Author Archives: Troy Riedel

Lack of Sunspots Breaks a Space Age Record

Another [sun] spotless day on the sun.

Spaceweather.com reports that today we surpassed the largest number of spotless days (270) of the previous 2008 Solar Minimum cycle. The current spotless streak stands at 33 days and is quite possibly on its way to surpass the previous longest streak of this minimum at 36 days.  And you have to go back to 1913 to find a year that had more spotless days (311)!

Above: The blank sun on Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

The bad news: the Solar Minimum could deepen as many scientists have calculated minimum may not occur until April 2020.  You might be wondering: when is the next Solar Maximum?  That’s forecast to be July 2025.  Both the minimum & maximum forecasts have a +/- 6-month error.

How has the historic Solar Minimum impacted your radio listening?  I know it’s impacted my motivation to set-up my solar telescope for solar observation.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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New Product: Tecsun AN-48x (now available)

Anon-Co just announced that Tecsun has released their new portable, active loop antenna – the AN-48x (27.99 plus shipping) – and it is available for purchase.  Copied below is their announcement:

Tecsun has launched its latest antenna which is now available at Anon-Co! This active loop antenna has a portable design and aims to enhance AM (LW, MW, SW) frequencies. The antenna comes with three types of connector cable and a ferrite coupler for connecting to different types of radios.

Personally, I like my TG34 (DE31MS equivalent).  Though I have *no* experience with this model – as it is new – this is the type of antenna users either love or hate.  My TG34 and the equivalents will amplify everything, including noise, but it has helped me make inaudible or barely audible signals audible.  It’s inexpensive, portable, easy to deploy and store (great for travel) – but it’s really geared towards the SWL hobbyist who can’t invest in, or erect, something bigger and/or more expensive.

The biggest advantage that I can see with this new model: the antenna has three types of connections including BNC & RCA sockets.

Click here for more information: Tecsun AN-48x

Guest post by Troy Riedel

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People Are No Longer Dependent On Radio (really?!)

Credit: St. Louis Public Radio via RadioINK.com

As the regular readers know, this site is not purely and entirely shortwave radio-centric … we enjoy all radio.

I don’t think we’ve mentioned this web site before, but I recently ran across this article on RadioINK:

People are no longer dependent on radio.

That’s what St. Louis Public Radio contends with the launch of its new podcast, The Gateway, another short (7-15 minutes), daily news podcast. Here’s what they had to say about the new show

Being a radio buff – or shall I say an ALL radio buff – I cannot fully comprehend that “people are no longer dependent on radio”. But I do acknowledge that technology has allowed us to manage our time better. And having a local podcast of news does appeal to many (yes, I suppose even to me at times).

It’s a very short article – three paragraphs – but I challenge the readers to comment: are you no longer dependent on radio? Okay – that’s a loaded question to this audience – just look at this post within the past 24-hours! But we’d also like to know: is there anything in your area, like this article describes of St. Louis Public Radio, where your local stations are turning to podcasts or other means to reach and/or expand their target audience?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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Intense Solar Bursts on 20 & 25 MHz

 

Credit: Thomas Ashcraft & Spaceweather.com

Yet another Space Weather note and how Space Weather and radio are intersecting yet again – yesterday & today!  Yesterday Thomas Ashcraft – mentioned recently in this postrecorded the outbursts.

From http://spaceweather.com

INTENSE SOLAR RADIO BURSTS: Big sunspot AR2740 is turning toward Earth and emitting loud bursts of shortwave radio static. A remarkable outburst yesterday was rare in both its form and intensity, exceeding even what observers have detected during Solar Maximum …

UPDATE: Rob Stammes of Lofoten, Norway, has detected even more bursts on May 7th. The sun continues to be “radio-active.”

For the complete story, go to spaceweather.com.

Guest post by Troy Riedel

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Big Sunspot Produces “Ocean Surf” Sounds on Shortwave

Though sunspots have been rare this year, Sunspot AR2738 has been producing bursts which have been heard as radio static – that sounds like “ocean surf” – on shortwave.

This was posted early this morning at spaceweather.com – along with a recording:

If you have a shortwave radio, you might have heard some unusual sounds this week. Big sunspot AR2738 is producing strong bursts of radio static. “They sound like ocean surf,” says Thomas Ashcraft, who recorded this specimen on April 13th using an amateur radio telescope in New Mexico:

Credit: Observation of Thomas Ashcroft via Spaceweather.com

Please refer to the Spaceweather.com Archive for more info.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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“Human Magnetoreception”: Can Humans Sense Magnetic Storms?

Can our brains sense Geomagnetic Storms?  Do we have an “internal radar” that tells us when the sun is active?

Brain waves respond to Magnetic Fields (Credit: Earth to Sky Calculus)

I ran across this article this morning posted at http://SpaceWeather.com

CAN HUMANS SENSE MAGNETIC STORMS? Close your eyes and relax. Daydream about something pleasant. In this state your brain is filled with “alpha waves,” a type of electrical brainwave associated with wakeful relaxation.

Now try it during a geomagnetic storm. It may not be so easy. A new study just published in the journal eNeuro by researchers at Caltech offers convincing evidence that changes in Earth’s magnetic field can suppress alpha waves in the human brain.

[Go to http://SpaceWeather.com to read the full article]

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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Sony ICF-SW100: Whip vs. DE31MS active vs. Sony AN-LP1

Click here to view on YouTube.

Guest Post by: Troy Riedel

It’s been a while since I posted a video on my YouTube Channel (but I’ve gotten the urge to make several more videos as I’ve been recently comparing my equipment – 16 portable receivers & many antennas).

I try to tune in to Radio Prague via WRMI on many weekday East Coast USA mornings from 1300-1325 UTC. Yesterday I encountered bad propagation but today was much better.  The video linked to this post is from today – 30JAN2019 recorded around 1310 UTC.

[Sorry, no tripod for this one]

People often ask, “are amplified antennas helpful” – as evidenced by this post from Thomas from a few years ago.

Without repeating the debate, just take a look at this one example.  As stated, reception was pretty good today off the little whip – but – there is an improvement using an amplified antenna.  My question: is there a difference between the two amplified antennas?  And if so, is the difference worth the price?

My TG34 is a clone of the DE31MS – purchased from Tquchina Radio & Component (ebay user: Tao Qu … they used to have an eBay store “Sino Radios” if I recall, but they stopped selling on eBay when the Post started cracking down on shipment of batteries – I actually exchanged an email with a frustrated Tao Qu when they closed the store).

I paid about $21 if I recall for my TG34 (the DE31MS is available today on eBay for as little as $17.28).  I paid over $100 for the Sony AN-LP1 (out of production now and can be listed for as high as $300 on eBay).  So … $21 versus “over $100”.  Is there a difference – and if so – is it 5x the difference – 5x better?!

You be the judge.

P.S. Just a quick slightly over 1-minute video recorded inside my house (sitting in my breakfast nook) … typically “okay” reception but not my usual Listening Post.

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