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: 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.