Monthly Archives: June 2021

FTIOM & UBMP, June 20-26


From the Isle of Music, June 20-26:
Part 1 of 2 parts: This week, our guest is Rodney Barreto, winner of the Making Of category in this year’s Cubadisco and a nominee in Jazz for Drummer Negrito. He also performed in several other nominees and winners of Cubadisco. Our conversation will be in English.
The broadcasts take place:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 kHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US).
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, June 20-26:
In episode 222, we present a very entertaining hour of western swing.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sunday 2200-2300 (6:00PM -7:00PM EDT) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 kHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesday 2000-2100 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
3. Saturday 0800-0900 UTC on Channel 292, 9670 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe with a directional booster aimed eastward.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford

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The 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica next week!

Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David (G4EDR), who writes:

I know that you and many of the readers of the SWLing Post like to tune into the annual BBC WS Antarctic Mid Winter broadcast. I requested some information from the BDXC (of which I am a member) about this year’s broadcast and got the following reply:

The broadcast will be on Monday 21 June from 2130-2200 utc. There are usually three extra SW frequencies beamed to Antarctica, these have not yet been confirmed but last year’s frequencies (which may be the same this year) were 5790 and 7360 via Woofferton and 9580 via Ascension.

This year its also being carried on most of the World Service English streams from 2132-2200, however the only shortwave outlets at this time are to Africa on 11810 and 12095 via Ascension. For those of us in the UK it should also be on the BBCWS DAB stream at the same time.

Its slightly shorter via the regular WS streams so to hear the full broadcast we should listen to the special Antarctica frequencies.

Thank you for sharing this and for the reminder, David!

I look forward to the Midwinter broadcast every year! It falls on my birthday and almost without fail also happens when I’m travelling. This year will be no exception.

I will still welcome photos and recordings as in years past as I love sharing these! I might ask, however, that readers and listeners simply leave their videos, audio, and notes in the comments section of the relevant post. Maybe I can even offer a little prize to a random listener–that would be fun!

Stay tuned! Please comment or contact me should you learn of the frequencies the BBC will use this year!

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Guest Post: Dikeside Icom IC-705 RX action

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, 13dka, who shares the following guest post:


The IC-705 in action at the dike

by 13dka

When I got the IC-705 in late October 2020, I didn’t get that much chance to enjoy it at the dike: After a couple of initial tests and 2 nightly “FYBO” MW DX sessions in November, a way too long and wet winter struck the German North Sea coast, with nighttime temperatures recovering to 2-digit Celsius figures only in the past few weeks. I took the opportunity to do more experiments with loops, preamps and a phasing unit to improve the RFI-stricken reception at home, so I could at least listen to European hams on 80 and 40m raving about their new 705s and start to write my own musings about that lovely little radio, recently posted here.

SSB DX

June 1st, 202

Finally, acceptable temperatures at night! But they come with a downside: When I connected the vertical around 8:00pm (local time), it was still almost 2 hours before sunset and a lot of thunderstorms in Europe made even 14 MHz very noisy, my hopes for some nice catches were immediately taking a dive. A short scan of the bands brought up nothing special, the only notable thing being the CB and 10m bands being moderately open. I should’ve known better: As soon as the sun splashed into the ocean, grayline propagation worked its magic!

Grayline while receiving Japan, June 1st

As the image probably hints, a couple of Japanese “big guns” produced some nice, comfy signals on the monopole, in addition to the South American and Carribbean stations usually booming in here!

Video: A short collection of ham stations heard around midnight

After midnight I noticed a residue signal of WWV on 20 MHz and still a few EU beacons on 10m. Both incredibly weak with QSB making them disappear but that’s where the 705 really shines – it’s not only picking up these grassroots signals just fine, it shows me that they’re there, or that they were there – a waterfall display keeps on proving that a perceived lack of activity on a band is often pure bad luck – you can tune across an entire band without hearing anything because on each frequency with some activity there’s the other (inaudible to you) station speaking right now, QSB is dipping the signal just when you tune past it…

June 5/6, 2021

That evening the Japanese stations were missing on 20m, I thought I picked one up on 17m, and like so often, the one odd Australian station came in on 20m. After midnight I noticed the 10m beacons again, there were even a few more of them. This time I brought my Belka DSP to the dike so I could compare it with the IC-705, after all the Belka proved to be my most sensitive portable before! The devastating result is likely owed to the fact that the Belka is pretty picky about passive antennas not being matched very well to its input (which is much optimized for the whip) but it picked up diddly squat. If it isn’t a testimony for the sensitivity of the IC-705, it might be one for its aptitude to cope with all sorts of antennas.

Then I tuned into the 10m SSB range and I was veeeery surprised to hear VO1FOG from St. Johns, Canada! This is the first time I heard a transatlantic signal on 10m in a solar minimum ever, but it was with condx only elevated enough for some daytime DX within the EU…and literally in the middle of the night! The signal was very unstable though, he later switched to the 12m band which worked better. Back to what I said about the waterfall display above: Without it, I could’ve missed this station with a pretty high probability simply because I didn’t expect any activity up there, so I wouldn’t have tuned across that band for very long, and without seeing the signal while the VFO is already somewhere else…

I also heard another new country (Ecuador) in SSB, the usual collection of Carribbean islands and some participants of the “Museum Ships Weekend Event” including NI6IW, which is the vanity call of the history-charged USS Midway in San Diego. The “Japanese” station JW4GUA turned out to be on Svalbard island, with the main town Longyearbyen being the northernmost town in the world, only 650 miles from the north pole, and I don’t hear stations from there very often!

Video: June 5th

June 10/11

The past days saw the SFI passing 80 and 11/10m becoming quite busy. By the time I parked the car at the dike, SFI had dropped to 73. That evening the grayline confined itself to colorizing the horizon. 10m and 11m were still full of signals, I could still hear 2 British chaps chatting on 27 MHz at 3:00 in the morning, but nothing really “extraordinary” was coming in – the one odd VK, more Carribbean islands, one Argentinian but not much from other parts of South America, it never gets boring how this all defies predictability. But as always I heard most of the North American continent, not booming in much that night but I followed 2 POTA activations for a while, which are usually at most 100W stations working a lot of other “barefoot” stations and I heard almost all of them. In the morning grayline window for the west coast I finally got one solid signal from Oregon. All my radio life, the US west coast has been a tough target for some reason.

The signal had that typical “over the pole” sound, a relatively quick phasing imprinted into the signal by the charged particles converging over the pole, causing northern lights in the region and that exiting feeling when observing really big, planetary scale physics in realtime, over here at my listening post. The magic of shortwave. 🙂

Broadcast bands

After the post touting the IC-705 as a SWL/BCL receiver, demonstrating it on the broadcast bands seems mandatory to me. However, capturing cool BC DX is a very different business than waiting on the ham bands for interesting stations coming and going and collecting spectacular (-ish) results in a single night this way. Broadcast schedules have to be studied, current “hardcore” DX targets identified… and I have to admit that I’m out of that loop currently. Just turning the knob and recording whatever is populating the bands, and doing that between 21-22:00 UTC, when all programs are directed towards anywhere except Europe turned out to yield pretty boring results. Here it goes anyway:

Video: Browsing the most important BC bands

CONDX and antenna:

The antenna I was using in these videos was a simple wire running up a 10m/33′ fiberglass pole, forming a very archetypical “monopole” or “Marconi” antenna, just a vertical wire, no counterpoise, no matching network, no un-un, transformer or flux capacitor. I planned on using this to make some experiments about the practical benefits (for reception) of all the components it’s now lacking, but it already demonstrates that the beauty of receive-only antennas is that they often don’t require crazy efforts: On the conductive soil at the dike it works pretty well (good signals all over the bands and sufficiently low takeoff angle) as it is.

The evening and the 2 full nights at the dike once again had condx that nobody would phone home about:

SFI, A and 3-hourly K-indices while I was at the dike.

It’s not that these numbers always fully explain actual and current condx but decreasing SFI and rising A/K-indices mean low expectations. Despite the condx still characterized by the solar minimum that way, the location is always delivering proper DX for my radios. Unless stormy or severely unsettled geomagnetic conditions give DX a day off, there’s almost always something to take home, be it a new country, a rare island, unexpectedly loud signals from the other end of the planet at unusual times and/or on unusual bands or other ionospheric mysteries.

Speaking of location: These videos demonstrate the properties of that listening post as much as the capability of the IC-705 to harvest them, and they don’t put that into relation to other radios, so you have to rely on my word on this: Compared to what I brought to that place so far it’s jaw-droppingly good, but a big contributor to that is that only few of my other radios can really cope with the antennas I like to use out there in first place. A radio like the IC-705 is sure making the most out of location and antenna, but it’s not the key component because a low-noise location is everything, it always was and it is today more than ever. Without it, radios and antennas can’t really play their jokers.

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Dan spots a number of radios in the Netflix series “Sweet Tooth”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Van Hoy (VR2HF), who notes that he spotted a number of radios including the Kenwood TS-930S in the new Netflix series, Sweet Tooth (see above). He writes:

[Also] seen in the last minutes of the final episode of season one: An AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australasia) Teleradio Model 110H HF SSB transceiver.

Interesting history about AWA:

[Also spotted] test equipment plus all kinds of other gadgets in the zoo sanctuary.

Very cool–thank you for sharing this, Dan! That Teleradio Model 110 looks like a fascinating set! I’ve never seen one before.

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More Comb Stereo Broadcasts via Radio Gum Tree June 18 & 25, 2021

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who notes:

Episode 2 of Radio Gum Tree will be rebroadcast this coming Friday night June 18, 2021 at 9:45 EDT on on 5850 kHz in case anyone missed it. Episode 3 should be on June 25.

You can find the program notes for these Test broadcasts at this web site address. I will not be archiving the broadcast on the internet due to music copyright concerns.

www.radiogumtree.com/?p=54

Many thanks for putting together this Comb Stereo series, TomL!

For more information, check out TomL’s initial announcement.

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Pre-Detection Recordings: Any in existence, declassified and accessible–?

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

I remember reading a number of years ago that the NRO/NSA was the largest consumer of magnetic tape, utilized for pre-detection recordings of various spans of spectrum, all over the world.

I’m wondering if those tapes become declassified at some point, and if they are available through FOIA requests. Were they just bulk erased, destroyed or sold at GSA auction along the way.

Do you know if anyone has ever queried into their existence, and if they have been electronically preserved to some other digital medium?

The idea that our government records huge chunks of spectrum, fuels thoughts in my mind of huge spans of non-classified spectrum from across the years. All the DX shortwave outlets captured for posterity.

Thank you for sharing this note, Chip.

Of course, I’ve always been interested in adding recordings like this to the Radio Spectrum Archive. If these recordings exist, I would love to see them added to the Internet Archive–who stores Radio Spectrum Archive recordings– so that they could be shared and enjoyed by all.

Post readers: If you have any information on this, please comment!

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KFOG broadcasts on June 20th and 26th, 2021 via Channel 292

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Madtone, who shares the following:


KFOG takes to the high seas via Channel 292 on Sunday June 20th 2021 at 1200 UTC (11am UK time) and on Saturday June 26th at 0900 utc (8am UK time) on 6070 kHz. Expect tunes in a nautical style and “see the glimmer from a distant lighthouse, as the buoys ding and the (radio) waves crash onto the rocky shore. This is music from the mist!” as they say at KFOG HQ.

Expect a mix from One Deck Pete called “A mix from across the Pond” with tunes from Kiyoko, Honeychild & DJ Olive, BOATS, Robert Mellin and The Congo’s. Grab yourself a lifejacket and a shortwave radio and tune in. If the shortwave radio is a problem tune in here at the alloted time. If you haven’t a lifejacket we’re sorry but we can’t help you with that!

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