Checking In: Where are you on the dial–?

This has been a busy summer for me here at SWLing Post HQ. In the background, I’ve been working on a number of reviews and articles for The Spectrum Monitor and a new transceiver review for RadCom, among many other projects (including my Social DX list).

My work and family life has been very busy–no doubt some catch-up after a slower-than-normal (pandemic) year.

 

My listening time has been very limited and I’ve found I’ve done much less weak signal work and, instead, have been sticking with some of my staple, reliable broadcasters. I’ve been listening to many of the music programs on WRMI and of course the Voice of Greece. Mostly, I have these on in the background as I do other things around the shack.

My Yaesu FRG-7 has been piping out tunes in the shack more so than my SDRs as of late due to a recent computer upgrade (which requires numerous re-installations). There is serious appeal in being able to turn on a radio without any boot up, I must say! With that said, I’m missing my SDR time, too.

My hope is that my level of work activities will slow down a bit this fall and I’ll enjoy some proper QRN-free weak signal DXing. 🙂

How about you?

What are you tuning to these days on the dial and with what radio?   Please comment!

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29 thoughts on “Checking In: Where are you on the dial–?

  1. Tom Servo

    I have a regular routine of shows/stations I listen to, mostly via SDR recordings each week. The Shortwave Radiogram, This Is A Music Show, Radio Northern Europe International, and Alt Universe Top 40. If conditions are good, NHK Japan in English from one of the European relays. I was also listening to Radio Emma Toc regularly but they’ve ceased making new shows for now.

    I’ve also been enjoying some of the music that XEPPM has been playing lately. It seems like they just pop a CD in the player and let it run until it ends, especially early in the morning.

    Reply
  2. Mario

    Excellent question Thomas. I run thrrough the 50 memory channels on my Yaesu FRG-100 that include WWV, VOLMET, teletype station from Germany, Channel 19 CB, W1AW code station, and some marine channels. Also listen to AM BCB stations far away such as WBBM, WLS, WHAM, WBZ, etc every dy/night on a Panasonic RF2200.

    Reply
  3. TheZ

    I just had my broken RF-2200 that I had since the late 70’s repaired by Vlado. I use it to tune into 740 Khz CFZM Canada, while I use the rotating ferrite bar to null out a local station on 740 Khz that runs 30 watts at nite (I wish it would just go dark after sunset like it used to do) I also tune into WRMI & listen in to some interesting music programs at times.

    Reply
  4. Rob W4ZNG

    After a move from the Mississippi coast to NW Florida, I’m having fun with ground wave over salt water paths to do long-distance daytime AM listening. Mostly these stations are in the Tampa Bay area, though I do reach back to WWL New Orleans on occasion. My usual equipment is a Tecsun PL-660.

    Reply
  5. Tim Marecki

    Here in Titusville, Florida My best catch lately is RNZI on 7245 kHz. Signals are strongest after 4am local time, and lasting until 7am (1100 UTC). I use my new Sangean ATS909X2 with a Compactenna indoor antenna. Other than that, its usually, Voice of Greece, Radio Romania Int’l or WRMI Miami.

    73’s!

    Tim

    Reply
  6. DanH

    Here in Northern California I have been listening to RNZI (Radio New Zealand International) most often. I can tune this in during my mornings, afternoons, evenings and late nights. It is Friday evening my time so I’ll be listening to RNZ Saturday Night Requests later this evening. I also enjoy VOK (North Korea) in English whenever I want to be listening at 10:00 UTC. I’ll hear RN Amazonia, RHC, R. Nikei and BBC fairly often. Of course, CRI is there from both China and Cuba and US shortwave broadcasters are heard as I tune over them. I’m using my Sangean ATS-909X2 and Hammarlund SP-600.

    Reply
    1. DanH

      Yes, I receive Voice of Greece here with some deep fading. Reception was better during the spring. Voice of Turkey is just above noise level here at 03:00 UTC. Maybe this will improve into the late summer.

      Reply
  7. David McCormick

    I’ve been enjoying the new Tecsun radios, SDR Malachite clones, and older legacy models. Recently, Radio Cuba has been of interest to me. Lot’s of ham listening with the special events and tropical storm Elsa. The only good thing about the pandemic for me has been my renewed interest in the radio hobby.

    Reply
  8. Emerson PR7PM

    Depois de um longo recesso, estou voltando ao SW com o Tecsun PL-330. Mas, as interferências estão muito altas e a busca bastante árdua…

    Reply
  9. Steve

    Since getting moved into our new QTH here in NE Tennessee in 2018 I finally got out the SDR radios, an SDR Play RSP2 and the old standby RTL-SDR. I’ve been listening on the amateur radio bands mostly with the RSP2. As I am in close proximity to a couple of AM and FM stations, I purchased both the RTL-SDR AM and FM band stop filters. They made a world of difference in removing the BCI I picked up across the HF spectrum. I’m going to set up the RTL-SDR for ADS-B after reading an interesting article in the August 2019 issue of Spectrum Monitor. Thomas mentioned that he was writing some articles for this digital format, all things radio, publication. Bedtime SWL is with the Belka-DX, and during the afternoons here in the shop/shack I find myself listening to the FT-817 and American shortwave broadcast stations like WRMI. I also just built and put up a multiband inverted L for a (partially) vertically polarized antenna. My vertical broadside doublet came down thanks to a raccoon. I’m really looking forward to autumn and a quieter HF band.
    KZ4TN

    Reply
  10. Kostas

    The FRG-7 is a very nice sounding RX, one of my favourites for AM. It misses a good noise blanker to make it perfect. For SSB work, there is much modification work that has to be done to make it acceptable.
    I am glad one of your reference stations is the Voice of Greece 🙂
    73
    sv3ora

    Reply
  11. Robert Richmond

    Been playing around with capturing SSTV; mostly on 20m. I prefer my Airspy HF+ Discovery when using a SDR, but I have ordered a couple of inexpensive upconverters to hopefully improve HF for my RTL-SDR V3 dongles. I plan to park one on 14230 for SSTV captures.

    Reply
  12. Frank

    Hello,

    QTH middle of Germany here: Getting 6070 khz (like Michael does) with a tinkered Malachite plus random wire and comparing performances with XHDATA-D808 and Degen 1103 PLL, which I did about an hour ago.
    Many mornings, regular wake-up listening to Austria on 6155 with Sony ICF7600D, taking turns with gymnastics (!) programme via Denmark (243 khz longwave) – I like the piano accompaniment (and drinking my second coffee) 😉

    Best 73!

    Reply
    1. Jordan

      I am very curious about the Malachite. I understand there are many “versions” — one of which is authentic, in short supply, and more expensive, and the others which are much less expensive clones running “test software”.

      Is there a huge quality and functionality difference between the “authentic” and “clone” versions? Are they worth buying — for someone who wants a wide band all purpose receiver?

      Reply
      1. Hans de Zeeuw

        Hi Jordan, I’m not a Malachite owner, but I like to watch videos on Youtube, and there is plenty of very useful info to find for you. Search, and it will help you make your decision.

        Reply
  13. Michael Meyer

    Based in Denmark, I’m right now listening to 6070 kHz (Channel 292 from Germany, playing nice music). We are having a heath wave in Denmark with 30 degrees centigrade, so I’m in our garden under a parasol with my Sony ICF-2010 / 2001D. Earlier this week, We’ve been to our summer house at Bogø island, where I tuned in VO Greece (nice music), ÖRF 1 (Austria – nice classical music), VOA Larry London, VO Korea (Nice music), Radio Farda on 12005 kHz (nice music).

    So, I have been busy. Tomorrow, not so much SWLing – I have a side job in our local Covid19 vaccination centre, and will be busy during the weekend.

    Which mean that I will miss our local shortwave station: OZ Viola, who is playing also very nice music during the weekend.

    All the best during this summer!

    Michael from Denmark

    Reply
  14. Tom Laskowski

    I’ve been enjoying some FM DX lately. There have been two days with very nice Es openings where I heard Montana, Colorado, and many Texas stations and another opening to Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia from my location in Northern Indiana. Once the cooler weather returns I’ll be back to mediumwave DXing.

    Reply
  15. Mike S

    I’ve just acquired an Airspy HF+ Discovery, and am in the midst of putting up my first stealthy wire antenna. It’s not fixed to anything, just strung up in the trees, because I have a rental and I can’t add anything permanent. But I’m getting a ribbon cable to pass it through a window frame. I’m considering getting an AM bandpass filter since the HF+ is wideband, I think a powerful local AM station is reducing the overall gain. I enjoy listening to Aero, pirates and utilities, and so far have only used inside antennas like an MLA-30+ but they are swamped by RFI. Crossing fingers that the random wire will be an improvment. Would sure like to hear if anyone else has used a bandpass on their SDR like the Nooelec Flamingo to improve their reception?

    Reply
    1. 13dka

      Hi Mike,

      The point of the Airspy HF+ Discovery is that it has a reasonable preselection in the frontend (tracking bandpass) and an AM bandstop filter may not be necessary, (An AM bandPASS filter would pass only the AM band BTW.)

      You’d know if you’d need an AM bandstop filter because an SDR isn’t behaving like a conventional radio: The zone of compression and finally desensitizing/blocking a receiver before the intermodulation products make it very obvious that a strong signal is causing mayhem is very small to non-existent in SDRs, the AD converter just starts clipping and you can hear and see that immediately on your waterfall (the (inter-)modulation content usually creates nasty horizontal artifacts spanning the entire screenl).

      So if you feel something is reducing your gain, it may just be less signal coming out of your wire compared to the MLA-30. Remember, overall signal level is pretty meaningless in noisy environments, what you want is a better signal-to-noise ratio and in this regard you may want to consider getting a coax window passtrough cable (looks similar but is a bit different from a real flat ribbon passthrough and using a stretch of good (double-shielded) coax between radio and window frame, then another stretch of coax to let the actual antenna start as far from the house as possible. Ideally you check the path of the entire contraption with a portable radio to find a good spot for the wire (where the noise is the lowest) and then make sure (by maintaining full shielding) the noise can’t creep back in on the way into your shack.

      Reply
    2. Andrew (grayhat)

      Mike, the AirSpy is an excellent SDR, but I wonder if the “desentivization” (hope I wrote it right :D) may really be due to MW or FM nearby transmitters; what I can recommend you is trying to improve the antenna system as much as possible, a first step would be picking (or building) a decent 9:1 UnUn, to feed your wire using coax, adding chokes over the coax to fight common mode noise, and giving your wire antenna a decent counterpoise; also use a couple ropes to keep both ends of your antenna wire at least 1m from their supports; as for the counterpoise, a run of insulated wire with a length of about 1/5 the one of the antenna wire, dropping down from the unun would be a good start, also, as for the UnUn the nooelec 9:1 will serve you well, if you don’t want to build it yourself, then add as much snap-on ferrite chokes to the coax as possible, and you should have a decent antenna

      Reply
  16. Franco

    I’ve been listening to more music through SW lately, mostly European Pirates like Mystery 21 on 4875 kHz. I purchased a Tecsun ICR-110 so I could record some of these shows and listen the next day if need be. It’s a great device with good sound quality and helps me ID some stations with the playback feature.
    Surprisingly I have been getting a better signal using my YouLoop rather than the MLA-30+.
    For music listening I prefer the Xhdata as it has better bass response than my other portables.

    Franco

    Reply
  17. Satyan

    I use my 7300 extensively for BC dxing and post them at WRTH FB group. The spectrum scope and waterfall are an additional help to locate stations coming on air, eg my last video clip on vu3mes ham radio channel, I was listening to BBC on 11995 and then I see a strong signal opening up on 11905 and it was SLBC Hindi service.

    Reply

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