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Messages - Dave Richards

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HF Beacons / Re: Windy 4102.85 malfunction?
« on: April 20, 2020, 2350 UTC »
I heard Windy send an S sometime around 1100 UTC 20 Apr 2020, I forget the exact time.

That's interesting. I'm probably missing something, but can't think of where an S would fit into Windy's telemetry. I just heard it on the KPH SDR, at 2346 utc. I haven't listened at this time of day before, and it was warmer than usual, at 81 degrees and 12.5V.

HF Beacons / Re: "A" Beacon 2097 Returns
« on: April 19, 2020, 0603 UTC »
Good solid S6 into the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, Northern CA at 0603 utc (1103pm local time).

HF Beacons / Re: Windy 4102.85 malfunction?
« on: April 19, 2020, 0557 UTC »
At 0555 utc, Windy is sending 62 degrees and 11.5V. Perfectly Q5 signal at about an S4 into the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, Northern CA.

HF Beacons / Re: Windy 4102.85 malfunction?
« on: April 18, 2020, 0602 UTC »
Listening late at night, and Windy is coming in at about an S6 to the KPH SDR. 61 degrees and 11.6V.

Rocky coming in this morning at about an S2 on the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, CA. Chirpy, chirpy, cheep cheep! (That was part of the refrain from a British 1970's Top 40 hit. I don't expect anyone to get that. The Brit in me couldn't help it :) )

HF Beacons / Re: Windy 4102.85 malfunction?
« on: April 17, 2020, 1625 UTC »
Noise level at about an S2 - S3 on the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, CA. Windy is about the same signal level and easily readable, except for the occasional fade below the noise. 75 degrees and 11.7V at 1618 utc.

Also, Hexy2K clearly readable with about an S1 signal and occasional fades at 1634 utc on 6700.5. A little bit of frequency drifting, which is OK with me. It gives it character :)  Over the few minutes I listened, the drift didn't sound like more than a few tens of Hz. It would drift off, then come back to where it was before. Quite charming, really!

With regard to your previous mention of using SDRs being "allowed" or not, I think they area a great tool and have been a huge help to me.

Thanks. That's my view too, as long as there is transparency in the report i.e. the poster states what SDR is being used. This way, the report is meaningful.

Am hearing what I assume is Rocky on the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, CA at about an S1 or S2 at 1830 utc. Fast dits (about 180/minute), with a chirp on the signal.

HF Beacons / Re: Windy 4102.85 malfunction?
« on: April 14, 2020, 0725 UTC »
If my report using the KPH SDR is out of order, please advise. A little over S7 into Point Reyes, CA at 0720 utc. Telemetry was 11.8V and 60 degrees.

HF Beacons / Re: "A" Beacon 2097 Returns
« on: April 14, 2020, 0711 UTC »
Not sure how legit the use of an online SDR is for reports, but my home antenna is severely compromised right now. Am hearing the A beacon loud and clear (close to an S7 signal) on the KPH SDR in Point Reyes, CA, at approximately 0700 utc.

It is indeed comforting to hear it's trusty signal winging it's way through the night air.

Part 15 AM and FM Station Operation / Re: Part #15 gear out there.
« on: April 14, 2020, 0218 UTC »
IIRC there was one FCC inspection (I do not recall if it resulted in a NAL/NOUO) where the agent determined that the TH transmitter was radiating via the electrical wiring in an apartment building.

I remember a discussion of that online too. The TH was confiscated, though I don't recall if it resulted in a NOUO either.

The ground lead issue is quite a perplexing one - especially when some certified transmitters, by their very design, seem to encourage the violation of this rule. My interpretation is that if you want an installation that strictly follows the letter of the law, and would be highly unlikely to fail an inspection, then you mount your transmitter at ground level, with a very short lead to the ground connection. Any type of elevated installation may not have outsize range, and may conform to the spirit of the law, but you will be more likely to be at the mercy of the opinion and outlook of the visiting Field Agent - if you have an inspection.

Nothing heard on the West Coast, which is not surprising. My regular antenna system is compromised, so am listening on a portable with whip antenna. Wouldn't have expected to hear it on the outdoor antenna either though.

I think that, one of these days, I need to climb in the camper van for an extended trip to the Midwest and East coast with the SW receivers!

Part 15 AM and FM Station Operation / Re: part 15 distance records
« on: April 12, 2020, 1735 UTC »
It would be nice to get your part 15 regs pasted into UK law after Brexit, it encourages science and engineering skills and would provide relief from the hideously dull state of commercial radio in the UK.

I'm in the US, and really appreciate the relatively generous allowances provided for by our Part 15 regulations for the AM band, contained in 15.219. However, New Zealand have us all beat. I would love to have the ability to run 1 watt license-free on the FM band, as described in this article from Radio Survivor. Just imagine how cool that would be!


Our community radio stations were supposed to do this but outside the big cities CR just copies commercial radio formats

I think some radio enthusiasts just want to "sound like the big guys", seemingly unaware that what the big guys are doing is largely devoid of creativity, individuality, and personality.

Part 15 AM and FM Station Operation / Re: Part 15 AM and FM
« on: April 11, 2020, 1627 UTC »
Thanks for the range information, it's interesting to learn how far Part 15 operations can get out!

Thanks Chris. Unfortunately, I'm in a relatively dense urban environment, which limits the evenness of the coverage. If I were able to locate the transmitter in an open lot, with several hundred feet of clear space around it, I think the coverage would be more even.

I still think it's pointless, may as well turn up the stereo or even shout, you're going to be heard at a greater distance and it's free.

Good luck with your part 15.

With don't have anything like that here thank goodness and can't say I'm bothered about it

At All.


My Part 15 doesn't have particularly spectacular coverage, but I get an easily listenable signal 1/4 mile away, and my stereo won't reach that far. I sure as heck can't shout that far either - at least, not without ruining my vocal chords  ;D

There's a Part 15 station not far from me, in Sausalito, CA. They're called, funnily enough, Radio Sausalito ;D  A few years ago, I did a write-up on the station, and went out to Sausalito to hear it.  I was surprised to find that, on walking along Bridgeway, the town's main drag, the signal was absolutely consistent for a mile. It may have been further than a mile, because I didn't investigate how far it went in the other direction. It wasn't a blowtorch signal by any means - it did sound a bit thin, but it was remarkably consistent in level for a whole mile. The station uses 6 Rangemasters. I don't know whether the carriers are synchronized or not, but I'm tempted to think that they are, due to the consistency of the signal over the part of the coverage area I walked. However, the signal did get a bit more shaky on walking inside buildings. Obviously, that can be a problem!

Radio Sausalito enjoys strong support from the city, and the local Chamber of Commerce. Their format, which is strictly jazz, streams on the internet as well. Jonathan, the station owner, told me that the majority of their listeners these days are online. The streaming fees are not insubstantial, but I'm thinking that Radio Sausalito is in an enviable position. Sausalito is a small, yet wealthy town, with strong income from tourism. I'm sure they're quite proud to have their own little radio station representing their town.

I only mention the above because, in my opinion. Radio Sausalito is a good example of how to run a successful Part 15 station. Many licensed LPFM's find that, after the initial enthusiasm of opening subsides, the hard graft of keeping it going sets in. That's when the automation systems kick in ;D  At least, with an LPFM, you have decent coverage over a small area. You barely get that with a Part 15. An internet stream really helps  - but then, there are the fees associated with that.

Anyway, for me, it's a hobby. I enjoy hearing my little well-processed AM signal in the neighborhood. I'm not trying to change the world, thank goodness.

Part 15 AM and FM Station Operation / Re: Part 15 AM and FM
« on: April 10, 2020, 1822 UTC »
I have a Rangemaster transmitter, fed by a Schlockwood 200 LPAM processor. Automation software is the free version of Zara Radio on a laptop, running through a Mackie mixer, so that I can do live programming. Occasionally when my best friend comes over, we go live on the air for fun. Mics are an EV RE27 N/D and Shure SM7 on boom arms.

I worked on the programming for several months, on a full-time basis. Zara Radio allows you to mark the exact segue point on each individual song file, if you're that detail-oriented (I am!) I download monthly 60 second featurettes from the US Census Bureau, and the Mayo Clinic (their Radio Health Minutes), which air regularly. I also scripted and recorded an "On This Day In History" feature for every day of the year. Free PSA's are available from several online outlets, and I air those also. The automation software airs the correct features for each day. While not a huge playlist, at 2427 songs, it's bigger than virtually all commercial stations. I also produced and voiced a bunch of ID's and jingles for the station, which is called "Ant Radio" in tribute to my best friend Ant (full name Antoinette). She is also a DJ, so is pretty chuffed that I named the station after her. The top of the hour ID contains the sound of our recently deceased neighborhood cat's loud meow. Mingus was a local legend.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of the station. In true Part 15 fashion, coverage is not even, and does interesting things. In one direction, reception falls off sharply in just a block. In other directions, it goes for about 1/4 mile before becoming unlistenable. On a very good day, I can just barely make it out above the noise a mile away. At various points in between, the signal will pop out of the noise, then disappear again. I think this is about normal for a compliant Part 15 setup. Of course, once dusk arrives, coverage suffers greatly.

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