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Messages - BoomboxDX

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Propagation / Re: Attention Propagation Nerds
« on: July 20, 2019, 1450 UTC »
China and India pollute as much, if not more than the US -- I think data for that is easy enough to find online. For example, China is funding coal fired power plants in Pakistan as part of its foreign aid and new Silk Road initiative.

I think global warming is indeed a thing, and human activity has contributed. It began to contribute to CO2 increases about 7000 years ago with the spread of agriculture. We were headed for an ice age about then. This was in either Scientific American or Science magazine -- an article I read in the 1990's which I have since lost and isn't present online unfortunately.

That all said, I think the sun's influence on climate, as well as volcanism, are greater than the media tends to state.

Propagation / Re: Is my radio dead though?
« on: July 20, 2019, 1442 UTC »
Kage, good to hear nothing fried.

Pigmeat, was your radio powered up during the storm, or can these things really take damage indoors, away from external conductors?

Josh, I keep everything unplugged when not in use. There's also a bunch of audio gear involved that I'm not interested in replacing.

But i have to know...should i start stowing my radios in literal faraday cages while not in use? I'm really paranoid now.

As for portables, if they have internal diode protection, and you don't have it connected to an external wire antenna, chances are you have little to worry about.

I don't live in T-storm country -- we maybe get one a year, if that -- but none of my portables has fried, even when I had a 100 ft wire (which I grounded when it wasn't in use). Perhaps I've been lucky. Perhaps Pigmeat's 404 had a different fault -- microprocessors can wig sometimes, and some radios do not have internal diode protection, although Sangeans built since the early 1990's generally do (the 818 and 818CS being notable exceptions). I don't know about the 404 -- it's a recent design, I think (2000's era?), so it should have internal protection. I know my ATS505 (RS 200629) does.

I just found a Service Manual of the ATS-404 online. It has no internal diode protection whatsoever, at least none that I can see from the schematic. No protection either for the FM Front End chip, or the RF amp for the SW/MW RF amp FET. That might be part of the problem with Pigmeat's 404, unfortunately.

As far as our *broadcast* spectrum is concerned, the FCC blew it by allowing companies such as EMF to drop in K-Love frequencies all over the land. Many markets have K-Love on as many as 6 FM channels. This carpetbaombing is flat-out wrong, and a real stretch of FCC rules (if they haven't been overturned while I speak). Then, they wonder why people are PO'ed about interference on FM. Then, why do they not extend the band down to 76MHz? I'm sure "well nobody has radios for that band". Okay, I'll buy that. However, some of the same voices stating that argument are the ones pushing for sunset of analog and full IBOC. Wait!! There are so few radios around! Did you just not contradict your concern for "no radios"???

And should I even mention the handling of analog TV sunset??? People are STILL having issues receiving many of their favorite OTA signals.

Then, there is AM band. IMO, a LOT of these broom-closet automation trainwrecks *need* to go dark. How many AM signals does a market need with evangelists or hate-talk? I could hear Rush on NO LESS than 8 signals, all of which come in clear, in Flint. There is duplicate sports-talk on FOUR signals. To me, this is a waste. Granted, I'm an old-school radio guy who has despised automation since the days of Drake-Chenault reels.

One reason for so many duplicate signals on the AM band is skywave propagation (at night) and -- more recently -- RFI (24/7).

AM broadcasters are dealing with an increased noise floor from RFI broadcasting devices, and the coverage patterns of the 1960's do not cover the same area with noise-free reception in 2019. Hence, when there is a network (like a sports network, for example), they will use a main station and perhaps a rimshot or two. As Sports radio networks do not primarily rely on ratings the way music radio does, the multiple stations in a region can work. There are competing sports networks, but the number has declined since earlier in the decade.

HD on AM can work in some situations, and there are receivers already out there -- mostly in cars. There are much less numbers of FM receivers that go down to 76 MHz, and in the US that spectrum apparently is allocated for other services. I agree that the government could open it up and see what flies, but that ship might have already sailed as younger demos use streaming more and more.

As for your question "How many AM signals does a market need with evangelists or hate-talk?" you could say the same for any radio format. How many AC or pop stations does a market need? How many NPR outlets does a metro need? Some markets have more than one. Apparently the market will support it, so they make a go of it. And as for EMF, in my metro there is a KLove and an Air1 (rimshot FM) and that's it. My entire state has only 8 or 9 EMF stations, and they are widely placed, low power stations.

The fact is, all radio station owners make their format and marketing decisions based on what will support the station and keep it on the air, and hopefully make some money.

As for the AM broadcasting quality issue, I think a lot of it is low revenue, and the NAB standards (limiting of audio bandwidth) that happened back in the 1980's didn't help things much. The revenue issue has only added to the audio issues.

^^^^^ You make some valid points. How many frequencies are allocated to various government agencies and are never, or rarely, used?

The 11 meter government frequencies are an example. I know they're useless for broadband stuff, but the point is that I have never heard a government agency near the 11 meter band, ever. Yet there are allocations for government near that frequency range. It's like they have a bank of channels all over the place they never use anymore.

I'm sure there are similar ones higher up in VHF and UHF and further.

General Radio Discussion / Re: WABC Radio Sold for $12.5 Million
« on: June 30, 2019, 0626 UTC »
From some comments on another radio forum, $12.5 million is pretty low for market #1.

Maybe the new owner can make some money with the station and keep it on the air. Legacy station and all, you know.

It would be sad to see a station like that disappear.

What was it actually used for? Navigation, or Navy communications on HF?

General Radio Discussion / Re: Brother Stair off the air?
« on: June 27, 2019, 1441 UTC »
Just might be the end of an era. It used to be Radio Havana, Gene Scott, and Brother Stair were as dependable on SW as the sun rising tomorrow.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Eham Offline!?!
« on: June 27, 2019, 1440 UTC »
Seems to be back now at least. Just checked it a minute ago.

I mentioned tropo because of the location and the instances I've read of 2 meter contacts being made from California to Hawaii using tropo ducting. Not being a 2 meter aficionado, I'll take your word for it that it might have been e-skip.

Must have been some tropo to accomplish that feat.

Why should we necessarily think it's our government, or even the Russians, for that matter? Why would either country take out the grid to Buenos Aires? There is no geopolitical or strategic benefit.

Al Qaeda took down the twin towers, and they were a non-state actor. There are plenty of nefarious, non-state actor groups out in the wild that are tech savvy.

Then again, all it takes is drooping lines, or something similar, to blackout an entire region. If the grid supporting Buenos Aires alone were taken out, that cuts power to millions of people -- I think B.A. has just less than half of the population of Argentina living there. 15 million in the metro alone.

I'm aware that Russia and the US have been playing hacker towards each other, but I don't think that either would try to take out the other's grid except in time of war, because one Trident sub has enough firepower to turn European Russia into a radioactive wasteland (and vice versa).

I used to love DXing Deportes stations. There weren't a ton of them, so when you heard that jingle with the dive-bombed electric guitar, you knew you had a Deportes station. That's how I ID'ed KSVE El Paso back in 2014 or whenever, before MW condx went into the toilet.

RIP Deportes.

Atlantic Records had a similar thing happen in the 70's some time. That's why a lot of their reissue CD's in the 1990's were from quarter inch, reel to reel tapes, instead of remastered from the original master.

Sextants, charts, NDB's, LORAN -- all of the above.

There is too much dependence on just one nav technique, or process. Especially in a day when an anti-sat, EMP or cyber attack could bring it down.

Good luck bringing down every NDB, Vortac, and LORAN site in the country. Doable, sure, but it that actually happened there would be nowhere to land anyway.

I'm in the PNW. Euro signals generally have to travel over the auroral zone to get here... And I think Turkey cut their hours to Europe. The signals I used to get were beamed to Europe (probably Germany), 5-6 hours worth a night. Those were the days.

Thanks for the info, though. Will give them a try on 31 meters.

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