Author Archives: Paul Walker

DZRP Radyo Pilipinas: advice on obtaining a QSL

dzrpI thought this little tidbit or two of information might be useful to those DX’ers seeking a QSL from DZRP Radyo Pilipinas.

DZRP broadcast in English and Filipino on several frequencies, as seen here: http://shortwaveschedule.com/index.php?station=1089

I found two email addresses listed for them, [email protected] and [email protected]  which I’ve sent reception reports too, but I can’t say either of the two QSL’s I’ve gotten from them came because of the email address. What worked?

Contacting them on Facebook!

It took a few days, but sending the reception report to them via private/inbox message on Facebook got a reply with a promise of a QSL card each time!

Find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DZRPRadyoPilipinas/

While writing this post, I found a third email address, [email protected], which I didn’t know about before. Radyo Pilipinas posted this one on their Facebook page in reply to a DX’er asking about reception reports and QSL cards.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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The Voice Of Korea/KCBS Pyongyang On Shortwave

Paul-Walker-Beagle

I have a very unique DX location, mere feet from the banks of the Yukon River in Alaska’s Central Interior Region. I have logged about 2 dozen of North Korea’s shortwave frequencies: 2850 kHz, 3250 kHz, 3320 kHz, 6070 kHz, 6100 kHz, 6170 kHz, 6400 kHz, 7220 kHz, 7580 kHz, 9425 kHz, 9435 kHz, 9445 kHz, 9650 kHz, 9665 kHz, 9730 kHz, 9875 kHz, 11735 kHz, 11910 kHz, 11935 kHz, 121015 kHz, 13650 kHz, 13760 kHz, 15105 kHz, 15180 kHz and 15245 kHz.

As it turns out, one user from here helped me plot it, the shortest path from North Korea to the Midwestern USA is a line from Pyongyang right through the small village I live in! So that answers why some of their are so glaringly strong for me. But, I can in general, hear them all day everyday at some level on a frequency if I look hard enough and try hard enough to pick them up.

What I find odd is their “dirty/white noise carrier.” Let me explain: it’s noisy and I’m pretty sure it’s self induced, on purpose.  Listen to this clip from April 6, 2016 I posted on Soundcloud: https://goo.gl/JFJSss

https://soundcloud.com/onairdjpaulwalker/voice-of-korea-11735khz-noisy-carrier

Listen to that noise that starts about 6 seconds into this clip, disappears at about 26 seconds and then comes back at 39 seconds. It disappears at 44 seconds and comes back at about 48/49 seconds. It disappears at 52 seconds and comes back at 1 minute 1 seconds, then the interval tune starts, gets interrupted and restarts again from the beginning.

To me, when the interval signal dies out and the noise goes with it, it’s almost like this white/dirty noise carrier is caused by whatever they are using as a studio to transmitter link.

Now onto some other North Korea shortwave airchecks:

Here is an example of how wide their signals can be and what I have done to overcome interference. Here they are on 11865 kHz at 0946UTC on June 30th. I actually had to tune 2 kHz down to 11863 kHz to escape splatter from KNLS only 500 miles to my south. Audio here: https://goo.gl/iqKqoh

Now here’s a video from 0824UTC on May 5, 2016 showing the same programming on 9875 kHz, 11735 kHz and 13760. And if you look closely in the upper right hand corner of the video, you’ll see the signal level meter on my Tecsun PL880 showing how strong the signals on all 3 frequencies is.  Video here: https://goo.gl/2MbE6Y

From March 26, 2016 at 1729UTC, this is KCBS Pyongyang signal on 3320 kHz that is reportedly only 5 kw. Video/audio here: https://goo.gl/2MbE6Y

Here is the English service on 15180 kHz from March 4, 2016 at 0350UTC. Pay close attention to the signal level meter and listen to the audio. This is strong! Audio and video here: https://goo.gl/s5xHYm

Here’s the English service of Voice of Korea on 9730, pretty decent signal with some female announcer talking at times. Audio here: https://goo.gl/W0mfs7

And on 11680 kHz, here’s KCBS Pyongyang, their state broadcaster and a voice we DX’ers are probably very familiar with. Someone that a friend lovingly calls, “Miss Frantic News Anchor”. Audio here: https://goo.gl/3cxu76  (Voice of Korea is their “international service” and KCBS is their “state service.”)

The Voice Of of Korea broadcasts in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English, Spanish, French & German. Here is their Russian broadcast on 11735 kHz from 0828UTC on March 13, 2016. Audio here: https://goo.gl/6L7bnu

This is the Voice Of Korea on 13760 kHz signing on their Spanish service back on March 11, 2016 at 0430UTC. Audio here: https://goo.gl/TacYT0

A few tips when looking for The Voice Of Korea on your shortwave radios:

The service always begins within seconds of exactly 30 minutes after the hour, with the interval tone interspersed with an announcer/announcers saying “The Voice Of Korea” in whatever language service is about to sign on. At about 24 after, a sign off message lasting roughly 3 minutes is read in the language of whatever service was on. If the frequency you’re listening will switch to another service at 30 after the hour, the carrier goes dead/unmodulated for almost exactly 3 minutes before the next language comes on. And the process is repeated over again.

The English service sign off message is read by a male in very stilted, very proper english. It sounds as if the French, German and Spanish service is voiced by people who could very well be native speakers of those languages.

There is no carrier being turned off or fill music being used between different language services on Shortwave. And when they go dead air, the carrier will be extremely noisy and dirty, see my first audio clip in this post.

The KCBS Pyongyang broadcasts, which are their domestic/state broadcast go from top of hour to top of hour and I don’t believe there is any dead air in between.

One other thing, Pyongyang time (an “official” time zone) is UTC/GMT +8 hours 30 minutes and that’s the time zone KCBS Pyongyang followed, but it appears Voice of Korea follows the UTC+8 time zone deal. Voice of Korea doesn’t signify top of hour with any tones, but KCBS Pyongyang does, as I’ve heard them do it 3 times.  Listen to the time tones on KCBS Pyongyang 3320 kHz here: https://goo.gl/2MbE6Y (They are at the very beginning of the clip)

North Korea’s shortwave signals, in my observations, have followed the time and frequency schedules they are supposed to. Some sites say the language service and frequency don’t match up, but that is likely more a problem with the VOK website than the shortwave broadcaster itself. If a frequency is listed as “on,” it’s going to be on unless a power outage or transmitter malfunction occurs.

I live in Galena, Alaska which is a village of 500 people about 300 miles west of Fairbanks and 300 miles east of Nome. I work as the Program Director for community radio station KIYU which celebrated it’s 30th birthday on July 4th, 2016. Having provided 30 years of true community service, now serving eight villages up and down the Yukon River.

On shortwave, I don’t log everything I hear–I try to keep my log to those stations that are rare, unique or interesting for one reason or another. Everything I do log gets recorded and you can find it on my YouTube Channel and sometimes on my SoundCloud channel.

My DX’ing gear includes the Tecsun PL880, an Emtech ZM2 Tuner, a 225 foot long wire and a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP. I record my catches using the VRP7 (Voice Recorder Pro 7) app on my Iphone. I can then email that mp3 to myself or convert it to a Youtube link for sharing with others.

Paul-Walker-Panoramic-Wellbrook-LoopPaul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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Two hours of rock and roll music on shortwave tonight!

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Another two hour broadcast of rock n roll music–“The Classics Experience”–will happen tonight via the transmitters of Shortwave Service in Kall, Germany.

  • 6005 kHz Friday June 24th 1800-2000
  • 3985 kHz Saturday June 25th 0000-0200

Both broadcasts will have the MFSK32 text and picture as well. However, the picture will NOT decode properly and it isn’t a problem on your end. All it is is a rebroadcast of the WINB/WRMI, complete with WRMI/WINB mentions and no mentions of 3985/6005 kHz.

By the way, you can also expect my show on Laser Hot Hits in the 49 meter and 75 meter band sometime next month, airing on nearly a daily basis for a month or so.

QSL Information:

$2 is appreciated to cover costs

Paul B. Walker, Jr.
PO Box 353
Galena, Alaska 99741 USA

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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Useful Services for Shortwave DX’ers

I’m always tinkering, experimenting…trying different antennas and set ups and what not. But, the downside is, I don’t have the patience or a lot of technical skills to hand build stuff, so I have to buy it pre-made.

Like most, I don’t like throwing my money at a crap product. I have found two different folks who make some quality stuff that I wanted to share with the rest of you. I make ABSOLUTELY ZERO $$ from referring anyone to these two folks, but since quality products, good customer service and sometimes, customization are hard to come by, I wanted to share these.

lowbander-antenna

User “lowbander” on eBay makes longwires and dipoles. They come in stock 80 feet lengths with a 9:1 balun and a way to shunt common mode noise to ground. And unlike many longwires/dipoles, lowbanders products come with quality belden coax as well. So you order from him. you’re all set to plug and play

His dipoles and longwires range from $49 to $59, I do believe. Do you need a custom length? Want something shorter or longer then 80 feet? Send him an Ebay message and he’ll take care of you.

Do you need something other then the stock PL259 connector on your cable HE an likely help with that, let him know!

http://ebay.to/28KVp1g

q

My next find is Craig at K1CRA.COM. It’s mainly a store geared towards ham operators, but he also has a service useful to DX’ers.

He sells RG58 cable for 25 cents a foot, that’s right. 25 cents a foot. It’s the cheapest I’ve found anywhere. For those of us needing cable for our antennas going to our radios, this is a good option. For $8, he can put pl259 connectors on each end. Need something other then PL259’s? Put an order through and add comments on what connections you need and he can do that…I’ve had him do PL259s, 1/8th” (3.5mm) headphone jack types and BNC male connectors on cable for me

https://www.k1cra.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=DAVISRG58C-U

Select how many feet you want by changing the quantity.. say you want 25 feet? Make the quantity 25. The option to add the connectors is a bit down the page, with a checkbox.

Both lowbander on eBay and Craig at K1CRA ship via USPS priority mail. I had lowbander send me a package from Kansas City on a Friday and I had it here in Alaska on a Tuesday!

I have probably close to $500 worth of Lowbanders antennas and Around $150 worth of product from K1CRA.com stuff

I live in an area far from most of anything now, so finding good quality products at an affordable price from people you can trust is hard, and I just wanted to share these two.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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Antenna advice needed for field station

Paul Walker's listening post in Galena, Alaska.

Paul Walker’s listening post in Galena, Alaska.

I know you can’t cheat physics or RF and that magic pixie dust won’t work, but I’m hoping those with a little more technical expertise can help me solve an antenna dilemma.

I’m in the central interior region of Alaska and want to pick up Radio Vanuatu 7260 kHz a bit better. I also get a somewhat poor signal from them (they may not be running the full 10,000 watts) and I just want something a little better. My problem is that my set up can’t be permanent as I don’t technically have rights to the land I’m on; it’s somewhat public.

Paul-Wlaker-Listening-Post-2

I’ve looked at HF beam antennas and some of them can be huge, so that’s likely out of the question. I don’t think a 1/4 wave or 1/2 wave wire dipole would provide drastically better results then a longwire with a tuner, so I don’t want to waste the time and the effort.

Wellbrook-Paul-Walker-Galena-AK

I do have a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP and that’s somewhat directional. I also have a 225 foot long wire with an Emtech ZM2 tuner. The Wellbrook and ZM2 do OK.

I do have a Tripod and telescoping mast, so I can handle a beam antenna, it just cant be 30-40 feet! I have no problem carrying a beam antenna and tripod back across the street to my house at the end of a DX session.

Something directional would probably be what’s on order to make this work.  I am not going to cheap out on this, but I am certainly not spending $1000 on an antenna….. something in the $200 to $400 range would be fantastic. Returning stuff would be a hassle for me, so I can’t do that.. so I need to buy something that stands a good chance of working.

Am I stuck with my current set up and have no real better options based upon my limitations, is there someway I can make my set up better or is there some kind of antenna that’s directional which I can point right towards Vanuatu which will work that isn’t as big as a house and that doesn’t cost an arm, leg, kidney and foot?

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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Shortwave Logs from Alaska’s Central Interior Region

Wellbrook-Paul-Walker-Galena-AK

Here are some Shortwave logs from the central interior region of Alaska. I used a Tecsun PL880 and 225 foot long wire with Emtech ZM2 Tuner or a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP.

I’ve only used the Wellbrook for two days so I can’t really offer a thorough comparison yet. There was one case in particular where the 225 foot long wire and ZM2 tuner beat the Wellbrook by a large margin.

I don’t log everything I hear, but everything I do log gets recorded into an mp3 format audio clip. The audio recording helps tremendously with my QSL return rate, especially when I am hearing a broadcast in a language I don’t understand

I hear China Radio International, China National Radio, Radio Nacional de Brasilia/Amazonia, FEBC, World Harvest Radio and others regularly so I don’t log them because I try and keep my logs to what is interesting for one reason or another (programming, music, etc.) or rare/interesting.

3260 & 3325 kHz Papua New Guinea, NBC Radio. 1027 to 1034 UTC. 3325 Bouganville is carrying a man talking in a combination of Pidgin and English discussing mines, mine safety and mine regulations. Better then average signal with only light fading and interference. 3260 kHz Mandang is running music followed by an announcer talking about what I think are upcoming programming highlights. Fair signal, way better then usual

NBC Radio Mandang 3260 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/pmB8DD

NBC Radio Bouganviulle 3325 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/WKKEPJ

4870 kHz Indonesia, Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena. June 12 1001 UTCA regular visitor in the early morning hours here. not daily, but here often. Today’s signal is fair but with a moderate amount of fading and static crashes/interference. Usual fair of what I think is local music is being played.

Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena 4870 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/hjF1JL

5020 kHz Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 12 1011UTC. Higher side of good signal with all factors taken into account. Only a little bit of fading during christian music.

Audio of Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation 5020 kHz here: https://goo.gl/d8BFX2

5745 kHz US, VOA Radio Gram. June 11 0943. The first time I logged VOA’s Radio Gram broadcast. There was something creating a loud buzzing noise but I could still hear the digital data. Only a little Russian text and text in english decoded for me. I will definitely try again!

VOA Radio Gram 5745 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/LfxJ6w

6070 kHz DPRK, Voice of Korea.June 11 1005UTC. Fair signal, but low modulation. Announcers voice is lower then the music. Fair amount of fading. I heard their usual marching/patriotic music. This is not a frequency I usually hear them on, wether owing to I am not out when this frequency is on, conditions or I hear usually CFRX Toronto.

Voice Of Korea 6070 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/SzXuEg

6115 kHz China, Voice of Strait. June 11 1008 UTC. Fair signal with a fair amount of fading. Sounds like a man talking, could be a news broadcast or interview. Not sure.

Voice Of Strait 6115 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V92tlD

7260 kHz Vanuatu, Radio Vanuatu. June 7 0857UTC. Low side of fair signal with interview in english and mentions of Vanuatu. Interview ends and music plays, one song sounds like it’s a kids chorus. There is a fair amount of fading and static crashing/atmospheric noise. Radio Vanuatu is habitually, chronically, woefully unde rmodulated on a daily basis. Just a few days after this logging was made, I had what my radio signal meter showed as a good signal but NO audio. The signal was so under modulated I had no audio but I had a signal! I would actually listen to them if they played more music and had better modulation

Radio Vanuatu 7260 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V1GMQS

9545 Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 11 0835. SIBC was on over 3 hours late on 9545 kHz, it’s supposed to sign off at 0500UTC and switch to 5020 kHz but at 0835UTC this night it was still on. 9545 kHz staying on late has been happening a lot lately. 9545 kHz is used as SIBC’s workday frequency with 5020 kHz being used in the early to mid morning and afternoon/evening. In this recording SIBC is fairly strong here with light fading and static. Whenever 9545 kHz is on late, it seems to be stronger then 5020 kHz would be. My logging tonight starts with an interview then music is being played.

Audio of SIBC 9545 kHz here: https://goo.gl/0AIj5n

12035 Mongolia, Voice of Mongolia. June 11 1018UTC. NEW! This is a new logging for me. weak signal playing music. Was able to match the interval tune and the announcers voice heard during my logging with a clip of a recent broadcast on their website.

Audio of Voice of Mongolia 12035 kHz here: https://goo.gl/Y2QXH7

15400 kHz Romania, Radio Romania International. June 12 1006 UTC. News broadcast in French. Somewhat weak, but steady signal with only light fading.

Audio of Radio Romania International 1540 kHz here: https://goo.gl/OBK0Q9

17770 kHz Phillipines, Radio Liberty targeting Siberia. June 12 0948. What sounded like a man in Russian during a news broadcast or interview. Weak but steady signal.

Audio of Radio Liberty 1770khz here: https://goo.gl/5fxzxJ

I could use some opinions and inputs from others on something:

I am DXing about 500 feet from the transmitter sites for KXES-LPFM 92.9 and KIYU-FM 88.1 along with K10LJ Channel 10. The FM’s are only 100 watts and the TV station is only 10 watts of Digital RF. However, the FM’s overload my Shortwave radio around 9.4 to 9.6 MHz along with the lower to mid part of the tropical bands. I have a MCM Electronics and Radio Shack FM trap and they help a bit, but don’t do nearly enough. I am willing to spend $100 or so for a good FM Trap/Filter. I’ll spend a little more if I have to and the product is proven at works. I can null out the interference by rotating my Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, but I may be nulling out the signal I want to hear at the same time. Returning things for me is a hassle so I’d rather pay good $ for something that works. Feel free to email me, [email protected] or reply to this thread.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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Solomon Islands and Vanuatu On Shortwave

Paul Walker's listening post in Galena, Alaska.

Paul Walker’s listening post in Galena, Alaska.

by Paul Walker

I tried logging the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu shortwave broadcast stations for years, however, owing to my location and poor antenna along with technical problems with the stations, I was never able to log them.

Well, I recently moved to Alaska and was able to take the stations off my “Most Wanted List.”

SIBC has two frequencies–5020 kHz and 9545 kHz–both with 10,000 watts.  They use 9545 kHz during their local workday time frame and the 5020 kHz frequency is their late night and early morning frequency.

A few times, I have caught 9545 kHz not signing off at 0500UTC for the switchover to 5020 kHz like it should of. When 9545 kHz is on late, the signal is usually pretty darn good.

In fact, on April 25th, I caught 9545 kHz on about 2 1/2 hours past the scheduled switchover and the signal was AMAZING!  It was near perfect with a rock solid signal, fading so slightly it’s barely noticeable, no interference and pretty good audio!!

For whatever reason, when 9545 kHz is on late, It seems to have a better signal most times then 5020 kHz would if it was on at that time. SIBC has one transmitter so two frequencies can’t be on at once. Both times I’ve caught 9545 on late, it signs off abruptly and minutes later, 5020 kHz is on, as it should be.

As for 5020 kHz, this recording on May 22 at 1148 UTC  this was about the best I’ve ever heard it.

Listen closely when SIBC goes to dead air before shutting off the transmitter, I clearly hear two people talking.

As for Radio Vanuatu, their signals seem to be chronically/habitually under modulated and combine that with the large amount of speech programming they ran…and they are hard to catch. Good luck hearing them on 3945 kHz. Even with Radio Nikkei off, the best I’ve ever gotten from 3945 kHz was a signal so poor all I could make out was the speech on 3945 kHz and 7260 kHz matched.

On May 14th at 0923 UTC, I got about the best signal out of Radio Vanuatu on 7260 that I’ve ever had. Conditions must have been good and that combined with the fact they were running music made them a bit easier to hear.

For those that don’t know me, I am living in Galena, Alaska a village of 500 people in rural central Alaska, halfway between Nome & Fairbanks. I work here as the Program Director for a small network of community radio signals along the Yukon river. I DX from the river bank 500 feet from my apartment with a Tecsun PL-880 and 80 foot or 225 foot long wire, soon to be a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.

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