Tuesday, December 01, 2015

November 2015 Verifications

5TAB Radio TAB, Adelaide SA, AUS 1539
KYYW Abilene TX 1470
KFLN Baker MT 960 (fb)
KMBZ Kansas City KS 980
LLE-4 Radio Northern Star, Bergen, NOR 1611 (75 watts, 1600 km)
WNER Watertown NY 1410 (tnx JHU)
WTNY Watertown NY 790 (tnx JHU)

Friday, October 30, 2015

October 2015 Verifications

WSOY Decateur IL 1340
KTOX Needles CA 1340
KYLT Missoula MT 1340
KZTD Cabot AR 1350 (fb) tnx ABU
KOKB Blackwell OK 1580 tnx ABU
KAMI Cozad NE 1580
KLMR Lamar CO 920 tnx OJS
KDAV Lubbock TX 1590 tnx OJS
WMYF Portsmouth NH 1370
WGIL Galesburg IL 1400 (fb)
WLMR Chattanooga TN 1450 tnx OJS
KCKN Roswell NM 1020

Sunday, October 25, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Eight

No DX at all due to the effect of the proton event, unless we count in a brief appearence from CKDO-ON 1580 and CHIN-ON 1540.

Instead we had outdoor activities like running and walking to the lighthouse in increasing winds, and a trip to Berlevåg for a little sightseeing, photographing, shopping and to witness the effect of unpredictable fall winds on the exposed coastal road.

The last three-course dinner of KONG31 started off with Västerbotten pie with Kalix vendace roe, courtesy OJ. Our main course was reindeer sirloins and tenderloins with potato/carrot/celeriac paste. Superb fried mushrooms and special recipe sauce was created by Arnstein and Heidi. To round it off we had another one of OJ's specialities, a perfect Créme Brûlée.

Another mild October day for this latitude and season, but gale force winds throughout the day and following night. Quite clear in the morning, later partly cloudy and dry.

This will be the last KONG31 update as my guests will depart at 7 am local (0600Z) Sunday morning. Time to get back to work. However not without good news: Conditions are now much better!

Saturday's pic below just at sunrise:

24-OCT 0550Z

Saturday, October 24, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Seven

The proton event triggered by the long-duration C flare early on the 22nd really had devastating impact on polar signal paths. Nothing at all heard from that direction on Friday!

So instead we listened to recordings, and enjoyed the clear and calm autumn air for a 6 km run to the lighthouse.

While we cope quite well on making our own dinners, once every expedition we have a "chef's day off" and eat at Kongsfjord Gjestehus. The menu was secret to us. It was also a secret (to some) that OJ's wife Lise and Arnstein's wife Heidi would be there when we arrived... So needless to say, it was a highly successful evening.

Heidi and Lise will be here until departure on Sunday morning.

Perfect weather with clear skies and almost dead calm, 2-3 Celsius. Towards the evening a bit cloudy and a little rain - but when writing this two hours before sunrise on  Saturday morning, it's another starry starry sky. Maybe the lack of aurora is a sign of better days. Predicted gale force winds today, so we'll see.

23-OCT 0550Z

Thursday, October 22, 2015

KONG31 Expediton Report - Day 6

The prospects for the night looked good - alas it was not to last. The power company did a maintenance power outage starting at 12 Midnight local (2200Z) which lasted for almost five hours. We weren't quite aware of this, because the public statement about the outage was made to a hidden web page hidden deep in the company's menu structure. To add to the injury, when power resumed, the fuse responsible for the living room decided that the combined load of all electric appliances coming back to life at once became too much to handle. So it collapsed.

Eventually we got things running again. Not much of interest so far, except KTOP-KS 1490. However, after 0600Z there wasn't much left, and a solar flare didn't make things easier.

Asia surfaced at around 1200Z but levels were weak and uninteresting.

OJ and I decided to go to Berlevåg for supplementary shopping, and visited the Loran C site while there. It is scheduled to close at Midnight, December 31. An impressive structure, and an impressive 250 kW transmitter. And an impressive amount of noise.

Loran C mast, Berlevåg
The proton level has increased, which may mean no more DX this week.

But we don't despair! For dinner this calm and mainly dry Thursday we started with cured reindeer fillet, served with small almond potatoes and a dressing made from olive oil, orange juice and chopped small onions. The main course was fried duck fillets, sweet potato paste and red wine sauce. Assorted cheeses for dessert.

Today's pic: Gray and rainy morning but weather improved. 4 degrees maximum temperature, and calm.
OCT-22 0550

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Five

This was not a good night. Fair signals on the top part of the band from around 2300, and WXTG Hampton VA dominated 1490 for an hour. Nice signal from WRHC-FL 1550 when on day power.Then into mostly nothingness until around 0300 when signals appeared to recover. However very wide conditions, Brazil on one frequency and Seattle on another. So nothing much happened, and from 0430 the signals fizzeled out into the noise.

Asia/Pacific surfaced just after 1000Z. Nothing from New Zealand at that time, but Radio Kiribati 1440 had a nice signal for a few minutes and a "You are listening to Radio Kiribas" ID. From there on only the usual stuff from Asia.

More on our weblog!

Another interesting feature with the Jaguar/Perseus combo is the Monitor. Below is a 60-minute waterfall of 1490. It shows how stations can be tentatively separated by their small offsets, and it gives the user the possibility to "point and shoot" on the station of interest. During these 60 minutes, WXTG  (1489.997) was the dominating station, confirmed by multiple IDs throughout the hour. An interesting signal was spotted where the hollow circle is placed. It was only audible at that short time span, and by clicking on the waterfall I sure enough heard good audio from another station which unfortunately wouldn't ID at that time (but I guess/suspect it was WBAE because of the nostagia music format). As I mentioned on the Day Three report, it requires the Perseus to be calibrated against a station or signal where the exact frequency is known.

One hour on 1490
Below is another example on 1230 with two dominating stations; the one to the right is presumably CFFB Iqualuit NU, while the one to the left is actually wobbling 1 Hz in apparently regular intervals (around 35 minutes).

One hour on 1230
Of course the Monitor will only help you if you have a continous recording.

Weatherwise it's much the same. The wind increased to strong breeze overnight, and the temperature fell to around 3 Celsius. A few rain showers as the wind calmed, and then the clouds went away. Max temp was 5. Outlook for the rest of the week is chances of light rain, windy at periods and cooler. We're happy for every snowless day.

Today's three-course dinner started off with cured duck breast on sourdough bread covered with gruyere and baked in the oven. The main course was simple enough -  flaming hot Holy Cod fish soup - no further explanation required. For dessert: Artificially flavoured strawberry jelly with custard. And Grappa. And some more Grappa.

Today's pic: Since the weather changed quite a bit here are two.

OCT-21 0550Z

OCT-21 0915Z

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Four

Fluctuating signals throughout the night, from quite strong to almost nothing. 0100, 0400 and 0500Z were ok full hours. After 0600 the band died,

Nothing new or exciting. Among the slightly less than ordinary we might mention KSEI-ID and KOGA-NE 930, KODY-NE 1240, WOTE-WI 1380, KVSI-ID 1450 and KAIR-KS 1470.

Yaslog 310 degrees beverage 20-OCT

Asia started very late. Only just before 1200Z did we hear the first faint signals from Japan, as usual the Hokkaido stations were first to show. But at 1200, Newstalk ZB 1035 surfaced with a good signal for around 25 minutes. Not much else from NZ though. To our surprise we found 4TAB, Adelaide SA, 1539 kHz later in the afternoon. Nothing else from the area was found. Please remember to check the weblog in the morning.

So! Time for dinner! As usual there was a three-course meal: We started with salmon sashimi slightly treated with a superhot mix of sesame and grapeseed oil, served with pin sticks of fresh ginger, coriander leaves, sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper. Absolutely yummi!

The main course was lamb sirloin and tenderloin, passionately prepared by Mr. Bue. Pearl potatoes, junior onions, apple gelly and magic sauce. Yummi Yummi!! This was a KONG first, and certainly not the last.

For dessert we enjoyed chocolate pudding and custard, and some Grappa. And some Aquavit.

Below is today's pic from this morning. 6 Celsius, cloudy and some wind early on, but the wind calmed down in the afternoon,

OCT-20 0552Z

Monday, October 19, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Three

The ionosphere calmed a bit during yesterday so the night wasn't as uneventful as we feared. Low signal levels, but luckily low noise levels as well. Nothing spectacular - I noted WHGT-MD 1590 just before it powered down from 15 kW at 2230Z. Others noted in passing were KWBE-NE 1450 and KLMS-NE 1480,  A bit after 0500Z signals dropped to near zero, with a slight  recovery starting 0730. Eureka, CA stations KIHH-1400 and KGOE-1470 noted at 1000Z. Check our weblog for more details.

Basically nothing at all from the Pacific. East Asia surfaced at around 1200Z but conditions soon turned southern as they did yesterday. Old recordings were more exciting.

A little intro to the Jaguar software: It has the ability to separate stations that are only hertz away. The example below shows six minutes from 1548, where multiple, non-synchronized Chinese stations dominate, while 4QD from Emerald, NSW, Australia is visible - and audible - on the side. Jaguar also suggests stations based on known offsets - these suggestions are overlined here because they're not relevant.  The lowest signal is on 1547.968 kHz, the higest on 1548.044 kHz. Even non-audible carriers are easily visible on the waterfall. The accuracy of course depends on the Perseus SDR being properly calibrated.

Waterfall 6 minutes on 1548 kHz
Today was salmon day. We started off with bruschetta featuring today's sourdough bread (an OJS specialty). Main course was fried salmon with woked vegetables and basmati rice, and we finished it off with dark chocolate pudding with custard. And Amaretto. And some more Amaretto.

Below is today's pic. 7-8 Celsius today, a little breeze but dry, although cloudy.
19-OCT 0550Z

Sunday, October 18, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day Two

Several C-flares late yesterday made the K-index rise to 4, and the signal levels fluctuated a lot overnight with the best signals around 0110-0200Z. Stations of interest: KFLN-MT 960, KNEU-UT 1250 and  WMOH-OH 1450,

Pacific started early today with Kiribati-1440 audible prior to 0830Z, also traces from Tonga-1017 at that time. Then it fizzled out into nothing...until just before 1000Z when New Zealand was all over the band! 25 stations identified, including several new ones in a peak that lasted for only around 5 minutes, but luckily included the top of the hour. As the peak ended, a major disturbance set in, and the band is now very noisy and very auroral.

OCT-18 Overnight and daytime 310 beverage
A few words about today's dinner: For starters, bacon-fat fried king crab with no accessories. The main course was pulled chicken with rice and woked vegetables, and cheese (some of it came from France and was very aggressive) rounded off the meal.

Below is the daily pic. Nice & calm today, maximum of 5 Celsius and dry.
18-OCT 0552 UTC

Saturday, October 17, 2015

KONG31 Expedition Report - Day One (or actually two)

Friday was arrival time for the bold travellers OJ Sagdahl, Arnstein Bue and TJ Bråtveit. Weather was typical for October, 2-3 Celsius with gusty winds and rain/sleet showers. Eventually in the afternoon they settled in, and we could test some good beers (Nøgne Ø IPA, Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA), and some really awful ones (Prykmestar Double IPA, Kukko Vahva Pils and Mufloni Mosaic Vehnäipa to name a few).

Coronal Hole 695 has made a lot of trouble for us the past couple of weeks. It's finally begun to rotate out of geoeffective position, and a few NZ stations did surface at 1200Z yesterday just before the dominant Asians took over. Last night wasn't exceptional, but we did have decent signal levels from around 0030 until 0430. Mostly from the western time zones in North America. Noted of interest KAIR-KS 1470 and KBUD-CO 1550 and a few that need closer attention. A general impression of the overnight signal levels is below. The redder the better - the red lines on the sides give a visual impression of the fluctuation of signal levels.

Overnight, OCT-17

Today started with faint audio from Kiribati 1440 up until around 1000Z. Japan surfaced just before 1200, as did Newstalk ZB-1035. Otherwise an uneventful afternoon - no Aussies audible at any strength. More details on the weblog.

Dinners at KONG are always exciting. For starters we had duck liver paste served on home made bread. Main course was of course the King Crab, impeccable quality from the factory Polar Seafood Berlevåg AS, and treated with sufficient love & care to make a perfect meal. We had to postpone the dessert a bit, but it will be Creme Brulee.

King Crab legs - more than a mouthful

The temperature maxed out at around 6 Celsius today, relatively calm winds and light showers. And some not so light.

The motif below will be photographed every morning at around 8 am local, 0600Z. It's taken from a window in my living room. I expect the scenery to change during our stay here. Or maybe it won't.

OCT-17 0552Z

Thursday, October 01, 2015

August, September Verifications

WTLN Orlando FL 950
WLOB Portland ME 1310
WRED Westbrook ME 1440
WELI New Haven CT 960
KKXL Grand Forks ND 1440 (fb)
WKAJ St. Johnsville NY 1120 (fb)
WPSE Erie PA 1450 (fb)
WBOK New Orleans LA 1230 (fb)
WQAM Miami FL 560
KLCN Clinton IA 1390

CJLI Calgary AB 700 (Alberta # 40)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

July 2015 Verifications

KELY Ely NV 1230 (tnx OJS)
KBZZ Reno NV 1270 (tnx Ole Forr)
KSGG Reno NV 1230
WILM Wilmington DE 1450 (via FB, last remaining US state confirmed; USA #900 excl. Hawaii, I was asked to submit a liner for their morning show)
Radio Carve, Montevideo 850 (tnx Horacio Nigro)
WJDA Quincy MA 1300 (via Google Hangout)
WBRK Pittsfield MA 1340
WPRO Providence RI 630
WPRV Providence RI 790

Friday, July 31, 2015

RFSpace CloudIQ samples 1500 kHz!

It didn't take long for RFSpace to do a firmware update to allow sampling of 1500 useable kHz with 16 bits. For the MW DX-er, this is indeed good news!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

RFSpace CloudIQ: Sensitivity & I/Q Bandwidth

Sensitivity may not be an important issue for many DX-ers, especially if they live in a high signal level environment. To me, sensitivity is an important issue, and I always make sure to measure the sensitivity levels of my receivers.

Up until now, all SDRs have been somewhat inferior to the best conventional receivers. Such as the NRD-525 (-114 dBm) and the R-390A (-116 dBm).

My SDRs of various guises have weighed in at -93 to - 106 dBm, with the exception of the Winradio G33DDC which made the -110 dBm mark with the preamp engaged.

RFSpace promised the CloudIQ to be considerably more sensitive that the SDR-IQ, and indeed we have a new SDR winner of the weak signals prize. The sensitivity was a uniform -111 dBm from 500 kHz (my lowest measurement) to 20 MHz (my highest). The measurements were done in AM mode, 6 kHz bandwidth, 400 Hz tone into 30 % modulation.

Pieter Ibelings at RFSpace informed me that they had spent a lot of time on the matching of the ADC. Evidently their efforts paid off.
The 19 meter band on the CloudIQ
The I/Q sample rate maxes out at 1 MHz, 24 bits. Now, this is a little less than desired for recording the MW band for later analysis, as 160 kHz on the 540-1700 kHz range is missing; 173 kHz for the European/Asian 531-1704 kHz range. The older NetSDR also has a 1 MHz, 24-bit limit, but in addition it has two 16-bit bandwidths, 1.3 and 1.6 MHz. 

I sincerely hope that the CloudIQ will be given a similar option.

CloudIQ I/Q bandwidth (NetSDR bandwidth for comparison in green frame)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

New Toy

A new radio is ready for testing. I was lucky enough to be among those who got the first batch of 100 or so receivers, and I will look forward to testing it the coming weekend. For anyone not familiar with the CloudIQ, here's the story:

More as it happens.

Recent Verifications

(Well, not so recent... since March actually)

WGVA Geneva NY 1240
WAEB Allentown PA 790
WMAL Washington DC 630
WMLM St. Louis MI 1520
WMEL Cocoa Beach FL 1300
WDAE Tampa Bay FL 620
WRTA Altoona PA 1240
WTVL Waterville ME 1490 (tnx OJS!)
KNEU Roosevelt UT 1250

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