Tag Archives: Mediumwave

Guest Post: July 2016 Rockwork 4 Ocean Cliff DXpedition

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gary DeBock, who shares this summary of the July 2016 Rockwork 4 Ocean Cliff DXpedition:


July 2016 Rockwork 4 Ocean Cliff DXpedition

An International Team Gets Full “Exposure” to a Wild New DXing Venue

By Gary DeBock, Puyallup, WA, USA

Gary-DeBock-OceanDX

Introduction

In the previous century the outstanding receivers developed by the Japanese Sony and Panasonic companies introduced many of us to the thrill of shortwave listening as teenagers, and created an unusually dedicated DXer hobby group in Japan, as well. The Japanese MW-DXing group has all along been extremely active in the hobby, although the challenge of English communication has somewhat limited their interaction with other DXing groups.

Recently I was highly honored to introduce several modified Ultralight radios to the Japanese DXers, who not only tried these out with great interest, but who also designed and set up modification procedures for Japanese-made equivalents. One of the leaders in this effort was Satoshi Miyauchi, who has already built not only his own 7.5” loopstick Tecsun PL-380 model, but has also built his own 3 inch and 4.25 inch FSL Tecsun PL-380 models as well. When Satoshi-san inquired about the possibility of participating in one of our Rockwork 4 ocean cliff DXpeditions this summer (along with his friend, the famous Japanese MW-DXer Hiroo Nakagawa), I was thrilled to issue the invitation.

The Rockwork 4 turnoff site on Highway 101 is a sweeping ocean view site about 419 feet (158 meters) directly above the Pacific near Manzanita, Oregon. This would be the first time that any international visitors would participate in an ocean cliff DXpedition. Our North American TP-DXing group has always had a great interest in Japanese DX and Japanese DXers, and this would be the first major North American DXpedition to feature MW-DXers from both countries. Canadian Nick Hall-Patch (of Victoria, B.C.) also was highly interested in participating with the Japanese, and as such, our 5-man DXpedition group was composed primarily of DXers from other countries (with only Tom Rothlisberger joining me as repeat American participants).

Although my own DXpedition efforts started on the morning of July 5th, Nick and Tom both joined up for the session on Saturday, July 9th. We all welcomed our Japanese guests (with a joint dinner at the aptly named “Tsunami” restaurant in Wheeler, Oregon) that evening, and prepared for what we hoped would be a very memorable DXing session early the next morning.

OceanDX-CrewWell, it certainly was very memorable—in the worst possible way. A toxic mix of gale force winds and pounding rain was hammering the ocean cliff site as soon as we arrived for antenna setup at 1015 UTC (0315 local time), which was far and away the worst weather that any of us had ever experienced in an outdoor DXpedition. The sensible Japanese had at least brought suitable rain gear for the session, which was more than the careless North Americans had brought. Tom and I ended up thoroughly drenched and shivering as soon as the antennas were set up, while Nick was partially drenched. A single 15 inch FSL antenna was set up on its PVC base and strapped tightly down to the ocean cliff wall with heavy-duty plastic tie wraps, enabling Satoshi, Hiroo and I to track down some New Zealand, Australian and Tahiti DX with our Ultralight radios despite the vicious weather. Tom’s broadband loop supports absolutely refused to stay upright in the gale force winds, and he eventually had no option other than going outside in the nasty weather to hold one of them in the vertical position manually as he recorded DX on his Perseus-SDR. Nick’s active vertical whip was relatively impervious to the vicious weather, but he was drenched from the knees down because of the pounding rain during its early morning setup.

OceanDX-2

That entire July 10th session was thoroughly miserable for all of us, but both Satoshi and Hiroo showed great optimism and determination throughout the three hour struggle, which made all of us highly motivated to do the same!

Fortunately, DX (and weather) on the next (and final) morning would allow our Japanese and Canadian guests to experience the South Pacific DX propagation that this cliff is famous for providing. Satoshi and Hiroo became quick experts in New Zealand “big gun” stations, and Satoshi had a great thrill when 738-Tahiti pounded in at an S9 level on his homemade 3 inch FSL Tecsun PL-380 portable.OceanDX-Car

Propagation definitely favored New Zealand throughout the week (in one of the most Kiwi-slanted trips that has ever been observed here). Although we had a near-daily blowtorch signal from 738-Tahiti and occasional reception from 1017-Tonga, Australian signals generally had a rough time in the NZ-slanted conditions. Tom and I both agree that overall propagation was down somewhat from the exceptional conditions we enjoyed last summer (when we enjoyed good reception of stations like 558-6WA and 558-Fiji) but the chance to welcome the Japanese DXers made the experience especially memorable, and their skill and determination was an inspiration to us all. Listed below are the DU loggings made with my Ultralight radio + FSL antenna combos, which performed quite well throughout the vicious weather challenges on July 10th (better than the drenched and shivering DXer that created them, actually). The DU loggings made by the other DXers will no doubt exceed these, but we all had great fun together, and are looking forward to the next joint DXpedition (either here, or in Japan).

531   4KZ   (Innisfail, Australia, 10 kW)   MIA during Kiwi-slanted propagation on most mornings, it made it through at a modest level with its classic oldies format and interval signal during PI fade at 1209 on 7-5

https://app.box.com/s/phtsbdii0tatmxeb0qfq677it0emsa3i  

531   More FM   (Alexandra, NZ, 2 kW)   Rare low-powered Kiwi station played hard to get, but did show up during a deep PI fade in Kiwi-slanted propagation at 1222 on 7-6. This Kiwi English monolog sounds mostly garbled to me, but the first 5 seconds certainly sounds like “Welcome time to More FM’s blog…” (headphones recommended)

https://app.box.com/s/q527grcf5ee5q2l402sjiwl3syn8d8g4

531   PI   (Auckland, NZ, 5 kW)   Samoan broadcaster dominated on all 7 days with good signals, although 4KZ and More FM did manage to get through at times. This good-level Samoan female speech on 7-5 was typical

https://app.box.com/s/pe8gr1917b4vn3gccskee5gep6go7cft 

567   RNZ   (Wellington, NZ, 50 kW)   Most of this big gun’s legendary transoceanic signal seems to have been destroyed along with its old tower (during the recent demolition). It showed up weakly on all 7 days, although always inferior in strength to its 675 parallel

https://app.box.com/s/2mqql3qwk3vxg0ym5iu4tpi5f8ppvvj7 

576   2RN   (Sydney, Australia, 50 kW)   Kiwi-slanted propagation hit this RN-network big gun pretty hard, but it did show up with mediocre signals not // 657 at 1237 on 7-8

https://app.box.com/s/g39m6brj1dgh6qwx5i7m8xz45ynqu9yy

576   Star   (Hamilton, NZ, 2.5 kW)   The “Dwarf Star” (ex-The Word) was strong enough with its Christian female vocal music to confirm the parallel with 657 at 1244 on 7-11. The first 12 seconds in the recording are 576-Star, and the last 12 seconds are the 657 parallel

https://app.box.com/s/m548dxdvwu1ke99z4e1y2r12prfdf809

585   Radio Ngati Porou  (Ruatoria, NZ, 2 kW)   Wispy male speech was received at 1234 on 7-6 sounding like the usual Maori announcer, but the 603 // apparently started a new song right during the parallel check. Signal nosedived thereafter.

594   Rhema   (Timaru/ Wanganui, NZ, 5/ 2 kW)   Modest level Christian music // 684 at 1250 on 7-6. Usually a little stronger than the 684 parallel, with no sign of Aussie big gun 3WV during the Kiwi-slanted conditions

https://app.box.com/s/m2d7qbws87z5z1jg8d8n4lvqmz298p8k     

603   Radio Waatea   (Auckland, NZ, 5 kW)   Usually the strongest of the Maori network, this vibrant regular plays a mix of Maori and Motown music. Its strongest signal was on the last day (7-11) at 1218

https://app.box.com/s/xdxju7jr1flspiln9nz1havsvd8gy85o

657   Star   (Wellington/ Tauranga, NZ, 50/ 10 kW)   Christian hymn broadcaster owned the frequency during the Kiwi-slanted conditions, with this good-level music at 1211 on the last day of  7-11

https://app.box.com/s/mxti60qwfcc3298c541ak4k5p9s3vqj5

675   RNZ National   (Christchurch, NZ, 10 kW)   The new kingpin of RNZ network transoceanic strength (after the demise of 567’s old tower), this relay consistently outperformed its 50 kW parallel. This signal at 1257 on 7-8 was typical

https://app.box.com/s/wx9b9i1dex7mqyrb9b9zgbnk1n3svwew 

684   Rhema   (Gisborne, NZ, 5 kW)   Christian contemporary music broadcaster with fairly good signals // 594 at 1247 on 7-9; Tony W. says that the tower property has been sold and eviction is forthcoming

https://app.box.com/s/691ddrcehygaiko5pgpll2jp1nu1en91

702   2BL   (Sydney, Australia, 50 kW)   Easily pushing 702-Magic aside whenever it showed up, this Oz big gun was the dominant station on both 7-7 and 7-10. The interview format was much different from Magic’s oldie music

https://app.box.com/s/f0qfop5x7ymw1gbyowg65obveuqjwf6m 

702   Magic   (Auckland, NZ, 10 kW)   Capable of blistering signals when Kiwi propagation was enhanced, this oldie music broadcaster was the only DU on the frequency on 5 of 7 days

https://app.box.com/s/gtd8u8zxduwpirycbso99kigyum2ja5c

738   Radio Polynesie   (Mahina, Tahiti, 20 kW)   A real blowtorch on most days, this French-language signal at 1233 on 7-9 was the strongest DU recording made during the trip, and seriously tested the crunch resistance of my Ultralight radio

https://app.box.com/s/pw2gpfgh7vd19b33yz8ag7466y18462t

756   RNZ   (Auckland, NZ, 10 kW)   Pretty good signal with music // 675 at 1212 on 7-8, a good demonstration of the cliff’s ability to cut down splatter from the 750-Portland pest (50 kW and only 70 miles away)

https://app.box.com/s/qlx6esrtgccrg32pkwqt0yr71suuw52d

765   Radio Kahungunu   (Napier-Hastings, NZ, 2.5 kW)   Once again this low-powered Maori network station acted very much like a Kiwi big gun throughout the week. Maori and Motown music is the norm, as in this recording // 603 at 1215 on 7-8

https://app.box.com/s/p04c5i3fvvpxfw449nbsa2jlwmipsh6n

774   3LO   (Melbourne, Australia, 50 kW)   LR Network big gun was strong at 1222 on 7-5 but missing in action under Radio Sport on most days

https://app.box.com/s/egf89xhr29obvisblm7cb9bzehid62jh

774   Radio Sport   (New Plymouth, NZ, 5 kW)   Not nearly as strong as its 792 parallel, it was hit hard by Seattle splatter on most mornings, and never came up in strength for a decent recording

783   Access Radio   (Wellington, NZ, 10 kW)   Multi-cultural station with varied ethnic programming, this apparent Samoan language music and speech was received at 1241 on 7-7

https://app.box.com/s/yg4xp9r7er4hyul4jvcpsr5x747vqkf2

792   Radio Sport   (Hamilton, NZ, 5 kW)   Fairly strong on most mornings with its network relay of Fox Sports News, the Yankee-accented English owned the frequency on all 7 days (over the MIA Oz big gun 4RN)

https://app.box.com/s/um0gfok28blvq90n0eeoeuuoq3v5jzzy

828   3GI   (Sale, Australia, 10 kW)   On a couple of occasions this LR network big gun was just strong enough to confirm the parallel with 774, but most often it was in a ghostly mix with a presumed Radio Trackside (which never came up in strength for a decent recording).

891   5AN   (Adelaide, Australia, 50 kW)   Another underperforming Oz big gun, it was usually in a threshold-level mix with another DU English station (probably 4TAB).

936   Chinese Voice   (Auckland, NZ, 1 kW)   A prime target during enhanced Kiwi propagation, this low-powered ethnic station came through with fairly good-level music and Chinese speech during exceptional propagation at 1243 on 7-6

https://app.box.com/s/sng6i7c70sqm3e5bpymy3mfy1dbpbfdn

1008   Newstalk ZB   (Tauranga, NZ, 10 kW)   Getting through the 1010 splatter at a modest level // 1035 at 1220 on 7-7. Generally not as strong as either the 1035 or 1044 parallel

https://app.box.com/s/8l5sn7mayuwkzs896lbciw4s1e8738dw

1017   A3Z   (Nuku’alofa, Tonga, 10 kW)   Rushed antenna setup prior to 1130 on 7-9 paid off with a fairly good-level logging of male speech from this station, the only foreign language DU on the frequency. Since A3Z’s sign off is usually prior to sunrise enhancement at the cliff, the best chance to track it down is during its late Saturday night transmission, when it typically stays on a little later

https://app.box.com/s/jz35gvlr8re5ldfqol9h6ux0kd04dea5

1035   Newstalk ZB   (Wellington, NZ, 20 kW)   The flagship relay of this talk radio network had potent signals on most mornings, including this excellent-level discussion concerning NZ real estate at 1222 on 7-8

https://app.box.com/s/a21xkbboz6pbbqj73lj0ted4ft3fjiua

1044   Newstalk ZB   (Dunedin, NZ, 10 kW)   Fairly strong on most mornings with the usual call-in talk program and occasional music // 1035. This recording was at 1210 on 7-9

https://app.box.com/s/z7flaydc0if63v9qhro7deyvp3rno67d

1386   Radio Tarana   (Auckland, NZ, 10 kW)   Hindu music broadcaster pounded in when Kiwi propagation was enhanced (as in this recording at 1246 on 7-6), otherwise it got lost in splatter

https://app.box.com/s/aaguop8hp57aa38eulommx06tm3l22qw

1503   Radio Sport   (Wellington/ Christchurch, NZ, 5/ 2,5 kW)   Yankee English from the relay of Fox Sports News (// 792) was usually audible on this frequency on all 7 days

https://app.box.com/s/wed793j34pnu0thkulc3w8o7v716gs98

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (DXing at the Rockwork 4 Ocean Cliff near Manzanita, OR, USA)
7.5″ loopstick C.Crane Skywave Ultralights (3) +
15″ and 17″ FSL antennas


Tom-Photo

Report from Tom Rothlisberger

Saturday July 09 

Three of us on the ocean cliffside pullout this morning. It took some time to set up everything as this was a new antenna and configuration for me at the cliffs, and I was planning to experiment with a vactrol for the first time. A major setback occurred when my Win10 notebook refused to recognize the Perseus hardware due to a possibly corrupt driver. To make matters worse I did not bring the backup MSI Wind U100 that I have been using for years with good results. Note to self: always bring backup. I wound up borrowing Nick’s netbook as he did not need it for experiments that morning. So it was 1222 by the time I started recording. Magic 702 was slamming in and 1KW TAB Trackside on 549 was in nicely but briefly. I didn’t think the session was as good as what was experienced last year but everything was working and signals were loud at times, usually briefly, before settling back down into the noise. Little high band action but 1503 Radio Sport was in.

Sunday July 10

Driving rain and gale force winds were making things miserable. My antenna spreaders blew down time after time. For the last 15 minutes of the opening I was holding one up outside by hand, the other secured to the rock wall by heavy straps.

This turned out to be a morning favoring Australia. 1116 4BC was ruling the band with huge signals, I had Aussies on 702 and 936 instead of NZ stations. The ABC News fanfare was heard on 891 on the half hour and there was audio on 1566, 1611 and 1701. This was the only of the three mornings the whole band was in although not very robust like it was last August. IDing signals is still ongoing.

We were all soaked to the bone when it was over, my Gore-Tex jacket was no match for that storm. Distinguished visiting DXers Hiroo-san and Satoshi-san were still smiling at the end. That’s really the important thing, to have fun and overcome adversity. That we heard any stations at all was an added bonus. And we did hear some! We will always remember this morning.

Monday July 11

Another mostly New Zealand morning, decent signals but they would fade back down after a minute or two, and something else would become strong elsewhere on the band, one at a time. This made getting parallels for ID purposes difficult. On several frequencies NZ and Australia signals were fighting it out. It was another low band morning. The TAB Trackside affiliate on 1224 (1 KW) was briefly good but almost nothing heard above it except for occasional audio from Radio Sport 1503. 738 Tahiti was slamming in with meter-bending signals. Satoshi-san and Hiroo-san seemed very pleased as this station is considered rare and exotic DX from Japan.

Overall: 657 Star gets the award for strongest and longest lasting DU signal over the three days, beating last year’s champions 1035 Newstalk ZB and the no longer potent RNZ 567. I had more wire up this year but the signals were really no better. I failed to find a “sweet spot” with the vactrol for reducing splatter from the Portland powerhouses.

Longwave: DX NDBs were practically non-existent. I am wondering if the antenna configuration made it deaf at LW, or if conditions were really that terrible. Only one DX station, 352 KHz “RG” Nikau, Rarotonga, Cook Islands was noted. 531 PI was also exceedingly weak so I suspect the antenna. I will be changing things again at my next visit to the ocean cliffs to ensure I get more LW action.

73, Tom  K7WV


Nick-Hall-Patch

Report From Nick Hall-Patch

As promised, a logging or two, and a couple of photos:

549 NEW ZEALAND, Napier-Hastings, TAB Trackside Radio. Man talking, sounded like announcing a horse race, becoming fair //828 1220 July 9. (NHP)

594 NEW ZEALAND, Timaru/Wanganui, Star. Light music, poor strength, //909 July 10. (NHP)

693 NEW ZEALAND, Dunedin, Radio Sport. Poor to fair strength, American sport talk //792 1225 July 9 (NHP)

729 NEW ZEALAND, Tokorua, R. New Zealand National. Light Dixieland style mx, poor strength, seemed //675 but slightly offset so hard to say for certain. Only there for a minute or two, 1212 July 9. (NHP)

747 JAPAN, Sapporo, JOIB. Briefly poor and //774, with man in what sounded like Japanese, certainly not DU English, 1136 July 10. (NHP)

774 NEW ZEALAND, New Plymouth, Radio Sport. Fair to good signal, earlier //792 with American sport talk, bit of electrical noise, unusual for this quiet location, 1227 July 9. (NHP)

792 NEW ZEALAND, Hamilton, Radio Sport. American sport talk, fair strength in splatter //774 1224 July 9. (NHP)

Ocean

828 NEW ZEALAND, Palmerston North, TAB Trackside Radio. Horse race announcer, fading up to good strength with a little splatter, 1223 July 9, earlier ID’ed by //549. (NHP)

1611 // 1629 t AUSTRALIA, but who? 1216 July 10.

http://www3.telus.net/public/shallpat/rockworks/1611_1629parallel_20160710_1216.wav

Not what I would call listenable, but somewhat identifiable DX, could be a preacher, which might be Vision Radio Network, but several sites on each channel. Not heard on other days, so a bit out of the ordinary. (NHP)

(NHP) RFSpace NetSDR, RFSpace SDR-14 running DX Fishbarrel program; AMRAD active 4’ whip antenna


Report From Satoshi Miyauchi

(July 28) It is just like last week that we had been there! All those memories are good to remember, including the very precious “welcoming” weather on 10th morning! It just showed that even for short period of stay, at least TWO sessions might be required …

DXing results are of course something that we really appreciate out of the DXpedition, but simply the fact that we could meet up and DXing together means a lot! And also both Hiroo and me were very much impressed by all of your efforts even in the middle of darkness and especially in the stormy weather. As for us also, it was the worst weather we ever had on the day of DXpedition! So in many ways we could get “first ever” in this joint DXpedition! We hope that we all can meet sometime in the future either at the cliff, Cliff in Japan, or any other location in the world! Thanking you once again for your hospitality, and actual support on equipments that we could use throughout the DXpedition!

Best 73,

Satoshi Miyauchi


DXpedition Videos

First Day Tour (July 5th, FSL antenna setup)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBeoUF0ruvQ

July 9th Antenna Setup (Tom, Nick and Gary)  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Kn2vrBzK0

The Session from Hell (July 10th)  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw9k6E08eME

Final Day Success (July 11th)  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjda-kO_oQE


Wow! Gary, thanks so much and thanks to all of the team members–Hiroo, Satoshi, Tom and Nick–for sharing your experiences. Though your weather was less than desirable, it appears your DX was quite successful. You’ve so many mediumwave loggings from New Zealand, I’m convinced you were actually in New Zealand! Most impressive!

Most importantly, it sounds like you all enjoyed a little DX fellowship. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.  We look forward to future DXpedition reports!

Hello all,

A few nights ago during great propagation in the Medium Wave band I had the opertunity to DX Radio Capital from Lima, Peru all the way to Northern Ireland. I was planning to sleep early but favourable conditions on MW prompted me to have a late night to chase DX. I have had this confirmed to me by a few very well known MW DX’ers.

Swlingperumw

The equipment I had used to get this catch were as follows ;

• Lack of sleep & plenty of caffeine

• SDR Play RSP with ferrite chokes

• Wellbrook ALA1530LN Active Loop Antenna with coax running out of the electric field of my house and ferrite chokes attaches at parts


Jordan Heyburn (MI6JVC) is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Jordan is an avid shortwave listener, ham radio operator and shortwave presenter/owner of Radio Northern Ireland. Jordan is based in Northern Ireland.

CountyComm: A note of caution about the high-gain ferrite bar antenna

Ferrite-Bar-PL-365After our post this morning regarding the high-gain ferrite bar antenna (available via eBay), I received a message from Nick at CountyComm.

Nick notes:

“[The high-gain antenna is] very cool however we wanted to let you know that we found out it [can] actually destroy the antenna input to the GP5/SSB or GP5/DSP because of its heavy weight. [W]e had at least five radios come back [after] customers had purchased the large ferrite antenna from an eBay seller.”

Many thanks, Nick, for the feedback. It is important to note that the high-gain bar antenna is not an OEM product, so CountyComm isn’t responsible if it harms the radio’s antenna jack.

While still relatively lightweight, the high-gain bar antenna is substantially heavier and longer than the GP5’s supplied MW antenna.

I’ve been concerned about dropping the GP5/SSB with the larger bar antenna inserted–fearing the jack could break off–so I’ve been very careful using it. I’ll probably continue using the larger ferrite bar, understanding that I’ll have to handle it with care.

If you’re concerned about damaging your radio, I would suggest using an inductively coupled AN200 loop antenna instead.

Again, Nick, thanks for the heads-up!

Steven is impressed with the CountyComm GP5/SSB and high-gain bar antenna

GP5SSB-Front

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steven Crawford, who sent the following message to me (several weeks ago) and has kindly allowed me to share it here. Steven writes:

I hope this finds you and yours well. I just wanted to take a few moments and express my sincere thanks to you for your posts of 12/20/2014 and 1/6/2016, and for sharing Larry Thompson’s post of 2/28/2016, and Ron’s post of 1/16/2016. If you are in regular contact with the other individuals please feel free to pass along my thanks as each of you and the respective post convinced me to purchase a CountyComm GP5/SSB and Ebay seller playloudfm’s high-gain ferrite bar antenna. I am so glad I did, so a hearty Thank You to each of you.

The afternoon of March 19th local was the first chance I had to use my GP-5/SSB. After popping in three fresh AA’s on AM using the internal ferrite bar antenna Beaumont, Texas’ own powerhouse 5,000 watt KLVI 560 was there as was 1,000 watt Orange’s KOGT 1600, 23 miles away and my AM daytime benchmark 50 kW KTRH 740 Houston 70 or so miles away on the back side of their pattern. KTRH surprisingly can be a little difficult during the day due to noise. The surprise was 50 kW WWL New Orleans 240 miles away was intelligible above the background noise. Extending the whip a quickie SW test showed WWV Fort Collins time signal was present at 15 MHz.

On the AM side the real money lay after dark once the sun had set in Beaumont and San Antonio. Using only the internal ferrite bar antenna all of the aforementioned AM stations were present. Continuing the internal antenna’s test 50 kW WBAP 820 Dallas 244 miles away and 50kW WOAI 1200 San Antonio 266 miles away were present. I started grinning when 50 kW WLAC 1510 Nashville 598 miles away and 50kW KMOX 1120 St. Louis 632 miles away were just intelligible above the background noise. Keep in mind these stations were received using only the internal antenna.

GP5SSB-MW-Antenna-1

I popped the CountyComm included factory external ferrite bar on and used it 9 -10 PM Saturday local, 0200 – 0300 March 20 UTC. Using the external antenna rotated for best reception WLAC and KMOX improved to the point they were easily listenable. 50 kW WSB 750 Atlanta 625 miles away was listenable above the noise and most surprising 50kW WBBM 780 Chicago 892 miles away(!!!) was just intelligible above the background noise. Another quickie SW test was performed at 10 PM local, 0300 March 20 Sunday UTC by extending the built in whip and the WWV Fort Collins time signals were present at 5 and 10 MHz with 10MHz being particularly well received.

Ferrite-Bar-Antenna-PL-365-GP5SSB

Photo source: eBay

A real treat lay in store after receiving Ebay seller playloudfm’s aftermarket high-gain ferrite bar antenna, the subject of your 1/6/2016 and Ron’s 1/16/2016 post, yesterday. I am not experienced enough to judge what the space weather or propagation conditions were like from 0300 to 0400 March 27th UTC but I was extremely surprised and pleased with the reception results the new antenna afforded.

As I sat relaxing in my easy chair before bed I decided to try the combo out using the included earphones so as to not wake my wife. With the lights off and my iPad open to www.oldradio.com/archives/stations/ccs.htm to help identify clear channel stations I took the handheld combo for a spin. All of the stations found with the factory supplied external ferrite bar antenna were present. There was just so much more signal present using the aftermarket antenna each became easily listenable. For WOAI, WWL, WLAC and KMOX the effect was as if I was located within their local night coverage area. 50 kW WHAS Louisville Kentucky 740 miles away was newly found present. Chicago’s WBBM was there as before and I was surprised to find 50 kW WGN 720 Chicago as well. The reception quality was such that one could enjoy listening to a Cub’s game or breaking local news story should one be so inclined on WBBM or WGN. The listening experience was similar for newly found 50 kW XEROK 800 Ciudad Juarez 738 miles away.

The most surprising and gratifying, to me anyway, find of the night using playloudfm’s antenna was receiving 5,000 watt (nights!) KCMO 710 Kansas City Missouri 624 miles away. The ability to rotate the antenna to take advantage of it’s directional and nulling ability really aided in this reception. It really is a great benefit to be able to rotate the GP-5/SSB’s external AM antennas for peak signal strength while nulling interfering signals and noise. Indeed KCMO was missing in one antenna orientation but rotating the antenna 90 degrees and the station popped in. I really should have jotted signal strength to noise ratios down but I was just enjoying tuning through the spectrum too much. I have not fully tested SSB Exalted Carrier tuning on the GP5/SSB of difficult stations but have tried it 3 or 4 times and it does appear to work as does tuning 1 kHZ either side of the nominal frequency. The later technique did help clean up some signals by further reducing background noise without greatly affecting listenability.

As best I can tell I ordered and received either the last or next to last of playloudfm’s current batch of high-gain ferrite bar antennas as the Ebay add showed two available when I ordered and the ad was almost immediately replaced with an “accepting pre-orders” ad. Currently there are no ads by seller playloudfm.[Note: it appears more inventory has been added to eBay.] My transaction and shipping was quick and smooth. The bulk of the two week wait occurred after the package was received at the Athens airport where tracking stopped. It should be noted by buyers should more antennas become available the tracking number supplied does not work on the USPS tracking service but it will track the package to Athens through Greece’s Hellenic Post tracking service at http://www.elta.gr/en-us/personal/tracktrace.aspx

Note: all distances listed above are “as the crow flies”, straight line city center to city center and are not necessarily correct for the transmission tower location.

This little radio is fast becoming a hand holdable favorite with easy to learn button placement for use in the dark. I am all ready beginning to prefer it to my Sony SW7600GR / AN200 loop combo for MW broadcast AM reception but I really must do more work with SW before calling the CountyComm my favorite of the two.

Steven followed up a week or so later with this addendum to his review:

I finally got the opportunity to test the FM performance of the radio using only the extended whip on the afternoon of April 1st, April 1st 19:30 – 21:00 UTC. Using www.radio-locator.com and my zip code I found 51 FM stations listed as local, distant and possible fringe reception. I was very surprised and pleased when I was able to log all of the most distant fringe stations, KUHF, KKBQ, KTBZ, KKHH, KHMX, KBXX, KODA, KILT, KLOL, KMJQ, KRBE, KOVE, and KGLK, with ERP’s listed as 90 to 100 kW and distances in the given in the 80 to 90 mile range. In short I was able to log all 51 listed stations. The FM broadcast band is crowded indeed with this little rocket radio. It should be noted my little corner of Southeast Texas is dead flat with nothing between me and these stations broadcast towers but Houston skyscrapers, the typical urban / suburban sprawl, timber and marsh. Ground elevations range from 16 ft to 80 ft above sea level between me and many of the broadcast towers.

[…]My Sony SW7600GR / AN200 loop / Sony AN-LP1 loop combination sits in it’s go bag rapidly falling into disfavor, replaced by the easily used in the dark one handed CountyComm GP-5/SSB. Again thank you for your kind response and thanks again to all who motivated me to purchase this rig.

Steven, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with the GP5-SSB and the high-gain ferrite bar antenna.

I also have the high-gain ferrite bar antenna and have been meaning to post videos showing how it performs compared with the supplied GP5 antenna. I must say, it does do a pretty amazing job. I’ll get some videos posted in the coming weeks!

Netherlands clears way for licensed low power mediumwave/AM stations

AM-Dial-Digital-Grundig-Mediumwave-MW

SWLing Post readers might recall that the Netherlands was considering opening licensed mediumwave broadcasting to low-power stations–it appears the path is now clear. Yesterday, Minister Kamp gave the green light to low-power stations (those with a power output from 1 to 100 watts) who can now apply for a broadcasting license.

Stig Hartvig Nielsen posted the following on the WRTH Facebook page:

Today Dutch minister Kamp has made it public that the Medium Wave band now will be open for low power stations operating with a power of max. 100 Watt. Full story here (in Dutch): http://radio.nl/…/groen-licht-voor-laagvermogen-uitzendinge…

One of the first stations to go on the air under the new legislation may be the long time pirate – Atlantis Radio 1521 – in Friesland. They got a license (?) from Commissariaat voor de Media in March 2016, and they recently purchased a new 75 W AM transmitter (300 W PEP). The format is golden oldies – and the station can be heard online here:http://www.atlantisradio.eu/radio/ – and more details can be found here:https://www.facebook.com/RadioAtlantis1521KHz/

It will be interesting to see how this decision plays out and how many stations will apply for a license. I’ll certainly listen for new stations on the U Twente Web SDR as they pop up.