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.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Final Log Entry for 2011

The last loggings of the year - three stations on shortwave:
  • WWCR, Nashville, TN, USA, heard on 13845 kHz at 1420-1436 UTC. Excellent signal. English. Christian and political themed talk show called Liberty Radio. WWCR is not new but frequency is.
  • China Radio International, 13675 kHz, at 1437-1455 UTC in English with excellent signal. Transmitted via Sackville, NB relay. Chinese language lessons and feature on some rock band from the '90s. Relog.
  • Gander Radio, 13270 kHz, Gander, NL, Canada, at 1456-1458 UTC. In English with fair signal. Aviation weather conditions. Off air at 1458. Relog.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Standard Time and Frequency Station BPM

Heard today on the Sony CDX-GT180 car radio in Leaside in Toronto, near where I live: standard time and frequency station BPM from Kinshan, China, on 10000 kHz at 2230 UTC. Signal was fair to poor (RST 339). Morse code ID heard under WWV a couple of times. Very clear -  would have been quite good without WWV being there. 20 kW.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

ZIZ 555 kHz and WRKO 680 kHz

Some mediumwave loggings to finish up the day's reports. All logged in Harrowsmith, Ontario on the Kaito KA-1103 with its built-in ferrite bar antenna:
  • ZIZ (tentative), 555 kHz, St. Kitts and Nevis, at 0441-0508 UTC in English with poor signal. BBC programming. No ID heard, so identification is tentative, but there's not much doubt about it. ZIZ is the only station in the Americas that operates on 555 kHz, and it does carry BBC programming overnight. This is a relog but it has been many years since I last heard ZIZ. It's impossible to hear at my location in Toronto because of the noise level, and because of semi-local WGR on 550.
  • WNNZ, 640 kHz, Westfield, MA, USA, at 1325-1333 UTC with fair signal. New England Public Radio. Relog.
  • WRKO, 680 kHz, Boston, MA, USA at 1335-1337 UTC with fair to poor signal. Talk about U.S. presidential race. New to overall log. 680 is blocked in Toronto because of local CFTR, and even in Kingston CFTR is normally dominant. But this morning WRKO was beating it down..

WE2XGR/1 on 501 kHz

There is a campaign underway to get a new band allocated for amateur radio at the 600 metre wavelength (500 kHz). You can read about it at the website of the ARRL 600 Meter Experimental Group. There are some amateur experimental stations authorized to operate on these frequencies for purposes of evaluating its prospects for amateur radio. Early this morning I caught one of these stations:
  • WE2XGR/1 in Wayland, MA, USA on 501 kHz at 0436 UTC with a good signal (RST 569). The station was operating in beacon mode, repeating its ID. The operator is K2ORS.
Logged on the Kaito KA-1103 with its internal antenna, in Harrowsmith, Ontario.

Navtex on 490 kHz

In addition to 518 kHz, there are also Navtex broadcasts on 490. 518 is the main frequency and is used for English language broadcasts. 490 is used for other national languages. Today I heard a Navtex station on 490 for the first time ever. This was at 0435 UTC with a fairly good signal. Unfortunately I did not have the equipment with me to decode it so it remains unidentified.

More Longwave Beacon Loggings

More longwave non-directional beacons logged while in Harrowsmith, Ontario (near Kingston). As usual, these are all operating in Morse code. Receiver was the Kaito KA-1103 on its built-in antenna.
  • UL, 248 kHz, Montreal Quebec, 0325 UTC, poor signal. Relog.
  • VV, 326 kHz, Wiarton Ontario, 0344 UTC, fair signal. Relog.
  • YFM, 332 kHz, La Grande-4 Quebec, 0346 UTC, good signal. Relog. This one is from northern Quebec on the La Grande river leading into James Bay.
  • YLD, 335 kHz, Chapleau Ontario, 0347 UTC, good signal. Relog, but previous logging was from Manitoulin Island, which is much closer to Chapleau.
  • YY, 340 kHz, Mont-Joli Quebec, 0354 UTC, good signal. Relog.
  • SB, 362 kHz, Sudbury Ontario, 0415 UTC. good signal. Relog.
  • YMW, 366 kHz, Maniwaki Quebec, 0416 UTC, fair signal. Relog.
  • RJ, 378 kHz, Roberval Quebec, 0417 UTC, fair to poor signal. Relog. This is my first logging of RJ on 378, but there's an entry in my logbook from a long, long time ago for the same RJ on 379. That was probably actually 378 but I misidentified the frequency back then.
  • RYS, 419 kHz, Detroit-Grosse Ile Michigan, 0432 UTC, poor signal. Relog.

Monday, 26 December 2011

VOIRI 13790 kHz with ID

Finally I got an ID from the station on 13790 kHz that I suspected was VOIRI in Iran:
  • Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran (VOIRI), 13790 kHz from Tehran, Iran, at 1327-1333 UTC in Arabic. Good signal (SINPO 43433). Middle-eastern music. On half hour three tones, then ID, then into news. Heard a couple of mentions of Iran at the time of the ID. Some slight interference from China Radio International on same frequency.

Longwave Beacons

I logged the following non-directional aeronautical beacons on longwave today. Some are even new. All are Morse code beacons that just transmit their IDs repeatedly. Receiver: Kaito KA-1103 using built-in antenna. Received in Harrowsmith, Ontario, where the radio noise is almost non-existent.
  • YSL, 404 kHz, St. Leonard, NB, Canada, 0504 UTC. Weak signal. New - never logged before.
  • ZHU, 407 kHz, Montreal-St. Hubert, QC, Canada, 0507 UTC. Weak signal. Previously logged under former callsign of H, first time logged as ZHU.
  • ML, 392 kHz, Charlevoix-La Malbare, QC, Canada, 0513 UTC. Weak signal. Relog.
  • 3B, 391 kHz, Brockville, ON, Canada, 0514 UTC. Weak signal. New, which is a surprise, since Brockville is not far from here - thought I would have got this one already.
  • ZZR, 317 kHz, Quite West-Severn, ON, Canada, 1326 UTC. Fair to good signal. Relog.

BBC World Service via Oman

BBC World Service, 11860 kHz, 0450-0500 UTC, in English with fair to poor signal. Quiz show, then ID, then abruptly off air in mid-sentence.

My location: Harrowsmith, Ontario. Received using Kaito KA-1103 with built-in telescopic antenna.

WRTH 2011 lists the BBC here from multiple locations: Ascension, Cypress, French Guiana, and Seychelles. But I checked on short-wave.info and they have this transmission coming from the BBC relay station at Al Seela, Oman. I reckon that short-wave.info is probably more up-to-date than the WRTH, which is a year old now. So I'm logging this as Oman.Link

Sunday, 25 December 2011

All India Radio 11670 kHz

Today's logging is a first for two reasons: my first logging of All India Radio in their English language General Overseas Service (I've logged them many times in their Hindi language Vividh Bharati service), and my first logging on my new Sony CDX-GT180 radio.

The CDX-GT180 is a car radio, the only car radio available that has shortwave on it. And "available" is being generous - it is carried, as far as I know, at only one location in North America, at Durham Radio in Whitby, Ontario. I bought it there in September but didn't get it installed in my car until recently. The AM receiver is very good, and FM is too. Shortwave performs much better than you'd expect, given that it's attached to the regular car antenna. The radio doesn't have SSB, unfortunately, and the frequency coverage is a bit strange - full coverage of the amateur bands, which is kind of useless without SSB, but with part of the 31 metre broadcast band (that below 9500 kHz) missing. But it works very well and I'm happy with it.

Back to All India Radio. Details: Frequency: 11670 kHz. Time: 1910-1920 UTC. Signal: very good (SINPO 44444). Language: English. Transmitting from Bangalore, India. Details: News, ID as "General Overseas Service of All India Radio". Talk about women's rights and equality. Received in Eastern Ontario, near Harrowsmith (about 20 km northwest of Kingston). Transmitter power: 500 kW.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

VOIRI 13790 kHz

This morning I spent about 45 minutes listening to the unidentified middle eastern station on 13790 kHz that I think is probably the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran (VOIRI). Time: 1345-1425 UTC. Fair to poor signal. Middle eastern music, then western musical interlude. Talk in Arabic, including an interview. Heard a couple of mentions of Iran but no ID. Off air at 1425 UTC. Matches program times and description in WRTH 2011 for VOIRI, which is scheduled on this frequency at this time in Arabic, with a power of 500 kW.

Since this station is weak but shows up regularly I`m confident I`ll get an ID sooner or later.

More DGPS Loggings

I had another session trying out DXing of DGPS stations on longwave today. This yielded a few good catches. As previously, I'll refer to them with IDs like DGPS-123 (meaning the station's transmitted identifier is 123):
  • DGPS-110, 309 kHz, 0545 UTC, poor signal. Location: Pickford, MI, USA.
  • DGPS-176, 325 kHz, 0616-0618 UTC, poor signal. Location: Medora, ND, USA.
  • DGPS-094, 324 kHz, 0620 UTC, poor signal. Location: Hudson Falls, NY, USA.
  • DGPS-036, 319 kHz, 0633 UTC, poor signal. Location: Savannah, GA, USA.
  • DGPS-044, 290 kHz, 0645UTC, poor signal. Location: Penobscot, ME, USA.
North Dakota, Maine, and Georgia on longwave - not bad. Gear: Sony ICF-2001D receiver, Sony AN-12 active antenna, DSC Decoder software.

Two Longwave Beacons

I logged two Morse code non-directional beacons on longwave today. Both are relogs but both are good DX catches, and I`ve not logged either from Toronto before:
  • YLD, 335 kHz, Chapleau, ON, Canada, at 0609-0612 UTC with poor signal.
  • QT, 332 kHz, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada at 0616-0618 UTC with poor signal. My first logging of this was in 2008 from Espanola, ON, which is quite a bit closer to Thunder Bay than Toronto is.
Equipment: Sony ICF-2001D receiver, Sony AN-12 active antenna.

Friday, 23 December 2011

CRI, VOIRI, and R. Havana on 22 Metres

Three loggings this morning on the 22 metre shortwave broadcast band:
  • China Radio International, 13790 kHz, at 1257-1313 UTC, with poor signal. Transmitting in English from Urumqi, Hutubi, Xinjiang, China. 500 kW. News, and talk show "China Drive" with item about the online sale of e-books in China. Mixing with middle eastern station on same frequency - probably Iran.
  • Unidentified middle eastern station, probably the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran (VOIRI), 13790 kHz, at 1257-1313 UTC. Poor signal, language unidentified. Talk and middle eastern music. No ID, but VOIRI is on this frequency at this time and is broadcasting at 500 kW so it's likely that.
  • R. Havana Cuba, 13780 kHz, at 1257 -1300, and at 1315-1317 UTC, from Havana, Cuba in Spanish with good signal. Interval signal and ID on the hour. Later talk - sounded like news - with item about North Korea. 250 kW.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

BBCWS 7385 kHz

Two shortwave loggings today:
  • Unidentified digital station with RTTY-like signal on 7455 kHz at 0315 UTC with fair to good signal. Unable to decode it. No idea what this is nor where it is located.
  • BBC World Service, 7385 kHz, via Ascension Island relay station, at 0325 UTC with fair to poor signal. 250 kW. In English with talk.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Shortwave Loggings

Three stations logged on shortwave today:
  • CHU, 7850 Khz, Ottawa, ON, Canada, at 1913 UTC with a good signal. 3 kW. There's nothing unusual about receiving CHU, the standard time and frequency station, here in Toronto. But I noticed today that I'd never actually recorded it in my logbook after CHU moved to 7850 from 7335 a few years ago. So now it's logged.
  • WEWN, 15160 kHz, Vandiver, AL, USA, at 2225 UTC with very good signal. Catholic radio. Talk about issue of illegal immigration from a Catholic perspective. 250 kW.
  • Polish Radio, 15260 kHz, via Sackville, NB, Canada relay at 2234 with fair to good signal. 250 kW. This is tentative - no ID was heard. But according to short-wave.info the only thing in Polish on this frequency is the Polish Radio relay from Sackville.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Numbers Station on 12133 kHz

Today I was listening to the AFRTS station on 12133.5 kHz when a numbers station started transmitting on top of it. The stupidity of this astonished me. Everything about numbers stations is mysterious but most of them are probably operated by intelligence services and are used to transmit messages to agents abroad. Many of these transmissions heard in North America are coming from Cuba and are presumably being used to transmit message to agents - i.e., spies - in the U.S. The AFRTS station was just broadcasting general interest programming (news, sports, that sort of thing) but for that very reason it probably has a large audience among military personnel. Starting up the transmission of a numbers station right on top of a United States armed forces broadcasting station, which many U.S. military personnel are listening to, would seem like a pretty stupid thing to do.

Details: Freq: 12133 kHz. Mode: Morse code. Time: 1400-1430 UTC. Good signal. Came on air at 1400. Began with “DWNGA DDAWN URUSN” repeated several times. Then repeated just “URUSN” several times, followed by two BT prosigns. Then into five letter groups. At 1430 sent AR AR SK prosigns and went off air.

DGPS Loggings

Today I tried out something new: DXing DGPS stations. DGPS stands for Differential GPS and is a ground-based system that operates on longwave (around 300 kHz) for augmenting the satellite-based GPS system. Standard GPS is accurate to within about 20-30 metres, but for some applications this is insufficient. For example, the pilot of a large ship navigating through a narrow channel needs to know his position much more accurately than that. Using DGPS it is possible to get a location that's accurate to less than a metre's error.

I was using software called DSC Decoder to decode the DGPS signals. The decoded signal is mostly positioning information, but each line transmitted begins with a station identifier number. I found a guide on the web, the World DGPS Database, that lists all the DGPS stations worldwide. Using this guide you can look up the stations you receive by frequency and identifier to find out where they're located.

Here are the DGPS stations I received today. I'll refer to them with IDs like DGPS-123 (meaning the station's transmitted identifier is 123):
  • DGPS-118, 322 kHz, 0515-0522 UTC, good signal. Location: Youngstown, NY, USA.
  • DGPS-116, 319 kHz, 0547-0548 UTC, fair signal. Detroit, MI, USA.
  • DGPS-184, 291 kHz, 0551-0554 UTC, fair-poor signal, Hawk Run, PA, USA.
  • DGPS-136, 297 kHz, 0600-0602 UTC, poor signal. Location: Bobo, MS, USA.
All of these are obviously new loggings, since this is the first time I've logged DGPS stations. The logging of station 136 is particularly exciting because it's from Mississipi. This demonstrates that long-range DGPS DXing is possible, and it also demonstrates that my new setup for DXing longwave is actually working.

Longwave Beacons

I logged three Morse code non-directional beacons on longwave. Two were local:
  • TZ, 257 kHz, Gibralter Point (Toronto), ON. Good signal. 0526 UTC. This one is located on Toronto Island - I believe it is the beacon for the Toronto Island Airport.
  • KZ, 248 kHz, Buttonville, ON. 0528 UTC. Fair signal. This is the beacon for the airport in Buttonville (Markham), just north of Toronto.
I also logged one non-local beacon:
  • YGK, 263 kHz, Kingston, ON. Fair signal (better than KZ's). 0536 UTC. This is the beacon for Norman Rogers airport in Kingston. This is an old friend - when I was a teenager in Kingston in the 1970s I lived near that airport and YGK was a familiar sound on longwave. But I don't think I've ever logged it from Toronto before.

All of these are relogs.

DXing Longwave with the Sony AN-12 Antenna

I've always liked DXing the longwave band, but I spend very little time on it because DXing it from home is nearly impossible. There are high levels of electrical noise on those frequencies in my building, and I have no place here to put up a suitable outdoor antenna. At least, DXing from home has been impossible until now. I came up with a solution that works. Some months ago I purchased a Sony AN-12 outdoor active antenna (from an eBay seller in Japan) which works well at longwave and mediumwave frequencies. Tonight I hooked it up to the old Sony ICF-2001D (the same radio as the famous ICF-2010 minus the air band) and the combination of the two work really well on longwave. There were lots of signals apparent. So finally there's a way to DX longwave from here.