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Author Topic: Suggestions?  (Read 6013 times)

Offline X-UN-Spy

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Suggestions?
« on: September 15, 2013, 2213 UTC »
Ok, I could use some help. I have been a radio bug for almost 50 years. Mostly shortwave listening, scanning, and to a lesser degree, ham radio. I have no real technical skills. I have no money to spend either. My equipment is not bad but dated. JRC-NRD-525, Kenwood TS-820s, and Yaesu FT-8900, Realistic 2004 and 2042. I had extra sharp filters put in the NRD-525 back 25 years ago when I bought it. I thought I would get into FAX and other modes that could use the filters. I never did follow up with that part.

Now days my interests are shortwave broadcast listening, pirate, clandestine, number stations. The dark side of radio, if you will. I think the equipment is ok. My issue is more with antennas. I have a bit of space but not huge. ĺ acre. No legal or neighbor issues. I canít afford a tower and have no real way to get very high up in the air.

So with all that in mind what suggestions does anyone have for a guy with not much money and no skill to build anything complex? I am willing to learn. I mostly need better antennas. I donít have too much problem with man made QRM. One local AM station but no real issues there.

Any ideas would help.
SWL and Scanner listener. General class Ham. Like the dark side of things. NRD 525 for SWL. Kenwood 820s for HF ham and Yaesu 8900R for VHF. Radio Shack PRO 2004 and 2042 for scanning. In Waupun WI,

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2013, 2318 UTC »
What do you have now for antennas?

3/4 of an acre is enough for a reasonable sized sky loop antenna, if you have trees around the perimeter of your yard.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 270 ft west-south-west beverage / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline X-UN-Spy

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 2340 UTC »
I have a G5rv Jr about 15 feet off the ground. I do have a fair amount of trees in the backyard on the edge mostly
SWL and Scanner listener. General class Ham. Like the dark side of things. NRD 525 for SWL. Kenwood 820s for HF ham and Yaesu 8900R for VHF. Radio Shack PRO 2004 and 2042 for scanning. In Waupun WI,

Online skeezix

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 0122 UTC »
Your equipment should be fine and 3/4 of an acre is fine.

I have a 102' G5RV at about 20' and it works fine for general HF listening.  Currently listening to a pirate on 6950 AM. Had been tuning around 19-41m SW BC bands.

Also have a 100' wire that runs from the porch to the shed in the back. The lowest point is about 7' from the ground and the high point is probably 15'. Its not the greatest, but better than nothing. And about as cheap as it can get.

Does your PRO-2004 still work? I have one as well, but it doesn't work anymore. From what I've read about it, that model had bad PCBs that that lose their connections through the boards.  Too bad too, as that was a great scanner when it worked.


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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 1019 UTC »
Also consider a Sloped Folded Dipole if you're primarily interested in one band, and have a tall enough tree for the high end: http://hfunderground.com/blog/?p=84
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 270 ft west-south-west beverage / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 1408 UTC »
Another option would be a long random wire, which can sometimes bring in good results. 

I had a 100 ft. wire that worked well.  It was a little bit directional, diagonally off the wire.  A long random wire would be the cheapest option -- you don't even need coax.  Just insulators, which could be made from anything plastic (you mentioned you're on a budget).  And egg insulators would be cheap enough.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline X-UN-Spy

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 1813 UTC »
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes my Realistic 2004 scanner is still working. Maybe because I donít use it much. I have not had any trouble with it.
SWL and Scanner listener. General class Ham. Like the dark side of things. NRD 525 for SWL. Kenwood 820s for HF ham and Yaesu 8900R for VHF. Radio Shack PRO 2004 and 2042 for scanning. In Waupun WI,

Offline RCCI

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 1826 UTC »
I had one of these in the 80's and they are still making them. Eavesdropper T trapped dipole made by Antenna Supermarket. It's about 43 feet long, so it doesn't take up too much real estate. Mine was outside, up about 25', and lasted for years.


http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/sw_ant/0680.html    ---   Link for Universial Shortwave. Priced $104.00 - Wished I still had mine :-\

Here are the Specs from Universal:

The Eavesdropper-T trapped dipole antenna is designed specifically for the shortwave broadcast listener. The Eavesdropper-T utilizes eight weather-sealed antenna traps so that it performs as though it were a number of separate antennas. Each trap is hand assembled and individually resonated to its proper design frequency. The Eavesdropper-T is fed at the center with 100 feet (30 meters) of 72 ohm balanced feedline. The impedance to the receiver is 50-75 ohms balanced. Installing the Eavesdropper T is simple ... merely unwind the elements and feedline, and suspend between two supports with the nylon rope provided. No cutting, measuring or soldering is required! Although the Eavesdropper is weatherized for outdoor use, it may be strung in an attic. The antenna utilizes heavy 14 gauge stranded wire for maximum strength. The overall length is less than 43 feet (13.1 meters). Eavesdropper antennas include a static arrestor. Although not highly directional, this antenna will receive slightly better off the the perpendicular (that is ... 90 degrees off the direction the wire is strung). All the Eavesdropper antennas are for receive only and are covered by a one year limited factory warranty. Made in the U.S.A. The Eavesdropper covers these major shortwave bands:
60 Meters ( 4.75- 5.06 MHz.)   19 Meters (15.10-15.45 MHz.)
49 Meters ( 5.95- 6.20 MHz.)   16 Meters (17.70-17.90 MHz.)
41 Meters ( 7.10- 7.30 MHz.)   13 Meters (21.45-21.75 MHz.)
31 Meters ( 9.50- 9.78 MHz.)   11 Meters (25.60-26.10 MHz.)
25 Meters (11.70-11.98 MHz.)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 1828 UTC by RCCI »
+ Equipment: Yaesu FRG 100B, Kenwood R-1000, Yaesu FRG7,
+ Antenna: 75' dipole, height 21', running north and south.  Chicagoland area.
 *** QSLs welcomed at: gangwise1997@yahoo.com   Thanks!   ...Steve

Nella F.

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 0022 UTC »
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes my Realistic 2004 scanner is still working. Maybe because I donít use it much. I have not had any trouble with it.

Wow! My pro-2004 had a serious problem with soldering & eventually I had to give it a decent burial. Bill Cheek wrote about it if memory serves correct in his newsletter. Yeah I just googled  it: "cold soldering joints" it's all coming back to me now... Make any of those modifications, like 100 more channels or increase the scanner speed?

Nella F.

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 0030 UTC »
Does your PRO-2004 still work? I have one as well, but it doesn't work anymore. From what I've read about it, that model had bad PCBs that that lose their connections through the boards.  Too bad too, as that was a great scanner when it worked.
You're right on! My 2004 developed weird read-outs like it was receiving messages from outer space or something. Yup! it's long gone. I was disappointed as I did those mod.'s  suggested in Bill Cheek's newsletter dedicated to R. S.'s  pro 2004-6. The good old days before digital transmissions took over. Sorta.

Offline X-UN-Spy

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 0041 UTC »
I did some of his mods on the 2004. It woked well and still does fine. I guess I was lucky. I think it was possible to open up cell phone bands. Not that I would do anything like that!!!
SWL and Scanner listener. General class Ham. Like the dark side of things. NRD 525 for SWL. Kenwood 820s for HF ham and Yaesu 8900R for VHF. Radio Shack PRO 2004 and 2042 for scanning. In Waupun WI,

Offline refmo

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 0214 UTC »
My 2004 developed the bad solder connections after about a year.  I went in and soldered all the connections (I had more patience back then).  Lasted about another 2 years and started having problems again.  Never could get it going after that, so bought a PRO-2006 and have not had any problems with it.  I have done the speed mods, and a few others.  No complaints about that scanner.

3/4 acre is enough room to try a lot of antennas.  I recommend keeping the antenna away from the house.  Connect the antenna to a good balun and use coax for the run to the house.  A couple of 100' wires in a vee shape laying on the ground (or in the tree-tops) can do wonders.
central Kentucky
Please eQSL to refmorefmo[at]yahoo[dot]com
Radios: Afedri AFE822x, Airspy HF+, Kenwood TS450, Kenwood TS590SG, Tecsun PL880, Panasonic RF-2200
Antennas: Pennant, Wellbrook ALA1530LN Loop, 80 meter doublet

Offline X-UN-Spy

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 0051 UTC »
What has the digital change over done to you and scanning? In my area it has not changed too much. Most public service transmissions are still analog around here. I donít even have a scanner for trunking. I would rather not invest in digital scanners until I have to
SWL and Scanner listener. General class Ham. Like the dark side of things. NRD 525 for SWL. Kenwood 820s for HF ham and Yaesu 8900R for VHF. Radio Shack PRO 2004 and 2042 for scanning. In Waupun WI,

Offline refmo

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 0115 UTC »
Lots of digital here, plus analog and digital trunking. The state and local city police have both gone digital. Lexington is still analog but are scheduled to convert to digital soon.
I got a Bearcat BCD996XT last Christmas that does a decent job with digital and trunking.

I still keep the PRO-2006 on, filled mostly with Milcom.  There is a major training area to the north of me that used to have a lot of activity.  It has died down a lot since most of them (and their aircraft) have been deployed over the last 10 years.  I still hear 2 or 3 'dogfights' per week, but most of the training exercises occur while I am at work.
central Kentucky
Please eQSL to refmorefmo[at]yahoo[dot]com
Radios: Afedri AFE822x, Airspy HF+, Kenwood TS450, Kenwood TS590SG, Tecsun PL880, Panasonic RF-2200
Antennas: Pennant, Wellbrook ALA1530LN Loop, 80 meter doublet

Offline Token

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Re: Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 1542 UTC »
I did some of his mods on the 2004. It woked well and still does fine. I guess I was lucky. I think it was possible to open up cell phone bands. Not that I would do anything like that!!!

My PRO-2004 is still in daily use, and has been snice I purchased it new.  Except for a dim, but still readable, display it is as good as the day it left the RS store.  I did several of the mods, including the memory expansion, IF Tap, and AGC Voltage monitoring port.  I don't think I did the Cell phone expansion.  My 2004 does do cell freqs (by the way, nothing wrong with or illegal about being able to receive cell freqs) but I do not remember modifying it to do so.  I seem to vaguely remember (it was many beers ago, so I could be wrong) that the first ones to hit the market did cell freqs out of the box.  RS designed them without gaps and changed them after the ECPA of 1986 was signed into law and became affective.

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA