Tag Archives: Medium Wave

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.

Transatlantic medium wave DX: 3 Canadian stations rarely heard in Oxford, UK

Hi there, I thought I’d share with you, three recent catches from Canada that I had not previously heard here in Oxford, UK, over the past 18 months of DXing. The first is VOWR, a religous station in Saint John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. At the time of reception their TX power was 2.5 kW, thus a really pleasing catch. 800 kHz is such a difficult channel to DX in Europe due to heavy adjacent channel QRM, but the brilliant selectivity of the Elad FDM DUO operating via the FDM-SW2 software performed really well, producing mostlyy intelligble audio on LSB with an audio bandwidth filter of 2.1 kHz. Below is an embedded video and text link.

MW DX with 200 m Beverage: VOWR 800 kHz, St. John’s, N&L, first reception, with ID

The next reception video is CHHA ‘Voces Latinas’ from Toronto on 1600 kHz. This was the biggest surprise because this channel at the start of the X-band is dominated by The Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla. In fact, I would go so far as to say I’ve never heard anything else but Anguilla on 1600 kHz. The only difference in this reception is that it occurred relatively late in the morning for me – around 7:45 am. To catch CHHA for the first time, with a very clear ID was great, I hope to hear them again soon.  Below is an embedded video and text link.

Finally, a reception video of CBC Radio 1, transmitting on 1140 kHz. CBC are very often herad at my shack in Oxford, in fact, I see at least one carrier, usually with audio most evenings/mornings and often multiple signals are present across 600, 750 and 1400 KHz. However, their transmission from Sydney, Nova Scotia had never been copied previously and so this was a pleasing catch. Below is an embedded video and text link.


Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!

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 SDR spectrum with over 20 transatlantic signals: a quick tour

 

Tour of a medium wave spectrum with over 20 transatlantic signals

Hi there, I thought some of the readers of SWLing Post might be interested in a review of a MW spectrum with multiple transatlantic signals – all with audio. This is one of the recordings I took with the 200 metre Beverage antenna and although I haven’t properly counted, I believe it generated about 50 catches that were either personal firsts or best-ever receptions. You will note that this video is nearly 20 minutes long, whilst the recording is only just over 5 minutes, thus to capture the signals listed below and demonstrate audio to you, it was necessary to effectively ‘rewind’ a few times. I haven’t annotated the video, however, the stations I’ve paused on to demonstrate audio are listed below. There are actually more catches in this spectrum, but hopefully the video will give you a good idea of propagation on the morning of 10/10/16 and the effectiveness of the Beverage/Elad FDM DUO combination. Also note, I didn’t have time to fully optimise the demodulation settings, so for example, I haven’t used AM SYNC in this demonstration. Individual videos of all catches, with optimised settings appear on my YouTube channel Oxford Shortwave Log. I hope you enjoy it! Recorded in Oxford UK on 10/10/16 at 02:00 hrs UTC. Thanks for watching and I wish you all great DX!


590 kHz VOCM Saint John’s
600 kHz CBNA Saint Anthony
620 kHz CKCM Grand Falls-Windsor
660 kHz WFAN New York
710 kHz WOR New York
730 kHz CKAK Montreal
750 kHz CBC Radio 1 Bonavista Bay
790 kHz WAXY (presumed)
800 kHz VOWR
970 kHz WBGG
1010 kHz CFRB Toronto
1030 kHz WBZ Boston
1130 kHz WBBR New York
1190 kHz WLIB New York
1280 WADO New York
1390 WEGP Presque Isle
1400 kHz CBC Radio 1 Gander
1440 kHz WRED Westbrook
1510 kHz WMEX Boston
1520 kHz WWKB Buffalo
1570 kHz XERF La Poderosa, Mexico
1580 kHz HJQT Verdad Radio 1580 kHz, Bogotá, Colombia
1610 kHz Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla
1660 kHz WGIT Puerto Rico


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.

Radios With Rotatable AM Antennas?

The Panasonic RF-2200 sports a rotatable AM/MW antenna

The Panasonic RF-2200 sports a rotatable AM/MW antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi (N2HUN), who writes:

With your broad knowledge of radios, wondering if you can add anything to this list of portable radios, past and present, that have 360 degree rotatable directional AM ferrite antennas. Reason is I am looking for an AM portable for the nightstand for nulling out unwanted AM stations while also doing a little DXing.

The list I have from data mining the ‘Net is:

New models with rotatable AM antennas:

  • CountyCom GP5/SSB,
  • Tecsun PL-360,
  • Grundig Satellite 750,

Older (vintage) models:

  • Panasonic RF-2200,
  • Panasonic RF-1150,
  • Panasonic RF-877,
  • Panasonic RF-1180
  • most RDF (Radio Direction Finder) radios that were used on boats

“Boom Box” variety:

  • Radio Shack 12- 795,
  • Emerson MBR-1,
  • Rhapsody RY-610.

[RDF radios] are kind of big, however Raytheon, Ray Jefferson, and Nova-Tech did have smaller model RDFs that could be considered table-tops).

The alternative is to build or buy a passive indoor antenna.

Maybe readers know of other models?

Thank you for your inquiry, Mario! I will do a little research of my own because you listed every model (and more) I could think of off the top of my head.

Post readers: Please comment with any models we could add to this list.

I will take all of the suggestions and make a master list to post here on the SWLing Post so it’ll be easier for others to research in the future. I’m pretty sure this question has come up before.

What radio would you grab in a fire?

Scott-Marine-SLR-M

Lately, fires have been on my mind. No doubt, this is because there are so many wildfires in the greater southern Appalachian region right now, which is in the midst of a record drought. Brush fires start up almost daily, and no rain is in sight.  In the mountains, the air is hazy with smoke, and it’s become a struggle for fire departments to contain these blazes, even with help from outside the region.

Living, as we do, in a forest, we’ve always had to think through contingency plans if a forest fire should threaten our home:  with only a two hour (or so) warning, what items would we grab and load into our truck?

Of course, we’d likely focus on those things that are irreplaceable and thus essentially invaluable: our few family heirlooms, boxes of photos, documents––you know, stuff you can’t buy.

But what about radios?  I hope I’ll never be forced to choose the one thing I should save from my shack, because there are several to which I’m rather sentimentally attached…There’s my Zenith Transoceanic, for example–the first proper shortwave radio I ever owned. There are also a number of vintage radios as well as some SDRs which have become my staple receivers.

Scott-Marine-SLR-M-Dial

In the end, though, there’s no question which radio I’d grab. It would have to be my Scott Marine Radio Model SLR-M, affectionately nicknamed “Scottie.”. True, she’s not even close to portable at a solid 90 pounds, but I’d strap her to the roof of my vehicle, if I had to.

Why?  Well, it’s the most pristine vintage radio I own, and I use it daily. If it’s not tuned to Radio Australia in the morning, it’s tuned to my AMT3000 AM transmitter on 1570 kHz drawing in any of a number of stations I relay from my WiFi radio.

Scott-Marine-Radio-SLR-M

Scottie simply isn’t replaceable. Even though my Elecraft KX3 probably costs more in terms of monetary value, I could eventually scrape together the money to buy another KX3. But I couldn’t buy Scottie again. Not this one.

So, there you go: after we’ve saved those things important to our family, I’d grab a 1945 receiver and haul it to safety.

Post readers: Now I’m curious–if your home was threatened by fire or other disaster, what radio would you save? Please comment!