Thursday, December 31, 2020

Zen And The Art of Antenna Maintenance

It's a while since I read the original book with a slightly different title (1978 perhaps?), but the title struck me as relevant when I was heading out in the nautical twilight to inspect some of our beverages. Very little wind, -4 Celsius and almost no snow - evidence of this extremely mild last quarter of the year. Not often does the weather permit working with bare hands.

Anyway! A few photos from my inspection follow below. A Happy New Year to everyone.

My house, the KONG HQ, in the foreground.

Turning the camera a bit to the NNW where the 310 beverage ends.

310 beverage starting point.

Inside the box, antenna, ground, transformer and feedline all ok.

310 beverage end point.

50 beverage starting point (just 15 meters from the 310 end)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

QSL: KABN Kenai AK 960

I was alerted by OJ Sagdahl earlier in December about a "Moody Radio" on 960, apparently being KABN Kenai, as suggested by Paul W. Walker. The signal was heard in a typical "Alaskan part of the day" i.e. after our noon, and a "Cabin Radio" ID indeed confirmed that a new Alaska station was heard. A very friendly email response confirmed my 40th Alaskan station. Its license was granted on December 3. It's running 1 kW ND and is not particularly easy to hear due to the massive signal from CFAC.

But is it new? A long time ago, KZXX was broadcasting from Kenai on 980. It went silent, and the last time it was heard at our KONG HQ was in 2001, apparently active only for a short while to keep the license. The logging was met with some skepticism from other DX-ers.

Anyway, further information from KABN confirms that 960 is now using the 980 facilities. So, for those who have a previously confirmed reception of KZXX 980, KABN may not count as a "new" station. But what does it matter. A new DX-able station on the MW band is not a bad thing.

The KABN call was chosen because it had an Alaskan "touch", and indeed there was another KABN, on 830 from Big Lake north of Anchorage in the 1980's, and it too used the "Cabin Radio" moniker. My hand-written QSL from that station was from 1987.

And before you know it, maybe another Alaskan MW station will hit the airwaves...

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The KSEN Shelby Montana 1150 DX Test

Note to self: Maybe I should post more often...

As many of you know, KSEN ran a two-night DX test on November 7 and 8. I have heard (and QSL-ed) KSEN on several occasions before, but I try to never miss a DX test.

November 7: Despite reasonably good conditions, in the beginning I heard nothing at all. Several other stations came and went on 1150, CKOC, WHBY, KKNW and CJSL were noted. Several North American DX-ers reported nothing heard, so I wondered if it was on at all. Then, at 07:35 I could hear occasional sweep tones, and finally just before 08:00 a morse code ID. No voice audio was detected. Why so weak? Well, it turned out that they had technical issues resulting in an output of only around 800 watts! So, they didn't reach out very well at all that day.

The reception was made with a Perseus SDR connected to a 340-metre dual (staggered) beverage antenna. The distance was 6402 km, not bad for 800 watts.

On November 8 everything was working fine, and reception was good at my spot. Today I received the DX test QSL. Thanks to Paul Walker, Les Rayburn and Joe Miller for their time and trouble.