Sunday, December 31, 2006

Latest Logs of 2006 - And A Happy New Year!

What a devastating December...DX-wise that is. Finally at the end of the months conditions did improve, and I spent a couple of nights/mornings in Kongsfjord trying to hear some NA. As is usual after a disturbance, EU signal levels were high during the night. The loggings below are those that I heard; since I used five receivers there will be some (hopefully nice ones) that will be found when going through the recordings. Loggings sorted by frequency only; not continent.

610 WTVN Columbus OH, CKYL Peace River AB
690 CBU Vancouver BC
830 YVLT Radio Sensación
1280 KZNS Salt Lake City UT, KBNO Denver CO
1310 WDTW Dearborn MI, CIWW Ottawa ON, CHLW St. Paul AB
1320 YVWP Radio Apolo, CKEC New Glasgow NS
1370 WXXI Rochester NY, WDEA Ellsworth ME
1380 KOTA Rapid City SD, CKLC Kingston ON
1460 WDDY Albany NY
1690 WVON Berwyn IL
1700 KKLF Richardson TX, XEPE Tecate BC + pres. KVNS

And of course all the usual dominants from North America, too many to list.
With only a few hours remaining this will be my last blog entry for 2006. Best wishes for the new year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Recent Verifications

WCNS Latrobe PA 1480 email today confirming my October 17 reception. Very rare by all accounts, this Oldies station faded up just long enough to give a "Oldies 1480 WCNS" identification before being lost in WLMV and WHBC. A most welcome catch and verification.

WTRX Flint MI 1330 isn't easy to hear but was audible some days in October with their "Sports Extra" moniker. Friendly email from Scott Meier (tnx ABU for email address).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Recent Verifications

WTCM Traverse City MI 580 very friendly email yesterday from Steve Cook at WTCM Production. Heard on October 13. Steve says he's received three reports from our area the past month, so they have been getting out well.

KPOW Powell WY 1260 email from April Rodriguez today. KPOW had a good signal level during the KONG14 DX-pedition, but a bit difficult to ID because they ran a lot of non-stop C&W music. Did get a superb top of the hour ID though. Thanks TJB for the email address.

WHLY South Bend IN 1580 email from Greg DeRue for a 2003 report. WHLY has since been sold, and has recently flipped to Catholic EWTN programming. Thanks OJS for the email address.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KDIX Dickinson ND 1230 Verification

Email from owner and GM Lee Leiss today confirmed my reception of KDIX on Oct 11. KDIX is mainly an Oldies station with some of the newer hits and some C&W crossover. Lee says he is semi-retired; he started off as a DJ on KDIX and returned to buy and run the station later on. Nowadays he spends a lot of time driving around the USA on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle. Sounds like the perfect retirement!

Recent Verifications

KORT Grangeville ID 1230 email from GM Melinda Fischer. Heard very briefly on Oct 6 this is an AM/FM simulcast with a C&W format. Also heard from "W" Alan Hall, a C&W artist associated with KORT.

KTCR Kennewick WA 1340 was heard on October 12, briefly surfacing through the solid KLKI Anacortes WA signal that day. Station engineer John McDaniel says "...I find this totally amazing since we are only operating at 1 Kilowatt into a 110 foot vertical antenna." I'll agree that 110 foot isn't a lot of height!

KQNG Kihei HI 570 has for obvious reasons always been the KONG DX-pedition mascot station! But a massive challenge too - I've heard it very briefly once before (many years ago) but during KONG14 I managed to hear it with fair strength on a clear frequency at top of the hour. Andy Melamed at kongradio confirmed my reception while forwarding my message.
My 27th confirmed Hawaiian AM. Only 550 and 790 remain of currently operating HI's, and I hope to find 550 when checking later recordings. If the current CP's in Hawaii get into operation, there should be a fair chance of reaching the 30-station mark within a year.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

CFPL London ON 980 Verification

Heard briefly during KONG14, email from PD Kevin Bernard yesterday confirmed my reception. First-time log; CKRU is by far the most usual Ontario station on 980. Ontario verie no 35.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

CKGL Kitchener ON 570 Verification

Brief email from Mike Collins, GM, confirmed my Oct 9 reception of "News 570". WKBN and WNAX heard at the same time; all three of them now verified.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New Verifications; 600 NA

Veries the past couple of days:

KDLR Devils Lake ND 1240 email from GM and owner Curt Teigen, of Norwegian heritage. KDLR is 81 years old and although Curt has only owned it for a few years, he became interested in its history. The previous owner threw away most of the old stuff including equipment except some items stored in a forgotten place. Read KDLR's history here. There aren't many stations who display their history on the web like KDLR, and that's a shame. I should add that my reception of KDLR was on October 11, and its signal was more like a directional regional-channel station than a non-directional local-channel one. Very impressive.

KKGR East Helena MT 680 email from Les Rayburn with a jpg-QSL from the Big Sky Montana DX Test in November.

KERR Polson MT 750 email from Les Rayburn with a jpg-QSL from the Big Sky Montana DX Test in November. KERR is my 600th verified North American (counting only ALS, CAN, USA) MW station. A most worthy candidate for such an occasion. Of course I had to brag a bit, which is why you can see the QSL displayed here.

A big Thank You to Les Rayburn for his work as DX Test Coordinator!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Monday saw a few new veries:

KDIO Ortonville MN 1350 email from their PD expressing interest that KDIO have been heard in other countries the past few months. Heard on October 11.

Newstalk ZB, Auckland 1080, Radio Sport, Auckland 1332 and Radio Sport Wellington 1503 all verified by email. 1080 was heard on October 20 (KONG15), 1332 on October 12 (KONG14) and 1503 on October 27 (KONG16). That doubled my New Zealand MW account, and I got my 50th MW QSL from 10 countries in the Pacific.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Today's Verifications

Two veries received today:

KFBC Cheyenne WY 1240 for a reception in October 2005, and
WNYY Ithica NY 1470 heard in October 2006.

KFBC has been heard quite frequently since 2005 so they have a decent skywave even if the v/s complained that they aren't heard 20 miles away from the 700 watt transmitter. WNYY was also heard several times during October 2006.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

WSB Atlanta GA 750 Verification

Hadn't it been for the Big Sky Montana Test night, I wouldn't have heard WSB. I was on 750 monitoring KERR Polson MT when all of a sudden WSB faded up and ID'ed conveniently. Nice surprise; Georgia isn't easy to hear up here.
Email verie from Pete Spriggs today.

Update 6 December:
Verification letter as pdf-file from Josh Roquemore, WSB Radio Engineering today. Cool!

Monday, December 04, 2006

West Coast Verifications

During the evening I received two new veries:

KIT Yakima WA 1280
KXMG Portland OR 1150

KIT was heard during KONG14, Oct 10, while KXMG came up with a good "Magia 1150 AM - Todo Exitos" ID on Oct 31 during KONG16.

Canadian Verifications

Richard King at NewCap NL confirmed two reports for me today:
VOCM St. John's NL 590, and
CHCM Marystown NL 740.

An ever so small celebration for me this, since I got Canadian no. 175. With the pace the Canadians are vacating the MW band, I am beginning to doubt that I will ever reach 200...

Should I Send a 1 USD Bill To Canadian Stations For Return Postage?

No, I shouldn't! I've been asked to put some focus on this from one of our true friends in the radio business, Richard King at NewCap, Newfoundland. Richard takes care of reception reports to the stations in the VOCM network in NL. He often receives a 1 USD bill enclosed with written reports, however this is not enough to cover return postage! Please beware that an overseas letter from Canada costs almost CAD 1.50, compared to USD 0.84 from the US. At the current exchange rate, 1 USD is 1.15 CAD. Obviously a 1 USD bill doesn't cover the postage.

Here are our choices:

Buy Canadian stamps and use a SASE.

Buy International Reply Coupons

(The preferred way) Email Richard! His email address is ckxg at vocm dot com (rephrased here to avoid spambots – do NOT publicize the exact email address). Emailed reports with small audio files is the easiest and fastest way for Richard to maintain his excellent service to DX-ers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Let's Hear From Our Listener In Norway...

Said Ingrid Just on ABC Wide Bay Queensland after giving temperatures up in the 40 Celsius range. So I was happy to report a coolish zero Celsius... The reception reports from Norway have been quite enthusiastically received down there, and yesterday Ingrid, who runs the afternoon show in Wide Bay, asked if I could be on her program.

I thought she would ask how on earth I could hear Local Radio Queensland on MW, but that was obviously a very natural thing as she chose to focus on temperatures (who'd blame her), winter darkness in the Arctic and what we eat at Christmas. She's the journalist so she surely knows best what her listeners want.

Anyway it was great fun to be on her program and I hope I didn't scare off too many of her listeners.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Verifications, Nov 28

We had an excellent half-hour on 570 on October 9 (KONG14) with five stations from ON to WA ID'ing. Three of them were new for me, and two verifications arrived this afternoon:

WNAX Yankton SD 570, email from GM Les Tuttle
WKBN Youngstown OH 570, email from Asst. CE Michael Heim.

WKBN shares tower facilities with WNIO 1390, and Mr. Heim informed me that I was one of two DX-ers (overseas, assumingly) who had heard both stations. Last year, Heim confirmed a 1390 reception from 2004.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Long day at work followed by an hour on the threadmill - but when I got home at 20:30 local the Email Inbox was full of surprises:

KVOX Moorhead MN 1280, email from KVOX-FM's Music Director Hopalong Cassidy
KBKR Baker City OR 1490, email from Program Director Evan Yeoman
WLAA Winter Garden FL 1680, email from Steve January
KOWB Laramie WY 1290, email from Cliff Mikkelson

Oregon verie no 30.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

2BL Sydney, NSW 702 Verification

Heard September 14 with a "702" Identification after news and weather, before resuming the Overnights program from ABC with Trevor Chappell. Actually it was Trevor who confirmed my report.

These "local" IDs are merely localisation IDs that are inserted and does not mean that the program itself is local. A bit like US and Canadian stations doing ID inserts in syndicated or centrally produced programs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

WMKT Charlevoix MI 1270 Verification

After a long wait, I got WMKT verified today. Heard back in 2004 but somehow my reports didn't end up at the right person. Very friendly email from PD Greg Marshall today though, for my 15th Michigan verie. Not too easy to hear because of WXYT's strong signal.

KPQ Wenatchee WA 560 Verification

Email from Operations Director Debi Campestrini this afternoon for my 40th Washington state verification. KPQ is heard from time to time when conditions to the west coast are good, and KMON-MT not too dominating.

Queensland Verifications

Following a report on the Queensland locals in Townsville 630 (4QN, October 17) and Pialba 855 (4QB, October 8) I received email replies from Martin Powley at ABC Capricornia and Ross Peddlesden at ABC Wide Bay.

As for 855, the KONG crews have been uncertain about which station we heard since Eidsvold (4QO) is also listed there with 10kW. But Pialba (listed as Maryborough some places) is both directional towards us and coastal so it is the most likely one while Eidsvold is inland and non-directional. Also, Ross meant that Eidsvold had lower power. Maybe - the coverage map on ABC's excellent home pages is not conclusive since they do not list power. Eidsvold seems to cover a large area though.

Over the next couple of weeks programs will be transferred from Pialba to a new transmitter at a new site at Dundowran, near Hervey Bay. Possibly this is the change to FM that is indicated in The Pacific-Asian Log.

Update Nov 26:
Ross Peddlesten confirmed in an email today that the new transmitter at Dundowran will not be FM, but another AM transmitter, due toAustralian legislation which requires coverage to all citizens if possible - not all locals can receive an FM signal.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Not much to brag about really... only a couple of verifications have arrived. A few days ago Thunder AM, Daegu Korea 1080. They were heard once during KONG14 and also during KONG15 the week after. My first logging of Thunder AM; they were fading up and down with the North Korean and a South Korean jammer for about 30 minutes before they disappeared.

Then last night KERI Wasco CA 1180 friendly email from Jessica at Sales. KERI was heard once during KONG15, in fact during a Coronal Hole disturbance with very few signals audible, but KERI was very strong! My first logging of KERI.

Another Coronal Hole, CH248 has just made its appearance and will probably complicate the coming weekend's DX. We will see.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Montana DX Test; QSL

A couple of days ago I received an email verie from KZNS Salt Lake City UT 1280. Thanks very much Tuomo Ahonen for submitting the email address.

Today was Big Sky DX Test day with the prospect of hearing six Montana stations; KANA 580, KKGR 680, KERR 750, KLCY 930, KGVO 1290 and KEIN 1310. All frequencies were monitored, and I followed the test from the mwdx channel on together with many of my US and Canadian colleagues.

At the start of the test period at 0700 UTC signal levels were very good, but spread from Ontario to Oregon. At 0709 I heard KERR Polson 750 after KXL had faded down. Another ID was heard at 0724. Alas, after 0730 signal levels got much weaker. There are indications that 930 and 1290 were not testing.

After going through recordings, and applying bandpass filtering to get the 1000 Hz CW tone as audible as possible, I also found an extremely weak KKGR East Helena 680 kHz. Thanks to Ole Forr, LA6EIA, who took care of translating the morse. As for 1310 it was dominated by WDTW-MI, CIWW-ON and partly CHLW-AB. A couple of times did I hear Nostalgia-type music, hinting at KEIN, but never did I hear an ID. I do hear them at irregular intervals otherwise, but it would have been nice to hear KEIN in this test as well.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Eton E1 - What's Up With Its Stability?

Several commentators (i.e. Guy Atkins and me...) have noticed the 50-150 Hz (mostly 50) frequency error which is noticeable and annoying when doing ECSS tuning. As Guy found it, there is a trimpot in the rear which allows for easy adjustment. Still, I found during the KONG DX-peditions, which went for like four weeks, that I needed to readjust two or three times even though the radio was never switched off during that period.

I went back to Kongsfjord last night after a two-week break to DX a bit. I don't usually heat the house when not in use, and November is usually quite cold at these latitudes, so the temperature in the living room was only 2C. I switched the E1 on and allowed it to warm up for an hour while I used all available heating sources to warm up the room. After an hour, the temperature was a more pleasant 18C and I started testing the E1. It was 180 Hz off!!! During the next two hours it came down to 130 Hz off, at which point I adjusted the trim pot. Some hours later I had to readjust it the other way but only 30-40 Hz.

Really! I mean, are all E1's like that? If you use AM or AMS the problem isn't there of course, but accuracy is critical for ECSS tuning. Of course I don't expect to find a TCXO in it, but can't it get any better? I would appreciate comments from E1 users who use ECSS frequently.

This is posted both in my blog and the E1 Yahoo Reflector.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Good Night For QSLs

When I woke up this morning:

WDFN Detroit MI 1130, email from Rona Danziger. I heard this briefly in 1975 but they didn't reply to my report at the time. After I heard the four powerhouses on 1130 (NY, WI, MN, BC) I lost interest in the frequency. This autumn though, I decided to get WDFN. And I did in September.

ABC Radio Southeast, Naracoorte SA 1161, email from Alan Richardson. Heard in September with ABC SA Overnight. I've been hunting this for several years. My third South Australia in-band QSL.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WCED DuBois PA 1420 Verification

Yesterday evening, while checking an unattended recording on 1420 on Oct 7 I found this on top a few minutes, doing a promo with several references to Possibly the first logging of WCED in Scandinavia, also heard three days later by Tuomo Ahonen in Parkalompolo (Northern Sweden). I received a friendly email from PD Gary Stormer this evening, confirming my reception.

At the same time I also recorded IDs from KTOE-MN, WOC-IA and KITI-WA, but surprisingly enough not channel dominant WHK-OH!

Back Home, QSLs

Scheduled to be home late Sunday evening - got home Tuesday morning. First, flight cancellations due to bad weather in Reykjavik, then no available aircraft, another night at a hotel, then on Monday flight delays, delays, delays, finally early evening we arrived in Oslo, too late for the corresponding flight we had booked. So, another night in Tromsø, then finally at 6 am local we were going home.

Iceland was nice though, although we didn't see much more than Reykjavik and the towns on the southwestern peninsula. Got a glimpse of what I believe was the transmitter mast for Thunder AM, 1530. I'll be back. The restaurants in Reykjavik are outstanding; their seafood is second to none.

QSLs: Not much, since I've been so busy I am still on October 7 with regards to checking recordings from the KONGs. Still, these have found their way into my inbox:

KORL Honolulu HI 1180
WOKY Milwaukee WI 920
KENT Parowan UT 1400
WSDR Sterling IL 1240
KWKY Des Moines IA 1150

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

UNID "Radio Free Asia" On 1600 Probably Solved

This seems to be KZGX Watertown MN, following a message today on KOJE about switching from Spanish to Hmong. Yes, Hmong. Hannu Tikkanen commented this in an email: "Hmong...There must be a huge potential of audience of foreign workers in Watertown area...Next Portuguese, or Chinese... " In all fairness though, Watertown is in the western outskirts of Minneapolis which probably has a larger Asian audience.

KONG16 Update - Tuesday 31 Oct

An interesting day! Not too much during the night, but some nice signals in the morning, KBSN-WA 1470, KSWB-OR 840 and KXMG-OR 1150 to name a few, also heard CJRJ Vancouver BC 1200 testing with indian music (also heard yesterday). Tahiti heard 0730; Tonga, Marshall Islands, Fiji surfaced around 0900, then from 1000 to 1200 strange things happened on the upper part of MW: First, the 100 watt NHK1 stations dominated 1584 and actually gave call IDs at 1000 UTC (probably one or more Hokkaido stations), then on 1557 at 1100 JOHS Rumoi, another 100 watt station gave 300,000 watt Family Radio, Taiwan stiff competition, nice HBC ID on the hour! Almost as strong as its mother on 1287! Most likely also heard AFN Japan on 1575.

From 1300 UTC some in-band Australians were heard; ABC on 1548, 855, 702 and 630. Maybe 531. Two weeks ago that would have been sensational, today we merely make a note in the logbook...

This will be my last update for a while - I am heading for Reykjavik, Iceland Wednesday morning and will return late Sunday. Tore and Torgeir will stay until Thursday morning.

Monday, October 30, 2006

KONG16 Update - Monday 30 Oct

Ah - yes. Not much to report from my end, I drove to Berlevåg Sunday evening and spent the night and Monday there to prepare for Wednesday's trip to Iceland. When I left Kongsfjord the sky was clear - but not black, green! Most of the sky was covered with Aurora. Good for Japanese couples who believe in the Aurora as a fertility booster (I didn't see any); bad for us. Still, the rest of the crew heard some North Americans during the day, and Tonga 1017 plus many Asians in the afternoon. In the evening we went to the guesthouse for another fabulous dinner. No Aurora visible tonight, and as I write this weak signals on 1230 (Iqaluit, NU) and 1500 (probably Detroit).

Weather: See previous post.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

KONG16 Update - Sunday 29 Oct

The Coronal Hole did make a huge impact... very little heard from North America, mostly west coast stations and only the dominant ones. Not much from Asia either, but surprisingly enough Fiji Radio 2 on 1467 has had a stable signal for most of the day.

The superb Pacific opening starting around 0900 UTC on the 27 brought Radio Nouvelle Caledonie 729 from 0956 until a few minutes after 1000, mixed with JOCK Nagoya Japan. Apparently local talk until 1000, French time check as "20:56", France-Inter news at 1000 and possibly a local weather report at 1005.

Another new country is Micronesia, V6AK with a steady albeit weak signal for more than an hour under NHK2 on 1593, lots of island music, English commercials noted at one occasion. No exact ID so formally maybe it should be regarded as tentative, but there are no alternatives.

A third prospect, Wallis & Futuna, was hunted on 1188. Unfortunately we only heard France-Inter so there is no way of determining that it really was them, although there appears to be no other French stations on 1188 except Russia relaying Radio France International.

And finally, Tahiti 738 was confirmed having local programming prior to 0700 UTC.

A large bouquet of virtual flowers goes to Jean Burnell for taking the time to work on the three French-speaking prospects! Not only did he listen to the recordings, but did a lot of investigation, listening to web streams etc etc. Thank you so much!

Weather: Calm and clear, -3C. Heard that before?

KONG16 Update - Saturday 28 Oct

The day started off prior to 0100 with some interesting signals - some Wisconsin stations had really huge signals such as WIBA 1310. What puzzled us was a station on 1600 with Asian popular music and announcing "You are listening to Radio Free Asia" just after 0100. Suggestions are welcome. Definately not KVRI-WA.

As morning came conditions went "deep", with several Mexican stations audible. I also monitored 738 in case Tahiti could be heard before they went into the France-Inter relay at 0700. Lots of CBX Edmonton slop so I wasn't very optimistic but as luck would have it the NA signals took a deep dip after 0645, and at 0658 I did in fact hear audio from Tahiti. Too early to tell if it was local though, the signal was exceptionally weak.

Not much NA after that, but after noon signals from Hawaii were excellent, and we also heard Fiji 1152 very strong at times. There were traces of Fiji on 558 as well.

The current Coronal Hole did indeed make an impact, as there were nothing to hear from the Americas early night. At the time of writing though, some NA stations appear to resurface, so who knows what's waiting for us on Sunday...

Weather: Light to moderate NE winds, partly cloudy but occasional rather dense snowshowers. They tend to cover the band with noise as well, so the less snow, the better. Around -3C.

Friday, October 27, 2006

KONG16 Update - Friday 27 Oct

Another good day for the KONG16 crew. No typical daytime conditions last night, but a couple of interesting stations were heard prior to 2400 UTC, apparently with daytime powers. More investigation is needed. Generally good signal levels throughout the night, stations like WDTW-MI 1310, WRKO-MA 680 (rare here) and KBSN-WA 1470 were noted. NA signals faded out around 1300 UTC.

Tried for Tahiti 738 with local programming prior to 0700, but only Spain heard. An hour later I re-checked - and the band was alive with Pacific! Samoa 540, Tahiti 738, Kiribati 846, Tonga 1017 and V7AB 1098 all with superb signals! Fiji 1152 followed. Also NZ on 1035 noted, and Radio Sport, Wellington 1503. I spent an hour on 1593, and there is reason to believe that the effort has paid off, although at this stage it is too early to conclude. However, the terms Island Music, 1593 and Micronesia are good matches! A couple of other UNIDs will remain so until further notice.
The Pacific signals were unfortunately soon lost to the Asia mainland powerhouses though. Two nice NHK1 stations were logged while actually hunting for Pacific; JOCK Nagoya 729 and JOKP Kitami 1188, both superb signals.

It will be interesting to see how much influence the current Coronal Hole will have. At the time of writing, the outlooks are good.

Weather: Calm, partly clear and -3C. This has been the least windy autumn here that I can remember.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

KONG16 Update - Thursday 26 Oct

The KONG16 crew arrived 10 hours late yesterday due to flight cancellations, so not much DX until morning. Good signals noticed around 2330 UTC though - next in the log was 0300. Generally good signal strengths throughout the night with stations like KSJB-ND 600, KOVE-WY 1330 and presumed KDIO-MN 1350. From 06 to 07 conditions faded but apparently only to regroup, the rest of the day good DX from the western part of North America. KLTX-CA 1390 good signal for many hours, KMED-OR 1440, KIXI-WA 880 and others. Also Alaska fine, like KRSA 580. Late in the day as sunsrise was getting close for the west coast, tentative loggings of KUTY-CA 1470, KMPC-CA 1540 and KEYF-WA 1050. The signals faded out around 1330 UTC.

Japan very strong early afternoon, and a very short opening from New Zealand around 1140 with News-Talk ZB 1035 excellent signal. Also heard Kiwis on 1008, 1080, 783. Some Australian X-band.

Members of the KONG16 team (apart from me) are Tore Nilsen, once before a KONG participant, and Torgeir Woxen, KONG rookie.

Weather: Calm, snow, sleet, around 1C. Occasionally the sleet induced severe noise on the beverages; luckily those periods were few and short.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

KONG15 Is History, KONG16 Delayed

Arnstein and TJ started dismantling their radio equipment after the 0500 UTC full hour, last catches were WAYY-WI 790 and WLOL-MN 1330 respectively. Otherwise the night was uneventful, but we experienced good reception from Australian X-band stations yesterday afternoon. They left with the 07 UTC plane

KONG15 not only is history, but has made history by the large number of New Zealand and Australian MW stations logged. KONG15 has moved the limits of what is possible to hear from the Pacific in Northern Scandinavia beyond what anyone could imagine. It will be interesting to see if KONG16 can match, or perhaps even surpass the results from KONG15. Countries like Micronesia and Wallis & Futuna are still not heard here...

Speaking of KONG16, Tore Nilsen and Torgeir Woxen should be here at 11 UTC but flight cancellations due to weather in other parts of Norway have delayed their arrival, and they won't be here until 20 UTC at the earliest.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Air 12 Oct, Heard Kongsfjord 23 Oct: KENT Parowan Utah

KONG15 - Some Photos

Since conditions disappeared rather unexpectedly (and no solar data seem to explain it), I went outside for a stroll and took the camera with me. This is what I saw.

KONG15 Update - Tuesday 24 Oct

Partly good conditions Monday afternoon; KMED-OR 1440, KGOE-CA 1480, and KUBA-CA and KGST-CA on 1600. Good signals during the NHK2 ID at 1320.

The night wasn't exciting at all. I spent quite a bit of time on 1480, listening to WHBC-OH which had a good signal for more than an hour. They have a very nice Oldies format which brought back many memories...

As twilight came, and passed into daylight conditions changed, for a period we heard just about everything from everywhere; from Newfoundland to Washington to Alaska, to Venezuela/Colombia and possibly Argentina too, on the same antenna. Later on the southern US states and Mexico came through well, such as KKOH-NV 780, XESJ-Saltillo 1250 and one "Radio Uno, 640" suggesting either XEHHI or XEYQ.

At around 0730 most signals faded away, but we expect conditions to improve shortly.

Weather: Cold, calm and clear, -6C. The Aurora was well visible last night, but at these latitudes there is a trace of Aurora even on the quietest of solar conditions.

Monday, October 23, 2006

KONG15 Update - Monday 23 Oct

The effects of the Coronal Hole seem to have gone, as we are now back into real DX-ing. Nothing exciting during the first part of the night, but around 0245 UTC we noticed La Plata stations fading up; Monte Carlo 930 and Atlantica 760 to name a few, later on mostly Brazil with superb signals from 1360, 1560 and others.

Mostly North America from 0430 onwards, KKGM-TX 1630 first out. Westerly oriented conditions including a lot of Mexicans, KLIN-NE and KENT-UT 1400 (the latter new on the air), and CBKD-AB 1560 (low-power CBX-relay).

Weak signals as per posting, but we know that things can change quickly here. We're back in business!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

KONG15 - OJ Has Left The Building

And then they were three... OJ took the 1335 plane from Berlevåg back home to Trondheim, due home 1830 (both local time). Arnstein, Tore Johnny and Bjarne will stay until Wednesday when another crew arrives.

Not much to brag about this time - a small opening to the North American west coast this afternoon, some Philippinos later on, not much Japan. The effects of the Coronal Hole is supposed to wane over the next hours and days, so perhaps we're up and running again on Monday. There is a chance of a C-class flare from Sunspot region 10917 though; hopefully it will stay calm (see Solar Terrestrial Activity Report for details).

We have received some emails giving us feedback on the web logs on and We appreciate this very much, and we see from the increased number of pageloads that there is considerable interest in the DX community in what we hear (and eat???). We hope that the ionosphere allows us to continue to bring interesting reports out.

Weather: Temperatures around 0C, calm but quite a bit of snow is falling.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Grappa Loop Antenna

We're not quite certain about this. Signal levels somewhat low. We'll keep testing throughout the night, until the bottle is empty.


Not sure if this copper string around the bottle neck is for grounding purposes, or if it is a loop antenna. We will test this during the night. If we hear KBRW-AK on it, we will consider a major purchase for next year's KONGs.


KONG15 Update - Saturday 21 Oct

In defiance of the Coronal Hole, stations from North America popped up very early last night - WDEA-ME 1370 at 2200 UTC. Excellent signal strengths from around 2330 to 0030, mostly easterly stations. Then the signals became weaker, but we had reception more or less throughout the night and morning - nothing exceptional though.

Asia/Pacific DX was less inspiring than the previous days, still we enjoyed 4QD-1548 with excellent signal levels, and 4QN-630 was there as well. We think we may have AFN Korea on 1440 and AFN Japan 1575. Typical for the disturbance, the lighthouse JOWF-1440 was soon replaced with CNR from Nei Menggu.

Some India during the afternoon. But we were more focused on the reindeer sirloin dinner we prepared. As of writing, it is about to be served. Some really, REALLY hefty cheeses are for dessert. And vintage Port wine of course, and the world's best Grappa (with a copper grounding lead). Expect no more updates until the effects of all this have left the body.

Friday, October 20, 2006

KONG15 Update II - Friday 20 Oct

Well, well, well... or Jau, jau, jau as OJ would say. The equation Ionospheric disturbance = Poor conditions does not necessarily add up. As the high speed stream from Coronal Hole 244 increased in density and speed, we experienced another superb afternoon with reception from the Pacific.

Most of the Fiji frequencies were in the clear with excellent levels, and we made further progress in our efforts to log New Zealand. Several frequencies were heard, some work is required to confirm the status for some of them, but in addition to the previous heard stations there were new logs of Newstalk ZB on 1296 and 1503 kHz (the latter possibly Radio Sport, Wellington, with overnight relay?), and 1YA National Radio, Auckland 756. All three Guam stations (567, 612, 801) were heard; 567 and 801 stunning signals. Australia was rather modest though. I was away in Berlevåg most of the day so I missed most of the fun but did get 1296 and 756 when I returned.

A good part of the evening was spent at Kongsfjord Gjestehus where OJ and Arnstein enjoyed "Probably the best lutefisk in the world" while TJ and Bjarne chose a more traditional lamb's steak after we had made our own hors d'æuvre from Parma Ham.

Weather: Cold! Gale force winds at night as I write this, -8C. Milder tomorrow they say, I hope so because the cellar with the water tank and pump is only 1C now and below zero could damage the pump.

KONG15 Update - Friday 20 Oct

So we didn't hear Aussies yesterday?? Indeed we did! Several of the Queensland stations returned during the afternoon; 4QN 630 impressed us with not only armchair listening levels (and better than 4QD-1548), but it blew away NRK Vigra for long periods!! I switched to an ALA100 amplified loop (circumference 22 meters) and the signal was outstanding on it as well even if the loop was some 40 degrees "wrong" compared to 4QN's bearing. Not much else though, so the day was less fruitful than the day before. Not that we're complaining...

Waiting for the stream from the Coronal Hole we sat out to DX around midnight, but nothing much happened to the ionosphere so we had a good night's DX . Excellent signal levels, especially on X-band, but the usual dominants were unusually dominant (if you catch the meaning), so the number of "rare" stations was low. KSJB-ND 600 and WMT-IA 610 were heard though. Around 0900 UTC we started to hear a few Pacific stations like V7AB-1098 and some of the Fiji frequencies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

KONG15 Update II - Thursday 19 Oct

Another highlight! Although there weren't many stations of interest from North America the past few hours, we did get a good opening towards New Zealand! The most common Kiwi, Newstalk ZD Wellington 1035, was first heard at around 1200 UTC, becoming stronger by the minute and occasionally armchair listening! Newstalk ZD also heard on 1080, and Radio Tarana 1386. Most surprising though was 2YB Access Radio, Wellington 783! Heard with BBC World News at 1230, continuing with BBC stuff up until 1300. I checked their Internet stream and could confirm that it was the same station. ID at top of the hour.

No sign of Aussies but a lot of Hawaii at the time of writing. We are waiting for the high speed stream of Coronal Hole 244 to arrive within a few hours; it will probably kill the good conditions for a few days.

I took the time to go outdoor to take a couple of pictures. The first one shows the signal path to the Pacific - you can see the wire of the 30-degree beverage. The other one goes southwest, showing the sunset light at 3.40 pm - at this time of the year the length of the day is only 8 hours. As you see from the footprints in the snow, I was the first one out...

KONG15 Update - Thursday 19 Oct

High hopes for the night after the excellent conditions we experienced for parts of the previous 24 hours....duh. Very little excitement until morning when we began to hear a few rare stations. Broad areas were audible; CFAV-QU dominated 1570 at the same time as KGAL-OR dominated 1580. A couple of nice stations we heard were KVOC-WY 1230 and rather surprisingly KCBS-CA 740. Their night pattern is very unfavourable for us.

We thought we might have a signal from KNBR-CA 680 under KBRW-AK as well. KBRW on the other side reported of another missing dog, this time a Pitbull/German Shepherd dog answering to "Strike For Me". Maybe it's the half-brother of the previous missing Rottweiler/German Shepherd "Stay Home"? If I was a Poodle owner in Barrow, I'd name it "Soon Dead".

Weather: Light winds from the north, occasional snowshowers (making RF noise) and -2C. A thin layer of snow has covered the ground.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

KONG15 Update II - Wednesday 18 Oct

Oh dear, oh dear. An East Australia opening going into the DX Hall of Fame. I'm really at loss of words, so for details, check the recent KONG15 update.

OJ is going to make fresh tuna steak rolled in leek ashes. I am not convinced that burning the leek up before you eat it is very wise, but he says it seems like a good idea.

KONG15 Update - Wednesday 18 Oct

Some signals, not very strong though, when we first checked at 0230 - KKAR-NE good on 1290. An hour later the band opened up; good signal strengths and not least very weak Europeans. Best signals from the Lakes area; some of the better ones were WOAM-IL 1350, WHBL-WI, WVHI-IN and WTRX-MI 1330.

Then at around 0600 it appeared as if the antennas were cut off... abrupt fade-out of most signals. But OJ managed to pick one good catch before signals disappeared completely, "New Mexico's Sports Leader, 610 KNML Albuquerque" on 610. As you can see on the picture he's quite happy with that...

Many, many hours of recordings need to be checked, the above are only from what we found when listening to a particular radio.

Weather: Northerly winds of moderate strength, partly cloudy, snowshowers and 1C.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

KONG15 Update II - Tuesday 17 Oct

630 kHz, 1400 UTC: "This is Local Radio Queensland". 4QN Townsville!!! Awesome!!!

KONG15 Update - Tuesday 17 Oct

Now we're talking!
The ionosphere finally calmed down enough for us to do some proper DX - starting Monday afternoon as TJ found an unmistakingly Australian voice on 1161 - 5BA Naracoorte. This brought about some frantic tuning on frequencies populated by SA and Victoria stations. "Only" 5AA Adelaide 1395 was found, at 1640 UTC, but with occasional good signal levels. Most welcome, and a new logging for us all.

The rest of the evening and early night nothing much happened; around 0300 we heard some La Plata stations but soon the North American stations were the dominating ones. Examples: WTDW-MI 1310, KANN-UT 1120; later on both KELK-NV and KDLR-ND on 1240. At the same time strong signals from the Canadian Atlantic stations.

Quite good conditions up until 1200 UTC with KKPZ-OR 1330 and strong signals from most Hawaiian stations, Fiji and Marshall Islands (1098).

Weather: Changing from dry and calm (yesterday evening) to windy and rainy today, temperatures 3-6C.

Another King Crab meal later today, this time with fresh white bread, mayonnese and whatever we have laying around.

Monday, October 16, 2006

KONG14, KONG15 Pictures

By popular demand (one email, if I remember correctly), here are some pictures from recent days.

Top (KONG14): Tore B. Vik posing in a T-shirt supplied from WNRP Gulf Breeze FL 1620. He's trying desperately to make it look like a pleasant 25C when it's really only 2.

Middle (KONG15): Arnstein Bue (left) and OJ Sagdahl. OJ's rack has been nicknamed "The Tower of Power".

Bottom (KONG14): Ole Forr (left) and Jan Alvestad hunting Hawaii in bright sunlight. Tore's radios in front.

KONG15 Update - Sunday 15 Oct

The ionosphere works in strange ways. As I am writing this in the wee hours of Monday, the solar conditions have improved significantly, yet there is hardly a station to hear. While yesterday, with K-indices around 4-5, a tiny 1kW station on 880 decided that they wanted to be heard across the pole - hence the logging of KCMX Phoenix OR. Only 4-5 other stations audible at the time. How does things like that happen? Anyway, until the next corona hole arrives late this week we can only try to hear as much as possible.

I received an email regarding the lack of photos on the blog. Like photos of the radio shacks, the food we constantly brag about, the wine we appear to be drinking all the time; the red-eyed, five-day beard DX-ers... enough said! No photos! Only joking. Actually I have a few photos but my Nikon camera suffers from the proprietary-usbcable-forgotten syndrome, effectively blocking any attempts to transfer files to my laptop. The camera's owner (that's me) suffers from the always-forget-to-take-cable-with-me syndrome every time he's back home in Berlevåg. Believe me, there is no known cure for this.

Had there been a cure, you would have seen pictures of a dinner to remember - new-caught King Crab boiled in sea water with pasta carbonara. A delightful mix! We had a very nice Riesling white wine with the crab. Actually we forgot to make the hors d'æuvre (or antipasto which might have been a more appropriate term, the main course considered) but it was supposed to be served with a Cantina Zaccagnini red wine and we didn't forget that. And when we prepared all this we had a nice red from Argentina - Alamos.

Weather has been mixed, right now calm, clear and mild (around 4C); on Sunday afternoon gale force winds, rain and sleet and 2C.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

KONG15 Update - Saturday 14 Oct

A belated update with little news; the current corona hole has created quite a few problems for us. Not too bad on the night to Saturday though with occasional fair conditions towards North America, the highlight being KERI Wasco CA 1180 with good signals.

Throughout Saturday we did hear some Japan, and in early evening strong signals from the Philippines. It seemed as if conditions were about to improve, but as of writing, the K-index is 4, solar wind is gaining speed and things look rather grim.

For food lovers: We made an interesting variant of salmon last night; wok'ed wild salmon with Chinese sweet & sour sauce, and an excellent white wine, Estate Rauenthal 2005.

Light wind, occasional rain and 3C outside.

Friday, October 13, 2006

KONG15 Underway!

Despite poor conditions due to the current coronal hole, the KONG15 crew are set and ready. Participants are TJ Braatveit, Arnstein Bue, OJ Sagdahl and Bjarne Mjelde. A quick (well, not so quick really) receiver count revealed the following 21 receivers:
4 x Icom R75
3 x JRC NRD-525
3 x Eton E1
2 x Icom IC-746Pro
1 x AOR AR7030+
1 x WJ HF-1000A
1 x R&S EK-895
1 x WJ 8712P
1 x Icom IC-703
1 x Icom IC-7000

Recording media: Mostly Sony Hi-MD recorders, some iRiver flash and HDD MP3 recorders, PC via TotalRecorder.

KONG14 Final Update - 13 Oct

The expected solar disturbance hit during the night. Not much of interest during the morning except some Canada prairie and US northern border stations. This is the final report from KONG14, as KONG15 will commence later today. We have enjoyed excellent conditions and there are several hundred reports to be written - not to mention several hundreds of hours with recordings to check out!

Weather has cooled off to just above freezing, with light snowfall during the night. Calm and nice though. Best regards from Jan Alvestad, Ole Forr, Tore B. Vik and Bjarne Mjelde! Watch out for the first KONG15 update, due later today!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

KONG14 Update - Thursday 12 Oct

No daytimers last night as we had hoped for. Instead, we had quite a few Brazil/La Plata stations. Conditions towards North America fair througout the night, increased in strength from 0430 UTC onwards. Very spread though... one of us assumed the religious station on 1210 was KPRZ but ended up with VOAR! Some of the better catches include KWKY-1150, KCFR-1340, WFDF-910, KHNC-1360, CKGL-570, KKKK-1580, KTIK-1350, WAUR-930.

Currently at 1015 UTC we are hearing an announcement on KBRW also heard by the Parkalompolo crew some days ago, namely the owner calling for his missing half-breed Rottweiler and German Shepard dog "Stay Home". Apparently, the name didn't catch. We're keeping our eyes open though. Sounds like a scary breed. If we find him, should we say "Go Home"?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

KONG14 Update II - Wednesday 11 Oct

Excellent conditions this afternoon towards the North American West Coast and Australia! Some of the catches were KBRC-1430, KLKI-1340, KSLM-1390, KKPZ-1330. Australia well heard both in-band and x-band; ABC 855 resurfaced with good signals, 4QD-1548 armchair listening! Radio Brisvaani-1701 also well heard plus most of the other x-band frequencies.

KONG14 Update - Wednesday 11 Oct

Excellent conditions from before 2200 UTC last night until around 0100. East coast stations came in very early, and some rare catches too, like WNYY Ithica NY 1470 and one very interesting prospect which needs to be checked out first. Signal levels were very good - alas the good times didn't last and the rest of the night and early morning was much less rewarding - although conditions weren't bad at all with WJMC Rice Lake WI 1240 at 0620.

Weather is excellent for staying indoor - strong southerly winds and rain, temperature 3C.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

KONG14 Update II - Tuesday 10 Oct

The good conditions returned. At around 7 UTC to 11 we enjoyed good signals from the western part of North America. Nice id's from stations like KPUG and KJOC 1170, KMAX 840, KPRZ again on 1210, and the graveyeard frequencies were swarming with life - unfortunately most of them familiar to us, like KKEE-1230, KEJO-1240 and KONP-1450. Later on Alaska and Hawaii had good signals, nice ID from KQNG 570 and we believe that KMVI-550 was there as well. Interesting UNID Spanish-speaking station on 1260, mixed with CFRN and (presumed) KPOW.

And, as we write this, Fiji 1152 is at full strength!

KONG14 Update - Tuesday 10 Oct

High expectations for the night when Sociedad da Bahia 740 was heard as early as 2100. But suddenly: Nothing happened! And nothing happened for a very long time, in fact signal levels didn't rise to "DX-able" until 0230. Conditions not very interesting though with mainly Canadian/US prairie, stations that are quite common here. A few interesting exceptions like WGY on 810, and we may find the odd graveyard station when we check the recordings.

Actually the most interesting part of the night was the visit of seven beautiful ladies who were having dinner at the local guesthouse; after a few avecs they decided to stroll over to see what on earth we were doing. Not easy to explain the cable mess and 20 strange-looking devices with huge displays. One of them was of Icelandic origin though, so I decided to tune one of the radios to 189 kHz. Recognition was instant. "That is Rikisutvarpid!". Yo. Message received...

Weather-wise it is still nice and calm for October; Partly cloudy and dry, calm to light winds and 4-5C at day, 2-3C at night.

Monday, October 09, 2006

KONG14 Update - Monday 9 Oct

A very good night. Although conditions were wide-spread as previous days, signal strengths were much better. It started off around 2300 UTC and lasted until around 0600 when signal levels started to wane. Good catches include KBOW Butte MT 550, WIND Chicago IL 560, WKBN Youngstown OH 570, WNAX Yankton SD 570, KPRZ San Marcos CA 1210.

Several frequencies were monitored more or less overnight, like 1240 and 1230, so there are likely quite a few surprises in hand for us.

This recovery from the disturbance was surprisingly quick and may indicate that we have more interesting days and nights ahead.

Overcast with moderate winds and 4C. Snow on the mountain peaks (which are like, uhmm...400 meters?)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

KONG14 Update II - Sunday 8 Oct

What a strange DX day. Conditions really turned worse during the morning and well beyond noon. Even the Japanese powerhouses like JOLF-1242 and JOIF-1413 were either absent or weak. Then all of a sudden things are turned upside down. Not only were the Asians back to thir usual strength, but prior to 15 UTC several Fiji Islands frequencies came up with excellent signals. 810 and 684 were particularly strong.

At 15 I had placed one of the receivers on 855 more or less by chance. Imagine my surprise when this full-hour id came: "This is Local Radio Queensland"... Apparently the 10 kW Eidsvold transmitter. Don't think it's heard in Europe before. At the same time The Cornerstone was heard from Saipan on 1080.

KONG14 Update - Sunday 8 Oct

Interesting development this night. A forecasted Coronal Hole stream was relatively weak, but noticeable. Stations began to fade in very early yesterday evening but no daytimers were heard. Around 01 UTC we had a short but very hectic spot-opening towards Illinois with excellent signal levels. WSDR Sterling IL 1240 up a few minutes with ID and Oldies music.
Later on conditions were rather standard post-disturbance with stations from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana dominating together with the more common Mexican stations. No improvement in signal levels in the morning though, and at 09 there are very few (and weak) stations left. The ionosphere appears to be recovering quickly though, and we are ready for Pacific stations anytime!

Weather: 5C and light rain, moderate winds overnight; 7C, light rain and calm around noon. Expected colder and increasing wind Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

KONG14 Update II - Saturday 7 Oct

Fair to good conditions towards Pacific this afternoon, although Asia at large was a disappointment. Good signals from Fiji on 1152, 1467 and 810 (new). Marshall Islands 1098 also surfaced, and somewhat surprisingly a steady signal from KORL Honolulu HI 1180. KORL has swapped calls with KHCM. Good signals from most Hawaii stations. Good signals also from Alaska, with KRSA Petersburg the best logging.

A solar disturbance is in progress as I write this, so we're a bit uncertain how conditions will develop overnight.

And yes, the King Crab was delicious!

KONG14 Update - Saturday 7 Oct

Another night and morning with very wide-spread conditions. Started at around 23 UTC with the common East Coast stations - throughout the night most of the Americas was audible on the same antenna. Venezuela-920 and a mix of CHAM, WBAP and KGNW simultaneously on 820. Signals began to fade after 7 UTC and as of writing, 9 UTC, only the strongest West Coast stations + some Alaska is audible. Some of the antennas pick up more noise than others - we don't know yet if the problem is internal or external. Hoping for some good signals from Asia and the Pacific later on!

Weather-wise it's a bit windy, partly cloudy and day temps around 5C, night temps just above zero.

P.S. We're having King Crab tonight...

Friday, October 06, 2006

KONG14 Update - Friday 6 Oct

Relatively weak signals early night, and spread from all over the Americas. La Plata, Venezuela, East Coast, West coast - all on one antenna! Few exciting catches but as we approaced sunrise the signal level increased especially on the graveyard channels. Around 7 UTC the signals seemed to die out but later on increased signal levels from West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii - although nothing spectacular. Early afternoon good signals from Japan during NHK2's local ID slot at 1320.

The rather short 310-degree beverage worked well with little Loran C interference (the local plague), while the longer 333 and 30 degree beverages needed some attention befor they got going. Stations like KMON-560, KJRB-790, KUMA-1290 were heard, and we also heard CKDO 1580 talking with Lemmenjoki participants.

Weather is very nice, clear skies, a light breeze and day temperatures around 4C, at night it drops to below 0. The outlooks seems to be good so we're getting some sleep to be ready for a new night.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

IC-7000 review, QSLs + KONG preparations

I have compiled a four-page review of the IC-7000 postings I wrote on this blog. It is available on our Kongsfjord page, or you can use the link under "Some DX Related..." etc. on the right panel. Although I have had no ambition to cover every aspect of this excellent radio, I hope that you find it useful.

Recent QSLs:
WMT Cedar Rapids IA 600 email from the guy who voiced the promotion I heard (Randy Lee).
XECB La Ranchito, San Luis Rio Colorado 1460, email from Eduardo Acosta Sanchez. Maybe my best Mexican catch to date - only 1 kW nights.
KJOX Yakima WA 1390 email from their GM, Greg Dourian. Tnx Ole Forr.

The KONG14 crew is scheduled to arrive Thursday evening around 21 UTC. Both this blog and will be updated at least a couple of times a day throughout. Outlooks are very good!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Saturday Morning - Fair Conditions

Awaiting the stream from Coronal Hole 241 I set out to Kongsfjord to erect the two last beverages for the upcoming KONG DX-peditions, and to do some DX. OK signals from North America until the disturbance set in at around 0300 UTC when they faded in favour of South America, mainly Venezuela but some La Plata as well. North American stations returned around sunrise 0400, but very broad (from Ontario to the West Coast) which rarely brings in anything new. Still, at 0505 I heard a good signal from WTVN Columbus OH 610, new, through the Loran C noise. I sent a report a few hours later and received an email verie yesterday evening, only 12 hours after I had heard it.

Most stations had faded out around 0600, two hours after sunrise.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Eton E1 Story

A re-write of my E1 impressions is available as a PDF-file on my Kongsfjord page, and on the link section to the right.

One more QSL the past few days, KLGN Logan UT 1390. Most welcome.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Few More QSLs

The past few days have seen these QSLs:
KVNU Logan UT 610
WAYY Eau Claire WI 790
CFFX Kingston ON 960
KVNU was a 2005 log, while the two latter were heard recently. Still waiting for KDAL Duluth MN 610 and WMT Cedar Rapids IA 600, both heard last week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Eton E1 User Interface, Conclusion And Some QSLs

First: Some QSLs arrived in my inbox:
WSAU Wausau WI 550, email
CHVO Spaniard's Bay NL 560, email
KDHL Faribault MN 920, email

The E1's display is very large and has room for all the information you need, including a large frequency readout. The illumination has three positions; off, dim and bright, and the contrast can be adjusted. Unfortunately, the "bright" position is nowhere as bright as I would want it, accustumed as I am with the IC-746Pro's exceptional display. May be difficult to read in dim light, or if the lightsource is behind the radio.

Tuning is done by way of a tuning knob, up/down buttons, and direct input via keypad. The tuning knob could use a dimple to make quick tuning easier. Otherwise, one can choose to tune in 10, 100 or 1000 Hz increments. The up/down buttons are used for tuning in pre-selected tuning steps; 5 kHz on Shortwave and Longwave, and selectable 9/10 kHz on Mediumwave. The functions are easy to learn and easy to use. According to the specifications, frequency stability is +/- 10 ppm in the 0-50C temperature range. Not impressing. Actually it is advisable to let it warm up for an hour before doing much ECSS DX.

Modes and bandwidth are chosen from a row with "soft buttons". One button defines the bandwidths as you cycle through the alternatives. One button defines AM/AM-sync, and one SSB button defines USB or LSB. If AM-S is selected, the SSB button defines USB, LSB or DSB (double sideband). There is no choice for modes like CW and RTTY. The button for PBT turns it on and off, and a separate control under the tuning knob adjusts the offset. The offset is displayed above the soft button. These functions are rather intuitive and easy to use.

Audio: Volume, Treble, Bass and Squelch controls are placed on the left side. The Treble and Bass controls do not have a very wide span, although they appear to be adequate for adjusting the audio blend to one's personel preference. I was not impressed though.

Time, Memory: The E1 has rather advanced clock and timer functions which I will not delve further into now. One clock is displayed, unfortunately only hh:mm, not seconds. The E1 also has ample space for memory channels; 500 free to use and 1200 restricted to 120 countries. The memory channels are easy to store, edit and delete. They store frequency, mode, bandwidth, AGC setting, PBT setting and Sync detector setting.

External Antenna input is placed on the left side, with separate sliders for AM and FM to choose between internal and external antennas. The E1 does not have an inboard ferrite antenna, which has caused outcry among some users. Instead the whip is supposed to be used for MW reception as well as SW reception. Many have also commented the lack of a carrying handle. No problem for me, and the rubberised surface which I have criticised earlier actually makes it very safe to hold.

The 77-page manual is for the most part well made. It also contains a quite detailed specification list, and a block diagram. The appendix has an entry-level introduction to SW listening which could have been better, and obviously not made with the E1 in mind so maybe they borrowed the text from somewhere else.

Conclusion: The Eton E1 is a portable with the ambition to perform equal to a high quality desktop. With a few exceptions it really does act like a desktop but while getting there it has lost some of the characteristics of a portable. Nevertheless, the Eton E1 is an excellent receiver of its own right and will perform admirably in most challenging DX situations. And the price simply cannot be beat.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This Weekend's DX

Very quiet conditions on the sun this weekend, at least until Sunday morning when the high speed stream from coronal hole CH239 killed the opening. I chose not to focus much on Asia this weekend since I had antenna and feedline repair works and needed to do them while it was light. Only modest signals from Australia on x-band so probably nothing spectacular.

Few if any signals from Central and South America, the focus was on USA and Canada. Not very interesting during the night when Europeans were too strong, but the opened up a bit as daylight came. Conditions primarily eastern, few stations west of the lakes were heard. The north-east had the best signals, especially NY, QU and ON. Highlights (at least from my perspective) were CFFX-ON 960, CINF-QU 690, WSAU-WI 550, KDHL-MN 920 and especially CHLT-QU 630. Only a small fraction of the recordings have been checked though so there may be more. Five receivers were in use during the weekend; IC-703, IC-7000, 2xIC-746Pro and E1. I am doing coordination training for the upcoming KONG DX-peditions...

E1 Interference Fighting

Good table-top receivers have a suite of tools available for fighting off interference. Besides bandwidth choices, ECSS reception and passband tuning, the user can choose to employ automatic or manual notch filters at the audio or IF level, noise blankers and noise reduction functions. We need any function that can enhance the signal-to-noise level of the desired station, and often if one tool doesn't work, another might.

Portable receivers usually lack many (or all) of the interfering fighting tools. Alas, that is the case with the E1 as well. As stated earlier, its ECSS tuning is very good, but ECSS must be regarded as a rather compulsary part of an HF receiver today. AM Synchronous Detection is quite good overall, but not suited for DX-ing narrow splits. So, what do we have?

IF Filters
According to Eton's specs, there are three bandwidth choices; 2.3 (sometimes referred to as 2.5), 4.0 and 7.0 kHz. The 2.3 is apparently the muRata CFJ455K5 which is mounted in a large number of receivers. I don't know the origin of the other filters. Judging from audio recovery, I'd say the 4.0 is more like 4.5, and the 7 is more 8-ish. I hope someone will take the time to measure the correct bandwidths and the shape factor. They appear to have good ultimate selectivity though. There's nothing wrong with the filters except my personal preference would probably be less than 4, and 6 kHz for the two wider filters. Other people with other preferences will surely disagree. Actually, a portable with a choice of three mode-independent, good quality IF filters must ble close to one of a kind.

Passband Tuning (PBT)
Something we cannot do without! In SSB (and ECSS of course) , PBT allows for moving the IF passband of the receiver relative to the detector BFO (mostly quoted from the manual). The PBT can be tuned +/- 2 kHz. For reasons mentioned below, the PBT is in more use on the E1 than on my other receivers.

The manual is rather inconclusive about the PBT and AM. On page 24 it says "PBT also functions in AM and AM SYNC modes, but in these modes it act primarily as a frequency offset, which can also be accomplished with the 'TUNING' knob". If we're to believe this the PBT control in AM is identical in function to the Tuning knob! However on page 15 it says "The PBT (...) knob varies the IF passband of the receiver plus or minus 2 kHz (...) relative to the displayed frequency when on AM Mode". When I use the PBT in AM and compare it with off-tuning using the Tuning knob, the audible results are identical. So, is the AM PBT an IF shift, or is it off-tuning?

A Notch Filter is an essential tool for removing heterodynes. Any notch filter will do really, even a basic audio notch filter - but the E1 has none. That is in fact a major drawback with the radio. Removing or reducing hets can to some extent be done by using the PBT, but that is 1) time consuming and 2) can result in increased interference from a different source.

A Noise Blanker is also missing. Ignition-type noise, and in my case Loran C ticking, can be reduced with a good noise blanker.

And there is no Noise Reduction function. Although we have seen many of questionable quality, and that they often degrade the audio quality, in some instances they really do help.

Obviously, here's where the tabletop and the portable go separate ways.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Eton E1 Preamp, Strong Signal Handling

With a sensitivity at the 0.5uV level, the E1 needs to have a good front-end, especially when connected to large outdoor antennas. According to the block diagram in the user manual, the radio incorporates bandpass filters at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 3o MHz. The preamp (or "DX" setting) is 10dB according to the block diagram. According to specifications, IP3 at 5 kHz spacing, preamp on, isn't really out of this world: -30dBm. It should work well in a "normal" RF environment (can somebody please tell me what a "normal" RF environment is?). What about mine?

My RF environment is surely not normal. It consist mainly of a Loran C transmitter on 100 kHz, 14 km away as the crow flies, and the output is 250kW. I also have an NDB, BV on 399 kHz, 16 km in the same direction. My North American beverages point more or less directly towards them. I have an array of five beverages, at present connected to an antenna selector, via a switchable 10-13dB push-pull Norton preamp, into an amplified 1:8 splitter where the preamp is identical to the first but has a net gain of 5 dB. It is also switchable. Normally I use the splitter preamp all the time, and turn on the other preamp when signal levels drop after sunrise or before sunset. I use the receivers' preamps as I find necessary. But after sunrise, they are indeed needed.

So what's the E1 front-end like? The Loran C should be a good indicator if the receiver is prone to overload. When both external preamps are engaged, there is a bit more Loran C noise below 1 MHz than I find on the other receivers. Nothing dramatic though. However, if I engage the "DX" setting, the Loran C will take over the AGC completely and mute the receiver. But - only below 1 MHz. The front end filters are doing their job. If I disengage one of them (no matter which), the overload disappears.

I also did a test on the 49-meter band at late evening when signal levels are very high. I used an amplified ALA100 8x4m loop, If I engaged all preamps, there was severe intermod. If I disengaged one of them (no matter which) the intermod disappeared.

Mind you that none of the other receivers behaved the way the E1 did.

Conclusion: The Eton E1 is not bullet-proof. Use the internal preamp only when it is really necessary, especially if you have a very strong RF source within the passpand. I feel rather lucky that Eton chose to put the first bandpass filter at 1 MHz and not at 1.8 or 2. That would have limited the E1's capability as a MW DX receiver. However, with the preamp disengaged MW sensitivity will still be close to 1uV. A little disappointment this, but it doesn't really spoil my impression of the E1. I keep comparing it to receivers/transceivers costing at least three times as much and it is doing remarkably well so far.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eton E1, Reception Modes; Audio Quality

In addition to the usual modes AM and SSB (which can be used for ECSS), the E1 is equipped with a selectable-sideband AM synchronous detector (AMSD). The ECSS technique is supposedly well-known among DX-ers so I will not go into that subject here except note that the E1's ECSS reception is very good, once the frequency alignment has been done.

So what does AMSD do? Some say that AMSD is the life and soul of a receiver - hinting perhaps that a non-AMSD receiver is no good. Baloney. For further enlightenment on the possible virtues of AMSD, please read Dallas Lankford's articles on the subject.

AMSD is often associated with reducing distortion caused by selective fading. This is true, but you don't really need an AMSD for that, you can use an Elliptic Low Pass Audio Filter (ELPAF) instead. Selectable-sideband AMSD can also be used for reducing interference from one side much the same way as with ECSS.

AMSD has one downside compared to ordinary AM: It is usually non-transparent; it needs to lock onto a signal. This takes time, and is often accompanied with growling when the radio tries to center on the passband. Some AMSDs loose lock fast, some stay put.

The E1's AMSD has three positions; USB, LSB and DSB (double sideband). I tested its distortion-reducing capabilities on some fading SW frequencies. Reducing distortion will normally be best when using the sidebands, but I found that the AMSD was very effective even in DSB. On MW there wasn't much difference on the signals I tested, but if I had tested with groundwave/skywave blends I believe I might have had the same results as on SW. Comparisons were made with the AM Slow AGC setting. The conclusion is that if I want to listen to a SW broadcast I would probably use AMSD.

And locking to a signal is rather straightforward. It does so within half a second, without muting the receiver's audio (any AR7030 owners out there?), and without growling (any SE-3 owners out there?). Or mostly without growling. If the carrier is far away from the radio's frequency it needs to tune in and does so much more slowly than the SE-3, and it growls a lot.

But what about split-channel DX and interfering stations with very high signal levels? Well there's a mixed bag. I tested this specifically on 1250 (Ontario) with a strong European on 1251. And now we're at the core of the problem. The manual says that the AMSD will lock on the strongest signal in the passband. So even if you choose LSB, adjust the PBT to get away from 1251, and even if you manage to lock on 1250 - if 1251 increases its signal level it will simply take over the lock and you will find yourself listening to 1251 instead of 1250! The problem will of course diminish the further you are away from the offending signal. But there is in fact a problem here. Imagine this happening at 10 seconds before the full hour.

I cannot recommend the use of selectable-sideband AMSD for serious DX unless you are certain that the lock won't be lost and "transferred" as it were, to the interfering station. This is especially true if you operate several receivers and need to let the E1 record audio unattended. On the other hand, if you meet that requirement, the audio quality from the selectable-sideband AMSD is very good.

ECSS audio quality is good, better than expected. There are slight tonal differences between USB and LSB but they are not disturbing in any way. But the difference should have been avoided.

Conditions, Eton E1 And A Couple QSLs

Conditions towards DU was bordering on excellent Wednesday evening when in-band east-coast Australians were heard with surprising strength. 4QD Emerald-1558 the best I've ever heard them, and 2BL Sydney-702 well readable at times. Excellent strength towards Japan and Korea for more than an hour. The Papuan NDB's on x-band were relogged. The night brought good signals from North America, mostly inland with dominants from Iowa; later a spot opening brought enhanced signals from Minnesota.

The Eton E1 had its first night in real interference. It did in fact fare well! I tested both the AMSD-Selectable Sideband and ECSS techniques to fight off interference, and I am preparing a post on just that. Audio quality and recovery is very good and very pleasant and I was surprised to hear the spacious audio in SSB mode. Most receivers produce very "flat" SSB audio. AM audio quality: The AMSD reduces distortion in rapidly fading signals, in all three settings. Otherwise there is no significant difference between AM and AMSD audio quality unless you need selectable sidebands to eliminate interference.

Two QSLs the past days: KCJJ Iowa City IA 1630 and CKDO Oshawa ON 1580, both by email.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Eton E1 First Impressions

Well it didn't arrive on Monday. Or Tuesday. But Wednesday! It is s/n 3609, in other words part of the recall.

The first thing I usually do when I get a new radio, is to measure its sensitivity. To date I do not recall having seen sensitivity figures on the E1, except Eton's own specifications (Less than 2.0uV for the whole tuning range, 1000 Hz, 30% mod but bandwidth not stated. 7 kHz?)

So I pulled out my signal generator and AC voltmeter and started measuring. I was stunned. I had to go through the setup again and again to make sure that I hadn't done anything that could make the results incorrect. I used slow AGC, 400 Hz, 30% modulation depth and 7 kHz bandwidth in pure AM (not AMSD).

From deep in the LW band right through MW the sensitivity was -112 to -115dBm, mostly around -114 so in fact better than 0.5uV!

Could the signal generator results be dublicated in real life? Well almost. I tested the E1 and a 746Pro on the Australian 4KZ-1620 which was a threshold levels at the time. Audio recovery in the 0.6uV 746Pro was marginally better than the E1. But the margin was very narrow indeed.

And that is as far as I have come today. Oh, one last thing. It has a sort of rubberized surface. I don't like that. It is bound to collect (and keep) dust. And I wonder how it will sustain to wear and tear.

First impression: I like it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Weekend's DX

Not bad at all. Saturday evening and Sunday morning were the best DX so far this season, with X-and Australians at good levels, and a mix of East Coast NA, Caribbean and Venezuela.

Sunday morning brought good strengths from the usual dominants but also stations like WZAM-ME 970, WEAV-NY 960, WZON-ME 620 and the new CKDO-ON 1580. Format changes from last season was noted for WLIB-NY 1190 (gospel, inspirational) and WMCS-WI 1290 ("Milwaukee's ESPN Radio").

Several Cubans noted, especially Rebelde 710 killing WOR's signal. Good signals from Radio Nacional de Venezuela 1310 and RCR 750.

And two very interesting French-language stations, one on 640 (presumed Guadeloupe), the other on 930. Only one French there that I can think of, Cap Haitien. I have a recording of a couple of minutes that someone fluent in French must listen to.

Sunday evening wasn't very exciting, and Monday morning even less so with signals fading out well before they should - nothing interesting either.

Two QSLs found their way to my inbox during the weekend: On Friday I received an email from WMDD Fajardo PR 1480, and early Monday morning one from Radio Fiji Two, 1467 kHz. Email me if you want details.

And the Icom IC-7000 has proven that it is indeed a very capable DX receiver. You simply can't go wrong with this one, if you're willing to pay the price (USD 1,500 or equivalent). The coming days will see if I could have saved myself $1000 by going for a different receiver - The Eton E1 is supposed to show up today, and of course I am going to set it up against the IC-7000!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

50 Watt Papuans Travel 11,500 km

Conditions on MF were very good today, and the Australian x-band stations were heard with good signals. While on 1629 in USB mode I heard slow code, and decided to investigate this, since I knew that Papua New Guinea has NDB's in the 1.6 - 1.7 MHz range. OKT in Ok Tedi Mine, Western Province, 1632 kHz did in fact have a good signal. I also heard GA, Goroka in Eastern Highlands, 1725 kHz. Time: Around 1700 UTC. Later, at 1845 I also heard KUT Kutubu 1737 kHz. The initial responses from the expert beacon hunters suggest that Papuan NDB's haven't been heard in Europe before. Heard before or not - these are excellent catches and proof that when solar conditions are right (and they are), you can "hear forever".

IC-7000: Flakey Preamp Desensitises LF

In a previous post I noted that the sensitivity of the IC-7000 starts getting worse in the middle of the MF band, growing increasingly more deaf with lower frequency, as bad as 25uV on 310 for instance. Measurements done with preamp on.

Dallas Lankford informed me yesterday that this effect is due to the preamp. If the preamp is disengaged, and a Norton push-pull preamp is placed between the antenna and receiver instead, the IC-7000 will remain its excellent sensitivity at least down to 200 kHz.

Indeed it is so. The receiver was very quiet when I tuned the LF band with the preamp on. When I switched it off, the signal level increased dramatically! I noticed this down to about 200 kHz, when the difference tended to decrease. Ingøy-153 was about equal level with and without preamp.

I didn't bother to put up the signal generator for exact measurements. Maybe I will one day. Today's Word of Wisdom then: If you want to tune LF with the IC-7000, do NOT engage the preamp.

Blog Template Changed

Apparently, the previous layout was difficult to handle for MS Internet Explorer, so I have changed the template into one that seems to fit IE better. I use Firefox and Opera myself so I wasn't aware of this.

Friday, September 08, 2006


A most welcome letter from Hemant Parikh (Sales, Programming) at 1XOR Radio Tarana, Auckland, NZ, 1386 kHz today, together with stickers and a CD album. Heard in October 2005, it is the third NZ verified on MW for me. Thanks VERY MUCH to NZ DX-er Bryan Clark who visited the station explaining my business, and who even got 7 minutes live on the air telling Tarana's listeners about DX-ing and their distant audience.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More IC-7000 Manual Notch Filter

To start with, a picture of the display. I rather like it.

Unfortunately the IC-7000 user manual is rather opaque on the properties of the MNF. It does not give any indication about the tuning range of the MNF, neither about the width of the Narrow, Medium and Wide notch filter settings. By trial and error, I found that the tuning range is +/- 5kHz. The filter width is pure guesswork. But the IC-746Pro's manual notch is 70 Hz wide, and that might fit with "Narrow". So maybe Medium is 200 Hz and Wide is 500 Hz? My guess is as good as anyones.

Like I said there are two identical MNFs. You can choose one, the other, both or none (MNF Off). It can work together with the Auto Notch Filter as well. You can tune each filter independently within the (presumed) +/- 5kHz tuning range.

In AM mode the effect is startling. If the filters are centered in the tuning range, they will notch out the frequency you're on, and the signal you are tuned to will simply go away. Well...sort of, anyway. Now, if you are tuned to 730 and 729 is giving you a hard time, you tune one of the MNF filters 1 kHz downwards until you hear the interference being nulled. I don't know yet which bandwidth setting is best - narrow, medium or wide, but they all seem to work. Wide is not a worse choice than the other two. If there are other noise sources in the passband, try to tune the other MNF filter to notch it out.

ECSS mode is not as straightforward. As most will know, the USB and LSB bandwidths are asymmetric in shape, as opposed to the symmetrical AM bandwidths. So you need to tune the MNF not 1 kHz, but maybe 4 kHz, depending on the width of the SSB bandwidth chosen. Also, when using SSB mode to listen to AM signals, the AM detector and carrier are replaced with a product detector with the receiver BFO zero beat to the AM carrier. Maybe because of this I was not able to null the offending station the way I did in AM mode, but its signal level was nontheless significantly reduced. And the impact from splatter was reduced.

IC-7000 Interference Fighting

Apart from bandwidth selections and passband tuning, the IC-7000 has a nice selection of tools to fight the noise and splatter that's left. There is often a lot of it, especially if you fancy MW stations from outside your own continent.

The Noise Blanker is as far as I can see a traditional tool that should cope with ignition noise and similar pulse-type noise. It is adjustable. I haven't had the chance to test its capabilities yet. Reason: Absence of pulse-type noise.

The Noise Reduction is adjustable as well, and a modest level of NR (2-4 out of 10) actually increases the S/N ratio of the station by a couple of dB. In some cases the difference between readable and not readable. The function works more or less the same way as in the 746Pro and is a useful tool.

The Auto Notch Function deals effectively with hets, up to three tones at a time, and it tracks the tones when tuning (or if the tones move).

The Manual Notch Function can be set to attenuate a frequency. Actually there are two manual notch filters, each can be tuned to the desired frequency and they can be individually set to Wide, Medium or Narrow filter width. There is no advice on how many Hz the selected filter width is.

I will dwell a little with the MNF because I discovered that it is in fact a wonderful tool. I was listening to a noise-ridden Radio America, Paraguay on 1480 (LSB to avoid the DRM hiss on 1485, hence subject to splatter from 1476), when I more or less by chance turned on the MNF function. Splatter almost gone!! And I hadn't even tried to tune the MNF filters! Now, what was going on here... I tuned a 746Pro to 1480 and tried to engage its (single) MNF to reproduce the effect. No way... Apparently, the MNF, especially when set to "Wide" filter width, is capable of reducing the effects of splatter with a significant amount, resulting in a noticeable (I was about to use the word "dramatic" but I'll hold my breath) improvement in the signal's readability. I have a couple of recordings which I can email to anyone interested. DRM hiss was also reduced significantly, but I have yet to find out if it means that stations can be dug out of the noise. Effective use of the MNF may require some training.

Audio quality will suffer from the tools listed above. Not much really, actually very little but if you put all of them into use simultaneously audio quality will degrade so much you would probably be better off in the first place.

Friday, September 01, 2006

IC-7000 - Remote/Mic

I tested the microphone as a remote/keyboard today. It contains most of the functions one needs, including frequency input, mode change, filter change, up and down tuning and memory functions. The keypad has a rubberised feel and need a distinct pressure to make contact. It should work fine as a remote keypad but the spiral cord is rather thick (as is usual with this kind of equipment) and as long as the transmitter is not disabled I'm a bit worried about accidentally pushing the PTT switch. I have the RF power set to 0% and the mic gain to 0% but still 2 watts will escape the IC-7000 during transmit and that will not do a lot of good to the antenna and distributing equipment connected to it. On the other hand, tx is only possible on the ham bands, so why worry... Also, keying a new frequency is somewhat awkward. First, press a button named "F-inp/Ent" (probably short for "Frequency Input/Enter"), then the frequency including trailing zeros (100's and 10's Hz), then press "F-inp/Ent" again. So, keying 1470 requires 8 key presses.

Another possibility is John Hansen's Millenium QSY'er. I bought a kit for the IC-703, and although it is larger in footprint than the IC-7000 mic/remote, and has fewer functions, it works very well as a frequency input device. Keying 1470 is as simple as "1-4-7-0-*" where "*" is the Enter key. The buttons respond very quickly. It connects to the CI-V Remote Control Jack with a thin audio-type plain cord. The Millenium QSY'er is designed for HAM use and so defaults to a pre-determined mode designated for the frequency range you tune in to. AM mode on broadcast bands, USB on higher HAM bands etc. However, Mr. Hansen disabled this function for the keypad I ordered. My keypad does not change mode when I change frequency.

The jury is still out on whether to keep the mic/remote as the default keypad for the IC-7000 or to buy another Millenium QSY'er.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Partly interesting conditions - testing IC-7000

Early autumn is a good time for catches from DU - European and Asian stations aren't that strong and I am far enough east of central Europe to take advantage of European daylight. A few nice ones, monitored to and from between1630-1800:
729 ABC RN, Adelaide
891 ABC Adelaide (tentative, but the DU intonation gave it away)
1161 ABC Southeast, Naracoorte. New! Have been hunting this one for several years, incidentally the first proper logging on my new IC-7000!
1620 4KZ tentative, didn't wait for an ID - no other x-band stations audible.
Also heard traces of 1548 Emerald and possibly 774 Wellington.

Unfortunately very poor at night, only a few weak TA stations audible, none from North America. More interesting conditions in southern Norway.

This evening and night was the first real test for the IC-7000. There are good points, but at least one bad point as well: The audio from the external speaker jack and headphone jack is very hissy. Seems like the hiss is in the 5-6 kHz area. It is in fact annoying. Much to my surprise though, the line-out does NOT contain hiss. I connected my ELPAF filter to the audio output and that cured the hiss problem. That done, it is evident that the receiver itself is in fact very quiet, even compared to the 746Pros. I had the pleasure of comparing audio quality of 4KZ-1620 when it was mainly at or below threshold level. The IC-7000 matched, and partly surpassed, the IC-746Pro. I got the same impression during the night with massive interference from EU stations.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Radio Cristal del Uruguay 1470 verification

Email from Cristal's engineering dept confirmed my Aug 27 reception. Very weak most of the time, but their signal improved when they were running a promotion ending with a nice ID. I've never been much of a Latin Lover, DX-wise that is, so this is my first verification from Uruguay.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Finally. It has been on my wish list for the better part of a year, but I've been holding back. A new receiver (or transceiver in this case) always has its early production run flaws, and there were some issues with the IC-7000 that kept me from buying it. Last week I gave in to my basic instincts (not the Sharon Stone kind of thing) and ordered one after I got a good offer from a Norwegian retailer.

I only got it today, so this is indeed "first impressions". It is very small. Well, since I already have an IC-703 I should't be surprised, but fact is: It's even smaller than the IC-703. WHD is 167x58x180mm and the weight is 2.3 kg. I am a metric man so if you want lbs and inches, you do the math. Of course, power is extra. For transmit it will need 22A at 100 watts; at receive it requires 1.6A at full volume.

Specs: AM sensitivity 0.5 - 1.8 MHz is 13uV with preamp on. For the MW DX-er: Awful. But a friend of mine bought one last autumn, and his IC-7000 measured around 1uV so obviously the Icom specs were overly conservative as usual. So I took the chance and ordered one, hoping that my IC-7000 would not be much different.
Excellent bandwidth options. All DSP. One can choose any set of three bandwidths for each mode from a pallette ranging up to 10 kHz for AM. A bit like the 746Pro except it had fixed AM bandwidths.

So, how does it fare? The first thing I was interested in finding out was the sensitivity figures. While I set up and warmed up the signal generator I compared it with the very sensitive IC-703 and became quite optimistic. I had reason to. On the upper part of MW, sensitivity was around 0.7uV. On the middle part around 0.9, and the lower part around 1.0uV down to 1.3 on 510. LW is a joke... around 25uV on 310. I didn't go deeper. SW sensitivity was close to 0.5uV. Measured with 6 kHz bandwidth AM, 30% modulation and preamp on. These figures are in fact 3-5dB better than my friend's IC-7000. Since I was expecting no better than 1uV, I am well content.

More as I start to explore its possibilities and limitations.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

First logs, Aug 25-27

The two first beverages on the Kongsfjord DX site was erected a couple of days ago, 175 meters/310 degrees (North America) and 450 meters/58 degrees (northern Asia). Asian stations heard as early as 3.5 hours before sunset. China dominating, some Japan, a couple Koreans and the odd Filipino. And rather surprising, 4QD ABC Emerald QLD 1548, 90 minutes before sunset. Other logs include:
612 JOLK NHK2 Fukuoka
900 Hunan RGD
1053 JOAR Nagoya huge!
1314 DWXI Paranaque, usual rlg programming
Several Chinese stations recorded, not yet checked.

Not much from the Americas unfortunately, except a couple of Venezuelans the first night and a few La Plata/Brazil stations the second night - with Radio Cristal 1470 the only one with proper levels.

Three receivers are engaged at the beginning of the season; two Icom IC-746Pro and one Icom IC-703, all connected to iRiver MP3 recorders. Apart from the two beverages I also have two ALA100 loops from Wellbrook up, connected to a Dallas Lankford phaser.