Excellent current conditions, evidenced by today’s 31 meter logs

31meterband-waterfall

This morning, before heading out the door, I tuned around the 31 meter broadcast band. I’ve actually been recording 640 kHz of the 31 meter band for almost 24 hours, trying to capitalize on the fact that propagation conditions have been the best I’ve seen in several months. At some point in the future, I’ll load this recording, tune through it and remind myself what’s possible when propagation is favorable! Check out the waterfall screenshot above.

Asian stations had a strong showing on the band in eastern North America this morning.

Here are the stations I logged starting around 12:30 UTC today:

  • 9395 WRMI English
  • 9410 China National Radio 5 Chinese
  • 9420 China National Radio 13 Uyghur
  • 9430 FEBC Radio Chinese
  • 9440 China Radio International Cambodian
  • 9460 China Radio International English
  • 9470 UNID (weak)
  • 9490 Voice of America Korean
  • 9500 China National Radio 1 Chinese
  • 9515 China National Radio 2 Chinese
  • 9540 China Radio International Chinese
  • 9550 Radio Havana Cuba Spanish
  • 9570 China Radio International Cantonese
  • 9575 All India Radio Tibetan
  • 9580 Radio Australia English
  • 9600 China Radio International English
  • 9620 All India Radio Sindhi
  • 9635 Voice of Vietnam 1 Vietnamese
  • 9640 Radio Havana Cuba Spanish
  • 9645 China Radio International English
  • 9650 Radio Sonder Grense Afrikaans (with QRM)
  • 9660 Radio Taiwan International Chinese
  • 9665 KCBS Pyongyang Korean (weak)
  • 9680 Radio Taiwan International Chinese
  • 9700 Radio New Zealand International English
  • 9710 China National Radio 1 Chinese
  • 9720 Reach Beyond Australia (HCJB) Indonesian
  • 9730 China Radio International English
  • 9735 Radio Taiwan International Indonesian
  • 9740 BBC English
  • 9750 NHK World Radio Japan (?) Japanese
  • 9760 China Radio International English
  • 9785 China Radio International Laotian (?)
  • 9805 Radio Marti Spanish (w/accompanying Cuban jammer)
  • 9820 Radio Habana Cuba Spanish
  • 9830 China National Radio 1 Chinese (with RTTY QRM)
  • 9835 RTM Sarawak FM Malaysian (very weak)
  • 9840 Voice of Vietnam English
  • 9845 China National Radio 1 Chinese (weak)
  • 9855 China Radio International Chinese
  • 9870 AIR New Delhi Hindi
  • 9880 KSDA-AWR Guam Korean
  • 9920 FEBC Radio Hre
  • 9955 WRMI English
  • 9980 WWCR English
  • 10000  WWV Ft. Collins

That’s 46 signals in a space of 640 kHz–not bad!

I dare say: these excellent band conditions will not last forever.

Make time to play radio today!

The bands are open! Make time to listen.

Sony-ICF-SW100-Outside-Fall

Though I’ve spent the entire day sawing and splitting firewood, I’ve been actively recording spectrum on the 31, 25, 19 and 16 meter bands with the WinRadio Excalibur, Elad FDM-S2 and the SDRplay RSP. Why? Propagation–especially on the higher bands–has been the best it’s been in several weeks.

As I discovered at the recent SWLing Post DXpedition, my shack PC can handle making multiple spectrum recordings simultaneously as long as I limit each recording to the width of a broadcast band. (I’ve never tried pushing the limit very hard.) Someday in the future–perhaps when we’re having terrible propagation–I’ll play those spectrum recordings back and tune through them as if they were live.

Radio time travel at its best.

Sony-ICF-SW100-Outside-2

When I decided to throw in the towel with all of the firewood processing, I fired up the Sony ICF-SW100 (above) and tuned in a game on 17,855 kHz: Radio Exterior de España.

The REE signal was simply booming into eastern North America!

Hard to break away from the radio on days like this.

My advice? Take advantage of these conditions and make time to listen!

For me, SWLing a great excuse to relax and let me back heal after a long day of splitting wood. For some, perhaps it’s a good excuse to take the radio outdoors and away from urban interference. Whatever the excuse, don’t hesitate to fire up your radio!

There are some interesting stations on the bands this evening. Feel free to comment with some you’ve logged.

Met Office guide to space weather forecasts

Met-Office

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike (K8RAT), who writes:

The Met Office has this brief introduction to the subject of space weather and the methods they use to make predictions. It may be useful to beginners in the radio hobby.

This download is found on The Met Office’s forecast page:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

They are not giving us any good news regarding the next couple of days on HF.

Click here to download the Met Office guide: “Space Weather: Find out more about how we forecast space weather” (PDF).

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!

Scientists predict sun may ‘hibernate’

Photo Source: NASA

News sources are publishing information regarding new scientific research which puts our sunspot cycle into question. How does this affect the average shortwave listener? Periods of high sunspot numbers generally produce excellent DX conditions. In other words, with modest equipment, listeners can hear even weak signals around the world. Amateur radio operators find that they can communicate around the world with very low power.

Our current cycle (cycle 24) has been relatively uneventful compared to the past–but the prediction for Cycle 25 is scary. Indeed, it may not even happen on schedule. The news sources below explain in detail.

Spaceref.com:
A missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

From Yahoo:
For years, scientists have been predicting the Sun would by around 2012 move into solar maximum, a period of intense flares and sunspot activity, but lately a curious calm has suggested quite the opposite.

According to three studies released in the United States on Tuesday, experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century.

Science Mag:
Things may be about to get very dull on the sun. Three different measurements of solar activity, reported by scientists at a press conference today, suggest that the next 11-year-long solar cycle will be far quieter than the current one. In fact, it may not happen at all: Sunspots, the enormous magnetic storms that erupt on the sun’s surface as the cycle builds, might disappear entirely for the first time in approximately 400 years.