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Messages - BoomboxDX

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Inflation is a thing. In fact, it's a very real thing. That applies to gasoline for vehicles as well as nearly everything else that has gone up in price. It's undoubtedly affecting a lot of discretionary spending, regardless of demographic.

Regardless of the exact causes or validity of the reasons this particular store closed, it's sad to see the ham stores, and other electronics stores, fold.

Equipment / Re: 11m Roger Beep audio
« on: March 04, 2023, 0701 UTC »
When I operated on 11m it was always with a stock Cobra 148, and within the legal limits, and on the sideband frequencies. Never really felt the urge to mod my radio. It worked fine as is.

That said, hearing roger beeps never bothered me that much. Sometimes it helped when monitoring DX, especially when monitoring the Outband sideband channels on my SWL rigs. When the beep went off, you could tell that one of the people in the QSO you were monitoring had unkeyed his or her mic. It could help in following the QSO, especially if there was fading or 'short skip' (E skip, which sometimes is more fickle than the F layer skip).

Never understood the appeal of the echo mics, or stations with the power mics cranked to the max, along with the extra processing.

But then, people in the radio hobby have as many odd and unique tendencies just as non-radio people do. I suppose some of it goes with the territory.

Interesting story. I wonder if there are any such 'zones of silence' in the US, Canada, or other places? I know there are areas with some magnetic anomalies, and sometimes those anomalies are marked on FAA VFR maps for pilots (usually informing them that your compass may be off a few degrees). But zones of silence? that's new info to me.

General Radio Discussion / Re: has anyone ever thought about...
« on: January 13, 2023, 0841 UTC »
One could make a considerably strong argument that Brother Stair (and other creature preachers like him) turned more people away from content Shortwave listening than the Internet ever did.  Their borderline hi-jacking of 31 meters is infuriating.

How can anyone 'hijack' an empty SW broadcast band?

Since 2016 the 31 Meter Band has been mostly devoid of stations every night and many, if not most mornings. If I look over my logbooks, especially since the downturn in sunspots around 2016, 31 Meters has probably had an average of maybe 3-5 stations on any given evening, at the most (sometimes including WWV), and the 31 Meter band is about 600 khz wide -- at least 60, 10 KHz channels ar available (more if you consider that SW traditionally has used 5 kHz channels).

Sorry if it infuriates you, but religion's been on the SW since the 1950s probably. The real issue is other broadcasters have left the air, and the downturn of the last Solar Cycle just sped the demise of SW on its way.

Lately if there's no good prop to Asia in the morning, 31 Meters and 49 Meters are mostly static here (esp. at night) in my location, with a varying signal from WRMI, Cuba, and WWCR in the mix. Sometimes WWV doesn't show up on 10 MHz. If I hear Voz Missionaria on 9665 at night it's like Christmas. Amazing they even make it as far as the NW US.

In 2012 there was a LOT more activity. And Bro. Stair was still blaring away on the airwaves back then. He was just easier to tune past and find another station up the band.

As for the OP, there's a guy on several SW and MW and radio forums who works in the radio business, and he sometimes rents time on WRMI and plays music. So it can be done. It apparently doesn't have to be a long term thing. Apparently some of the stations will allow one-offs.

Very cool vid. So cool that the BBC did a vid on it, too!

Aikhainiemi and Lemmenjoki are the two places I've read about where the MW DXers go. The guy in Kongsfjord, Norway seems to get a lot of publicity in MW circles, too.

The vid has some great shots of the area. Looks awesome.

Interesting. I thought the US already had some OTHR facilities in operation somewhere?

I sometimes hear OTHR, usually very weak, in the SW bands (31 meters mainly), from time to time, but nothing like the famed Russian Woodpecker in the 1980s.

One thing in OTHR's favor I suppose is that HF isn't quite as crowded as it was several decades ago.

Propagation / Re: Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression
« on: December 01, 2022, 0949 UTC »
The last couple weeks have been touch and go. At least three separate nights / mornings where the ionosphere sounded like frying eggs, with the US domestics barely readable and even MW sucked, more or less. One evening / a.m. WWV on 10 Mhz was completely MIA, and I never experienced that before the downturn in the last cycle around 2017. Since the downturn, it seems to happen at least once or twice a month.

So in the northern tier latitudes, we're not out of the woods yet.

But you turn on the radio, tune around, never know what you just might hear. There are surprises that happen, even when the SW bands are down, down, down.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Mali
« on: November 24, 2022, 0648 UTC »
China Radio International also broadcasts from transmitters in Mali, so you can also hear the country that way.

General Radio Discussion / Re: WTWW QRT?
« on: November 15, 2022, 0639 UTC »
They're desperate, like most music royalty related operations, because there are no more music sales, so royalties are the only revenue for the music industry, and royalties do not pay as much as sales once did.

Sad, but that's the way of the world.

RE; WTWW, I probably heard them once or twice without knowing it on 9940. Never tuned into 5085, though.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Cold War Radio history.....
« on: November 05, 2022, 1825 UTC »
The Cold War was definitely a lively time for SW fans. 24 hours of Radio Moscow World Service (much of the programming was actually pretty interesting). I never heard Radio Tirana. Mostly Firedrake from China. Voice of Vietnam relayed via Cuba.

The Woodpecker. The Buzzsaw. And of course AFRTS, VOA, and the rest.

I once heard some Soviet hams who were transmitting from Franz Josef Land, which is pretty far north. The Americans were all trying to get them in the logbook.

Interesting times.

Amateur Radio / Re: Snotty Hams
« on: November 05, 2022, 0920 UTC »
Yes, I've experienced it as an SWL, not on QRZ dot com as I am not a member there, but on some other ham / radio forums some of the hams can get cantankerous, even towards each other.

On more than one occasion a ham has said I probably don't know enough because I'm just an SWL, even though I've been monitoring the ham bands as well as SWBC bands for over 40 years, which indicates I must know at least a bit about radio, antennas, and propagation.

When they toss out some vitriol, I counter it with fact, and then let it go. There's not much else you can do. Sometimes they might lighten up after a bit. People are people -- there are awesome ham guys and some that maybe have a bit too much attitude, but just hold your own and move on.

Propagation / Re: Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression
« on: November 02, 2022, 0537 UTC »
Latin American 11m signals have been fairly common here the entire year, although not all day long. Also the occasional opening to Europe, but I haven't encountered one in the past few weeks.

One reason for the difference between our reception experiences is probably the latitude. I'm above 47N, Maryland is centered around 39N, plus the general time zone / geographical advantage (ET is closer to South American time zones).

But still, me hearing Latin American outbanders is a sign that prop is slowly picking up. During the sunspot lull it was deadsville, as was much of the SW spectrum many nights and mornings.

General Radio Discussion / Re: KiwiSDR discontinued
« on: November 02, 2022, 0445 UTC »
I've seen some market gurus speculating on whether the current shortages in electronics and inflation may promote a return to domestic production. I kinda doubt it. We're spoiled by low prices. And electronics manufacturing is environmentally dirty. That's a tough ask in the US.

I work in "the business".  At the moment, approximately 75% of the world's wafer fab capacity is in East Asia. (https://anysilicon.com/semiconductor-wafer-capacity-by-geographic-region-2020/) The CHIPS Act in the US will have some effect but it will take some time (years) to have any effect. (Construction has started on many projects as a result of it.) The other consideration is that manufacturing is not strictly fabrication of wafers, it is also wirebonding/assembling/encapsulating them into plastic packages or adding solder bumps and virtually 100% of that worldwide capacity for high-volume is in East Asia as well. The CHIPS Act doesn't do much about that. (Some but not much.) So there will be more domestic US production eventually but I also don't see it as a magic wand changing everything.

As for the economics, they are making it more competitive to do it in the US but a large part of that calculation is a) the more defensive posture that the US government is taking toward the PRC, making it more difficult to do business with them on grounds of national security (I believe that the concerns are well-founded) and b) the PRC threatening the entire world's supply of electronics by taking a more aggressive stance toward Taiwan. I don't see a) and b) changing anytime soon though so it's not a bad investment.

As for the KiwiSDR, I guess we have to hope that someone will step up to design the next generation of KiwiSDR or similar open-source project. It won't be me.  ;D

I recently read a news article stating that much of the world's high tech chips are made by one company in Taiwan, and that any crisis (or war) would curtail production of something like 50-90% of the chips that our tech depends on worldwide. How much does that figure in?

Here's the article:

Guess we radio people should stock up on radios, etc., now as opposed to later -- just in case.

Understood. If you're tuning across the band quickly to see if there's anything unusual, I can see where chuffing would be a bear, as some radios (my DX-390 is an example) keep muting until you slow down the tuning knob. It seems to depend on the radio. YMMV. My Panasonic RF-B45 just chuffs along, but you do hear every channel as it passes each one.

I've read nothing but good things about the CC Skywave. I suppose this new one had improvements. The additional Audio level is probably good, because with DSPs sometimes the low signals channels could use some extra audio boost, depending on the radio and how the audio chain is set up.

Never understood the hang-up about chuffing. It's not like you're not hearing anything when the radio is going from one frequency to another.

The only digitally tuned radio I have that has no chuffing is the Radio Shack World Receiver 200629. But even without any chuffing or muting whatsoever the stations 'pop in' when the tuner hits a frequency. It's still digital tuning, not analog....

I guess the price is up a bit on the new Skywave. But inflation is up, too, so there's that.

If I were to get a new SW rig, I'm at a loss as to what radio I'd get. I'm pretty much radio'd up, really.

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