Category Archives: Travel

Video: Ivan’s Airborne TV DX catches

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who writes:

A while back I shared a short story about FM reception from commercial jetliners. I do that regularly on my flights but I also gave “Airborne TV DX” a try.

My equipment is as follows:

  1. Windows laptop
  2. Hauppauge USB dongle receiver WinTV-HVR-955Q
  3. 3-inch stick antenna

The receiver comes with its own WinTV software for tuning, scanning, watching and recording TV programs. It is one of the few USB dongle size receivers for North America’s ATSC digital TV standard. A have posted a video of my reception recordings from a roundtrip flight Miami to St Louis.

The video is located here:

Click here to view on YouTube.

My notes regarding this activity:

Reception from commercial airplanes is possible as far as 400 miles with the simple unobtrusive “stick” antenna.

Channel scanning is pretty slow and it is possible that by the time you detect a signal, save it, and tune to it you are 50 miles away from the point where you detected it.

Many times signals are detected but no video can be shown due to weak signal. Users in Europe may have a different experience as the availability of DVB-T USB dongles and software is much wider.

TV DX can make a coast to coast flight a much more interesting experience!

No doubt, Ivan! Thanks so much for sharing.

Ivan is quiet adept at logging and recording FM and TV DX while in the air and at sea. Click here to view his previous posts.

The Eton Satellit: a poignant recording of ABC Northern Territories & further DX…

Hi there, I’ve just returned from a business trip to Genoa, Italy and took the Eton Satellit with me. Now, I’m sure many of you know from your own experiences that DXing from a noisy hotel room can be just about impossible – and so it was in the main. I did however manage to copy a very nice signal from BBC Radio 5 Live on 693 kHz medium wave and Chaîne 3, from Tipaza, Algeria on 252 kHz – the latter is a much more difficult catch back in the UK. Reception videos for these two signals also follow below and I have to say that given the very noisy environment, this was a pleasing result using the Eton’s internal ferrite antenna. Prior to my trip this week, I recorded a really nice signal from Radio Nacional Brasilia on 11780 kHz and the best signal from North Korea (Voice of Korea KCBS) I’ve ever copied on the 41 metre broadcast band. Both are testament to the Eton Satellit’s performance as an excellent portable reciever per se and it’s hard-core DXing capabilities. Finally, what now feels a very poignant recording, I managed to catch – ABC Northern Territories on 2325, 2485 and 4835 kHz during the same session and on one reception video. Embedded videos and text links to these videos on Oxford Shortwave Log follow below, along with a brief video review of the main functions and features of the Satellit.

With regard to the closure of ABC on shortwave, my full support goes out Senator Nick Xeonophon and his quest to introduce new legislation to force the ABC to reinstate their shortwave transmissions. There, I’ve said it and that’s enough politics for now lol. In the meantime, my plans to test the Eton Satellit against more established DXing portables remain in place and work commitments allowing, this should happen soon. Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!


 

Click here to view on YouTube

 

Click here to view on YouTube

 

Click here to view on YouTube

 

Click here to view on YouTube

Click here to view on YouTube

Click here to view on YouTube

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.

Free job and accommodation for couple willing to live on this island

The red flag marks Maatsuyker Island.

When I first saw this item on Popular Mechanics, I spent a bit of time fantasizing about  an interference-free half year DXpedition:

This Tasmanian Island Will Give Any Couple Willing to Move There a House and Job

Depending on how strong your relationship is, this will either sound like a romantic six-month getaway or the plot of The Shining. According to The Telegraph, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is looking for couples to apply to be caretakers of Maatsuyker Island, a 460-acre island located six miles off the southern coast of Tasmania, for periods from March to September or September to March for the next two years.

For “safety reasons,” they are actually encouraging couples to apply together if they “can demonstrate they have spent time together in a remote setting,” according to the application.

So whats’ the catch? If selected, the only time you could leave the island during your six month stay would be a helicopter evacuation in case of an emergency. Otherwise you’ll be completely cut off from the mainland. Did I mention there’s no internet or TV?

But if you’re okay living on a “sometimes wet and often windswept island” with minimal contact from anyone else, this might be the job for you.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at Popular Mechanics.

Aerial view of the southern coast of Tasmania. In the background South East Cape, in the foreground the Maatsuyker Islands (Needle Rocks are on the right; just to the left of them is Maatsuyker Island; De Witt is the larger island on the left). Artificial view generated from satellite data. (Source: Wikipedia)

Remember Tristan Da Cunha?

This article reminds me of our first Reader Challenge: One year, one radio, one (very) remote island where we imagined spending a year on the most remote populated island on earth: Tristan Da Cunha.

The responses for this challenge were amazing and diverse.  But Tristan’s population is about 300 people–we’re talking about a Tasmanian island with no population other than you and your spouse!

Since the Tristan Da Cunha radio challenge, technology has changed quite a bit. I wonder what gear we’d choose in 2017?

Post readers: Would anyone else jump at the opportunity to live cut off from humanity for six months? What radio gear would you take?

Video: Ivan surveys Cuban TV from a cruise ship

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov, who shares the following:

[W]hile on a cruise ship 30 miles off the coast of Cuba (January 2017) I pointed a small active antenna towards the island and scanned for old fashioned analog TV.

The results show analog TV is alive and well in Cuba! Multiple programs on multiple channels.

From what I understand Cuba has selected the Chinese digital TV standard but using their own channel spacing so I am not aware of any receivers that can pick up Cuba’s digital TV transmissions.

I posted the YouTube video of my channel scan here:

Click here to view on YouTube.

St. Helena is “ready to welcome the world”

If you’ve been a shortwave listener for very long, you may remember the annual Radio St. Helena Day: one weekend a year when this small island broadcaster hit the shortwaves and accepted reports from across the globe. I never had the fortune of receiving their modest signal, but I surely tried!

Since I’m fan of remotely inhabited parts of the world, St. Helena is on my bucket list of places to visit–and it looks like visiting the island may become much easier:

(Source: BBC Travel)

For more than 500 years, the only way to reach the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena was by sea. Travelling to the South Atlantic island by sailboat, after a nine-day voyage from Namibia, my family and I made landfall the way every person before us has: the way Napoleon Bonaparte did when he was sent into exile in 1815; the way modern-day Saints (as the local population is known) do when they venture home from work in the UK; and the way the occasional, intrepid visitor has always done. But we were one of the last travellers to do so.

In April, the first commercial plane landed at the island’s new airport, and the last working Royal Mail Ship, the St Helena, was slated for decommissioning.

A dwindling population and defiant island geology – which, as Charles Darwin put it, “rises abruptly like a huge black castle from the ocean” – were long-time barriers to the development of an airport. But fears that the island could become nothing more than a remote old age home as younger Saints look elsewhere for employment finally forced the issue. Planned weekly flights will replace the monthly ship visits, and tourism is projected to take off.

Now, for the first time, visitors won’t risk being doused in the Atlantic swell when they reach for the ropes at the sea-washed Jamestown landing, trying to time their first step onto solid ground.

Continue reading on the BBC Travel website…

I do understand that the new airport may be a challenging place to land an aircraft. The following is noted on Wikipedia:

Due to the short runway and the long distance to South Africa, a Boeing 737-700 flying to Johannesburg is not able to use its full seat and cargo capacity. Only flights to and from Namibian and Angolan destinations would allow using a Boeing 737-700 near its full load capacity. The other planned destination, London, requires a fuel stop in Gambia, at almost the same distance as Johannesburg.

If Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island were open for commercial non-military flights, it could be listed as an alternate aerodrome; this would mean that the load capacity of an inbound Boeing 737-700 could be increased as fewer fuel reserves would be required.

The distance from key destinations, the length of runway available, and the type of aircraft available in the region dictate that air services to St Helena must operate to the requirements of extended twin engine operations (ETOPS) which implies the provision of an instrument approach system based on an off-set instrument landing system localiser (ILS LLZ).

Such is also required by the terrain of the airport which, in commercial passenger air transport terms, is safety-critical due to its steep approaches, high elevation (1,000 ft or 300 m above sea level) and rocky outcrops. Without an instrument approach the provision of a viable air service is considered impossible.

There were doubts concerning local weather conditions and, in particular about the amount of turbulence on the approaches from fallwinds resulting from the elevated location and the surrounding bluffs. Therefore, it was recommended that a charter aircraft should perform approaches to and departures from the intended runway. By April 2016 such flights had taken place, and they weren’t 100% positive[…]

There are so many reasons air service will help this isolated community–especially for medical evacuations–but I suspect this will be a challenging airport for any pilot. St. Helena is one of the most remotely inhabited island on earth–due to aircraft fuel limits and the inability to land at alternate locations, aircraft will be forced to land in occasional adverse weather conditions.

While I’d love to to take a cruise to St. Helena, air service will likely make my future visit much more accessible!

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve visited or live(d) on St. Helena! Please share your experiences! Has anyone had luck receiving Radio St. Helena Day broadcasts in the past?