The Amateur Astronomer: Tune in to Troy’s Christmas gift

imageSWLing Post reader, Troy Riedel, received a gift like no other from his son this Christmas. No, it wasn’t the fabulous Celestron telescope in the above photo.  On Christmas Eve (December 24) Troy sent the following message:

Merry Christmas, Thomas.

I have to tell you what my son gave me for Christmas a few hours ago.

He purchased 1-hour of radio time for me on WBCQ (5110) for Wednesday, 30 December at 8 P.M. EST.

I will have to pre-record approximately 50-55 minutes over the coming days (not much time to prepare).

After telling my son this is cool – I also added this is the most stressful gift I’ve ever received.

My son suggested I may want to talk about astronomy.

A cool gift, indeed.  Evidently––and even more cool–– Troy is something of a hardcore amateur astronomer. I also encouraged him to do a show on this topic; I can’t think of the last time I heard a show about astronomy on shortwave!

Troy Riedel, host of The Amateur Astronomer

Troy Riedel, host of The Amateur Astronomer

So, despite the challenge of putting a show together in less than a week, Troy confirmed yesterday that he has already completed the show and WBCQ will air it at the following time/frequency:

5,110 kHz on Dec 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM EST (1:00 UTC December 31, 2015)

Troy is looking forward to reception reports and will announce the address during the broadcast.

Oh––and being the good man he is, Troy is also including a PSA for Ears To Our World. Thanks, Troy!

Looking forward to the show!

Spread the radio love

12 thoughts on “The Amateur Astronomer: Tune in to Troy’s Christmas gift

  1. Troy Riedel


    Thanks for recording it. I’ve already heard from a friend who has listened to your recording on the archive. Conditions were very poor last night & I aborted my attempt to record the on air broadcast because indeed it was very weak. It did get marginally better here in VA as time passed.

    I think the best part of the broadcast was my choice of Lynyrd Skynyrd as my intro & closing music.



  2. Cap

    Did anyone record this transmission? I could not hear a peep here in Scotland, unfortunately, although the GeoMag storm didn’t help and all stations were down this morning/last night. Even tried my loop and Elad FDM-S1 but still nothing.

    Santa got me a ‘Silver’ Tecsun PL-310ET and having fun comparing the previous PL-310.

    1. Thomas Post author

      I did record the show. It was weak at first: propagation was poor. By the end, though, the noise fell a bit and the signal level increased. Great show! Hard for me to believe Troy is not a seasoned host!

      I’ll post the recording on the SW Radio Audio Archive (hopefully, today!).


  3. Troy Riedel

    Hi Matthew (and others),

    I really like Guy’s comment … “amateur astronomy is just DXing a different band of frequencies!”. How true!

    Christmas is obviously the time of the year where most people are gifted a telescope. I know that I didn’t have a real clue when I received my first scope in the early 70s. So I have geared the show tonight to beginners – young or old – and hopefully to parents & grandparents who may have gifted a scope. The show contains the following: preparation before you go outside, how to use that new scope, determining magnification, eyepieces – how to identify inferior optics and what to loo for as an economical upgrade, & what to look for in the sky right now. I also give three email addresses to download a star chart & to receive weekly “What’s Out Tonight” emails.

    Experienced hobbyists were not my target audience so I hope the experienced hobbyists aren’t too disappointed. My son & daughter-in-law are with me during the recording of the show to ask some questions & to funnel a couple of FaceBook questions we received (most of the FaceBook questions were off-the-wall so I believe we only used two that were received).

    Funny that Myrton stated he has 10×50 binos – that’s exactly what I recommend during the show.

    Happy DX’ing!


  4. Matthew

    Troy-this is so cool! I have just been studying celestial navigation and am very interested in amateur astronomy. Totally looking forward to tuning in tomorrow night!

  5. Guy Atkins

    Many of my radio hobby and DXer friends are fascinated by astronomy also, and pursue it to various degrees. We like to joke that amateur astronomy is just DXing a different band of frequencies! There’s a lot of truth to that.

  6. Troy Riedel

    Thanks very much Thomas for getting the word out! I was more than happy to include the ETOW PSA that you had previously recorded. I hope the shortwave public will be kind to me 🙂 I look forward to exchanging some QSLs for reception reports.

    rtc, Yes – an 8″ (Nexstar 8i) SCT in the foreground and an 11″ CPC1100 in the background. The 8i is now under the ownership of a good friend, but I do have three other telescopes so owning five was even overkill for me.

    Happy New Year to all.


    1. Myrton

      My ham radio station operates from zero hz to 380–750 nm.
      What I enjoy is laying on the ground during the evening with a pair of
      10×50’s in a home brew mount and looking straight up in the optical range, 380–750 nm, all the while listening to either shortwave or am band dx.
      With the binoculars I discovered quite a few galaxies. My other pass time is watching for satellites then see if they are in my software because they are in my field of view. Happy New Year and good DX to all !
      de Myrton in FN41fr.

    1. rtc

      Funny how many radio enthusiasts are into this too.

      Guy has good stuff…a brace of Celestron 8 inch
      folded optical path Cassegrains fully tricked out.

      Good for him.

      90 per cent of it is knowing where to look;you’d be
      surprised what can be seen with a good pair of
      7×50 binoculars.

      (Yes,bigger is better,not more magnification.)


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