Monthly Archives: August 2020

Carlos seeks help identifying a signal

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

Hope this message will find you well.

I just monitored in Porto Alegre, Brazil, this signal on 9460 kHz. Searching on Internet I found that it’s the same frequency where the Russian MR-102 Baklan radar is operating. But it could be a weather fax. Do you have any clue?

Please, check attachment for the audio clip. Thank you in advance.

Thank you for sharing this, Carols. To my ear it does sound like some sort of slow-scan digital mode like weather fax, but I’ll leave it up to the SWLing Post community to help identify.

Post readers: please comment if you can ID this signal for Carlos.

UPDATE: Nils Schiffhauer found the answer. The signal is a weather fax transmission most liekly from Wellington, NZ.

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Field testing the lab599 Discovery TX-500’s selectivity and ADC overload

So the lab599 Discovery TX-500 I’ve been testing the past week has been sent to Ham Radio Outlet. Over the course of one week, I activated eight parks with this QRP transceiver and if I’m being honest, I miss it already. It’s an awfully fun and incredibly robust  field radio.

On my last outing with the TX-500 (last Wednesday) I did an activation of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Nantahala National Forest. I operated CW and SSB and worked stations from Maine to Ontario, Illinois to Iowa, and Louisiana to Florida running 10 watts into my trusty EFT Trail-Friendly antenna.

While I’m evaluating radios I take lots of notes so I can remember detail when writing my review. In the field, I often take short video notes as well.

While finalizing my TX-500 review for the October 2020 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine, I rediscovered the following video note. I made this with my iPhone and assumed I might include a link in the TSM article. In the end, though, it was really a journal note for my review.

I thought I’d share it here for those who are considering purchasing the TX-500 and are curious how well the receiver handles dense RF environments. I had the CW filter width set to 100 Hz–had I intended to publish this video I would have likely cycled through various filter settings.

I believe one of the strong points about the TX-500 is its receiver. It has a very low noise floor, great sensitivity, and is obviously capable of handling close-in signals. The CW filters must have sharp skirts. I would love to see what Rob Sherwood’s tests would show (although if he’ll be evaluating one). For a field radio, however, it’s right up there with my Elecraft KX3 and KX2 in terms of selectivity–those two are certainly benchmarks in my book.

Click here to read all of our lab599 Discovery TX-500 posts, videos and field reports.


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Radio Emma Toc World Service Schedule for September 2020

(Source: Jim Salmon, Radio Emma Toc)

RADIO EMMA TOC WS SCHEDULE SUMMARY – SEPT. 2020 

Programme Contents – a look at – two documentaries about 1920’s radio – ‘Radio Sings’ & ‘Sounds From The Ether’, the BBC Antarctica Midwinter broadcast, Radio Caroline memories, RadioShack’s ‘Sounds of SW’, & hello to listeners.

Ways to listen…   Radio Emma Toc World Service – programme no. 5 – September 2020

Check out Radio Emma Toc online, or visit the World Service page

You can listen to our shortwave or FM broadcasts via our relay partners as follows:

WRMI – Radio Miami International – 9955kHz – covering Latin America (& beyond)

Tuesdays 18:00 EasternTime / 22:00 UTC

WRMI – Radio Miami International – 9455kHz – covering Eastern North America (& far beyond)

Sundays 21:00 EasternTime / 01:00 (Monday) UTC

Unique Radio Australia – online  – covering Australia (& beyond)

Saturdays 17:30 AEST / 07:30 UTC and Sundays 17:30 AEST / 07:30 UTC

World  FM –  88.2MHz / 107.6MHz – covering Tawa, Marahau & Stoke, New Zealand

Sundays 22:00 NZST / 10:00 UTC and Thursdays 16:30 NZST / 04:30 UTC

(every other week – alternating with HRI – Hobart Radio International)

Channel 292 – 6070kHz – covering Europe (& beyond)

Friday 4th September 20:00 UTC  &  Saturday 19th September 19:00 UTC

Scandinavian Weekend Radio – 6170kHz / 11690kHz / 1602kHz / 94.9MHz

covering Finland & Europe – Saturday  3rd October 05:00UTC

Happy listening! If you are outside the transmitter coverage areas, why not listen via the broadcasters’ online services. Website details for the above stations are listed on our own website here –  www.emmatoc.org/worldserviceschedule

If you don’t have access to receivers & aerials you can try using an online SDR receiver – ve3sun.com/KiwiSDR – experience the enjoyment of tuning around shortwave from worldwide locations online.

We are happy to issue eQSLs for reception reports sent to – emmatoc1922@gmail.com – & will gladly include for online reports. If using an online SDR, please give us the SDR location.

If any stations wish to relay our programme a download link is available on our website. Please advise us of times & dates so we can publicise in our schedule.

Finally – please note – we are still able to take requests for our November Global Request Show. Email us with your song choices!

Thank you!

Jim Salmon  –  Radio Emma Toc

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Radio Waves: Questions About New HF Stations, Towers Damaged after Hurricanes, Evolution of Ham Radio, and The Vintage Radio Repairman

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ed, Paul, Bennett Kobb, and Kanwar Sandhu for the following tips:


Questions Remain as New HF Stations Wait for Licenses (DMRNA.info)

Here is the story by Bennett Kobb:
As previously reported here at DRMNA.info, the New York company Turms Tech LLC has applied to the FCC for a license for International Broadcast Station WIPE in New Jersey. The license would cover a station already built under a FCC Construction Permit, and would allow it to begin regular operations.

The FCC announced on August 13, 2020 that this license application was accepted for filing, a routine stage at which the FCC examines the application, and might even visit the station, and if everything is in order it will be licensed.

We’re not sure everything is in order. The application for Construction Permit placed the transmitter site at N 40° 57′ 40.38″, W 73° 55′ 23.97″, the broadcast and communications center surrounding the famous Armstrong Tower at Alpine NJ. Its Application for License, however, specifies N 40° 51′ 40″, W 73° 55′ 23″. (Hat tip to Alex P for noting this discrepancy. More about him below.)

While the substitution of 51 for 57 in the coordinates might seem a simple typo, the FCC typically has no sense of humor about coordinate errors. Commission examiners may wonder why a station intended for a historic radio-TV facility ended up among some Manhattan apartments.

The deeper question with WIPE and another, apparently similar station WPBC, is what these stations are really for and what that means for the FCC Rules. WIPE was extremely vague about its program plans, but told the FCC that it will transmit data obtained from third parties using Digital Radio Mondiale. Putting that tidbit together with exposures in a series of public articles in the media and tech blogs, it would seem that audio programming will not be the central mission of this peculiarly named station, whose principal is a financial executive and forestry entrepreneur without any broadcast experience we could find.

We suspect instead that the WIPE data stream will be used not for broadcasting to the public — the only function permitted to International Broadcast Stations under FCC Rules — but instead will be used for private communication with foreign exchanges for high-speed trading.[]

KSWL-TV tower crashed into buildings near 210 Interstate Hwy (Brad Dye)

Images of tower damage in Lake Charles, LA Bottom photo by KATC-TV of KSWL-TV tower crashed into buildings near 210 Interstate Hwy

After bombarding coastal areas of southern Louisiana with wind gusts up to 130 mph and a storm surge over nine feet as a hurricane, Laura swept north while also spreading over Arkansas Thursday. Laura weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday afternoon, with winds at 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Laura is predicted to move through the Tennessee Valley and the Mid-Atlantic today into tomorrow.

Power outages from the storms totaled over 900,000 as of Thursday afternoon, according to PowerOutageUS. The site collects data from utilities nationwide. The bulk of the outages were in Louisiana and Texas, according to ABC News. Mississippi reportedly had over 9,400 customers without power as of Thursday morning, reported the Clarion Ledger.

Louisiana and Texas had the most cell site outages as of Thursday mid-day, according to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System. Of the 4,650 cell sites served in Louisiana, 380 were not working. Over 200 of the site outages were due to a lack of power, 141 had a transport issue and 16 were damaged.

Calcasieu and Cameron counties were hit especially hard. 140 sites (75 percent) were not working in Calcasieu County and 20 (69 percent) were out in Cameron County.

Of the 17,621 cell sites served in Texas, 113 were non-operational.

Jefferson County was the hardest hit, with 39 (15.8 percent) out of 247 sites not working. Just over 45 of the non-working sites were out due to a lack of power, 41 for transport reasons and 20 were damaged, according to DIRS.

Cable and wireline companies reported 192,915 subscribers out of service in the affected areas; this may include the loss of telephone, television, and/or Internet services.

Three television stations, five FMs and one AM reported they were off-air.[]

Ham radio is dying! No it’s not, it’s evolving (K0LWC)

I’ve heard ham radio is dying since as far back as I can remember. It’s one of those common sayings you always hear. Like, “get off my lawn,” and “kids these days.” But is it true? Is there any evidence to support this? Let’s take a closer look.

Data from the ARRL shows that ham radio licensees are increasing. When you look at the chart above, you see two significant markers that are likely driving this growth.

  • The removal of the code requirement by the FCC.
  • The economic collapse of 2008.

The Morse code requirement was always an intimidating part of obtaining your General FCC license. Learning Morse code is like learning a second language. It takes time and effort to learn, and that’s not a bad thing. However, it doesn’t change that it scared many people away from the hobby. When the FCC removed this requirement in 2007, I believe it opened the door for many who spent years on the fence. Then you have the economic downturn of 2008. What does that have to do with ham radio? A lot.

After the economic downturn, the United States watched as survivalism, now commonly calling “prepping,” entered mainstream culture. People were worried as the country was involved in multiple wars and our economy was on the brink of collapse. Citizens stocked up on food storage, water, firearms, and…communications equipment. As our country spiraled into more turmoil ham radio licenses steadily increased to more than 750,000 by the end of 2019.[]

The Vintage Radio Repair Man (Great Big Story–YouTube)

Click here to watch on YouTube.


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Rush’s new “Spirit of Radio” video pays homage to our rich radio history

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who shares a music video recently released by Rush in honor of the 40th anniversary of their album, Permanent Waves.

The animated video takes us on a journey through radio and broadcasting history. No doubt, you’ll recognize many names and stations. It’s a wonderful radio nostalgia trip. Rush produced this video in memory of their epic drummer, Neil Peart, who passed away earlier this year.

Enjoy:

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LRA36 German language broadcast: August 29, 2020 starting at 19:00 UTC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adrian Korol, who shares the following announcement

LRA 36 National Radio Arcángel San Gabriel German language broadcast

This Saturday, August 29, the Argentine Antarctic station will broadcast in German from 16 to 1630 (19 to 1930 UTC) and from 17 to 1730 (20 to 2030 UTC) Two programs of 30 minutes each will be broadcast in German, with Rayen Braun, from RAE Argentina al Mundo. While from 12 local time (15 UTC) it will be broadcast in Spanish including Argentine music.

The closing of the transmission is scheduled for 19 local time (22 UTC) Frequency 15476 khz USB Receipt reports will be verified with eQSL

Email: tranalra36@radionacional.gov.ar

We would appreciate the dissemination of this information among diexists and radio amateurs, social media publications and messaging groups.

Important: the weather conditions at Esperanza Base could cause the activity to be rescheduled.

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FCC proposes $50 fee for new ham radio licenses, upgrades and vanity applications

Many thanks to Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF) who notes that FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking–MD Docket no. 20-270–outlines a new fee structure for several radio services including the amateur radio service.

If I understand correctly, a fee would be collected when an FCC employee would need hands-on time to process an application. This would include all new amateur radio applications, license upgrades, and vanity call sign applications.

It appears many routine licence services that could be handled entirely through the FCC ULS system/website without human intervention might remain no-cost.

At least, this is the way I read the information from this FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Click here to download the PDF version of Docket No. 20-270. 

Most of the amateur radio changes are outlined under “personal licenses” staring at section 24.

To be clear, this is a proposal open for comment. These fees have not yet been adopted. I expect the ARRL will have a response.

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