Monday, April 25, 2016

QSL: WGDJ Albany NY 1300

Heard with exceptional signal levels at Smøla in January 2015. Third 1300 verie in recent weeks, 14th overall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

QSL: KPMI Bemidji MN 1300

Very nice signal together with KGLO-IA on Oct 27, 2015. Thanks OJS for alerting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

KiwiSDR Funding Goal Met

And that with more than half the funding period remaining! Scheduled delivery is November, but of course delays are not uncommon when you design and manufacture new gadgets.

KiwiSDR Kickstarter screen dump
Click here for more information about the KiwiSDR.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

QSL: WHBG Harrisonburg VA 1360

Good signal on March 1 presumably on day power since it was 9 minutes before Harrisonburg sunset.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The KiwiSDR: An Interesting Work In Progress

A new star on the SDR sky? Who knows, but this Kickstarter project does have some nice twists up its sleeve. Such as a decent 14-bit ADC, ethernet connection, 10 kHz - 30 MHz coverage and a web or cloud solution allowing four simultaneous external users who need no dedicated software. In fact, your favourite internet browser will do. As long as your favourite internet browser is not Internet Explorer. I tested with Chrome and Edge, no problems.

The KiwiSDR sports automatic frequency calibration via GPS timing, a feature I don't think I've seen on inexpensive SDRs before. A facility that could enable some interesting experiements down the road.

The Kiwi SDR is a custom circuit board which needs to be connected to a Beagleboard computer (black or green).

Three prototypes are already accessible via internet, they are located in Sweden, Victoria, Canada and New Zealand. I spent some time with them over the last couple of days, and those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I enjoyed tuning the MW bands in British Columbia and especially New Zealand for the local radio stations. The screenshot below is from the Tauranga, New Zealand receiver.

Tauranga, New Zealand KiwiSDR
At the present stage it is not capable of recording an I/Q sample to disk, hence I don't really see it as a new DX tool for myself. But things could change. It is interesting though if you have some internet capacity available and a good antenna, then you could host four DX-ers listening in at the same time in totally separated channels.

The Kickstarter project for an assembled and boxed SDR board and Beagleboard is USD 299, with scheduled delivery in November. If you already have a Beaglebone, the pledge is USD 199. I set myself up for USD 299, and two days into the 30 day project 20 % of the USD 50,000 goal has been met.

Maybe you should consider a Kiwi?

More as it happens!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

QSL: KRCM Shenandoah TX 1380

Their new 22 kW daytime facility was heard just about everywhere a few days (or maybe several days) at the end of January and onwards, doing IDs for KMIC 1590. Thanks Mauricio Molano and OJS.

QSL: WTTR Westminster MD 1470

Nice signal on the brief, but concentrated opening on March 15. Thanks OJS.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

QSL: Radio Gotel 917 kHz, Yola, Nigeria

Fair signal with pops/hip-hop at 01:00 a couple of nights ago. Swift and friendly response. Exact frequency is 917.001 kHz, why they are 1 kHz below nominal is beyond me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

QSL: CJNL Merritt BC 1230

On my wanted list for some time. 8 years ago, Dave confirmed CINL-1340. Hopefully it won't be another 8 years until I get a decent reception of their mother station CHNL-610.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Free Lunch from Teamviewer - And LogMeIn Pro Leaves The Table

The need for remote control came with the SDR revolution. SDRs are connected to PCs. PCs can be remote controlled, giving the DX-er the opportunity to listen to live and recorded DX on his remote and RFI-free DX-location. Currently I have three PCs in Kongsfjord operating one SDR each, plus one SDR in cloud mode. I connect daily, and several times a day, from my home in Vadso.

I've used LogMeIn Pro since - when? 2007?  At that time there was a Free version of LMI but audio was not supported so a pro license was required. LMI pricing is one license per PC on an annual lease, and the fees have increased quite a bit in recent years. So when my last set of licenses put me back USD 250 last year, and with the coming year to increase the tab with another 100 dollars for my five PCs, I decided to check for alternatives.

Enter Teamviewer. I knew about Teamviewer but had never tested it, nor had I had any drive to really think about replacing LMI. Teamviewer comes in four guises:

Fully working free version for personal use
Business, for individual users
Premium, for small grups in need of advanced functions
Corporate, for large teams in need of simultaneous connections.

Obviously, for the "individual" DX-er with a few PCs in his radio shack, the free version was the one to test.

Teamviewer is extremely easy to set up and configure. You're allowed to "quick connect" with username and password preset, and you can specify that the PC be used for remote control. All accessible PCs are listed, and connection is fast - actually faster than LMI. The connection window allows tabs, allowing each remote PC (if more than one is connected) to be selected by clicking the tab).  All connected PCs are active, you do not need to "pause" the others to use one.

Teamviewer control centre, in Norwegian guise. "Tilllat fjernstyring" is "Allow remote control". "Gi enkel tilgang" is "Give easy access"
Like LMI, Teamviewer can also be installed on a memory stick, allowing you to run Teamviewer from any PC (even a protected corporate PC) from its USB port. Various mobile devices are also supported.

Another surprise was that not only did Teamviewer connect quicker, it appeared that the remote PC responded quicker to I/O commands.

I gradually introduced Teamviewer to all my remote PCs (ironically enough with the help of LMI), and I'm now using Teamviewer exclusively. 

Audio quality is no worse than LMI. With the exception that sometimes I experience audio pops at a rather random rate. Noticeable, but not really disturbing. I'm tempted to rate the video quality as better than LMI. A downside is that I need to reconfigure the video output on a couple of my PCs as Teamviewer apparently doesn't remember previous settings. It only takes a couple of seconds though.

Each session is limited to 120 minutes, and you will be disconnected. However, you can reconnect for another 120 minutes etc, and I'm very rarely connected that long.

Another thing to be aware of is that each session is ended with a dialog box that must be clicked "OK" (or "Buy" or "Like" if you so prefer). Again, no big deal since the dialog box doesn't stop any processes.

There may be a limited number of PCs that are supported with the Free version. I haven't found any info on that. But I haven't reached that limit yet with my six Teamviewer PCs.

So the bottom line is: Teamviewer is an excellent (and free!) tool for controlling your remote PCs.