KiwiSDRs are back on Amazon

The KiwiSDR (Photo by Mark Fahey)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike, who writes:

Hi Thomas, I just noticed that Amazon has an inventory of KiwiSDRs for sale. I’m planning to snag one even though I don’t plan to put it online (because my IPDSL connection is just too slow). I’ve always wanted one and let’s just say I’ll be ready to join the community if I ever get a bandwidth upgrade! Price on Amazon is $299 for the full kit.

Thanks for the tip, Mike! You and I are in similar situations–my KiwiSDR (a gift from Mark Fahey–thanks!) would be online right now if I had the bandwidth and enough monthly data to support it. Like you, when I get an Internet pipeline upgrade, one of the first things I’ll do is put my KiwiSDR online!

Click here to view on Amazon (this affiliate link supports the SWLing Post at no cost to you)

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WRTH A20 Bargraph Frequency Guide available for purchase and download

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Harald Kuhl, who writes:

The A20 WRTH Bargraph Frequency Guide is available now.

http://www.wrth.com/_shop/?product=wrth-a20-bargraph-download

I think it’s very helpful for the shortwave listener.

Kind regards, stay safe and have a nice weekend.

Many thanks, Harald, I agree: the WRTH Bargraph is an excellent, intuitive reference for checking broadcast schedules.

Click here to purchase (£9.99) and download the WRTH A20 Bargraph PDFs. 

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Shiva DX Cluster for broadcast listeners

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Walter Panella (IU2MEH), who writes:

I have written a software that connects to a ham radio dx cluster and repeats the dx spot to its clients while adding spots based on list files.

This to show markers on SDR Console or similar software to see broadcasting stations, for example, based on scheduling day and time.

This software already runs 24h on my server accessible from the internet. If someone helps me I can give him access to it.

You can check out my project  by clicking here and the related Github page by clicking here.

Thanks for sharing, Walter. Connecting SDR Console with a DX cluster would make it even easier to spot DX.

Check out Walter’s Shiva DX Cluister project page here.

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Encore – Classical Music on Shortwave

Regular Broadcast times of Encore are: 
10:00 – 11:00 UTC Saturday 6070 kHz Channel 292 to Europe – Now Simulcast on 7440 kHz
Repeated:
01:00 – 02:00 UTC Sunday 5850 kHz, Simulcast on 5010 kHz WRMI to the US, Canada and Central America.
16:00 – 17:00 UTC Sunday 7440 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
21:00 – 22:00 UTC Sunday 3955 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
02:00 – 03:00 UTC Monday 9455 kHz WRMI to the US and Canada
13:00 – 14:00 UTC Tuesday 15770 kHz WRMI to Europe, east coast of US and Iceland.
13:00 – 14:00 UTC Thursday 15770 kHz WRMI to Europe, east coast of US and Iceland.
20:00 – 21:00 UTC Thursday 15770 kHz WRMI to Europe, east coast of US and Iceland.
19:00 – 20:00 UTC Friday 6070 kHz Channel 292 to Europe – Now Simulcast on 3955 kHz
Our email is  encoretumbril@gmail.com. Informal reception reports as well as those requesting eQSL welcome.
The website is www.tumbril.co.uk where we show transmission times and frequencies, the playlist for the most recent programme, more information about Radio Tumbril, and the email link.
This week the programme has some songs by Schubert, part of a string quartet by Kenneth Fuchs, a traditional spanish tune played on the guitar, and a Beethoven piano trio.
There is also a motet by Byrd, two very different pieces for harpsichord, a couple of Italian tarantellas and part of the 6th symphony by Beethoven.
The playlist and the previous one are now on the website – www.tumbril.co.uk
Channel 292 can be pulled live off the internet if the reception is poor in your location. Easy to find their site with a google search.
A very good site for online SDR receivers all over the world is: http://kiwisdr.com/public/  Click the ‘Map’ button in the top left of the screen.
In the meantime – thank you for spreading the word about Encore – Classical Music on Shortwave on Radio Tumbril.
Brice Avery – Encore – Radio Tumbril – Scotland
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Taking the Xiegu G90 QRP transceiver to the field!

Earlier this week, I took delivery of a new Xiegu G90 general coverage QRP transceiver. I’m reviewing this portable rig for The Spectrum Monitor magazine. Although this Chinese manufacturer has been around for a few years, this was my first purchase of a Xiegu product.

I’ve had the G90 on the air from home for a couple days, but I feel like the best way to test a QRP transceiver is in the field!

Due to the Covid-19 lock-down and a number of our regional parks either being closed or severely limiting visitors, I haven’t made many POTA (Parks On The Air) activations this year.

Recently, however, North Carolina has been opening state parks and allowing visitor access to hiking trails and picnic areas, but keeping all facilities (stores, cafes, visitor centers, and restrooms) closed to the public.

Yesterday, our family decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to Mt. Mitchell State Park (POTA site K-2747). My wife knew I was chomping at the bit to play radio in the field and actually made the suggestion. (She’s a keeper!) 🙂

There were only a dozen people at the park so we essentially had the place to ourselves. Better yet, it gave me the opportunity to pick out the most ideal picnic site to set up and deploy my EFT Trail-Friendly 40/20/10 antenna.

The G90’s backlit color display was actually quite easy to read in the field. My phone’s camera filter made it look darker than it actually was.

My POTA activation was unannounced and I didn’t have Internet access to self-spot on the POTA website, so I started the activation old school by calling “CQ POTA” until someone happened upon 7286 kHz.

After perhaps 10 minutes of calling CQ, Greg (KE0HTG)–a helpful POTA chaser–finally found me and spotted me on the network.

I worked a few stations in succession, but summer QRN levels were incredibly high and I believed static crashes were cloaking would-be contacts. The G90 has no RF Gain [Actually, thanks to this feedback, I now know the G90 does indeed have an RF Gain control (firmware version 1.73 and higher).] I asked one kind operator if he would hold while I switched over to my trusty Elecraft KX2.

The KX2 did a much better job managing the noise and that same op was easily readable where with the G90 I could barely copy him. I suspect I could have tinkered with the G90’s AGC levels to better mitigate the noise, but I didn’t want to do this in the middle of an activation.

I worked about fifteen stations with the Elecraft KX2 on 40 meters.

One real advantage of the KX2 during a POTA activation on SSB is its voice memory keyer (of course, it also has a CW memory keyer). I simply record my CQ and have the KX2 repeat it until someone replies, then I hit the PTT to stop the recording. Not only does this save my voice, but it also gives me an opportunity to eat my lunch while calling CQ!

I eventually moved up to the 20 meter band and switched back to the Xiegu G90.

On the 20 meter band, the G90 handled conditions like a champ.

Someone eventually spotted me on 20 and I worked a few stations.

The 20 meter band was very fickle and unstable yesterday. For example, I struggled to finish a contact with an operator in Massachusetts, yet got a solid 59 report from Spain with only 20 watts.

No activation is complete without brewing a cup of coffee on the alcohol burner!

I had a great time with the G90 in the field. I can see why it’s become such a popular transceiver as it offers incredible bang-for-buck (it can be purchased new as low as $450 US shipped).

This week, the noise levels on the 40 meter band should be very high here in North America, so I plan to spend more time with the G90 settings and see if I can mitigate the QRN a little better. I’d welcome any tips from G90 owners.

And yes, I’m already eyeing a couple of parks to activate next week!

Post Readers: Please comment if you’re familiar with the Xiegu G90 or any of the other Xiegu transceivers.


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Stamp celebrating 20 years of radio in the German Democratic Republic

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nils (DO6AN), who shares the gorgeous stamp (above) celebrating twenty years of radio in the DDR.

Thank you, Nils!

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April’s collection of Japanese language WebSDR recordings for May 2020

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, April TimeLady, who writes:

This is a collection of Japanese SDR recordings I made over the month of May. Labelling may be “off” and I can’t find sources for some of the call letters of the stations I’ve heard; WRTH is only so useful, but it is still very useful anyway. The recordings are also biased towards what I’m interested in, which means mostly music programs, NHK programs, shortwave programs. Available in .wav, .mp3 and .flac.

Click here to listen on the Internet Archive.

April also asks:

“Does anyone know the call letters of the NHK shortwave transmitters located in Japan itself. Or the call letters for the Issoudun and Nauen shortwave complexes?

I’ve tried googling the answers for the first question in Japanese and the answers have been less than useful, most likely due to the kanji barrier.”

If you can help April, please comment!

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