Category Archives: SWLers

Antenna advice needed for field station

Paul Walker's listening post in Galena, Alaska.

Paul Walker’s listening post in Galena, Alaska.

I know you can’t cheat physics or RF and that magic pixie dust won’t work, but I’m hoping those with a little more technical expertise can help me solve an antenna dilemma.

I’m in the central interior region of Alaska and want to pick up Radio Vanuatu 7260 kHz a bit better. I also get a somewhat poor signal from them (they may not be running the full 10,000 watts) and I just want something a little better. My problem is that my set up can’t be permanent as I don’t technically have rights to the land I’m on; it’s somewhat public.

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I’ve looked at HF beam antennas and some of them can be huge, so that’s likely out of the question. I don’t think a 1/4 wave or 1/2 wave wire dipole would provide drastically better results then a longwire with a tuner, so I don’t want to waste the time and the effort.

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I do have a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP and that’s somewhat directional. I also have a 225 foot long wire with an Emtech ZM2 tuner. The Wellbrook and ZM2 do OK.

I do have a Tripod and telescoping mast, so I can handle a beam antenna, it just cant be 30-40 feet! I have no problem carrying a beam antenna and tripod back across the street to my house at the end of a DX session.

Something directional would probably be what’s on order to make this work.  I am not going to cheap out on this, but I am certainly not spending $1000 on an antenna….. something in the $200 to $400 range would be fantastic. Returning stuff would be a hassle for me, so I can’t do that.. so I need to buy something that stands a good chance of working.

Am I stuck with my current set up and have no real better options based upon my limitations, is there someway I can make my set up better or is there some kind of antenna that’s directional which I can point right towards Vanuatu which will work that isn’t as big as a house and that doesn’t cost an arm, leg, kidney and foot?

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

Shortwave Logs from Alaska’s Central Interior Region

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Here are some Shortwave logs from the central interior region of Alaska. I used a Tecsun PL880 and 225 foot long wire with Emtech ZM2 Tuner or a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP.

I’ve only used the Wellbrook for two days so I can’t really offer a thorough comparison yet. There was one case in particular where the 225 foot long wire and ZM2 tuner beat the Wellbrook by a large margin.

I don’t log everything I hear, but everything I do log gets recorded into an mp3 format audio clip. The audio recording helps tremendously with my QSL return rate, especially when I am hearing a broadcast in a language I don’t understand

I hear China Radio International, China National Radio, Radio Nacional de Brasilia/Amazonia, FEBC, World Harvest Radio and others regularly so I don’t log them because I try and keep my logs to what is interesting for one reason or another (programming, music, etc.) or rare/interesting.

3260 & 3325 kHz Papua New Guinea, NBC Radio. 1027 to 1034 UTC. 3325 Bouganville is carrying a man talking in a combination of Pidgin and English discussing mines, mine safety and mine regulations. Better then average signal with only light fading and interference. 3260 kHz Mandang is running music followed by an announcer talking about what I think are upcoming programming highlights. Fair signal, way better then usual

NBC Radio Mandang 3260 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/pmB8DD

NBC Radio Bouganviulle 3325 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/WKKEPJ

4870 kHz Indonesia, Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena. June 12 1001 UTCA regular visitor in the early morning hours here. not daily, but here often. Today’s signal is fair but with a moderate amount of fading and static crashes/interference. Usual fair of what I think is local music is being played.

Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena 4870 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/hjF1JL

5020 kHz Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 12 1011UTC. Higher side of good signal with all factors taken into account. Only a little bit of fading during christian music.

Audio of Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation 5020 kHz here: https://goo.gl/d8BFX2

5745 kHz US, VOA Radio Gram. June 11 0943. The first time I logged VOA’s Radio Gram broadcast. There was something creating a loud buzzing noise but I could still hear the digital data. Only a little Russian text and text in english decoded for me. I will definitely try again!

VOA Radio Gram 5745 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/LfxJ6w

6070 kHz DPRK, Voice of Korea.June 11 1005UTC. Fair signal, but low modulation. Announcers voice is lower then the music. Fair amount of fading. I heard their usual marching/patriotic music. This is not a frequency I usually hear them on, wether owing to I am not out when this frequency is on, conditions or I hear usually CFRX Toronto.

Voice Of Korea 6070 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/SzXuEg

6115 kHz China, Voice of Strait. June 11 1008 UTC. Fair signal with a fair amount of fading. Sounds like a man talking, could be a news broadcast or interview. Not sure.

Voice Of Strait 6115 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V92tlD

7260 kHz Vanuatu, Radio Vanuatu. June 7 0857UTC. Low side of fair signal with interview in english and mentions of Vanuatu. Interview ends and music plays, one song sounds like it’s a kids chorus. There is a fair amount of fading and static crashing/atmospheric noise. Radio Vanuatu is habitually, chronically, woefully unde rmodulated on a daily basis. Just a few days after this logging was made, I had what my radio signal meter showed as a good signal but NO audio. The signal was so under modulated I had no audio but I had a signal! I would actually listen to them if they played more music and had better modulation

Radio Vanuatu 7260 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V1GMQS

9545 Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 11 0835. SIBC was on over 3 hours late on 9545 kHz, it’s supposed to sign off at 0500UTC and switch to 5020 kHz but at 0835UTC this night it was still on. 9545 kHz staying on late has been happening a lot lately. 9545 kHz is used as SIBC’s workday frequency with 5020 kHz being used in the early to mid morning and afternoon/evening. In this recording SIBC is fairly strong here with light fading and static. Whenever 9545 kHz is on late, it seems to be stronger then 5020 kHz would be. My logging tonight starts with an interview then music is being played.

Audio of SIBC 9545 kHz here: https://goo.gl/0AIj5n

12035 Mongolia, Voice of Mongolia. June 11 1018UTC. NEW! This is a new logging for me. weak signal playing music. Was able to match the interval tune and the announcers voice heard during my logging with a clip of a recent broadcast on their website.

Audio of Voice of Mongolia 12035 kHz here: https://goo.gl/Y2QXH7

15400 kHz Romania, Radio Romania International. June 12 1006 UTC. News broadcast in French. Somewhat weak, but steady signal with only light fading.

Audio of Radio Romania International 1540 kHz here: https://goo.gl/OBK0Q9

17770 kHz Phillipines, Radio Liberty targeting Siberia. June 12 0948. What sounded like a man in Russian during a news broadcast or interview. Weak but steady signal.

Audio of Radio Liberty 1770khz here: https://goo.gl/5fxzxJ

I could use some opinions and inputs from others on something:

I am DXing about 500 feet from the transmitter sites for KXES-LPFM 92.9 and KIYU-FM 88.1 along with K10LJ Channel 10. The FM’s are only 100 watts and the TV station is only 10 watts of Digital RF. However, the FM’s overload my Shortwave radio around 9.4 to 9.6 MHz along with the lower to mid part of the tropical bands. I have a MCM Electronics and Radio Shack FM trap and they help a bit, but don’t do nearly enough. I am willing to spend $100 or so for a good FM Trap/Filter. I’ll spend a little more if I have to and the product is proven at works. I can null out the interference by rotating my Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, but I may be nulling out the signal I want to hear at the same time. Returning things for me is a hassle so I’d rather pay good $ for something that works. Feel free to email me, walkerbroadcasting@gmail.com or reply to this thread.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

Central Alaska: Paul shares photos of his listening post

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who writes:

You’ve posted shack photos before from other readers.

I guess this is a shack, so here’s mine. By the banks of the thawed and now flowing Yukon River.

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Paul braves some pretty cold weather in the winter to snag elusive DX from this very listening post in Galena, Alaska. He’s shared photos and a video of the frozen Yukon before–click here to check it out.

And, once again, thanks for sharing a little part of your world, Paul!

Mark’s rekindled interest in shortwave radio

Sony-ICF-2001D

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mark Lane, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I just wanted to thank you for a great website, I have been interested in SW since I was a boy and used to listen to my grandfather’s world radio. I cannot remember the make or model now but it was an amazing experience.

After all these years, at the age of 44, my interest perked again and I happened across your site.

Like a lot of people I was wondering “is there anything left to listen to on SW now we are truly in the ‘digital’ age”? After reading the content on your site and the blog I made up my mind, jumped onto eBay and after a number of failed attempts at winning any auctions I managed to bag a near mint Sony ICF 2001D [photo at top of page]!

I did get rather over excited and probably paid a bit too much for it, but too be honest I don’t care. I have already had a good couple of evenings trying to bag some far off stations and I am still trying to figure out all the buttons on the thing.

Then this past weekend, my daughter (15) asked about the radio and I showed her what I had been doing–she was hooked and kept asking me to try for some more stations. We spent the whole evening with the help of a couple of other websites trying to track down more distant stuff.

I have to say the 2001D is now my prize possession and my daughter was messaging her friends telling them all about the wonders of SW.

All I can say is keep up the good work and let’s hope SW does continue for as long as possible I will certainly be listening in until the airwaves go quiet, I trust that won’t happen for some considerable time.

Regards
Mark Lane
Worcester UK

Mark: thank you so much for sharing your message! It’s an honor to know that the SWLing Post played some part in your renewed interest in shortwave radio. The community here is simply amazing and I learn a lot myself from so many reader contributions.

Being a father of two daughters, I can say that there’s no better feeling than to know that a little radio listening time also translated into quality father and daughter time!

You just made my day!

Recordings: Paul records Vanuatu and Solomon Islands from central Alaska

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following recordings of Radio Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting. Paul lives in Galena, Alaska, and records most of these broadcasts outside of his broadcasting studio:

7260 kHz:

5020 kHz:

5020 kHz:

3945 is much weaker then 7260 for some reason and Nikkei is on that channel till 0900 UTC, so about the only chance I have of hearing Vanuatu on 3945 CLEARLY is when Nikkei signs off.

9545 kHz Monday Night 1130 AKDT/(0730 utc Tuesday)

7260 from April 19th at 1135 AKDT /0735 UTC)

5020 from April 20th at 1248 am AKDT/0848 UTC

Thanks for sharing your recordings, Paul! You’ve certainly done a fine job DXing in the northern latitudes all while standing next to a broadcast station.

Keep up the great work!