Friday, March 20, 2015

An Alternative Way To Power Your Perseus

While the stock, switching 5VDC power supply for the Perseus is among the quieter ones, it doesn't perform adequately in an extremely low noise environment. Linear 5V power supplies aren't abundant, and they often come at a price.

Unlike the RF Space SDR-IQ, the Perseus draws too much current to be powered from most  PC's USB 2.0 outputs which are usually limited to 500 mA. However, with the advent of the USB 3.0 standard, this has changed. The Perseus typically draws 700-750 mA, while a standard USB 3.0 output will deliver around 900 mA - more than enough for a Perseus.

This needs a proper power cord with a USB connector in one end and a 2.5 mm connector in the other. It is perfectly feasible to build your own, and there are several DIY instructions on the net. I wanted to avoid potential problems related to poor soldering skills though, and then I found this on Ebay:

It's a custom made power cable for the Perseus. It sells from the USA for a nickel short of $20, + shipping. I've bought three of these, and they work perfectly. The seller claims they are "roughly 6 feet", which is roughly true as the last cable I bought measured in at 5.75 ft/175 cm.

A cable like this is an absolute must have if you want to do an outdoor DX session. You can power your Perseus from a laptop or a battery pack, and use the laptop to run the Perseus from a different USB port.

All my three Perseus in Kongsfjord are now powered from PCs and they seem to cope well.

This particular item will pop up if you do a "perseus sdr" Ebay search.

Admittedly there are literally hundreds of Chinese-made USB-to-2.1 mm cables on Ebay, with prices as low as 0.99 USD/EUR including shipping. I haven't spotted any 2.5 mm cables though.

Whatever you do, always check the polarity of the connector before you power up the Perseus. Mistakes do happen.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015 Verifications

CBT Grand Falls/Windsor NL 540
CBNA St. Anthony NL 600
WATR Waterbury CT 1320
CJLO Montreal QC 1690
HJIP BBN 1590 AM, Bogotá 1590
WRNI Providence RI 1290
KXLO Lewistown MT 1230
CHRF Montreal QC 980 (Canada #215)
KBMW Breckenridge MN 1450
WYSL Avon NY 1040
WOND Pleasantville NJ 1400
WAMG Dedham MA 890
CHML Hamilton ON 900
WERC Birmingham AL 960 (North America #1100)
KCLK Asotin WA 1430
WKNY Kingston NY 1490
WSLB Ogdensburg NY 1400 (#50 on 1400)
WATN Watertown NY 1240
Radio Capital, Lima Peru 1470 (thanks Arvid Husdal)
WTWD Plant City FL 910 (thanks OJS)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 2015 Verifications

KRKC King City CA 1490
KXPA Bellevue WA 1540
WKOX Everett MA 1430
WXKS Newton MA 1200
WMMV Cocoa FL 1350
WNTN Newton MA 1550
WCMC Wildwood NJ 1230 (tnx Jarmo Patala)
WMID Atlantic City NJ 1340
WRKO Boston MA 680
KRZR Fresno CA 1400 (tnx OJS)
WVEI Worcester MA 1440
WTAG Worcester MA 580
CFCB Corner Brook NL 570
KTIP Porterville CA 1450 (tnx OJS)
KCMY Carson City NV 1300
WAXY Miami FL 790
WCTC New Brunswick NJ 1450
WPIE Trumansburg NY 1160
WNBP Newburyport MA 1450 (USA #900)
WROC Rochester NY 950
KMYC Marysville CA 1410
KOBO Yuba City CA 1450
WMNN Pompano Beach FL 1470
WKBK Keene NH 1290
WDMC Melbourne FL 920

Thursday, January 01, 2015

December 2014 Verifications

KICD Spencer IA 1240
KBIZ Ottumwa IA 1240
KINO Winslow AZ 1230
CKMK Mackenzie BC 1240

Monday, December 01, 2014

November 2014 Verifications

WQSC Charleston SC 1340 (facebook) – “graveyard” station # 200.
KCIK Kihei HI 740 (tnx OJS)
KLER Orofino ID 1300 (pdf)
KBAM Longview WA 1270 (tnx ABU)
KUOM Tumwater WA 1340
KGIW Alamosa CO 1450
KGGS Garden City KS 1340
WBUC Buckhannon WV 1460
WNDE Elkins WV 1240
WMCR Oneida NY 1600
KUIK Hillsboro OR 1360
KPIO Loveland CO 1570
KEWE Kahului HI 1240 (Hawaii # 30, on test mode at low power)

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 2014 Verifications

KKAN Phillipsburg KS 1490
WAOS Austell GA 1600
WNDA New Albany IN 1570
KVSV Beloit KS 1190 (Tnx OJS)
KDCC Dodge City KS 1550 (Tnx ABU)
Rete Italia, MacKay QLD AUS 1611
KLFJ Springfield MO 1550 (Tnx ABU)
WGAM Manchester NH 1250
KVSH Valentine NE 940 (Tnx OJS)
WBEX Chillichote OH 1490
WNSW Newark NJ 1430
KEYE Perryton TX 1400
KGWU Uvalde TX 1400
KKOW Pittsburg KS 860
KAJO Grants Pass OR 1270
WIRY Plattsburgh NY 1340
KCRC Enid OK 1390 (Tnx ABU)
KCMN Colorado Springs CO 1530
KMBI Spokane WA 1330 (facebook)
KOKL Okmulgee OK 1240
KCNW Fairway KS 1380 (Tnx OJS)

KNOT Prescott AZ 1450 (Tnx OJS)

Friday, October 17, 2014

KONG24 - Day Seven

Final evening! OJ and TJ leave on Saturday morning, so we were hoping for some really hefty signals last night and today.  Not so....

Overnight monitoring of the MW band on the 310 beverage. Sun symbol illustrates local sunrise and sunset times. Sunset times for North American cities indicated to the right. Red line on the time scale illustrates the total strength of the stations in the band (10-kHz stations only)

Only the 04:00 UTC full hour provided any signals of interest, but on the other hand they weren't all that interesting after all. Stations noted were KGYN-OK 1210, KPOW-WY 1260, KGOE-CA 1480. Maybe more interesting stuff will materialise as we check the recordings.

OK weather, light to fresh breeze, mostly dry and +1C.  

Dinner-wise we always save the best meal to the last day, so today was reindeer tenderloin day. The meat was accompanied with fried mushrooms, potato paste and woked carrots, scallions and shallots. With these excellent ingredients, we opted for an exquisite Italian red, the 2007 Gattinara. For dessert we enjoyed dark chocolate pudding with vanilla custard. An eternal favourite. The picture of the day honours the main course:

I will leave Kongsfjord for Vadso later on Saturday or early Sunday, so this is the last KONG24 blog post, unless exceptional conditions appear tonight. Thanks to all who had the patience and interest to follow us in our Arctic Endevour!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

KONG24 - Day Six

Clearly the best night so far! The spectrum below should illustrate this, interesting signals from around 01:00 to 08:00 UTC.
Overnight monitoring of the MW band on the 310 beverage. Sun symbol illustrates local sunrise and sunset times. Sunset times for North American cities indicated to the right. Red line on the time scale illustrates the total strength of the stations in the band (10-kHz stations only)
With continous recording, there is lots to check so we stayed on 1450 during most of the night and caught some partly interesting stations: KZZJ Rugby ND, KVCK Wolf Point MT, KBMW Breckenridge MN, KATE Albert Lea MN, KWBE Beatrice NE, KGIW Alamosa CO and the big surprise KNOT Prescott AZ before rounding off with KLAM Cordova AK. Quite a handful! Hopefully there will be a few surprises on other frequencies as well.

Today was our traditional day of eating out, and as luck will have it the nearest restaurant is only 2 minutes walk away. And they make food like few others. So this is what we had, cod in butter sauce, potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Quite a traditional dish in this part of the solar system.

At Kongsfjord Guesthouse. From left Bjarne, OJ Sagdahl, TJ Bråtveit

Weather was reasonably nice to us today, a little windy but dry and around 0 Celsius. I had an 8 km road run and really needed my Icebugs on the icy surface.

Picture of the day features a different kind of icebugs, our iced-down cars with studded tyres.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

KONG24 - Day Five

Very interesting. Solar data said "you're not supposed to hear anything."

But we did!

Not much for very long though. As  you can see from the spectrum below, propagation varied a lot, and mostly the interesting bits came at 02:00 UTC with stations like WIBX-NY 950, WDCZ-NY 970, WSOY-IL 1340, WNSW-NY and KTBZ-OK 1430, WBEX-OH 1490 (04:00), WFLR-NY 1590, CJEU-QC 1670 and CHTO-ON 1690.
Overnight monitoring of the MW band on the 310 beverage. Sun symbol illustrates local sunrise and sunset times. Sunset times for North American cities indicated to the right
Asia/Pacific was lost in noise.

After snow showers overnight, parts of the day was sunny and clear, and the Telenor repair team managed to get the 3G connection working early in the afternoon. Hence the pictures!

Dinner tonight was bruschetta with home-made sour-dough bread. The main course was ecologically bred (or so the label said) chicken fillets with woked leek and red onion. Assorted cheese for dessert. With the cheese we enjoyed a glass of Japanese single malt whisky, kindly supplied by LA9VFA Olav Skår, a good neighbour (albeit 160 km away) but also a whisky connosieur.

The picture of the day shows the fine weather we enjoyed at least parts of the day.

The remains of ocean swells  pounding on my beach

Celebrating 40 Years As a MW DX-er

On October 15, 1974 at 0230 UTC I logged my first trans-polar MW station. It was KJNP North Pole, AK on 1170, fighting with Radio Capodistria, then Yugoslavia. It wasn't necessarily meant to be.

I had been introduced to DX-ing two years earlier, and used various domestic radios in this early period.  I logged, reported and QSLed a number of SW stations at the time, and it was great fun. However, after two years I thought I had heard what I could hear on the equipment I had available, and in the spring of 1974 interest was starting to wane.

I was persuaded by seasoned MW DX-er Arvid Frøsland to test the coming autumn for North American MW stations. He and fellow DX-er Ole Forr were moving north to Lakselv, not far from where I lived at the time (a mere 6-hour drive...). So I purchased my first communications receiver, the Trio-Kenwood QR-666 and set up a sort of longwire antenna from my 1st. floor bedroom in Berlevag.

The QR-666 had terrible readout accuracy, but was very sensitive, and during early autumn I heard many interesting stations from Asia on the Tropical Bands. MW wouldn't open until mid-October, and we were impatient to say the least. Then came October 15, and I was hooked!

A new world opened, and US and Canadian stations travelled across the Pole to my modest radio shack at a steady pace. Many hadn't been heard before in Norway, and some not even in Europe. I received QSLs from around 75 North American stations that first season, not even using a tape recorder. The first QSL was not KJNP though. CFRW Winnipeg MB operated on 1470 at that time, and they were very quick to send off their QSL.

Activity was high to semi-high from 1974 until 1979, then again from 1984 to 1988 and from 1995 up until now. The latter period much to the credit of fellow KONG DX-ers who never allowed me to relax too much...

The QR-666 was replaced with a Yaesu FRG-7 in 1976. Much better readout accuracy, but the way I remember it the QR-666 was better overall. In 1979 I finally had enough money to buy the famous but so expensive Drake SPR-4, every DX-ers dream in the 1970's. It remained my main receiver until 1995, when a modified JRC NRD-515 was bought. A couple of years later it was replaced with NRD-525s, in 2006 came the Icom IC-746Pro and SDR-IQ, and finally in 2008 the Perseus which is still the main rig (I have two). Lot of other receivers have been in my shack; search this blog for details.

I've been a bit lazy with regards to reporting stations, a couple of years I didn't do it at all. Still, I reached 1000 North America QSLs not long ago, with Washington highest on the state list at currently 63 stations verified.

Almost all the stations I heard back in 1974 are now regarded as dominants. And many, especially from Canada, are gone. But KJNP is still there. And CFRW Winnipeg, although the frequency has changed  to 1290.

On October 15, 2014 at 0230 UTC I tuned in to 1170 to see if KJNP was audible, 40 years after.. It was. And still fighting with Radio Capodistria, now Slovenia.