Norway DXer tunes into CBC Saskatchewan

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Many thanks to my pal, Sheldon Harvey (of the International Radio Report and CIDX), for sharing this news item from the CBC News in Saskatchewan:

Ole Forr is a 58-year-old radio lover who tunes into radio stations across the world for fun

A dairy farmer in Norway went to great lengths to tune into CBC Saskatchewan.

Sure, The Morning Edition with Sheila Coles is the No. 1 morning radio show in Saskatchewan. But few people could have expected it to reach a group of listeners more than 5,800 kilometres away— and not through the internet.

Ole Forr doesn’t let thousands of kilometres and the Atlantic Ocean get in the way of his hobby.

[…]Every late October, Forr and three friends visit a remote location in northern Norway, where he said they spend up to two weeks listening to radio broadcasts using some very long-range receiving antennas.

On Oct. 27, 2015, Forr tuned into CBK 540 AM from Andøya, Norway.

“It’s very remote, so there is no man-made noise,” Forr said. “From October to March, it’s very dark up there so to have dark between the transmitter and the receiver.”

Forr contacted CBC Saskatchewan to verify his recording, providing MP3 evidence of the broadcast.[…]

Read the full article, along with audio, on the CBC News Saskatchewan website.

Thanks again, Sheldon! I love stories like this that give our radio hobby a little time in the limelight!

Bill solves the CRI echo mystery

Earth

A few days ago, I posted an article about Bill Meara (producer of the SolderSmoke Podcast) who was hearing audio echoes on his home brew regenerative receiver.

Bill has now solved this mystery (hint: it’s all about the receiver):
http://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2014/09/radio-china-international-echo-mystery.html

Hearing echoes on China Radio International

Earth

Bill Meara, producer of the popular SolderSmoke Podcast, recently recorded audio echoes on a couple of his home brew regenerative receivers.  Bill posted the following video, of his regen receiver tuned to China Radio International:

After Bill measured the echo delay at .133 seconds, he believes one possibility is that they originate from a propagation opening much like Lyle recorded on a 10 meter band opening last year (click here to listen to the audio and read the post).

A few days later, Bill recorded a similar echo effect while tuned to Brother Stair (Overcomer Ministries) on a different regenerative receiver. Click here to read the post and view the video.

The fact that Bill measured a .133 second delay (the amount of time it would take for a signal to circle the globe), makes me believe he’s hearing an echo similar to Lyle. But I must admit, I’m a bit amazed that a faint AM echo could penetrate blowtorch signals like CRI and Brother Stair’s relay generate State side.

Readers: What’s going on here? Is Bill catching rare propagation openings–or perhaps ducting in the Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere–or is there another explanation?

Hearing the speed of light: DX double echo

ionosphere-earth-radio-wavesTwo weeks ago, at the W4DXCC conference in Tennessee, I met Lyle Juroff (K9FIK). Not only did I find that Lyle and I had many radio interests in common, but he also told me a story about hearing, recording and analyzing a double echo on the HF bands. I asked if he would explain in an email and include the recording so that I could share it on the SWLing Post. He kindly agreed!

Lyle writes:

I worked a DX station [9A1A] on 10 meters this past spring.  As the band improved, I heard an echo develop on his signal and guessed it might be long path so I began recording the audio.   I then began to hear a double echo and looked at the waveform on AUDACITY.  The timing marks on AUDACITY indicated 140 milliseconds between echos.

I went to Wolfram Alfa, one of my go-to sights for things I can’t remember, and looked up the earth circumference.  It not only gave me the distance but also the time to travel it at the speed of light,  133 milliseconds.   Not sure if everyone working DX has heard this sort of thing, I played the recording at the next East Tennessee  DX Association meeting.  Nobody said they had heard that kind of double echo.

Click here to download an mp3 of Lyle’s recording or simply listen via the embedded player below (note that the second recording is .WAV format):

Have you heard a double echo this profound? Please comment.

Many thanks to Lyle (K9FIK) for sharing his story!

Ian McFarland CDs now available as a digital download

Ian McFarland (photo courtesy: DXer.ca)

Want to do something good for yourself, your knowledge of SWL–and, in the process, help others? Let me tell you how…

Ian McFarland has made available his excellent shortwave radio CD series for download on DXer.ca (an already excellent site, if you haven’t yet visited). This CD set includes a series on interval signals, foreign language recognition, a look back at shortwave history, the state of international broadcasting today, and even a bonus antenna series.  I purchased these the moment I heard that they had become available as MP3 downloads in December.

And how, exactly, are you helping someone else by enjoying these programs?  Fully 100% of the proceeds benefit Ian’s favorite charity, a food bank and soup kitchen in Duncan, British Columbia.

It’s a win-win, and you need to be one of those winners! What are you waiting for? Click here to go to the DXer.ca online store!

Description of CD’s from DXer.ca:
Series 1 – Were you a shortwave listener back in 1974? If you were a regular listener to RCI’s popular SWL Digest program, which went off the air in March of 1991 in the wake of a devastating budget cut at RCI, then you may remember the SW station Idents & Interval Signals Series that was featured on this award-winning program.

That series featured over 100 identification and interval signals from SW stations around the world. Many of the ident signals heard in that long-running series are no longer on the air. If you feel nostalgic about the “good old days” of SWLing, you’ll be interested to know that this unique series is now available in an autographed two-CD set.

Series 2 – CD#1: The Foreign Language recognition course + A bonus CD of classic McFarland.

Ever feel like you could do better with radio listening on the SW, MW and LW bands if you could only identify the language? Help has arrived with the release of Ian McFarland’s foreign language-recognition course. CD One of this series contains 55 language samples analyzed by noted linguist, the late Dr. Richard E. Wood.  You’ll be pinning down DX faster than ever with this concise and complete audio series CD. A second bonus CD contains three flashback shows in their entirety from the Ian McFarland catalog of classics.

Series 3 – Yesterday and Today:  20 Years of SW Broadcasting. In what they feel is their “finest work ever,” Ian McFarland joins Bob Zanotti, Kim Eilliot of VOA, Jef White of WRMI, and a cast of listeners from the 20th Anniversary Kulpsville, PA, SWLing Winterfest in 2007. They combine a 2009 live forum with a flashback to 1989 – The joint SWL Digest-Swiss SW Merry-go-round program devoted to the International Radio Days conference in West Berlin in 1989.

Bonus Download Series A – The Ian McFarland Antenna Series – A must-listen for SWL’s, DXers, and radio enthusiasts at all levels, this 11-part study series covers all things made of solid and stranded copper wire. From the most basic random wire to the windom and the beverage antennas, Ian discusses the most common types of radio antennas, protecting your antennas and equipment with lightning arrestors, and some antenna book references. The McFarland Antenna series was first aired in the seventies, and this is the first time in almost twenty-five years that these recordings have been available in a high quality MP3 download. Two dollars provides one hour of interesting and informative listening on the subject.

A review of the Sony SRF-59 — cheap, fun Mediumwave DX thrills

The Sony SRF-59

A few years ago, I heard a lot of buzz in AM/Mediumwave radio circles about a small, inexpensive radio called the Sony SRF-59. Discussions were focused on the incredible performance of this diminutive low-cost radio and how it held it own against some real benchmark receivers. Out of curiosity, I did a search on the radio to see what it looked like–I expected some Tecsun PL-like unit–and found that, much to my surprise, it’s a simple, analog, totally unassuming AM/FM walkman.  Say, what?

The far biggest surprise came with my price search, however. The SRF-59 is easy to find at $14.95 US. Really, you ask? Oh, yes–and it’s readily available at many online and big box stores.

So–carefully counting my pocket change–I took the plunge, and bought one.

The radio came in a basic plastic blister pack, and it also included headphones. I can’t comment on the headphones as I didn’t even bother unpacking them; instead, I plugged my new SRF-59 into my favorite Sony earbuds.

I have to admit, the AM band on this little radio does indeed shine. Not only is the receiver sensitive and relatively selective (meaning, I don’t hear adjacent signals when tuned in), but it also has excellent audio.  Amazingly, it lives up to all of the praise I had heard about it. I’m quite amazed, in fact, at how well this little unit can null out stations by rotating the radio body a few degrees. Most impressive.

Though I’m no major FM radio listener, I can also vouch for its FM performance, which is quite good.

Pros:

  • lightweight–indeed, one can safely say, “ultralight”
  • very inexpensive, by comparision
  • operates almost indefinitely on one AA cell
  • simple design, durable construction
  • AM (Mediumwave) sensitivity and selectivity comparable to $100 shortwave portables
  • because tuning is analog, it works in North America just as well as in Japan (see cons)
Cons:
  • tuning is analog, thus no stations can be saved to memory and there is a noticeable amount of receiver drift if listening over long periods of time
  • no fine-tuning mechanism means that tuning in weak stations takes precision skill on the SRF-59’s very small dial
  • no built-in speaker (this is a Walkman, after all)
In summary, you will regret not purchasing this radio should Sony pull it from the market without warning. While it is a walkman with the above listed limitations, it’s nonetheless a first-rate AM/MW receiver and might be a great avenue into the fun hobby of ultralight DXing.
In short, the Sony SRF-59 is a real gem. But don’t take my word for it, either–go check one out for yourself!
Where to buy:

  • B&H photo
  • Amazon

 

Radio St. Helena Day 2010

[UPDATE: Radio Saint Helena Day 2010 has been canceled. Please read this updated post with info.]

Want to chase some fun DX? Radio St. Helena Day 2010 is almost here–this time being held in October. Details below:

(Source: Jaisakthivel via Hard-Core DX)

Radio St. Helena Day 2010 : Date,Times and Targets
————————————————————-
RSD 2010 will be on 11092.5 kHz USB, Saturday, 9th October 2010

Target Region Times (UTC ) Beam Heading

  • EUROPE 1900 – 2030 UTC 10 degrees
  • INDIA 2030 – 2130 UTC 70 degrees
  • JAPAN 2130 – 2300 UTC 50 degrees
  • North America 2300 – 0030 UTC 310 degrees

Gary Walters, Station Manager of Radio St. Helena, has just confirmed the above information,and, as usual, Derek Richards will operate the RSD shortwave transmitting facility. There will be a special email-address exclusively for the evening of RSD 2010. As soon as Gary sets up this special email account, will be published.

The RSD 2010 QSL cards are being sponsored by the Danish ShortWave Club International. Reception reports for RSD 2010 should be sent with sufficient return postage to RSH using thespecial Airmail address via Ascension and the United Kingdom — exactly the same procedureas for the RSD 2009 reception reports. ALL mail to RSH should use this procedure. ALL 266 QSLs for RSD 2009 have been mailed and should now be arriving around the world.The sunspot minimum between sunspot cycles 23 and 24 is the longest in history — much to the dismay of shortwave listeners everywhere. This minimum has lasted since 2007 and is still ongoing. There are not very many sunspots to “help” propagation, and there is no real sign of significant change.

The UTC-times for broadcasting to the various target area have been very carefully selected to to have the very best chance of good reception in each area. Also, we need to have the RSD broadcasts one after the other.After RSD 2009, it was decided to change the times somewhat and to move RSD from November to October (as was the case back in the late 1990’s — Thanks, John). RSH hopes that everyone around the world has excellent reception conditions during RSD 2010 and is looking forward to your emails and also, if possible, to your telephone calls.

Gary Walters , Station Manager of Radio St. Helena via Robert Kipp