Friday, December 31, 2010

King´s Village DX-station November: DYEZ Aksyon Radyo Bacolod 684 kHz

On November 6th I was lucky to capture some philipinos on MW, which is always nice in Southern Finland with rather modest antenna systems. I was also lucky to set my Perseus to record a bit more around the TOH at 13 utc (instead on normal 4-8 minutes around the toh) and got finally a recording of about 20 minutes. I noted a few Philipinos and this was the most interesting for me as i have heard this tentatively only once in Dec. 2009. Some other stations from the Philippines were noted today as well, among them another one from Bacolod: Bombon Radio 1269 and a new one for me. DZIQ on 990. DYEZ 684 had a typical news and information program with some advertisements and a few mentionings of "Aksyon Radyo Bacolod".

From the station´s web-page we can find some information:
"BROADCASTING from the city of Bacolod, the commercial and political hub in Negros Occidental, dyEZ Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod traces its roots to the city of La Carlota where it first started operations from the administrative building of the then Elizalde-owned Central Azucarera De La Carlota in the 1960s.
The small community radio station, originally having the call sign of dyEN, hosted some of the pioneer broadcasters in the province until the declaration of Martial Law when it was closed down. Several years later, it resumed operations as dyEZ and became the dominant news and music station before the proliferation of FM stations. By the 1980s, dyEZ shifted its programming to fulltime news and public affairs. With it came the change of name from Radyo Balita to Radyo Owang until finally settling on what is widely perceived as the most the appropriate name for a dynamic news and public affairs station: Aksyon Radyo.Serving a base listenership of at least a million from its primary area of coverage, which are Negros Occidental’s 32 towns and cities, Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod has consistently proven its worth in the most competitive environment of AM broadcasting in the province."

The station is fun to listen and you can do it easily just by logging into the page of DYEZ:

Best Wishes & Happy New Year to Aksyon Radio DYEZ!

73 tk

Monday, December 20, 2010

Season´s Greetings!

Once again we are approaching the winter Solstice tomorrow (21st Dec at 23.38 UTC) so it is time to wish you all the Season´s Greetings!
Actually this day means "the start of winter" - obviously we have already seen the start of the winter in Finland at least with snow accumulating now to about 60 centimeters in the South of Finland!
This Solstice is a very unusual also as we will have the lunar eclipse also on the same day (Dec 21st), unfortunately it seems we will have clouds in my part of the country at that time (morning).

NetSDR testfile

A testfile recorded in Muhos 5th Dec around 07 UTC (1300 kHz Span, recorded with NetSDR, ant:bevarage to North America, about 900 m @305 degrees) is now available at:
It is a huge one (5 min.) zipped, about 1,6 Gb file.
It can be listened to with SpectraVue 3.09 or later as well as with the WinradHD, the later seems to have nice sound, but unfortunately there seems not to be a timebar so you have to listen it through.
EDIT Dec 20th:
Sorry, it seems the file can not be accessed, as the following message has been received from DropBox:
"This email is an automated notification from Dropbox that your Public links have been temporarily suspended on account of generating excessive traffic. Your Dropbox will continue to function completely normally with the exception of Public links."
Sorry for that.
73 TK

Sunday, December 12, 2010

PUDXK-PreChristmas Meeting & Testing the netSDR at Muhos

It was nice not only to test and do some DXing at Muhos during the weekend 4th - 5th December but also to celebrate 2 x 50 years anniversary of two PUDXK-members (the two Jaris). We started again (like two other PUDXK-meetings) at "Sokeri-Jussin Kievari" at downtown Oulu (at Pikisaari, a small island just near the City Centre) -
At the listening QTH (JPRs DX-QTH Muhos) we had nice weather, some sunshine during the few daylight hours between 10 and 14 local time(sic) and temps around -10 degrees. Only about 5 cm snow, whereas in Southern Finland we got more and more during the week after this weekend, now accumulating to about 1/2 a meter at time of this writing!

Testing the netSDR
Testing was done only by "ear" without any equipments. I made some simultaneous files with Perseus & netSDR for later review. The Perseus was hooked up to an AcerLaptop (dual-core @ about 2 GHz)while the netSDR was connected to a bit older Dell (single core @about 2 Ghz tabletop pc). So the limitation of processing power limited us just to record everything on netSDR at FFT of 2048FFT/BLK and all the analyzing has to be made aftwerwards. The listening has to bedone using the spectrum display of the total span of 1300 kHz without measuring the exact carrier frequencies. The software used was SpectraVue 3.09. I did make some listening and freq. measurements also using a small span to achieve very good bandwidth resolution (picture) - and comparing the sensitivity with Perseus at the same time.

Performance of the netSDR as expected ...
was very good with a low noise floor and oscillator noise as stated in the specs. You have to notice of course that the unit tested was a prototype and as far as I know the real units (coming Q1-2011 ?) will be a bit better and there will be an option (?) to have even an oscillator of even lower noise soon. So by ear the output of netSDR sounded to be better than that of Perseus and/or IQ we had working at the same time. I do not know if some noise of Perseus was coming from the Perseus PSU as it was using the original power supply unit. The NetSDR was using an "old separate linear (?) PSU" originally used with SDR14 - not the original of 14 or netSDR. It seems that also the netSDR is equipped with a small switching PSU which should be replaced. An issue I fully do not understand - that was the case also with the original PSU of SDR14. Anyway the low signal performance of netSDR was good as well as filtering with the provided software (SpectraVue 3.09). I made a small comparison with very low signals on HF (the Papuan later on on 3905 kHz) by listening it directly on both the netSDR and Perseus. In genaral the reception was quite similar but the sound of netSDR sounded "better" and cleaner (the bandwidth of both rx´s was about 3 kHz). But the difference was very small. What we are missing still with the SpectraVue is the notch which is good on Perseus and on some situation wins the competition, when there is a strong het or signal nearby. As reported earlier the measurement of exact carriers was easier with netSDR/ SpectraVue as SVue tells you "automatically" 4 most powerfull carriers of the viewed span - and you can also see the spectrum (and carriers) at small spans when LSB/USB is used while on Perseus you have to use AM when looking at the spectrum or waterfall on small spans (usually we use 100 or 200 Hz spans). With Svue rather exact measurement can be done like on the picture: using the FFT of about 1Million and demod span of 100 kHz the resolution is about 0.1 Hz. Well, this is not often suitable and when you record 1300 kHz span you have to do measurements with the resolution of about 0.7Hz - which is, however usually enough.
As the unit was an prototype one, there was some decrease of spectrum (maybe the sensitivity as well) on the higher end of the mediumwave band (1500...1800 kHz) which could easily be seen on the spectrum. This issue has been reported also by RFSpace, however.

Recording the Spectrum ...
of 1300 kHz was good, and the 5 minute files were about 2 Gb each. While recording it was possible not only to listen but also to transfer file to external HDs, connect them etc which was very good as the netSDR was SUPER stable - it was running about two days without any crashes. This could be because it was connected by Ethernet and not by the USB. The USB-connected Perseus did suffer of some instability - an issue detected earlier also - you have to be careful when connecting other usb-devices when you have Perseus recording - we had some issues when the Perseus stopped working during these situations. The connecting of netSDR via Ethernet worked really good - this was reported by TuA earlier also when he was using the device at ENOX in November. The 1300 kHz span was good as this is enough for the entire MW-band to be captured. The size of files is so about 12 x 2 Gb = 24 Gb/hour when Perseus record files (using the 2 MS/s/1600 kHz span) of about 2,3 Gb/5 minutes which makes about 28 Gb/hour. OK, not a very big issue, but during the 10 hour session you can save about 40 Gb of HardDisk. We did not tried to record other than 1300 kHz SPANs duringthe tests. It seems we did not do the calibration very well, as the both NetSDR-files and Perseus-files seems not to show correct frequencies, the NetSDR files seems to have an error of about 1 Hz (too much) while Perseus shows about 2-3 Hz too much. Shame on us.

Evaluation of files later ...
at home I finally made some afterwards listening ("Post DX-session evaluation") of the files of total of about 300 Gb. Again there was no big difference between the signals I listened to, so in general both hardwares worked ok. Maybe I can do some real "DX-listening" with those files later (I transferred only some files of TOH´s of the two nights with me) in a few days. I know some files have already been analyzed by JVA who has also a powerful "automatic split frequency capture&analyze software" - but he can tell about it later on. The listening was done using my Pentium dual-core @3GHz (4 Gb memory) PC so it was easy and took maximum 10-20% of the processing power. The recommended PC/Laptop for the NetSDR is at least about 2 GHz/dualcore, but as we noted the recording and listening (without exact carrier measurements) can be done easily with older pcs/laptops of about 2 Ghz/single-core. Then you have to use the full spectrum view and set the FFT low (like 2048 FFT/BLK) and possible set the screen update speed (n=10-20). And furthermore - you do need a BIG HD (preferably an internal, but the external works ok and there is no problem with multible USB-connections as you have the RX hooked up to the Ethernet port).

The reception conditions...
towards "TA" were rather average to good especially on 5 December (coming better later that week) and some early reception of common NAs were noted starting at around 19 utc. Also some Latin American were noted at night on both 4 and 5 December. The conditions were rather wide spread however with stations from Venezuela to West Cost.The antennas used during the tests were beverages (700-900 meters)usually at around 290 ... 305 degrees.

Last but not least...
I have to point out that the NetSDR is priced at about 1300...1400 euros - and you can get a Perseus at about 700...800 euros, so if the money talks you can get "about the same" with 500 euros less. However, if you want to see the exact carriers easily, prefer using the SpectraVue (or SDRRadio) software and like the "look and feel" of NetSDR and last but not least - like to use the Ethernet connection (and easily connect the device used remotedly via net) the choise is NetSDR. And there will be some software development going on with the SpectraVue (I believe), SDRRadio and what is the most interesting with the totally new "CuteSDR", which seems to be an open source platform to develop softwares available also for Mac OS - an issue most wanted by the increasing number of Mac-users among radio enthusiasts!
Well, which one? for myself - I´d like to have them both.

Thank You very much for RF-Space letting us to test this proto of the great new receiver, let´s hope we will see the final products soon!

A testfile of 5 minutes covering 500-1800 kHz will be published later on for those wanting to test with the SpectraVue 3.09 or later.
73 TK

Monday, December 6, 2010

SWR Special Summer Meeting Broadcast - Results of the Competition

I have finally got the list of the DXers who had accepted reports to Scandinavian Weekend Radio on August 6-7th 2010 and we have done the decisions of the winners of the competition. As we reported earlier, a special QSL will be out - the Art Director has been doing the first drafts and we hope to get the printing machines printing during the Christmas Season, please be patient!

The list of reporters and distances from the tx site Virrat is:
Europe/World: Alan Pennington, Caversham, UK. Distance: 1900 kms.
Scandinavia: Henrik Klemetz, Borås, Sweden. Distance: 780 kms
Finland: Raimo Karjalainen, Rantsila. Distance: 257 kms.
Thanks to Mauno / MR for calculating the distances!

The prize of the most distance reporter, the WRTH 2011 (from the WRTH) will go to Alan soon!
The special prizes for two others will be sent also soon - these are donated by the Kymenlaakso AMK University of Applied Sciences.

Thanks to all the reporters!

73s, The FDXA Summer Meeting 2010 Team.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

King´s Village DX-Station October 2010: Radio Verdad Guatemala 4052.5 kHz

Also this month a station on the tropical bands was chosen. This is mainly because this particular station is one of the few station still transmitting from Central America on tropical bands and it is a very friendly one for radio ethusiasts. I remember to have heard back in the 20´th century and got also a reply then. I tried it a couple of times this fall when it was transmitting with a temporary small transmitter on 4055 kHz but I think it was rather hard to capture in Europe. Now after the end of October ( I checked it on Oct. 28th and found it with rather good signal) it was again on 4052.5 (4052.455) and since then it seems to be a regular visitor on this a bit odd frequency between 75 and 60 mb.
Information I have seen (thanks to R. Wayne Borthwick, VA7GF vie Glenn Hauser DXLD):
The antenna is a 89 m long with a phasing stub 11m long hanging near the middle. The two current nodes are separated to give near maximum collinear gain (about 7.5 db above isotropic theoretical). Since the antenna is oriented NE to SW it is ideally oriented toward covering Mexico and Western N. America on one side and C. America, S. America on the other side.

I designed it so the lower elevation angle minor lobes are about 8 to 10 dB down off the ends of the antenna to cover E. USA and Europe. It hangs over a gully with a max depth of about 25m and is end fed through a matching network by approx. 10 m of RG8 coax. The matching network is mounted in a sheet metal box on the tower and consists of a single 30 cm diameter coil of three-eighths soft copper tubing. Top of the coil is to antenna and bottom to ground with the 50 ohm tap about 1.8 turns up from the ground.

The big problems in the installation were getting a good solid ground in dry earth covered by concrete and buildings. Lots of work by the mason chipping holes for the ground wires in the concrete. It also turned out the power feed from the transformer at the edge of the of property had a bad neutral so today that got fixed. Prior to that we were completing the neutral current through our antenna ground, and indication that the antenna ground is at least capable of a few amps at 60 Hz without too much voltage drop.

Hope this and the 500 W carrier from the Omnitronix solid state transmitter helps reception up your way. 73 (R. Wayne Borthwick, VA7GF, Oct 29, WORLD OF RADIO 1537, DX LISTENING DIGEST).

Freezing DX!

Two important issues are to be announced soon:

1) The list of the accepted reports from DXers of the SWR FDXA Summer Meeting Broadcasts 6-7th August.

2) The King´s Village DX Stations October and November.

While waiting for these news (which are not from the DXleaks) we can enjoy the Art of the Arctic Winds coming from the North Pole at the window of the DX-QTH at King´s Village. Yes, it has been freezing times the last two weeks with temps. down to -20 degrees C. But we are used to manage, unlike the friends of us in Central Europe.

73 TK