In my recent post, The truth about portable amplified shortwave antennas, I argue that small, portable amplified antennas are, by and large, ineffective. The post comments are interesting, however; many readers agree, and some tout the Sony ANT-LP1 as worthy, but Mike made the following comment about his amplified antenna:
The one active antenna that I have been pleased with is one I built myself. The design was by ON2NLT and uses a ferrite rod, so it is somewhat directional. Rotating the unit (it is very compact) often allows nulling out noise or interference. You have to be careful not to crank up the gain too much though, or you will amplify the noise floor. The link is here
Ravi Shankar passed away December 11, 2012. Like many people, Shankar was a complicated fellow, but no one can deny his talent on the Sitar. His music will live with us forever, not to mention through the musical talents of his children, Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones.
“Mum, this sounds like Firedrake. Quick, make a note of it in the logs!”
I’ve noticed a broadcaster that routinely transmits weekends at 11:00 UTC on 6,970 kHz. Some mornings, it’s much stronger than others. Saturday morning, my time, I managed to record it in its typical format: music. Specifically, Chinese folk music, at least so it sounds to my untrained ear.
I searched through logs and in the WRTH, and I could find no mention of a broadcaster on 6970 kHz. It doesn’t help that the 27 minute broadcast contained no audible IDs.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that my initial hunch is correct–that this is the Chinese jamming service, Firedrake. Using Firedrake, the Chinese government transmits music on top of broadcasts they wish to block. It’s fairly effective (and annoying). While I’ve heard Firedrake a number of times over the bands, I can’t say I’ve ever tried to listen to the one-hour production.
The following recording contains a 27 minute broadcast of what I believe may be Firedrake on 6,970 kHz, starting around 11:00 UTC, Saturday January 26, 2013. Click here to download the MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Note that the first two minutes have some digital noises (in the lower side band) that affected my receiver’s AGC.
If you can confirm or correct my supposition, please comment!
If you live in the Americas and you regularly listen to a shortwave radio, you have no doubt heard Radio Havana Cuba across the shortwave spectrum. When I travel in North or Central America, I can easily hear RHC, often without even extending the telescopic antenna on my portable.
A long-running program on RHC’s English hour is Arnie Coro’s DXers Unlimited.
Tuesday night, I recorded the DXers Unlimited segment from RHC’s The English Hour on 6 MHz, and offer it here for your listening pleasure. If the recording doesn’t sound typical of shortwave radio, it’s because: a) RHC’s signal is exceptionally strong into North America, and b) I recorded this with an AM filter 24 kHz wide. In other words, I widened my DSP filter to match RHC’s bandwidth on my spectrum display–and to put this in perspective, I regularly record between 7-9 kHz wide. (This results in the crisp, high-fidelity audio you hear in this recording, though unfortunately at the compromise of any adjacent stations abiding by HF broadcasting etiquette.)