Monthly Archives: October 2017

Logs for 21-10-2017

I managed to get a bit of listening in today, between chores and workmen (having work done in the house). The bands are still very noisy, but there are stations to be found. Nothing of great note, but I enjoy the music on VOA Music Time in Africa and R Sultanate of Oman’s pop music chart.

Logs:

15140 Khz Oman R Sultanate Oman 15:07 UTC English. Pop charts SINPO: 54444 2017-10-21

15490 Khz Madagascar BBCWS 15:14 UTC English. Blackburn Rovers vs Portsmouth. SINPO: 43333 2017-10-21

15550 Khz Vatican City R.Tamazuj 15:18 UTC Sudanese service SINPO: 54444 2017-10-21

15580 Khz Botswana VOA 15:23 UTC English. Music Time in Africa SINPO: 43333 2017-10-21

13680 Khz Zambia Voice of Hope Africa 16:40 UTC English. Religious broadcast with songs. ACI from CRI jammer on 13675 SINPO: 33333 2017-10-21

11735 Khz Zanzibar ZBC 16:47 UTC African music SINPO: 33323 2017-10-21

11750 Khz Sri Lanka SBC 17:03 UTC Sinhalese. Music and chat SINPO: 43333 2017-10-21

11790 Khz Madagascar AWR 17:06 UTC Swahili. Religious broadcast SINPO: 43333 2017-10-21

11810 Khz Romania RRI 17:09 UTC English. Romanian and world news SINPO: 54444 2017-10-21

11860 Khz Saudi Arabia R Sana 17:36 UTC Arabic. SINPO: 43344 2017-10-21

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B17 Schedules

The new B17 schedules are starting to be published. As the clocks change at different times through the world (UK is last Sunday in October), these will all be coming in over the next few weeks. HFCC is a good place to keep an eye on for these, as well as the websites for your favourite stations. It is also a good idea to keep checking your favourite schedules list website. I use the the excellent lists compiled by Dan Ferguson, which are available from the SWSKEDS group on Yahoo.

Here is the link to the B17 schedules on HFCC: http://www.hfcc.org/data/b17/

 

Yaesu FT-450D – long term review

Overview

I’ve had a Yaesu 450D transceiver for 2 years now and I thought this would be a good point to post a long term review. The following should be read in the context of using the 450 as a receiver for 99.99% of the time. I think I have had at most, 5 QSO’s using this as I much prefer to listen. Also, much of my listening is on the Shortwave Broadcast bands, with occasional forays onto the amateur (ham) bands and the MW AM broadcast band. So, here goes.

I will only summarise the technical side as all the details are available from the Yaesu website. In short, the 450D is a 100W HF+6m Amateur bands transceiver, with a general coverage receiver spanning 30KHz to 56 MHz. Modes available are AM, SSB,CW,FM and Data (both TX and RX). Sensitivity is rated at 2uV for AM, 0.25uF SSB/CW and 0.32 for FM. These are pretty standard specs. for a transceiver in this category. What does set it apart from most ‘entry level’ transceivers is the DSP, which is realised in the Width control. This provides stepped bandwidths as follows: SSB: 1.8KHz/2.4KHz/3.0KHz; CW: 300Hz/500Hz/2.4KHz; AM: 3K/6K/9K; FM: 2.5K/5K. When the DSP Width control is used in conjunction with the DNR and Contour controls, it is possible to dig a signal out of the noise. Unfortunately, the Notch control is only available in SSB/CW modes and not AM. This would be useful to Notch out some annoying adjacent blow-torch transmissions such as CRI when one is trying to hear one down in the noise. Of course, switching to LSB brings this in, and a number of times I have dug out a faint AM signal using LSB.

The DSP/SEL control on the receiver is the one knob most used on the receiver. It is used for selecting various DSP modes, along with selecting menu items. It can also be used, as I do, as a replacement for the tuning knob. The DSP control can be set for various steps, so I have set it for 5 KHz when tuning AM broadcast. When tuning ham bands, I use the main tuning knob, but have the ‘fast’ button engaged as this steps through at 100 Hz. If further fine tuning is required, the fast button can be switched out and tuning is in 10Hz steps.

Other controls available to the listener are a Noise Blanker, AGC Fast/Slow/Auto and attenuator switch. There is also the IPO button which avoids the RF amp and switches the antenna straight through to the first mixer.

Day to Day use

I have used a number of receivers over the last 40+ years, from simple homebrew regen. sets to AR88’s, Racal RA17, FT101, FT707 etc but nothing as modern as this. And quite frankly, the performance to me is stunning. I guess if I was a dyed in the wool contester then it probably wouldn’t, but then I wouldn’t be using an entry level transceiver for that. But for every day listening to broadcast band programs, both the high power regulars and the more obscure clandestine stations, this receiver shines. As it does too with regular ham band listening. My antenna ‘system’ is not ‘state-of-the-art’ being only a homebrew 66′ doublet, in inverted-V configuration, the highest point of which is about 25′ at the gable end of the house. This is fed to the receiver via a homebrew 9:1 balun.

The biggest problem of course these days is not the sensitivity or selectivity of the receiver (for those with a decent spec.) but RFI from all manner of devices. This is where the various DSP controls help. As well as being able to remove or reduce ‘natural’ interference, they are as useful in reducing the man-made version. Comparing a received signal on say, my Tecsun PL600 portable with the 450, the Tecsun struggles sometimes, even though in its own right it has an excellent receiver. But the 450 will useually dig them out.

All the knobs and switches function as they did 2 years ago; nothing has come lose or gone sloppy. The display is still bright and readable.

Now of course, there are some things I think could be better and/or improved upon. No receiver is perfect! I would like a wider bandwidth on AM for those high powered stations that come in at S5+40 (such as Radio Romania International). But, that would compromise the selectivity as the roofing filter would need to be wider (set at 10Khz on the 450). I would like the Notch control to work in AM as it does on the Icom 7200. But these are minor complaints compared with what is on offer.

When I purchased the 450, it was offered at £499.99. I notice it has gone up considerably recently, no doubt due to the falling pound and other factors. Martin Lynch, from whom I purchased mine, have it currently for £579. But even at this price, I think it is excellent value for money. For me to change the 450D, some thing rather special would have to come along for a similar price. All the offerings from Icom are much more expensive, as is the case with Kenwood.

I would whole-heatedly recommend this transceiver either as a first transceiver for a ham just starting on the HF bands, or a listener like myself who wants something a bit more than the good portables can provide. I would be interested in comments from other users, however you use your 450.