Saturday, November 22, 2008

More Wire Procured

I procured an extra 90 feet of wire for the antenna yesterday. That will bring the longwire out to about 240 feet. That length is resonant, at a quarter wave, to about 1000 kilocycles (oops, KHz kilohertz - my age is showing).

It will be interesting to compare signal strengths between the new length and the old 150 ft. length. Signal strengths were markedly improved in going from 70 ft. to 150 ft., generally 2-4 S-units on the long distance mediumwave stuff. I don't expect a like-improvement, but we'll see. I'm anxious to try this out on KALL, 700 KHz, N. Salt Lake City, UT, and KPLY, 630 KHz, Reno, NV, a very difficult daytime catch.

Signal strength improvement on the short range stations (up to 100 miles) was small at best going from 70 ft. to 150 ft. My short range test station is often KBLU, 560 KHz, Yuma, AZ. Its distance is 80 miles. It's a 1 KW station, both night and day, and changes antenna patterns at sundown. Good copy, though somewhat weak during the day, when they shift to the nighttime pattern it is difficult copy as its strength drops to near zero with added Mexican interference. They must have a terrific phasing network.

More on this in a few days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eton E1 Review Coming

Been working for some time on a comprehensive Eton E1 review. It is about 70% complete. I'll be posting it when it is done. The E1 continues to perform admirably. It's sensitivity, particularly on a longwire, is excellent. Selectivity is good as well. It's performance is similar to the Drake SW-8 in many respects, and goes well beyond what one would expect in a portable. Of course, the E1 was a multi-year design effort by the Drake team, so probably not much of a surprise there.

Heard the mystery "presumed" Chinese station again Monday morning (local) at the usual time. Forgot to check it this morning, but will try again tomorrow. Coincidence has it that this station has only been received on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays so far. Possibly another clue in the puzzle? Hopefully we shall see.

Snow back east in New York this morning in the news. We are basking in the 80 degree sunshine as I write. Perfect for outside DXing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

AM Bandscan 530-1000 KHz

Been working on getting the AM bandscan filled out. This is time consuming duty, as many stations these days don't identify as readily as they used to. Sundays is always a good day, especially during football coverage, as they tend to identify more readily during this time.

This first effort covers 530 KHz through 1000 KHz. These are daytime loggings only, according to the rules set forth in a previous post, making sure stations are logged no closer than 3 hours from sunrise and sunset times. These loggings have been recorded since mid-October 2008.

All loggings were recorded using the Eton E1 with a 150 ft. longwire.

530 KHz
540 KHz
550 KHz KFYI Phoenix, AZ 5KW
560 KHz KBLU Yuma, AZ 1KW
570 KHz KLAC Los Angeles, CA 5KW
580 KHz KSAZ Marana, AZ 5KW
590 KHz KSUB Cedar City, UT 5KW
600 KHz KOGO San Diego, CA 5KW
610 KHz
620 KHz KTAR Phoenix, AZ 5KW
630 KHz KPLY Reno, NV 5KW very weak, outstanding catch for daytime
640 KHz KFI Los Angeles, CA 50KW
650 KHz KMTI Manti, UT 10KW
660 KHz KTNN Window Rock, AZ 50KW
670 KHz KBTB? Las Vegas, NV 10KW why won't stations identify?
680 KHz KNBR San Francisco, CA 50KW
690 KHz XETRA Tijuana, BC 78KW
700 KHz KALL N. Salt Lake City, UT 50KW
710 KHz KSPN Los Angeles, CA 50KW
720 KHz KDWN Las Vegas, NV 50KW
730 KHz
740 KHz KCBS San Francisco, CA 50KW
750 KHz
760 KHz KFMB San Diego, CA 50KW
760 KHz KKZN Thornton, CO 50KW
770 KHz KKOB Albuquerque, NM 50KW
780 KHz KAZM Sedona, AZ 5KW
790 KHz XESU La Dinamica Mexicali 1KW
800 KHz
810 KHz KGO San Francisco, CA 50KW
820 KHz Probable Mexican
830 KHz KFLT Tucson, AZ 50KW
830 KHz KLAA Orange, CA 50KW
840 KHz KXNT N. Las Vegas, NV 50KW
850 KHz La ZF, Mexicali 500W
860 KHz Probable Mexican
870 KHz Probable Mexican
880 KHz
890 KHz KDXU St. George, UT 10KW
900 KHz
910 KHz KGME Phoenix, AZ 5KW
910 KHz XEAO R. Mexicana, Mexicali 1KW
920 KHz KBAD Las vegas, NV 5KW
930 KHz KAFF Flagstaff, AZ 5KW
940 KHz XEMMM Mexicali 1KW
950 KHz XEKAM Tijuana, BC 20KW
960 KHz KKNT Phoenix, AZ 5KW
970 KHz KNWS Coachella, CA 5KW
980 KHz KNTR Lake Havasu, AZ 1KW
990 KHz XECL Rocola 990, Mexicali 5KW
1000 KHz Identifies as K-Star

Don't Laugh at Yard Sales

This summer I participated in a multi-family yard sale. Early, I got set up. The other families arrived. One of the familes had some electronics, mostly stereo gear, and was starting to set up across the lawn. I went over and had a look. There, sitting on their table was a Yaesu FRG-7 "Frog", in near mint condition, albeit with a little basement dust. Price: $7.50.

Acting non-chalant and ignorant, I flashed the cash for this little beauty and snatched it up. The owner's father had been a Ham and was now deceased. The rig cleaned up marvelously and works like a champ. The only thing needed was a little main dial alignment. I had one of these rigs in the late 1970s and have been sorry I sold it ever since. What a find! You never know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Presumed Chinese Station Re-emerges

The presumed Chinese station was in again this morning at 1434 UTC (0734-0745L) on 900 kHz. Signal was weak and copyable but steady. Talk and Chinese music. Origin still unknown. Mexican stations are generally weak to non-existant at this time of morning as they have faded out almost completely. A single station on 900 kHz exists in Victoria, BC, but I don't think that is the origin of this signal. The mystery continues.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Desert One

The Desert One monitoring site. Site is located three miles north of Quartzsite, AZ. It is sandwiched between two parallel ranges of mountains which run north and south. These ranges are approximately 11 miles apart, with the receiving location located in the middle. Range heights are roughly 1000 feet higher than the desert floor.
A 150 ft. longwire extends to the northwest on the ground. The Eton E1 is generally fed through the RF Systems magnetic balun, shown just to the rear of the E1 in the photo. Grounding the balun to the truck frame results in a 1-2.5 S-unit increase in signal strength on stations at extreme distance. Negligible strength improvement was found on closer stations within 100 miles or so. Curious indeed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Good Week

All loggings were on the Eton E1 with 150 ft. longwire unless noted.

Nov 1, 2008. 0130 UTC (1830L). KGAB, Orchard Valley, WY. Weak, heard under KMTI, Manti, UT. KGAB cuts power at nighttime from 8.6KW to just 500 watts. Not sure if it was operating under nightime power, but probable, as local time at transmitter was 1930. A good catch, and Wyoming too.

Nov 2, 2008. 1230 UTC (0530L). KSNM, Las Cruces, NM. Heard on truck radio.

Nov 3, 2008. A good opening to Cuba at 2257 UTC (1557L) logged numerous Cuban stations broadcasting the one-second time pip. Though no voice audio or music was apparent, time pip signals were good to excellent.

All loggings below are are presumed. These are the strongest Cuban stations on these frequencies.

530 kHz R. Rebelde 10KW
570 kHz R. Reloj 30KW
590 kHz R. Musical 30KW
770 kHz R. Rebelde (power unknown)
790 kHz R. Reloj 30KW
810 kHz R. Progreso 10KW
880 kHz R. Progreso 30KW
890 kHz R. Progreso 80KW

530 kHz and 810 kHz were the strongest in the pack. All stations were gone by 1615L. This must have been sunset enhancement over Cuba as far as I can tell, as we had lots of daylight left here.

Nov 4, 2008. 1442 UTC (0742L). Medium strength station heard on 900 kHz on the truck radio with deep fades in an oriental language, possibly Chinese, with beautiful oriental music. Faded totally by 0750L. Heard again on Nov 5 morning at the same time, but much weaker. Have not been able to grab this one again on subsequent days this week. China? I sure would like to know the origin of this station.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

KKZN Thornton, Colorado Logged!

Well, only a day has gone by since I was wondering if logging the Denver area during daylight hours was possible from here. It came yesterday afternoon at 1454L.

October 31, 2008. KKZN 760 KHz, Thornton, CO. 50KW station. Distance: 675 miles! Signal strength was S-3. KFMB San Diego was underneath. Eton E1 with 150 ft. longwire. Preamp off. Outstanding!