Category Archives: Mediumwave

Gary DeBock’s XHDATA D-808 loopstick model

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gary DeBock, who shares the following:

The 7.5 inch (19cm) loopstick XHDATA D-808 model was designed to be the ultimate AM-DXing (or Longwave DXing) travel portable, and can be built for a construction cost of around $30 US. It has already been used by numerous DXers to track down transcontinental and transoceanic AM-DX during overseas travel, and the orange plastic loopstick frame allows full operation of the whip antenna for FM and Shortwave reception.

The modification procedure isn’t difficult, and the full construction article is posted at

https://dreamcrafts.app.box.com/s/5d0pi85jfptgmrj4pd0jsmaybgb6gteh

A video demonstration of its daytime DX performance (compared to the stock model) has been posted on YouTube:

Build one, and join the fun! 🙂

Many thanks for sharing this, Gary! Your ultralight DXing creations are simply amazing!

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Guest Post: A synchronous detector crash course!

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


Revisiting the Belka’s “pseudo-sync detector”: A sync detector crash course!

by 13dka

“It’s usually hard to assess whether or not a sync detector helped with a particular dip in the signal or not, unless you have 2 samples of the same radio to record their output simultaneously and compare.”*

That’s what I wrote about the “pseudo sync detector” in my review of the Belka DSP last year.

Since I was recently upgrading to the Belka DX in order to pass on the Belka DSP to a friend, I had briefly two examples of almost the same radio on the table at the dike. I tuned them to the same stations and recorded some audio clips with one radio on sync detector, the other in regular AM mode, to answer the question whether or not sync has “helped with a particular dip in the signal”. Then I thought that demonstration would be an opportunity to try an explanation on what exactly (I think) sync detectors are all about anyway, hoping to find a middle ground between “technical” and “dumbed down beyond recognition”.

The trouble with sync detectors

Perhaps no component of a shortwave receiver is surrounded by so much misconception and confusion as sync detectors. Full disclosure: Until quite recently, I had an, at best, vague concept on what they do myself. It seems it’s not so much that people don’t know how they work, what they actually do when they work is where the ideas often diverge. Continue reading

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HFDY vs. Fire Brothers: Dan compares two Chinese Malahit SDR clones

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for the following guest post and review:


Two Chinese Clones:   A Look at Noise Levels

Arriving recently here in the radio shack, were a Chinese clone under the name of “Fire Brothers” and another under the name HFDY.  I thought it would be constructive to note the key differences between these two clones, both of which are running Malahit 1.10c firmware, and post some video of a brief comparison.

A note in advance of any comments – I am primarily a HF listener so these comparisons do not cover frequencies above 30 MHz.  For those whose focus is on higher frequencies I recommend looking through the many comments on the Malahit Facebook group and Telegram by those who use these receivers in those ranges.

HFDY

  • Constructed of metal-like material (a correction from my previous articles that this is fiberglass of the kind used in printed circuit boards – thanks to Georgiy of Malahiteam for pointing this out)
  • Front speaker grille is gold color and appears to be metal but may be fiberglass as well – audio is quite good
  • Two top-mounted antenna jacks, one 50 ohm, the other Hi-Z (makes switching between HF and FM/VHF reception easier) with in-use LED indicators
  • Two high quality right side mounted black metal encoder knobs with large power button (clear printed Frequency/STDBY/Volume printed on panel)
  • Cabinet held together with TORX screws
  • 1.10c firmware
  • Receiver is elongated left to right to accommodate left side front-firing speaker, but is thinner overall and could be easily placed in a pocket though not recommended to prevent damage
  • Like every one of these SDRs, suffers from body sensitivity to touch which reduces signal levels unless some sort of additional ground is attached to cabinet
  • Internal flat-type Lithium battery of 3300 mAh though apparently capable of fitting up to 8000 mAh

Continue reading

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Giuseppe’s Homebrew “TFerrite 2” Mediumwave & Shortwave Antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following:

Dear Thomas my friend,

I built another Tferrite, (TFERRITE 2), for medium waves–this time also with the shortwave option.

A single variable capacitor, 800 pf, and a primary winding on the 2 ferrites of about 46 turns, a secondary winding of 3 turns to pick up the signal and send it to the receiver.

On the PVC tube I wound 4 more coils, for the shortwaves, connecting the ends to the same variable together with the other ends.

I interposed a switch on one end to eliminate or insert shortwaves.

I am sending you these 3 links from my YT channel where you can see the tests I have done in these days with no propagation.

The yield in mediumwave is excellent, like the other one, yet also good for the shortwaves–to be so small it compares very well.

Let me know what you and the whole SWLing community think!

Thanks to you and a greeting from Italy, Formia on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
73. Giuseppe.

Videos

View on YouTube.

View on YouTube.

View on YouTube.

This is brilliant, Giuseppe! Thank you so much for sharing your homebrew antenna projects. It seems they work so well from your beautiful urban location in Italy!

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Guest Post: Mediumwave DXing in Botswana

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Wilson, who shares the following guest post and recordings from his listening post in Botswana:


Peter’s receiver is a Airspy HF+ Discovery SDR using SDR Console V3

MWDX from Australia and the USA received in Botswana

by Peter Wilson

Hello Thomas.

I moved my 16.2 metre random wire slightly farther away from the house, and installed a binocular balun and connected 20m of RG58 at the far end, not the “house end”.

Peter’s random wire antenna with binocular balun

Reception examples:

1500 USA WFED Washington DC 12790km

1152 AUS 6PB
ABC NewsRadio Busselton 8469km with ABC News ID

1600 B Radio Nove de Julho ID 7234km
Sao Paulo. Brazil. ID,
Web Address and jingle. Rinsed and repeated.
Portuguese: Radio Nove de Julho [English: Radio 9th July]

1026 kHz MOZ Emissor Provincial de Manica Chimoio 1057km.
A bit parochial but features the radio Mozambique song.

850 USA WTAR Norfolk, Virginia Fox Sports Radio ID 12700km

1296 6RN ABC Radio National. Wagin, Australia 10kW 8644km

558 AUS 6WA ABC Great Southern WA Wagin 8644km


Impressive reception from your home in Botswana! Thank you so much for sharing these recordings, Peter. You’ve certainly made the most of your random wire antenna!

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Paul’s thoughts about Mediumwave DXing in Alaska

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who has kindly allowed me to published some notes he recently shared among MW DXers about DXing in McGrath, Alaska, USA:
During a Zoom hang out with a bunch of Pacific NW DXers, one of the things that come up was why my DXing in Alaska is beyond amazing, and we’ve come to a few conclusions.

The extended darkness. Sunrise in the middle of winter here is 3+ hours later than the west coast, so once their Skywave burns off, I’m left with darkness over the pole and to my west.

There’re no operating AM stations within just under 200 miles from me which is a big help. I have heard distant signals on the same channel as “semi locals” such as 780 and 1080.
And I’m pretty sure there’s something to the fact I’m close to the North Pole. Still far, but closer than most.

Interesting to note though: pre sunset DX isn’t a thing there. What I’ve unscientifically discovered is it seems to be that the entire Pacific has to be dark for DX  to be worthwhile for me in the evening … despite my evening DX being Canada and the lower 48 US States.
What most everyone else hears at night, such as the transpacific signals from Japan, China, Australia etc…, I hear in the morning. Hearing anything from Asia or the Pacific at night is EXTREMELY rare.

[Since I’m DXing outdoors in extremely cold conditions] I’m getting extra batteries, extra audio cables (to go between the recorder and the radio), another radio, and another recorder. Oh and some hot hands hand warmers. Also have some extra gloves and hats ordered too.. getting prepped for winter DXing well ahead of time!

The hand warmers are as much for my gloves as they are for my digital recorder… AA batteries don’t last long during continuous use in extreme cold.

i also have a portable battery and extra cable so I can use it for my phone. Those lithium ion batteries hate cold even more than aa alkaline batteries–they will shut off in the cold. In fact, you have to not only warm it up but charge it. The cold causes it to think tis dead…. and even warming it up won’t work.

Here’s a video link to my FSL antenna designed and built by Gary DeBock:

DXIng is one of the reasons I moved back up here to Alaska and it’s entirely fascinating. I learn something new every “DX season”.

Lower 48 theory and ideas just don’t hold a bunch of weight up here … I’ve had ideas and suggestions from some really smart people that just didn’t work out.

Until you’ve DXed in Alaska, it’s hard to explain and understand.

Thank you for sharing your notes, Paul! Having never done DX in those latitudes, I can only imagine how different conditions might be–especially in those long, dark winters!

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Radio Waves: Radio Prague Special Broadcast, WNP Marks 100 Years, Ham Interference, and RTE on Longwave

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David Iurescia, Ronnie Smith, Troy Riedel, Jack Dully, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Radio Prague asks, “Would you like to be featured on our broadcast?” (Radio Prague via Facebook)

Our 85th anniversary is coming up on August 31st! We’re celebrating the occasion with a special broadcast that day and would love to hear from you – our listeners. If you’d like to send us your greetings, please record a message and send an audio file via email (to english@radio.cz) or Facebook. Due to time constraints, your recording should be around 30 seconds long. Please include your first name, where you live, how long you’ve been listening, and what you like most about Radio Prague Int’l.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Sailing Vessel with Ham Radio History Marks 100 Years (ARRL News)

The schooner Bowdoin is a century old this year. Now owned by the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) as a training vessel, the ham radio history of the 88-foot (LOA) Bowdoin is often neglected. Constructed in Maine specifically for Arctic exploration, the vessel relied on amateur radio for communication during explorer Donald B. MacMillan’s Arctic Expedition of 1923 and on the MacMillan-McDonald-Byrd Expedition of 1925 — thanks in part to ARRL co-founder Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW. The venerable vessel, the official vessel of the State of Maine and the flagship of Maine Maritime Academy’s Vessel Operations and Technology Program, recently underwent a complete hull restoration and refitting and has done a little touring to mark its centenary. Its home port is Castine, Maine.

The longwave transmitters MacMillan used on his earlier missions had proved “unable to penetrate the screen of the aurora borealis,” then-ARRL historian Michael Marinaro, WN1M (SK), explained in his article, “Polar Exploration,” from the June 2014 issue of QST. In 1923, MacMillan turned to ARRL for help in outfitting his next expedition with better wireless gear. Marinaro recounted, “It was enthusiastically provided.” Maxim and the ARRL Board recruited Donald H. Mix, 1TS, of Bristol, Connecticut, to accompany the crew as its radio operator.

M.B. West, an ARRL Board member, designed the gear, which was then built by amateurs at his firm, Zenith Electronics. The transmitter operated on the medium-wave bands of 185, 220, and 300 meters, running 100 W to a pair of Western Electric “G” tubes. Earlier exploratory missions had used gear that operated on longwave frequencies. The shipboard station on board the Bowdoin was given the call sign WNP — Wireless North Pole. [Continue reading…]

The Machines That Built America (History Channel)

In 1893, sending information across America is a time-consuming process. Letters travel slowly by land, and those who can afford it, send telegrams along a limited network of fixed wires. But two rival inventors have the same idea for improving things: wireless communication. Nikola Tesla is one of the most famous and successful thinkers of his day, single-handedly changing the way electricity is supplied and generated. Guglielmo Marconi is a young, uneducated Italian inventor who ignores scientific consensus and goes with his gut. Both want to rid the world of wires and send messages through the air. With millions of dollars on the line, the two men battle to dominate the new market and bring radio to the masses. [Click here to view episode on the History Channel.]

Woman fights to have ham radio operations banned after potential interference with insulin pump (WFTV)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — A Marion County woman is taking on her neighborhood association, in a matter she said puts her health at risk.

Michelle Smith, a Type 1 Diabetic, and a consultant determined that her neighbor’s ham radio hobby might have interfered with the doses of insulin being pushed out from her pump.

The 55+ community where she lives hired that consultant and told the neighbor to shut down his amateur radio station.

But a copy of the community’s rules shows a change was put in place that could pave the way for other similar antennas to be installed.

9 Investigates learned that Smith’s complaint went all the way to the state level.

She wants the Florida Commission on Human Relations to make a determination whether the community’s board and management is doing enough to protect her and others with medical devices.[]

RTE on long wave 252 kHz back on air (Southgate ARC)

RTE carried out essential maintenance of the Long Wave transmitter in Clarkstown, Co. Meath for two months during which period RTE Radio 1 was not available on 252 kHz.

This essential maintenance of the transmitter was due to be carried out in 2020, but was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. For the health and safety of those carrying out the works, the transmitter had to be switched off for the works period. Any overhaul has to be completed during the summer months when there is good light and weather conditions.

Transmissions commenced once again last Monday with an output of 500 kiloWatt during daytime and 100 kiloWatt at nighttime.

During this shutdown, one could receive Radio Algeria transmitting on the same frequency with 1.5 megaWatt during the day and 750 kiloWatt at night, broadcasting a varied program.


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