Saturday, May 10, 2014

Closing Out April

This last weekend of April had not been all that productive as far as great DX was concerned. I had spent a good bit of the month trolling the ham bands and decided that at least part of the last weekend of the month should be spent looking through the broadcast bands. I did not make it up early on Sunday the 27th, so the tropical bands were already pretty well done by the time morning chores were completed.

After the dogs, cats, birds, squirrels and other assorted critters in and around household were fed ( we have feeders for the wild creatures out back plus four dogs and three cats that demand attention!) and the coffee was made it was already just past 8 AM local ( CDT) time, or 1300 GMT.

The WWV sweep showed 2500 and 5000 kHz already dropping down in strength, while 10 mHz was well up but with WWVH still very strong up behind WWV, almost overriding it. On 15 mHz, WWVH was head and shoulders over WWV at S-9+10DB. The 20 mHz WWV was just audible and 25 mHz was not detectable.
I had remembered from my younger days listening to Radio Australia before school on 9580 ( has any other station ever really owned that frequency?) up until after 8 AM, and with the 10 mHz WWVH being very strong, figured at least to try to see what might be lurking on 31 meters, even though the sun was well up.

Since I was already nostalgic about my high school days from thinking about Radio Australia keeping me company while dressing for school, I decided to use the Drake 2B that joined my shack almost fifty years ago to make the morning sweep. The 2B is mostly a ham bands only receiver, but it has five bandswitch positions that allow use of extra crystals to tune five additional 600 kHz wide bands. The range is actually a little more than that with the extra range on the dial.

When the lights came on in the dial and the S-meter swung up to its upper limit, then drifted down to its regular position, I noticed that it was still tuned to 40 meters where it had last been tuned so I figured I'd make a quick sweep for broadcast stations that might still be there before trundling up to 31 meters. With the receiver in the SSB mode, so carriers would show up behind the Sunday morning amateur traffic, a quick sweep showed a few Asians still coming in.

This late it was all China, all the time! With stations noted on 7205, 7215, 7225 ( with a strong S-8 signal this late in the morning!) 7230, 7265, 7275, 7325 7365, and 7385 ( the last two possibly Firedrake jammers) Radio Free Asia from the transmitter on Saipan was very stoute on 7390 with the quick sweep ending when I hit WWCR on 7490 at S-9+20db!

OK, so it was on to 31 meters to see what we could see. With the crystal in the “C” bandswitch position, the receiver would tune from 9300 to abut 9900. The first station hit was again radio Free Asia presumably again Saipan according to the lists on what appeared to be on the Drake to be 9336 kHz with a booming signal at S-9+20db. Just a bit higher up at 9370 WWRB almost pegged the meter. Below are the loggings of the morning beginning at about 8:50 AM Local Time ( CDT) or 1350 GMT

The columns are time in GMT, station, frequency, and location if determined. All logged on the Drake 2B with an 80 meter sloper for the antenna ( high end at 45 feet)

1350 Radio Thailand 9390 S-9 Udon Thani, Thailand
1353 Far East B/C Corp 9400 S-6 Philippines
1355 China Radio 9410 S-5 Beijing
1356 China Radio 13 9420 S-5 Lingshi, China ( fast QSB)
1357 Far East B/C Corp 9430 S-9+10 DB Philippines
1358 Voice of Korea 9435 S-7 North Korea ( erratic QSB)
1402 Overcomer Ministry 9460 S-5 Unknown transmitter location
1403 All India Radio 9470 S-4 Aligarh, India ( Flutter QSB, down into noise)
1404 WTWW 9475 S-9+30 DB USA
1406 China Radio 9500 S-6 Shijiazhoung, China
1408 Radio Veritas 9520 S-6 Philippines ( rapid, deep QSB)
1412 China Radio 9525 S-7 China with 1 kHz het
1413 CRI 9535 S-5 Kunming, China
1418 Radio Havana 9550 S-8 Havana, Cuba
1420 Radio Australia 9580 S-9+20DB
1422 BBC WS 9585 S-8 Singapore
1424 R. Nikkei 1 9595 S-7 Tokyo
1429 R. Taiwan 9625 S-5 Taiwan ( heavy flutter fading)

After spending most of the rest of the day with the family, I drifted back to the radios later in the evening. It was actually after 7 PM local or midnight the GMT morning of April 28. I was back on the R-75 at this point and decided to go against my usual grain and start near where I had been and work up. The 30 meter amateur band was very active with very strong US signals throughout. Not a lot of DX, but it turned out to be good I looked around. First there was one lone Spanish station: ED5BY on 10109 at 0015. Then I heard a bit of a commotion down the band a bit and in the pile that had quickly formed up I found TF4X from Iceland holding forth. He was not strong, 559, and there was considerable flutter and echo on his signal ( auroral?)

Twenty meters wasn't showing much, either. Mostly US stations. A trip up to 17 found a few stations and another high latitude station from an area not heard often: JW0FA on 18073 at 0022 from Svalbard. Not an entity one will have much chance of hearing broadcasters from! Like the Icelandic station on 30 meters a bit earlier, the signal was marked by flutter and echo.

A check of the WWV's showed some promise for the higher bands. The 25 mHz WWV showed just a trace of carrier, the 20 mHz was about S-3, but the surprise was 15 mHz where the S-meter read S-9+20 DB. And while the WWV signal was probably most of that, WWVH was very strong behind it.

Maybe it would be worth a check of the higher broadcast bands. This time it was with the R-75 on the sloper.

0033 Radio Australia 19000 S-8 with echo (interesting!) Shepparton
0035 Radio Australia 17860 S-9 stead Shepparton
0037 VOA 17820 S-5 Tinang, Philippines
0038 Radio Australia 17795 S-4 flutter Shepparton
0039 HCJB-Australia 17760 S-4 Kunamurra, Australia
0041 Radio Australia 17750 S-4 echo/flutter Shepparton
0042 CNR-1 17605 S-4 Beijing, China
0044 CNR-1 17580 S-7 flutter Lingshi, China
0045 Firedrake Jammer 17560 S-6 China
0046 CNR-1 17550 S-4 Heavy fading Beijing, China
0048 R. Pakistan 15730 S-5 Flutter, echo Islamabad, Pakistan
0050 R. New Zealand 15720 S-6 Steady New Zealand
0054 R. China Int'l 15565 S-5 China
0056 R. Vatican 15470 S-5 via Tinang, Philippines

Interesting signals. Some strong and steady, others from the same locations weak and fluttery. More than likely because The beam headings were in some other direction that toward North America. Might be some long path or more likely backscatter. Those with echo, perhaps multipath signals. Hearing things sound like that have always given me the feeling of finding something exotic.

One last check of the upper ham bands showed background noise on fifteen, but no immediately noticeable signals. One more pass for luck? Well, they say you make your own luck. That last pass turned up one signal: JT1AA/3,  Mongolia at 0106 on 21020 on cw...signal a fair RST569. Perhaps not too surprising given all the China broadcast stations that had been coming in. That one last pass is almost always worth it!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment