Monthly Archives: March 2015

Log: AM BCB, March 12th, trans-Pacific reception

AM broadcast band DXing with:
Antenna 1: 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame tuned loop
Antenna 2: 23-foot “fishing rod” vertical with MFJ-1020C amplified pre-selector
Combiner: Quantum Phaser
Receiver: RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter into laptop

This was mostly a low-band morning, and some of the best conditions I’ve had this year. It didn’t get off to a particular early start, but after 5am MST (12UT), things were hopping.

I finally got intelligible audio from NHK Radio 2 during their weekday English lessons (late in the evening in their time zone). I’m not sure if “Were you taken to the hospital?” is necessarily a common phrase, but that’s the first English audio I’ve received on the AM band from overseas at 5:22am MST (1222UT):

Here’s some more typical Japanese language fare an hour later:

Most of the rest of the audio is more about getting audio at all, rather than sound quality. I picked up two presumed Korean stations, 972-HLCA (new) and 1566-HLAZ. I caught some music into conversation on the former at 6:04am (1304UT), just enough to think it was Korean language:

I’ve had much better audio on 1566 earlier this month, but for completeness, here is a sample from 6:30am (1330UT):

NHK 2 has other transmitters besides 774 kHz, and I was able to finally get some weak audio on 747-JOIB. (Presumably, of course, since I didn’t hear an identification, but it is highly likely.) Here is a sample from 6:23am (1323UT):

I also picked up the presumed China National Radio station on 1593 kHz, with just enough signal to produce weak audio at 6:30am (1330UT):

I also could see carriers on the SDR display on a bunch of frequencies that were too weak to produce audio, including: 693, 738, 765, 828, 864, 873, 945, 963, 981, 1422, 1503, 1521, and 1557. There may have been others, but with my tuned antenna system, I can only peak up a limited range of frequencies at any given time. Thus, even going through the SDR recordings, I can’t check the entire band.

Log: AM BCB, March 8th, more trans-Pacific reception

AM broadcast band DXing with:
Antenna 1: 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame loop
Antenna 2: 23-foot “fishing rod” vertical with MFJ-1020C amplified pre-selector
Combiner: Quantum Phaser
Receiver: RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter into laptop

Unlike previous mornings this month, there was some low-band action. NHK 2 was already producing weak audio on 774 kHz (JOUB) at 3:38am (1038UT), with a carrier visible on the SDR display at 747 kHz (presumed JOIB). I managed to hear the top-of-the-hour time pips from JOUB at 4am, 5am, and 6am (11-13UT), but it was never very strong at those times. During this time, NHK 2 was in their Sunday night “culture” block, which tends to be rather dry talking/lecturing, and by the time they were to be in more lively programming after 13UT, it had mostly faded out, except for one brief minor resurgence very near local sunrise at 6:53am (1353UT). As usual, phasing down 770-KKOB out of Albuquerque was helping 774 stand apart. As far as 747, it produced the weakest possible audio a couple times, but nothing better than that.

Here is some decent audio from 774 at 5:11am (1211UT), probably about the best of the morning; note that the signal was steady with no fading at this point:

And a piano interlude leading up to the time pips at 6am (13UT):

Meanwhile, 1566-HLAZ from Korea wasn’t very impressive until a big pre-sunrise enhancement just like on the 5th. This was the best at around 6:35am (1335UT), with other high-band carriers visible at times, with marginal audio on 1593 kHz, probably China. HLAZ is a Christian station and the best audio was during some choral music:

Log: AM BCB, March 5th, first look at more trans-Pacific reception

AM broadcast band DXing with:
Antenna 1: 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame loop
Antenna 2: 23-foot “fishing rod” vertical with MFJ-1020C amplified pre-selector
Combiner: Quantum Phaser
Receiver: RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter into laptop

I did an unattended SDR recording and there was a major enhancement of trans-Pacific reception around 6:30-6:45am (1330-1345UT), just before local sunrise. This was just with my 6-foot loop. I may do a longer post sometime, but for the moment, a representative recording of 1566-HLAZ out of Korea at 1340UT, not necessarily the best possible time:

And, presumed China National Radio at 1593 kHz, but very weak, also at 1340UT:

Log: AM BCB, March 4th, trans-Pacific reception

AM broadcast band DXing with:
Antenna 1: 6-foot diagonal wooden-frame loop
Antenna 2: 23-foot “fishing rod” vertical with MFJ-1020C amplified pre-selector
Combiner: Quantum Phaser
Receiver: RTL-SDR dongle, Ham It Up upconverter into laptop

I happened to be up super early and was rewarded with a little bit of trans-Pacific activity. Oddly, the peak of the activity seemed to be around 4:30am, more than 2 hours before sunrise, while the later activity was generally weak. It was a little disappointing that things didn’t keep improving toward sunrise as is often the case. Unattended recordings with my software defined radio (SDR) had yielded progressively stronger signals for presumed HLAZ 1566 kHz out of Korea over the previous three mornings, at best being marginal audio. Propagation went up a significant notch today and the star of the morning was HLAZ. As usual, this is more about getting the audio signal at all as opposed to getting “armchair” quality.

Here is some operatic-sounding music 3:52am (1052UT), a relatively strong signal for so early in the morning:

The best signal was later, with this audio from around 4:31am (1131UT):

The second best station was presumed JOUB on 774 kHz out of Japan. The audio was pretty weak, but I did hear a voice at 3:46am (1046UT), before I started recording. The following recording isn’t much, but if you listen carefully you can hear the time pips leading to the top of the hour at 5am MST/12UT, under splatter from adjacent domestic stations:

There were also weak carriers on 747 (also Japan), and 1593 (presumed China), and maybe at a couple other frequencies.