955 on April 10
The usual female announcer with her 5 minute news broadcast at near S9 strength at 0955 prior to the sign off routine on April 11. The lady giving the correct pronunciation for “Tuvalu” is at the 11 second point
630 4QN Townsville, Australia This 50 kW station was far and away the strongest Australian signal heard throughout the trip. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the same time zone as fellow LR network stations on 531 and 558 in Western Australia, making parallel checks seem dubious. Here is a typical signal at 1543 on 4-9
657 Pyongyang BS Pyongyang, N. Korea This bizarre station was far and away the strongest Asian heard during the trip– almost like it was a South Pacific semi-local. When solar activity cooled off it could blast in with serious power, such as at 1555 on 4-9
693 UnID-TP This mystery signal showed up at 1604 on 4-9, after NHK2 (JOAB) sign off. Obviously there is male speech and some kind of backup music at various times, but I’m totally unfamiliar with stations on this frequency (except for JOAB). Any hints or suggestions? This station only showed up on 4-9; rising solar activity brought in only 690-Honolulu splatter on the other three days
1035 Newstalk ZB Wellington, NZ Received late in sunrise enhancement at 1611 on 4-12, this was a rather modest signal from the Kiwi big gun, which never seemed to get anywhere close to its Oregon cliff strength during the entire trip
1098 V7AB Radio Marshalls Majuro, Marshall Islands One of the regular Pacific island stations received in Kona, and one of the best bets for Mainland reception. The frequency has very little QRM, although Newstalk ZB could be weakly received in between the island music songs after around 0900.
Strong island music at 0955 on 4-9 (its best performance during the trip)
1440 Radio Kiribati Bairiki, Kiribati Because of its domestic frequency this obscure station is another of the toughest Pacific island stations (and countries) to receive on the Mainland, but some very helpful identity clues were discovered in Kona (where the station is a breeze to hear). The station routinely signs off at 0936 UTC each evening, with a very loud 1000 Hz audio tone right before it cuts power. The sign off routine includes station ID’s in both the local language and English around 0932 prior to the choral music national anthem, although because of her heavy accent the fact that the female announcer is talking in English might well go unnoticed. The full sign off routine is included in the following MP3, preceded by an Island music number (during which a 1440 Spanish pest attempts a run on the frequency, only to be immediately drowned out)
The American country music format can be heard prior to the 4-bong time signal.
Prior to the sign off routine this station also uses its female announcer to give a final news update (like 621-Tuvalu). This recording is of such a news update at 0925 on 4-11, with several mentions made of the American president
1566 HLAZ Jeju, S. Korea Fairly regular with its Chinese Christian service around 1530 each morning in Kona, but never at very great strength (possibly due to unfavorable solar activity). Here at 1609 on 4-9 it is the music station playing the Chinese version of “I Would Rather Have Jesus,” in a mix with the (presumed) Mainland Chinese Yanbian Jammer
1566 Yanbian, China (Presumed location, Jammer) Because of Chinese inflection this is the apparent co-channel of HLAZ in the same recording at 1609 on 4-9; it was also received at 1600 on 4-10 with Chinese 5+1 time pips (thanks to Chris Kadlec for his assessment)
Hi there, subscribers to the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel and regular readers of this excellent website will be aware that I have been using a Bonito Boni whip E-field wideband antenna for a couple of months now. You may have seen my previous post here, detailing some excellent initial DX results achieved with the Boni Whip. What makes this antenna so compelling for a DXer such as myself is simply that it’s so light and compact; I can literally take it anywhere. Currently it lives in a small flight case (see above & below) on the back seat of my car, with either my Sony ICF-SW55 or Eton Satellit, a home-brew battery pack (that literally cost pence) and some peripheral bits and pieces; spare batteries, cables etc. I think it’s probably already clear that if you consider the Boni Whip’s performance as a function of portability and price, it’s out there on its own – I’m not aware of another antenna that can match it. Of course, there are H-field antennas, such as the excellent Wellbrook active loops that will effectively reject QRM, if that’s an issue for the user, but at a significant cost delta.
Since my last posting, I have continued to use the Boni Whip regularly on my DXpeditions and upload the reception videos to my YouTube channel. I have been nothing but totally impressed with this antenna, to the point that I’ve actually been surprised by the signals I’ve caught and recorded with it. Recent catches include a number of low-power stations from Brazil, including Radio Bandeirantes – Sao Paolo, Radio Voz Missionaria – Camboriu (on the 49 and 31 metre broadcast bands) and Radio Aparecida. Some of these signals are incredibly difficult to hear in Europe at all, let alone well and yet the ultra-compact Boni-Whip running off AA batteries, coupled to the (equally brilliant) Eton Satellit managed it with aplomb. Other catches include Zambia NBC Radio 1 – Lusaka and a signal from Bangladesh Betar that sounded as if the transmitter was 5 miles down the road!
All-in-all, I’m extremely satisfied with the performance of the Bonito Boni Whip and highly recommend it to those DXers requiring a high-performance, compact antenna, for use at home in electrically quiet environments or on any DXpedition. You certainly won’t be disappointed.
Please find embedded reception videos below and text links that will take you to the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel. Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX.
Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.
Many thanks to Adrian Korol, at RAE, for sharing the following update from Actualidad DX:
ACTUALIDAD DX.COM.AR brings you the latest news of the radio world, the short waves, the media, the telecommunications, the DX, the ham radio and the digital context every week. A production of RAE Argentina to the world, edited by Arnaldo Slaen
ACTUALIDAD DX.COM.AR No. 3
Greetings dear friends of Actualidad DX.com.ar, the DXing program about DXing, broadcasting media and new technologies that airs every week through RAE-Argentina to the World, the International Short Wave Station of the Argentine Republic.
We remind you that you can send your reception reports, suggestions, criticisms and comments to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also invite you to contact us via traditional mail, to RAE Argentina to the World, PO Box 555, Post Code 1000, BA, Argentina.
RAE Argentina al Mundo keeps on incorporating new technologies and has now a new channel: AUDIONOW, that allows our listeners to follow our programs via their phones, at the cost of an local phone call.
AUDIONOW is a system to connect stations with their audiences in far-off places, as an alternative to SW and internet. In the specific case of the US, online listening is made only where there’s Wi Fi networks near, since 4G and 3G services don’t have flat-price data plans, but they do have flat-price plans for phone calls.
This radio-over-phone instrument is already used by other international broadcasters such as BBC, VOA, Radio Francia Internacional, Deutsche Welle, and the UN radio station.
On this first stage, RAE Argentina to the World will work with Audionow in English and Spanish for listeners in the US who will be able to tune in on our full hour-long programs or on our news bulletins.
Arrangements are being made to bring this option to Mexico and Canada in North America and Brazil in South America.
There’s the intention also of including football broadcasts.
And we kick off with SW hearings.
La Oesterreichischer Rundfunk, was picked up by transmitters in Moosbrun, Austria
0500-0620 en 6155 khz con 300 kW in German for the west of Europe, from Mondays to Fridays.
0500-0615 en 6155 khz also in German for western Europe, on Saturdays and Sundays.
From the same transmitting site, religious broadcaster FEBA goes on the air, between 0800-0830 on 15260 KHZ with 100KW in Arabic.
Also from Moosbrun, Austria, Radio DARC, broadcasts only on Sundays, between 0900-1000 UTC on 6070 khz con 100 kW in German.
Only the first Sunday of every month and always from Moosbrun, Radio JOystick can be picked up between 1000 and 1100 on 7330 khz, with 100 kW for Europe in German.
Now we share some news for the A17 broadcasting period by WCB-Madagascar World Voice.
Between 0200 and 0400, on its new frequency of 6190KHZ with 100KW, aimed at SOuth America in Spanish, with a program called “The Happy Voice”.
Between 0300-0400 on 15515 KHZ with 100KW for Southeast Asia with English-language program “African Pathways Radio”.
Between 1900 and 2000 on 9820 KHZ with 100KW in Russian for Eastern Europe, with a program generated by its sister station “KNLS New Life Station”.
Now we have more news from Argentina.
The Culture Secretary of La Rioja province, Víctor Robledo, together with other officials of the provincial administration met Cristian Arrieta, the delegate from the ENACOM, Communications Board.
The provincial secretariat had requested the federal authorities for an FM broadcasting license, to set up a public radio that broadcasts culture-related news.
We move on now to an international SW broadcaster, China International Radio proposed Sputnik China to create a joint brand, according to what was informed by Dmitri Kiseliov, director general of the Rossiya Segodnya, .media group
In addition, a project called “Russia and China on the Silk Road”, organized by both groups began last October.
25 journalists from both nations will visit the main stages of the New Silk Road between the cities of Xi’an and Urumchi.
And back to Latin America to visit Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian House of Culture reported that the Telecom Watchdog Agency, Arcotel, assigned an FM broadcasting licence to them.
Arcotel granted the entity the 100.9 frequency, with enough range to cover the province of Pichincha. The new station will be called Culture FM.
Pérez underlined the importance of getting the licence, something the House of Culture had been working for years. They already run an AM station, House of Culture Radio, that’s been on the air for almost 70 years, and is one of the forerunners in the field of cultural broadcasting in the country.
According to Pérez Torres, Culture FM will aim at contributing to the cultural enhancemente of Ecuadorians, bringing them closer to Latin America and the world.
Proaño, expects the station becomes a reference in culture for the country.
Let’s continue with the Americas. Now, Panamá.
The Panamanian National Authority of Public Services held two public hearings that seek to establish the reach and benefit for the population of granting Radio Licences Class B (non-proffit broadcasting) to the State-Ran SERTV broadcasting service and the Catholic Faith Radio Promotion Foundation.
During the hearings, which are part of the process the entity carries out every two years to assign FM licences, legal representatives of both organizations presented their arguments to obtain concession of the broadcasting rights, underlining they wanted them exclusively for divulging issues that strengthen national culture, democracy and transparency in public administration.
Moving on now to Venezuela, where various stations have closed down in the region of Yaracuy, because they were allegedly in violation of the law, and hadn’t met legal requirements to remain on the air.
The CONATEL telecom watchdog agency establishes that broadcasting is suspended until they meet the legal requirements.
These are the stations that were removed from the airwaves by the Venezuelan authorities: Yara 104.3, K-ndela 90.3, Más Network 98.9, Shaddai 101.9, Mix 98.3 y Criollísima 104.9, all of them FM stations.
Rumbera Network 106.5 was mentioned as one of the potential broadcasters in problems, but the station’s management dismissed this rumour, and explained they were off the air due to a broken transmitter that was fixed already.
When CONATEL inspectors visited the area of Nirgua, they closed down La Reina 96.7 FM, Agua Viva 90.3 FM y Tentación 90.9 FM. and also Divertida 104.7 FM, Sabor 89.9 FM, Auténtica 97.1 FM y Urbana 102.9 FM.
And the final part of our program is dedicated to cinema and radio.
Radio didn’t only revolutionize the telecommunications sector. It also enabled journalism and entertainment to explore new fields.
Therefore, the world of waves and transistors has generated a world of its own that has been depicted on various films. On the occasion of marking the World Radio Day, Non Stop People has prepared a clip reviewing the main radio-related films.
A highlight of the list is Good Morning Vietnam, of 1987, starring Robin Williams. The movie is a criticism of political correctness. The role of the radio presenter is key in other features such as Talking To Death of Lonely in the Night. Then, there’s also Radio Stories and Radio Days, that shows the effect the medium had on people’s day-to-day lives.
Not close to a radio receiver or internet? Now those who live in the US can listen to RAE-Argentina to the World live calling 641.552.8099 from any telephone, with no additional cost per call.
Call 641.552.8099 and listen to news and content by RAE – Argentina to the World. Save the number on your phone.
If you have friends and family in the US who enjoy being in touch with Argentine current affairs, tell them they can call 641.552.8099 and listen to RAE – Argentina to the World from any mobile phone.
The best part is that there’s no additional cost for the call when one calls from the US.
Hi there, if you’re a subscriber to the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel, you will be aware that I have been using a Wellbrook ALA1530 H field antenna, for 15 months or so, with (at times) excellent results. A while back I was on the lookout for a second antenna, however at more than £250, I couldn’t justify purchasing a second Wellbrook. Ultimately I splashed out on the Bonito Boni whip E-field wideband active antenna (20 kHz to 300 MHz) and with a very compact form-factor suitable for DXpeditions/portable operation in general, the Boni whip definitely ticked all the boxes. Furthermore, with reasonable second and third order intercept points of +55 and +32.5 dBm respectively, the Boni whip, on paper at least, looked like a pretty good buy at around £100.
Initial testing at home confirmed, perhaps not surprisingly that the Boni whip could not match the SNR provided by the Wellbrook ALA1530 in a noisy, urban environment. However, less predictably, the Boni whip has proven to be a truly excellent antenna away from the ubiquitous blanket of ‘electrosmog’ at my QTH. Furthermore, it really is so compact, I simply leave it in the car in a small flight case, with a portable and connectors etc. for ad-hoc listening sessions. Since returning from my most recent trip to Brazil, I have had a chance to review my most recent catches with the Boni whip, some of which are realy pleasing and most definitely underline the excellent performance of this diminutive antenna. In particular, signals from Radio RB2 on 11935 kHz and Radio Aparecida on 11855 kHz, both low power Brazilian stations, are testament to how sensitive the Boni whip is in an electrically quiet environment. Check out also the quality of longwave signals from Poland and the Czech Republic – simply amazing for such a physically short antenna. Finally, there’s a personal first from Lusaka, Zambia, Voice of Hope Africa on 13680 kHz. All the more rewarding that this was actually copied in my work office!
I hope you found this article interesting. There are embedded reception videos below and text links for all, which will take you directly to the relevant video on the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel. Thank you for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all excellent DX!
Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.