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Author Topic: Equipent: A SW antenna  (Read 5156 times)

Offline Dxer92

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Equipent: A SW antenna
« on: August 31, 2011, 1705 UTC »
Does anyone know any kind of SW antenna that will work for my SW radio. I have a Grundig S350DL (No SSB) I have been trying to receive Pirate broadcasts here in North America but still no luck. I hooked up a CB antenna (The Antron 99)  but I am not sure if a CB antenna will work for the SW bands. Can anyone recommend any SW antenna's i can buy or build to improve reception so I can receive these Pirate broadcasts.

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 1828 UTC »
40 feet of wire or so,outdoors,should do the trick.

I've never used that particular radio,but many portables are prone to overload with a full sized SW/HF antenna. 40 feet is about the top end for sets prone to overload. If you start hearing stations in band that aren't supposed to be there,like CRI,Brother Stair, or a local AM station you've got overload and need to trim your wire down.

If it will take the 40 foot wire with no problems,you can really start to experiment. Do google search for "dyi shortwave antennas" and there will be lots of designs you can play with.

Have fun.

HTP

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 1905 UTC »
It's too bad you can't use the USB mode since that's where I always seem to find the Pirate stations operating.  I have a 45' End Fedz SWL shortwave antenna that is made to connect to a PL-259, which works ok for me sometimes, but this past weekend I was using a 20m mobile ham stick antenna which worked better for the 6.900Mhz area.  Sometimes the longer wire one works better for me.  I think you might do better though if you could get a radio that has a USB mode.  Where I am I never hear them on AM.

Offline Dxer92

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 1920 UTC »
Ok well thanks for the help I appreciate it. I have a CB antenna up on the roof and a 60ft Longwire antenna in the tree.(Not really all that high up only 15ft in the air.) But if I ground the longwire antenna I get a lot of overload from a local AM station on almost every SW station even the really strong one's. I guess what i really need to do is get a better radio. Can anyone recommend a radio to me? That has SSB and all that happy fun stuff one that is under $100 if possible.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2011, 2101 UTC »
Under $100 is a difficult price point for a good HF receiver. For a few hundred dollars, you're in the range of a used decades or two old communications receiver, like the Kenwood R-1000 and Icom R-71A. I just named those two because I've owned them in the past, there's many others.

Actually I did a quick check of eBay, and see there's old DX-300s that have sold for under $100. I owned one of those *many* years ago. It's a very old rig, but my gut feeling is that it would perform much better than a similarly priced new radio, which would likely be a small portable. I had a DX-300 many moons ago, just before the R-1000 in fact. I heard many a pirate with it. 
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Offline Lex

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 2244 UTC »
Does anyone know any kind of SW antenna that will work for my SW radio. I have a Grundig S350DL (No SSB) I have been trying to receive Pirate broadcasts here in North America but still no luck. I hooked up a CB antenna (The Antron 99)  but I am not sure if a CB antenna will work for the SW bands. Can anyone recommend any SW antenna's i can buy or build to improve reception so I can receive these Pirate broadcasts.

The main challenge now is propagation, which ranges from poor to erratic.  Takes patience and persistence to snag any real DX signals from stations using 100 watts or less.  Most of the 40m hams I'm hearing this year are local to my state or regional in adjacent states, possibly using NVIS antennas.  I don't think I've heard a true DX 40m ham since 2010.  From 2007-early 2010, I routinely heard 40m hams from Australia, NZ, Japan, etc.

When conditions are good, especially at morning and evening gray line, I can hear pirates on a small barefoot portable outdoors - no external antenna needed.  A few days ago I heard Captain Morgan while I was walking around the block, away from suburban RFI, carrying a small portable with just the telescoping whip.  But I couldn't hear him at home because my antenna is too close to surrounding apartment complexes - a fog of white noise RFI tends to swamp weaker signals.

A CB antenna can actually work pretty well.  A DXer in France, Marcel, has logged many N. American pirates using a CB antenna.  But if I'm recalling correctly he's in fairly quiet residential area and the CB antenna is mounted on his roof.

You might try a tuner with the CB.  It'll probably work fairly well down to 10 MHz without a tuner, but below that it might be nearly deaf.  I have the opposite problem with a homebrewed indoor magnetic loop.  It's fine up to 10 MHz, but deaf above that unless I run it through an amplifier with a tuner - then it's fairly good up to 20m.

If you attach some wire it's probably best to keep it to around 20'-40'.  As other folks noted, portables tend to overload with too much wire.  When I attach 20'-40' random wire to my Sony ICF-2010, I have to turn the RF gain way down to avoid overload - mostly from WBAP on 820.  But I'll also hear other local MW flamethrowers and used to hear WYFR breaking through when the Sony was tuned to the usual 6925-6955 kHz zone.
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Offline Dxer92

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 0052 UTC »
I have a 60ft longwire antenna on a branch. It seems to be working ok i guess. The longwire is NOT straight though. Tonight at 0:50 UTC I received a station on 1356 or it was 1357 somewhere around there and they were speaking Spanish. Funny thing is that I am no where near a station that operates on that frequency. Maybe someone can tell me where that station is or what it is. If so thank you very much. But everyone thank you for all your help i appreciate it.

HTP

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 1430 UTC »
I have a 60ft longwire antenna on a branch. It seems to be working ok i guess. The longwire is NOT straight though. Tonight at 0:50 UTC I received a station on 1356 or it was 1357 somewhere around there and they were speaking Spanish. Funny thing is that I am no where near a station that operates on that frequency. Maybe someone can tell me where that station is or what it is. If so thank you very much. But everyone thank you for all your help i appreciate it.


Even though a station is broadcasting in a different language, it can still be coming from the US or Canada.  A site I use to find out what I'm listening to is this one below. 

http://www.short-wave.info/index.php?station=&language=English&now=02&now2=13&GMT=true&submit=GO

It will show you what is on at the time you use it.  Stations active at that time will be highlighted in red.  Many stations use the same frequencies as others, so it depends on the time of the day to really track down who is using what, when and where. 

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 2204 UTC »
St.Pierre & Milqueon,a pair of French islands off the coast of Newfoundland is on 1375. If you drop 9 khz down from there,Eastern Hemisphere MW station spacing,you get 1357. You may have had a European station if you're near the East coast.

Your other shot mid-spacing,could be a S.American MW station. A number of those operate whereever the guys running the station can get the transmitter to sit steady on a frequency.

Offline The Hokie

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2011, 1605 UTC »
The last time I was at my folks' place, I saw that my dad had bought a S350DL. As a shortwave receiver, I was definitely less than impressed - the tuning knob felt incredibly flimsy, the tuning drove me insane if I was trying to park on a specific frequency, and no SSB as mentioned. Anything short of the BBC and the domestic preachers wasn't going to happen.

I don't know if this is the same radio as the YB400, but if it is, it's a hell of a deal for under $100:

http://www.rffun.com/catalog/portable/4000.html

My first SW radio was the YB400, and although it didn't have a tuning knob or selectable USB/LSB, I'd take it over the S350DL any day.
The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline DavidB

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2011, 2149 UTC »
Does anyone know any kind of SW antenna that will work for my SW radio. I have a Grundig S350DL (No SSB) I have been trying to receive Pirate broadcasts here in North America but still no luck. I hooked up a CB antenna (The Antron 99)  but I am not sure if a CB antenna will work for the SW bands. Can anyone recommend any SW antenna's i can buy or build to improve reception so I can receive these Pirate broadcasts.

Several things. First, unless you live in a rural area, your biggest issue will almost certainly be noise. And it may well be noise even if you do live in a rural area. So many modern electronic devices (computers, light dimmers, plasma TV's, etc.) spew vast amounts of RF into the shortwave spectrum. Second, most shortwave portables are designed to work with a short whip antenna. In other words, they amplify the signal coming in from the antenna -- a lot. So the expected result of simply connecting a longer antenna to a radio like the 305DL is that you'll just swamp the thing with lots of RF crud, and still end up hearing little but noise.

What you should first do is to go out into your back yard (or if you live in an apartment with a balcony, out onto the balcony) and try to get as far away from buildings and wires as you can. Then see how much better your reception gets when you operate the set on battery power. Note that you should probably put your hand on the back of the set to provide some sort of counterpoise for the antenna to capacitively couple with.

If you still hear nothing but the harsh buzz of RF crud, then unfortunately shortwave is probably going to mostly be a lost cause at your home. Outside antennas can help in certain situations, but they cannot work miracles. If there's more noise than signal flying through space in the vicinity of an antenna, even the most expensive antenna and radio combination isn't going to receive much (if anything).

If, on the other hand, things get better in the yard, then there is hope. Portable sets can be very useful for pinpointing the sources of RF interference. If you have control over these, then you can simply kill the power to them when you're interested in listening to shortwave. Or maybe you can find a spot in your house where the built-in antenna on the radio works OK. Or you can try John Doty's design of a random-wire antenna with a noise-shielded feed:
http://www.iw5edi.com/ham-radio/?low-noise-antenna-connection,45

But the first thing is to determine if it's even worth trying harder at all at your location. About 80% of the urban locations I've lived in have basically been lost causes. I've taken to doing most of my shortwave listening when camping in remote areas (something which I can recommend to anyone: it's amazing what you can hear once you get into a truly quiet location, RF wise).
Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
SMC HF-150 and Icom R-75.

Offline Dxer92

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2011, 2234 UTC »
Right now iJust bought another portable for $40 works great by the way. It is a Realistic DX-390 has SSB. But problem is is that when I hook up any kind of external antenna to it. I just get RF interference big time. Like buzzing noises i guess i am overloading the receiver. I don't know if there is any possible say to fix this problem it would be great if i could get away from all of the noises in the radio.

Offline DavidB

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 1733 UTC »
Right now iJust bought another portable for $40 works great by the way. It is a Realistic DX-390 has SSB. But problem is is that when I hook up any kind of external antenna to it. I just get RF interference big time. Like buzzing noises i guess i am overloading the receiver. I don't know if there is any possible say to fix this problem it would be great if i could get away from all of the noises in the radio.

You might be overloading it, or if you're just using a plain wire as a lead-in, you might be routing that wire near a noise source. Tune the set somewhere where the noise is really strong, then disconnect the antenna and collapse the built-in antenna to its shortest length. Take the lead-in wire down, and use the radio to probe along the route of your lead-in wire to see if it passes by any noise sources. If so, either reroute or go with a shielded lead in like I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread.

As for antenna length and overloading, experiment with different lengths of random wire in an RF quiet location to determine if you're overloading the set with too big an antenna. It's definitely a possibility; portables are designed to operate with a short whip antenna and many are prone to overloading if you connect them to a long wire.

That said, if when you take the set out into your yard, the noise level drops appreciably, a short outdoor antenna with a shielded lead-in is likely to improve your listening experience over an equally short antenna indoors. If things don't appreciably get better when you operate the set away from the house, any messing about with external antennas will likely prove to be a wasted effort.
Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
SMC HF-150 and Icom R-75.

Nella F.

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2011, 2242 UTC »
Right now iJust bought another portable for $40 works great by the way. It is a Realistic DX-390 has SSB. But problem is is that when I hook up any kind of external antenna to it. I just get RF interference big time. Like buzzing noises i guess i am overloading the receiver. I don't know if there is any possible say to fix this problem it would be great if i could get away from all of the noises in the radio.
Great radio. I bought mine shortly after "9-11". The local Radio Shack stocked way too many & eventually knocked the price in 1/2 just to get rid of the palitload takin' up all the floor space. Mine still works great. I've used both inside & outside antennas with no problems...once I found what was causing this, that, or the other rf. The radio seems to attract rf or maybe rf is attracted to the radio, don't know which. My plug-in rechargable Norelco rotary shaver wreaks lots of noise, as an example. Hope this is useful.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 2244 UTC by Nella F. »

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Equipent: A SW antenna
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 2143 UTC »
I had a DX-390 and they are prone to overload. 30 feet of wire worked well as an antenna for it.