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Messages - Seamus

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HF Beacons / Fooled myself this morning
« on: November 23, 2009, 1355 UTC »
Started running through my list at 13:24 UTC this morning:

OK - good and strong
might-have-been-PA - not enough to actually read, even on spectrogram; just a few suspect tones in the speaker, and a trace barely showing on the screen
Blinky - a bit weak and fading
Pike 78 - faint and on one of its "field trips" down to 8000.41
TS - heavy fading, but good when it's in

Also something at 8495 which looked to be slow code, but the fading was deep enough and sending slow as to make it unreadable - I was catching pieces of letters but nothing coherent.  After sitting on it for a while, I eventually realized that I was apparently hearing a single-letter beacon for "L", which the ionosphere was chopping up into random segments of dits and dahs.  (I need to make a note on my list that BC sits right next to a cluster of SLBs - they keep fooling me)

HF Beacons / Hearing PA...
« on: November 21, 2009, 0149 UTC »
As of 01:34 UTC, I'm hearing PA with some long, slow fade.  When it's out, it's just not there, but when it's in, it's a pretty easy copy by ear.

OK - Very strong
...and <something> just short of breaking through the noise floor around the low end of 4078 - got a faint line on the spectrogram, but not enough to make it out.

HF Beacons / Morning listening
« on: November 20, 2009, 1408 UTC »
This morning's run of my list at 13:45-14:00 UTC yielded:

OK - good, readable signal, some fade
Blinky - strong as usual
Pike 78 - on one of its excursions down to 8000.33
TS - somewhat weak and fade-y, but there enough for recognition by ear
CO - strong and clear when the fade is in, nonexistent when it's out
OR - just peeking through the noise floor; just enough to see that there's something there, catching an occasional O or R, or parts of them

No F here in South Carolina, but that's not surprising - I'm not sure I've ever heard that one.

I have a lot of memory slots with frequencies for beacons that I've never heard.  Some of them I know are out there but aren't making the trip or are falling into my antennas' nulls, and many of them I'm sure are defunct - I need to do some clean-up.

HF Beacons / Re: Dual Antenna Test D and V
« on: November 18, 2009, 2105 UTC »
Got UFO at 20:54, surprisingly strong - not as much fade as yesterday.
CO is back to just plain old "CO" again - chirpy, but strong enough foe easy copy.
BC is there just enough to show up as a line of ants on the spectrogram - barely enough to hear by ear coming up through the noise when the fade is in.
Pike 78 is in there, fady, but fairly strong
Blinky sounds like it's in my back yard again
OK is coming in...well....OK.

No sign of Vs or Ds, though.

HF Beacons / Re: UFO and new sun spots
« on: November 18, 2009, 1556 UTC »
Oh, well in that case...  ;)

Yesterday at 19:30 UTC, I received UFO, along with CO, Pike 78, and Blinky.  I got called away before I could post the above waterfall images, and by the time I made it back here to the computer it was no longer a "fresh catch", so I didn't bother.

As you can see, UFO was fairly weak and very fade-y into the upstate of South Carolina, but it was certainly readable by ear.  It was a pretty easy copy on the longwire, though the shortened dipole couldn't pull it out at all.

HF Beacons / Re: Dual Antenna Test D and V
« on: November 16, 2009, 1502 UTC »

After running through my entire list with hardly a peep heard (Blinky and CO - both very weakly), I got to the memory slot for the D/V test, and guess who's there!

Finally, after trying and trying, here's the D/V test, punching right through the spread-spectrum/datastream.  Apparently, the same weird ionosphere that's been keeping me from hearing but a handful of beacons over the last few days has also "bent" the skip far enough that this one's finally making the trip to upstate South Carolina.

As you can see, the dipole is going gangbusters, with the vertical having some trouble getting out this far.  The signal's been weakening a bit as I typed this log, so it probably won't be here much longer, but for the time being, I've got it.

HF Beacons / Re: Beacons and "discovery" of cluster
« on: November 15, 2009, 0132 UTC »
Pike 26 went out of commission due to...er..."geologic shift".
It was retireved a short while ago, repaired, and redeployed as "BC", as per [this posting].

It's usually pretty weak here in upstate South Carolina, but it's in there when the sun shines brightly.

HF Beacons / Beacons and "discovery" of cluster
« on: November 14, 2009, 2309 UTC »
Just got back home tonight, and while waiting for the soldering iron to heat up <*ahem!*>, I did a quick scan of my list:

14 November 2009 - 22:30
TS - very weakly
"Rogue" ditter @12888 - just barely above the noise floor

Also, while listening for BC, I decided to spin the knob upwards to investigate the "breathing" noises that I keep hearing there.
Seems that I have "discovered" the cluster beacons around 8495.  "D" was particularly strong, blowing its way through the spread-spectrum, or data, or whatever was occupying more bandwidth than my radio could tune at once (and which is responsible for the 'breathing' that leaks into the upper frequencies when I'm tuning for BC):

HF Beacons / Re: Dual Antenna Test D and V
« on: November 13, 2009, 2326 UTC »
I haven't been able to hear the D or the V here in upstate SC, but I have the unknown ditter weakly, with some fade:

I've been listening for Ds and Vs at various points in the day for some time now, with no joy.  I'll keep trying, though...

HF Beacons / Re: BC dasher now remote Solar only in Colorado
« on: November 11, 2009, 2038 UTC »
Got BC dashing merrily away, if somewhat weakly, here in South Carolina:
46 dashes per minute, as advertised. 

8497.8 @ 20.35 UTC
Location:  upstate South Carolina
Radio:  IC-718
Antenna: 400-foot longwire @40 feet

EDIT to add:  Signal improved significantly shortly after I posted the above.  Signal as of 20.42 UTC:

HF Beacons / Re: This morning
« on: November 11, 2009, 0333 UTC »
Not a whole lot received tonight, but I did notice that carrier up from CO was doing its weird "excursion" thing again (see above), and this time I slowed down the waterfall and caught some images of it:

The trace is a bit difficult to make out due to the slow sample rate and high noise floor, but you can see that it starts at its usual spot around 1,100 Hz up from CO, wanders around a bit, then settles down again to the same frequency it started from.  CMRadio suggested that it might be an appliance generating the signal, which I guess could be the case, except that its strength seems to vary a lot with time; tonight it wasn't very much above the noise floor.  It's got a very long, slow curve to it, whatever it is, and these shapes only showed up well because I slowed the sampling way down to a fraction of what it was for the image with CO in it, above.  It was running at about three pixels per second, so each of these traces represents maybe three minutes of reception.

Not sure what it is, and I don't think it really has a whole lot of bearing on stuff, but I still found it kind of interesting...

HF Beacons / Re: Solar only dasher being tested
« on: November 09, 2009, 2107 UTC »
Just barely making it out of the muck here in SC:

Seems to be running slightly slower than 63 dash/min - I counted more like 43 to 48 - then again, I'm not hearing it for more than a few seconds at a time, before it disappears into the background noise again; my counting is probably a bit off by the time it fades back in.  Hopefully, I'll get some better reception between sundown here and the time it goes off the air with sunset over there.

In other news, the RF parts are arriving in bits and pieces - received a package of toroid forms and variable caps this afternoon. ;D

HF Beacons / Re: This morning
« on: November 09, 2009, 0256 UTC »
If both of us are seeing it, it must be one hellofa big appliance.  Or one common to both of our locations.

Over time, it seemed to be "pinging", on a very long, drawn out timescale - stable for a while, then large excursions falling off to a stable frequency again.  I'll have to see if I can slow down the waterfall far enough that I can capture the cycle, if it does indeed repeat this behavior.

HF Beacons / Re: Dual Antenna Test 12889.2 Khz
« on: November 09, 2009, 0038 UTC »
Not very helpful I know, but I'm seeing neither D nor V here in SC.
I caught a handful of the usual suspects this evening (OK, MO, Blinky, Pike 78, TS, and OR), but neither of the hoped-for D or V beacons.

I see a very weak continuous carrier in the neighborhood that I would expect to see your signal in, but nothing resembling what the others are getting.

Maybe I'll see them when I can get the other antenna hung.  Until then, I'll still be keeping an ear out.

HF Beacons / Re: This morning
« on: November 08, 2009, 1451 UTC »

as of 14:35 or so, CO is peeking up through the noise floor here.  Good, solid keying and frequency - no drift or chirp.

There's also a weak carrier in the neighborhood which was doing a very slow, sinuous drift over a range of about 500 Hertz before stabilizing at around 1,000 Hz up from it.  Err...  My mistake - it's still doing it.  It seems to live at that spot at +1,000 but every so often it takes a long, slow "excursion" of +/- a few hundred Hertz, in very smooth curves.  Odd.

I've seen this carrier there, but I've never actually noticed the curves before...

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