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Messages - R4002

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1

With all due respect, the reality is that the AM band does not exist for us DXers. It exists for local listeners. If HD can improve that listening experience somehow, and increase the audience through better fidelity and overcome noise better -- and lengthen the life of the band, I'm all for it. If it doesn't, I'm still all for the option for those stations who feel the impulse to go digital.

My local splatterhouse on 710 wipes out 700 and 720 -- yet it is all analog. Another one on 570 makes mincemeat of 560 and 580. A station doesn't have to be HD to wipe out adjacent channels.

The fact is that the AM band is losing listeners because of fidelity reasons, the fact it is over the air and not a computer stream, and other factors (like ageout of listening demos). Religion and ethnic broadcasting -- along with various talk formats -- can only save it for so long. Eventually it will consist of a handful of HD signals mixed with a few analog holdouts, or it will be like most of the 31 meter band every evening or the 19 meter band every late afternoon -- mostly static.

Just my two cents.

I think the AM band will remain in use for niche purposes, much like shortwave broadcasting does now, at least in the parts of the world with relatively uncensored Internet access.  I'm in my early 30s and my peers do listen to AM but only for the reasons I discussed previously (because sports broadcasts are on AM stations, and they spend a lot of time in the car).  I've also pressed the importance of programming the other receivable [regional, in my case, East Coast flamethrowers, mostly out of New York, Baltimore and DC] clear-channel AM stations into the car radio as presets in the event of a local (or regional) emergency/disaster and knockout of traditional/local communications to them.  Other than that, its local FM radio or streaming via cellular data or at home on WiFi when you want to "listen to the radio".  I know the rollout of 5G and improved 4G coverage in rural areas and a move to smart phone based online audio streaming will probably take another bite out of that listener group sooner rather than later, however. 

2
Shortwave Pirate / UNID 6933 AM 1640 UTC 19 May 2019
« on: May 19, 2019, 1643 UTC »
Hearing NOAA Weather Radio rebroadcast on 6933 kHz AM on the COMMSIGMA KiwiSDR on the CT/MA border.  Good signal and strong modulation.

3
Retro Top 40 on shortwave proudly coming to you on shortwave, WTWW

ZZ Top's "La Grange" Coming in nice and loud on the Tecsun PL-880 this morning 1210 UTC (0810 local/0710 central time) - listening via the Westminster, MD KiwiSDR (SIO 555 on both receivers).  Can hear them with the stock telescopic whip no problem.  60 meters daytime woo

Noted some fading on 5085 kHz around 1220 UTC, checked 19 meter frequency 15810 kHz with SDR receiver while listening on the Tecsun and 15810 is beginning to come in via Westminster, MD (the Smolinski SDR) but 5085 sounds better at 1225 UTC.  Sounds like the DJs are at the Dayton Hamvention?

4
10/11 meters / 11 meters is active 1130 UTC 19 May 2019
« on: May 19, 2019, 1137 UTC »
Hearing activity below CB channel 1 on 26.885 MHz / 26885 kHz (AM mode).  Several OM stations talking about the all-star break.  Heard a weaker station break into the QSO.  Maybe locals not realizing they're making it out into "DX land".  Lots of activity on the legal 40 CB channels, especially the usual suspects (channels 6, 11, 26 and 28).    Weak AM voice on 26.855 MHz and 26.835 MHz as well at 1135 UTC (0735 local time/eastern US time).    Strong signals on channel 31 as well (27.315 MHz AM) - talking about "The Buckeye State and wearing a mustache, among other topics.  FSK data signals noted on CB channel 23 (27.255 MHz) in addition to AM voice. 

Received via COMMSIGMA KiwiSDR on the CT/MA border.  Still listening to the chatter on 27315 AM...

5
Longwave Loggings / Re: Take Off to the Great White North
« on: May 17, 2019, 1823 UTC »
Log 'em while you can.
Looks like many Canadian NDBs are scheduled to be decommissioned
beginning in April and continuing in phases over the next seven years.
Log 'em while you can.

Even the more rural parts of Canada?  Are they going to decommission the entire NDB network?  I don't like the idea of relying entirely on GPS for airnav.  Good to have a backup.

6
Checked the radios on the lunch break - hearing some activity on 27.025 MHz (CB channel 6), 27.085 MHz (CB channel 11) and the usual 26/28 crowd (27.265 and 27.285 MHz).  Locals yakking away on 38 LSB (27.385 LSB), seem to be talking to each other vs. working DX (although they tend to do that even when the band is open...

Basically all AM activity out of the eastern half of the US, but rapid signal fading would indicate sporadic-E propagation.  Receiver is a Galaxy DX 959 (heavily modified) and a PROCOMM PBC1500 (aka JBC1500) base-loaded CB whip on the trunk lip of my car (roughly 66" long with the loading coil and the spring).  Most activity on channels 6 and 11. 

7
Spy Numbers / Re: Number station test?
« on: May 17, 2019, 1806 UTC »
Sounds like somebody doing a radio check, so I would be leaning forward military? 

Interesting frequency choice considering how many pirates like to hang out on and around 6880 kHz.  Not like the Russian military really cares much :D

8
Equipment / Re: Kenwood no longer producing low band xceivers
« on: May 17, 2019, 1500 UTC »
Isn't this VHF Low band rig still available?    https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/lmr/tk-6110/

Would be a shame if they took it off the market.  70 watts output and 29.7 MHz - 37.0 MHz / 35.0 - 50.0 MHz splits.  More practical than the Motorola lowband splits (29-36 MHz, 36-42 MHz and 42-50 MHz).   It is a shame that Motorola is out of the business though.  I used to own a Motorola Maxtrac that covered the 36-42 MHz VHF low band split.  It was the basic 2 channel version, both channels being 39.5400 MHz (the statewide law enforcement interoperability/state police backup system frequency).  I had intended on building a dedicated monitor receiver station for 39.54 [SIRS] using the Maxtrac as the receiver but that never came to fruition.  I wish I hadn't ended up selling that radio...

This rig is still listed on their website as well:

https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/lmr/tk-690_790_890/

110 watts, 29 MHz - 37 MHz / 35-43 MHz / 39-50 MHz

I'm pretty sure the TK-690/TK-790/TK-890 radio is the one used by VDOT for their 45/47 MHz lowband system.

Maybe they're off the market and the website hasn't been updated to reflect this? 

9
The bit rate is identical for both hybrid and digital only modes, as such audio quality will be the same (I believe...could be wrong).  There was a big Hoopla at NAB this year in the Nautel Users Group as for the first time transmitted album art over one of the HD only AM's.....big deal.  People are going to keep beating the drum for HD as long as someone is padding pockets to do so.  On the AM side, even amongst supporters, interest is waning.  It just doesn't work well, and the installed receiver base even after 15 years just isn't there.  FM HD is doing well largely due to the translator boom, and the HD power increase now allowed by the FCC.

+-RH

Good point.  Most of the HD FM listeners, especially what I would consider your usual consumer or casual FM listeners, are listening to analog FM translators of FM HD radio subchannels.  In urban areas, the translators take on a life of their own and appear to most listeners as their own radio station.  The FM band where I live is a lot more crowded with all the HD translators.  I have a feeling most folks wouldn't listen to the -HD2 sub-channels if they weren't repeated on analog FM however. 

Shame about the electric cars removing AM receivers.  Doesn't the all-channel receiver act come into play here?  Maybe not.  FM only car radios?  Several friends of mine (who are big sports fans) listen to AM stations almost exclusively for sports coverage.  One of them regularly makes a 100+ mile drive and likes to listen to The Nationals baseball on AM radio.  Once I explained how skywave works, he actually tries to take drives at night so he can listen to Nationals games on WRVA on 1140 kHz or WFED on 1500 kHz all the way back and forth on these long drives.  Of course, daytime coverage of those two powerhouse stations is also excellent, but at night he can simply pick which one and not have to touch the dial for the whole trip, basically all the way across Virginia.

Significant portions of these drives are through rural areas with limited cellular coverage and limited local radio stations in both the AM and FM bands, especially when it comes to sports stations.

There are still folks who listen to clear-channel AM stations in their secondary/skywave service area.  What's going to happen if the mediumwave broadcast band goes 100% digital?

At least some of these listeners will probably stream the audio on their smartphones using 5G.

11
Other / Re: KFS 12695 CW 1940 UTC 20 April 2019
« on: May 16, 2019, 1257 UTC »
Apparently KFS is licensed for over 200 different frequencies across the MF and HF marine bands (400/500 kHz, 2 MHz/3 MHz up through 26 MHz), including several 400 kHz band frequencies and 500 kHz.  They're licensed for 30 kW power on 12695.5 kHz (160HA1A and 300HF1B emission). 

https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/license.jsp?licKey=1965567

12
Shortwave Broadcast / Re: Radio Rebelde
« on: May 16, 2019, 1251 UTC »
Radio Rebelde's 5025 kHz / 5.025 MHz signal is a blowtorch to the East Coast of the USA too.  One of the high power shortwave signals I can hear on my $20 analog Tecsun portable with the stock telescopic antenna.

13
Other / Re: UA tube vs RU 7055 LSB 0850 UTC 12 May 2019
« on: May 16, 2019, 1234 UTC »
They're back at it again on 7055 kHz LSB.  I've noticed similar things on Ukraine and Russia based KiwiSDRs....after a quiet period (as you mention, kris).

Is 3731 kHz LSB still active with the ham radio propaganda war? Or is it just 7050 LSB and 7055 LSB?

14
10/11 meters / 11 meters is active 2100 UTC 10 May 2019
« on: May 10, 2019, 2213 UTC »
Heard tons of stations in-band and lots of AM activity below channel 1, including 26.105 MHz, 26.575 MHz, 26.735 MHz, 26.775 MHz, 26.835 MHz, 26.885 MHz and 26.915 MHz (all popular low channels for AM CB DX or 11 meter AM DX).  Channel 38 LSB was also rolling in like crazy.

15
10/11 meters / Re: 11 meters is active 2130 UTC 7 May 2019
« on: May 08, 2019, 1138 UTC »
Super splatterbox!  26.715 MHz for sure (he looks to be closer to 26.716 MHz than 26.715 MHz on the waterfall).  Generally when you can hear Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American/Caribbean stations on 27.065 MHz [CB channel 9] you can also hear them around 26.7 MHz. 

26.715 MHz is their AM calling channel, with 26.705, and 26.725 being the alternates.  Some of these stations are in Miami too, and they're running kilowatts.  Spanish language version of 27.025 / channel 6.  Looks like there was also activity on 26.595 MHz AM and the Latin American / Spanish language low channel SSB calling frequency of 26.555 MHz LSB.  26.585 and 26.575 are also popular (for AM mode stations).  26.555 LSB can have some real flamethrower stations on it.  Next time the band is rolling like this, check around 26.225 MHz.  26.225 to 26.255 in 5 kHz steps is another "watering hole" for SSB operators in Latin America.

That's the biggest signal I've seen on 26715 in a while though.   

===

A while ago I found a Spanish 11 meter calling/working frequency list online and it went something like this:

26.225 MHz USB - Mexico/Caribbean/Latin America SSB
26.230 MHz USB - Mexico/Caribbean/Latin America SSB
26.235 MHz USB - Mexico/Caribbean/Latin America SSB
26.285 MHz USB - International 11m Freeband CB Calling (alternate to 27.555 USB) English and Spanish
26.500 MHz LSB - Caribbean and Latin America SSB
26.500 MHz USB - Caribbean and Latin America SSB
26.540 MHz LSB - Latin American SSB activity (alternate to 26.555 LSB)
26.555 MHz LSB - Latin American SSB activity (this is channel 4 down one band)
26.570 MHz LSB - Latin American SSB activity
26.585 MHz AM - Mexico/Latin America AM (Mexican trucker CB channel, channel 7 down one band)
26.595 MHz AM - Mexico/Latin America AM alternate
26.605 MHz AM - Mexico/Latin America AM alternate
26.695 MHz AM - Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Miami, etc (alternate)
26.705 MHz AM - Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Miami, etc calling channel
26.715 MHz AM - Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Miami, etc calling channel
26.725 MHz AM - Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Miami, etc calling channel
27.005 MHz AM - Latin American AM activity (CB channel 4)
27.065 MHz AM - Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Miami, Latin American AM (CB channel 9)
27.455 MHz USB - Latin American SSB activity (this is channel 4 up one band)
27.515 MHz LSB - Caribbean SSB DX channel (English and Spanish) (alternates up and down 5 kHz)
27.555 MHz USB - International 11m Freeband CB Calling
27.665 MHz USB - South America/Central America (LSB also)
27.675 MHz USB - South America/Central America (LSB also)
27.695 MHz USB - South America/Central America (LSB also)
27.705 MHz USB - South America/Central America (LSB also)

Of course, these are more like guidelines.  The gentleman's agreement is more or less this:  AM stations stay below CB channel 1 (with the noted exceptions around 26.2 MHz - 26.3 MHz and 26.555 MHz) and SSB stations operate above CB channel 40, with some exceptions (a big one being truckers using AM mode on any frequency they want).

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