I’m still working on the second part of the 6-meter Yagi video series, so I decided to show an example of trans-Pacific AM broadcast band reception using the RTL-SDR based AM BCB receiver detailed in Episode 006. This was from an SDR recording on the morning of September 21st, 2016 and was a pretty good session. Unfortunately, the audio was rather uneven because I was trying for the first time to “internally” record my laptop screen instead of shooting with the video camera. That part worked great, but the audio didn’t go quite as well. Still, this gives a nice flavor for what I have been able to from Arizona with the RTL-SDR based AM BCB receiver, and the Conti Superloop antenna featured in earlier videos.
Between work and being sick for a week, I haven’t had a chance to post anything about the current trans-Pacific reception season. But, it has been a pretty good one, and this day provided the best audio of the season. Continue reading →
Although I was making an SDR recording, I also worked this one live. Activity was already in progress when I started a little before 1200 UT (5am MST), and this turned into quite good reception. It started out mostly on the low-end of the band, but the upper-end kicked in by around 1225 UT. The best activity was during the 12UT hour, with a decrease near the end of the hour. Some stations were doing pretty well after 13UT, including 1566 HLAZ out of Korea, but in general activity wasn’t very good then. Activity totally fizzled out by local sunrise at 1347 UT (6:47am). The real surprise was the strength of 1134, presumably HLKZ out of Korea, producing brief bursts of fair audio. First a summary, then some audio samples. Continue reading →
(7’x24′ Conti superloop pointed 320 degrees, RTL-SDR dongle with upconverter, coverage only up to around 1400kHz due to filtering)
This was an interesting morning as there was a strong geomagnetic storm overnight, although that usually doesn’t affect things this far south. The early peak just after Japanese sunset was decent with weak audio from 747 and 774 kHz already by 0913UT (2:13am MST). That continued off and on for another half-hour. The main peak before local sunrise started shortly after 12UT. I didn’t get the large number of carriers or as many frequencies with audio, but 774-JOUB (Akita, Japan, 500kW) delivered the best audio I’ve had this month.
1204UT – 747 audio being persistent and almost intelligible
This was followed by a fairly long period of only carriers
1242UT – 774 picked up a lot, and up to medium audio at 1243UT
1248UT – 774 medium audio again, a man talking
1258UT – 774 medium-good audio again, a man still talking, into the TOH 3+1 pips
1300UT – 774 a bit of a fade out, but stronger again for a bit
Here is a longish recording from 774 starting at 12:58:00UT. Just for perspective, the recording starts out before the audio became intelligible, but quickly rises up to a nice level. It fades out again after the TOH pips, but the recording continues and the signal comes back for a bit before dropping below intelligibility for good. If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, the best audio is from about 0:30-2:00 in the file:
There were decent carriers at times on 594, 693, 828, 972, and 1053, but not much more than that.
I’ve done SDR recordings on about half of the mornings this month with my 7’x24′ Conti superloop (corner-fed, corner terminated broadband loop), RTL-SDR dongle, and Ham It Up upconverter. This morning was the best so far, with audio from several stations, and fairly decent audio from 972 kHz out of Korea. It also exhibited a pattern I’ve been seeing where I get good Japanese reception shortly after their sunset, and another enhancement shortly before my sunrise. The latter is common, but the former has been quite noticeable this month. In the following log, I list all the 9kHz frequencies where I had at least a medium carrier within 20-minute intervals from 0935-1315UT (2:35-6:15am MST). Signals dramatically weakened around local sunrise of 1312UT (6:12am MST). My frequency coverage only went up to 1400 kHz due to filtering to remove strong locals at 1450 and 1490.
First, for the IRCA mailing list members who have already seen this log, here is the audio sample at 12:57:30UT from 972-HLCA with some splatter from 970:
And, the 20-minute log:
Weak audio: 747 and 774 around 0936-0938
Strong carriers: 594, 693
Medium carriers: 828, 1053, 1134
Weak audio: 972 from 1215-1219UT
Strong carriers: 774, 828
Medium carriers: 747, 1053, 1134
Medium audio: 972 from 1247-1250UT (other bursts of weak audio)
Weak audio: 774 at 1251UT, 828 at 1239UT
Strong carriers: 747, 972 (near audio at 1254UT)
Medium audio: 972 from 1255-1301UT, quite decent around 1258UT, mix of talking and music
Weak audio: 774 at 1258UT, 972 continuing until 1304UT
Strong carriers: 693, 1053
Medium carriers: 594, 747, 828, 864, 936, 945, 954, 963, 1008, 1044
A few lingering medium carriers after local sunset, inc. 828, 974
Conditions seem to be staying more summer-like and I had a good opening to eastern Iowa and western Illinois this afternoon that lasted for an hour. I can certainly understand why people get addicted to chasing E-skip! It’s pretty exciting flipping (or clicking, in my case) from frequency to frequency trying to catch identifications from the various stations that are flaring up. With an SDR, I can see the stations flaring up, so doing live DXing is sort of like a game of “whack-a-mole”. Continue reading →
I was quite sick the day before, so I couldn’t really do much except sit around and wait for some interesting propagation that didn’t happen. But, today was a little better both on the health front and on the E-skip front. Continue reading →