Monday, December 25, 2017

The SDRPlay RSP1A: A Closer Look

After I had done my first test of the RSP1A I realised that the comparison I did was rather unfair. The SDR was connected to a cheap laptop, and cheap laptops usually have awful audio cards. Especially in comparison with the Cakewalk UA-16 I use on my main PC! So I moved the radio to the main PC and decided to do another test.

This time, I recorded 20 seconds of audio from a very weak KONP 1450 kHz to the RSP1A, the Cloud-IQ and the Perseus (Jaguar software).

So you can listen for yourselves. Sorry that the line level of the Perseus came up a bit louder than the other two. The sequence is: 20 seconds RSP1A, 20 seconds Cloud-IQ and 20 seconds Perseus/Jaguar.  Software used with RSP1A and Cloud-IQ was SDR Console V3, USB mode, 2.8 kHz bandwidth (Perseus 3.2). The audio is recorded today at 12:30:00 to 12:30:20 UTC.

Apart from this, I have compared the RSP1A to the Cloud-IQ on various frequency ranges, various software (HDSDR and SDR Console V3), but only with the 2,048 kHz bandwidth. It does in fact fare well.

Below are the RSP1A (left) and Cloud-IQ when connected to a 500-metre, 50-degrees beverage (the Asia-Pacific antenna).

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Toy: SDRPlay RSP1A

First 10 minutes of use: Not bad for USD 100. Setup was ok, I chose to use HDSDR and when default setup was chosen, it was up and running. I needed to push LNA all the way up (which turned out to be UP towards zero!) for best sensitivity though.

Speaking of which: Not at the Perseus level, but not too far behind. Here's an audio file from KLAM Cordova Alaska 1450 with a relatively strong interfering signal on 1449. RSP1A is set up with USB, 2.7 kHz bandwidth. The Perseus is also set up with USB, but 3 kHz bandwidth. Antenna: 340 meters long beverage directed towards western North America. When I tested on KHKA Honolulu 1500 (below), the difference in sensitivity was noticeable with KHKA having audio and being partly readable on the Perseus. The RSP1A could only barely hear audio.

For sure not an SDR to replace the Perseus-grade SDRs. The price-performance ratio is good though.

More as it happens.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

QSL: JOEO RCC, Fukuyama 1530

This 1-kW relay of JOER 1350 was heard with a good signal in September 2016. I sent a report in April and received a QSL card today.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

QSL: Hokkaido Hoso, JOQN/JOQS/JOTN Kitami/Nemuro/Tomakomai 801, JOTL Nayoro 1494

During October I was able to log the missing frequencies for HBC. 801 with 100-watt relays was a bit tricky while the 1-kW 1494 relay is easier to hear, although JOYR RSK is the dominant there. In addition to QSL cards I also received a personal letter from the Programming Manager. Hokkaido QSL #25.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

QSL: JOPN/JOPM Yamaguchi Hoso, Iwakuni/Shimonoseki 918

JOEF Yamagata Hoso tends to dominate 918 during good conditions to Japan. One evening in October, Yamaguchi Hoso did surface, and let off a "KRY" ID just as YBC was holding its breath. QSL card and schedule received today. All three frequencies (765, 918 and 1485) now confirmed. Those on 918 are both 1 kW.

QSL: KFLN Baker MT 960

This Real Country station was heard a few days ago. The last time I heard KFLN, in 2015, I didn't receive any response, but today I did. CFAC was weak for a change.

Friday, December 15, 2017

QSL: KCTE Independence MO 1510

"ESPN Kansas City" was heard one fine night in November with a very good signal. A quick Facebook response this afternoon confirmed my Missouri station #20. Thanks Ole.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

QSL: Radio Kiribati, Kiritimati/Christmas Island, 846

I have been chasing this new Radio Kiribati outlet since I read that they had started transmissions on November 25. Finally I found a rather weak signal in parallel, but with significant audio delay, with their much stronger 1440 station. The NHK signal on 846 wasn't too strong at the time, and the multiple Chinese stations were absent, so I was able to make a decent recording which was confirmed.

Radio Kiribati has used 846 before, but this station is new and located a staggering 3300 km away from the capital Tarawa. It's 10 kW and built to serve the Line Islands and their 9000 population.  Their Facebook story about the new transmitter is here. Kiribati is a long, long country...
MW station #120 from the Pacific.

Friday, December 08, 2017

QSL: JO__ NHK-1 Morioka relay, Yamada 1323

This 1-kW relay station of NHK-1 Morioka was heard in October with a fair signal. Friendly letter received today.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

QSL: KSJK Talent OR, 1230

KSJK has been heard before, but at the time no reply. It was heard again this autumn though, and Ole Forr found a kind person who confirmed his report - and then confirmed mine! Talent is a small town mid-way between the larger cities Ashland and Medford, which are likely the main markets.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

QSL: KXET Mt. Angel OR, 1130

Russian is not a common language to observe on North American radio stations, but there are a few. Like KXET, licensed to the small town of Mt. Angel, but with a potent 25 kW daytime signal directed north-east, profiled as Slavic Family Radio. Owned by Bustos Media, who confirmed my report today. Thanks OJS for info.

QSL: Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Honiara 1035

I heard SIBC briefly many years ago, but at the time only by comparing audio with its 5020 kHz outlet.

In October 2017, the signal was quite good, although mostly under the Newstalk ZB Wellington signal. A reference to their web page secured a proper ID, and a friendly email a couple of weeks ago secured my 13th Pacific country on MW.

SIBC returned to Kongsfjord in early November with another good signal.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

KongSDR Finances - November

NOK 400 was received this month, so November ends with a positive accumulated balance of NOK 994, or rougly USD 120.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

QSL: KVMX Olivehurst CA 890

Another station spotted by OJS was the Spanish programming KVMX La Ranchera, excellent signal a few days ago with a full-hour call letter ID including their 104.7 FM in Sacramento. Very friendly response today.

QSL: KSMM Liberal, KS 1470

During the KONG35 DX-pedition in October, OJ Sagdahl spotted a most unusual station on 1470: "We're always playing what you wanna hear: Southwest Kansas' Superhits", which turned out to be KSMM Liberal, simulcasting 95.5 FM. Friendly Facebook reponse this afternoon, and they wanted to know how to pronounce my name for tomorrow's morning show...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

QSL: NHK-2 Okinawa, Miyakojima relay, 1602

I was quite surprised to hear this Okinawa NHK-2 station on 1602. Most welcome QSL & friendly letter received today. This relay is listed Miyakojima, actually closer to Taiwan than the main Okinawa island. 100 watts! Likely one of my best Japanese catches to date - if not the best.

Monday, November 27, 2017

QSL: FBC Radio Fiji One, Nauru 558

We have been hunting this station from the start of the season, but a combination of local noise and the Korean station have made reception impossible. Until now. Fair signal levels for a few minutes. A friendly email from the Program Director on GoldFM-990 confirmed the reception. Both of new AM stations from Fiji heard and confirmed this season!

QSL: Coast NZ, Christchurch 1593

South Island stations surfaced well for half an hour or so on October 20, and I spent some time on 1593  where Coast NZ was fighting hard with the strong NHK-2 stations. I did get a commercial and a couple of  music details for a tentative report, and received a confirmation late yesterday. The music log matched perfectly. Pays off to be a Linda Ronstadt fan! 2.5 kW travelled 16,380 km.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The ColibriNANO - Revised Article

After having used the ColibriNANO SDR a few months, it was time to revise the paper I wrote this summer. It's available here, or from the menu to the right.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Companion For The MW DX-er? The Airspy R2 + Spyverter R2

I've had this receiver for more than four months, but I needed some time to explore if it has potential for the MW DX-er. To read more, click the link on the right side, or here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

QSL: KIXZ Amarillo TX 940

This quite unusual Texan was heard in early October, email response this evening.

QSL: All India Radio Jodhpur 531, Bengaluru 612, Varanasi 1242, Panaji 1287

Bulk reporting results in bulk QSL-ing - sort of. Four QSLs  in one came in my mailbox today. Heard during very auroral conditions in September.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

QSL: CIVH Vanderhoof BC, 1340

CIVH Valley Country has been high on my wish list for years. Last weekend it was suddenly there with a short liner between two country songs. And now I'm probably going to hear it weekly! Friendly email confirmed my reception, thanks Hans for the email address. Vanderhoof is in British Columbia's northern interior, not far from Prince George.

British Columbia #35, graveyard channel #275.

QSL: JOSB NHK-2 Kitakyushu, 1602

The 1-kW station surfaced from the jumble of what is effectively a Japanese "graveyard" frequency in early October. I received a QSL letter written in Japanese, with an English summary. My 6th verie from the Fukuoka prefecture.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

QSL: KHIL Willcox AZ, 1250

November 4 was a good day for DX-ing, and I was thrilled to hear KHIL dominating over CHSM with a great TOH ID. The owner was apparently delighted too, and confirmed my reception with a friendly email.

QSL: KENN Farmington NM, 1390

I heard KENN during good conditions last weekend with a TOH announcement which went like "...reminding you to join me at 6 after Midnight on Coast to Coast AM, on 92.1 FM and 1390 AM, KENN Farmington". A friendly email exchange followed after the initial confirmation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

QSL: RNZ National, Gisborne New Zealand, 1314

The 2 kW from Poverty Bay was heard with fair signal levels in late October. Friendy email today. You can never hear too many Kiwi stations!

QSL: KRDO Colorado Springs, CO 1240

KRDO surfaced with a weak signal during the weekend, but enough for an ID and a friendly email response yesterday. 1240 # 40.

Monday, November 06, 2017

QSL: KXRO Aberdeen, WA 1320

KXRO had a suberb signal the past weekend, and totally drowned usual west coast dominant CHMB Vancouver. Very swift response today.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

QSL: KPYV Oroville CA 1340

This Spanish Catholic station serving northern California with KCVV 1240 was heard in October with their full-hour ID. Email response this morning from the lady who voiced the announcement.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

QSL: 4ZR Roma QLD, 1476

4ZR's 2 kW transmitter has sent a great signal the past few days, and on November 1 I caught a superb full-hour ID. A Facebook message received an almost instant response. At the same time, 4QD 1548 was literally blasting away. Amazing. Hunting Aussies on MW is so cool.

QSL: HLCW KBS1 Wonju, 1152

This one is not often heard, but surfaced with a nice ID in September 2016. A report was sent in May, and an email response came today.

QSL: 4TI ABC Far North, Thursday Island, QLD 1062

We had a good opening towards Australia in the afternoon of October 31, and I was quite surprised to hear the Majestic Fanfare on 1062! 4TI has 2 kW and is Australia's northernmost MW station. Email confirmation this morning.

Several interesting stations were heard at the time. A BBC World Service identification was heard on 1224 kHz, and it is likely 2RPH in Sydney.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

KongSDR Finances - October

Lots of traffic on my KiwiSDR this October - so much I had to increase the mobile broadband cap. No worries for me though, as donations were very generous. I expect to keep the high (100 GB) cap for November because usage is very high. The current money should last well into December. Thanks everyone!

Monday, October 30, 2017

QSL: KWG Stockton CA 1230

KWG had a very good signal at 12:00Z today with Relevant Radio programming and local ID on the TOH. It took only an hour to receive a confirmation. California # 60.

QSL: WHHQ Bridgeport MI 1250

WHHQ was heard with a fair signal level on October 8, one of few openings in the early part of the season. After a couple of tries, email response this afternoon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

QSLs: AIR Chhatarpur, 675 and AIR Patna, 621

It's a bit off and on if AIRs Spectrum Manager responds to my web reports or not, but anyway, today came two. Patna is relatively easy to hear, while Chhatarpur has a lot of competition on the frequency.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

QSL: KJLT North Platte NE 970

KJLT was heard with a fair signal but mixing with KFBX Fairbanks AK one morning during KONG35, and with a wording of their ID which was remarkably close to that of KJNP North Pole 1170! Anyway, I received a friendly reponse from their GM (who's also a HAM operator). Thanks Ole for v/s info.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

QSL: WYTI Rocky Mount VA 1570

A very surprising visit during KONG35 on October 16! Very friendly email response as well.

Monday, October 23, 2017

QSL x 3: NewstalkZB New Plymouth 1053; Westport 1287; Oamaru 1395

We enjoyed a good opening towards New Zealand a few days ago,  and three new NewstalkZB stations were logged. Two of the stations are located on the South Island, with Oamaro 1395 the most distant one at 16,492 km. Not bad for 2 kW.

All three were confirmed with an email this afternoon.  Total NZL count  on MW now 31.

QSL: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, GoldFM, Naulu 990

FBC upgraded their AM services last spring with financial support from Japan. 558 and 990 kHz were put on the air with 10 kW transmitters.

On the 21, we succeeded in hearing 990 with a good signal, good oldies music and a great ID! Email response today for my third Fiji on MW. Unfortunately, 558 was drowned in noise at the time.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

KONG35 - Day Nine

KONG35 is over! Odd-Jørgen, Ole and Torgeir left today at 07:30 local. The day before was rather uneventful with regards to North America, although signals were present well into the afternoon.

A little better towards the Pacific though! A short opening brought quite a few NZL stations. One worthy of particular mention was 2 kW One-Double-X from Whakatne 1242 which dominated over 100 kW JOLF quite a while. Myself I haven't heard it since 2007. We have also been waiting for Fiji to show up after their MW transmitter upgrades, and they did!

A couple of low-power NHK outlets were also identified in the afternoon and the evening.

Our last KONG meal is always reindeer tenderloin. For starters, we had the Swedish Västerbotten pie. With the loins we had a "stew" of fried onions & creme fraiche, and a paste of carrots, celeriac and potatoes. A worth wine companion was the Felton Road Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Dessert: Home made Créme brûlée!

The SDRs in Kongsfjord will now run throughout the winter, remote-controlled. Hopefully, we will see (or hear) good openings in the months ahead.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

QSL: KMDO Fort Scott KS 1600

OJ Sagdahl spotted this one during freak conditions on October 16, surfacing long enough to give a nice ID. Brief email confirmed my reception yesterday. 530 watts days and 27 nights, so a nice catch. Thanks OJ! Kansas # 25.

QSL: KLTI Macon MO 1560

KLTI True Country was heard on October 15 during a freak opening when the normal dominants (such as KKAA) were absent. Friendly email today with some station info, such as below.

Fourth Missouri station in a row.

KONG35 - Day Eight

Only one day left!

Conditions towards North America mostly followed the trend from previous days, so nothing much of interest. However, we finally got a decent opening towards New Zealand! Most welcome. So far we haven't sorted out what might be hiding in the recordings from Australia, but Gold MX in Albany, WA had a very strong signal on 1611 for quite a while on the 80 degrees beverage, so maybe there's hope for new WA stations. (It was actually DWNX in Naga, Minandao, "NX Gold").

Strong signals towards Japan in the evening resulted in  a couple of new ones.

As usual, when we near the end of a KONG expedition, we head over to Kongsfjord Guesthouse for a meal. This year, we also enjoyed their new sauna! As usual the dinner was excellent, this year we had smoked lamb with potatoes, waldorf salad and a carrot paste. We then headed back home for a Boulevard Tank 7 and more DX.

The weather's not been nice to us today. Windy, and with (too) frequent showers of sleet. Temperatures around 1-2 Celsius. It cleared up a bit in the evening though. Below is Ole's Škoda in the morning hours.

Friday, October 20, 2017

KONG35 - Day Seven

We had hoped that the K-index would sink to a 0-2 level. Alas, it was not to happen. Signal strengths were ok for most of the night, but it was mostly the usual dominants. Asia conditions were also late to recover, and the intermittent noise was back to our 50 degrees beverage. A few Aussies were noted in the afternoon. Nothing spectacular from Japan either.

Still checking the Mount Loran files from October 16 though, and still finding new stations!

Thursday was also time for the KONG signature dish, king crab (kongekrabbe in Norwegian). Super quality crab was purchased from the Norway Seafood plant in Berlevag, baked on a salt bed and served with carbonara. Excellent wine selection: Calles Riesling Spätlese Trocken Mittelheimer Edelmann 2013.

Weather update: Just above freezing, wind, snow, sleet, rain. We're very happy we don't have to do any antenna repairs! Archive photo from when the weather was better (like July).

Thursday, October 19, 2017

KONG35 - Some Pictures

Only three full days left of the KONG35 DX-pedition, so maybe time to take a few pictures.

Mount Loran stealth listening position: Battery, Intel NUC, Perseus SDR, mobile broadband, 1000 metre beverage antenna

View to the northwest from my house.

View to the east, my house to the left.


To the northweste - wind turbines

My house pt. II.

The hamlet Kongsfjord, to the southwest

King crab being prepared for tonight's fiesta.