Saturday, December 15, 2018

QSL: Radio 1629 AM, Newcastle NSW 1629

This 400-watt oldies station was heard with very good signal levels in early October. A report to their email address yielded no response, but a Facebook message to one of their jocks a few days ago did!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

QSL: CHNL Kamloops BC, 610

October 24 was a fine day for DX, and with the 1000-metre Mount Loran antenna in action, we were able to grab a few nice ones. "Radio NL, AM 610" had a fair signal, and I received a friendly as always response from their CE yesterday. From before, I have CINL-1340 and CJNL-1230 confirmed.  CJNL was noted a couple of days later with good signal levels. Canada verie # 225.

610 was quite productive that day, with KDAL-MN, KVNU-UT, KNML-NM and KONA-WA (new for me) heard the same morning.

Friday, November 09, 2018

QSL: Most Wanted CKWW Windsor ON, 580

This 500-watt Oldies station has been on my most wanted list for many years. 50-kW CFRA is likely the main reason why I haven't heard it before. I guess I could have heard it earlier with a little perseverance, but anyway, during the excellent opening on October 24 it was alone on 580 with a weak, albeit clear signal. Friendly response yesterday.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

QSL: KTIC West Point NE 840

We missed the really spectacular daytimer openings at the KONG37 DX-pedition, but we did hear a few stations, daytimers or those who power down at sunset. KTIC was visible on the spectrum for maybe 30 minutes, and with audio some 10 minutes before closing down at 6.45 pm CDT, or 23:45 UTC. You can see the signal on the overnight spectrum below, together with the signals from WHAS and CFCW.

The Director of Engineering at Nebraska Rural Radio Assn. is a very DX-friendly guy, and emailed me a "proper" QSL after a few days. I have previously had confirmations from KRVN Lexington 870, KNEB Scottsbluff 960, and KAMI Cozad 1580.

I have reduced a lot on reception reports - if it is temporarily or not remains to be seen - but I had to get this one. Recently, NRRA has aquired KAWL 1370, so I probably need to get that one as well.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

KONG37 - Last Day

Sunday morning: Windy, snow showers and 0 Celsius. OJ and TJ are packing and preparing for the 3-hour drive to Kirkenes airport. I will stay until Monday morning since I have meetings not too far away from here.

The Mount Loran equipment was dismantled yesterday, along with another 400 GB of overnight recordings. Not too exiting stuff from first looks, but with that location you never know. Below is the equipment we used. Since entrance to the area was restricted last summer, a wheelbarrow is absolutely crucial for transporting the equipment the 850-metre walk up to the listening post. The vertical climb is 40 meters, half of it during the first 200 meters.

PC/SDR box with cover/camouflage, antenna reel and wheelbarrow.

Saturday's dinner was a variant of the traditional Norwegian course fried saithe fillets with grated carrots and potatoes. We added red onion and bacon for more flavour. We had Calles Riesling with the fish. For dessert we had another round with assorted cheeses and another bottle of the superb port wine we had on Friday.

So! KONG37 has come to the end! The Mount Loran beverage was a great success, and we hope to have access to the area next year too. If not, we have a plan B site which is potentially almost as good. To round off, here's a photo of "Shag Island" where the shags are doing feather maintenance after a dive. The seagull in the middle seems a little lost.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

KONG37 - 24 Hours to go!

We are approaching the end of another DX-pedition! Things have worked out well, both with regards to the logistics, equipment, weather (at least until today), and most certainly meals & drinks! We have had some spells with very interesting conditions as well. Again, we see that very quiet solar conditions tend to make propagation boring for those who have heard a lot.

So, a sudden jump in polar K-indices is not a bad thing. Below is an overview over solar weather from October 14 to 26.  Jagged JIX lines (red) indicate fluctuations in signal levels due to changes in the geomagnetic field. Those changes may produce very interesting propagation, and interesting stations!


Yesterday's JIX was indeed jagged. At first a bit disappointing to see signal levels rise rather late, around 23:00Z, too late for eastern daytime stations. But propagation was inland, so we found a few less common daytime or day power stations, like KSDP-CO 750, KTIC-NE 840, WKAR-MI 870, KOEL-IA 950 and WRRD-WI 1510. Then signal levels declined sharply...so, was this it? Not at all! Because western stations came  up at around 01:00 for another daytimer chase, including KFIO-WA 1050, KFZS-WA 1280, KYOZ-WA 1330 and KPXQ-AZ 1360.

Enough radio talk. Dinner talk! For starters, left-overs from Wednesday's Västerbotten pie.  We had lots of veal shanks too left from Wednesday, so we added some water and vegetables and made a stew out of it. Very tasty, and with a Côtes du Rhône to match. For dessert we had assorted cheese - leftovers! The port wine was no leftover though, a delicious Dow's 2006 Quinta do Bomfim.

Today's tough challenge will be at Mount Loran later today. Taking in 1000 meters of wire, and carrying that and all the other stuff 850 meters to the car in 10-13 m/s (22-30 mph) wind and snow showers is no fun job. But we had lots of fun loggings there!

Below is from this morning, an hour or so before sunrise.


Friday, October 26, 2018

KONG37 - Day Eight

Conditions, although "good" in terms of signal levels, appeared less interesting than the day before, with far less daytimer signals - one exception was WCJW-NY 1140, and traces of KOUU-ID 1290.

Checking Mount Loran recordings from the day before turned out to bring a few surprises, especially from 06:00Z towards noon. And especially on the lower part of the band. Some stations of interest in the morning were KNRS-UT 570, CKWW-ON 580, CHNL-BC 610, KFPT-CA 790 and WKY-OK 930. Many other west coast stations were noted. CJWW Saskatoon 600 is a daily guest here so nothing spectacular about that, but click on the link if you want to hear a super strong signal!

The usual Pacific dominants were there, but again, nothing of interest from New Zealand and Australia.

Thursday was shopping day, and Thursday was also Sauna & Dinner at Kongsfjord Guesthouse day! Excellent old-style salted cod with bacon, and cloudberry panna cotta for dessert. And a little aquavit.

The weather is wetter - and windier. Yesterday had rain showers most of the day, changing to sleet in the evening as the temperature fell to near zero Celsius.

As I am writing this, Ole has just left for a 1000-km drive to Andøya in what the met office describes as "difficult driving conditions". Here is from the first mountain pass he will cross. 48 hours from now, the rest of the crew will leave.



A couple of afternoon pictures from the house:


Thursday, October 25, 2018

KONG37 - Day Seven

Another day with more of the same as the day before. Still no proper daytime openings towards the Americas, but there was a small time window for stations like WLNL-NY 1000, WPLB-NY 1070, WDZY-VA 1290, WHGT-MD 1590 and a few others. Early in the morning we also noted KIHU-UT 1010. Propagation lasted well into the afternoon with common stations for that time period, such as KEYG-WA and KDBM-MT 1490.

The Pacific islands were again early, and strong, as this trace of Kiribati-1440 (red circle) shows. Nothing new though.


Then at 10:36Z we got a message from Mika in Aihkiniemi to "Please try listen to V7AB if you can now". Whazzup??? So we tuned to the super-strong V7AB Marshall Islands 1098, where the announcer aired greetings from Jim and Mika to us! Listen to the last part of it here.

Meals!
This time we got the meals procedures back on track. For starters we had a modified Västerbotten pie where the original Kalix roe (hard to find)  had been replaced with Arctic roe from lumpfish.

The main course was Veal shanks barolo, cooked with tomatoes and three bottles of Barolo red wine for 7-8 hours. The selected wine was.... Barolo! But not just any old Barolo, it was the Fenocchio 2011.


For dessert we had properly made Créme brûlée and Amaretto. And Grappa.

Weather was mostly calm, partly cloudy and light rain showers from the northeast throughout the day. Maximum temperature was 4 Celsius. It's starting to cool off a bit now, so we will likely see more wind, snow and sub-zero temperatures towards the weekend.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

KONG37 - Day Six

More than half way! But still no proper daytime opening! And still no super New Zealand and Australia opening! Mount Loran does deliver nice things though, like WNVY-FL 1070, WSQR-IL 1180, WIBW-KS 580 and XEGS-SN 610. And recordings from previous days (and weeks!) also reveal interesting stations.

Asia/Pacific was less inspiring, but as usual, Tonga-1017 and Kiribati-1440 were up with nice signals early in the day. The band was rather noisy at the time.

The Daily Dinner Report: For starters we had - uh, well we sort of didn't start. The main course was reindeer tenderloins and a potato paste with bacon mixed in. And a sauce with onion, shallot and leek. For dessert we had - uh, well we sort of didn't have that. Assorted cheese were chosen, but we all fell asleep in various body positions usually not associated with sleeping. So....!

Some morning rain, but the rest of the day was partly cloudy, dry and calm. Excellent for my first KONG37 8.5 km run. Temperatures around 4 Celsius, though colder in the morning with snow on the mountains. Pictures below were taken before sunset, hence the reddish glow.


Mountain plateau to the south

Sun setting over Kongsfjord village

View to the north and the antenna supports

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

KONG37 - Day Five

Conditions overnight were influenced by the coronal hole, which caused "dips" and "bumps" in the Yaslog. The most interesting "bump" allowed clear reception of 300-watts daytime, 2-watts nighttime WLDS Jacksonville IL 1180 for a few minutes, actually peaking above KYES!

Pacific signals started promising, and several NZL stations were noted around 10:00Z, especially good signals from Radio Sport 1332 and 1377. The band was noisy though, and the opening fizzled out anyway.

The only common meal we have on the KONG DX-peditions is dinner. Any other time of the day, anyone for himself. Ah, and yes, there is a Cafe Latte/Cappucino routine at 9 am as well.

However, since Jim was about to leave for further exploration and eventual return to Finland, we did a brunch with sourdough bread and whatever we could throw on the table. Which is usually quite a bit. So Jim left  us with a happy smile on his face and a couple kgs of  king crab to share with Mika.

Final repair works with the dual 340 beverage was done in the fine weather. Otherwise we checked recordings, such as a great opening we had on October 5 on Mount Loran.

And finally, dinner! Starter: Salmon sashimi with boiling sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds, chives and cilantro.  The main course was a leg of lamb, veeery slowly baked, for almost 9 hours! Served with a paste of root vegetables, and a rather spicy sauce with onion, leak and red chili. Red jelly and custard for dessert.

An audio file to show the signal strength of one of the common stations here: KSJB 600.

The picture was taken after the 340 beverage repair was done, around half an hour before sunset. Calm and dry, around 4 Celsius. Late October really can't get any better than this.

Monday, October 22, 2018

KONG37 - The Antennas


 A bit more about our antennas:
In Kongsfjord, we have four antenna paths with five antennas:
- 500 meters, 50 degrees.
- 570 meters, 80 degrees.
- 275 meters, 310 degrees.
- 2 x 340 meters, 340 degrees.

We also have a temporary setup at Mount Loran: 1000 meters, 306 degrees.

Average height is 120 cm, except the 310 which is 200 cm. Various types of support are used. Below are three types:

- Impregnated fence poles. More durable than fiberglass, and my chosen material for supports on my property, where stealthiness is not an issue.
- Fence poles with added weight. Needed where the ground is rocky or where two antennas meet.
- Fiberglass poles. They are quite durable and flexible, and not least quite stealthy

The 310 beverage has very sturdy, long fiberglass poles which are supported by impregnated fence poles.

Nothing lasts forever though. Around 5 % of the poles need replacement every year. The antenna wires, although exceptionally solid, need replacement every 4-5 years, sometimes more often. The winter is unforgiving.
Impregnated fence poles

Fence poles with extra weight

Fiberglass poles

KONG37 - Day Four

Monday Morning Already!
Conditions towards North America appeared a little less unfocused on Sunday than on Saturday, so a little more interesting. The Mount Loran recordings haven't been checked properly yet.

Stations from the Pacific started to appear very early, by far the earliest we have seen this season, with Tonga-1017 audible before 08:00. And Kiribati 1440 showed up together with JOWF. So, we had hopes! Could this be the Mother of all New Zealand openings?



Not even a distant relative... and at 11:30 a solar disturbance almost wiped up the band, as you can see below. The signal levels were eventually restored, but nothing out of the ordinary was heard the rest of the day.


In the afternoon we got a visit from seasoned Finnish DX-er Jim Solatie, who had taken a break from Aihkiniemi to visit the Norwegian Arctic shores. Jim is a die-hard king crab lover, and incidentally (or not!) this was on the menu on Sunday. So, after an hour at the Guesthouse's new luxury sauna, we had a very pleasant dinner.

For starters, OJ had prepared duck liver paste on sourdough bread. We had a 2010 Marcobrunn riesling auslese with the duck liver.  The main course was the signature dish, king crab baked on a bed of sea salt and spices, with carbonara. This called for a 2014 Voglar Sauvignon.  For dessert we enjoyed a selection of cheeses, such as Gruyere, Papillon Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Morbiere, Primadonna Maturo and Brie de meaux. The Marsala Superiore was an excellent wine for the cheese.
The evening was rounded off with an excellent Grappa.

The weather was not at all nice, with gale force winds and frequent rain showers. 3-4 Celsius. It cleared up in the afternoon though, and the evening was calm and moonlit.

Jim enjoying a Supersonic beer.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

KONG37 - Day Two

Overnight reception from North America had strong signals, alas the usual dominants were too dominant, so, sofar, nothing spectacular. We did review recordings from a few days ago though, and several new Texas stations were spotted from the Mount Loran beverage. What a magic antenna it is.

Tonga-1017 came early today, and around 1300Z we had a small rush from New Zealand, but probably nothing new. We did note Star on 657 and 1494 in passing. But we  haven't reviewed the recordings yet.

Dinner today: Bruschetta from fresh sourdough bread for starters, followed by woked salmon with onions/carrots/ginger/whatever, woked with sour cream. Chocolate pudding with custard, and Grappa, for dessert.

Weather today was excellent; light clouds, dry, light winds, a max of 5 Celsius. A few pictures below from the DX HQ today to illustrate.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we will have a special visit from a very special guest star. Stay tuned!

And here is one of the less unusual Texan stations





Friday, October 19, 2018

KONG 37 - Day One

Arrival day! Ole arrived at around 09:30Z, while OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit showed up at 12:30. Overnight was not too interesting, but when we reviewed last night's Loran C recordings, there were some interesting stations, among them WFLF Pine Hills FL 540 at 01:00. Unfortunately, due to lack of hard drive space, the recordings stopped at 02:30.

DX towards Asia was uninspiring. Nice to to notice that one-watt K9FD showed up with five spots on 630 meter wspr.

The first KONG dinner was fish soup; carrots, celeriac, potatoes, ginger, leek and lots of fish. For dessert we enjoyed a chocolate pudding and custard, with some Amarone.

Weather today was very nice; calm, mostly dry and a max of 6 Celsius. Sorry that I forgot to take any pictures. Today's radio link is a not too common station on 870.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

KONG37 - Day Minus One

KONG37 is about to start! I arrived in Kongsfjord with the last batch of food this afternoon after meetings in Båtsfjord, just as the sun set. Ole Forr is scheduled for arrival Friday morning after a 1000-km drive from Andøya. OJ Sagdahl and Tore Johnny Bråtveit are due in the afternoon. 

King crab, reindeer tenderloin, salmon, haddock, cod, lamb and veal will be the main ingredients in the main courses we will be making. And the odd bottle of beer and wine... But DX-ing is the main priority! Four antennas in Kongsfjord and one 1000-metre antenna at Mount Loran will hopefully provide memorable moments. 

Updates here, on Twitter and on Facebook at DXing.info. OJ Sagdahl will also publish on www.kongsfjord.no. Stay tuned!



Saturday, October 13, 2018

How Do You Copy a 5-watt MF Signal 14,000 km Away?

You do it with a KiwiSDR and a beverage antenna!

For quite some time I've had some interest in monitoring low-band WSPR signals with my Kiwi. I have been restricted to 180 meters, because the most wanted 630 meter spectrum was covered with local PLC noise. Until recently. The band has now opened, so a few weeks ago I started monitoring the band a bit off and on, and noted Greece (5 watts) at 3,700 km as the most distant spot.

But I wanted to hear further away! The ultimate for me would be to hear what I hear on MW: Pacific. I was advised that Roger, VK4YB, just outside Brisbane, QLD, might be the best bet for hearing Australia. So we exchanged some emails, and he wanted very much to be heard in Europe as well. But then the computer part of my KiwiSDR broke down, so I had to postpone the project.

On Thursday though, the KiwiSDR was up and running again, connected to the 500-metre Asia/Pacific beverage. And today, at 1500Z, I logged three spots from 14,075 km away! And propagation was nowhere near outstanding.

So, what's next? Japan? Hawaii? If I want to improve my personal record, I need to hear stations further south in Australia, or in New Zealand.

And maybe, it might be worth exploring LF (136 kHz) as well?


Friday, October 12, 2018

My KiwiSDR Is Up And Running Again (With A New Name)

It's almost two weeks since my KongSDR refused to cooperate. After some fault-finding, including input from the excellent kiwisdr community, the conclusion was that the Beaglebone, the computer that runs the actual SDR, had failed. Unfortunately, that board does have a fail rate.

I eventually orded a replacement (two, in fact) from Mouser  which arrived at my home on Monday. After I had replaced the Beaglebone everything was fine again, and yesterday I set it up in Kongsfjord, with a new name and link: http://arcticsdr.proxy.kiwisdr.com:8073/. This is also selectable on the link panel to the right.

So! Fingers crossed and all that. The current Kiwi configuration has double capacity with up to eight receivers, but only two will see the spectrum. No other functionality is reduced or removed.


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

QSL: WTAX Springfield IL 1240

"...CBS News update, on Newsradio 1240, and 93.5 FM"

This is what I heard last night at Midnight UTC. Despite stormy geomagnetic conditions, there were short openings, and with interesting stations at that. Enter WTAX, with a surprisingly strong signal. Friendly response this evening and a little chat about DX-ing in our youth.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Spotting Tonga in the Afternoon

Tonga Broacasting Commission, A3Z, recently extended their broadcasting schedule to 24 hours. In Kongsfjord, the station has been a frequent guest on 1017 kHz early in the day for many years. However, it requires good conditions to come that early at this time of the autumn, and this year in particular the early hours have been eerily silent.

Today, the 10-kW transmitter  with its roughly +5 Hz offset was noted with a weak carrier at 11:30 UTC, and snippets of audio at 12:30. The Jaguar spectrum followed the signal at  mostly very low levels throughout the day. Then, prior to 17:00 the signal suddenly increased significantly. At the full hour their BBC World Service news bulletin was indeed very strong, and dominating over the usually strong Asian stations on 1017. Was I surprised? Very! Then a few minutes after, the signal started to fade, and eventually disappeared.

But Tonga sunrise today was at 17:38, and pre-sunrise signal enhancement is a well known phenomenon especially among radio amateurs. So a peak like that is really what you might expect, or at least hope for.

Curious if this was a one-day only event, I scrolled back the Jaguar spectrum a few days. And yes, although weaker due to propagation, the Tonga signal had the same characteristics several days back.

Below is the 1017 spectrum from 11:00 to almost 18:00 UTC, showing the Tonga signal level from fade in to fade out.

And to give you a perspective of Tonga in relation to Kongsfjord, and more importantly, the sunrise, see below.


But this "news" about a late Tonga peak might not be news at all. According to the Pacific-Asian Log, the previous sign-on time for Tonga was 16:50. So, we should have noted the signal before they went 24 hours. But since they were so "easy" to hear before close-down, we never bothered to check, did we. Or maybe someone did?

QSL: KWRT Boonville MO 1370

Another catch from the short spot opening on Septemer 25 (see WSBC below) was KWRT, which surfaced both at 02:00 and 03:00 UTC with their legal ID "KWRT 13-70 AM, K254DE 98.7 FM – Boonville, Missouri." Brief email response. As usual it was OJ Sagdahl who spotted it first!


QSL: WSBC Chicago IL 1240

During disturbed solar weather on Sept 25, there was a nice and concentrated peak towards a rather small area around Illinois and Missouri. WSBC surfaced on 1240 with a readable station identification. Email verie received later that day.

750 was heard a couple of years ago. As for 850 - well nothing is impossible during a good daytime opening!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

QSL: 6PNN ABC Newsradio, Bunbury WA 1152

Heard one afternoon a couple of weeks ago with BBC World Service programming. An audio file was sent off to the v/s who confirmed that it matched their off-air logger. He further explained that the BBC service they relay is specially provided by the BBC from New Zealand. It is often different to World Service and has different latency, so even when the programme content is the same as World Service, they are readily identifiable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

QSL: WKTP Jonesborough TN 1590

Heard with a weak signal during stormy geomagnetic conditions (see post below) last night. Not at all common, and a first for me. It was "94.3" and "ESPN Tri-Cities" announcement that caught my attention. They are three stations, 1400, 1490 and 1590; FM 94.3, 98.1 and 97.7 respectively. Quick email response this evening.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Stormy Radio Night With a Twist

Last night, K-indices rose to around 6, or a G2 Geomagnetic Storm. The MW band was dead most of the time - except an hour or so between 01:00 and 02:00 UTC. The Jaguar spectrum below illustrates very well how the band woke up from nothingness to many stations on each frequency for a short period.

So, even during solar storms, you should check your radio! Unfortunately, on 1570, the usual dominant CJVL wouldn't give way to other stations.


Sunday, September 09, 2018

KONG36 - Day Four

Last day! Unfortunately, Ole had to leave us this morning. He'll be back in October! Today we prepared the unattended Perseus facility at Mount Loran, which will hopefully run continously, save weekly battery replacements, until October 18.

Nothing really spectacular to hear, but great signal strengths both in Kongsfjord and Mount Loran.
Stealthy Monitoring Site

There were "complaints" yesterday that we hadn't mentioned any beers we had tested. Well, sorry about that - at any rate here are two of today's top picks, our old favourite, the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, and the Norwegian Grünerløkka Geriljagress (guerilla grass, sorry, no idea what it means but it's a superb beer)




Weather was absolutely fabulous today. I'm preparing for the Oslo half-marathon the coming Saturday, so I enjoyed a 14-km jog in sunny and calm weather. Temperatures up to 10 Celsius. Photo below is from the former Loran C site (named Mount Loran by us), overlooking the Kjølnes lighthouse.


OJ and TJ will leave Monday morning, but will return in less than six weeks for more radio listening, beverage testing and good food.


Saturday, September 08, 2018

KONG36 DX-pedition - Day Three

Another beautiful day with 11 Celsius maximum, dry and sunny spells. The photo below was taken in the afternoon, showing a flock of goosanders (or common mergansers) in my bay.


Final internal preparations for the coming winter were done, as OJ, Ole and TJ set up their PCs, SDRs and hard drives in the living room. Overnight recordings from Mount Loran were collected, and showed clear improvement over the previous night. Brief checks revealed stations like WSFC Somerset, KY 1240 and WROK Rockford IL 1440.

Before dinner, we enjoyed specially imported exquisite chocolate from the UK (courtesy TJ).



For dinner we had baked salmon and pesto, with pasta carbonara. Chocolate pudding with custard for dessert, and a specially purchased aquavit from Gudbrandsdalen, Ole's home turf.

To end off this report, a photo of a setting sun over the 70-metre KongSDR internet receiver antenna.

Friday, September 07, 2018

KONG36 DX-pedition - Day Two

The Mount Loran Perseus recordings were collected today, and as expected, the noise levels are very much lower than Kongsfjord, allowing for more stations to be heard. Nothing really spectacular this time, but several not-so-usual stations were noted. Signals from North America only started to fade up after 00:30 UTC, and sunrise was at 02:40. Last signals faded out around 03:30.

In the afternoon and evening, the usual mix of Australian stations were audible, such as 594, 729 and 891, and even 5AU Adelaide 1242. Philippine stations were very strong.

The 340 degrees beverage turned out to be extremely noisy. A possible culprit was an un-un on the feedline. At any rate, by-passing the un-un seemed to get rid of the noise.

Dinner today was reindeer steak with a paste of root vegetables. The steak was not quite as good as expected, but no leftovers. A very nice selection of cheese were

Weather today was a bit cooler than yesterday with 9 Celsius maximum, but little wind, and dry.

Today's picture is from one of the beverages. Strong supports are needed if the antennas are to survive the fierce arctic winter.




Testing Changes To The KongSDR Remote Receiver

Today I have preliminary implemented changes to the KongSDR, to allow more users. The original KiwiSDR could only supply four tuneable audio/waterfall receiver channels. Two of the original channels have been traded for six audio only receiver channels. The total number of channels are increased from four to eight.

Recently added features, such as the TDoA service, WSPR Autorun, configuration forWJST-X and DRM are channel intensive. When these kinds of connections are made, channels RX2 to RX7 (audio only) will be used first. RX0 and RX1 will be available for normal browser connections where it's desirable to view the waterfall.

While it is always cool to see the waterfall, in many cases it's not really necessary. Please email me if you have comments to this setup. It is always reversible. Below is how an audio-only display is shown.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

KONG36 DX-pedition in Progress!

Twice every autumn, the KONG crew, OJ Sagdahl, Ole Forr, TJ Bråtveit and Bjarne the host, meet in Kongsfjord for antenna work, DX-ing, eating good food and drinking good beer, not necessarily in that order.

This mini-DXpediton will last from Thursday, September 6 to Sunday (or rather Monday morning). Antenna works today.  OJ and Ole took on the challenging task of erecting the 1000-metre experimental beverage at Mount Loran, together with the necessary hardware and remote control setup.

In-house setup is challenging as well, with four DX-ers wanting continous access to four beverage antennas. But we've done this a few times before (35 to be exact), so it's mostly routine.

While OJ and Ole were away, I replaced supports for the 340-degrees beverage, and also elevated it. Stunning September weather. The picture below is looking southwest from near the end point of the 340 beverage. Nice, huh? Today was calm, sunny, maximum of 13 Celsius.

Afternoon conditions were relatively uninspiring, except Philippines showed up on somewhat unusual frequencies, like 1440.


As always (almost) on the first day, the host tries to impress the gang with home-made fish gratin, and they say they approve. It's an easy dish with super-quality haddock, bacon, macaroni, chopped carrots, fresh ginger, onion and chopped leak in basic white sauce. Generous amounts of nutmeg for flavour.  Baked for 45 minutes at 200 Celsius. For dessert we enjoyed Tartufo, a delicious Italian-style chocolate mousse.

We tested a few beers: Dead Cat double IPA from Graff in Tromsø (approved), Twine Ball double IPA from Kansas (approved), and Stockholm Style IPA from Sweden (not approved). And as always, Amaretto is approved.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

The Kongsfjord Antenna Park - Differences in Noise Levels

Three out of four beverage antennas are now up:
500 meters, 50 degrees, towards East Asia and most of the Pacific.
570 meters, 80 degrees, towards South East Asia and Australia
225 meters, 310 degrees, towards eastern North America, and South America.

We have yet to put up the dual 340 degrees beverage, towards western North America. Half of it has been rolled out, but not connected.

Directions and lengths only approximate

All have loooong DX-Engineering feedlines into my shack, where they first enter a DX-Engineering preamp, followed by a 1:8 MiniCircuits splitter and then distributed to the four radio operators.

There are some interesting differences in the antenna's noise levels. So I set up a test during daytime, when there were no signals on the MW band, to illustrate this. I used Perseus SDRs at 2 MHz sampling rates, centered on 1000 kHz, and SDR Console v. 3.0.3.

First off, the oldest "design" of them all, the 310 beverage aimed for North America. It points directly towards a wind park, comprising 15 Siemens turbines each with a capacity of 3 MW. The noise below 800 kHz is typical for these turbines, this "fingerprint" is also noted by Swedish DX-er Stefan Wikander. I suspect the peak on just below 1400 to belong to the same noise source.

310 beverage, Perseus SDR

Generally, the noise level is quite high, and a lot higher than at our test site Mount Loran, where we put up a temporary 1000-metre beverage at roughly the same direction.

The 50 beverage is very quiet. When we first erected it several years ago, we heard absolutely nothing when we tested it. We thought we had forgot to connect it. We hadn't. Since then, increase in general noise levels have affected it a bit, but it's still very quiet. We can see the wind turbine noise on the spectrum, but the antenna is grounded on its back end, and pointing slightly away from the turbines, so the effect isn't too bad.

50 beverage, Perseus SDR

The 80 beverage was new last year, and is somewhere in between, with regards to noise. The wind turbine RFI is clearly visible from 700 kHz and downwards. Apart from that, I don't really see why it should be so much noisier than the 50 beverage, so we might have to look into it.

80 beverage, Perseus SDR

And while we're in measuring mode, we might as well check the 70-metre, N-S longwire for the KongSDR . It is placed some 30 meters from the house:

N-S longwire, Perseus SDR

It's nice and quiet in the LW band and lower MW, but otherwise not particularly quiet. It should be noted though, that the longwire is connected to a 13-dB Wellbrook splitter/preamp. And on the SW bands, as should be expected from a longwire, the noise level is around -120 dBm, which is quite good. The longwire certainly "hears" more on SW than the beverages do.

One would expect, or at least hope, that a super-rural area like this would be super-quiet as well. But just 4 km away is a major grid hub with several 20 kV, 66 kV, and 132 kV lines going in many directions. The wind park makes its own noise. And although we are on constant red alert regarding in-house appliances, we may have undetected noise sources here as well. Or maybe our neighbours 200 meters away.