Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Couple Of 10m QSOs

Today I lost all my 10m QSO loggings thanks to VQLog overwriting itself. I don't know how it happened but I executed the programme in the usual way and a message promptly informed me that I had 30 days left on my trial. That's helpful, especially since this is my own registered (paid for) software. Whether Windows 7 is to blame or the software itself I know not. Luckily for me I had a back up copy of the loggings here and on my old website. Phew!

So, nothing much to write home about but here are a couple of QSOs I recorded earlier today.

    Flag of Algeria                                    Flag of Turkey

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Skegness Illuminations 2012

Nothing to do with radio, but I thought I would throw in a short video I put together earlier this summer which shows some of the sea-front illuminations in town. They actually ended for another year last Sunday (18th) but maybe of interest as there is not a lot happening radio-wise at the moment. Best to select HD and go full screen. Apologies if there is no audio as YouTube may have removed it. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 November 2012

RDS Spy v0.99

Today I moved up to RDS Spy v0.99. This latest version is compatible with most modern sound cards and is designed to work at 16 bit, 44100 kHz. This means I can take VAC out of the equation as all the conversions are done in the new RDS Spy software.

True to form, I installed the software and it didn't work. After performing a System Restore (Windows 7/64), reinstalling the soundcard software and removing Perseus from my laptop, which never worked either but I suspect was part of the conflict, I still had to struggle to make my soundcard find the RDS data and clock signals from my Kenwood KT6040. The problem was not RDS Spy, but my soundcard which had defaulted to use all manner of pointless digital effects which included noise reduction, audio compression and all kinds of other things I didn't need. Realising (eventually) that by switching off all these features, RDS Spy would spring to life.

So, what's v0.99 like? In terms of sensitivity, it seems exactly the same as all the previous versions I have used, but maybe slightly more so. Previous versions I have used include 0.95. 0.97 and 0.98. Initial trials of RDS Spy 0.99 were a little strange though. The first time I ran it I could not get a bitrate error on local Belmont BBC Radio 2 on 88.8 (strong local signal) of less than 20%. This was unusual as all Belmont frequencies produced a 0% error rate on previous versions, yet v0.99 seemed to be slightly more sensitive, producing RDS, with weak signals. I feed the RDS data and clock directly from the demodulator on my Kenwood KT6040 which in turn goes to a Conrad RDS Manager. From this, I tap the clock and data again and run it directly into the microphone input into my laptop. Previous versions of RDS Spy would typically produce PI codes and partial PS names with a signal registering two to three lights on the KT6040's display. This is when using the widest IF filter position and I check this using semi-local stations on which I can vary the signl levels with my rotatable Triax FM5 antenna. With v0.99 I seem to get PI and partial PS with only two lights on the KT6040, virtually without fail. This is impressive.

About an hour later, Windows prompted me to perform some important updates and so it went through the motions and I re-started my laptop accordingly. I don't know if the updates were responsible but something changed after this and I found I could then get a 0% BER on signals from the Belmont transmitter. I did not notice any further improvements in RDS decoding on weaker signals though. It's one of those strange quirks which come along from time to time. Perhaps the re-starting of the laptop made some adjustments to the sound card. Anyway, it all seems to be working well again. Just one odd thing with RDS Spy v0.99 however, when running on an empty channel, it likes to produce a false PI code of "0100" within seconds. I wonder if anybody else experiences this.

RDS Spy can be downloaded freely from  It looks like a full, non-beta version may be on the cards shortly too. I would not hesitate to recommend this software, though configuring it can be tricky, depending on the complexities of individual sound cards and audio levels.

UPDATE 25-11-08
After using version 0.99 for a few days I have to say that this is the most sensitive edition of the software to date! I have a had a few instances of PI and even PS names forming. This is quite unusual as meteor scatter has not been productive since February of this year when I had to lower my FM5s from the mast at the bottom of the garden. One of the FM5s was then transferred to the roof of our bungalow.

My garden FM5s had to be removed due to issues with one of the neighbours and I first thought that the new rooftop location was the reason my continental 'scatter' reception, i.e. meteor scatter, aircraft scatter and troposcatter, had suddenly taken a dive. It's taken almost a year to realise that this was purely coincidence and it was conditions in general which were to blame. This can be readily backed up by comparisons with known DX locations in the Lincolnshire Wolds which also suffered. DXers across the UK also niticed the sudden drop in general scatter conditions around the beginning of the year.

My FM5 is still in free space on the roof and is roughly at the same height as when it was on the mast at the bottom of the garden. A small degree of noise now extends across band 2 as the FM5 is receiving general mains type interference, thankfully not all the time and it is very weak. Most of it emanates from the neighbours who initially made the complaints about my FM5s.

How do I know v0.99 is more sensitive? With the possibility of receiving some meteor scatter from the Leonids I decided to fire up the KT6040 and RDS Spy again and I did this several days in advance see if it would decode a few pings. Quite simply it didn't! I had been using v0.98 but decided to upgrade to v0.99 on the 19th. Suddenly I was able to see several decodes of meteor pings and troposcatter. This has to be down to increased sensitivity from v0.99.

Unfortunately, there is now much more in the way of random PI code generation and this backs up my observations about the increase in sensitivity. Providing you know how to interpret the random PI codes you should be OK though. The random codes tend to be repetitious and the following appear very regularly: 0100 F880 FCE0 and FFE5. There are others but they are quite obviously incorrect. So far though, genuine PI codes show "PTY History".

Sunday, 18 November 2012

India on 10 Metres

It's been another one of those lazy Sundays where I have been ambling around various bands, not quite settling on any one in particular. 10 metres seemed quite active around midday and there were some good signals, but it was one of those days where nothing seemed to work for me. I just couldn't break through the pile-ups. I even moved to the bottom of the band calling CQ in morse and looking at the Reverse Beacon Network to see where my signal might land. Alas, after several calls I finally struggled through to Moscow with a pathetic 4dB signal. 4dB is the lowest signal I have seen reported on the network. I even wondered if there was something was wrong with the aerial, my trusty half-wave wire dipole, strung up just two metres above the ground.

Several CQ calls later in CW and I gave up as there were no further beacon reports. I switched off the IC7000, feeling quite despondent and tried to console myself with a cuppa. I don't know what possessed me to return to the radio and try again but, after making that cuppa, I returned to 10 metres and heard VU2XO calling on 28.535. Th resulting pile-up was too much to contemplate, yet I couldn't resist giving it another try regardless and, to my amazement, I managed to break through with my 10 watts and piece of wire after only two calls, offering a 5/7 report into the New Delhi area! What a result! OK, this wouldn't be a big deal if you were running 1kW and an antenna in the clouds, but I was quite chuffed.

        Date          Time     Call     Locator   In     Out    Mode   Prop  Distance
        18/11/2012    12:15    VU2XO    ML88PQ    5/5    5/7    SSB    F2    6651

You never know if you don't try!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Skegness Band 2 Log: 16-11-12

Band 2 Troposhperic Log: 16-11-12

106.5 0045  G  Project Radio 106.5, London pirate  Deep house  139 km approx **

105.7 0940  D  B5 aktuell, Wendelstein (bay)  ID in talk  1024km

102.3 0943  D  BR Klassik, Wendelstein (bay)  End of classical piece and OM, as web stream  1024km **

103.2 0944  D  hr4, Habichtswald (hes)  German songs, as web stream  647km

87.7 0946  D  MDR Figaro, Chemnitz/Geyer (sac)  ID and classical, as 87.9  905km

87.9 0947  D  MDR Figaro, Inselsberg (thü)  ID and classical, as 87.7  739km

105.4 0950  D  Hitradio RTL Sachsen, Chemnitz/Geyer (sac)  Stefanie Heinzmann song, as web stream  905km

106.3 0952  D  Hit-R. Antenne Niedersachsen, Torfhaus/DTAG (nds)  IDs after pops  707km

106.3 0952  D  SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz, Bad Marienberg (rlp)  German song, as web stream  592km

107.6 0953  D  Antenne Thüringen, Remda (Saalfeld) (thü)  ID and ads  789km

106.8 0956  D  Hit Radio FFH, Driedorf/Höllberg (hes)  ID in news items  605km

106.2 0957  D  hr3, Heidelstein (Rhön) [bay] (hes)  Ad for HR3 Party  729km

105.3 0959  D  B5 aktuell, Kreuzberg (Rhön) (bay)  Weather and ID  732km

103.7 1001  D  Hit Radio FFH, Habichtswald (hes)  Rock track, over Lille  647km

103.5 1002  D  Deutschlandfunk (DLF), Torfhaus/DTAG (nds)  News, as web stream  707km

102.7 1003  D  Deutschlandfunk (DLF), Nordhelle (nrw)  YL news, as 103.5  554km

102.1 1005  D  WDR 2, Olsberg (nrw)  ID in Lincs FM splatter  592km

101.9 1006  D  Antenne Bayern, Heidelstein (Rhön) (bay)  Pops, as web stream  729km **

101.2 1007  D  hr3, Habichtswald (hes)  Rock, as web stream  647km

101.4 1007  D  Radio SAW, Brocken (san)  Pops, as web stream  713km

99.8 1009  D  NDR 2, Steinkimmen (nds)  Pops, as web stream  543km

99.5 1010  D  NDR Info, Torfhaus (Harz-West) (nds)  YL talk, as web stream  707km

99.0 1011  D  hr1, Hoher Meißner (hes)  Uriah Heep, ID  684km

98.0 1014  D  NDR 1 Niedersachsen, Torfhaus (Harz-West) (nds)  Italian song, as 99.8  707km

98.6 1014  D  NDR Info, Steinkimmen (nds)  Weak mixing WDR5 Olsberg. As web stream  543km

97.2 1016  D  Deutschlandradio Kultur, Inselsberg (thü)  YL and OM, as 97.4  739km

97.4 1016  D  Deutschlandradio Kultur, Brocken (san)  YL, as web stream  713km

96.7 1018  D  hr2, Großer Feldberg (Taunus)/hr (hes)  Clasical, over KLFM!  648km

96.3 1019  D  Bayern 3, Kreuzberg (Rhön) (bay)  Pumped Up Kicks, as web stream  732km

94.7 1025  D  Bayern 3, Hoher Bogen (bay)  Difficult in Lille null. Ads and ID  976km **

96.8 1111  D  Bayern 1, Hoher Bogen (bay)  ID and promo  976km **

89.5 1117  D  hr3, Hoher Meißner (hes)  OM phone caller, as web stream  684km

105.1 1150  D  Hit Radio FFH, Hoher Meißner (hes)  Pops, ID and ads  684km

* Personal Skegness 'First'

The final day of the excellent three day tropo event. The last dregs of tropo finally fizzled out during the early part of the afternoon.


94.7 Bayern 3, Hoher Bogen 1024 16-11-12

96.8 Bayern 1, Hoher Bogen 1113 16-11-12

Sony XDR-F1HD (tropospheric)
Kenwood KT6040 (sporadic E & meteor scatter)
Icom IC7000 (OIRT)
Conrad RDS Manager

Rooftop Triax FM5, 8m AGL
Yaesu G-5500 azimuthal/elevation rotator

RDS Spy v0.97
VAC v4.10

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Skegness Band 2 Log: 15-11-12

Band 2 Tropospheric Log: 15-11-12

97.8 0002  F  France Culture, Tours/Chissay [41] (37)  OM talk, as others  646km

107.2 0033  D  WDR Eins Live, Ederkopf (nrw)  YL on phone to OM. As web stream  593km

93.6 0037  D  SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz, Scharteberg (Eifel) (rlp)  Pops, as web stream. V weak  550km

89.2 0110  F  France Culture, Cherbourg-Octeville/Digosville (50)  OMs, as 98.0  413km

100.7 0111  F  France Bleu Cotentin, Cherbourg-Octeville/Digosville (50)  French song, as 94.7  413km

105.7 0119  D  B5 aktuell, Wendelstein (bay)  OM  YL discussion, as web stream. V weak  1024km

105.6 0130  D  SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz, Donnersberg (rlp)  Mull Of Kintyre, as web stream  657km

107.1 0131  D  SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz, Haardtkopf (rlp)  Mull Of Kintyre, as web stream  593km

107.1 0134  D  Radio TON Ostwürttemberg, Aalen/Braunenberg (bwü)  ID jingle after news. Pops  835km **

98.1 0138  D  SWR3, Aalen/Braunenberg (bwü)  Bryan Adams, as web stream  835km **

91.1 0140  D  SWR2, Aalen/Braunenberg (bwü)  Classical music, as web stream  835km **

97.1 0303  G  BBC Radio 1, Les Platons (JER)  Club beats, as 98.3  466km **

89.6 0306  G  BBC Radio 2, Les Platons (JER)  As others  466km **

91.1 0306  G  BBC Radio 3, Les Platons (JER)  As others  466km **

94.8 0308  G  BBC Radio 4 FM, Les Platons (JER)  As others  466km **

107.6 0814  D  big fm (Rheinland-Pfalz), Bornberg (rlp)  Modern pops, OM  YL, as web stream  640km

107.3 0816  D  SWR4 Baden-Württemberg, Raichberg (bwü)  Neil Diamond song, as web stream  813km

106.9 0817  D  B5 aktuell, Grünten (Allgäu) (bay)  YL, as web stream  942km

88.4 0821  F  France Culture, Bar-le-Duc/Willeroncourt (55)  OM  YL talk, as web stream  607km **

88.3 0823  F  France Culture, Longwy/Bois de Châ (54)  OMs, as 88.4  554km

88.9 0825 LUX RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg, Dudelange/Ginsterberg (gld)  Pops, as web stream  574km

97.9 0827  F  France Culture, Troyes/les Riceys (10)  CULTURE  643km

95.3 0829  F  France Inter, Troyes/les Riceys (10)  INTER  643km

93.3 0830  F  France Musique, Chaumont/Chalindrey (52)  MUSIQUE  694km

92.2 0832  D  SWR3, Stuttgart/Hoher Bopser (bwü)  Stuttgart traffic report. ID  790km

99.0 0835 AUT Hitradio Ö3, Salzburg 1/Gaisberg (ORS) (sal)  Vweak with various pops, as web stream  1081km **

99.0 0840  D  hr1, Hoher Meißner (hes)  YL as web, mixing pops from ORF3  684km

97.5 0842  D  SWR3, Bornberg (rlp)  YL  OM lively chat, as web stream  640km

98.4 0843  D  SWR3, Hornisgrinde/SWR (bwü)  US pop song, as web stream  748km

100.4 0844  D  Radio Regenbogen, Hornisgrinde/SWR (bwü)  Icehouse song, as web stream. Noise free 2 bars  748km

100.6 0848  D  Deutschlandfunk (DLF), Witthoh (Tuttlingen) (bwü)  Echoey OM, as web stream  834km **

101.7 0852  D  Radio Salü, Saarbrücken/Schoksberg (saa)  Ads, as web stream  628km

102.8 0859  F  France Bleu Besançon, Besançon/Montfaucon (25)  Local jingle ID after chat  774km **

95.0 0902  F  France Musique, Besançon/Montfaucon (25)  Classical, as 91.8, etc.  774km **

99.2 0908  F  France Inter, Orléans/Traînou (45)  OM, as web stream  590km

99.5 0909  F  France Inter, Auxerre/Molesmes (89)  OM, as 99.2  655km **

106.3 0913  D  Deutschlandfunk (DLF), Hornisgrinde/SWR (bwü)  OM, as web stream  748km

95.4 0918 SUI DRS2, Säntis (ar)  GM OM serious talk, as web stream  917km

94.3 0919  D  SWR3, Raichberg (bwü)  Rock song, as web stream  813km

93.8 0920  D  SWR2, Waldenburg (bwü)  YL featuring rap music, as 93.0  786km **

93.0 0922  D  SWR2, Haardtkopf (rlp)  YL featuring rap music, as 93.8  593km

92.7 0926  D  hr3, Hardberg (hes)  OM promo, ID and pops  712km

92.1 0928  F  France Musique, Laval-Evron/Mont Rochard (53)  Classical, as 91.8, etc.  550km

90.4 0933  F  France Culture, Chaumont/Chalindrey (52)  YL and spooky music, as web. Two bars!  694km

96.5 0947  F  France Inter, Chaumont/Chalindrey (52)  OM with echo against Rouen  694km **

98.5 0957  F  France Culture, Sens/Gisy-les-Nobles (89)  OMs, as 98.0  577km

99.8 0959  F  France Inter, Metz/Luttange (57)  OM  YL, as 99.6  600km

99.9 1000  F  France Inter, Tours/Chissay [41] (37)  YLs and pops, as 99.8  646km

101.6 1003  D  hr4, Hardberg (hes)  Deep voiced OM, as web stream  712km

105.7 1008  D  B5 aktuell, Wendelstein (bay)  V weak. YL as web stream  1024km

106.8 1013  D  Hit Radio FFH, Driedorf/Höllberg (hes)  Pops, as 105.9  605km

101.3 1025  F  France Bleu Auxerre, Auxerre/Molesmes (89)  Phone in competition, as web stream  655km

105.7 1030  D  SWR2, Stuttgart/Hoher Bopser (bwü)  Discordant strings, as web stream  790km

107.9 1037  D  BR Klassik, Kreuzberg (Rhön) (bay)  Classical, as web stream  732km

107.7 1040 LUX Den Neie Radio (DNR), Blaschette/Kandel (gld)  DNR Mit Gud Musik ID  557km

105.3 1048  D  B5 aktuell, Kreuzberg (Rhön) (bay)  YL, as 106.9  732km

104.9 1052  D  big fm (Rheinland-Pfalz), Ahrweiler/Schöneberg (rlp)  Rap, as web stream  554km

104.8 1054  D  hr1, Heidelstein (Rhön) [bay] (hes)  Pop/rock song, as web stream  729km

107.3 1108  F  Radio Classique, Chantilly/Apremont (60)  Piano concerto, as web stream  461km **

87.8 1128  F  Radio Courtoisie, Cherbourg-Octeville (50)  Discussion group, as web stream  414km

107.1 1129  F  France Bleu 107.1, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  Vocal ID  497km

89.5 1151  F  France Culture, Auxerre/Molesmes (89)  OM  YL, as 88.5  655km

96.2 1152  D  SWR2, Hornisgrinde/SWR (bwü)  YL talk, as web stream  748km **

105.9 1155  D  Hit Radio FFH, Großer Feldberg (Taunus)/hr (hes)  FFH  648km

105.0 1158  D  Hit Radio FFH, Krehberg (hes)  ID and traffic report  698km

107.6 1208  D  B5 aktuell, Hühnerberg (bay)  ID and chat  871km **

87.9 1214  D  MDR Figaro, Inselsberg (thü)  OM on phone, as web stream  739km

87.8 1219  F  France Inter, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  Echo with second Inter tx  497km

87.8 1220  F  France Inter, Several low power txs listed  Echo against Paris. Possibilities: 
                 Péronne (80) 400 km 
                 Avesnes-sur-Helpe (59) 421  
                 Wissingnicourt (02) 456 km 
                 Saint-Dié 2 (88) 714 km **

90.6 1223  D  hr1, Hardberg (hes)  OM  YL talking over pops, as web stream  712km

93.9 1242  D  SWR2, Bornberg (rlp)  Jolly wind section, as web stream  640km

107.7 1244  D  Antenne Bayern, Hochries (bay)  OM  YL, ID  music, as web stream  1034km

98.6 1309  F  France Inter, Épinal/Bois de la Vierge (88)  ID after TV review. Almost noise free on peak  704km **

92.4 1310  F  France Culture, Épinal/Bois de la Vierge (88)  YL, as 98.0  704km **

91.6 1317  F  France Musique, Mulhouse/Belvédère (68)  Classical music, as 91.8, etc.  781km **

98.2 1342  F  France Inter, Vittel/Thuillières (88)  OM  YLs, as web stream  684km **

104.5 1352  F  France Info, Bar-le-Duc/Willeroncourt (55)  Presume Bar Le Duc as Culture  88.4 is weak to fair  607km **

104.1 1354  D  WDR 4, Olsberg (nrw)  Noise free stereo, as 103.8 Nordhelle  592km

103.5 1355  D  RPR 1., Ahrweiler/Schöneberg (rlp)  Vocal ID and pops  554km

103.6 1355  D  RPR 1., Kalmit (rlp)  Vocal ID, as 103.5  688km

101.2 1412  D  hr3, Habichtswald (hes)  Rembrandts and Pet Shop Boys, as web stream  647km

 99.4 1419  F  France Culture, Sarrebourg/le Donon (57)  OMs, as 98.0  704km **

106.8 1422  F  France Info, Metz/Luttange (57)  OM  YL, as web stream  600km

90.7 1426  D  Bayern 1, Grünten (Allgäu) (bay)  Soft rock song, as web stream  942km **

92.1 1430  D  NDR 2, Torfhaus (Harz-West) (nds)  Rock song, YL ID and info  707km

94.0 1439  F  France Musique, Vittel/Thuillières (88)  Screeching strings, as 93.8  684km

94.6 1440  D  MDR 1 Radio Sachsen-Anhalt, Brocken (san)  Murray Head song, as web stream  713km

95.1 1441  D  SWR1 Baden-Württemberg, Aalen/Braunenberg (bwü)  Peaking above Langenberg briefly, as web stream  835km **

95.8 1444  D  WDR 5, Ederkopf (nrw)  OM  YL talk, as web stream  593km

96.3 1447  D  Bayern 3, Kreuzberg (Rhön) (bay)  U2 With Or Without You, as web stream  732km

97.7 1448  D  SWR1 Rheinland-Pfalz, Haardtkopf (rlp)  Bee Gees cover song, as web stream  593km

101.8 1452  D  WDR 2, Ederkopf (nrw)  OM  YL talk, as 101.0  593km

103.4 1455  D  Antenne 1, Raichberg (bwü)  Jingle ID between info  813km **

106.1 1504  D  Deutschlandradio Kultur, Olsberg (nrw)  OM talk, as web stream  592km

106.2 1504  D  hr3, Heidelstein (Rhön) [bay] (hes)  HR3 Wetter  729km

87.6 1511  F  RMC, Le Havre/Harfleur (76)  Discussion, as web stream  406km

89.0 1513  F  RFI Paris, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  FR YL talking over music, as web stream  497km

92.8 1515  F  Music Box, Pontoise/Vaux-sur-Seine (95)  Gospel soul, as web atream  475km

93.3 1518  F  France Culture, Le Havre/Harfleur (76)  YL vocal ID  406km **

93.9 1520  F  Vivre FM/R. Campus Paris, Paris/Fort de Romainville (93)  OMs talk, as web stream  496km **

94.3 1526  F  Radio Orient, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  Almost noise free. Asian music, as web stream  497km **

101.4 1548  F  France Bleu Besançon, Besançon/Lomont (25)  Local ID and info  783km **

105.1 1555  F  FIP, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  Jazzy French song, as web stream  497km **

105.9 1556  F  RTL 2, Paris/Tour Eiffel (75)  Jingle ID and pops  497km **

107.0 1610  F  Eole, Montbard/Les Justices (21)  IDs and pops, as web stream. Almost noise free peaks  676km **

107.2 1616  F  Chérie FM, Besançon/Fort de Brégille (25)  Grungy love song, ads, phone caller, as web stream  773km **

107.5 1625  F  Plein Coeur, Vesoul/la Croix de Cassini (70)  Jingle ID and pops  744km **

87.7 1641  F  France Culture, Strasbourg/TDF Nordheim (67)  OM phone in, as 98.0. Noise free!  709km

95.0 1643  F  France Musique, Strasbourg/TDF Nordheim (67)  Classical music, as 91.8, etc.  709km **

97.3 1644  F  France Inter, Strasbourg/TDF Nordheim (67)  OM talk, as web stream. Over LBC  709km **

101.4 1646  F  France Bleu Alsace, Strasbourg/TDF Nordheim (67)  OM and jingle ID. Phone caller  709km **

88.0 1657  D  SR 1 Europawelle, Göttelborner Höhe (saa)  ID after traffic report  629km

106.7 1659  D  big fm (Rheinland-Pfalz), Kalmit (rlp)  Pops, as web stream. Langenberg nulled beaming further to south  688km

102.3 1714  D  AFN Stuttgart-The Eagle, Stuttgart/Frauenkopf (bwü)  Santa Claus Stars and Strips promo, ID  790km **

103.0 1719  D  SWR3, Grünten (Allgäu) [bay] (bwü)  OM talking over soft music, as web stream  942km **

103.4 1721  F  France Info, Lyon/Mont Pilat (42)  YL correspondent, as web stream  917km

99.8 1723  F  France Inter, Lyon/Mont Pilat (42)  Live concert, as web stream  917km

92.4 1724  F  France Musique, Lyon/Mont Pilat (42)  Jazzy music, as 88.7  917km

89.6 1725  F  France Musique, Gex/Montrond (01)  Jazz, as 88.7  858km **

99.9 1740 SUI RTS La Première, Säntis (ar)  OM and YL political talks, as web stream  917km **

107.8 1740 SUI RSI1, Säntis (ar)  Noise free. Italian OM, as web stream  917km

101.5 1742  D  RPR 1., Koblenz/Kühkopf (rlp)  Almost noise free. ID. Tacolneston nulled a little  590km **

101.6 1745  D  Bayern 1, Gelbelsee (bay)  YL and OM, old pop song, as web stream.  905km **

101.9 1747  D  Antenne Bayern, Prob Heidelstein (Rhon) but Hoher Bogen also here  Pops, as web stream **

102.0 1749  D  B5 aktuell, Dillberg (bay)  Political talk, as web stream  879km **

103.1 1753  D  RPR 1., Bornberg (rlp)  Move Like Jagger, as 103.5  640km **

88.4 1804  D  Bayern 2, Pfaffenberg (bay)  OM serious talk, as web stream  713km

93.4 1805  D  Bayern 3, Pfaffenberg (bay)  Jingle ID after traffic report  713km

89.0 1806  D  89.0 RTL, Brocken (san)  Rock music, as web stream  713km

89.3 1809  D  hr3, Großer Feldberg (Taunus)/hr (hes)  German pops, in Holme Moss null, as web stream  648km

89.9 1812  D  NDR Kultur, Torfhaus (Harz-West) (nds)  ID and piano music  707km

89.9 1814  D  NDR Kultur, Torfhaus (Harz-West) (nds)  ID and piano piece  707km

90.2 1816  D  MDR JUMP, Inselsberg (thü)  ID and rock song  739km

91.8 1819  D  SWR2, Raichberg (bwü)  OM interview, as web stream  813km **

92.3 1820  D  WDR 2, Sackpfeife (Wittgenstein) [hes] (nrw)  Rock song, ID and phone caller, as web stream  612km **

92.9 1823  D  SWR1 Baden-Württemberg, Langenbrand (bwü)  Pops, as web stream  755km **

97.1 1845  D  SWR3, Witthoh (Tuttlingen) (bwü)  Blondie song, as web stream  834km **

97.2 1846  D  Deutschlandradio Kultur, Inselsberg (thü)  YL talk, as web stream  739km

92.5 1853 LUX RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg, Hosingen/Banert (gld)  OM and Luxembourgian song, as 88.9  530km **

97.0 1854 LUX RTL Radio, Hosingen/Banert (gld)  Youssou NDour song, as web stream  530km **

93.7 1915  F  France Musique, Mende/Truc de Fortunio (48)  Shrieking operatics, as web stream  974km

88.0 1931  F  Fréquence Horizon, Béthune-Lens/Bouvigny-Boyeffles CV11 (62)  Ad break, ID and Michael Jackson, as web stream  344km

87.7 2207  D  MDR Figaro, Chemnitz/Geyer (sac)  Clasical, as 87.9  905km

107.1 2348  D  B5 aktuell, Ochsenkopf (bay)  YL talk, as web stream  865km

** Personal Skegness 'First'

This was day two of the best tropo I have experienced since moving to Skegness. No fewer than 55 personal firsts were received today! I doubt that figure will ever be beaten in future tropo events.

For me, one of the most impressive parts of today's tropo was when I rotated the FM5 to the vertical plane. Because there was such widespread tropo to France I thought the possilibities would be very interesting. Going vertical enabled be to hear lots of lower powered French vertcals which I wouldn't have heard in horizontal. It wasn't just the nearer French stations which came through. I was amazed by the reception of Eole and Plein Coeur, two stations I had not previously heard, nor even known! Many stations simply 'got away', there were so many of them. I didn't even bother checking Belgium and Holland, which were also greatly enhanced. How much can you do?

The highlight was reception of Austria's Hitradio O3 on 99.0 though it wasn't handed to me on a plate: I was convinced I was hearing this after midnight on the 15th but it was extremely weak and there was so much splatter from BBC Radio 1 on 98.9 I could never get enough of a window on 99.0. The signal was so weak I just wasn't convinced enough. I usually like to hear at least a couple of songs in parallel with the station's web stream to be certain. Come 08:35 however I was clearly hearing songs from Hitradio 03, but signals were still very weak. I checked with their web stream once more and, after hearing two songs which were definitely those of Hitradio 03's and not HR1's, I was satisfied my reception was 100%.

Luck was on my side regarding being at home for this magnificent tropo as Crystal, our Rottweiler, gave birth to ten pups over the weekend so we have had a few days away from work to help look after them. This has meant no going out!


100.4 Radio Regengogen, Hornisgrinde 0843 15-11-12

102.8 France Bleu Besancon, Besancon-Montfaucon 0857 15-11-12

107.7 DNR Blaschette 1040 15-11-12

106.9 B5 Aktuell, Grunten 1044 15-11-12

105.9 Hit Radio FFH, Grosse Feldberg 1155 15-11-12

107.1 Radio TON, Aalen 1200 15-11-12

107.6 B5 Aktuell, Huhnerberg 1206 15-11-12

98.6 France Inter, Epinal 1308 15-11-12

107.7 Antenne Bayern, Hochries 1326 14-03-12

103.6 RPR1, Kalmit 1457 15-11-12

103.4 Antenne 1, Raichberg 1454 15-11-12

106.3 HR3, Heidelstein (Rhon) 1504 15-11-12

93.3 France Culture, Le Havre 1517 15-11-12

101.4 France Bleu Besancon, Besancon-Lomont 1547 15-11-12

105.9 RTL2, Paris Tour Eifel 1554 15-11-12

107.0 Eole, Montbard 1608 15-11-12

107.5 Plein Coeur, Vesoul 1624 15-11-12

106.9 B5 Aktuell, Grunten 1712 15-11-12

102.3 AFN The Eagle, Stuttgart 1714 15-11-12

101.5 RPR1, Koblenz 1743 15-11-12

92.3 WDR2, Sackpfeife (Wittgenstein) 1819 15-11-12

92.9 SWR1, Langenbrand 1826 15-11-12

A couple of other recordings of interest:

A snippet of Swiss reception on 107.8. This is Rete Uno from Santis:

107.8 Rete Uno, Santis, peaking around mid afternoon

Finally, to demonstrate how I separated France Inter's Chaumont Chalindrey transmitter from France Inter's Rouen transmitter on 96.5: The following recording demonstrates how rotating the FM5 from south-east to south enabled me to separate the two transmitters. If it wasn't for the split-second time lag between the two I wouldn't have been able to do this.

96.5 France Inter, Chaumont Chalindrey > Rouen > Chaumont Chalindrey 0935 15-11-12

Sony XDR-F1HD (tropospheric)
Kenwood KT6040 (sporadic E & meteor scatter)
Icom IC7000 (OIRT)
Conrad RDS Manager

Rooftop Triax FM5, 8m AGL
Yaesu G-5500 azimuthal/elevation rotator

RDS Spy v0.97
VAC v4.10

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Skegness Band 2 Log: 14-11-12

Band 2 Tropospheric Log: 14-11-12

92.8 1927  F  France Musique, Auxerre/Molesmes (89)  Modern classical, as 91.8, etc.  655km

94.3 1930  F  France Bleu Creuse, Guéret/Signal du Maupuy (23)  Awful Des'ree song and FR OM, as 94.7  785km

94.6 1932  F  France Inter, Chartres/Montlandon (28)  Hit The Road Jack song, as 103.7  531km

95.0 1933  F  France Inter, Mantes-la-Jolie/Maudétour [95] (78)  Hit The Road Jack song, as 103.7  463km

95.3 1934  F  France Inter, Troyes/les Riceys (10)  Hit The Road Jack song, as 103.7  643km

92.2 1945  F  France Musique, Tours/Chissay [41] (37)  String concerto, as 91.8. Noise free  646km

105.0 1946  F  France Bleu Touraine, Tours/Chissay [41] (37)  FR OM, as 94.7  646km

98.1 1948  F  France Culture, Chartres/Montlandon (28)  Documentary, as 98.0  531km

93.3 2005  F  France Musique, Chaumont/Chalindrey (52)  String concerto, as 91.8. V weak  694km

91.4 2011  F  France Musique, Troyes/les Riceys (10)  Classical, as others. More scatter than tropo  643km

89.8 2012  F  France Musique, Abbeville/Limeux (80)  String concerto, as 91.8. V weak  364km

91.0 2012  F  France Musique, Alençon/Mont d'Amain (61)  String concerto, as 91.8. V weak  498km

88.0 2013  F  France Culture, Alençon/Mont d'Amain (61)  OM  YL, as 98.0  498km

107.8 2224 SUI RSI1, Säntis (ar)  Rolling Stones/Jagger song, as web stream  917km

97.9 2235  F  France Culture, Troyes/les Riceys (10)  Nasal OM, as 98.0. Weak  643km

89.9 2238  F  France Musique, Rennes/Saint-Pern (35)  Discordant piano, as others. Almost noise free  564km

93.8 2354  F  France Musique, Sens/Gisy-les-Nobles (89)  Sombre strings, as 91.8, etc. Vweak  577km

95.8 2357  F  France Culture, Orléans/Traînou (45)  Echoey OM, as 98.0  590km

Day one of the best tropo I have experienced since moving to Skegness.

Sony XDR-F1HD (tropospheric)
Kenwood KT6040 (sporadic E & meteor scatter)
Icom IC7000 (OIRT)
Conrad RDS Manager

Rooftop Triax FM5, 8m AGL
Yaesu G-5500 azimuthal/elevation rotator

RDS Spy v0.97
VAC v4.10

Monday, 12 November 2012

Beverages In The Wash! 1500 File

What a bizarre title. It sounds like I have put some drinks in the washing machine! Luckily, most of us radio folk know what this means. For those who don't, it involves rolling out hundreds of metres of wire along the ground in remote places, only to coil it back up again a few hours later. Wait a minute ... it's easier to put the drinks in the washing machine. I'll do that next time. ;O)

My plan was to create a dedicated logbook on the FM List where DX reports could be submitted and credited to DXers who have listened to my Perseus SDR files recorded at The Wash using a beverage pointing towards the far east. As I am no expert in identification of stations from the far east I know I am going to need some help. Tim Bucknall has been enormously supportive of this project and has offered an immense amount of help, going through my various far east files over the last few years.

If anybody does download this, or any other Perseus file and makes a log, full credit will always be given to them, providing there's a small mention of the originating location, etc. Please let me know if you do this or if you hear something interesting or unusual on the recording.

Comments and opinions are always welcome.

The file can be downloaded at: Perseus SDR File: 12-11-12 1500

Below is a simple list of a few of the more notable stations I heard on the file. I will update the detail concerning transmitter sites, etc. as necessary.

Please note that the PC clock time was 35 seconds fast at the time. I have allowed for this so that the exact top of the hour is centered correctly along the playback bar.

 567 Radio Rossii, Asiatic, mixing Volgograd
 594 Radio Mayak, Krasnoyarsk or Surgut
 639 2 x CNR1, multi-tx
 666 Chinese time pips. 
Various regionals listed
 666 Oriental music? 
 684 Chinese. Oriental OM mixing Oriental woman preaching
 711 Radio Rossii, Naryan-Mar

 711 China very weak
 720 Chinese time pips, better in USB
 756 CNR1, Harbin. At least two Chinese time pips, maybe three
 783 Chinese time pips in LSB
 810 Radio Mayak, Volgograd
Chinese time pips
 855 Chinese time pips
 891 Radio Mayak, Tyumen

 891 HLKB KBS2, Busan
 900 Chinese time pips. Many stations listed

 900 Oriental OM not part of time pips. Usual "Guangbo.. " ID ***
 918 Very weak Chinese time signal. Shangdong RGD Presumed. Many
     transmitters though

 918 Woman talking in Thai?
 927 At least three Chinese time pips
 927 Oriental OM
 927 Oriental music
 936 Chinese time pips. Lots of possibilities
 936 Echoey Chinese OM. Several possibilities
 945 Two lots of Chinese time pips. CNR1 multiple sites
 963 Two lots of Chinese time pips. Multiple sites
 972 HLCA KBS Liberty 1, Dangjin
 981 CNR1, Easily a
 dozen Chinese time pips! Changchung the usual

1008 Japanese or Korean time pips

1008 Radio Taiwan International, Lukang
1017 CRI, Changchun

1017 Chinese time pips
1017 Weak Oriental music and speech
1035 CNR1 multi. At least two, maybe three Chinese time pips
1044 CRI, Changzhou

1044 Chinese time pips
1071 Chinese time pips
1098 Radio Taiwan International, Kouhu

1125 Two lots of Chinese time pips
1134 Japanese or Korean time pips

1170 KBS World, Gimje
1170 CNR1, Unknown site
1179 Chinese time pips in LSB
1224 Japanese or Korean time pips

1278 Chinese. V weak
1287 Chinese time pips
1287 Oriental singing
1296 Chinese time pips
1305 CNR2, Multiple
1341 Chinese time pips and OM on USB
1350 Chinese time pips
1359 Chinese time pips
1377 Chinese time pips - mostly over France!
1404 Chinese time pips
1413 Japanese or Korean time pips

1413 Chinese time pips
1467 Oriental

1467 Chinese time pips
1476 Chinese time pips

1512 Jinan PBS, Tentative. "Gushi Guanbo" ID. Tnx Mika Makelainen
1521 CRI, Urumqi
1539 CNR1,
1557 BCC, BCC Kouhu
1566 Oriental OM
1575 Oriental OM

1575 Chinese time pips
1593 Japanese or Korean time pips. V weak Chinese station

1593 CNR1, Changzhou

Perseus SDR

Beverage (on the ground), approximately 380m in length at 45 degrees, terminated directly to earth.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Modern Technology Vs Tradition

Looking back through some old posts on several radio groups (I can list them) I see some fairly sharp criticism dished out to members for the way in which they enjoy their hobby. Much of this is technology related. It is bad enough, as a DXer, that we are sometimes singled out as weirdos because we have a niche hobby, but you would expect that we hobbyists who share the same interests would understand each other better and get on well together. This is not always the case, for we have divided ourselves up into even smaller, nichier (is there such a word?) little communities. Some examples:

List Loggers:
There are those who prefer to listen to their DX for several minutes if they are able while others just want to log something and quickly move to the next frequency to see if something else is coming through;

Broadband DXing:
Some people like to DX with their broadband SDR receivers, recording large chunks of the radio spectrum while others would rather have a big knob in their face! (Yes, I did say that) and monitor a single frequency;

Propagation Alerts & DX Clusters:
Some of us radio creatures like to monitor DX Clusters so we can see where the activity is and act accordingly, while others like to fend for themselves and tune around, looking for the DX;

Carrier Monitoring
Some DXers monitor the carriers of television stations. These can act as a pointer to the current state of propagation. "But it's not radio" some would say. Yet it clearly is radio, but in a more fundamental way. Carriers can be of great use, despite the lack of audio or video which might provide station identification, however the precise 'offsets' of some carriers was often, even usually known.

Social Media:
Lo and behold a new one cropped up on SkywavesMW today where a member was criticised for making use of YouTube, where he was able to show the world how he used his receiver to pick up some rare DX catches. The argument was that he should have reported a log directly to the group. Many people make use of social media these days to stay in touch and promote the hobby. We have Bloggers, Facebookers, Tweeters and a huge range of other filesharing methods. Surely it is up to the individual how they want to store and share their files?

To some, these issues obviously matter, but we do not have to follow rules and regulations in order to enjoy our hobby. I do find it sad and unfortunate that a few DXers are prepared to fall out about these differences, clearly stating that one method is right while the other is wrong. In the space of a few days I was accused of cheating for using an SDR receiver, then blow me, somebody had a go at me for List Logging - that is, purposely logging as many stations as they can. Consider amateur radio where "Radio Sport" is a popular pastime, also known as Contesting. This has become a big part of the amateur radio community. The purpose of which is to collect points while logging as many countries or grid squares as possible along the way. It's all a bit of fun and I would say "each to their own". For me, the radio ham contest gives me the opportunity to add new countries to my logbook in a much simpler way as opposed to having to wait in a long queue while other hams finish their chinwag before I can try to work them.

As for the new breed of radio, the SDR (Software Defined Radio) has simply enabled me to realise my full DX potential. Before the days of the SDR I could only listen, or record, a single frequency in the hope of receiving something new and exciting. This was restrictive, because I never considered my location was any good for receiving exotic DX and, at the time, I never once received anything from the North American west coast or from the Canadian Prairies on medium wave in years of listening. The moment I invented in a Perseus SDR receiver I was able to record ALL medium wave frequencies overnight and play them back at a later time, so I missed nothing. If the exotic DX was there then I would have it. From the moment I bought the SDR I received many exotic west coast USA and Canadian stations, not to mention the Canadian Prairies, the North West Territories AND the impossible (so I thought) ... ALASKA! (and several times!) So, whether you consider this cheating or not, the full DX potential of my location was quickly realised and my logbook grew in size accordingly.

Even the use of the "DX Cluster" has become a bone of contention to some, suggesting that enthusiasts are finding the location and frequency of the DX and going straight to it as a result - the cheats! Really? These are excellent facilities, to be able to see the DX and go straight to it. I do see how this could take out the element of chance for some and I am happy to go along with that.

Would I like to go back to single frequency listening with a tuning knob? Will I continue to dash around the bands like there's no tomorrow? Will I continue to use DX clusters so I can see where the propagation is? The answer is simple: If it increases the size of my logbook and it's legal then I will do it. I confess I am a DX junkie. A List Logger! Call me whatever you like. If you like to do the opposite then that's fine with me. There's no accounting for our tastes so let's just enjoy and stop falling out about it. Of course I have my own preferences, but I don't have a problem with the alternatives.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

CBG Carrier - 1400 kHz

This is a screen grab of the Perseus SDR receiver, showing what I presume to be the carrier of CBG in Gander, Newfoundland, on 1400 kHz medium wave. This appeared today at approximately 17:35. I hope this is a precursor to good transatlantic conditions overnight on the 4th/5th. (Please note: The Perseus SDR had not been calibrated prior to this)

A Lazy Weekend (10m Activity)

Not much work to do over the weekend and so I lounged around on 10m. My intention was to get up to 50 countries worked (up from 42) but I only increased to 43 countries thanks to working Moldova via Es.

But today, I tried something different, just to see how my 10 watts were getting out. Fellow ham David, MM3FYA in Ayrshire, suggested I call CQ on 10m but at the same time check to see if I have been 'spotted' on the Reverse Beacon website. I did so, to no avail at first, but it wasn't long before my signal was reported as being heard as far away as Curacao! The Reverse Beacon website listed the following 'spotters' thus:

K3MM G1VVP28022.9CW CQ7 dB20 wpm1621z 04 Nov
W3LPL G1VVP28022.9CW CQ3 dB20 wpm1621z 04 Nov
PJ2T G1VVP28022.8CW CQ5 dB20 wpm1619z 04 Nov
NY3A G1VVP28022.8CW CQ5 dB20 wpm1439z 04 Nov
W3LPL G1VVP28022.9CW CQ8 dB20 wpm1439z 04 Nov
K3MM G1VVP28022.9CW CQ9 dB20 wpm1438z 04 Nov

I think I might put a few more calls out tomorrow to see where my signal is getting! ;O)