Author Topic: Radio/DX'ing anyone?  (Read 10591 times)
TheUniversalDave1
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #15 on: March 03, 2015, 11:35:12 PM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
This weekend is the BirmingHAMfest 2015, and I have made up my mind that I am going to (try to) get my amateur radio license. This is also the last year I'll be able to get it for free. I got the app, and I've been studying the questions like crazy. 
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themaritimegirl
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #16 on: March 03, 2015, 11:57:37 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Sweet! I've been interested in getting my license for a couple of years ago, although I've yet to bother to study to do it. Apparently, though, in one of the classes I'll be taking next year, one of the lab experiments involves getting our license.  :D
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TheUniversalDave1
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #17 on: March 04, 2015, 12:08:11 AM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
There is only one thing about Ham radio that irritates me. It's EXPENSIVE! You can expect to pay upwards of $400 for decent equipment!
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #18 on: March 04, 2015, 12:10:57 AM » Author: themaritimegirl
Oh yeah, for sure. If I ever get into it, it will likely be with an old, cheap radio. Probably a handheld so I don't have to spend money on an antenna setup.  :P
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #19 on: March 04, 2015, 12:19:19 AM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
Who knows. Maybe I'll luck out at the Hamfest. They have several giveaways of brand new high end Ham stuff. Not to mention the grand prize of a new Honda generator.
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ace100w120v
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #20 on: March 04, 2015, 12:51:27 AM » Author: ace100w120v
Interesting.  I was never that intrigued by HAM but it's interesting nonetheless.
Dave, is this one of those little 2000w Hondas? Those are EXCELLENT generators, I ran my house on one for about four years! (And lots of vintage fluorescents)
I'm going to ask my godparents about the 1978 JVC tuner/turntable/amplifier they have and sorta want to get rid of.
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #21 on: March 04, 2015, 01:40:05 AM » Author: tolivac
Most of the employees at the transmitter where I work are "Hams"All of them recall the days when you BUILT your gear rather than buying it-often that saved money-and you could build equipment that you couldn't buy.I am not a Ham but have a commercial license.Often Hams that buy equipment--are often called "appliance Operators"Its getting to the point kits and parts are no longer available.So you have to buy the equipment.Gensets are often used for feild work.My grandfather was a Ham and he built most of his equipment himself or as kits.The only peice he bought factory built was his Hammerlund HQ180 receiver.I have that.Was willed to me when he died.
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #22 on: March 05, 2015, 12:09:14 AM » Author: ace100w120v
Interesting.  I'd like to set up some good antennas for just regular AM and FM reception to see what more I can pull in here.  During the day with most normal radios the AM band is blank entirely (just the wonderful sound of fluorescent lights) but with a tall, good antenna you can get some stuff.  At night it's a goldmine here, in Southeast Alaska, I can pick up California (San Francisco) on most nights quite easily (810 KGO and KBBR 680).  From Portland I can hear 620 KPOJ, and from Seattle I can hear 1300 KKOL IIRC.  Never heard KIRO 710 that I can think of...(I've kept DX logs, albeit in a very disorganized fashion)
Interestingly a few months ago I "discovered" a translator for another NPR station, which I'm on the fringe of.  So the 1.5 FM stations here are NPR, unless you count my SiriusXM radio, which "broadcasts", with a whopping fraction of a watt on 88.3 Mhz FM stereo.  (The coverage is surprisingly good actually!)
Someplace near the top of the AM dial there's a foreign language station (maybe French? It's not Spanish and I only know English and some Spanish so I can't confirm what I'm hearing).  Other notable stations I can hear at night are 1060 (forget the call letters) out of Canada (I think Calgary), and 790 CFCW, both classic country stations.  Also 910 "Q-country 91", I forget from where.  The one that's always amused me though is the 730 Vancouver traffic one, you'd think that would be a LPFM and not a 50KW AM "Blowtorch"!
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #23 on: March 15, 2015, 09:01:40 PM » Author: ace100w120v
OK, do most cheap radios actually have C-QUAM AM stereo ability? (namely a fairly-new 3M headset radio; earmuffs with a radio in them).  Because I think I finally heard AM stereo for the first time last night (well early this morning) while on a routine DXing bandscan of the AM dial at 4AM. (couldn't sleep).  Station in question is 800 KINY, Juneau, AK (first radio station in Alaska I might add; first air date 1935!).  I'm over 200 miles from their transmitter site/city of license and they're a "local" type station (or maybe it's regional).  Anyway they're often interfered with or even totally overpowered by a Canadian station I can't remember the call letters or city of license for but has an "easyrock" monikier/branding...also a decent radio station in and of itself.  (Anyone know what this is BTW for sure?)  But anyway on this radio among the splatter between the two stations I'd hear the audio "change" similar to the way it does on FM with the sam radio when tuned to a weak FM station broadcasting in stereo, the audio quality noticeably changes as it locks onto the stereo signal only to lose it again then find it again and so on.  It could just be interference from the other station but it was too "sudden"; not your typical AM "fading" or "splatter" effect. 
Also, interestingly enough, for some reason this radio does the 9KHz European spacing...it used to do 10 like it should but somehow went to 9 on me...it makes things interesting, though I have yet to hear anything other than southeast Alaska, Canada, and the US West Coast from where I live as of yet...that I'm aware of at least.
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #24 on: March 15, 2015, 09:51:51 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
OK, do most cheap radios actually have C-QUAM AM stereo ability?

No, not at all. AM Stereo is usually limited to high-end equipment. Equipment that has it usually blatantly advertises it. I don't know what model of 3M headset you have, but if it's the TEKK WorkTunes, no, it doesn't have it. You're probably hearing an electronic filter turning on and off.
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ace100w120v
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #25 on: March 15, 2015, 10:13:05 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Yup, one of those TEKK Worktunes units.  Electronic filter being? Something in the unit itself that turns on/off as the signal strength fluctuates?
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #26 on: March 15, 2015, 10:18:25 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
I said filter as an example, but it could be a number of things. The electronic tuner attempting to stay locked on the frequency, switching the bandwidth, noise reduction, etc.
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ace100w120v
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #27 on: March 15, 2015, 10:45:24 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Interesting! I might add with the 9KHz spacing this thing does it was actually at 801Khz but a couple years ago I was hearing the same two stations on an old Sony "Walkman". (analog tuning; did that even do FM stereo? I don't think so)
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ace100w120v
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #28 on: March 21, 2015, 11:52:14 PM » Author: ace100w120v
A few more interesting anomalies I've "discovered"
-I think there IS some sort of "electronic filter" in that Worktunes unit.  Because even on FM with a weak signal I hear a "change" that I'm certain is not the stereo-mono transition back and forth with a weak FM stereo signal. Though I can clearly hear if a weak FM station I frequently listen to actually does switch into stereo albeit briefly, the audio becomes more "hissy" instead of just background static, and of course music is obviously in stereo. 
-I also found something at 530Khz (very bottom of the commercial AM dial) that sounds like air traffic control or something.  Come to think of it I've heard it before, but I thought it was NOAA Weather Radio or something.  But after listening to it for a minute or two they were mentioning observations from a Boeing 737 IIRC and mentioned the Sitka airport (I'm located in Southeast Alaska if that doesn't give it away).
This was during the daytime on a 2008-ish Clarion marine-grade "aftermarket car stereo" type unit...fed by 12v DC with the wiring harness in back, etc.  I think I'll make a YouTube video of it.  It's hooked up to a marine VHF antenna (It's on a boat I might add) via a band seperator that looks like a "cable TV splitter" and the antenna is at decent height (I'd say tip is 40 feet in the air, though that's still much lower than average terrain, like mountains, here.  It was during the daytime I heard this signal on 530Khz too.  That thing also pulls in other distant stations on AM during the day other radios will not: I can hear (albeit very weakly) 930Khz KTKN (Ketchikan, AK, 200-some miles from here), 800 KINY (Juneau, AK, 280 miles in the other direction), and Sitka's 1230 KIFW, 70-some miles away.  All "local" type stations with fairly limited reception, but I can hear them with a good antenna, even during the day. 
This thing also pulls in that same weak FM station quite well, it always stays in stereo but is a little hissy for sure. 
My dad also recently got this new Pioneer car stereo unit for his boat, and even at really low elevation it's 3' whip antenna pulls in that station decently well also.  And it's inside the boat, next to the GPS, radar, etc. as well...though those weren't on at the time.
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Re: Radio/DX'ing anyone? « Reply #29 on: March 23, 2015, 12:17:15 PM » Author: ace100w120v
I might add another thing I've noticed with this 3M WorkTunes is that when it does "find" the stereo pilot tone on a weak FM station and then I turn my head, etc. it will stay in stereo whereas in that same location a few seconds before it wouldn't find it.  So I guess that signal has to rise above however many microvolts to switch into stereo, but will then stay in stereo if it falls below that? (to some other cutoout point then it goes back into mono).
Can FM reception be affected by time of day at all or weather conditions? Because the other night this one weak station I listen to frequently was coming in much more clearly than normal, enough to switch in and out of stereo a lot, and quite listenable.
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