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.

KONG35 - Day Six

K-indices were more or less back to normal today, but the ionosphere is still a bit "bumpy" - with some surprising results. Trans-Atlantic signals began to appear a while before 01:00, and they didn't really fade out until the afternoon - although the stations heard then were common. There was a rush towards the south around 0300 to 0400 UTC with some remarkable signals from Mexican stations. Super signals noted from stations as XERE-920, XEOY-1000, XERDO-1060 under a massive XEEP, XESP-1070 and XETUL-1080.

The ionospheric changes also enhances European stations, so splatter is more of a problem now.

NAs noted were KMBZ-980, KERN-1180, KIRX-1450 and KDCC-1550. Looks like it's all about Kansas and Missouri in this period.

Quite OK conditions in the afternoon with some NZL (1035, 1106, 1296) and AUS (630 very strong) signals, and also some interesting stuff from Japan like JOTC NHK-2 1521

Dinner was tapas & sausages for starters, served with home-made flatbread (special delivery from Ole's wife Kari). Main course was a quite spicy fish soup, and we rounded off with chocolate pudding with custard.

Weather: Until late evening very much the same as before. Overnight the temperature dropped to 1 Celsius and rain turned to sleet. It should stay above freezing the coming days, but only barely so.

QSL: KGMY Springfield MO 1400

Another Missouri station confirmed reception overnight!  KGMY was heard with a signal that certainly didn't need headphones, and a friendly email came in return. Thanks Ole Forr for v/s.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

QSL: KILK Jefferson City MO 1240

Today's second Missouri QSL arrived as I received an email response for a strong and clear reception this morning at 04:00 UTC.

QSL: KDMR Kansas City, MO 1190

KDMR was heard a few days ago with a weak but readable signal. Email confirmation received today.

KONG35 - Day Five

Finally, ionospheric condtions normalised, however conditions overnight were downright depressing. Only brief appearences from stations like KRWB-MN 1410 and KOVC-ND 1490. Later on, KTWG Agatna Guam surfaced on 801, and we even heard the ABC Majestic Fanfare on 1602, so hopefully, things are improving.

There is still lots of interesting stuff to be found on previous days though.

We collected 10 kg of King Crab at the Norway Seafoods plant in Berlevåg for Thursday, and prepared a very late reindeer dinner as our special guest of honour, Torgeir Nyen, arrived close to midnight.

The story about the Mount Loran beverage has been told before, but here's a picture taken today when we replaced the hard drive. It's rather stealthy in an area where few if any trek. Inside, there is a 12V battery, an Intel NUC PC, a 500 GB SSD drive, a Perseus SDR and a mobile 4G modem.

Weather: Much of the same; calm, 5-6 Celsius and some rain.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

QSL: WIBW Topeka KS 580

WIBW was alone on 580 when it was heard off the Mount Loran beverage, rather weak but after the news they faded up nicely during a lengthy weather report. Friendly response today, along with the studio recording of the same weather report.

QSL: WBRT Bardstown KY 1320

Exceptional signal levels on the Mount Loran beverage on October 16, quick response today. A very nice catch!

KONG35 - Day Four

This was departure day for TJ Bråtveit, who left for Trondheim in the morning hours.

We're still very much under the influence of the effects of the Coronal Hole, but we're slowly moving towards better times. Overnight the propagation shifted rapidly, and there were some spots where very interesting stations could be heard. Some not yet disclosed, a few of the others were WIBW-KS 590, WBAA-IN 920, KBUF-KS 1030, WBGW-IN 1330, KGMY-MO-1400, WASK-IN 1450, WDLR-OH 1550. Missouri and Kansas stations have been very audible the past few days, so I recorded a full-hour ID of the excellent signal from KCMO Kansas City MO 710 for a Facebook posting. I got an immediate response from a gentleman who said he was in that studio at that time! Small world. The red line to the left on the overnight spectrum shows how the signal levels fluctuated. The minutes around the 01:00 spot were particularly interesting.

Unlike previous days, when signals disappeared at sunset, they actually returned with fair levels with mostly western North America past midday. Some Hawaiian stations also audible. In the afternoon, there were a few Australians audible, though to be honest we haven't monitored too closely. In the evening, the back lobe of the Asia/Pacific beverage had strong signals from Spain and the UK, like Sunrise-972 and Free Radio 80's on 1017.

And then suddenly: Dinner time! Our menu said salmon sashimi as a starter, we had a little inventory error as only the salmon was there, so we had to improvise a bit. However, with soy sauce, a bit of reasonably fresh rosemary and a blowtorch it ended up quite nicely.

Lamb steak as main course, with a paste of potatoes, carrots and celeriac, sauce and nothing more. It turned out as exceptionally tender meat, so we were quite lucky on that one. With the food we had Tyler, a 2014 Pinot Noir from California. Actually a left-over from last year's KONG33 DX-pedition - the extra year spent in the Arctic didn't do it any harm. We were supposed to have dessert, but we ended up with another Kansas City, Missouri catch, the Boulevard Tank 7 - arguably the best beer ever enjoyed here.

Weather is still quite nice for October, 4-5 Celsius and relatively calm. Light rain in the afternoon.

Monday, October 16, 2017

KONG35 Day Three

The effects of the coronal hole continues to hammer down on our battered DX souls. It's not all bad though. Short periods are in fact DX-able, and interesting stations to hear. Last night had a short peak towards mostly central US and Mexico peaking just before 01:00, and another, weaker peak around 05:00. Stations noted in passing were KPOF-CO 910, KDMR-MO 1190, KUBR-TX 1210, KBIZ-IA 1240, KLIK-MO 1240, KLWN-KS 1320, KCLN-IA 1390, KLTI-MO 1560. Some of the Mexicans heard were XETUL-1080, XERED-1110, XECD-1170 and XEBS-1410.

In the afternoon, the season's first NZL station finally surfaced with a good signal as we heard Newstalk ZB on 1035. Nothing else of interest from Asia or Pacific though.

However, dinner is always interesting here. For starters we had roasted artichocke hearts on roasted slices of sourdough bread and pesto (the latter was a mistake but quite a tasty one). Main course was woked salmon with woked vegetables and bacon and sour cream. Dessert was grilled pineapple slices with chili. The wine selection was simple but well chosen, a Condes de Albarei from Spain.

Mentioning sourdough: OJ Sagdahl is a certified (by me) world class sourdough bread maker, and this is yesterday's creation.

Weather has been good to us the past few days, dry and not too much wind. Temperatures from 2-6 Celsius. The days ahead will bring more wind, and some rain, according to the weather service.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

KONG35 Day Two

Dreadful conditions today, under the influence of the coronal hole. A few stations were heard on the Loran C beverage overnight, like KLMS-1480 and KXRB-1140. Time was spent to maintain the Loran C beverage, and to replace a faulty part of the dual-340 beverage. Conditions towards Asia in the afternoon proved to be uninspirational.

So! We enjoyed a few beers before dinner, such as Venusian Pale Ale from Garage Project. For dinner we had bruschetta for startes, followed by tenderloin and sirloin from lamb with piperade, and a paste made of potatoes, carrots and seleriac.

For dessert we enjoyed a selection of cheeses, such as Stilton, Papillon Roquefort, Parmesan, Gruyere, Chaumes, and Austavind.

Weather was nice: Dry, a little windy, mostly overcast and +5 Celsius.

But it's going to be another shitty night. Propagation-wise, that is.

Friday, October 13, 2017

QSL: RFC Radio Fukushima; JOWW Iwaki,1431, JOWR Fukushima, 1458

Another two of RFC's five MW transmitters were confirmed today, both are 1 kW. Only one station left to hear, but the most tricky one, 100 watts on 801 kHz. Not impossible though, I've heard several 100 watt stations from Japan here. QSLs as jpgs came as email attachments. I am most grateful for excellent service.

About To Start: The KONG35 DX-pedition

Chilly overnight in Kongsfjord, but the gear is ready for this year's DX-pedition; 10+ SDRs, 4 beverage antennas, 250+ TB hard drive capacity and all the other necessities. The rest of the crew will arrive during Friday.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

QSLs: All India Radio Kolkata, 1008; Bengali Service Chinsurah 594

Two new emails from the AIR Spectrum Manager this morning confirmed AIR Kolkata's English Service on 1008 kHz, and the Bengali Service from Chinsurah on 594 kHz.

Both were heard during the second half of September. If you want to hear how AIR Kolkata's English Service sounds 6300 km away, click here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

QSLs: All India Radio Kolkata, 657; Siliguri 711

The extremely auroral conditions around autumn equinox were favourable for signals from south-east Asia, including India. 20-odd stations were logged with relative ease during a few afternoons, and this morning I received two emails from AIR, confirming Kolkata 657 and Siliguri 711 kHz.

Monday, October 02, 2017

QSL: KZNU St. George, UT 1450

There was a brief opening towards western North America last night, and KZNU surfaced with a good signal on top of the hour with IDs for KZNU FM & AM and also for KAZZ 1400. Quick response to my report this afternoon.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

QSL: JOWE RFC Wakamatsue, Fukushima 1395, #100!

When responding to the JOWO QSL below, I noticed that I had another RFC station from October 2016 in my audio files. JOWE with 1 kW was mixing with JOCE Radio Kansai on 1395, and a very good ID was sent off to RFC's engineer. Email response this morning for my #100 from Japan on MW. Three more RFC frequencies to check out this season.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

QSL: JOWO RFC Koryiama, Fukushima 1098

With 5 kW, this RFC station is not too difficult to hear. A friendly letter, QSL card and promo stuff received in the mail today.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Wellbrook ALA1530LF Loop vs. The KongSDR Longwire Antenna

As a first-time loop buyer (!), I was curious to how the Wellbrook loop would compare to larger antennas. So, during Saturday, I set up a test scheme for LW, MW and SW. If you are as curious as me, you should click this link.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

QSL: 6RN ABC Radio National, Wagin WA, 1296

We erected our new, 80-degrees beverage last weekend aiming to hear more from central and western Australia. And we did! On September 9, during a lull in the solar storm, we had a couple of hours with good signals, including this one which is new for me.

Email QSL yesterday. Only my second confirmed West Australia station, but I expect the number to rise during the season.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

KONG34 DX-pedition - In Preparation For The Coming Season (Pt. 4)

Yet another sunny, but at times quite windy day in Kongsfjord. Temperatures maxed out at 9 Celsius. Tomorrow is departure day for OJ Sagdahl, TJ Bråtveit and Ole Forr. And for me too, but not quite as early.

Today was used for checking recordings from the day before, when conditions to central and western parts of Australia and India, were good. We also did some antenna maintenance, but most of the time we just chilled out and had a few beers.

Today's dinner was a roast leg of lamb, with potato/carrot paste, sauce with onions & garlic, and fried broccoli. OJ picked a superb wine to go with a superb lamb, the 2013 Fontodi Chianti Classico.

We had some hopes for this evening's DX, but at 17:00 an X flare wiped out the Mediumwave, so no new loggings for us today.

The weather forecast says rainy and windy on Monday, so this picture from tonight at around 9 pm is possibly the last clear-sky picture from this DX-pediton.

The KONG DX Site - Our Gear

With four blokes wanting to use four antennas, there's a bit of logistics to take care of. Here's how the living room in Kongsfjord looks like during the DX season.

First, we have my PCs and SDRs, on the shelf at the back. One Dell Optiplex, Micro Form Factor, and two Intel NUCs control my three Perseus. Each have an 8 TB hard drive. The Diamond 30A power supply powers the hard drives and one of the NUCs. My KiwiSDR is powered by a lab-grade 5VDC PSU, which also feeds two Perseus (a NUC powers the last one). A web-based antenna switch is on the right, because I use four antennas but only have three SDRs.

On the table in front are four DX-Engineering preamps for the beverage feedlines coming through the wall. They are fed by a separate, 13.8VDC PSU (under the bed). From each preamp goes a coax to four splitters. The three to the left will be replaced by Mini-Circuits 8-port splitters like the one on the right.

The KiwiSDR is connected to an 80-metre longwire in N-S orientation. The feedline is amplified with a Wellbrook splitter/preamp. The Cloud-IQ on the table is also connected to the longwire. Other SDRs in my shack is the ColibriNANO and the Airspy R2/Spyverter R2.

Moving to the other end of the living room are Ole Forr's and OJ Sagdahl's gear; five Perseus in all, plus preamps and a number of 8 TB hard drives, also two web based antenna switches. The PCs are hidden from view. The Tandberg Huldra 11 receiver now serves as a front end for my DAB+ receiver on the shelf above, partly hidden.

Finally a peak at TJ Bråtveit's setup, Perseus, Winradio G33DDC and Elad FDM-S2, two PCs and 8 TB hard drives, and a web-based antenna switch.

Linear power supplies is a must, and we have four of these 30A beasts, plus a few small ones. The voltage knob is removed for equipment safety reasons.

There are two mobile broadband networks. The main network is a 4G Telia network with a 200 GB/mo cap. We have remote control of our equipment through this network, using Teamviewer or LogMeIn Pro. The other network is a Telenor 3G (soon to be 4G) network with a 40 GB/mo cap. This is the KiwiSDR network. We have line-of-sight to the transmitters 3 km away so the speed is very good. All internal connections are cabled.