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Author Topic: 530-1700 KHz: Hearing Europe From the U.S.  (Read 27584 times)
N3EVB
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2012, 06:25:07 AM »

As Chuck mentions, there are a number of U.S. MW enthusiasts (fanatics?) who, even inland, can pick up trans-atlantic AM stations. My primary antenna for this is a 16' x 36' corner-fed untuned loop pointed either north (for TA's) or south (for Latin Americans). I also use a DX Engineering preamp although I can still hear everything barefoot, too. From my QTH in the mountains of central Pennsylvania I have heard about 50 countries worldwide over the past 15 years, of which about 25 were European, African or Asian. The best conditions for TA's for me were 3-4 years ago at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, although in the recent auroral event in March I heard a number of new South Americans (Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina). As recently as April I could still easily hear 1521 Saudi Arabia and 1215 UK as well as a number of other Spanish and French stations.

Brett Saylor
N3EVB
State College, PA
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K0OD
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 08:26:32 AM »

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I also use a DX Engineering preamp although I can still hear everything barefoot, too.
Yep. no need for a preamp.

Quote
As recently as April I could still easily hear 1521 Saudi Arabia and 1215 UK as well as a number of other Spanish and French stations
That's the info I was hoping someone would provide: a UK station 5 kHz off the American channels and thus perhaps something we'd have a chance to hear inland come autumn. Thanks Brett.
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N3EVB
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2012, 08:52:08 AM »


Quote
As recently as April I could still easily hear 1521 Saudi Arabia and 1215 UK as well as a number of other Spanish and French stations
That's the info I was hoping someone would provide: a UK station 5 kHz off the American channels and thus perhaps something we'd have a chance to hear inland come autumn. Thanks Brett.

For me, the most frequent stations heard going down the band are:

- a het on 1520 from 1521 Saudi Arabia with 2000 kW (audible many nights in the fall and winter, even on my car radio) which yields audio on occasion
- 1215 UK with 200 kW, often audible with English (if you hear a non-UK accented English, you likely have Voice of Russia Kaliningrad at 1200 kW)
- 1134 Croatia with 600 kW in early evening
- a het on 1090 from 400 kW 1089 TalkSport UK
- 855 Spain with 300 kW
- 783 Syria with 600 kW
- 585 Spain with 600 kW
- a het on 530 which often yields audio from 600 kW 531 Algeria

YMMV, but that should give you some targets to shoot for.

73,

Brett N3EVB
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N2HTA
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2012, 09:23:19 AM »

Brett Saylor, Chuck Rippel, and several others (including me) go to Long Beach Island, NJ every November for a DXpedition. To get a sense of what we hear from there, go to http://radiodxing.com/

Also, from my old QTH in central NJ and now from Albany, NY, I can routinely hear a dozen or so European stations in the winter. A ham transceiver probably won't be very effective in the BCB, but there are a range of good receivers out there, depending on price and desired capabilities. Same with indoor and outdoor antenna choices.

73,
Dave
N2HTA
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K0OD
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2012, 10:30:18 AM »

Quote
Equipment: Brett Saylor ( N3EVB) – State College, PA – Perseus SDR, TenTec RX-320, Drake R8, Collins R-390A

Brett took an R-390 to the beach???!!!  With your group's cred thus established beyond doubt, I'd like to hear more. 

I see you always took several types of antennas with you. I'll study the comments on that site later, but offhand what's your favorite somewhat-portable LW/BCB antenna for international DX?   
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N3EVB
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« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2012, 01:02:05 PM »

Quote
Equipment: Brett Saylor ( N3EVB) – State College, PA – Perseus SDR, TenTec RX-320, Drake R8, Collins R-390A

Brett took an R-390 to the beach???!!!  With your group's cred thus established beyond doubt, I'd like to hear more. 

I see you always took several types of antennas with you. I'll study the comments on that site later, but offhand what's your favorite somewhat-portable LW/BCB antenna for international DX?   

Not only did I take the '390 to the beach, but Chuck Rippel did a field repair of the power supply to get it operating again. Understand that we were in a nice, comfortable beach-front hotel room at the time :-)

The Super Loop is the most portable configuration that I have used - two 16' fiberglass fishing poles and some wire. I've taken it to Dxpeditions for several years and it's always performed well - it runs neck and neck at times with the 1000' beverages. Check out Bruce Conti's site for some good reference materials on this and other antennas http://www.bamlog.com/

Brett N3EVB
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NO2A
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2012, 07:12:36 PM »

I`m curious how you guys filter out the mighty WKBW 1520 Buffalo when listening to the Saudi station. That antenna must be very directional. In past winters,at times I`ve actually heard WKBW during the day here from central NJ. What an erp! Just from my car too.
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N3EVB
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2012, 04:41:23 AM »

I`m curious how you guys filter out the mighty WKBW 1520 Buffalo when listening to the Saudi station. That antenna must be very directional. In past winters,at times I`ve actually heard WKBW during the day here from central NJ. What an erp! Just from my car too.

In PA and NJ, Buffalo is 90 degrees off from the direction of Saudi Arabia, and both a beverage and loop will have a pretty good null in that direction. Also having a receiver (like a Drake R8 or Perseus) with good selectivity helps. Yes, the power they can put in here is incredible - often their signal strength is way above Buffalo.

Brett N3EVB
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AC5UP
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2012, 05:03:25 PM »

I`ve actually heard WKBW during the day here from central NJ. What an erp! Just from my car too.

When I lived in Philadelphia I had an RCA console in the basement that could hear WKBW day, night, whenever, with perfectly listenable quality.

If you do much traveling by car you'll learn that most BCB stations have a dead zone between the limits of their groundwave and where the first hop of skywave puts down on the typical evening. When leaving town the signal gets weaker with every mile until it's gone, but if you can keep your hands off the radio and keep driving long enough it will come back. Once you're in the skywave zone the signal tends to stretch out as the takeoff angle from the typical AM BC vertical is low enough to make the footprint of the DX Donut "wide".

It should also be mentioned that the characteristics of the AM BCB band should be considered relative to frequency as there is a significant difference in propagation from one end to the other. If 550 kHz x 3 = 1650, and it does, applying the same ratio to 40 Meters would put the band edges at 7 and 21 MHz. We wouldn't expect the same characteristics throughout any HF band that wide, but in terms of octaves that's the width of the AM band.

One of the "biggest" stations in the Midwest is WIBW in Topeka with a smokin' five gallon signal... On 580 kHz... And that makes all the difference in the world. Their daytime ground wave coverage is comparable to WBAP running 10 dB hotter on 820 kHz and it's hard to find a place in Texas where you can't hear WBAP during the day............  Shocked
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KC0KEK
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2012, 05:04:16 PM »

Really enjoying this thread.
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WA4HHG
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« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2012, 07:28:13 PM »

Yes, Brett took his R390A to the Beach.  Note his comment that we were in a small but very comfortable hotel.  I was going to bring one of mine also but we figured the Eastern Seaboard would only support 1......  IRT antennas, for MW, directionality is a key attribute.  More times than not, the ability to reject a station, either on channel of co-channel is what enables the DX to be heard.  Our most successful antennas are Beverages on the Ground (BOG) or a terminated loop (Akin to a Flag).  Flag and Pennants are low output antennas and very much benefit from 15 or so db of pre-amp.

As a long time SWBC DX'er 45 years), I would share that MW DX has a different approach in a number of ways.  As above, an antennas ability to reject a signal is sometimes more important than capture area.  In SWBC, we're looking to capture as much signal as possible.  MWDX'ers are able to employ phasing units..  These are pieces of equipment which input 2 antennas and through delay lines, are able to null a dominant station on a given frequency enabling the listener to hear what is "under" it.  F'instance, I can null the local 10KW station on 790 enough to hear the station under it.  An explanation and builders guide is here:

http://home.comcast.net/~markwa1ion/exaol1/dl2.pdf

Most hams are not aware of the depth of knowledge a successful MW or SWBC DX'er has.  Speaking from an SWBC background, here is a F'instance.  At the end of April and before they switch to summer frequencies, there is a short duration grayline path between
Xinjiang, China (Tibet, just north of Nepal) and ECNA: end of April/1st of May are about the only time of the year this station is audible..  There are 3 Peoples Broadcasting Stations (PBS) which sign on at 2330Z on 4850.0, 4980.0 and 5060.0.  Below is a graphic of the grayline, short path at albiet at 0000.

https://www.box.com/s/d3e49cb870dbfc7d9ea6

We caught them signing on at 2331Z, a time when Tibet was still in daylight.  Below is a short. mp3 recording of thT 2331 sign on.  Listen to the entire audio clip, all 3 frequecies are recorded with a short pause between each.  You'll hear the station signature tune, "The East is Red" on each:

https://www.box.com/s/e3e601b6f2fad5529db8

Point being, that kind of reception has to be planned.  Back to MWDX, when we go to the beach, the planning as to which weekend will most likely have the best Trans-Atlantic reception starts in August.  As to which radios, many of us use the venerable Drake R8B receiver. The Microtelecom Perseus, with its stellar performance and ability to record for later review, the ENTIRE AM Broadcast Band on a computer hard-drive have been finding favor.  We have one participant who can play a Sony 2010 (or should I say 2010's) and do as well or better than others.  Why, cause he has ears like a cat, KNOWS the band, and can dig an ID out of muck better than most.  Ham receivers typically have 20 + db attenuators for the BCB, the Flex 5000A is fairly useless on the BCB; due to the lack of pre-selection and spurs; mine was sold today.

Then there are those who call themselves "Ultralighters" and would use radios this to hear over 700 stations, 4 continents and goodness knows how many countries:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160664843851?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

I have 3 continents and something like 10 countries on a Radio like that.  Its full DSP, has 4 bandwidths and Untralighting has its own Yahoo group.  Its a sickness.....   :-)

« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 07:50:05 PM by WA4HHG » Logged
K0OD
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Posts: 2546




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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2012, 08:23:44 PM »

Quote
the Flex 5000A is fairly useless on the BCB; due to the lack of pre-selection and spurs; mine was sold today.

Hi Chuck. I have a Flex-5000 and I know it's worthless BELOW the BCB. I can't even hear local NDBs. I've never heard ANYTHING below 530 kHz except spurs. For most of my longwave listening I use my Kenwood TS-850. The 5000 seems to work ok for normal local listening in the BCB. Must say I've never tested it on DX there or compared it a/b with the 850. 

Chuck, have you found any preselector or LP filter that would make Flex radios perform well on LW? That question has come up a number of times on Flex boards.

I presume the radically different Flex-6000 series will be fine on longwave like the Perseus and QS1R. The upcoming Flexes are spec'd down to 30 kHz. (some places have said 300 kHz but that was apparently a misprint)
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WA4HHG
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« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2012, 07:40:26 PM »

Kiwa have a number of BCB and KW Filters that work well.  You can feed your 5000A through the RX antenna port so the filter is not accidentally smoked.

http://www.kiwa.com/index.html

I'm not going to bite on a Flex 6000.  Flex are big on "promise-ware;" pay us $ something and we'll put you on a waiting list.....  Wanna bet the 6K won't be out before Dayton next year?   As you can tell, I was zero impressed with my 5000A after using a Perseus and WinRadio G33.  Suggest you keep your Flex 5000 and pick up a Perseus for $995 for which you won't need the filters.

Rant off, I'm glad that so many like and enjoy their Flex'  Plus, its a US company offering a product that pushes the edge of technology.


Quote
the Flex 5000A is fairly useless on the BCB; due to the lack of pre-selection and spurs; mine was sold today.


Chuck, have you found any preselector or LP filter that would make Flex radios perform well on LW? That question has come up a number of times on Flex boards.

I presume the radically different Flex-6000 series will be fine on longwave like the Perseus and QS1R. The upcoming Flexes are spec'd down to 30 kHz. (some places have said 300 kHz but that was apparently a misprint)

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K0OD
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Posts: 2546




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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2012, 09:50:41 PM »

From the newest Flex-5000 manual, here are the radio's specs. I believe the disclaimer about "customer provided filter below 1.8 Mhz" wasn't in the early ads. I don't recall seeing it back then.
Quote
10 kHz – 65 MHz (operating – requires external, customer provided filters below
1.8 MHz to eliminate images); 160 m – 6 m (specified Amateur bands only)

Looks like no single LP filter will turn the 5000 into a good BCB/LW receiver. That probably explains why Flex never offered their own filter.

As for delivery, Elecraft announced the KX3 last year at Dayton with first delivery planned for November 2011, I believe. Last I heard, only a few of the early orders have been filled.  All the makers play the same game.

---
BTW, my 2012 listening goal: Hearing ONE European station on the AM BCB. I know I won't be doing that on my 5000. Smiley

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K0SBV
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2012, 12:20:35 PM »

I now reside in Arizona, and with the breaking up of the clear channels, I seldom hear the Eastern U.S.

We can appreciate that. Do you have any kind of directional antenna, or room for one? It might not reduce interference from stations between you and the East coast, but it might help reduce it from other directions.

I use a directional altazmuth BCB loop and Icom R75
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