Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mid Winter Greetings

With Winter Solstice passed, days in the Arctic will gradually get lighter, in more than one way for many, until we see the sun again early February. Our noon right now is in fact darker than the photo suggests.

It's been another good year for the MW enthusiasts, and another lousy year for the HF amateurs. While I wish nothing bad for the HF amateurs, I'd still prefer to have another year with extremely low solar activity.

And who knows what 2010 will bring? New receivers? New antenna designs? New DRM and Iboc noise towers on MW...?

A happy midwinter celebration to all my readers and everyone else around, and happy new year as well!

Monday, December 21, 2009

More On The Winradio Excalibur

As per info received today from Winradio, the Excalibur will be available in March 2010. The "MW Filter" I was concerned about in my previous post is user selectable.

And the really, really good news: As I hoped, RF recording (or IF recording as Winradio puts it) can be chosen from any of the 21 bandwidths within the DDC spectrum (20 kHz to 2 MHz). I didn't ask specifically which bandwidths are selected, but I'm confident that there will be one which matches the MW spectrum nicely. The output files are WAV files.

The Excalibur will be cheaper than the USD 1,200 WR-G313e. So perhaps in the USD 1,000 - 1,100 range. Winradio expects the Excalibur to be at least as sensitive as the Perseus.

(Picture from Winradio)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recent Verifications

1090 KXMA Aurora CO was heard rather frequently this autumn and probably received a flood of reports. Eventually I received a brief email .

1270 WWWI Baxter MN sneaked around the dominant WXYT one full hour on Oct 10. Friendly response today. Minnesota no 35.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just When You Thought You Had Enough SDRs

You suddenly discover that you don't. I was prompted by Alf Årdal to check out the new Winradio SDR - actually I had heard people talk about an ad in the upcoming WRTH but a few days ago there was no info on their website of any new product.

When I checked yesterday, that had changed. The Winradio WR-GR31DDC Advance Information page shows a very interesting product, with the magic words: "Audio and IF recording and playback".

At last! In fact, the "Excalibur", which is a lot easier name to remember than WR-GR31DDC, promises to record a 2 MHz DDC spectrum to hard drive. If I understand the preliminary info correctly one will have 21 different bandwidths to choose from when making an RF recording, making it the most versatile RF-recording SDR so far.

And if that didn't make you drool, three different "radios" can run simultaneously within the DDC passband, with audio recording.

The program window looks a little cramped with three displays; a 30/50 MHz wide general coverage spectrum at the bottom, the DDC spectrum above left, and the current "radio" above right. I assume the spectrums are resizeable.

With a stated 500 Hz MDS at -130dBm, I expected the AM sensitivity to be higher than the stated -98 dBm. This is a disappointing figure. About on par with the QS1R SDR, and 5-7 dB worse than the Perseus. It will need an external preamp.

According to the Excalibur specifications, it has a"MW Filter" which appears to be highpass filter with a cut-off frequency of 1.8 MHz, attenuating 60 dB on 500 kHz. I assume that it is switchable... if it isn't the radio will be useless for MW DX.

Stated IP3 is +31 dBm, but no info on IP2. Frequency range is 9 kHz to 50 MHz and it uses 12VDC, 500 mA power.

No info yet on availability or price. Could we hope for 1st quarter of 2010? Their HF receivers are priced from 500 to 1200 USD, and I'll be surprised if the Excalibur is more expensive than their current top of the line WR-G313e.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Recent Veries

Well only one actually, 1290 KOUU Pocatello ID after a few tries. KOUU was heard with their day time power 30 kW prior to local sunset on October 24/25. Their night time power is only 24 watts. Wanted for many years.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Recent Verifications

Nothing much to report, conditions aren't out of this world. That said, I did hear 1450 KVCK Wolf Point MT with a good signal on Nov 27. Friendly response tonight stating mine was the best recording they've had.

1350 WARF Akron OH has received a number of requests from me the past few years. A nice October recording prompted a friendly response even from WARF.