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Author Topic: Tropical band (120, 90M) activity?  (Read 3527 times)
N8YX
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Posts: 169




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« on: March 27, 2015, 05:13:23 AM »

Curious as to what everyone is hearing these days in the 2.3-2.5 and 3.0-3.4MHz regions of the shortwave spectrum. Is there anything left besides WWV, CHU and a couple of stateside broadcasters near 3200KHz?
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WW7KE
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Posts: 187




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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 05:11:34 PM »

Curious as to what everyone is hearing these days in the 2.3-2.5 and 3.0-3.4MHz regions of the shortwave spectrum. Is there anything left besides WWV, CHU and a couple of stateside broadcasters near 3200KHz?

Not much.  Most of the old South American broadcasters on those bands (and 60m) moved to FM years ago.  Most of the remaining Tropical Band activity is on 60, but it's a shadow of its former self.
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WA8ZTZ
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 04:16:19 AM »

Listened early this morning (0530 EDT) and heard very little other than static crashes.
WWV 2500, WWRB 3185, CHU 3330, New York Radio VOLMET 3485.
Haven't heard the Windward Islands Broadcasting Service in many years...may no longer exist.
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WW7KE
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 08:05:26 AM »

Haven't heard the Windward Islands Broadcasting Service in many years...may no longer exist.

Not since 1971, when it became Radio Grenada.  IIRC, RG went off shortwave in 1983.
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N1NQC
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 11:29:05 PM »

I think we've taken a number of punches on this.120/90 were NEVER "popular" tropical bands  compared to 60 M. The last time I was in a quiet QTH (quite a while ago) I didn't hear much THERE either, let alone on 120/90.

"Back in the day", it seems that a lot of stations ran simulcast on the regular AM b'cast band as well as having an "regional " skywave outlet on whatever tropical band (be it 120, 90 60 or even 49 M). These   SW transmitting  antennas usually seemed to be rather simple affairs ,maybe a  single tower   transmitting vertically polarized and not a whole bunch of juice behind it either ( <1 or 3 Kw ??).It would SEEM that such towers would put out a fairly high angle skywave, good for a few hundred miles but sometimes tough beyond that. That's why a lot of tropicals (especially OUTSIDE of Brazil) were "RARE" in N. America, only showing up "at times" under "GOOD" conditions.I'm not sure how good the low bands have been to say, S. America, over the last year or so. I imagine not too good. Also I think that probably 90 + % are simply GONE due to cash shortages,  changing audience needs and "modern" technology.  There probably IS some stuff left out there on the Tropicals, but maybe not too much.One can always try the online listings and HOPE they are still correct and that propagation is good.

Even the BIG powerhouse  bands (49, 40, 31 25 22 19 M ) are a LOT thinner than they used to be. Big broadcasters have left in droves .Many/mostly "local" U.S. Bible stations now.

I cannot be a full pessimist though.My noise on 120/90/60 is  now SO bad that I now only hear the big stuff.Maybe you folks at quieter QTH's have more luck. I have an MFJ 1026 but have been to "side tracked" to wire it up . I want to put everything on battery and use the AC gnd as my noise antenna. This is not so easy because the ambient antenna noise  is around the same level as the AC gnd noise. So getting a good null may be tough, I might actually have to TRIM my long wire antenna so that it's less noisy. But this gives me less capture area or supposed "resonance" , especially below  31 M. The dog kind of chases his tail.

I used to LOVE the tropical bands  and logged LOTS of them back when things were "better" ( I lived at a power line quiet QTH, there was MUCH less device noise, we had GOOD cycles, etc). About the only stuff I hear now is Rebelde on 5025 (if  you want to even call THEM a "tropical"), all the 60 M bible stations ( they DON'T count), R Amazonas/R Nacional Brasil  on 11780 (HUGE signal and yes, it's 25 M ) and not much else.

Boo.

K
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 11:31:07 PM by N1NQC » Logged
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 11:38:56 PM »

It was the Canadians who ran tropical band stn's that simulcast big city MW outlets. The rationale of the Ottawa bigwigs was that rural folk were poorly served with news et al and that the simulcasting was to keep them informed and entertained. Like the rest of the world, rural areas in Canada are so depopulated now that SW simulcasting makes little sense.

The Latino countries used to have zillions of people in the jungles especially who had no other link to the outside except for SW. The stations there were independent fleawatt things, an aging transmitter (transmitters changed hands quite frequently) hooked to a simple antenna. The stn owners could do whatever they wanted as long as they followed a few simple rules, usually having to do with proper ID and playing a "national hour" type pgm once a week or so. That and keeping their taxes paid in full, and the sky was the limit (heh).

SW is so dead that not even pirate radio bothers with it anymore, that YHWH guy in California a few months ago was the first SW pirate I've heard of in years. Sadly, the most activity one hears on HF is from hams. I rarely listen to anything that's not hams, except an occasional listen to WWV to make sure my clocks are correct.
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WW7KE
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Posts: 187




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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 12:26:31 PM »

It was the Canadians who ran tropical band stn's that simulcast big city MW outlets. The rationale of the Ottawa bigwigs was that rural folk were poorly served with news et al and that the simulcasting was to keep them informed and entertained. Like the rest of the world, rural areas in Canada are so depopulated now that SW simulcasting makes little sense.

49 meters is technically not one of the tropical bands, although some local stations in Latin America operated there.  IIRC, most of those commercial Canadians are still on the air.  CFRX 6070 is now a semi-regular in Arizona.  I think they upgraded their facilities within the past year.

Quote
The Latino countries used to have zillions of people in the jungles especially who had no other link to the outside except for SW. The stations there were independent fleawatt things, an aging transmitter (transmitters changed hands quite frequently) hooked to a simple antenna. The stn owners could do whatever they wanted as long as they followed a few simple rules, usually having to do with proper ID and playing a "national hour" type pgm once a week or so. That and keeping their taxes paid in full, and the sky was the limit (heh).

Those broadcasters were moved to FM for the most part when economical transmitters became available.  They're not all gone, but about 80% of them are.

Quote
SW is so dead that not even pirate radio bothers with it anymore, that YHWH guy in California a few months ago was the first SW pirate I've heard of in years. Sadly, the most activity one hears on HF is from hams. I rarely listen to anything that's not hams, except an occasional listen to WWV to make sure my clocks are correct.

The world changed, the Cold War is over, the internet is becoming Standard Broadcasting (along with FM), and governments aren't going to fund expensive transmitters that aren't listened to other than by a few thousand hobbyists.  Africa and Asia are still viable for SW, but not in English for the most part.  There are plenty of Chinese regional stations audible in the west, but of course, they broadcast in Chinese.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 09:07:51 AM by WW7KE » Logged
N1NQC
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Posts: 83




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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 12:15:34 AM »

FWIW, I get LOTS of those Chinese domestic  stations  just after local sunrise here on  the East Coast , but they are all 31 M to maybe 19 M .

K
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