We seek to understand and document all radio transmissions, legal and otherwise, as part of the radio listening hobby. We do not encourage any radio operations contrary to regulations. Always consult with the appropriate authorities if you have questions concerning what is permissable in your locale.

Author Topic: Pirate broadcast modulation modes  (Read 2357 times)

Offline jordan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« on: February 09, 2014, 2120 UTC »
On shortwave, I understand that pirates use both AM and SSB for their transmissions.  But why would they use SSB?  It is terrible for music, even with a receiver capable of decoding the signal.  They would also be limiting their audience, because although many people have shortwave receivers, they can only tune into AM transmissions due to the lack of a BFO.  So for those two reasons alone, you would think most pirates would use AM.

Offline Chris Lobdell

  • DX Legend
  • ******
  • Posts: 2495
  • Karma: +42/-67
  • Massachusetts
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014, 2136 UTC »
I can think of two reasons for SSB use.
1. It [the signal] travels farther, using less energy. A 50 watt AM transmission will not be as well heard as a 50 watt PEP watt SSB transmission.
2. The newer solid state HAM equipment is designed for SSB transmission use, if they do have an AM option, it is usually of lower power.  Many of the pirates on AM
are using rebuilt AM transmitters from the 1950-1960s.
Anyway, there are others on this board that can add to this I'm sure!
Receiver: Eton E1, JRC NRD-525,535 and 545, Elad FDM-DUOr
Aerial: MFJ G5RV dipole
near Lowell Massachusetts - Gateway To The Merrimack Valley.
All loggings are from my QTH with my equipment unless stated otherwise.
QSL to: crlobdell1@gmail.com
Amateur Radio Station: KC1IUK

Offline Beerus Maximus

  • Administrator
  • DX Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1215
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • hold my beer and watch this
    • View Profile
    • Beerus' 30 Below Site
    • Email
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2014, 2141 UTC »
Some SSB rigs can actually sound really good. Some Kenwoods and Yaesus in particular. Icom, not so good. Also if you have a really nice receiver on the other end, where you can open up the filters, it can really sound great sometimes.

AM has more heart and soul though.
# Genetically engineered sentient sausage & undisputed inventor of the end-fed dipole
# Listening from Boston's North Shore
# KiwiSDR, NetSDR,Airspy HF+, Airspy HF+ Discovery, TS-590, IC-7410, FlightAware ADSB sticks
# beerusmaximus@gmail.com

Offline jordan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 2217 UTC »
Some SSB rigs can actually sound really good. Some Kenwoods and Yaesus in particular. Icom, not so good. Also if you have a really nice receiver on the other end, where you can open up the filters, it can really sound great sometimes.

AM has more heart and soul though.

The better SSB receivers still wouldn't sound as good as AM would, especially for a music broadcast.  The fidelity on AM is low enough as it is.  So if I were ever to do such a broadcast (which I currently have no equipment for), I would still use AM.  The intent would be to get as many potential listeners as possible.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

  • Administrator
  • Marconi Class DXer
  • *****
  • Posts: 25864
  • Karma: +52/-45
  • Westminster, MD USA
    • View Profile
    • Black Cat Systems
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2014, 2227 UTC »

The better SSB receivers still wouldn't sound as good as AM would, especially for a music broadcast.  The fidelity on AM is low enough as it is.  So if I were ever to do such a broadcast (which I currently have no equipment for), I would still use AM.  The intent would be to get as many potential listeners as possible.

Part of getting more listeners is having a stronger signal. As much as I like the sound of AM, watt for watt, SSB gets out much better. 
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline paranoid dxer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2014, 2229 UTC »
aww hell ::)
"In the long run, the greatest weapon of mass destruction is stupidity.
 
"I believe in animal rights. They have the right to garlic, and butter." - Ted Nugent

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight

cmradio

  • Guest
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 0435 UTC »
I've wanted to try vestegial sideband like TV and Canadian time station CHU uses. Basically it's AM with the lower sideband chopped. It's compatible with AM radio and many SWL's like myself, listen to a propagated AM signal in SSB (exalted carrier) anyway.

Peace!

Offline John Poet

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 893
  • Karma: +7/-0
  • Lansing, Michigan, USA
  • I survived the Mad Lagomurph
    • View Profile
    • Free Radio Cafe forums
    • Email
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 0514 UTC »
Other than being perhaps a little "tinny" on the audio, I think the ICOM R-75 does a fine job decoding music in SSB-- sounds almost like AM to me, as long as you can tune the correct frequency.  You certainly don't get the "scrambled" sound of the older receivers.  The only thing is the frequency range sounds a little like the old AM transistor radios, but that is improved some by using a larger external speaker.  If I wasn't looking at the radio, it would be hard for me to tell the difference in most cases, and that's saying something.

My DX-394, which I'm stuck using at present, is just about unusable for SSB stations. I forgot how bad it was after having the R-75 for a few years...



John Poet

"A treasonous voice of dissent"

The Crystal Ship Shortwave
Free Radio Cafe Forums

Offline ChrisSmolinski

  • Administrator
  • Marconi Class DXer
  • *****
  • Posts: 25864
  • Karma: +52/-45
  • Westminster, MD USA
    • View Profile
    • Black Cat Systems
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2014, 1324 UTC »
Other than being perhaps a little "tinny" on the audio, I think the ICOM R-75 does a fine job decoding music in SSB-- sounds almost like AM to me, as long as you can tune the correct frequency. 

Yes, I agree completely. The key is being exactly on frequency. Most modern ham rigs are pretty good about this, but theres a few pirates I can immediately identify as soon as they sign on, just by how far off frequency they are. I won't name names :-)
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline ka1iic

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 902
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Troy, Ohio
  • Troy, Ohio. 20m Vertical & low long wire E/W,
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Pirate broadcast modulation modes
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 2353 UTC »
The big thing is to be heard...

That being said...  I am locked in to using the SB mode to hear most of anything BUT...  the product detector in the rigs I use tend to discriminate against AM... sad but true.  At time I wish I had my R-390A, SX-28A or SX62A but at this location it would only hear NOISE!

If and only if (IFF) I were to do the pirate thing I would do the DSB reduced carrier thing...  Most modern receivers (good ones that is) have a bandwidth of <=5KHZ... not Hi-Fi by any means really.

Fidelity wise the best a person could ask for is 5KHZ... and that can easily be done with DSB or SSB.  The biggest problem would be phase distortion...  but that is another problem to add to the pile...

In 'pure' AM the best detector I have used in the past is the 'infinite impedance detector'... try finding a rig with that...  The biggest problem with that is NO AGC!  But the audio quality is just plain incredible!  It beats anything I have seen in any radio from the past to even the 'so called high tech' gismos of today.

An R390A or a SX28A that has been modified with this type of detector will beat anything a ++ kilo-buck modern rig can buy today IMHO... it is what it is....

Why use DSB?  Why not?  Most modern receivers can't deal with low distortion AM anyway...   5Khz IS NOT HiFi in any meaning of the word...  Not even close...  Heck 5Khz is less than half of what a normal human ear can hear....  Even at my advanced age I can still hear >>14KHZ...

If a receiver can hold tolerance at any frequency without adding serious phase distortion...  then SSB or DSB is more than adequate... I prefer DSB but that's just me :-)

73 Vince KA1IIC
Have a great day and a better tomorrow!!! :-)
73 Vince
KA1IIC

"If you can't be anything, you can at least be annoying"

Troy, Ohio. 20m Vertical & low long wire E/W, Yaesu FT-187ND, SDRplay 2, Ratt Shack 2 meter rig, and other little bits of electronics I'm not talking about, homebrewed and otherwise... so there bleech!