Wednesday, May 31, 2017

QSL: JOHK NHK-1 Sendai, 891

JOHK had a good signal one October evening. QSL card received today.

Three Novel SDR Designs To Enter The Market This Summer

SDR development has been somewhat incremental the past decade. The Perseus (2007) is still the SDR of choice for many DX-ers. Size hasn't changed significantly in this period. Neither has large signal handling, but there has been some development on maximum sampling rates, with the Elad FDM-S2 leading the way with a 6 MHz maximum bandwidth.

Now, things are about to change. Here are three possible record breakers:

Size: The Expert Electronics ColibriNANO is the size of a simple 8-bit dongle, yet has a 14-bit ADC like the Perseus, and can sample up to 3 MHz. Its frequency range is 0-55 MHz, up to 500 MHz with undersampling. As per the end of May, some preorder units have been delivered to customers, others (me) are still waiting. EUR 299.

Performance: The Airspy HF+ claims to be a paradigm shift in high performance HF radio design with superb signal rejection and stunning sensitivity claims (MDS of -138 dBm!). Frequency coverage is 0-31 MHz and 60-260 MHz. The architechture only permits a sampling rate of 660 kHz though. As per the end of May, the HF+ is not announced for sale. so we do not really know if it will happen during the summer. Price? TBA. I've seen mentions of a "target price" of < USD 200, but not from Airspy. Their current top model, the Airspy R2 + Spyverter (needed for performance below 24 MHz), costs EUR 289. My unqualified guess is EUR 299.

Capacity: The Elad FDM-S3 (sorry, I have no links to the actual SDR but I found the photo below on the internet) takes RF recording for the hobby market to an entirely new level with the possibility to sample 24 MHz! This will make FM DX-ers happy. I've read that it will cover 0-54 MHz and 76-108 MHz. As per the end of May no announcement of availability. It was shown on the Dayton Hamvention. Price TBA. My unqualified guess is EUR 899. The S2 sells for EUR 525.

Friday, May 26, 2017

QSL: JOFO RKB Kitakyushu 1197

RKB's main station JOFR in Fukuoka is among the strongest Japanese stations here. JOFO is a 1-kW relay and was fighting with Kumamoto Hoso (RKK) at the time, but with a good signal.  QSL card, letter and schedules received today.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

QSL: Six stations from the Hokkaido Broacasting Company

JOHR Sapporo 1287 is among the most common Japanese stations here, and with the potential of absolutely "local" signal levels at times.

They do have a lot of relay stations though, and last autumn I did a more systematic hunt for them. Six stations were reported, and QSL cards and a letter was received today. The confirmed stations are:

JOHE Asahikawa 864, 3 kW (there's also a 1 kW station in Enbetsu on 864)
JOHW Obihiro 1269, 5 kW
JOTS Wakkanai 1368, 1 kW
JOQL Kushiro 1404, 5 kW
JOQM Abashiri 1449, 5 kW
JOHS Rumoi 1557, 100 W

There are still more stations in the HBC network to report, such as 801, 900, 1098 and 1494 kHz. We'll see what the coming season brings.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

QSL: JOUR NBC Nagasaki, 1233

Not too often heard because of high-powered competition on the frequency. I caught a very good signal in February though, and received a response today with a form letter, QSL, pen and lots of other promotional material. Next season's targets will be NBC's lower-powered relays on 1098 and 1458.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

QSL: JOTG NHK-1 Aomori 963

An old reception which responded with a QSL card. There are several low-powered relay stations which are possible to hear, and a report has just been sent for two 100-watt relays on 1584.

Photo: Google

QSL: JOCE CRK Radio Kansai, Tajima 1395

1395 is a 1 kW relay of JOCR Kobe 558, and was heard on September 19. They sent their QSL card and time table (as most Japanese stations do). Many years ago I tried to confirm their main station JOCR, but with no luck. During last august I did hear JOCR several times, but a clear ID avoided me, and HLQH with their 250 kW was very dominant. Next time...!

QSL: JOIQ NHK-1 Muroran, 945

5 kW JOIQ is heard from time to time, and a good signal ID from October 2017 was confirmed with a letter from the Muroran, Hokkaido office.  Unlike many other NHK offices, they have no QSL card of their own.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

QSL: JOEF YBC Yamagata, 918

The engineers at Yamagata Hoso are quite surprised to have received "several reports from Norway in the past".  My reception was from late October 2016, but YBC has had a steady signal on 918 and might expect more reports.

Friday, May 19, 2017

QSL: JONF MRT Miyazaki, 936

JONF had a nice signal on October 11, and sent a friendly letter and QSL card in response for my report.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

JOBF RKK Radio, Kumamoto 1197

Heard last September with a fair signal, QSL received today.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

QSL: JOVK NHK-1 Hakodate, 675

Another one heard around autumn equinox last year with local identification.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

QSL: JODF Iwate Broadcasting, 684

Heard in September 2016, I received a QSL card and a friendly letter from one of the tech guys today.

QSL: JOTR ABS Akita, 936

A strong and clear "ABS Radio" on 936 kHz last October was sent to Akita a couple of weeks ago. QSL card including the standard Japanese "TNX FR UR RPT", just like their HAM QSLs, received today.

The KiwiSDR: 8 Months Later

Last year I wrote some initial impressions after a couple of weeks of using the KiwiSDR. 8 months later I thought it was time to reflect further about the hardware, the software and its potential. So, my Second Thoughts are available for those who are curious about this rather unusual SDR.

Did I have second thoughts?  Nooo... just a pun.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

QSL: KQYX Galena KS 1450

"The Dove" was heard several times the last season. After a few tries I received a friendly email today. Attached were two of the liners they used (one of which was on the recording I sent to them). Thanks Bo Olofsson for v/s.

Friday, May 05, 2017

QSL: JOCF MBC Kagoshima, 1107

Minami Nihon Hoso, or MBC as they also ID, has 20 kW on 1107 so quite easy to hear. QSL and letter received yesterday.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

QSL: JOPF KRY Tokuyama, 765

A standard QSL card was in the mail today for a September, 2019 reception. Since I have 1485 from many years back, I only need 918 to have the Yamaguchi Hoso network confirmed. Japan #75 on MW.

QSL: JOAP NHK-1 Naha 549, and JO-- NHK-1 Gabu 531

Excellent conditions towards Okinawa brought these two NHK-1 Okinawa stations. The Gabu, 531 station is only 1 kW. Oddly enough, they gave their local ID at 16:01 UTC, and closed down, contrary to other NHK-1 stations. Thanks Ole Forr for spotting this. A friendly letter accompanied the QSL card. Their NHK-2 station on 1125 is already in my collection.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

QSL: JORK NHK-1 Kochi, 990

Some time ago I had a good ID on the otherwise cluttered frequency 990. Today I received a QSL card with a short but friendly letter including lots of photos from the station,  such as studios, the two 10 kW transmitters and the 90-meter tower. And a sushi dish! Ages ago I received a QSL for their NHK-2 station on 1152.