Paul’s SWLing videos

Digital-Frequency-Dial

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

I think you and your readers might enjoy these videos.

I’ve upgraded from a Tecsun PL880 and Sangean ATS909X to a JRC NRD535D. I live in Camden, Arkansas which is in southern Arkansas, 75 minutes east of Texas and 75 minutes north of Shreveport, Louisiana

When DX’ing on shortwave, I often record a short video with my iPhone 6plus held up close to the radio so you can see the frequency and signal level meter.

I record videos anywhere between 20 seconds and 5 minutes depending on what I feel like at he moment and what I will be using the video for. Sometimes I record a shorter video to post on Facebook then record longer audio via an MP3 recorder in my phone to use in a reception report.

Sometimes I record long 3-5 minute videos and send those to the station instead.

I don’t record everything I hear but what I feel is a worthwhile catch or is interesting. My videos can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/OnAirDJPaulWalker

Thanks for sharing a link to your videos, Paul! You’ve got some good catches in your library. That JRC NRD535D is a great receiver, too–noise floor seems quite low!

A timeline of radio in the UK

Crosley-Dial

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Daniel, who shares a link to this article on the BT website:

From Marconi and the transistor radio to DAB: the history of radio in the UK

93 years ago this week, the BBC made its first radio broadcast. We look back at some of the most significant events in radio’s history.

On November 14, 1922 the British Broadcasting Company began its first radio broadcast. Since then the radio landscape has changed dramatically.

Radio is still an incredibly popular medium. According to Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report, nine in ten UK adults listen to the radio each week. We listen for an average of 21.4 hours a week, but the way we do this has changed.

Families had to huddle around the radio in the 1930s, but now we can listen to the radio anywhere, anytime using our smartphones. We look at some of the most significant milestones of British radio over the last 93 years[…]

Click here to read through the entire article and timeline at BT.com.

The demise of longwave could lead to the end of the Shipping Forecast

shipping-forecast-locations

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Erica, who writes:

“I saw this article about the demise of the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 Longwave and thought readers might be interested:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/11892805/End-of-Shipping-Forecast-on-long-wave-radio-could-leave-sailors-high-and-dry.html

I’m not a fan of DAB radio and my bedroom radio aerial has to be positioned just so to get radio 4 FM with cclarity, so I will be disappointed if Longwave eventually gets switched off. That’s not to mention all the people–however many there may be–who don’t have easy ways to get weather info out at sea.”

Here’s an excerpt from The Telegraph:

It has kept sailors safe on the ocean waves for 90 years, becoming just as much a part of national consciousness as cricket, cups of tea and The Archers.

But the days of hearing the Shipping Forecast out on a boat may be numbered thanks to the demise of long wave technology, a veteran announcer has said.

Peter Jefferson, who read the Shipping Forecast to Radio 4 listeners for 40 years, said the “very old” transmitters which worked on long wave could soon be retired.

If that was to happen, he said, anyone more than 12 miles from the coastline would be unable to hear the shipping forecast on long wave, ending a Radio 4 tradition dating back to 1924.

Speaking at the Radio Times Festival, in Hampton Court, Mr Jefferson said the soothing tones of the Shipping Forecast would then be left to its many fans who choose to listen to it from their homes in lieu of a “sleeping pill”.

“Long wave reaches much further than FM, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“So FM would be totally useless for shipping beyond 12 miles from land.

[…]A spokesman for the BBC said they were no firm plans to end long wave broadcasting, and no date set for when the technology could run out.

The service currently reaches as far as south-east Iceland, and is occasionally picked up as far as 3,000 miles away.

Read this full article at The Telegraph online.

Of course, I haven’t heard the Shipping Forecast on longwave since moving back to the States from the UK. Still, I would be very sad to hear the program and the longwave medium fall silent.

I would like to start adding some Shipping Forecast programs on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive where we also curate select mediumwave and longwave recordings.  If you have the means to record episodes on longwave, please consider helping us!

Paul’s Radio St. Helena Day announcements

radiosthelena

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

I am a radio personality here in the USA as well as a SW and MW DX’er.

I appeared on the 11092.5 USB during Radio Saint Helena Day 2009 and have several short recordings, which are attached. That’s my voice doing the station identification/promotional announcements.

Sample 1

Sample 2

Very cool, Paul! It’s quite amazing to hear studio quality audio from Radio St. Helena Day as so many of us had to strain to hear their signal from across the Atlantic! Glad you were able to be a part of such an amazing little station.

I miss those Radio St. Helena Days and, though I know it’s doubtful, certainly hope the station considers firing up a shortwave transmitter again.

Jim’s shortwave listening post is a Navy ship

USNS Button - 02

USNS Sgt William R Button (Photo: NavySite.de)

SWLing Post contributor, Jim Clary (ND9M/VQ9JC) contacted me in June to obtain details about the BBC’s Midwinter broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey Team. Jim has been working on board the USNS Sgt William R Button since mid-June. While on board Jim has no web access, but he can send and receive emails and some files. I kept Jim informed about the time and frequencies of the BAS broadcast.

Jim had hoped to make a recording of the Midwinter broadcast at sea, but timing and some technical problems got in the way and he missed the bulk of the 30 minute program.

That’s okay, though, because Jim is an avid SWL and ham radio operator. During time off, he has logged a number of stations, so I asked if he would consider making a recording for us.  I mean, SWLing from a Navy ship?!  How cool is that?!

Within a week, Jim sent me a recording of the Voice of Korea. Here are some of his notes:

I’d heard [the Voice of Korea] many times before when Stateside (and they were Radio Pyongyang at the time), but their signals were always weak and had major polar flutter. Out here, the signal was in-my-face loud, so even though the station is not much of a rare DX catch, I wanted to get them on tape.[…]

[M]y location is the east southern Atlantic Ocean, not far from St. Helena.

[…]My ship is named USNS Sgt William R Button. The ship has been active since the mid 80s and was a “motor vessel” (M/V) until we became a Navy asset in 2009.

USNS Button - 04

[…]My receiver that I’m currently using is my QRP rig, a Yaesu FT-817ND. I changed over to a Navy antenna that I’m feeding with about 70 feet of 75-ohm RG-6 cable. There’s obviously some signal loss from both the length and impedance mismatch of the coax, but at these freqs it’s fairly negligible.

The antenna itself is an AS-2815/SSR-1 that’s mounted above the wheelhouse (bridge) of the ship. I can’t really describe the make up of the antenna simply because I don’t see why it works so well but it really does a good job. If I’d figured out where its feed point is a couple weeks ago, I would’ve had no problem logging the BBC’s Antarctic service!

.Click here to download Jim’s recording of the Voice of Korea or simply listen via the embedded player below. This broadcast was recorded on July 1, 2015 at 1900 UTC on 11910 kHz:

Many thanks, Jim! We look forward to any other recordings you wish to share!

Christoph’s photo tour of Friedrichshafen 2015

Photo by Christoph Ratzer

Photo by Christoph Ratzer

SWLing Post reader, Christoph Ratzer, has posted a photo gallery of the 2015 Friedrichshafen Ham Radio convention in Germany.

Click here to view Christoph’s gallery.

Many thanks, Christoph, for this fine photo tour! I actually recognize a couple of friends in those photos. I have always wanted to visit Friedrichshafen and I certainly hope to someday.

Readers: Check out Christoph’s website Kurzwelle Ratzer AT and the A-DX Fernempfang Facebook page.

Tecsun PL-680: SSB display inaccuracy

PL-680-Sync-Detector

SWLing Post reader, Olli Turunen, writes:

I thought you would like to know this. I bought PL-680 few days ago and I noticed that mine has the display about 1 khz off. I contact Anna on Anon-Co and got a quick reply:

“I have received a response from the supplier regarding the 1 kHz deviation issue of the PL-680 radio. Unfortunately they consider this to be within their tolerance standards for SW reception. Overall, their standard is set to be +/- 0.5 kHz, which translates to 1 kHz on the LCD display. They understand the effect it may especially have for SSB listening, which is why fine tuning has been added as a feature.

For MW/AM the situation is a bit different. According to the supplier this is an issue that both the PL-680 and PL-660 radios have and cannot be avoided. As they indicate, unfortunately only the PL-880 has a special function for MW frequency calibration.”

I just checked my PL-680 and did a zero-beat in SSB against WWV on 10 MHz. If the BFO adjustment is correct when in the middle position, I can confirm that mine is almost 1 kHz too high as well.

For AM listening, a 1 kHz deviation isn’t noticeable.  If you’re using ECSS, though, you’ll certainly have to fine tune the BFO accordingly.  If locating a CW or SSB signal (in the ham bands, for example), you’ll also need to adjust the BFO fine tune control in advance.

Most importantly–and fortunately–when you turn on the PL-680’s synchronous detection, the receiver is exactly on frequency (at least on my early model PL-680).

Many thanks, Olli, for sharing this information! I’ll note this negative in the PL-680 review.