Monday, December 24, 2007

Conditions, Dec 24

Lofoten Islands today: Stormy. Rainy. And has been since I arrived. And long before that! But in every other aspect it is a wonderful place to spend the last week of the year. At the time of writing I am listening to one of my SDR-IQs in Kongsfjord via Logmein remote software and a 3G Mobile connection in my end. Typically disturbed conditions which means little else than the common Prairie stations (especially from Canada) and Alaska. When nothing else is heard, they are ok to listen to and the audio quality over the mobile phone connection is surprisingly good. A few audio drop-outs from time to time though.

Judging from page statistics my blog quite a few regular readers. Seasons Greetings to all of you, and to everyone else who happens to pass by this site. All this to the sound from CFCW Camrose and Jim Reeves' "Snowflakes"...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Prepared For Remote DX

Since I am going away this Christmas, I have been working on preparing Kongsfjord for remote control. Easier said than done. First, broadband was delayed by almost three months. It is a radio-based connection with a 5 GHz radio communicating with a base transmitter a few km away. With the radio and antenna up, I connected the PC. Nothing happened. No connection. After a series of trial and errors, it turned out that the equipment was faulty.

New radio, new antenna. Connected to the PC by wire; the speed was as advertised, 2000/500 kbps. Tried to put up a wireless router. No connection. Being rather inexperienced with configuring routers (all previous routers I've had were plug and play), I spent quite a few hours trying to set things right.

This afternoon, a day and a half from going away, I got it working. At the time of writing I am remote controlling my Scaleo PC where two SDR-IQs and one Perseus are demodulating with no problems. A "pro" licence from Logmein has enabled me to have audio from the Scaleo to whatever PC I choose to work from. So, unless we have a power-down or the broadband goes down I should be able to listen to Kongsfjord from my Christmas location in the Lofoten islands.

The Scaleo has 3 GB RAM and a 6400 AMD processor; CPU usage is typically 75-85% with peaks around 90% when all three SDRs are demodulating.

Monday, December 17, 2007

KRCN Longmont CO 1060 Verification

KRCN has had a very good signal this fall, even dominating over Calgary at times. This evening Brooke Nelson, Producer, confirmed my October 16 reception with a most friendly email. Turns out Brooke had done an extensive net research on my area and found out to his amazement (and horror?) that fried cod tongues is a favourite dish here. That's correct; we cut their tongues out, dry the rest of the cod and send it off to Italy as stockfish!

Well, almost.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

CHGM Gaspé QC 1150 Verification

I've heard CHGM only once with a proper signal (and an ID to match), in October 2006. And I may not hear them again since they will leave AM in not too long. Anyway, a few reports were sent out but with little luck until yesterday when Francis Rémillard confirmed my reception. I am glad I have made a habit of checking Gmail's spam folder because that is where his reply went.

On to a totally different subject; the Eton E1xm advertised below has found a new home and a worthy owner.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Perseus Sensitivity Measurements

This time I succeeded. But again, the switching PSU of the Perseus created problems. When connected to the same 4-way AC outlet as the signal generator, the PSU created noise that the signal generator picked up and distributed back to the Perseus so I actually needed signals of -80 to -90 dBm to get a 10dB SNR! Another reason to replace it with a stabilised PSU. When I placed them at different AC outlets, noise was gone. Funny that the Perseus itself appears to be immune to the noise.

But I got my measurements, didn't I? Indeed I did and they show a uniform -102 to -103 dBm sensitivity in AM, 6 kHz bw, 30% modulation with AGC off. Preselector, Preamp and Dither were all on. When I switched Preselector off, sensitivity increased a couple of dB, typically -103 to -105 dBm. While the Perseus (or the SDR-IQs) doesn't match my Icoms which have levels around -111 to -113 dBm, it should cope well even when DX-ing at very low signal levels once a high-quality preamplifier has been set in front of it.

I tried to remove the Loran C notch filter to see how the Perseus coped with it. Same result as with the IQs: Severe overloading on MW. But I hadn't expected otherwise.

Anyone Looking For An Eton E1XM?

Look no further!

With three SDRs in my radio room (2 x SDR-IQ + 1 Perseus), I just need to cut down on the number of conventional receivers. I sold my Icom IC-7000 a few months ago, and I have decided to sell my E1. That would leave me with 2 x IC-746Pro and one IC-703, all three specially modified for MW DX by Dallas Lankford. It is not likely that any of them will ever go.

My E1 is of the "refurbished" stock - Eton did a recall because of a missing trace in the circuit which could cause battery heat-up if the user was using both an AC adapter and batteries. The issue was dealt with by Drake according to web sources. I bought it from a US dealer who filed for bankruptcy the following day. Hopefully there is no connection there... I believe there is a tag or sticker inside confirming that it has been repaired.

The E1 is a very fine receiver indeed and very sensitive (0.5uV in AM, 7 kHz, 30% mod) and with very good selectivity and the possibility of using AM Synchronous Detection with the Lower, Upper or both sidebands.

My E1 has been exceptionally well kept even if it has many hours in the "On"-position. There has never been a battery in it. Original box. I was thinking EUR 300 or equivalent + shipping. The price would probably exclude North Americans because of the poor USD-EUR exchange rate, but the E1 is much higher priced in Europe so this should be a bargain for most European DX-ers! I'll throw in the correct AM antenna connector. Electronic bank transfer to my IBAN is the only option for payment.

For another EUR 50 I'll throw in an iriver flash-based MP3 recorder/player with a dedicated line-in (very few have these days). These are excellent recorders with a recording level adjustment, and using 64 kbps gives you 32 hours of DX which can be dragged and dropped to your PC's hard drive (full UMS compliance). Powered by one AA-battery. 1 GB.

CHIN Toronto ON 1540 Verification

I've tried numerous times over the years to obtain a verification from CHIN, alas with no luck. On October 13 my SDR-IQ recorded several hours from MW, and when playing back I noted that CHIN was running "Caribbean Connection" with Jai Ojah-Maharaj with excellent strengths at times. The program was very enjoyable indeed, and I emailed Ojah-Maharaj attaching a good quality MP3 file. A most friendly reply came last night.

Another interesting facet of using SDRs like the IQ, SDR-14, Perseus etc: The spectrum you record can not only be DX-ed, but actually enjoyed, during playback. You never have time to do that in a DX session.

Friday, December 14, 2007

KCCS Salem OR 1220 Verification

I heard KCCS on October 26, 2006 with a fair to weak signal in the CJRB mess, the first and so far only occasion I've heard them. Cindy Smith at the JC Media Group confirmed my report this evening. KCCS is now KPJC but remains a religious station.

SDR Sensitivity Measurements

Anonymous made a comment to my previous post: "These are the first measured of sensitivity or comparasions with other SDR RX with AM signal in the world on Perseus?"

Who knows. Very few people find it interesting or worthwhile to measure a radio's sensitivity. But then very few people own a signal generator which is what you need to do the job. Neither RF Space (SDR-IQ) nor Microtelecom (Perseus) have officially available AM sensitivity data. Instead they have MDS numbers for CW and SSB. The Perseus claims an MDS of -131 dBm in CW, 500 Hz bandwidth, and -124 dBm in SSB, 2.4 kHz bandwidth. Similar data for the SDR-IQ is -127 dBm in CW, 500 Hz bandwidth (no data given for SSB). So in theory (because I think these are calculated figures, not measured), 4 dB advantage Perseus.

There is no substitute for measurements though. I know of two AM sensitivity measurements on the SDR-IQ, mine and Dallas Lankford's. We both got -102 dBm or 1.8uV. Nico Palermo calculated the Perseus AM sensitivity for me to -102 dBm. A measurement will probably end up in that range, possibly 1-3 dB lower if my ears heard correctly. I believe that a correct Perseus sensitivity measurement will soon be done by Dallas Lankford.

Still, numbers, be they calculated or measured, will never replace real-world experience. I have yet to compare the two SDRs enough to declare a winner, and I'm not sure I want to put one ahead of the other anyway. It is highly unlikely that I will be able to hear a station on one radio that I can't hear on the other. That said, the Perseus appears to have AM bandwidth configuration options available that will dwarf most if not all other radios.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some More Perseus Impressions

Since I didn't succeed in making sensitivity measurements, I thought I'd compare the Perseus and the SDR-IQ in an A-B test today. I connected my signal generator to a splitter, connected the two SDRs to the splitter's outputs, and set up a 1000 Hz tone with 30% modulation. Both SDRs were put in AM mode and 6 kHz bandwidth. I then gradually recuced the signal level until the tone was lost in the noise. The one that lost the tone last would be the most sensitive. The SDR-IQ won by a couple of dB.

RF recording should be easier with the Perseus than with the SDR-IQ but isn't. The problem is that you have to name a file before it starts recording, so there is a dialogue box to pass just like with the SDR-IQ. Playback is also more cumbersome than with the IQ since you can't start playback in a specific point in the file. You don't know where you are until you've selected the point. And you can't jump back and forth in the file; you need to highlight a period of your own choice (except you don't know how long it is and when it starts) and play that period. It automatically loops though and that's a good thing. When playing though, the program keeps track of the time.

Also I miss the option to tune via the up/down keys and left/right keys. And when you use the mouse, scrolling forward in Perseus means decreasing frequency while in the IQ it means increasing frequency. So operating the IQ and the Perseus at the same time can be a bit confusing.

I also experienced a couple of crashes; one resulted in the need of a reboot before I could start the software again. Maybe it's a Vista issue. I also hoped that the AVG settings chosen at one session were saved and used again in the new session; apparently they are not.

The AGC settings (there are four; Fast, Med, Slow and Off) seem well chosen, but I would have preferred to have the option of determining the values of each setting.

And horisontal lines on the display with dBm values would have been great.

The above might indicate that I'm not satisfied with the Perseus. That is not the case. As stated earlier, the audio quality excels, and the bandwidth option is exceptional. And some of my issues could be because I haven't explored all possibilities yet.

Oh, and one last thing, and an important one: The switching PSU. It is not as quiet as I thought. It actually produced tones every 8 kHz, not in the Perseus, but in the IQ! I had it placed in a 4-way mains socket which also sent current to the splitter they were connected to. When I placed the PSU in a different socket the noise seemed to go away, or at least be greatly reduced. But I really want a stabilised PSU for my Perseus.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Perseus Has Landed

Sent from on Dec. 4, arrived today. Yes I agree, the picture is NOT good... but the radio is. I tested it only briefly in Kongsfjord this afternoon. Compared to the SDR-IQ it appears to have better audio recovery, especially in AM mode. Tuning takes a bit getting used to, accustomed as I am with the IQ and Spectravue. The driver and the XP software installed without problems on my Vista PC.

For some reason I was unable to make a sensitivity measurement of it. Don't know what I did wrong. There is no reason to believe that it is less sensitive than the IQ. I didn't find any threshold signals where I could compare the two properly. But the Perseus appears, from the 30 minutes I played with it, to be an excellent receiver. And surprisingly enough very immune to the Loran C noise I usually hear in the 550-590 kHz area. And as many have pointed out: The adjustable bandwidth control is superb. Very slick.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

KITZ Silverdale WA 1400 Verification

I heard KITZ in October 2005 at fairly good strength doing a dual-station full-hour ID (KITZ and 920 KGTK). A friendly and detailed email from GM Conn Williamson last night confirmed my reception and I even got an MP3 audio clip in return for the one I sent...but in much better quality!

KITZ transmits from Kitsap County Fairgrounds, adjacent to the new Baseball Stadium, and has done so since 1986. After running AdCon and Modern Country the first years, KITZ shifted to talk programming in 2000. This according to their website

KITZ is my 50th Washington state verie, and my 20th verie on 1400.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

KBAR Burley ID 1230 Verification

KBAR was up on two consecutive full-hours one day in October 2006. It took a while for me to receive a verie though, but this evening it came in the form of an email from Scott Cameron.

Three Idaho veries in one evening. I am beginning to like this.

KFAR Fairbanks AK 650 Verification

Some stations respond quickly. Some take time. KFAR took 33 years... Admittedly I haven't drowned their mail boxes or email boxes with reports over that period, but quite a few reports have been sent. Today PD Steve Floyd responded to a report with an excellent quality recording. So KFAR came home at last.

KRXK Rexburg ID 1230, KSEI Pocatello ID 930 Verifications

These are co-owned, and at least this autumn seemed to run parallel programming as the KSEI legal ID included KRXK. KSEI was heard on October 16 (as earlier stated; a great day for DX) while KRXK dates back to January 6, 2006. Email from GM Bill Fuerst of Pacific Empire Radio Corp. confirmed my reports today. Later I also received an email from Sean Green. Both stations are new for me. KRXK was heard on an Icom 746Pro while KSEI made its way with the help of the IC-703.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WSM Nashville TN 650 Verification

WSM doesn't often put a decent signal in my direction, but on October 16 they did. My Icom IC-703 picked up a very nice ID at 0030 UTC, and WSM Promotions Director Misty Cochran replied to my report within minutes, promising a commemorative QSL card as well. I can like that!

Friday, November 23, 2007

WDCD New York NY 1540 Verification

By no means an uncommon station, although CHIN and KXEL are much more dominant here, but I sort of never got round to make efforts to verify WDCD. An excellent full-hour ID recorded to the SDR-IQ on October 13 just couldn't be archieved without trying though, and today PD Peter Kaye confirmed my report.

KMVI Wailuku HI 550 Verification

KMVI is heard when Hawaii-conditions are ok, but usually KZTN Anchorage is much stronger. Being ESPN (like KZTN) with few local ann's doesn't make it easier to get a good local ID from KMVI. However on October 15 the Alaskan was unusually modest and allowed KMVI to dominate a while with a good full-hour ID. PD Fred Guzman confirmed my reception this morning. A most welcome verie, and Hawaiian AM no 28 of 28 reported. Of existing AMs I only lack 790 now. Heard on one my Icom 746Pros.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

KOAC Corvallis OR 550 Verificaton

I heard KOAC for the first time several years ago, but they wouldn't respond to my reports at the time. This autumn it appears that KOAC has got a more consistent signal across the Pole (and maybe within their coverage area too) as they've been quite a regular on 550. VP of Engineering Don McKay kindly confirmed my October 16 reception today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

WKTY La Crosse WI 580 Verification

Email from Scott Robert Shaw, WKTY's Program Director, confirmed my October 16 reception of WKTY. I only heard it a few seconds, though enough for an identification. WKTY is co-owned with WIZM 1410, a much more commonly heard station than WKTY although the latter has been heard a few times this autumn. Receiver: Icom IC-746Pro.

My KONG17 Loggings - First Preliminary

After having checked perhaps 95% of my "normal" receivers recordings, and perhaps 1.5% of my SDR-IQ recordings, I guess time has come to put up a list. Station names in bold denote a new logging for me. The Date format is Times are UTC. Lots of NZ loggings still missing, but they are mostly on the SDR-IQs. In coming preliminaries, additions to the log will be marked as "New" in the rightmost column. Click here to read my first preliminary log. Many, if not most of the most usual stations are not included. Such as CKYL-610, CJCA-930, KOMO-1000 etc. etc. Also goes for the most common Japanese, like JOLF-1242, JOWF-1440 etc.

Monday, November 19, 2007

KNSA Unalakleet AK 930 Verification

KNSA tends to be very dominating with their KDLG programming especially from local noon and into the afternoon. A report several years ago had been left unattended, but on October 20 I recorded KNSA mixed with the other channel dominant CJCA Edmonton AB. Quick reply from KDLG GM/PD Nathan Grambau this evening confirmed my reception. Receiver: Icom IC-703.

KINY Juneau AK 800 Verification

KINY had good signals on several occasions during KONG17, and one of the full-hour IDs was sent to PD Jim Morgan today. He responded very quickly. In fact he has a map on his wall where reports are plotted! Receiver: Icom IC-746Pro.

WAUB Auburn NY 1590 Verification

This one came as a surprise since conditions were quite on the "dull" side on October 13 - again one has to expect the unexpected. Weak on top of the hour but a relatively clear ID mixed with WTVB Coldwater MI. Very quick email response from Managing Partner Alan Bishop today. A new station for me, and my second Finger Lakes Network station (WFLR-1570 heard a few years ago). WTVB is not new but I haven't heard them for at least three years. Receiver: RF Space SDR-IQ.

Friday, November 16, 2007

KUGN Eugene OR 590 Verification

KUGN was heard on at least three occasions during KONG17 - I heard them on Oct 21 when conditions weren't very good. KHAR Anchorage was unusally weak this morning though, so KUGN could dominate a few minutes. General Sales Manager Liz Halley confirmed my reception with a most friendly email this morning. KUGN is new for me, heard on an IC-746Pro.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

KELP El Paso TX 1590 Verification

Heard on Oct 17, it all started as an unidentified jingle on top of the hour way below KLFE's excellent signal. Unable to resolve the jingle I posted it on the RealDX reflector where help was imminent thanks to Torolf Johnsson's suggestion that I had heard "El Paso's Christian Station, KELP". I checked with KELP's webcast, and their full hour id was identical. Email from PD Jay Gilliland this morning confirmed my reception. Very satisfied with this one! Heard on Icom IC-746Pro

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today's Verifications

CHQB Powell River BC 1280 was heard with a nice signal on Oct 24, and confirmed my reception today. They have received the OK for going FM and leaving AM, but "we are still AM for sometime yet" according to their reply. Thanks Christer Koivuranta for the email address.

Radio Live, Tauranga NZ 1107 had a superb signal on Oct 16! Email from Richie Fullard this evening confirmed my reception of Radio Live.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recent Verifications

Veries over the last 24 hours:

Newstalk ZB, Paengaroa/Mauranga 1008 email from Bryan Barclay yesterday evening. This one is listed as located at Mauranga but the actual transmitter site is at Paengaroa according to Bryan. Around 30 km to the SE. Heard October 16.

KRLD Dallas TX 1080 email from Erik Disen, Director of Engineering this afternoon. Actually my first reception of KRLD. Mixing with KKFX Portland OR. Heard October 17.

KVOK Kodiak AK 560 another new one for me, heard October 15. Long and friendly email from Ellen Simeonoff who advised me to check out the website Interestingly enough I found that they have a King Crab Festival there, see There is King Crab Festival in this area too, see (site available in Finnish and English too).

Friday, November 09, 2007

KLIN Lincoln NE 1400 Verification

Email from Mark Halvorson at KLIN this afternoon confirmed my reception of "Lincoln's News And Talk, 1400 KLIN Lincoln" on Oct 23, 2006. It turned out that Mark had already sent a verification, however it never reached me. That's email: Fast? Yes. Cheap? Yes. Reliable? Uhm...!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

CKIM Baie Verte NL 1240 Verification

A very common station down south (of Norway that is); I believe I've heard it only twice here. And very weak too! Once again, Richard King confirmed my reception of another VOCM station. I think I have them all now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

KSRA Salmon ID 960 Verification

CFAC's 50kW makes it difficult for other stations in the same region to get their signal through, but now and then they succeed. Such as tiny KSRA which was heard for half an hour with a fair signal and C&W music on October 16 - btw a good day for NA DX in Kongsfjord. A friendly reponse by Office Manager Shirley Sullivan today confirmed my reception.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KLCK Goldendale WA 1400 Verification

I heard KLCK with Oldies format on October 24, with quite a good signal at 1200 when KART Jerome ID was starting to get weaker. A first for me, although KLCK is among the more frequently heard northwestern stations on 1400.
Long and friendly email from Kevin Malcolm yesterday rating my recording as "clearer than most". Kevin is a DX-er himself. A few hours later I also received a confirmation from his brother Cole.

Finally a touch of winter here the past couple of days. -1C this Saturday morning, expected down to -4 today and tomorrow but no percipitation or strong winds. Going to Kongsfjord for the remainder of the weekend. Icy roads... We had gale force winds from the north yesterday and the sea was exceptionally rough!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Logs From October 24

I decided to check out SDR-IQ recordings from October 24 before I started working seriously on my KONG17 logs. I had my receiver covering 580-770 and 1230-1410 kHz respectively, and they ran from before 0700 until after 1200 UTC. Conditions turned out to be more interesting than I had thought. At first very wide, later concentrating on the Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. Six new ones for me, including KVOL-1330 (QSL info posted below).

I've tried to put log tables on the blog before, with modest success as it seems that does not display tables very well whether they come from word processors or spreadsheets. So I've decided to use Google Docs, which means that when you click the link, you will be redirected to a look-only version of a spreadsheet. Initial tries indicate that this should work well.

All ID'ed stations are listed (so the list is quite long, with many stations of little interest). Some frequencies were not checked out much, like 670, 680, 770 and others.

It is interesting to note however, that at a different location in Northern Norway (Andøya), the AND1 crew were having great signals from the New England states while westerly located stations dominated here.

Click here to go to the October 24 logs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

KVOL Lafayette LA 1330 Verification

Coolest catch from North America on my part so far this season is KVOL, a 1000-watt station with a very modest lobe to the north. It just suddenly popped up at 0731 on October 24 with "We are the voice of Lafayette, 1330 AM KVOL"; faded down and was never heard again. Operations Manager Charles Sagona emailed me a verie this evening, informing me that mine was the second of two reports this year; the other came from Finland.

I'd never have caught it without the SDR-IQ.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

WFNN Erie PA 1330 Verification

Heard a few times during KONG17, though this reception in particular was just after the expedition ended on October 24. A superb signal at the time. Charles G. Lelievre emailed a confirmation to me this afternoon; also attached several pictures from the station, one of which is a studio picture you see above. Thanks JA for the email address.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

KFXX Portland OR 1080 Verification

"Sportsradio 1080 The Fan" was a rather regular guest in Kongsfjord during KONG17 even though it is a station I haven't heard before. Very good signal levels. Friendly email last evening confirmed my reception.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Radio Rhema, Auckland 1251 Verification

During a couple of hectic hours on October 17, New Zealand stations were literally occupying most of the upper part of the MW band. Radio Rhema in Auckland put up a nice signal on 1251 and I got an ID at 0946.

Dudley Scantlebury from Technical Administration confirmed my reception with an email this morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Strange Conditions Pt. II

Again a lousy night and morning, but as noon approached we had excellent signal levels from Oregon and Washington, well into the afternoon. Good signals as late as 3 pm local (1300 UTC). We're not quite sure yet what we heard, except I've noted in passing IDs from KQMS and KNND 1400. The SDR-IQs were running hot in RF Recording mode, so we'll learn later which secrets have been unveiled.

4QD 1548 had a super signal later on and we thought we might have another good Aussie opening, but only found traces of audio on 630 and 1512. The most common Pacific stations like Tonga 1017 and Marshall Islands 1098 were also present but not with impressive strengths.

On Monday evening I was called up by Chris Walker at CBC British Columbia, and we had a five-minute chat which was aired on CBC Daybreak North which originates from Prince Rupert (860) and Prince George (FM). The interview ended with Chris giving me an official verification of my reception of CFPR Prince Rupert BC 860, on the air! My first!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Te Reo Irirangi Maori o Te Upoko o Te Ika, Wellington 1161 Verification

Te Reo Irirangi Maori o Te Upoko o Te Ika, or 2XM as is their official call letters, was heard on 1161 kHz on the first of the two Fab NZ days (October 16).  2XM is a Maori station.  Wena Tait, Station Manager, emailed me a confirmation this evening.  Thanks Terry Nielsen in NZ for contact info!

Strange Conditions

Early night: Nada
Night: Nada
Late night: Nada
Morning: Getting better
Late morning: Better!! Stations like KRTA-610 and KPDQ-800 visited us along with many WA and OR stations. Kinda saved the day. Nothing exciting from Asia or the Pacific, and excessive noise on the easterly directed beverages.

It was sort of depressing to sit here during the night and have SMS after SMS from the Andøya gang reporting excellent DX. While there are always local differences that can vary over hours and days, I think it is quite obvious that the western, coastal locations of the Vesterålen (in the case of Andøya) and Lofoten islands are superb locations for trans-atlantic DX. About time they are tested.

I had a bit of time to do other things than DX as well. Olav Skår from Stavanger, who visited us a few days ago, left an Icom IC-R1500 receiver for me to test. I did some measurement tests, and tried to find out how it could work as a MW DX receiver. A quick conclusion on the latter issue is that it won't. The user interface may be good for scanning, but not for MW DX. It is simply too cumbersome to operate, whether you use the software interface or the remote control. I thought that it was very unsensitive on MW - well it is but not as bad as I had thought with sensitivity figures in the -96dBm range or around 4 uV. On shortwave sensitivity is around 1 uV. I assume that it has a 10 dB attenuation pad built in, which probably can be removed, if the receiver could work well otherwise. I'll spend more time with it though and make a write-up.

Weather: Still mild with 5C, and still windy, SW winds at around 40 km/h.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Things To Do When Conditions Should Be Improving

1. Twist the dials
2. Check antenna connections
3. Re-check antenna connections
4. Shake heads
5. Twist the dials

Seriously though: According to SWPC, conditions should be good now. But as is often the case in northern locations, the signals take time to recover. Not that it seemed to play much difference at Andøya, where our friends Jan, Ole, Geir and Tore had superb conditions towards Latin America last night. Only few, and mostly weak, signals here. Maybe someone fired off a rocket from the Andøya Rocket Range and put a hole in the ionosphere so that the signals leaked down through that hole?

Nothing much from North America either, very quiet on the band. But then the ionosphere again acts in mysterious ways as KSMA Santa Maria CA suddenly appeared on 1240 with a good signal! Just about alone! But followed by the more common KTIX Pendleton OR seconds later. Again and again we see that even when conditions appear totally useless, excellent DX can be heard.

Here is the latest weather update: Very mild and calm during the night, increased wind and a little rain at the time of writing, but still very mild with around 5C.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Things To Do When Conditions Are Poor

1. Listen to recordings from previous days. It's amazing how many hundred IDs of WOOD you can get from that.
2. Jog. With 60 km/h winds only OJ is brave enough to try, and he will surely break the Veines Lighthouse world record - on the way out. He will surely crawl the way in.
3. Write reception logs and reports. We will try to use Google Docs as a mean to coordinate our efforts.
4. Listen to KBRW. Now and then they put a volunteer behind the mic who is more interested in playing a heavy-metal/death-metal mix than put his voice on the air for any talent hunters to hear. Maybe just as well. But we do like the music!
5. Make up for lost sleep. Arnstein slept 12 hours during the last 15 hours, roughly the same as during the first week.
6. Wait for Kongsfjord Gjestehus to open their doors for us.

Friday, October 19, 2007

KONG17 Update; CFPR Prince Rupert BC 860 Verification

A most welcome reception on October 16, followed by a most welcome verification today from CBC Prince Rupert 860! A very difficult station to hear, since during the night easterly located stations dominate, and later on CHAK Inuvik tends to put out a very strong signal towards us. Luckily though, after the CBC News at 1300 UTC I did hear both stations, and heard a clear Prince Rupert announcement when CHAK kept quiet for a while.

Friendly email from Chris Walker today confirmed my reception, making it my first KONG17 verification.

Otherwise, conditions have been very much on-off today, though mostly off due to the coronal hole. See the update for details.

Very strong winds today didn't prevent me and OJ from making a 7 km jog out to the Veines lighthouse. During the evening and the king crab meal it calmed to around 37 km/h and weather will improve further during the night although the temperature is around 0C.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Expect The Unexpected

Far too often, when solar disturbances occur, one tends to believe that nothing's going to be heard. Some of the time it may be true. But Kongsfjord is an extraordinary location. Even if NA conditions in general were poor, we did hear a few nice ones. And the unexpected New Zealand opening later on was record-breaking, in that we heard 3YW from Westport on the South Island, 1458, transmitting with a mere 400 watts. Now, with a distance of 16,000 km it is a logging that is hard to beat.

A few nice Australians also showed up later on. Right now we're preparing dinner, a reindeer steak with slow-gratinated potatoes. The highlights are flashing by like telephone posts from a train window...

Weather has taken a definitive turn for the worse though, with 55 km/h NW winds and rainshowers, expected to get worse overnight. +4C right now, will drop to +1C by tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

KONG17 Update, Wednesday

Phew! Sleep deprivation already, and we're not even half-way! DX-ing with this intensity is tough work.

The updates should speak for themselves so I need not make the same listing here. Yesterday was the best New Zealand day that far. Today topped that with a good margin. With 900 watt stations and both islands being heard, we now know that even for such an elusive target there really is no limit.

Conditions towards Asia are still quite good but after such an ordeal it is difficult to find motivation for DX-ing more common countries and stations. Preparing tonight's dinner: Reindeer cirloins with cloudberries and cream for dessert. We're hoping for at least another night and another morning with good NZ conditions before the effects of the Coronal Hole hit us.

Weather update: Dead calm today after a windy evening and night; very light drizzle and still around 6C.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We Wait No More, And KUAM Noted On New Frequency

With the effects of the Coronal Hole waning, conditions improved quite a bit overnight, with results you can read about here. I was particularly satisfied with CISL Richmond BC 650, KVOK Kodiak AK 560, KMVI Wailuku HI 550 all alone from the pest KZTN for a few moments, enough for a good ID, and that KUAM Agana Guam was heard with a very good signal on their new frequency 630 (ex-612).

As I write this around 1230 UTC, signals from North America, Pacific and Asia are very much present, and we are looking forward to an interesting afternoon!

Weather still very nice, 6C and light SW winds.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Still Waiting

Jan says the coronal hole is still influencing reception, and it appears to be so. Lots of stations in the band, but nothing spectacular. Last night gave no daytimers; the Maine stations dominated the early hours (1470, 1160, 1390, 1370 etc) and when they were gone we went to sleep.

From around 0500 mostly prairie-type conditions with strong Canadians from Manitoba and westwards, some Mexico and signals on every channel but mostly heard before. So: Still waiting. But as I write this, CJRJ Victoria BC 1200 is entertaining us with Indian music at excellent strength. Hopefully we will enjoy better conditions towards the Pacific today.

IBOC noise: As reported from the Lemmenjoki expeditions, the IBOC noise is very much noticeable, and obscures reception on several frequencies.

Weather: Cloudy but dry, 35 km/h wind from the south and the temperature is at the freezing point.

Will upload some pictures later today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clear Skies, No Aurora!

A brief post before we take a few hours rest. Semi-good conditions today, Australia heard well until a solar disturbance hit just before TOH 1400. Conditions improving later in the afternoon. Nothing much from the Pacific, only the common Hawaii stations and Marshall Islands 1098 and hints of a few others. See for details.

The King Crab and Carbonara was delicious. Weather has improved a lot; tonight -1C with clear skies, calm and not a trace of Aurora! Things could be a lot worse than this.

KONG17 Update, Saturday Morning what did we hear this night? The Coronal Hole did have its impact yesterday but conditions improved during the night. We did hear Maldives 1449 around Midnight UTC with fair levels competing with Italy - although there were NA signals during the night nothing exciting was logged. During the morning conditions were spread, like KGO and WGY noted on 810 almost at the same time. Some other stations noted were KBUL-970 and KHNC-1360, and possibly Colorado on 1060.

Soon it is time to check out the Pacific stations.

Weather: A little better; wind is now 41 km/h from WNW and the rain is a bit lighter. Temperature: +4C.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Safe Arrival; Wine List

All three arrived on schedule! Widerøe does a good job even in the roughest of weather. Not too spectacular conditions at this time of the day, but we've tasted some of the beer and schnapps. Tarmo asked for the wine list, well here it is:

Torre del Falasco, Valpolicella, Ripasso 2005 (Valpantena)
Allesverloren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Landgoedwyn)
Quinta des Saes Reserva 2005 (CVR Dão)
Moulin de Laussac, Bordeaux 2006 (Moulin de Laussac)
Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2005 (Gerard Tremblay, Domaine des Iles)
Rheingau, Estate Rauenthal 2006 (Georg Brauer)
Natural XO, Calvados du Pays d'Auge (Domaine Dupont)
Gilde Non Plus Ultra Aquavit (Arcus)
Brøndums Snaps (Aalborg Akvavit)
Brøndum Kummenakvavit (De Danske Spritfabrikker)
Specially imported Sapporo Premium Beer
Significant amounts of not specially imported beer

Weather: NW winds 60 km/h, rainshowers, +3C. Supposed to calm a bit overnight.

Michael asked who is the chef or are we taking turns. We don't really know.

KONG17 Menue Translated

OK, so Sami wasn't your first choice of languages. Here is the English version then:

12.10 Bjarne's Fish au Gratin
13.10 King Crab with Carbonara
14.10 Baked Wild Salmon fillets
15.10 Sirloin from Reindeer, Cloudberries with Cream for Dessert
16.10 Wok'ed King Crab
17.10 Baked Cod fillets with wok'ed vegetables
18.10 Slow-Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
19.10 King Crab with Carbonara (Take 2)
20.10 The Cook's Day Off: Dinner at Kongsfjord Gjestehus
21.10 Grilled Wild Salmon with Potatoes and Sour Cream
22.10 Meat Soup with Lamb and Vegetables
23.10 Leftovers

These are only the main courses. The hors d'Oeuvres and desserts are very exciting stuff too.

Weather is an important factor at the Arctic Coast so I'll bring updates every time I post. This morning: Gale 63 km/h from NW, rain, +4 Celsius.

Expect 2-3 posts per day from now on!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

KONG17 Preps, Menue

After a mild and calm September, this autumn has suddenly smacked us in our faces with fierce winds, snow and hail! The rest of the KONG crew is supposed to land at 1.07 pm local tomorrow; whether they do or not is an open question. Let's hope Widerøe fights off the wind gusts!

Some have expressed interest in what we eat during the KONG expeditions. We all appreciate good food and good drinks, and here is what we plan to eat:

12.10. Bjarnes guollegratiidna

13.10. Gonagasreabbá carbonarain

14.10. Oapmanis basson luossa ja ruotnasat

15.10. Bohccobiergu, luomelákca bajáluššan

16.10. Gonagasreabbá wok-bánnos

17.10. Oapmanis basson dorski, wok-ruotnasat ja sovssa

18.10. Obban bassojuvvon lábbáčoarbbealli

19.10. Gonagasreabbá carbonarain

20.10. Gaskabeaivvit guosseviesus

21.10. Basson luossačaskkástagat ja buđehat ja loahppelákca

22.10. Lábbábiergomálli

23.10. Seaguhus bázahus borramušaidguin

Sounds good, eh?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Cross, Pohnpei Micronesia 4755 Verification

Friendly email from Roland at PMA this morning confirmed my reception of The Cross. Indeed my first Micronesia verie. Since the 1kW signal seems to travel well across the world, many DX-ers will be able to add another country to their count.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Some SDR-IQ Logs

I have recorded rather much from September and so far in October - and had little time to check them. Trying to be at least a bit methodically, I will present small logs now & then here while the complete logs will be available on and continously updated.

So then, here's from the first part of the night of September 15 (Rarely heard or new stations in Bold):









XEB La B Grande, Cd. Mexico





WHKW Cleveland OH





CFFB Iqaluit NU





UNID US, When Radio Was





CJYE Oakville ON





WSSP Milwaukee WI





WXYT Detroit MI





CFMB Montreal QU





CJBK London ON





WHIO Dayton OH





WOOD Grand Rapids MI





CIWW Ottawa ON





CJMR Mississauga ON





CKEC New Glasgow NS





WKAT North Miami FL





WDEA Ellsworth ME





WXXI Rochester NY





WTJK Beloit IL





CKLC Kingston ON





CKPC Brantford ON





WEGP Presque Isle ME





CBG Gander NL





WHK Cleveland OH





KXNO Des Moines IA





CJOY Guelph ON





WMBD Peoria IL





WBKV West Bend WI





WLMV Madison WI





WHBC Canton OH





WGVU Kentwood MI





WLQV Detroit MI





WAUK Waukesha WI





WWKB Buffalo NY





KXEL Waterloo IA





CHIN Toronto ON





CBE Windsor ON





WQEW New York NY





CKDO Oshawa ON





WAAM Ann Arbor MI





5AN ABC Naracoorte SA





2NC ABC Newcastle NSW





2BS Gold Bathurst NSW





2RN ABC Newcastle NSW





4QD ABC Emerald QLD


Saturday, October 06, 2007

PMA Micronesia 4755 Heard

No sensation; it's already been heard in Finland and other places, but I did pick up a fairly good signal from PMA on 4755.25 this evening; signal improving as they were getting closer to dawn. I got a nice prerecorded ID at 1832 and also at 1900. Otherwise they were obviously on nighttime programming with uninterrupted inspirational music.

On MW very boring and auroral conditions today.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WAUK Waukesha WI 1510 Verification

Quite unexpectedly, WAUK was heard on Sept 15 with local announcements from ESPN Milwaukee, including a WMCS (Greenfield, WI 1290) legal ID. ESPN Milwaukee is split between WMCS and WAUK as the homepage logo implies but WAUK stayed on for a while after WMCS took over the program.

Email from Eric Anderson at ESPN Milwaukee Sales confirmed my reception tonight. First premium verification of the season!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

National Education Radio, Taipei 1494 Verification

NER is heard quite frequently here, at least until St. Petersburg starts to dominate 1494. The use to run BBC World Service earlier on the day. I heard NER with French programming (which turned out to be Radio France International) up until 1700 on Sept 5. An email from their engineering department today confirmed my reception.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Kongsfjord Spider Web

Here are my beverage antennas:
1: 30 degrees, 610 meters. Aimed mainly at eastern Pacific (from NZ eastwards), very good for Hawaii, Alaska too.
2: 58 degrees, 550 meters. Aimed mainly at Japan, eastern Australia, Guam
3: 85 degrees, 600 meters. Aimed mainly at SE Asia; Australia. The back lobe hears Brazil and Argentina well.
4: 315 degrees, 220 meters (old). Aimed mainly at eastern North America, also good towards Mexico and northern South America.
5: 315 degrees, 470 meters (new). This is a back lobe beverage. Otherwise same as 4 but more gain. Also more EU interference so sometimes the old 315 provides better SNR.
6: 340 degrees, 350 meters. New; replaces the old 333 degrees, 290 meters beverage. Aimed mainly at western North America.

Average height above ground is 2.5 meters.

Beverages 4 and 6 start roughly at the same spot. You will note from the map that beverages 2 and 3 go quite high in elevation and have some steep climbs. Apparently without compromising directivity too much (or at all). Altitude displayed in meters.

Luckily my neighbours have a very laid back attitude towards my antenna farm...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Afternoon For Australia

What was supposed to be a brief visit to Kongsfjord evolved into an interesting hunt for Australia. Between 16 and 17 UTC I had signals from the following Aussies:

1161 5AN ABC Naracoorte, SA
1233 2NC ABC Newcastle, NSW
1503 2BS Bathurst, NSW
1512 2RN ABC Newcastle, NSW
1548 4QD ABC Emerald, QLD

Some hefty signals later on x-band too, especially 1638. I also heard Japanese on 1650 which puzzled me a bit since all the Japanese low-power coastal stations are listed on 1670.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Recent Developments (And The 475-meter Was Not A Dud)

Fair conditions towards North America although I haven't had too much time to listen, and the IQ-recorded material hasn't been checked yet. Interesting though that the 475-metre beverage antenna which was said to be a dud in a previous post, certainly isn't! Yes, interference levels from Europe and the Middle East was hard to beat, but after dawn when the signal levels dropped the antenna proved to be an excellent performer. North America signal levels at least 10dB better than the old beverage. The picture shows the first 150 meter run; you can see where it climbs up on the cliff and continues at a higher altitude.

I will keep the old, short one though since it enables DX at nighttime with its excellent rejection of EU/ME signals.

The 5th beverage is now up, a 330-meter directed at 333 degrees or western North America. Only one waiting, the 600-meter directed at 30 degrees (Pacific).

Finally, I finished an AELPAF (see description), and connected it to my audio distribution and a large Tandberg vintage speaker. Excellent audio and rejection of selective fading distortion!

Friday, September 14, 2007

WOAM Peoria IL 1350 Verification

WOAM is heard now and then with their Nostalgia-type music format. A nice reception from October last year resulted in a report to owner Bob Kelly, who emailed a confirmation in time to spice up my breakfast. And finally I have a 100% reply rate from Illinois with 17 QSL'ed of 17 reported.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Few Early September Logs








4QN Townsville QLD




2KP Kempsey NSW




DWIZ Metro Manila




Yuye Guangpo Diantai, Penghu




JOSF Tokai Hoso, Nagoya




JOER RCC Hiroshima








JOVR SBS Shizouka




Hubei RGD




JORF RF Radio Nippon, Yokohama




JOWF STV Sapporo








JOYR RSK Okayama




National Education Radio, Taipei




WYFR Pinglui




4QD ABC Emerald QLD

Monday, September 10, 2007

A 475-metre Dud

I wanted to replace the current 175-metre "Eastern North America" beverage with a longer one with the same bearing. I needed to make it a backlobe beverage because of a nearby seafront but since these antennas are bi-directional I thought that wouldn't matter.

Erecting it was an ordeal... through difficult terrain. But after many hours outdoor I had managed to get a very straight, no-sagging beverage. Time for testing. The "old" beverage was up so with the help of my two SDR-IQs I could make direct comparisons.

Well, the new one did bring increased signal levels on North American carriers. 4-6dB, which is not bad, but I had hoped for more. However, signals from the other end just about exploded with 15 to 25dB higher levels! So, instead of an improvement I got a 10 to 20dB worse SNR!! One notable example is my North America indicator station NRK Longyearbyen, Svalbard 1485. On the old antenna I had a strong, clean signal. On the new one the signal was stronger, but audio was distorted from several interfering stations.

Sooo.... longer is not always better.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

KDAL Duluth MN 610 Verification

Email from Brad Bennett, host of a 10-12 pm talk show at KDAL, confirmed my reception of the station this evening. I heard KDAL about a year ago; not very strong but a first time for me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

WDMN Toledo OH 1520 Verification

The low-powered "Dominion 1520" was sort of a dominant on 1520 for an hour or so on October 26, 2006, despite the massive signal from WWKB Buffalo. A most welcome catch and a most friendly letter from PD Sabrina Williams today confirmed my reception. Dominion 1520 has a gospel-oriented music format and so is easy to separate from the usual channel dominants.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Aussie Season Begins!

Despite rather high solar activity I had some nice signals from Japan and Australia this evening. 4QD Emerald QLD very good at 1905 UTC on 1548, and as I tuned down the band I heard old acquaintances from last October's KONG dxpeditions such as 4QN Townsville QLD 630 and 2KP Kempsey NSW 684! Also strong signals from low-band Japanese stations, like the NHK stations on 594 and 729.

Nothing noteworthy on Australia x-band.

I have set the two SDR-IQs to record an hour each tomorrow from 1830 UTC onwards, covering 531 to 918 kHz.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Season Underway!

Got the first beverage up and going this afternoon, 450 meters at 58 degrees. Very auroral conditions so nothing exciting to hear although I had hoped to hear the first Aussie of the season. I am glad to see that the SDR-IQs live well with the long beverage, and the Loran C notch filter works fine. Still too light at night for any serious DX towards the Americas.

Hoping to have one or two more beverages up during the coming week. Yesterday saw a verification from WIND Chicago IL 560, truly a rare catch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Anyone Looking For An Icom IC-7000?

With the two RF Space SDR-IQs up and running, I've decided to downscale my "ordinary" receiver shack. So if anyone's interested... This is the European version, with the 8 kHz tone removed and TV enabled by Swedish Radio Supply. Looks as new, transmitter never been used. Presently for auction on Unfortunately, due to the unfavourable exchange rate, North Americans may not find my price very attractive.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Radio Eldorado Reception On CVC Sua Voz

As per email from Brazilian DX-er Ulysses Galetti, CVC Sua Voz will air a feature on my reception of Radio Eldorado, Sao Paulo, 700 kHz, on the following dates:
Aug 3 at 1530 UTC on 15410 kHz
Aug 4 at 1100 UTC on 15410 kHz
Aug 5 at 0200 UTC on 11745 kHz
Aug 6 at 0000 UTC on 11745 kHz
Or, if you are unable to hear these frequencies, you can download a four-minute MP3 here.

The presentation is in Portuguese.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Radio Eldorado, Sao Paulo SP 700 Verification

One night in October 2006 brought many excellent signals from Brazil, and Radio Eldorado was one of them. Received a full-data QSL-letter as a PDF attachement to an email this evening, signed Geraldo Nunes. Seems to cooperate with DX Clube do Brasil so Eldorado should be a good verifier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

KLYC McMinnville OR 1260 Verification

KLYC surfaced briefly on the excellent DX morning October 10, 2006, amidst signals from Wyoming, Idaho and not least the dominant CFRN Edmonton AB. Amazing that 800 watts can penetrate a north-directional 50,000 watt signal like that of CFRN... A very friendly email from Stella Bonsack this evening confirmed my reception. Stella and her husband Larry have owned the station since 1990. McMinnville, to quote Stella, "is located about halfway between Portland and the Oregon Coast. To many of us there's no better place on earth to live. This is beautiful country with rolling hills of vineyards, filbert orchards and landscape nurseries. Tourists enjoy visiting the wineries and the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville featuring Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose."

KLYC is definately one of my best North America catches ever, and it was most rewarding to receive their verification.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer At The KONG DX Site

Not much to report these days, except I still test out the SDR-IQs with my ALA-100 large circumference loop. Above a picture of my DX location taken on July 1 at 2100 local; the view is due East. Lots of meadow buttercups and green grass form a nice colour balance with the blue house. Still snow on the distant plains, altitude 300-400 meters. To the right you see part of the house of the nearest neighbour. Not much RF noise to worry about from that end...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Recording Your DX Effectively

Further to the iriver DAP post some days ago, I have written a more comprehensive article about the iriver H100 and H300 series, and how to modify them to be excellent audio recorders for the DX-er. A small-sized pdf file is found here. Also, there is a more general (but older) article about MP3 players/recorders here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Setting Up A Dual SDR-IQ Monitoring Station - Final Thoughts

The system has been up and running for many hours during this weekend; one session lasted more than 12 hours with many adjustments to setups and other parameters. Spectravue has not crashed once, and the two SDR-IQs haven't failed once. And the PC system with Vista Home Basic has been totally stable.

Total cost for this 380 kHz monitoring system, including a brand new PC, was around USD 1500, or approximately the same as a new Icom IC-746Pro or an IC-7000 costs. Much less than a new JRC NRD-545, and much less than a Flex-Radio SDR-1000 system. Good value for money. I am looking forward to the start of the coming season in September.