Tag Archives: shortwave

An EDC Bag for the Classic Sony ICF-SW100 Receiver

In a 2014 article, this site’s administrator Thomas Witherspoon introduced readers to the CIA’s Survival Kit which is housed in a superbly sturdy waistpack, the Maxpedition M-2. Thomas observed that the M-2 pouch is perfectly suited to holding the diminutive Sony ICF-SW100 receiver.

I was intrigued by that possibility, but only recently tried to combine the two after I resurrected another ICF-SW100 that fell silent to the chronic broken ribbon cable problem. Indeed, the radio is a perfect fit and the M-2 is impressively solid and well designed. I was not aware of the Maxpedition firm prior to learning of the M-2 bag, but I see in various forums they are a major player in well-made gear for the survivalist and outdoor enthusiast crowds. The M-2 is a very popular item, and one or more of the four available colors are sometimes out of stock at the manufacturer. Fortunately there are many sellers on Amazon and Ebay who have these waistpacks available.

What is EDC you may ask? It refers to “Every Day Carry”, the essentials that an individual deems necessary for their lifestyle or a particular activity. For me, an EDC bag is taken along on hikes or other outings to the countryside and typically contains a compact shortwave radio and related accessories. It’s always fun to stop for lunch or a break in a remote location and be able to search for interesting stations whenever the mood strikes.

This photo shows what I’m able to carry in the Maxpedition M-2 bag; a coffee mug is shown for size comparison. Contents of the “kit” include:

  • The Sony ICF-SW100 receiver
  • Zero Audio Carbo Tenore In-Ear Monitors & soft pouch
  • Sony AN-71 reel-up antenna
  • Panasonic RR-XS400 Digital Voice Recorder
  • Short 3.5mm male-to-male stereo audio patch cable
  • Two extra AA batteries for the Sony receiver
  • An extra AAA battery for the Panasonic Digital Voice Recorder

A few comments on the contents. The Zero Audio Carbo Tenore In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) provide excellent audio quality for their price. They are among a handful of IEMs regularly recommended by budget-minded audiophiles on the popular Head-fi.org site. I like these IEMs not only for the audio quality, but also their small size (in the cloth bag) which barely fits into the M-2’s main compartment along with the ICF-SW100. Larger earbuds or IEMs might not fit the M-2 without being mangled by the hefty YKK zippers. One caution: the similar Carbo Basso model by Zero Audio is deemed by many to be overly heavy on the bass frequencies. I find the Carbo Tenore to be more than sufficient for bass heavy genres like Electronica.

The Panasonic RR-XS400 digital voice recorder has been out of production a few years, but is a highly capable and compact recorder. It contains a hidden USB plug for charging and data transfer, has a fully featured and backlit LCD display, built-in stereo microphones, switchable LINE/MIC inputs, and other useful features. In excellent used condition the RR-XS400 is worth about $50 USD in 2017, despite some Amazon sellers trying to move them at the original $280 price.

The extra AAA battery for the recorder slips into the front pouch of the M-2 bag along with the Sony AN-71 antenna. The additional AA batteries for the radio, however, are held in the two “pen loops” on the left and right of the M-2. Despite these loops being open-bottomed tubes, the fit is tight enough to hold the batteries securely.

Like every portion of the Maxpedition M-2 bag, the belt loop is proportioned perfectly and sewn with precision. With the Sony ICF-SW100 EDC “kit” secured to my belt on a hike, I’m assured of quick access to a DXing opportunity, such as when hiking the Naches Loop Trail near beautiful Mt. Rainier:

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

CKZU unlikely to return to shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, who writes:

From DXLD today in case you missed it . Well at least CKZN St. Johns [also on 6160 @ 1kw] is still on (last I checked) , the one I can hear at my QTH.

***************************************************
Bad news re: CKZU 6160 Khz

Volodya S

Fellas, from an insider at the CBC. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good for CKZU ever returning to the air. 🙁 Thanks to Colin Newell for digging into this further.

Walt Salmaniw, Victoiria, BC

Got the answer.. not gonna like it.
Basically, it broke and they don’t have parts to fix it because it’s too old and no parts available. The money required to purchase a new transmitter doesn’t make sense because of the low numbers of people who use it (changing world, everything’s online, blah blah). Before you say it, yes I know, I know.

Anyway, there is no other way to voice your displeasure than the 1-866-306-4636 audience relations number. If enough people call, they might notice, but I doubt it.

Sorry to be the bad news messenger. I kinda figured that was the deal of why it was off the air.

This is sad news indeed for those who enjoyed CKZU. What amazes me, is how a 500 watt shortwave relay covered such a large broadcast footprint in British Columbia and western North America.

On that note, I just discovered this post by Colin Newell (referenced above) on his blog, the Coffee Crew Blog. Colin mentions when he started listening to CKZU and what it meant to him. Check out his post.

CKZU was a reasonably tough catch here on the east coast of the US–especially due to CKZN who shared the frequency–though I’ve heard them numerous times. Indeed, this will prompt me to go back a few years in my SDR spectrum archive recordings and tune them in once again–sort of a postmortem DX–? I’m sure I’ve captured them.

As Dave mentions above, CKZN St. Johns is still on the air and, perhaps, listeners on the west coast will have a better chance snagging their 1 kW signal now. According to an article about CKZN in the latest WRTH, the station should be around for many years to come.

Thanks again, Dave, for the tip and many thanks to Colin for the research.

HAARP campaign update: Luxembourg Broadcast & Artificial Aurora

Many thanks to Chris Fallen (KL3WX), Assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical – Space Physics group , who shares the following update from the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP):

Campaign time!

Experiments begin in the mid morning 19 February Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and continue intermittently through the evening each day through 22 February.

Luxembourg Broadcast

The first radio modification of the ionosphere occurred in the early 1930s and was an accidental consequence of the new and powerful Radio Luxembourg transmitter. In certain situations, listeners of other weaker broadcast radio stations found that they sometimes heard Radio Luxembourg programming even though it was transmitted on a completely different frequency. Scientists and engineers eventually concluded that signals from powerful Radio Luxembourg and less powerful stations were being mixed in space, that is, through ionosphere modification.

HAARP will transmit a sequence of tones and music using amplitude modulation (AM) on two different radio frequencies (2.7 MHz and 3.3 MHz) in a sort of reproduction of this so-called Luxembourg Effect. If conditions are sufficient and you tune-in to one frequency or the other, you will hear tones and music from both frequencies. The tones and music have been specifically composed to take advantage of the Luxembourg effect.

The Luxembourg broadcast will begin as early as 6 p.m. on 19 and 20 February Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and conclude by 6:40 p.m. In Coordinate Universal Time (UTC), the broadcasts will begin as early as 03:00 on 20 and 21 February and conclude by 03:40. Tune in to 2.7 MHz or 3.3 MHz (2700 KHz or 3300 KHz), or both! The program is approximately 10 minutes in duration and will repeat until 6:40 p.m. AKST or 03:40 UTC.

Artificial Aurora

Aurora photographers in Alaska, Yukon Territory, and northwest British Columbia have a chance to photograph artificial aurora created with HAARP, starting immediately after the Luxembourg Broadcast and continuing until the ionosphere critical frequency over Gakona drops below about 2.7 MHz.

Radio listeners can still tune-in to these operations, but the transmissions are slightly more complex in order to test a scientific hypothesis. Also, at least in these initial experiments, the broadcast will only sound like a silent carrier wave, as if a radio DJ fell asleep and neglected to change the record (or now, more likely, the digital file). The specific transmission sequence is as follows:

MAIN: Repeat the following 480 second sequence if foF2 > 2.80 MHz

90 seconds : 2.80 MHz
30 seconds : OFF
90 seconds : 2.80 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction
30 seconds : OFF
90 seconds : 2.82 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction
30 seconds : OFF
90 seconds : 2.84 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction
30 seconds : OFF

BACKUP: Repeat the following 240 second sequence if foF2 < 2.80 MHz

90 seconds : 2.75 MHz
30 seconds : OFF
90 seconds : 2.75 MHz
30 seconds : OFF

Thank you, Chris.

Chris tells me that his campaigns are “strenuous chair-and-keyboard marathons” where, at times, he drives a mile or so to adjust cameras and drives back to the operations center to make adjustments there–the process being repeated many times over. I can only imagine how challenging it must be working with a site so vast.

Note that we have given Chris Fallen an account on the SWLing Post so he can directly post details about HAARP campaigns and research prior to and after events, when his time allows.

Shortwave Relays This Weekend

(Source: Tom Taylor)

Hamurger Lokal Radio via Shortwave Station Göhren, Germany with 1KW to Western Europe:
6190 KHz Every Saturday 07.00 to 11.00 UTC
7265 KHz Every Saturday 11.00 to 16.00 UTC
9485 KHz Every Sunday 10.00 to 13.00 UTC
Contact email: redaktion@hamburger-lokalradio.de

Radio City via:
IRRS to Europe on 7290 KHz (every 3rd Friday) between 19.00 to 20.00 UTC
IRRS to Europe on 9510 KHz (every Saturday) between 09.00 to 10.00 UTC
Challenger Radio to Northern Italy on 1368 KHz every Saturdays from 20.00 UTC onwards
Contact email: citymorecars@yahoo.ca

European Music Radio Transmissions via;
WBCQ to Central & North America on 5130 KHz on 18th February between 23.00 to 00.00 UTC
Shortwave Station Göhren on 9485 KHz on 19th February between 09.00 to 10.00 UTC
Channel 292 on 6070 KHz on 19th February between 16.00 to 17.00 UTC
Contact email: emrshortwave@gmail.com

Internet Repeats on 19th February 2017:
EMR will repeat this months Transmissions via two streams running at the following Times:16.00, 18.00, 20.00 UTC
http://nednl.net:8000/emr.m3u will be on 96 kbps /44 KHz stereo for normal listening
http://nednl.net:8000/emr24.m3u will be 24 kbps / 22 KHz mono will be especially for low bandwidth like mobile phones.

KBC via:
Media Broadcast to America on 6145 KHz Every Sunday between 00.00 to 01.00
Contact email: themightykbc@gmail.com

Hobart Radio via:
Channel 292 to Western Europe on 6070 KHz Saturdays fortnightly between 09.00 to 09.30 UTC next airings: 21st Jan and 4th February.
WRMI to Americas, Asia/Pacific on 9955 KHz Sunday between 04.30 to 05.00 UTC
WRMI to Americas, Asia/Pacific on 9955 KHz Tuesday between 23.30 to 00.00 UTC
WBCQ to North America on 5130 KHz Mondays 04.30 to 05.00 UTC
Contact email: hriradio@gmail.com

For outside the listening area please try the Twente/Netherlands Web RX at http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/

You can also hear many European free and alternative stations via the Internet at: http://laut.fm/jukebox

Radio Channel 292 Transmission schedules on 6070 KHz (on the air every day):
http://www.channel292.de/schedule-for-bookings/

Radio Mi Amigo Transmission schedules:
http://www.radiomiamigo.es/shortwave

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Romania International

Like a lot of shortwave radio listeners, since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed tuning my radio to parts of the world where events are unfolding.  There’s something tangible–something that is transportive–when you listen to a news coming directly from the source, on air and originating from halfway across the planet.

I believe, listening to government broadcasters, you get a much better picture of what is actually happening. For example, sometimes the broadcaster devotes the whole news hour to an important event, or (perhaps even more telling!) doesn’t mention anything at all! The Voice of Turkey comes to mind as a recent example.

Yesterday evening, I tuned to Radio Romania International–one of my favorite little international broadcasters.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that there have been six consecutive days of massive protests to stop a Romanian law that would have eased corruption penalties. This is the sort of thing a lot of broadcasters– being the mouthpiece for their current administration or ruling party–would either ignore or bury in their news report.

I was happy to hear that RRI at least featured the protest as their very first news item.

This recording was made on 5,960 kHz starting at 0100 UTC on February 06, 2017. Receiver used was a WinRadio Excalibur with a large horizontal delta loop antenna here in North Carolina. The following recording includes a few minutes of the RRI interval signal. Enjoy:

Click here to download as an MP3.