A site about the radio listening hobby and my activities therein - longwave, mediumwave, shortwave, FM, and television DXing. A site about the radio listening hobby in all its forms, or at least the forms that interest me.

I am also a licenced amateur radio operator, callsign VE3LXL. Information about my amateur radio station is found on my station website.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Two More Repeater Loggings

The only recent loggings to report are two new amateur repeaters heard. These are just local stations, but logging these things is still a new activity for me, since I've spent so little time exploring the VHF amateur bands.
  • Mon. January 24, 2011 at 0015 UTC: VA3GTU, Toronto, ON, on 145.13 MHz with Morse code ID.
  • Sat. January 29, 2011 at 1345 to 1445 UTC: VE3RTC, Scarborough, ON, on 146.745 MHz with Morse code ID. There were two amateurs having a chat here but it was in Chinese and I didn't catch their callsigns.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Amateurs on 2 Metres

Today's loggings come courtesy of the 2 metre amateur radio band:
  • 1615-1630 UTC, 145.13 MHz. Heard several stations checking into the morning ARES net. ARES is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. This net is run by the Toronto ARES Group. I think they meet here every morning at this time. First time I've heard them, mostly because I seldom visit the VHF amateur bands.
  • 1645 UTC. Heard the Morse code ID (in FM mode) of VE3RTR on 145.15 MHz. This is a repeater that covers a large swath of the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is located near Baltimore, Ontario. It is operated by the Heritage Amateur Radio Club.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Today's radio activity: I was on the air making a few contacts in the BARTG RTTY contest and I kept a log of the stations I heard. Nothing special. Despite this being a British contest, the only stations I heard were in the U.S. and Canada, only 14 stations. Conditions didn't seem very good today. Listened between 1832 and 1923 UTC, and again from 2146 to 2219 UTC. 20 metre band, around 14.1 MHz.

Friday, 21 January 2011

CJY241 - 152.87 MHz

Continuing with the casual exploration of what can be heard on VHF, I caught an interesting one today. This morning, Fri. Jan 21, 2011 at 1320 to 1335 UTC (8:20-8:35 local time), I found a frequency that CBC Radio reporters use to talk to the studio. At least that's what I heard. Specifically, I heard a silent carrier on the frequency from 1320 to around 1330. Then one half of a conversation was heard. I already thought this was a CBC feed so I turned on an FM radio to CBC Radio One at 99.1, and heard the same conversation there. The CBC was broadcasting the news and the anchorman was talking to a CBC reporter at some location. What I heard on 152.87 was that reporter's half of the conversation. According to RadioReference.com the callsign of this CBC media feed station is CJY241.

I actually first heard this station on Jan 14 (that's why I was sitting on the frequency today) but on the 14th I didn't hear enough material to ID it.

There's such an incredible variety of signals on the radio bands and I'm always surprised when I discover yet another way in which radio is used.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Miscellaneous Loggings

Heard / seen on the radio today:
  • At 1544 UTC I heard VE3NUS on 224.3 MHz with a strong signal. VE3NUS is an amateur radio repeater in Unionville, Ontario (just north of Toronto). No traffic heard; just the repeater's automatic Morse code ID. This is the first amateur station I've ever heard on the 222 MHZ (1.25 cm) band. (I don't spend much time on the VHF and UHF amateur bands).
  • Saw two amateur stations operating in SSTV on 14230 kHz. At 1941 UTC caught K05Z from Krugerville, TX calling CQ SSTV with a weak signal. A few minutes later I caught another image from him, now working AB0HB. Then at 2040 UTC I got WA4PEQ working some stations, including VE3IYA. Decoded using MMSSTV.
  • Back on VHF, tuning around and caught one of the dispatch frequencies of one of Toronto's big taxi companies, Beck Taxi, on 150.28 MHz. Excellent signal. Issuing instructions to cars. This was at 2240 UTC. (I stumbled across this one while setting up computer control of one of my radios).
  • At 2246 heard an unidentified amateur radio net in progress on 146.810 MHz in the 2 metre band.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Amateur Loggings

DXing the amateur bands today. What I logged:
  • SSTV: Received KC4RP, McDonough GA, on 14230 kHz at 1538 UTC calling CQ. Only received a single image and no sign of an answer.
  • PSK31: Logged KT4WI in Ormond Beach FL, on 21072 kHz at 1653 UTC. In contact with F6EQZ, who was not audible here.
  • ARRL RTTY Roundup contest: Logged a lot of RTTY stations between 1700 and 2215 UTC on the 15 and 20 metre bands. Most were in the U.S. and Canada, but I did log a few from elsewhere: PZ5RA in Paramaribo, Suriname (15 metres); P49X in Aruba (15 and 20 metres), HI3TEJ in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (15 metres), and XE2K in Mexicali, Mexico (15 metres).

Monday, 3 January 2011

SSTV on 20 Metres

One of the many transmission modes that radio amateurs can use on the HF bands is slow-scan television (SSTV). SSTV lets one transmit pictures using a narrow bandwidth signal, one narrow enough to fit in the 3 kHz legal bandwidth limits on the HF bands. The tradeoff is that low bandwidth means slow transmission and low resolution. In fact, it can typically take between 30 and 120 seconds to send a single frame. There is also no audio. So SSTV doesn't allow for the transmission of video. Instead, it is more like a slow slideshow, with pictures in SSTV mixed with talk between them in standard SSB.

Anyone with a shortwave receiver that supports SSB and a computer with a soundcard can decode SSTV signals. I use free software called MMSSTV for this. MMSSTV also generates SSTV signals that can be sent to a radio transmitter, of interest if you're a radio amateur that wants to try out this mode.

Radio amateurs using SSTV tend to stick close to a small range of frequencies so they can find each other. On the 20 metre band they're usually found around 14230-14240 kHz.

Today I had MMSSTV running, monitoring 14230 kHz to see what would pop up. I caught two stations operating in SSTV:
  • WB5UXC, Pearlington MS at 2200-2220 UTC with a fair signal. He was in contact with KA0UNB (who wasn't visible to me) and with an N9 station. At 2219 he was calling CQ using a special CQ image.
  • XE1RK, Mexico City (D.F.), Mexico at 2221-2230 with a good signal. This station answered WB5UXC's CQ call and they swapped pictures and talked in SSB. Fairly clear picture.
It may just be a slow slideshow but I think it's great that amateurs can transmit a type of television signal on shortwave.

Note that SSTV is different from ATV (Amateur television), where amateurs transmit standard broadcast quality television signals. ATV allows for full video with audio, but is restricted to the UHF bands because of the wide bandwidth needed.