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Messages - zackers

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Decent signal, S7 or better. Music with repetitive ID over top. Just ID'ed in Morse code at 0023Z.

I thought they went QRT at 0024Z but they just sent a Morse message giving me a shout-out for the report. Thanks for the show!

And another Morse shout-out to me at 0029Z! I heard the words "Vacation Time" in there a couple times. Now either the same station or another is playing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush at 0030Z.

Sure looks like a 6AK5. I remember building a 6AK5 preamp for my first shortwave radio that was slightly deaf back in the 60's.

These are cool! Don't know if I'd want to spend the $ on one but I like the looks.

HF Beacons / Re: "RLO" Beacon on 8420 kHz
« on: March 23, 2013, 1457 UTC »
Yes, WLO has been on for decades. Now they usually ID in CW followed by bursts of SITOR or some other digital mode. But I used this station to cut my teeth on copying CW back in the 60's when their traffic was carried out entirely with CW.

Utility / Re: HAARP 6900AM 0270z Mar 8 2013
« on: March 08, 2013, 1711 UTC »
You can go to the HAARP webpage and look at the HF spectrum monitor. The yellow lines generally show where they are transmitting, if they are. They have been inactive from November 18, 2012 to early March, 2013. They have evidently been doing some experiments since March 2. You can get an idea of the signal's current frequency from their spectrum monitor and then try to see it on your SDR display. 4750 kHz has been one frequency they have been using quite a bit lately.


Other / Carrier on 3526 kHz
« on: March 08, 2013, 1657 UTC »
There has been a lot of discussion on a couple ham radio groups about a carrier that is on 3526 kHz. This is in the 80 meter ham band. I have been hearing the signal here in east central Illinois at night. It appears shortly after sunset here (~0000Z) and fades out here around 0530Z.

It is not actually a constant carrier; twice I have heard it transmit some sort of data mode of a type unknown to me for 45 to 60 seconds, then go back to the carrier. The times of these seem to be random and only once every hour or so at most.

It has been widely reported in Europe and the eastern USA for the last couple weeks. Based on the time of signal loss here, I am hazarding a guess that it is in either the European Russia area or western Asiatic Russia. No one has done any direction finding on the signal yet that I know of. If anyone can DF it or give any signal reports that might pin down its location, it would be appreciated.

15 or 20 is nothing! In some of the major pile-ups there are hundreds or even thousands of people calling the DX station. All for a DXCC counter. I'm usually one of them!  :)

General Radio Discussion / Re: FCC Activity-Atlanta/Georgia
« on: February 26, 2013, 0457 UTC »
I wonder just how much money they think they will make from pirates? Seems kind of insignificant to me.

When was the last time a shortwave pirate was busted?

North American Shortwave Pirate / UNID 6925 USB 2310Z Feb 23
« on: February 24, 2013, 0014 UTC »
I heard a couple voices say a few words and some very short SSTV transmissions that didn't amount to anything. No ID's of any sort.

General Radio Discussion / Re: The truth
« on: February 21, 2013, 1844 UTC »
I've been meaning to join the Procrastinator's Club but I keep putting it off.

HF Beacons / Beacons 11 Feb 2013
« on: February 12, 2013, 0007 UTC »
I haven't listened a lot for the various beacons lately but last night was the best night so far this winter when I've had a chance to listen.

At about 0830Z on 11 Feb I copied the TMP beacon sending "TMP (39) (40) (41)". The temperature was evidently fluctuating because it changed about every 5 times one way or the other. Signal was not too bad for a while here in east central Illinois.

Also copied the "Hexie" beacon on 4096.25 and the "Kelsie" beacon on 4096.61. I was also receiving the "dasher" on 4086.7 for a bit. I listened for some others but did not hear them.

It was good to hear the above again!

SDR - Software Defined Radio / Re: New to SDR
« on: February 05, 2013, 0427 UTC »
I don't know if I'd recommend the Softrock kit to someone who hasn't done any surface-mount construction. I'm not a newcomer to SMT; all my projects that I design and build these days are almost 100% surface-mount.

Tony does make fully assembled units available now. And for less than $70, the kit is the cheapest entry-level SDR radio of its caliber I know of. And I'm impressed by its performance.

I followed all the setup instructions exactly as they were listed and had no problems getting it going. I started out with Rocky as the software but it was easy to progress to HDSDR and I'm happy with it.

Equipment / Antennas
« on: February 04, 2013, 1803 UTC »
I am curious what some of you are using for antennas, particularly in the AM broadcast band and LF ranges. I have several amateur radio antennas that perform fine in the shortwave spectrum. I also have a 20-turn 5-foot square loop (with taps every 5 turns) that I thought would be a decent performer on MF and LF frequencies, but it just hasn't done what I expected for some reason.

I live in a house on a lot approximately 50 X 100 feet. There is a tree to the east on the neighbor's property that is about 50-60 feet tall. I can't use that as an antenna support.

I just finished building the AMRAD active whip antenna. I will probably get this up about 25 to 30 feet but there''s no way I can get it up 60 feet to clear that tree. So I don't know how well it will perform yet. I guess I'll know in a couple days. I hope it does well in this location as an LF antenna.

SDR - Software Defined Radio / New to SDR
« on: February 04, 2013, 1744 UTC »
I recently got a Softrock Ensemble II kit, built it for HF and am using it with HDSDR. I also use a Creative X-FI Soundblaster USB card, model SB1095. There are a couple mods for the SB1095 linked on the WB5RVZ site that involve adding a couple capacitors to the unit which greatly improve its performance as an SDR soundcard.

I've been having a blast with it; I've found some NDB's, numbers stations and other things pretty easily using the 50 kHz window displayed in HDSDR. For the money, the Softrock is a great deal. Although the bandpass filters in the Softrock are supposed to cut off at 1.5 MHz, I've been able to tune to AM stations as low as 800 kHz with it.

I'm going to order another one and build it with the LF option. People have said that the LF filters that mount on the Softrock board are not optimum, especially for the lowest frequency range, so I designed a set of 7th order Chebyshev bandpass filters that I hope work better. They will have to be on an additional board external to the Softrock. That's not a problem for me.

The bulk of these appear to be against FM stations. The other category, "AM/SW" shows pretty small numbers. I wonder how many of these are in the AM band and how many are on shortwave? Have any shortwave pirates been found and fined lately?

General Radio Discussion / Re: Any Amateur's ever meet up on the air?
« on: February 04, 2013, 1723 UTC »
This could be fun. I don't know about 17 meters though; I might not be able to copy all the stations who participate. 80m might work if it's later in the day/evening. But I'm up for trying!

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