Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who shares the following guest post:
Listening to LRA 36
I finally had time to go outdoors to listen to LRA 36, Antarctica. People were gushing about how well it is being received. My location was a park across the street from the Forest Preserve I usually go to (the Forest Preserves are shutdown and gates locked after sundown). Even though it was after sunset, this Park has no gate or chain to prevent people from parking there. In the dark, I setup the trusty amplified Loop-on-Ground antenna, SDR, and laptop. Solar Flux Index about 179, K index 2.
Started recording and, NOTHING! ARRGH. But I had just heard it at home in the noise!?!? Waited about two minutes and all of a sudden music started playing in the middle of a song. S6 – S7 strength with lots of fading. Very cool. 20 minutes later, went off the air. Then 10 minutes later, came back on again in the middle of another song. They must be tweaking the transmitter. This feels like the 10 kW transmitter; no way could a 1.5 kW be this loud over 12000 kilometers! Also, an advantage with IQ recording of a spectrum is I could tune into it later. Good thing because between their tweaking the transmitter, my SDR, and the crazy propagation, I had to tune to 15475.983 kHz in order to get the USB signal perfectly in pitch.
For your listening enjoyment if you have not had a chance to hear it clearly, I have uploaded both recordings to archive.org where you can listen as long as you want. Worth listening to, playing music of Argentina music bands. Happy Listening! Here is the link to Archive.org and the audio files are also embedded below:
I dont remember where I saw it, but there was talk of their 10KW transmitter needing to be worked on and fully restored or whatever.
I’ve heard 500W Clear as day on 12mhz from across the us, on the east coast.. im in Alaska.
I’ve heard alot from brazil, better than youd think.
Having your RX or TX close to one of the poles makes a difference.. and so did the aurora last time this happened, which enhanced reception for those in the lower latitudes
My QSL arrived by email. They only took two days for turnaround time. Very nice!
Based on my experience working hams in Antarctica on 20 meters, it’s certainly possible for 1.5 kw to produce a good signal into NA, but I’ve been checking for LRA36 for years without any luck until the past eight days, when I’ve heard them several times. So I think they’ve upgraded something recently, whether transmitter or antenna, or both.
Got a lot of people’s attention, that is for sure. Thanks for the recent historical perspective.
I suppose it still might be the 1.5 kW amplifier. They are located very near the salt water ocean, so they must have great ground system. I remember last month hearing a ham radio operator from Japan on the 10 meter band at about the same signal strength, but that is about 8000+ km from me. Good Times!
Great reception! I, too, found it difficult to believe the low power!