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Topics - BoomboxDX

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As if Univision's recent sale of many of their radio properties in top markets isn't more indication of the slow slide of radio, the largest radio company in the US recently announced more layoffs, apparently due to sliding revenues.

Sad, really. Well -- at least when I switch on the radio the FM and AM bands are still full, but still....


Last night whilst doing some creative writing I had my Sangean PR-D5 on 1180 KOFI, listening to Coast To Coast. Behind it was the usual weak local station KLAY with Jim Bohannon's show, and then there was some music.

The only real music station I've heard on 1180 is Rebelde, which sometimes used to come in strong enough to be heard on a Walkman, even unaided.

I took out a SW radio and tuned to 5025 -- same music.

I haven't heard Rebelde on 1180 since probably 2015 or 2016. Perhaps this DX season will pick up a bit. Hopefully so.

Other / 6993 khz, 1258 UTC 2-1-2018, Bizarre CW transmission
« on: February 02, 2018, 0832 UTC »
I was testing my Radio Shack 200629 Synthesised World Receiver (RS's ATS505 -- I figured out how to keep it from sounding like a theremin -- it doesn't like mono SW EXT antenna plugs in the SW EXT stereo jack) and I tuned through the utility sections of the SW band, something I don't usually do. 

With this radio, it's more fun to tune through the utility bands because it doesn't chuff, and tuning through a swath of HF spectrum is like tuning an analog radio.

Anyway, I came across a bizarre CW transmission on 6993 kHz (it may have been a kHz or two off -- the RS 200629 has a BFO with clarifier, and I may have had it tuned off by a kHz or two). It was sent by hand, because the characters varied in speed, with small breaks sometimes between them. Signal strength also varied, starting at around S3 and ending up between S0 and S2.

Here's an example of what I heard. The dots are breaks where it faded out. Spaces are where there were short pauses:

NR091 KN CCK35180201 ... (fade)... RMKSC7 ... (fades) (speeds up during fadeup)... N65 5t6 2 tu7... 3... N.... 5

...it went on, and then stopped around 0106UTC.

Very strange. I'm guessing it was somebody messing with CW out of band, for the fun of it, or possibly a spy operation. Or maybe a military or government station testing by just sending out junk? I have no idea.

Doing a search, I guess some other HFU people have heard other stuff on 6993. Any one hear CW? I'm sure it wasn't an image. The sending was too bizarre for a ham or ship transmission.

Shortwave Broadcast / Radio Nacional da Amazonia??
« on: December 03, 2017, 0251 UTC »
Anyone here heard them lately? They used to be full-on signals on 11780 and 6180 -- I haven't heard a peep from them over the past few months (granted, I don't tune the SW bands every night).

I used to hear them invariably, and the only time I didn't hear them was in the worst of conditions.

Shortwave Broadcast / Firedrake, 9590 Khz, 2050 UTC, 12/5/16
« on: December 06, 2016, 0341 UTC »
Tuned around on the G2 around noon local time to 9590 khz and heard Firedrake for the first time in a while.

No idea who they were jamming, just heard the dulcet tones of Chinese classical music...

I remember back when I'd tune in while cramming for finals at the University I'd tune in to Firedrake... I thought back then it was folk music broadcast for the Chinese audience. Which, I suppose -- in a weird way -- it actually is.

A couple nights ago there seemed to be auroral conditions here in the PNW on the AM band. I fired up the PR-D5 (and crate loop), aimed the loop N-S and logged KJUG, Visalia, California, on 1270. It was alone on the channel with religious programs.

Also heard KZSJ 1120, out of San Jose, California, with Vietnamese programming. Didn't get a proper ID until earlier tonight, though.

Third new station was one that still needs an ID, KAZA 1290, Gilroy, California. It has been heard here in the NW even during non-auroral band conditions. I keep hearing their Viet programming, but no ID or local spots yet.

I've found some of the propagation reports online very useful, especially when figuring out how much is auroral based and how much is just poor AM band conditions overall. And sometimes its a mix of both.

PS: the Sangean PR-D5 is a recent acquisition. From what I understand, they may have revamped the circuitry a bit, with a Si4731 digital IF chip, and twin coil loopstick. Same 4 kc bandwidth as previous versions. The radio's kind of like a mini-boombox, so it fits my motif. :-) Have to keep the external loops about 5-6 inches from it to peak them, though, because of some soft muting, and the way it interacts with the external loops.

I've managed to hear this station at least twice over the past week or so on 9870 khz with South Asian music and speech.

Heard a variety of music ranging from the Indian movie music (female singers, unison strings, lots of tabla) to more electronic sounding stuff with tablas and chanting. Fast fading and fluttery reception. Heard it early Thanksgiving morning and also 0120 UTC on Nov. 13th.

Lately I've heard CRI's broadcasts in Spanish to Europe from the transmitters in Kashgar on 9590 khz as well.

All heard on my Grundig G2 off its whip. The G2 is a surprisingly good little radio.

It's the first time I recall hearing India with any type of 'regularity' since I was able to hear AIR India broadcasts in the winter of 2002. Probably the stations were receivable in my location numerous times since then (I know at least one HFU DXer in this region has heard them) -- they just weren't coming in when I was listening to SW.

Really dumb question I know, but what is the purpose of these radiosondes? Are they weather balloons? Are they used for a different scientific purpose?

And what are their primary frequencies? Does someone have to have a high gain antenna to hear them if they are in the vicinity?

The only VHF DXing I've done (aside from some scanning and PSB and Railroad band listening in the past) is when I heard some NOAA weather satellites in the 136 Mhz band, the beepbeepbeepbeep sound that would occur as they drifted over the area.

Shortwave conditions here at my QTH, at least when I tune the bands, has been a bit spotty. The ham bands sometimes have some good activity (40 meters was kicking in well two or three nights ago), but the shortwave bands haven't really been delivering here lately.

About the only notable logging I've had recently is a tentative one of Vatican Radio on 11625 khz, Friday night local time. Heard a man and a woman speaking, sounded like news (mention of Al Maliki and Iraq), language sounded like a cross between Hindi and Arabic.  During recheck later at 0434 they were talking in African accented French. The online schedules say Vatican Radio broadcasts in Tigriya and Amharic during the 0400 - 0430 time period.

Vatican Radio is the only station that fits. Was cool to hear, even if I couldn't understand the language. But there wasn't much else on at the time, except possibly Turkey on 11980. The rest of the band was just mediocre, and the 31, 21, and 49 meter bands weren't any better.

Shortwave Broadcast / Firedrake, 15385 khz, 0010 UTC, 2-14-2014
« on: February 14, 2014, 0252 UTC »
Heard the 'drake blasting away a few hours ago on top of another station that had a couple announcers speaking what sounded like Chinese. S4 signal strengths.

Aside from a couple Radio Havana broadcasts, it was the only thing on the 19 meter band.

Acc. to Short-wave.info, the jammed station would be the VOA.

MW Loggings / 1566 khz, 1410z, tentative HLAZ, South Korea
« on: January 16, 2014, 1551 UTC »
Tuned across the AM band this a.m. and heard a het on the lower side of 1570 khz. It was there even without aid of a loop, but the loop brought it in louder. On my RS "PLL Synthesized World Receiver" it seemed to zero at 1566, which is the 9 khz frequency that would be logical. As soon as I hit 1566, the RS World Receiver had some guy speaking an Asian language, with splash from 1560 and some QRM from the Deportes station in California on 1570.

Heard a man speaking what seemed to be Korean -- not sing-songy like Chinese, def. not Japanese, and had some of the consonant sounds peculiar to Korean, so I'm pretty sure it was Korean.

It even came in barefoot on my TRF, which -- ironically -- was the radio that seemed to bring it in the clearest (it seems to have a really good ceramic filter, combined with a good audio section).

The RS World Receiver, the SRII and the Panasonic also brought in audio with the loop (didn't try them w/o the loop, though). Once I got it clear w/ the TRF I stuck with that radio....

It's always cool to hear something from across the Pacific, even if you can't understand what's being said.  Guys around here (W. WA) with the bigger antennas seem to bring in Asian stations on an almost daily basis.

10/11 meters / Actual activity on 10 meters earlier today, Woop Woop
« on: October 21, 2013, 0353 UTC »
I tuned the SW up to the higher bands today, and heard maybe 15-20 CW beacons in the beacon section of the 10 meter band, most of them coming in from the SE US., and there were a couple CW QSOs going on near the bottom of the band as well.

Usually 10 meters is dead, dead, dead.

Shortwave Broadcast / Firedrake, 13710 khz, 0306z, 9-5-2013
« on: September 05, 2013, 0752 UTC »
Heard Firedrake earlier tonight on 13710 khz. in the 21 meter band.  SIO453, at 0306 UTC.  Couldn't hear what it was jamming, though.

SW conditions were fair to poor overall this evening.

MW Loggings / WJR 760, 0630z, 8/18/2013
« on: August 18, 2013, 1215 UTC »
Was tuning the TRF around and had a surprise reception of 760 WJR Detroit, which is fairly rare to hear in Washington state, at least on the west side of the mountains.  I got an ID at 0627z.  Pretty cool to hear -- was even audible barefoot.

Shortwave Broadcast / Firedrake, 9745 khz, 1840z, 8/9/2013
« on: August 10, 2013, 1725 UTC »
I don't remember hearing Firedrake in the 31 meter band in recent memory, but there it was, seemingly alone on frequency on 9745 khz, no obvious trace of the station it may have been jamming.  SIO 555.

Usually when I hear it it's in the 21 or 19 meter bands -- or sometimes higher.

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