Tag Archives: MW

File this under: you never know and . . . what’s the harm in experimenting?

 

 

by Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Ever since Thomas (our Maximum Leader) posted the latest DX Central MW Challenge, I’ve been curious . . . what could I hear if I gave it a shot?

Habitually, I get up early, between 4 and 5 am, so I decided to give it a try. Conventional wisdom is that, if you want to do AM (medium wave) DXing, you need a hot AM radio with a big ferrite bar, like the CCrane 2E . . .

Wanna guess what radio and antenna combo acquitted itself pretty well?

My old ham rig, an Icom IC-706 MkIIG, (which I wrote up here), hooked to my 50-foot wire indoor antenna, the horizontal room loop (which I wrote up here).

This AM’s listening, from my home outside Troy, NY, produced:

1170, WWVA — Wheeling, West Virginia
1180, WHAM — Rochester, NY
1200, Talk 1200 — Boston
1210, WPHT — Philadelphia

Now, before you hard-core AM DXers get all up in my face — Hey, I could hear those stations on the fillings in my teeth! — I’ll simply say that I get a kick out of hearing a distant station . . . any distant station . . . even it’s just a few hundred miles away. Sure, it’s not the astonishing stuff that Paul Walker and Gary DeBock accomplish, but to hear that faraway signal, crackling through the airwaves does me good.

Bottom line: you don’t need the latest and greatest optimized-for-the-task gear to give something a try . . . and you just might really enjoy it!

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Chuck’s re-capped GE Superadio II might set a new AM BCL benchmark

I recently took delivery of a better-than-new classic solid-state portable broadcast receiver: the venerable GE Superadio II.

This Superadio II was generously given to me by SWLing Post contributor, Chuck Rippel (K8HU), who has–in his spare time–been re-capping and restoring all three of the GE Superadio series models and bringing them back to life. Chuck wanted to send me one of the units he’d recently finished, knowing that it might help me when doing AM reception evaluations. He insisted “no strings attached.”

Besides thank you, all I can say is…

Wow–!

Note angels singing in the background.

When I received the Superadio II a week or so ago, I removed it from the box and it looked brand new; even sporting the original “Headset Capable” grill sticker.

This is a case, however, of a refurbished radio likely out-performing the original.  Here’s a list of the main modifications:

  • All of the original dry capacitors replaced with Nichicon Audio Grade components
  • FM AFC and AM and FM IF and RF sections have been aligned
  • Rebuilt the volume control

I’m sure there are other modifications Chuck didn’t mention.

Chuck told me each radio takes a full day to restore. Some of the alignment, rebuilding, and re-capping is surprisingly tricky and varies with each of the three models. Why is he doing this?

Chuck told me, “My enjoyment comes from giving these radios a new lease on life.”

A new lease on life, indeed!

Last weekend, we had a break in the weather–and I had a short break in my schedule–so I took the GE Superadio II, GE 7-2990A, C.Crane CCRadio3, and Panasonic RF-2200 outdoors for some fresh air.

It was late afternoon and, frankly, I didn’t have the time to do a full comparative session, but having spent the better part of an hour tuning around and comparing the characteristics of each radio, I decided to make a short video to share.

The video features the GE Superadio II, but I speak to some of the pros and cons of each model. Keep in mind, this is very much a casual/informal comparison:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The SR-II not only has the best audio fidelity in this bunch, but it’s also extremely stable and has no noise floor to speak of. No doubt, this is the result of those Nichicon Audio Grade components and a skilled technician.

Side note: Chuck is well-known in the radio world because he used to restore the Collins R390A which must be one of the most mechanically-complicated receivers ever made.

I haven’t even properly tested the SR-II on FM yet because I couldn’t pull myself away from the mediumwave dial that afternoon!

I asked Chuck if he would consider refurbishing GE Superadios for other people and I think he would.  If interested, contact me and I’ll put you in touch. Else, Chuck might leave details in the comments section of this post.

He does currently have a restored GE Superadio II on eBay. I just checked and in his listing, you’ll see a full description of the modifications made.

Click here to view on eBay.

Chuck, thank you once again for sending me this SR-II. It’ll become a permanent addition here at SWLing Post HQ. Again, I’m simply amazed at the audio fidelity of this 1980s era receiver. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything made today that can even compare.

And thanks for doing your bit to refurbish these classic portables!

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CBC Yukon features Finnish DXer who logged their station from 7,000 km away

Image Source: CBC/Google Earth

(Source: CBC Yukon)

From Yukon to Finland: CBC’s radio signal heard from afar

Host Elyn Jones heard saying ‘this is Yukon Morning,’ about 7,000 kilometres away

A keen listener has managed to hear CBC Yukon’s radio broadcast from about 7,000 kilometres away.

Jorma Mäntylä lives in Kangasala, Finland.

On Oct.15 he was scanning the airwaves and came across the signal from Dawson City, Yukon, broadcasting CBC’s Yukon Morning show.

The signal lasted about an hour.

“It was clear to hear your Yukon Morning program led by a female journalist and the morning news,” he said.

The host that day was Elyn Jones in Whitehorse.

Upon hearing the signal Mäntylä sent an email with an attached audio clip asking for confirmation.

CBC Yukon wrote him back to confirm what he’d heard. We also scheduled an interview by videoconference to speak about his hobby.

No ordinary radio

Mäntylä doesn’t have an ordinary radio. He’s part of the Suomen Radioamatööriliitto, the Finnish Amateur Radio League.

He started listening to signals in 1967.

He uses custom-built equipment to scan for shortwave and AM radio signals.

Sometimes it takes a while, through the crackle, to determine the language being spoken and from where the signal is broadcasting.

The game is to discover new stations, identify them, and then send an email to confirm the reception.

“I very often listen to foreign radio stations. That has been my hobby for 50 years,” he said. ‘It’s given me interesting moments learning about other cultures and nations,”

Hearing a signal from Yukon is rare. Mäntylä says on Oct. 15 he also heard broadcasts from radio stations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Click here to continue reading the full article.

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Video: Uncovering a Buried Co-Channel Station with the New AirSpy SDR# Tool

AirSpy’s Youssef Touil shares a video from YouTube author “PY3CRX&PY2PLL” which dramatically demonstrates the extent to which the Co-Channel Canceller tool can uncover a much weaker signal beneath a powerful one:

Youssef commented on the video that It only needs some tweaking to the lock/offset to get a perfect decode. So, presumably the result could be even better than heard here.

For more information on the Co-Channel Canceller, see my original article here, and the follow-up piece.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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SDR#’s Co-Channel Canceller Gets Additional Options

In my earlier article, I introduced the Co-Channel Canceller, a unique feature in AirSpy’s SDR# program for the benefit of medium wave DXers.

Now only a day later, software author and AirSpy founder Youssef Touil expands the toolset of Co-Channel Canceller with I.F. Offset and Channel Bandwidth controls.

To download this latest release, click here to go to AirSpy’s downloads page.

It’s my hope that AirSpy will publish a tutorial or YouTube video(s) with step-by-step examples to help with using this unique feature. Until then, it’s certainly fun to try!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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AirSpy SDR#’s New Killer Feature: the Co-Channel Canceller

An example of an AirSpy SDR# software screen.

A version of AirSpy’s popular SDR# software, showing the dark mode interface introduced in 2019. SDR# is always evolving, and the latest new tool is the Co-Channel Canceller.

It’s easy to take for granted the magical math that happens in Software Defined Radio. Occasionally though a breakthrough occurs which really grabs our attention, thanks to the hard work and bright minds of the designers behind the receivers and the software.

On the software side, the first series of “wow” moments happened for me in 2007-2008 when Nico Palermo of Perseus SDR fame expanded the program’s alias-free bandwidth incrementally from a modest (but impressive for the time) 100 kHz all the way up to the current 1600 kHz coverage.

The top-end 1600 kHz bandwidth was a game changer which allowed  medium wave DXers the opportunity to record IQ-WAV files of the entire band for later review, analysis, and DXing. It’s even more impressive considering this expansion was done without any additional hardware or receiver updates.

What did Nico charge Perseus owners for this incredibly useful expansion of spectrum and waterfall bandwidth? Nothing! The program with its much improved features continued freely available to previous and new Perseus SDR owners.


Now in 2020, Youssef Touil, AirSpy’s hardware and software developer, brings  a “killer feature” to his own SDR program named SDR#, for the benefit of medium wave DXers: the Co-Channel Canceller. The cost for this innovative tool? Yep, it’s a free addition to SDR#.

What are the benefits of the Co-Channel Canceller? This question is best answered by listening to three examples published by Youssef on his Twitter feed.

Read the descriptions below and listen to the brief audio files. In each example the Co-Channel Canceller is turned on and off a few times:


For the first example above, I suspect the 594 kHz station is Saudi Arabia’s Radio Riyadh, and the off-channel 596 kHz signal is Al Idaa Al-Watania from Morocco. It’s impressive that the 50 kw 596 station can be uncovered to any degree, as Radio Riyadh is a whopping 2000 kw!

In the AirSpy Groups.io forum, Youssef clearly illustrates the steps needed to initiate the Co-Channel Canceller. I’ve reproduced his screenshots below:

I’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities of the Co-Channel Canceller tool, but it holds promise of helping to reveal and identify hopelessly buried co-channel or adjacent channel stations. Not only does it work “live” in real time reception, it functions well with recorded IQ-WAV files too! Checkout the newest version of SDR# and give this new feature a try. I can imagine situations where this tool could be highly useful at times for the shortwave DXer also.

Thanks, Youssef, for this brilliant tool, which you’ve included free with the newest SDR# !

I encourage radio hobbyists to support AirSpy’s efforts to advance the state-of-the-art. The diminutive AirSpy HF+ Discovery receiver is not only a reasonably priced SDR to use with SDR#, it’s a top performer and a recipient of the World Radio TV Handbook’s Best Value SDR award for 2020.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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KJJR DX Test on Saturday (May 2, 2002)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following announcement:

KJJR 880 Whitefish, MT(Kalispell) will test for 1 hour at 10kw non directional Saturday May 2nd 12:01am to 1am mountain time. It will consist of morse code, sweep tones, along with various telephone sound effects

There will be no paper QSL’s issued for this test. Only emailed confirmation. Send an email to [email protected] with “KJJR 880 DX Test” in the email (You MUST put that in that subject line so I don’t accidentally delete it thinking it’s spam!). The reply will likely be a simple email reply with details of the station and confirming the details of what/when you heard it. You WILL get a reply from me in due course, please give me some time!

This is done on short notice and being kept simple as to not burden anyone involved. Thanks to Les Rayburn for creating the test material and Todd Clark for generously offering up the station. I’ve already seen communication between him and the station, asking them to block out an hour from the logs, so he can tinker around with things at the tower site.

Thanks for the heads-up, Paul! Here’s hoping a few MW DXers can log this test.

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