Tag Archives: DXing

Wembley Stadium: A Superb DXing location

Oxford-Shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Clint Gouveia, who writes:

As the designated driver, I found myself waiting for friends at the Beyonce concert at Wembley Stadium last Sunday [July 3rd], Not wishing to miss an opportunity and taking advantage of 8 stories of elevation (top floor of the car park!) I spent about 3 hours DXing with the legendary Panasonic RF-B65 and a Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop, running on my home-brew battery pack.

Rather counter-ituitively, I quickly discovered there was basically zero QRM and recorded wonderful signals from Zanzibar BC, Radio Bangladesh Betar and Radio Oromiya. Links to the reception videos on my youtube channel ‘Oxford Shortwave Log’ follow below. I thought readers of your excellent website/blog might be interested to learn that sometimes the most unlikely of places can provide just about optimum conditions for DX! There are more reception videos for this particular session to upload,including Radio Fana, Voice of Tigray Revolution and Radio CANDIP.

73!

Reception Videos

Video 1: Zanzibar BC 11735 kHz, best ever reception

Video 2: Bangladesh Betar 13580 kHz, wonderful reception

Video 3: Radio Oromiya 6030 kHz, Ethiopia, best reception to-date

Wow! What amazing reception, Clint!  I would have never guessed that a car park next to the largest stadium in the UK would offer up such excellent listening conditions. Honestly–that Bangladesh Betar broadcast sounds like a local station.

You also have a great receiver there in the Panasonic RF-B65. If memory serves, the RF-B65 is also a favorite of SWLing Post contributor/DXer, Dan Robinson.

Post readers: Follow Clint’s many DX catches on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log.

Thanks again for sharing, Clint, and reminding us that DXing locations aren’t always remote and exotic.

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!

Guest Post: Wellbrook 1530LNPro vs ALA1530S+ Imperium Loop Antennas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted DXer, Guy Atkins, for the following guest post:


Two-Wellbrook-Loops-001

Wellbrook 1530LNPro vs ALA1530S+ Imperium Loop Antennas

-Guy Atkins

This past weekend I found some interesting results from medium wave DXing with both models of Wellbrook Imperium loop antennas at the “fabled” Rockworks cliffs near Manzanita, Oregon USA. This location has become popular the last few years with Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia DXers due to the signal enhancement at this narrow strip of land approx. 450 feet above the Pacific ocean. The main benefit seems to be splatter reduction of “pest” stations due to the signal blockage of the rock walls blasted into the cliffs for the coastal highway 101. However, a boost of signals around local sunrise is also beneficial, and is a common occurrence near salt water beaches.

Here is a Google Maps Street View of this beautiful “wide spot in the road” along the cliffs.

Ultralight-Cliff

Because of the limited space along this scenic coastal highway, all antennas used for DXing need to be both compact and temporary. Wellbrook loops supported on pro-audio speaker stands are a great way to go, and can easily be set up in the pre-dawn darkness.

Comparison

Both Wellbrook loop antennas mounted on "pro-audio" tripod stands right at the cliff edge at Rockworks Cliffs. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

Both Wellbrook loop antennas mounted on “pro-audio” tripod stands right at the cliff edge at Rockworks Cliffs. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

This is a comparison file of weak signal reception with the two models of Wellbrook Communications “Imperium” series loop antennas: the ALA1530LN “Pro” Imperium and the ALA1530S+ Imperium.

Both models of compact, 1-meter dia. active loops are excellent for reception from longwave & medium wave upwards. However, the ALA1530LN “Pro” excels at LW & MW with its low overall noise level and 9dB higher gain, engineered by Wellbrook for improved signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of up to 10 dB. S/N on the HF bands is reportedly better also.

My laptop running HDSDR software in my SUV; the receiver is an Elad FDM-S2. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

My laptop running HDSDR software in my SUV; the receiver is an Elad FDM-S2. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

On the weekend of October 24th, 2015 I was DXing at the “Rockworks” cliffs on the Oregon coast near Manzanita, OR. Both of these Imperium series antennas were in use and I was recording the medium wave band with an Elad FDM-S2 SDR receiver. Both antennas were fed with identical 25 ft. lengths of RG-58 coaxial cable.

The demonstration in this video begins with 10 seconds using the ALA1530LN Pro Imperium loop, alternating with 10 seconds with the ALA1530S+ Imperium loop.

The first signal tuned is aviation voice beacon “SQM” from Level Island, Alaska on 529 kHz (400 watts). The signal is weak, but audible as it rises above the noise floor. The reception improvement with the ALA1530LN Pro is evident.

Half way through the recording the frequency is switched to 1710 kHz, where an unidentified station (possibly a MW pirate) is audible playing the 1967 Zombies tune “Time of the Season”. Again, the clip starts with 10 seconds with the ALA1530LN Pro alternating with 10 seconds of the ALA1530S+ Imperium.

Each antenna is a worthy, compact loop for DXing, but for chasing the weakest signals with the best readability I think the ALA1530LN Pro shows its advantages.


Many thanks, Guy, for sharing your loop research! 

What I love about your portable SDR set-up, is that you can go to the cliff side, set up your antennas and equipment, record the spectrum on your SDR, then go back home to analyze and listen to what you captured.  It takes some of the pressure off while you’re on-site. 

This year at the Dayton Hamvention, I purchased the Pixel Technologies RF PRO-1B mag loop antenna. I used it (for the first time) at the PARI DXpedition. We were all impressed with its performance. I would love to compare it with the ALA1530LN Pro at some point in the future.

SWLing Post DXpedition at PARI…this weekend!

If you’ve registered for, and plan to attend, the PARI DXPedition, please make sure you’ve joined our Yahoo Group.  This is where we’re finalizing details and communicating about the DXpedition, noting any changes, updates, etc.  

PARIdish

If you’ve tried to contact me recently and haven’t gotten a response yet (sorry about that!) it’s because I’ve been unusually busy: writing a shortwave radio buyer’s guide for The Spectrum Monitor, several reviews for WRTH 2016, plotting another reader challenge, and last but not least, putting together the final details of the SWLing Post DXpedition at PARI this weekend.

Soon I’ll be another kind of busy, at the DXpedition:  exploring the bands, gazing at the stars, and hanging out with some of the SWLing Post community. Needless to say, it’s going to be fun, and I’m looking forward to it.

If we have Internet access at PARI, we hope to post a few loggings and photos from our Twitter account.

We have about a dozen registrants this year, a good start.  If you can’t make it there, no worries; if all goes well, we may have another next year.

Dr. Phil’s radio articles: portable SDR and pocket DX

RTL-SDR-001SWLing Post reader, Dr. Phil, recently contacted me regarding a collection of articles he’s written about DXing and radio modifications.

His site actually has a number of useful articles that I’ll plan to convert to future posts, with his permission.

Sony ICF-S10MKIII asked Dr. Phil for links to two of his most popular publications. He replied:

My two big recent articles are shown below. One is about “Pocket Radio DX”: using under-$20 radios to DX (started in 2003). Click here to download as a PDF.

The other is about using an $18 NooElec TV-tuner as a MW and shortwave receiver. Click here to download as a PDF.

Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing these, Dr. Phil!

I actually have a  Sony ICF-S10MK2, which I consider to be a capable and useful little AM/FM receiver for the sub $20 price. I’ve also been very tempted to purchase an RTL-SDR dongle, so I may go ahead and bite the bullet on one of the NooElec SDR dongles.