Category Archives: Recordings

One year with the TitanSDR

TitanSDR-VOG

Last year, I reviewed the TitanSDR Pro by the Italian manufacturer, Enablia,. I was very impressed with not only this receiver’s performance, but also its accompanying application’s user interface. I also noted in the review that the TitanSDR is pricier than many other benchmark SDRs on the market ($1380-1970 EUR) but it is, after all, essentially a military-grade SDR that has been ported to the enthusiast/ham radio market.

I’ve been using and testing updates to theTitanSDR Pro for a year now, and I continue to be just as impressed with this receiver––and, especially, with the company who manufactures it, Enablia.

TitanSDRPro-3

I wondered at the time of my initial review how supportive Enablia might turn out to be; I knew time would tell.  Since my original review last year, Enablia has been regularly updating the TitanSDR application, adding many features requested by its users.  This shows a remarkable degree of responsiveness, and I now feel safe to say that that Enablia is an exceptional manufacturer with an exceptional product.

Only recently, I received an update which added two notch filters per narrowband channel, memories that retain AGC and notch filters settings, and sessions that retain AGC settings. I understand Enablia is also preparing updates that improve upon memory management, user interface, audio defaults, as well as offering a few tweaks to the existing feature set.

Overall, Enablia developers are certainly making this signal intelligence SDR cater to the ham radio and enthusiast market even better than before.

Though I use a number of SDRs, I reach for the TitanSDR any time there are multiple-band openings since it can record spectrum and audio across the entire LW/MW/SW landscape. Unlike my other SDRs, it’s not limited to an (already generous)  2-6 MHz recording/listening window.

For example, on Thursday night I had a lot on my listening/recording plate as there were a number of band openings. I had the TitanSDR tuned to:

  • the 31 meter band,
  • the 20 meter ham radio band,
  • the 49 meter band (specifically monitoring South American stations), and even
  • the mediumwave band.

The TitanSDR was recording spectrum on the 49 meter band while I made this AF recording of the Voice of Greece on the 31 meter band (9420 kHz, starting around 00:26 UTC on April 8, 2016):

Surprisingly, all of this recording wasn’t taxing my PC, nor the TitanSDR.

The TitanSDR application is highly stable and uses resources efficiently. Indeed, in the past year, to my knowledge the TitanSDR application hasn’t crashed even once, despite my rigorous demands of it. Since it runs nearly 24/7 in my shack, on a four-year old PC (third generation i5 Win 7), that’s saying a lot.

SWLing Post reader, Tony Roper, is also a heavy TitanSDR user and recently posted this 30+ minute video demonstrating some of the TitanSDR’s new features. Note that his screen capture software produced fairly low audio, so you’ll need to turn up the volume to hear his commentary:

Click here to view on YouTube.

In short, I stand by my conclusions drawn last year in my TitanSDR review:  although pricey compared to the competition, for those who can afford the price tag, the TitanSDR is a worthy hard-core DX machine that is especially useful to need a receiver with a bullet-proof front end, to weak-signal DXers, and to radio archivists like yours truly.

Recording the final broadcast of Radio Belarus?

CommRadio-CR-1-Zoom-H2N-BBC-AntarcticaRegarding our previous post about Radio Belarus closing down, SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, reminds me that we should try to add a recording of the final broadcast to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

If you can manage to capture the final broadcast (or any of the Belarus broadcasts between now and then), please consider submitting the recordings to the archive.

Many thanks!

Steve notes the end of The Mighty KBC on 6,095 kHz

MightyKBCTruck

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve Yothment, who writes:

[Below, you’ll find] my reception report for the digital decode of the Fldigi message by Dr. Kim Elliott on The Mighty KBC (6040 kHz) Saturday night:

noname

I took Kim Elliott’s suggestion and listened to The Mighty KBC on 6095 kHz on Sunday morning using the Utwente WebSDR which receives signals in Enschede, in the Netherlands.

The Mighty KBC finished their last broadcast on 6095 kHz at 11:00AM our time. I recorded their program, but the file is big. So, attached is the last 4 minutes of their program (click here to download), as received by the WebSDR:

It’s too bad that The Mighty KBC is shutting down!

Many thanks for both your decoded message and your recorded audio, Steve! I agree: it is too bad the KBC had to shut down their 6095 kHz broadcast.

Note that The Mighty KBC will continue on their AM frequency, DAB and streaming. Check out the KBC website for details.

Bad Signals: Transmitters in need of care

China Radio International via Radio Havana Cuba

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Each morning, I enjoy listening to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz, but I’m forced to tune elsewhere due to interference when China Radio International starts broadcasting on 9,570 kHz, via Radio Havana Cuba’s relay.

Hypothetically I should be able to mitigate any adjacent interference from CRI by listening to Radio Australia’s upper sideband. But unfortunately, RHC’s transmitters spew spurious emissions a full 20 kHz on either side of their carrier. It’s most annoying.

Here’s what RHC/CRI’s 9570 kHz signal sounds like on 9560 kHz:

Here’s what my waterfall looked like when CRI signed off:

CRI-Spectrum-2Notice how clear the 35 kHz waterfall window became (that’s Radio Australia centered on 9850 kHz):CRI-SignOff

The reason for this is clear: obviously, some of RHC’s transmitters are in need of care–and they’re not the only ones.

Radio Cairo

I’ve received a number of requests from Radio Cairo to post notices about their English language broadcasts. Normally, I’m quite happy to post press releases, but in each case I’ve mentioned that their English broadcasts are almost impossible to understand. For years, RC has had a problem with AM modulation (I assume) and, to my knowledge, have never addressed it.

I’ve sent RC feedback on a number of occasions; in response, I’ve received only the inconclusive reply that they’re “looking into the situation.”

To underscore the point, on Sunday Andrea Borgnino shared the following video/audio of Radio Cairo via Twitter.

There are other broadcasters that emit messy signals, but Radio Havana Cuba and Radio Cairo are the most noticeable in my listening area. And, it seems, neither broadcaster is in any hurry to address their ongoing problems.

In Radio Cairo’s case, especially, the broadcaster is simply wasting money by attempting to broadcast a signal that can neither be received nor interpreted. It’s rather sad. Ultimately, one has to wonder why they bother to broadcast at all…

Radio Havana Cuba, China Radio International,  and Radio Cairo (among others) take note: a little care of your radio transmitters will go a long way toward increasing your listenership. 

What you can do:  Consider contacting broadcasters when when you become aware of transmitter problems. Despite RC’s notable exception, oftentimes a broadcaster may not be fully aware of the issue––thus your feedback is necessary to help correct the problem.

Radio Time Travel: Brian’s 1974 shortwave radio recording

Many thanks to SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), for the following guest post and recording.

Note that Brian could use your help to ID a few unidentified broadcasters in this recording. If you can help, please comment:


HalliDial

Shortwave Radio 1974: Canada, Argentina, Spain, West Germany, Albania, utility stations

Want to know what shortwave radio sounded like in 1974?

This 55-minute recording, recovered from a cassette, was never intended to be anything but “audio notes”: I was an 18-year-old shortwave listener who collected QSL cards from international stations, and I was tired of using a pen and a notepad to copy down details of the broadcasts. I wanted an easier way to record what I heard, and my cassette tape recorder seemed like the perfect means to accomplish that goal.

But it wasn’t. I soon discovered that it was simpler to just edit my notes as I was jotting them down — not spend time on endless searches for specific information located all over the tape. To make a long story shorter, I abandoned my “audio notes” plan after a single shortwave recording: This one.

Hallicrafters S-108 (Image: DXing.com)

Hallicrafters S-108 (Image: DXing.com)

Still, for those who want to experience the feel of sitting at a shortwave radio in the mid-1970s and slowly spinning the dial, this tape delivers. Nothing great in terms of sound quality; I was using a Hallicrafters S-108 that was outdated even at the time. And my recording “technique” involved placing the cassette microphone next to the radio speaker.
Thus, what you’ll hear is a grab bag of randomness: Major shortwave broadcasting stations from Canada, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Albania; maritime CW and other utility stations; and even a one-sided conversation involving a mobile phone, apparently located at sea. There are lengthy (even boring) programs, theme songs and interval signals, and brief IDs, one in Morse code from an Italian Navy station and another from a Department of Energy station used to track shipments of nuclear materials. And I can’t even identify the station behind every recording, including several Spanish broadcasts (I don’t speak the language) and an interview in English with a UFO book author.

The following is a guide, with approximate Windows Media Player starting times, of the signals on this recording. (Incidentally, the CBC recording was from July 11, 1974 — a date I deduced by researching the Major League Baseball scores of the previous day.)

Guide to the Recording

0:00 — CBC (Radio Canada) Northern and Armed Forces Service: News and sports.
7:51 — RAE (Radio Argentina): Sign-off with closing theme
9:14 — Department of Energy station in Belton, Missouri: “This is KRF-265 clear.”
9:17 — Interval signal: Radio Spain.
9:40 — New York Radio, WSY-70 (aviation weather broadcast)
10:22 — Unidentified station (Spanish?): Music.
10:51— Unidentified station (English): Historic drama with mention of Vice President John Adams, plus bell-heavy closing theme.
14:12 — RAI (Italy), male announcer, poor signal strength.
14:20 — Unidentified station (Spanish): Theme music and apparent ID, good signal strength.
15:16 — Unidentified station (foreign-speaking, possibly Spanish): Song, “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.”
17:00 — Deutsche Welle (The Voice of West Germany): Announcement of frequencies, theme song.
17:39 — Unidentified station (English): Interview with the Rev. Barry Downing, author of “The Bible and Flying Saucers.”
24:36 — One side of mobile telephone conversation in SSB, possibly from maritime location.
30:37 — Radio Tirana (Albania): Lengthy economic and geopolitical talk (female announcer); bad audio. Theme and ID at 36:23, sign-off at 55:03.
55:11 — Italian Navy, Rome: “VVV IDR3 (and long tone)” in Morse code.

Click here to download an MP3 of the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:


Wow–what an amazing trip back in time, Brian! Thank you for taking the time to digitize and share your recording with us.

Post Readers: If you can help Brian ID the few unidentified stations in his recording, please comment!

Note that Brian is a frequent contributor to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Click here to listen to his contributions.