Monthly Archives: February 2015

AWR Special QSL

With thanks to Bob Padula via Cumbre DX:

MEDIA RELEASE FROM ADVENTIST WORLD RADIO
Adventist World Radio Offers Special QSL Stamp for Kigali Broadcasts

At the beginning of this current Transmission Period B14 October 6, 2014, Adventist World Radio began a relay service from the Deutsche Welle shortwave relay station near Kigali in Rwanda Africa. The AWR relay via DW Kigali is on the air for a total of 2½ transmitter hours daily in three languages, French, Amharic & Fulfulde. In one particular time block, two transmitters carry the programming in parallel.

However, Deutsche Welle has subsequently announced that they plan to close their African relay station at the end of this current Transmission Period B14 March 28, 2015 and then dismantle the station. The last AWR broadcasts from DW Kigali will therefor also end at the same time.

For those who would like to receive a QSL card for these now short term broadcasts, AWR would welcome all reception reports from listeners in any part of the world. Each reception report will be verified with a QSL card (not an Email QSL), and the envelope will be affixed with genuine postage stamps, not postal labels. In addition, while supplies last, a special QSL stamp showing Kigali will be attached to the QSL card.

It is not necessary to send an off-air recording of your reception. We just need your honest reception report on paper. Where possible, please enclose return postage in the form of currency notes in any international currency, or mint postage stamps. Please note that IRC coupons are too expensive for you to buy, and they are no longer valid in the United States.
Also please enclose your address label.

The only address for the special Kigali QSL stamp is the Indianapolis address at:-

Adventist World Radio, Box 29235, Indianapolis, Indiana 46229, USA.

All reception reports, including all that have already been received, will be QSLed in due course. However, please be patient with us as we already hold uncounted hundreds of reception reports still pending, and it may take us many months to process them all.

The current AWR website shows the following scheduling for the daily Kigali transmissions:-
0600 – 0630 UTC 15700 kHz French
0600 – 0630 17800 French
1700 – 1730 9490 Amharic
1930 – 2000 17800 Fulfulde
2000 – 2030 17800 French

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Eritrea Project 2015

From Southgate ARC:

The SEISA/Foundation for Global Children is pleased to announce our next activity as ‘Eritrea Project 2015‘. As part of this project, we will conduct an amateur radio DXpedition from Asmara Eritrea, from March 6th to 17th, 2015.

A multi-national team of nine operators, consisting of:
Zorro – JH1AJT Team Leader
Paul – N6PSE Co-Leader
Franz – DJ9ZB
Jay – JA1TRC
Yuki – JH1NBN
Kazu – JH1OGX
Thomas – NQ7R
David – WD5COV
Dmitri – RA9USU

We are very excited about this announcement as it has taken many months of careful planning and negotiations to bring about this amateur radio event. Our DXpedition call sign will be assigned to us upon our arrival in the capitol of Asmara.

We will use four transceivers consisting of two Elecraft K3 radios with the KPA500 amplifiers and two Kenwood TS590 transceivers with the ACOM 1010 amplifiers.

We will use beam antennas for the high bands (10-20 meters) and four verticals for the low bands (30-160 meters) We will try to work every area as much as possible.

Our QSL Manager is Tim – M0URX.

We are thankful to have the following sponsors supporting our Plans:

Northern California DX Foundation,
German DX Foundation,
International DX Association,
Northern California DX Club,
Southwest Ohio DX Association,
Intrepid-DX Group,
Lone Star DX Association,
Northern Illinois DX Association,
Swiss DX Foundation,
Western Washington DX Club,
Southeastern DX Club,
Orca DX and Contest Club,
Southeast Michigan DX Association,
Carolina DX Association,
Northern Ohio DX Association,
Oklahoma DX Association,
Danish DX Group,
Long Island DX Association,
Western New York DX Association,
and Elecraft.

If you wish to make a donation via PayPal, our address isjh1ajt@fgc.or.jp

(note-please do not send email to this address, it is for PayPal purposes only)

Thank you & 73,

SEISA/FGC Radio Team

Jay – JA1TRC

DW transmitter back on air

From Southgate ARC news:

Amateur radio based group rescues released broadcast frequency

When the ‘Deutsche Welle’ decided to close down one of their 500 KW short wave broadcast transmitters near Munich at the end of 2012, a group containing some German radio amateurs applied for and were allocated the then available short wave frequency of 6070 KHz in 2013.

This group now have an operational 10KW station on the frequency, using the driver stages from the old Deutsche Welle transmitter. The rest of the transmitter was built by and is run by Rainer DB8QC . The licence allow transmission 24/7 but at present most transmissions are on a weekend during daylight hours.

Content is mainly provided by existing Internet Radio stations wanting to get their material “on-the-air” this includes several soceities that remember the days of the Pirate Radio pop music stations in the North sea between England and Holland and a lot of their music content is from the 60’s and 70’s.

Additional content is being sought and at only 15 Euros an hour, this is not a corporate big business rather a facility where smaller groups can afford to buy time to transmit their content. One such group is the Deutsche Amateur Radio Club, the National Amateur Radio Soceity in Germany, who hope to have a weekly 2 hour slot on the station from mid-March to send a DX orientated program, probably from 6pm local time on Sundays.

The DARC DX magazine will be in the German language and targeted towards German speaking listeners. Amateur radio is an international medium however so there are thoughts of also producing an international / English hour in addition, to reach out across Europe not only to radio amateurs but also to short wave listeners and the general public.

When I talked with another Rainer DF2NU who is one of the group running the station and the president of the Munich South section of the DARC, he told me that they hope to be able to broadcast more often once sufficient content is available however they are already seeing other broadcasters such as Radio China moving onto the frequency in the evenings as those stations percieve 6070 KHz as a free frequency.

Rainer told me that currently “Channel 292″ has airtime bookings for 20-25 hrs a week, mostly on weekends at which times it runs at 10 kW output. When the station is idle (as there is no booking), the transmitter power is reduced to 1kW and transmits an infinite music-loop with no actual program. Late evenings, after 8pm local, the transmitter is switched off completely in order to save energy costs. Rainer stressed that the license is for 24/7 so they can use the frequency at any time when they have content.

With a current rate of EUR 15,– per hour airtime you cannot earn any money. This broadcast station is an extenion of the amateur radio hobby and the group seek to simply cover their costs.

Thinking back to the very start of amateur radio, Hams were allowed to transmit music, news and entertainment programs, so it’s nice to see some of this coming back onto the short wave bands thanks to the efforts of groups like this one.

I wonder as we see more and more broadcasters leaving the short wave bands in favour of Internet broadcasting, whether we’ll see more licences and surplus transmitters being picked up by amateur radio groups? This seems to be somewhat of a repeat of the situation when it was said 200 metres and up is useless for broadcasting – give it to the amateurs. We all know what then followed.

Perhaps amateur Radio groups around the world can put new life into released shortware broadcast frequencies?”

———————————————————————————————————————

I shall be looking for Channel 292 on 6070 and hope to report reception to them. A very exiting development in broadcasting.

Tecsun PL-600 Review

I have had the Tecsun PL-600 for 2 years now, so I thought it timely to do a review. 2 years gives one a chance to really get to know a receiver, work out it’s foibles etc., etc. This review is therefore from a users perspective and I shall not be covering every available function. Other sites have done an excellent job already on these points.

The Tecsun PL-600 is a portable receiver with LW, MW, FM and SW bands. Out of the box it comes with a nice padded travelling pouch, an antenna on a reel, 4 NiMH batteries, a wall-wart charger, earbud-style headphones and the manual. Everything is packed well and I purchased my particular example from an ebay seller in Scotland.

The specifications for the radio are as follows:

LW 100-519 kHz

MW 522-1620 kHz

SW 1711-29999 kHz

FM 87-108 MHz

So the shortwave bands, which will be the main subject of this review, are well covered with no breaks. In fact there is almost continuous coverage from 100 Khz to 29999 Khz.

I haven’t used the receiver on MW or LW as my interests do not lie in these areas. FM on local and national stations gives very good reproduction through the speaker or in full stereo if used with appropriate headphones.

For a while at this QTH, the main station receiver has been a Yaesu FRG-7, a venerable oldie from the ’70’s. While the ‘Frog’ is very good, I found it increasingly annoying that the dial calibration is not consistent end-to-end (a facet of the square-law function of a variable capacitor), and no narrow filter. The 6 Khz filter is fine for general listening but not useful for either ham-band SSB and CW or removing ACI on the broadcast bands.

So I have been using the ‘600 more and more and find it is now my main radio. Why?

Well, it has digital readout, it has memories, although I seldom use these, and it has a wide/narrow filter. The latter 2 settings I estimate being 6 Khz and 4 Khz. The narrow setting is great for removing ACI and has helped me a number of times to locate a station next to a higher powered one. The narrow setting is also selected automatically when SSB mode is engaged. The receiver also has a 3 position attenuator, which can be useful for strong stations, or indeed to cut down on noise.

Ergonomically, I think this receiver is well designed. It has a tilting attachment at the back which slants the radio at an ideal angle for desk top use. All the controls are easy to find and intuative, with push buttons, a keypad and a knob for tuning. So to select a station, one can either manually tune using the knob, use the up/down keys or directly key-in a frequency using the key pad. Tuning can be set at 5 Khz or 1 Khz, the latter useful for Ham stations or off-standard BC stations. With the SW button, the user can cycle through the broadcast bands, with an indication of which is selected display on the screen. One slightly annoying aspect of this is one can only scroll UP the bands and not Down.

A quick note on SSB reception. On my version, out of the box, SSB reception was distorted on all but the quietest stations. This is a known problem with the ‘600. Fortunately, there are a number of clever folks out in internet-land who have got a fix for this problem. I asked our tech. guy at work to do mine and it consists of adding a 1K resistor between pin 18 and ground of the audio amp chip. This simple mod transforms the audio on SSB. No more distortion and Ham band listening becomes a pleasure. So if you are thinking of or already have a ‘600 then this mod is well worth getting done.

I mainly use my ‘600 with an outdoor antenna, this being a 15 metre long wire fed through a homebrew 9:1 balun. Now some users have reported the ‘600 over-loading easily on an external antenna but I have never found this to be the case. It should be noted that the receiver is extremely capable on the built-in telescopic whip, which brings in numerous stations and I have used it this way for some garden ham-band and shortwave bc listening. The whip also swings round so that if the receiver is being used with the back tilt, the antenna can still be vertical.

There are some timer options available for setting alarms etc but I have never used these so cannot comment on their usefulness or otherwise.

The radio can be charged via the supplied charger, connection being via a power socket on the side of the receiver (not USB). The set of batteries supplied with the receiver were only 900 mAH versions and tended to run down fairly quickly, as even when the receiver is off, certain aspects of the display are still in operation. These batteries finally stopped holding any charge just recently and I switched to Sanyo Eneloop batteries, these being rated at 1900 mAH. These Eneloop batteries have a deserved reputation for longevity and charge cycles. So far the set I installed have lasted for over 2 weeks of near daily use.

So to some up. The Tecsun PL-600 is an extremely capable receiver, which can be used as a portable as well as a desk-top receiver. I think it’s good enough to use as a daily receiver for shortwave dx-ing and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a low-cost high quality radio. No it won’t compete with an Icom R-75, or CommRadio CR-1A but then those receivers are nearly 10 times the price.

 

New radio station coming on air

I realise that this is a few hours late:

New SW station Risala International will start broadcasting wef 20th Feb

Starting February 20, 2015, a new radio station will start broadcasting on shortwave, Risala International.

Risala International will broadcast on Fridays from 1830-1900 UTC on 15165 kHz in the 19 meter band.

For more information, visit Risala International website at http://risalainternational.org/

Reception reports to : ludo.maes@broadcast.be

 

With thanks to elradioescucha for this info

Wednesday February 18th

A few logs from this evening. 31m was not as open as last night when V.O. Vietnam came booming in on 9730 Khz (their English broadcast between 20:30 and 21:00). But I haven’t heard RTM FM Sarawak for a while, though it was quite poor this evening.

All the following were logged using the Tecsun PL-600 again. It’s become the radio I turn to for listening now, rather than the FRG-7. Apart from the digital dial and narrow filter as mentioned previously, I think it’s just the convenience of the small footprint on the desk which makes it more attractive, especially for casual listening.

When funds allow, I think I shall be looking at the CommRadio CR-1A as a replacement for the FRG-7. It seems to fit the bill for most of the things I need from a Short Wave radio and has received excellent reviews.

 

Logs:

9420 Khz Greece V.O Greece 21:15 UTC Music. Anti-German song “Der Fuehrer’s Face” followed by chat in Greek mentioning Stalingrad! SINPO: 43344 2015-02-18

9445 Khz India A.I.R 21:26 UTC English. Interview with a prominent Indian civil servant,. SINPO: 54444 2015-02-18

9470 Khz China CNR1 21:40 UTC Chinese. Music and chat with male and female announcers. SINPO: 33333 2015-02-18

9820 Khz China CNR2 21:50 UTC Chinese. Music and talk male announcer SINPO: 32222 2015-02-18

9835 Khz Malaysia RTM FM Sarawak 21:52 UTC Malay. Music. SINPO: 32233 2015-02-18

Thomas has the Tecsun pl-680

On the SWLing Post Thomas invites readers to take part in his survey of the differences between the PL-660 and the new 680.

From the specs. I can’t see much difference between the 2 radios, unless there are subtle differences ‘under the hood’. If I was to upgrade from my pl-600, it would be more likely to be the 880 which adds a lot more.

Talking of portable radios in general and the Tecsuns in particular, I have found that I am using the Tecsun far more now than I use the Yeasu FRG-7 for listening. The reasons?             Well twofold really. The Tecsun has a digital readout so I know I am on frequency, whereas the analogue readout of the FRG is different from one end of the scale to the other.

The second reason is the Tecsun has a 2 position filter switch, Wide and Narrow, which I find is excellent in removing ACI when I am trying to log a low power station. The Frg of course, has a fixed 6 Khz (ish) bandwidth. The filter also comes into its own when listening to SSB transmissions, again something not possible with the FRG.

So I feel that any time soon, the FRG-7 may well be on it’s way. Although it is a nice receiver, it’s technology is too old to cope with the noise on the bands these days. The question will be, do I replace with an up-market portable like the Tecsun-880 or wait and save for a better desktop receiver such as the CommRadio CR-1a or Alinco DXR8?