Shortwave Radiogram begins June 24-25, 2017

(Source: Shortwave Radiogram via Tom Ally)

Shortwave Radiogram begins 24-25 June 2017

The Shortwave Radiogram transmission schedule:

Sunday 0600-0630 UTC 7730 kHz

Sunday 2030-2100 UTC 11580 kHz

Sunday 2330-2400 UTC 11580 kHz

All via WRMI in Florida

Great to see that Kim Elliott isn’t skipping a beat moving from the VOA Radiogram to the Shortwave Radiogram in his retirement!  Let’s support him by tuning in!

Click here to visit the new Shortwave Radiogram website.

Help record the 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today!

Every year, the BBC broadcasts a special program to the scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. The BBC plays music requests and sends special messages to the small team of 40+ located at various Antarctic research stations. Each year, the thirty minute show is guaranteed to be quirky, nostalgic, and certainly a DX-worthy catch!

After successful listener events from years past, I’m calling on all SWLing Post readers and shortwave radio listeners to make a short recording (say, 30-60 seconds) of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today and share it here at the Post (frequencies and time below).

The recording can be audio-only, or even a video taken from any recording device or smart phone. It would be helpful to have a description and/or photo of your listening environment and location, if possible.

If you submit your recording to me, I will post it here on the SWLing Post–and insure that the British Antarctic Survey receives the post, too.  The recordings will be arranged by geographic location.

Frequencies

Please note that the broadcast begins at 2130 UTC on June 21, 2017. The following frequencies are based on the test transmissions last week and info published by Martin Goulding and Mauno Ritola (thank you, guys!):

From ASCENSION

7360 kHz250 kW / 207 deg to Antarctica

From DHABAYYA

6035 kHz250 kW / 203 deg to Antarctica

From WOOFFERTON

5985 kHz300 kW / 184 deg to Antarctica

I’m sure there will be live reports in the SWLing Post chat room during the broadcast.  Please sign in and share your report as well!

I hope I’ll be able to receive the broadcast this year–I’m traveling again in Québec, but will have my trusty Sony ICF-SW100 and Elecraft KX2 in tow.

Listening for the Midwinter test transmissions last week with the Elecraft KX2.

I’ll plan to set up at the same listening spot I did last year.

The Midwinter broadcast is one of my favorite programs of the year. I suppose, in part, this is because it happens on June 21–the Summer/Winter solstice–which also happens to be my birthday! Woo hoo!

Ed rediscovers Lafayette Radio Electronics

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who shared the following message after I posted the Mystery Radio Challenge yesterday:

I could tell that FM tuner is actually an ‘FM converter’ by its shape and by the giveaway wide knurled tuning bar mounted way up front, so the driver of the 8-track tape player-equipped car could tune it more easily whilst driving–or whilst smooching in the car in the dark!

Then to determine the make & model, I searched Google for the words silk-screened on the front panel, “solid state fm multiplexer tuner” and easily found this exact match:

Alaron FM Multiplex Stereo Cartridge Tuner UNTESTED

This tuner came with an unusual antenna Y-adapter that connected (and probably matched) the tuner to the car’s AM antenna. It’s pictured in one of the photos. I wonder how good an FM tuner it is. It has a switchable AFC and a DX/Local switch.

Whilst scrolling through the excellent photos of the one being offered for sale online (for $46.74!) I saw the manual has a handwritten note that says, “Bought from Lafayette Radio Electronics 33760 Plymouth Road on 7/3/72 Invoice #3213570”– so it’s about 45 years old.

Out of curiosity, I researched that address and found that tuner was purchased at the third Lafayette store in (Livonia) Michigan.

I imagine some of your SWLing Post blog readers (like me) fondly remember Lafayette Radio Electronics stores. They had a better selection of radio gear–even Collins rigs–than Radio Shack did. Here’s a nice writeup about Lafayette on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lafayette_Radio_Electronics

Thanks, Ed!  Any Post readers shop at Lafayette Radio Electronics stores in the past?  Please comment!

Receiving Jupiter with the SDRplay RSP1

I’ve been fascinated with radio astronomy since my university days. In the 1980s and 90s almost any radio astronomy experiment equated to forking out some serious money to purchase a wideband receiver (serious money to a student, at least). With the advent of SDRs, though, radio astronomy has become affordable for everyone.

Many thanks to RTL-SDR.com for publishing the following video and post about monitoring Jupiter radio bursts:

Over on YouTube user MaskitolSAE has uploaded a video showing him receiving some noise bursts from Jupiter with his SDRplay RSP1. The planet Jupiter is known to emit bursts of noise via natural ‘radio lasers’ powered partly by the planets interaction with the electrically conductive gases emitted by Io, one of the the planets moons. When Jupiter is high in the sky and the Earth passes through one of these radio lasers the noise bursts can be received on Earth quite easily with an appropriate antenna

In his video MaskitolSAE shows the 10 MHz of waterfall and audio from some Jupiter noise bursts received with his SDRplay RSP1 at 22119 kHz. According to the YouTube description, it appears that he is using the UTR-2 radio telescope which is a large Ukrainian radio telescope installation that consists of an array of 2040 dipoles. A professional radio telescope installation is not required to receive the Jupiter bursts (a backyard dipole tuned to ~20 MHz will work), but the professional radio telescope does get some really nice strong bursts as seen in the video.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to read at RTL-SDR.com.

As Carl mentions above, you do not need a professional radio telescope to receive Jupiter noise bursts, a dipole will do.

In fact, the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) has a dedicated Jupiter receiver–a simple SDR kit called the Radio JOVE Receiver which is promoted by NASA. While PARI has the resources to install any number of antennas, PARI uses two simple dipoles which are mounted only a few feet off the ground as their radio telescope. I doubt their investment in the antennas exceeded $50. It works brilliantly.

The Radio JOVE receiver at PARI

I had planned to purchase and build a JOVE receiver (and, for fun, still may!), but it would be much easier to simply use the SDRplay RSP I already have in my shack. What a great project this fall.

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve used an SDR or JOVE kit to receive Jupiter bursts!

Mystery solved: Remember the 8 Track FM radio converter?

Sunday morning, I attended the Sainte-Foy flea market in Québec City. When I’m in QC, I love attending this particular market because of the amazing variety of things for sale. It’s a proper community event.

As I was browsing the various tables, I happened upon one of these:

Talk about a blast from the past!

Yesterday, I posted a cropped photo of this radio and it was quickly identified as an 8 Track FM radio converter by Ken (N2VIP). Steve Yothment found the same unit under a different brand and Bill Lee even found a Futura branded unit on the Internet. Of course, many others figured out this was an 8 Track to FM radio converter. Impressive sleuthing!

These radio tuners were popular in the days of the mobile 8 Track players–in that time period right before FM was standard in car radios, but 8 Track was somewhat prevalent.

My father had a similar FM radio converter for his 1966 Chevy pickup. As a kid, I thought the thing was fascinating! You simply inserted the unit into the 8 Track player and voilá!, FM radio!

I never quite understood how the FM reception was so decent considering there was no external antenna of any sort.

The rear of the converter looks like an 8 Track cartridge minus the magnetic tape.

Taking a closer look at this particular FUTURA brand converter, I’m impressed with the number of features on such a compact front end:

  • Analog FM dial
  • Red LED stereo tuning indicator
  • AFC OFF/ON switch
  • DX/Local switch
  • A wide, vertically-oriented tuning knob

I’m curious: how many Post readers had an 8 track FM radio converter in their vehicle? Or, did you ever have an Audio Cassette to 8 Track converter? Please comment! Also, you should check out some of the comments from our previous post.

And thanks for being sports about my “Mystery radio challenge“–I knew savvy Post readers would ID this tuner in no time!