Tag Archives: DXing

Urban DXing: testing the Bonito Boni whip against a 30 metre longwire & the Wellbrook ALA15030

Hi there, if like me, you live in an urban environment, chances are QRM is having a negative impact on the quality of the signals you’re receiving at home. The presence of electrical noise makes antenna choice very important, particuarly if you’re planning to spend more than a few £££s on something more sophisticated than a length of wire. Recently I was considering the the purchase of a second compact antenna, for use at home in my shack and out and about on DXpeditions. I already had the excellent Wellbrook ALA1530 H field antenna, but at more than £250, it’s very costly and thus it seemed rather extravagent to buy a second one, if I could find something with similar performance for less expense. Space is at a premium at home and of course I take much of my equipment out on DXpeditions, so the Bonito Boni whip active antenna appeared to be an ideal choice. A wideband active antenna (from 20 kHz to 300 MHz) operating from 12 to 15V DC, with a very compact form-factor definitely ticked all the boxes. Furthermore, with reasonable second and third order intercept points of +55 and +32.5 dBm respectively, the Boni whip, on paper at least, looked like a pretty good buy at around £100.

 

Now, clearly, an E field antenna such as the Boni whip is not going to match the SNR provided by the H field Wellbrook ALA1530 in a noisy, urban environment. I have uploaded a few reception videos to my YouTube channel to demonstrate this, making a direct comparison of the two. However, what about the performance of the whip versus a simple longwire in an urban environment? Is there a delta in performance? The value proposition of the whip is primarliy in it’s performance, coupled with portability I suppose, but that must be considered a secondary requirement. The whip might be 10 or 15 times more expensive than a reel of cheap equipment wire, but will the reception justify the cost delta?!

Text links follow directly below, with embedded videos thereafter; you will find 3 reception videos comparing the whip and a 30 metre longwire, on shortwave and one each for LW and MW. At the end of each video there’s a section with the Wellbrook loop, just to calibrate where the longwire and whip are in terms of a much more effective H field antenna. The result? Well, there’s not much to separate the longwire and Boni whip, except on LW, where the whip prevails. A friend told me recently, if reception is rubbish at home under a blanket of QRM, don’t blame the antenna, the noise is the real problem. He was right. So, the next tests are to be undertaken out in the field, where the whip has a real chance to shine. I’m rooting for it because to have an antenna that performs as well as, or close to my loop out in the woods, yet can be packed away into a small case would be brilliant. Thanks for reading/watching/listening.



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.

Paul’s (very cold) DXing post in Alaska

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

In case anyone is mildly curious, this is the spot where I sit to DX.

paul-walker-alaska

These are my radios and antennas.

Equipment in photo above: Grundig Satellit 750, Lowe HF225, 2 225 foot long wires, a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP magnetic loop and DX Engineering HF Preamp.

paul-walker-alaska-2

And this is what’s to my back when DXing at 0945 AM local time

It was warm today, 4F above zero (-15.5C) instead of yesterday’s -18F below (-27.7C)!

Paul Walker
Galena, Alaska

That’s it, Paul! Next time I hear a DXer complaining about the weather, I’m just going to send them a link to this post! 🙂 Those are some seriously cold temps, yet I know it gets much, much colder there in the winter!

Which is the best? Sony ICF-2001D/2010 or ICF-SW77? Part two

sony-test

Hi there, after the first set of recordings were analysed, the score was 4-3 to the ICF-2001D, demonstrating how similar these two great receivers are in overall performance. There were a copule of notable differences however. The synchronous detection circuit on the ICF-2001D allows the user to effectively tune through a signal in 01. kHz steps, whilst the receiver automatically locks onto either the upper or lower sideband, depending on the frequency offset. The ICF-SW77 synchronous detection system differs in that the user must tune the signal and select the sideband. The results of this test confirmed that whilst the ICF-2001D almost always retained SYNC lock, the ICF-SW77 was very prone to losing lock, which of course affected the audio quality in many cases. The other issue was with the ICF-SW77 in that the narrow audio bandwidth filter often seemed to deliver ‘muddy’ audio. Whilst this feature proved to be excellent in terms of mitigating adjacent channel QRM, it also reduced signal clarity/ audio discernibility a little too much in my opinion. However, overall, sensitivity and selectivity was very similar between both radios – in fact, one recording had to be judged a draw (Radio Bandeirantes, Sao Paolo on 9645.4 kHz) – I simply couldn’t split them. Part two of the reception testing follows, using signals from Canda, DR Congo, Brazil, Cuba and Peru.

I hope you enjoy the recordings – text links and embedded videos follow below:


 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Medium wave DX: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela heard in Oxford, UK

part-south-america

Hi there, I thought I would share a few recent medium wave DX catches from South America. In the past month or so, I’ve managed to record signals from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and one that I’m particularly happy about – Ecuador, which is rarely reported in Europe. All catches were obtained with my usual indoor home set-up – the brilliant little Elad FDM DUO coupled to the equally brilliant Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop antenna. I have started to take the Elad on DXpeditions now, having constructed a battery pack for it, but the results I’m yielding outdoors are so far mainly with shortwave reception, where the improvement in SNR is quite obvious in the size of the carriers I’m observing and much improved modulation/ audio clarity on the Tropical Band. Hopefully in time, similar results will yield on medium wave. In the meantime, Im very happy with the indoor performance and these catches demonstrate that. There are many more reception videos on my YouTube channel Oxford Shortwave Log, including a large number of signals recorded from North America on medium wave. Direct links follow below and further down, embedded reception videos. Thanks very much for watching, listening and I will you all excellent DX.


Medium wave DX: Radio Huellas 1470 kHz, Cali, Colombia, first reception

 

Medium wave DX: Bethel Radio 1570 kHz, Lima Peru, first reception

 

Medium wave DX: Radio Santa Maria 1490 kHz, Azogues, Ecuador

 

Medium wave DX: YVKS RCR 750 Radio Caracas 750 kHz, Venezuela

 

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.

The Sony ICF-SW100: a miniture DX marvel, never likely to be repeated

sw100s

Hi there, I’ve owned my Sony ICF-SW100S for about a year now and in that time it has demonstrated a level of performance way beyond my expectations. Notwithstanding it’s incredibly small size (about the same as a packet of cigarettes, give-or-take), the DX results I have obtained with it are simply incredible. A fully featured ultra-portable receiver, complete with synchronous detection, selectable side bands, SSB, CW and coupled with sensitivity that has my (wonderful) Sony ICF-SW55 beat – and knocks on the door of the legendary ICF2001D. I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. Plug in some headphones or connect an external speaker such as the Bose SoundLink Mini 2 and you effectively have table-top receiver performance and audio in a very compact package.

Originally introduced into the market in 1993 and discontinued in 2005, this little radio covers the broadcast FM band from 76 to 108 MHz and AM from 150 to 29999 kHz, continuously. There are numerous other features that I won’t list here as they’re available on the web, but suffice to say, this (now vintage) ultra-portable DXer’s box of tricks is likely never to be repeated. They are available on eBay and prices remain robust for a radio that will be one to two decades old. Of course there’s also the issue on the first generation models with the ribbon cable connecting the lid of the set with the LCD display etc. to the base, which would fracture after some time, but this was rectified in later models with a notch cut out of the hinge to reduce the stress on the cable – see photo. They are also repairable and in fact I believe Thomas has a posting on here detailing how the ribbon cable on his example was replaced. In my opinion, it’s worth this receiver is worth the hassle of a repair, because it’s quite simply unique.

Below are selected reception videos from my youtube channel Oxford Shortwave Log using the Sony ICF-SW100, which I believe epitomise the performance of this great little portable. Thanks for watching/ listening.


Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log youTube channel

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log Youtube channel

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel

Direct Link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log reception video

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel

Direct link to reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel

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.