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Topics - NQC

Pages: [1] 2
1
Huh? / Bizarre Russian Message: Swan Lake / Swan Song
« on: March 10, 2022, 1657 UTC »
Hey All,

Group W seemed to be unavailable, so I hope this is OK here.

Recently independent  Dozhd / TV Rain Russia signed off under intense pressure from Putin.

After the staff walked off the set, the station began to play an old short video loop from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Ballet.

Apparently, this was an old signal that the Soviets used to prepare the masses for big news, re instability or leadership change.

The loop was of ballerinas dancing for around a minute. It would be played over and over and over again for hours  and hours and hours on Soviet state TV and radio.

This was done during the 1991 Russian coup attempt, and the deaths of Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko.

Obviously, TV Rain co-opted the old Soviet warning as their notice to the Russian people that the country was in BIG trouble.
 
Swan Lake represents a “mourning for broken dreams, sadness  for opportunities lost or regrets for unfulfilled plans”.

Who thought of using Swan , KGB psyops?
 

For Russians, it’s a kind of EAS/ EBS warning tone played on flutes and violins.Everyone knows what this video means.

I find this procedure almost bizarre, and there certainly is no counterpart to in in the West.

When JFK was shot , TV just broke right in. We didn’t need to prepare ( or warn certain people in the country) that something big was happening. We just did it.

Again , strange.

K

2
MW Loggings / WSM (BARELY) Under Digital Station
« on: December 16, 2021, 1211 UTC »
Hey All,

Log from earlier this week : Copied WSM under the regional  digital dog WSRO 650 . Specks  of voice and  a rhythm beat  for for a bit ( sounded like a good ole country bass).
SM/SRO are nearly on the same bearing to me , so some hash had to be let in or no joy. Radio placement  / loop aiming geometries  were among the tightest I have ever encountered, super touchy and  extremely easy to lose.

I suppose the take away here is it can be done (in "theory" !) , but would take a LOT more horsepower from the analog station to "break through". Even then , not sure how listenable things would be.

Nice to hear a tiny peep from "The Legend " , but overall a colossal failure.

Also FWIW, a  tiny BIT of SRO  hash QRM to fair CMLA 640 and  strong WFAN 660, but not enough to really affect things.

640 in particular is one of my favorite Dx frequencies.

K

 

3
MW Loggings / Excellent Conditions On AM
« on: November 17, 2021, 1253 UTC »
Hey All,

Summary  from last night , 0400 UTC onward :

Highlight : CMLA 640 Cuba up to a very rare  high signal level . Never a common station ( even in  winter ) , it was up to 3/4 scale ( WITHOUT Select -A Tenna  ) on the ATS 803a ( which is "sensitive" , but has a   ferrite bar that is shorter than desired) . Near full pin when  S-A -T was used and, at  times, actually made it worse (unheard of  for this station !). Some rapid QSB  at times  but pleasant enough to copy music for long periods.

Yet- NO traces of  Radio Reloj CW  from CMED 570 or CMGD 870 despite   a big  digging effort  with  the atomic clock to line up RR cw id's  exactly on the minute. You can't have everything ! :). Odd, with the  Cuban path seemingly open , I would have expected at least CMED. Nope.

WSB 750 GA up strong  ( a rare word for them). SB is my normal  "deep fringe" station during "average" conditions.
KDKA 1020 PA elbows BZ 1030 and INS  1010 right out of the way. No trace of QRM from either. DKA usually only "mediocre" here.
WHO 1040 IA good ( another rare word)

The usual  Eastern US 50 Kw suspects throughout  the band busting in  at stable arm chair copy .

LOTS of activity from lower powered Dx  stations on frequencies below 1000Kc  that are usually not so hot,  too many to wait for Id's.

Pile ups  of MANY outlets on grave yard frequencies, MUCH hotter than normal  .

 My ATS 803a does not do X band  :(, but  it was the  "receiver of the evening" , having "some " advantages  over the Panasonic 840. So I went with  it for the entire session. The Pan is actually better for listening to isolated long Dx  stations (IMHO), but the Sangean is digital and has a BFO , so it's  better for fast paced sessions  that bounce around the band and for seeking  RR CW Id's.

K

4
MW Loggings / CMED Cuba (Radio Reloj) - Very Good Conditions
« on: November 11, 2021, 1406 UTC »
Hey All,

11/12/21 0300 UTC

ATS 803a , Select- A Tenna

518 Kc NAVTEX , fair to weak  ,unknown  QTH

570 Kc CMED Cuba  in SSB mode  very weak CW id's (behind WMCA  NY and possible  WWRC MD). Not heard Reloj CW in years !

640 Kc  CMLA Cuba up to fair (or better)   (in AM mode). Best in a while.

1020 Kc KDKA PA. Good copy , no prob from  adjacents  WBZ 1030 or WINS 1010

1040 Kc WHO IA good copy , no prob re WBZ

LOTS else happening , just the highlights here.

Tried for 870 CMGD Reloj,also an old favorite, but no luck this time.


Earlier  this  week    :

A  propagation slump late last /early this week  / ,  then MW back up Wed 11/ 10 /21.

Sloppy log  :

CMLA 640  up to fluttery  fair  or a BIT better  (for a while) then  it receded back into the mud.

WHO 1040 up stable  to fair or better , then it too slipped away.

The X band made an "OK"  showing  -  (with the "usual" East Coast suspects  ie WPTX 1690, WRCR 1700, etc). Some  came in fair   , but more  leaning toward the poor ( but still audible ) side  of things.

Pan 840 rcvr   w /Select -A Tenna in noisy apt.

K

5
Utility / Things Are "Up" ("Sort Of" )
« on: November 11, 2021, 1340 UTC »
Hey All ,

Yesterday afternoon  (via HFU SDR)  WWV good on 10, WWVH fair  on 15 / WWV good on 15, WWV good on 20  and (drum roll) WWV still up and good on 25 (!).

12, 11, 10 did not happen despite Dx maps depictions of activity.

Other  "non utility" ( ham , SW BC, MW BC, etc)  stations are   back up as well after a slump.

K

6
Hey All,

Anyone know anything about  1710 CHIM ,ONT, Canada ?

Supposedly 84 watts. Yet the Canadian spectrum assignments list the TOP frequency as 1705 Kc ( 1700 centered), just the same as the USA .

The only known  North American  exception above 1705 Kc  I know of is  WQFG 689     centered on 1710 Kc in NJ.

Special permit ? Pirate  outlet  carrying  their licensed FM operations ?

Hmmmm,

K

7
Shortwave Broadcast / Things Picking Up a Bit ?
« on: October 06, 2021, 1337 UTC »
Hey All,

Not so much specific loggings, but a general comment  I have had some People's Rep of China  regionals  on  morning Gray line the last few days , especially in 31 M. One or two actually fair or better.

Supposedly gray line isn't cycle related , but it's SOMETHING  in what used to be  pretty quiet band. Other "non gray"  bits  and pieces rolling in as well. Things SEEM to be picking up , at least a BIT. Things were flat, dead buried here until  very recently.

Right now, I am just running a Trans Oceanic on the built in telescopic antenna  in a noisy apt.

So if I (!) am starting to copy stuff, I imagine those who actually have REAL antennas may also being hearing that much more now  (I would think).

How is everyone else doing on HF ?

de K

8
MW Loggings / New Transoceanic Shootout w/Sangean 803A
« on: September 06, 2021, 0126 UTC »
Hey All,

Compared my recently acquired T/O 3000-1 (please see HFU General Radio Discussion) with the venerable and sensitive Sangean 803A.

9/5/21 2330 UTC

560 WGAN weak.                   Tie T/O  vs 803.
570 WMCA fair/weak.            Tie T/O vs 803.
580 WTAG QRM from 590.      Advantage 803 in narrow mode.
610 WGIR fair.                        Advantage 803 in wide mode.
770 WABC strong.                 Tie. Good music on  Joe Piscopo show.
1610 CHHA weak.                   Advantage T/O

0100 UTC :
1020 KDKA fair in QSB.           Tie. NO QRM from 1010  and a tiny bit from  1030.

(FWIW, KDKA is often  a tough  catch at this QTH. If a rig here has good 1020 Kc separation from local flamethrower WBZ on 1030 and  night time biggie WINS on 1010, it's considered pretty good).

Overall : Fairly close in performance. The T/O has  bright and crisp audio, a real pleasure to listen to. Mechanically it has a rock solid  and bullet resistant feel to it. A really nice addition to the collection and a  great keep sake from Cuttyhunk  Island.

K
 

9
General Radio Discussion / DXpedition to Cuttyhunk Island, MA
« on: September 05, 2021, 0109 UTC »
Hey All,

I just returned  from a Dxpedtion  in the town of Gosonold on Cuttyhunk Island , Buzzard's Bay , MA.

Since Island life is really laid back , so was the  logging .  Highlights  from 9/1/21 through 9/3/21, no particular order.

Gear:  Sangean ATS 803 A ,  single tuned crystal set ( R.S. 28-177 coil  but  with air variable) , hand held scanners, home brew  ferrite tuner /coupler,  misc small  goodies, 400 ft "D.O.G" antenna ( "Dipole - On- Ground "), 40 ft HF end fed, , etc, etc.

640 CMLA /R. Progresso Cuba   copied   before full  darkness, but beat up by local /regional WPRO 630.
 
8503 NMG /New Orleans Wefax

6095 USB bootleg maritime net, OM swearing   like a sailor (hi).

10, 15  WWV

11780 R Amazonas/ R Nacional Brazil

5025 R. Rebelde Cuba
 
6000 R. Havana  (in  full daylight ! )

US MW kind of  a mess. Pile ups on  the long DX frequencies . Open to  Eastern  of US half (or a bit  less) ie only  GA to TN to IL arc.

Only one HF broadcast each  on 16, 19 or 22 M. Beyond dead any higher in frequency.

Ham :20 M.  40 M (even in daylight). Both   open to Eastern  1/2 half  of    US , especially on CW.

NO audio off any Transatlantic Broadcast Dx, but  copied a few aligned beat notes (FWIW) :

198 BBC, 639 Senegal, 837 Senegal, 954  Spain, 1044 Morocco,1107 Spain. Basically - LW b'cast was dead (or gone !) and MW b'cast was extremely poor (near dead)  to the Afroeuro .Also US MW opened up MUCH sooner than expected ,crushing what little Afro Euro action that could have been had . I have had trans Atlantic  MW and LW very good at times in years past, but not on this round :'(.

Crystal set DX : the usual 50 Kw suspects from around the NE 1/3 or so of the U.S.

7 KC lightning / "Tweeks" / "Natural Radio" copied ( confirmed at 700 miles and maybe a out  LOT further to thousands of miles) by a pair of NICE  Hi Z "crystal " earphones in series ,shorted by 1 M bleed pot. RF input  by  one leg of D.O.G. antenna onto each side of pot .

Notice to Mariners  on VHF marine channel 22A. Not heard this one in 15 or 20 years !

Also the owner of the Bed and Breakfast were I stayed (who I've known for  many years ) gave me a Trans Oceanic Royal 300-1. It didn't work on the island , but  I cleaned up battery holder  at home  and VIOLA  -  a working T/O !  So I went down there with one HF rig and came home with TWO !

Very late Wednesday /  Thursday  ( 9/1, 9/2) impacts from Ida : TORRENTS of rain - around 5 " in 5 hours . Gusts 45 to 55 (estimated). Waterspout 3 miles to our East  over ocean  .2nd water spout 12 miles East over ocean. Tornado  at Falmouth , Cape Cod MA 6 or 10 mi  Northeast. Vicious  cloud to ground white lightning on Island and Northward  into Buzzard's Bay.Yet ALL three day light hours were nice -  cloudy/dry -or- sunny /dry.

Ate lots of  seafood , fairly warm water  ocean swimming , relaxing , long walks with wife, etc. Took night trip on boat  going back to New Bedford.

GREAT trip, REALLY needed it !

K


10
Longwave Loggings / VLF Lighting Direction Finding
« on: July 07, 2021, 1916 UTC »
Hey All,

DF of Dx storms 90 to 120 Mi to my West yesterday PM.

150 Kc somewhat weaker than higher up checks.Kind of a surprise.

Best was around 230 or 250 Kc , also ripping loud  at 520 Kc.

Things seemed to have rolled up or down in signal strength as one rolled 250 to 520 Kc.

Nice to near zero nulls on S  803a rig, gave a decent bearing to storm cluster.

I am working on other LF projects too.

de K

11
Equipment / " Feedline " Antenna - "450 " Ohms
« on: June 08, 2021, 1531 UTC »
Hey All,

I want to try an antenna that would be for temporary use  in areas of possible power line noise.

I envision running 2  insulated  multi stranded   wires  ( AWG size TBA , aluminum vs copper  composition TBA ) ,
 air spaced at 1"   to  "simulate "  foam twin lead in  the  ball park  300 to 450 ohm  range     .
Conductors are  shorted at the elevated end.

I am shooting to build a supposed  folded  vertical "quarter" wave/ "low noise " design  for  1 Mhz. It's a bit unclear to me what length is "ideal" and  what  length actually represents  a TRUE quarter wave when it is  folded .

FWIW, At 1 Mhz a quarter wave MONOpole  would be 234 ft (  for now I am disregarding any "Earth" side considerations such as 45 degree  drooping  radials, buried "spoke" radials, etc). 234 feet is  WAAAAY  TOOOOO TALL !

But I AM thinking about a possibly  alleged "desired" electrical  length of 117 ft.

117 ft is also a "practical " length to actually be able to work with.  I am not sure  whether (2X) 117 ft would  still   only "represent" an 1/8 monopole in reference to the wire run's total  vertical height -OR- whether it acts as a "true" folded 1/4 wave, having one leg running up to full height and one leg running back down to "lawn level" (117 ft "plus" 117 ft).

BTW, I am sure that there is no way I can hang it "fully" vertical. I'd be LUCKY to get it up 40 or 60 ft. So there would probably be more than  HALF of the antenna's  total length arcing over and running fairly low  horizontal to the  lawn (like a kite string). I can probably get    a tie off on a low tree branch at 6 ft or so , then down to radio. Implications ?

I also wonder if  giving this "twin  lead " a few twists is advantageous. I have seen this done when twin lead is actually used to FEED  a "real" antenna (  ie a horizontal dipole ).

For  the  receiver, I'd make  up a 175 or 220 uH (wound with #28) ferrite bar with maybe 4 or 5 "taps" mostly bunched up at the cold end- hopefully one of which winds up  at a ball park  300 ohms or greater (otherwise put, guesswork).
 A  properly spec'd ceramic var cap would be across full coil,so  the project would end up being a twin lead tuned  ferrite  auto transformer air /magnetically coupled to the receiver's internal  ferrite.

I know that design specs  and "rules" are much less important on receive antennas as  opposed to transmit antennas.Also  the "characteristic response" is going to  vary as one moves up or down in frequency away from the "design reference" of 1 Mhz. There is one school of thought that says "Just try it and see how it works". The problem is that I don't have NEARLY as much to time play radio as I would like, so I'd like to get a bit of  back round , input and "predictions" before I forge ahead.

Also, it  can be a bit of  learning experience and  if nothing else, a  theoretical exercise  on how antennas work.

ANY help GREATLY appreciated,

de N1NQC 


12
MW Loggings / Dxpedition to Wells, Maine
« on: June 06, 2021, 1332 UTC »
Hey All,

 Yesterday I took a day trip to Wells ,on the coast of Maine.

Logged on the car radio at a HUGE salt marsh ,1830 UTC.

570 WMCA Nada, M.I.A.
710 WOR barely any audio
770 WABC barely any audio
880 WCBS barely any audio
660 WFAN barely any audio , maybe a TAD better, up and down in slow QSB.   ( FWIW, 710,770, and 880 couldn't even "find  the ambition" to  give me any QSB :)))

A bit of an education: Despite  being at the  marsh  there was no salt advantage  . The   NYC to Maine  bearing was  nearly ALL over a land path of high loss New England granite. It was nice to find out where the  "dependable" NYC day timers (listed above)  almost completely run out of gas. So being 78 miles north of my normal Boston QTH caused even the BIG New Yorkers to pretty much  find the  end of their string.  MAYBE they would have been  a" bit more  usable" on a BIG antenna, but.....

1010 WCNL Newport ,NH ,at around 110 mi ,mostly barely any audio, but up and down a bit  like 'FAN. Bizarre transmitter - 10 Kw daytime into a 62 ft (!) antenna (  essentially a "dummy load")
1600 WUNR Boston barely any audio, despite 20 kw at 78 miles, but I was mostly out of pattern.
740 WJIB Cambridge, MA, 250 watts into  omni 1/8 wave, mostly barely any audio. Interesting to deliver the same as 'UNR.
730 WJTO Bath ,Maine, 1 Kw omni, 65 Mi ,mostly salt path.Loud and clear. JTO is net control /program origin station for JIB and others around New England.

So , some really cool and interesting very weak signal  daytime work.Fun.


(Also on 150 Kc- ATS 803a:  Surprised  no QRN crashes copied  despite lightning within 100 to 150 Mi to West . So I'm also finding out how a  barefoot (no outboard  loop) ATS  may  on work on LW or BCB. . A sensitive rig , but with a short ferrite bar). The 803 got no  NYC BCB  at all.

Other activities were: beach ( 52 deg water WAY too cold, could only wade up to ankles  :o) seafood, shopping/ flea market with the Mrs. (got a few cool goodies ) ,  cool breezy ride on a  nicely restored antique  trolley at trolley museum,  walk  in pine forest ,countryside driving, etc.

Wx was around 80,humid  and mostly sunny. At times good flows of very cool air off ocean  suddenly gave nice refreshment. At other times , flow would shut down and it got quite warm.  Later on , well after  the ATS  150 Kc LW session, visually  interesting thunderstorms (with infrequent lightning)  built up  to the our distant   West (around  the Lake Winnipesaukee area of NH  and  Northward toward   MT Washington ,NH   ), but we got home before they drifted into the Boston area.

Overall , a GREAT day, felt good to get out and actually be able to DO things.

K

13
Hey All,
 
I recently picked up a beautiful 1920's variable cap mounted in a heavy oak side sloped enclosure. The cap , dial and panel look almost like new.

The downside was that it  only topped out at 250 Pf , not really high enough for any of    my "serious" uses. The  inductor for the bottom of B'cast  is 400 uH (!) of #28 rectangular five point spiderweb.It looks more like a SAILBOAT than a spider's web :). Space was extremely tight. It's  wound   on a small sheet of vanished writing pad  thin  cardboard. Basically I "tried" to violate EVERY rule of good crystal set building (re L/C ratio, coil shape,  coil form material ,  var cap insulation being  bakelite, etc, etc).

I may try a few outboard tricks to "sort of" help it, but don't expect too much other than locals here.

But it WILL be a NICE piece of "eye candy" with nickel binding posts, cotton wire, etc ,etc. Everything is being  done with  1920's material and look.

My bedside shelving is small and already mostly packed up with gear , but this rig will be small   and should fit .  I'm thinking of a  fun little single dial radio for the local  big guns on an indoor short wire, which is fine.

Years ago I smelted my own "home brew" lead  sulphide material by melting lead and rapidly working in  raw sulfur. It  instantly burst into flames and had to be blown out like a big birthday candle.The  resulting material was black and ugly- NOT pretty and  sparkly like   the silver bearing "steel" galena " that I've also  used   . But BOY, was it HOT- very sensitive and easy to set . Maybe I try  whipping up another   batch  in a small metal cup  for use on this set.

K

14
Equipment / Dueling Selecta- A Tennas (NOT Banjos)
« on: May 19, 2021, 1259 UTC »
Hey All,

Last night I decided to try out something that I had seen that originally used two  stand alone large/outboard  home brew ferrite bar/ tank "antennas" for Co Channel "pest control" application .

The idea was to  fully null the pest with the receiver's ferrite first.Then place one outboard  bar to boost the desired station  coupling it  along SIDE of the  rig's internal  ferrite and the other outboard bar off the END of the rig's ferrite to deepen the pest's null.

Since I don't have any  big  ferrite, I decided to try two basic/no jack  model Select- A -Tennas instead. The results  were intriguing.

I tuned into "My favorite Co Channel " (starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby :))) 740 for  CFZM  vs very  local  WJIB which was still huge at 5 watts night power.

The expected orientation did not pan out at all, at least on the Super Radio I and these air core loops.. Trying to deepen JIB's attenuation by aligning one of the loops null to the rig ferrite null did nada, at least for me in this case. Changing the distance , etc, didn't work at all. All  action was  attained  by coupling both loops peaks "broadside" to the ferrite.

Odd, since  loop peaks are  much more "vague" than the "black hole "  of the  null  (after fifty years of playing around I am STILL amazed by radio !).

The best configuration seemed to be having one loop at one end of the ferrite and the other at the opposite end and on the opposite side of the radio cabinet. That way both loops "boosted" the SR-1 for Zoomer but had as much physical separation as possible.The only null action was in the  radio's  ferrite.

Even MORE wacky was that loop closer to JIB loop "liked"  a more  "conventional" 90 degree coupling angle, yet the other one ""needed" to be at 45 degrees in order for the entire set up to work. And of course like  previous single loop  experiments, all placements (rig, loop 1 and loop 2) HAD to be exact to within 1/8 to 1/4 ". If any parameter was off, even a tiny bit, you heard zilch (except a slight or moderate JIB artifact depending on what they were playing).

Zoomer rolled up and down (as usual), but never really came up to much  beyond weak or a bit better , even after a while of being parked on frequency. Zoomer's transmitter  antenna  null is in my direction (not   "optimal"), and also  propagation  seemed kind of  crumby as well.

I  repeatedly tried it "barefoot" , going over to  only the JIB closer loop  during these marginal conditions. No dice.Every time I tried.But when the second loop was brought back in, Zoomer came back in (WHEN the  QSB "cooperated").

So the takeaway ,at least to me under these conditions and set up , is that the second loop  WAS useful, even in this situation of two stations nearly 180 off from each other (which is a "challenge").

The next target is 650 with regional WSRO vs THE LEGEND (WSM). Both are  ALMOST in the SAME direction from me. If I can tame SRO even a tiny bit and  bring SM up a TAD , I'll call it a big victory. "We'll see".

BTW, I  really miss my MFJ 1026 :-[.

Your mileage may vary on all of this  and no warranty is implied :).

K

15
Hey All,

Just ran a few of these for grins :

WCNL ,1010 Newport ,NH :1/4 wave would be  231 ft. They run 10 Kw day on   63 ft (!!) of guyed tower with a Zillion panel antennas (cell/ 800/900Mhz ??) attached . AM almost looks like an "afterthought"  and that it seems most of the  dough is coming in  from repeater rentals. LOTS of   juice lost  on this  antenna  , but I still   hear them daytime ( fair to weak )
 through hilly  terrain / poor ground  conductivity at around 113 miles away.

WZBR , 1410 Dedham, MA : 1/4 wave would be 165 ft. They run 2Kw day into free standing 75 ft fiberglass whip (helical wound inside). I'd love to see this one in 75 MPH winds ! Fair signal at 9 mi ,  terrain path  maybe not too bad.

WJIB 740 Cambridge MA : 1/4 wave would be 316 ft. They run a 285 ft free standing tower, so it would be  thrown into our "not too bad department" at  31 ft short of 1/4 wave.Line of sight "Band Bully", even at 5 W night time  power at around 4 miles out.

Can anyone else give  any examples that you know of, the shorter the better. Maybe 1/8 wave or less ?   I am just curious how LOW some of these guys limbo and STILL make it "work", but obviously WITH a serious  electric bill as a "penalty".

FWIW /  a bit OT, I have worked out to 27 miles using  a high mast mounted 50 ohm resistor with very short leads soldered on   75 ft of 9913 (a "sort of"  "near isotropic " radiator :)  ?? ?)  on 440 Mhz FM. Rig output hyper low ,  got around  2 to 4 mW output  at radiator ?? QRPpppp- THAT was fun ! I also ran ridiculously low  outputs on 2 M SSB/FM as well.

K


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