Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Dairy Dome + update

Many current North American pirate listeners will remember that Pirate Radio Boston was an excellent verifier and had a series of QSLs of scenes from the Boston area. One QSL that I received featured the Dairy Dome, a fitting QSL for someone who likes ice cream as much as I do. The Dairy Dome looked like an iconic place, with a gilded dome reminiscent of Middle Eastern architecture and columns throughout.

Unfortunately, the Dairy Dome was torn down today. I haven't looked up a history of the business or of the location yet, but my guess is that it's a bit like old Tiger Stadium; once the Tigers left, the stadium was torn down. Once PRB retired, the Dairy Dome held on for a year, but the final outcome was obvious.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Global HF Weekend Day 3

In years past, day 3 was good for high-frequency tests (19 & 13m) in the morning through the afternoon hours. Mostly tests from Europe, but some from North America, too. Given the conditions on the high frequencies, it seems unlikely that we'll have much (any?) activity up there today, but we'll see.

Not sure what's going on with Iann's pirate chat, but I can't log in at all. I had gone for years with automatically being able to log in any time I wanted, but now when I do, I get the typical "SnoogieDumplings" or whatever login name that you get when the system doesn't recognize you, but when I try to send a message or anything else, it gives me a network error. In the past, I could send messages & be recognized by the admins.

On a positive note, I received my November copy of the Spectrum Monitor last week. If you don't know what the Spectrum Monitor is, it's a PDF-only magazine about radio and DXing. It has many of the old columnists from Monitoring Times, so I tend to think of it as a PDF version of MT. The latest issue has an excellent buyer's guide for portable radios, written by Thomas Witherspoon, who is probably the best-known current reviewer of these receivers, at least in North America. Another great feature is the new equipment at WBCQ, including photos of their monster 200-ton rotatable antenna! Year subscriptions are $24 for issues & back issues are $3 apiece.

Yeti Radio: 6927, 11/4, 1258+ After tuning around 19m and listening to All India Radio on 15030 kHz for a bit, I tuned to 6925 and heard the splatter from a strong SSTV signal. Nice to finally hear something with a strong signal! Unfortunately, I didn't have a computer hooked up with that receiver that had MMSSTV running, so I couldn't decode it. ID per Chris at HFU.

Ion Radio: 6930, 11/4, 1750+ I saw the carrier on the Winradio with the makeshift antenna, but couldn't hear anything. Ran up to the Drake & it's coming in but really weak. On HFU, some listeners posted SSTV images, including one about Global HF Weekend.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Global HF Weekend Day 2

1146 UTC: OK, I need to get rolling and put up a makeshift antenna (and probably also haul down my main antenna to check its center-point connections).

One thing that I should have mentioned last night are the European stations that are broadcasting on a daily basis and often put a signal of some sort into North America:

5780 Zenith Classic Rock
6205 Laser Hot Hits
6230 Coast FM
6318 Radio Sovereign

Of course, the best chance to hear any of these stations will be sometime from a couple of hours before sunset until maybe an hour or two before sunrise.

1518 UTC: Have a make-shift antenna up & I did a quick check on the center connections of the inverted V. Doesn't look like anything has disconnected, so I'm not sure what the problem is. At least I do have a logging:

unid: 6927, 11/3, 1444-1447* Pretty good carrier, but still pretty noisy. Two songs & off.

Some logs via the Twente SDR:

Everything seems to be skipping long in Europe, so most activity audible on the Twente SDR is on medium wave.

1657, 11/3, 1837+ Johnny Cash "Man in Black," '50s or '60s instrumental elevator music, techno, polkas, Steve'n'Seagulls "Thunderstruck," Rolling Stones "Honky Tonk Women" so quite a variety. Excellent signal.

1647, 11/3, 1845+ Leonard Cohen "So Long, Marianne," yodeling, excellent signal

1629, 11/3, 1847+ Travelling Wilburys "Handle Me with Care." Excellent signal, Male DJ came on with talk in Dutch. I think he said hi to "Martin." I think he also mentioned "impedance" and "Alabama" QRT sometime around 1858.

Friday, November 2, 2018

GHFW Loggings? 11/2/18

Wow, is my antenna OK? I just tried to tune in X-FM and I only have a carrier. Is the hot element of my dipole shorted out? I dunno. I guess I need to put up some sort of makeshift antenna by tomorrow to compare against my regular one.

So, here's my "log"

X-FM: 6885, 11/3, 0025+ Carrier only. Ugh.

Global HF Weekend starts tonight!

I haven't been e-mailing everyone and their brother (or sister) about this Global HF Weekend because I've been trying to finish the Pirate Radio Annual instead (and working on the woodshed so that I don't need the glowing tubes of the SP-600 & R-390A to stay warm this winter).

Not sure if other people have been spreading the word about the weekend or not, but with a DXpedition in Newfoundland, I'd expect that some pirates will be testing for the land of red dirt and Anne of Green Gables. One of the DXpeditioners posted a comment on prior blog entry here, so they're likely to notice if some pirate posts a test in the comments section below. Their focus is on medium-wave stations, so my guess is that any North American pirates who want to test for them would probably be more likely to be heard if they operate between 1710 and 1750 kHz. Using a split channel (any frequency within the band that ends in a "5") might also work, but that could cause some nasty interference to the stations on either side channel.

The DXpeditioners (and others) will also be checking the European pirate frequencies. So, we'll see how it all goes.

During the last Global HF Weekend, Lupo Radio (Argentina) was relayed in North America, which I thought was pretty cool. Definitely the spirit of what it's all about. Speaking of which, I've been seeing tons of logs of Brazilian pirates lately. I don't know if these operators ever check into HF Underground, FRN.net, or Free Radio Cafe, but it would be great if some of these guys would "plug into" the existing scenes (a good example would back in the 1990s when stations like AARS, Radio Blandengue, and Radio Cochiguaz from South America were trading programs with European and North American stations). Made for some really interesting radio listening!


On a previous post a few days ago, I mentioned not remembering offhand any pirates using 120m. One listener commented about Radio Gabanzo using 90m back in '87. I didn't remember that, but it got me thinking about 120m. I know I've heard of pirates using the area, but I think it was a long time ago (or maybe not even in North America). My mind keeps sticking on a photo QSL that was in PopComm from WHY back around '83, but I think that was some 90m freq, like 3405 kHz.


Thanks to Ion Radio, Radio Ga-Ga, and Radio Illuminati for the recent eQSLs! I'm not including the Ion Radio one here because it's a duplicate (except for details) of one I just posted a couple of days ago.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Global HF Weekend Starts tomorrow

It's almost time for the Global HF Weekend for this fall (they happen the 1st weekend of November and the 1st weekend of April every year)! And it seems like only yesterday that it was Halloween

If you are planning a test, feel free to e-mail it to me (I won't post the station name) or post it in the comments section below.

Just received a QSL from Ion Radio for the pre-Halloween broadcast. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween loggings, etc.

It's Halloween. I took a vacation day from work. It's beautiful outside, so I'm working on a woodshed and I'm downloading Winradio software onto a different computer. And maybe I'll even put up another dipole. Hopefully, I'll have the Winradio and the R-8 both running tonight.

Speaking of night, I wonder how the propagation will be? Channel Z was skipping out looong last night on 4075 kHz, making it to California with a weak signal and the carrier was audible in Brazil! I made the comment yesterday that people should keep an eye on 4000-4100 kHz tonight, but now I wonder if stations would have better results around 2300-2500 kHz after dark. I don't recall any pirates ever using this band, so I don't think anyone will be broadcasting there . . . but wow the nighttime MUF has been crazy low.

1648 UTC: I downloaded the latest Winradio software and installed it. Took the laptop upstairs, plugged it in, and everything is working. Wanted to do a test record, so I recorded 10 seconds or so of CFRX on 6070 kHz. I moved the freq to somewhere in 43m and there was a signal on the band . . . which leads me to my 1st Halloween logging of the year:

Unid: 6927.1, 10/31, 1642-1644* Weak but audible signal. Sounded like a children's song from the '50s. Reception was not strong enough to know if it was a Halloween song or something else. Signal shut down before I could get the frequency centered, reduce the bandwidth a bit, rename the file, and start recording.

1818 UTC: Have a post in place and part of the back wall. Came inside, saw an unid log on HFU, so I ran up to the radio room & started recording. At long last, it's my 1st recording on the Winradio.

Ion Radio: 6930.3, 10/31, 1810+ A commercially produced Halloween show, sounds like OTR. Heard a CW ID, but I still have never learned code, aside from being able to copy "CQ" and "SOS," so I had to rely on HFU logs for the ID. Program continued in and out of the noise. At the end of the horror program were CBS Radio IDs & into a fairly long news segment about what was currently happening with the Watergate scandal, so maybe this was from around 1973 or so? I stopped recording after about 5-10 min of news because the recording file was getting huge, but that was a mistake because SSTV images were sent just after I stopped recording. I don't have MMSSTV on this computer, so I just downloaded it, too. We'll see if it works later on tonight.

Back to the woodshed . . .

Planet Z (tent.): 6926.9, 10/31, ca. 1950 I thought I'd recorded it, but I hit the wrong red button. Heard a bit of music, then a bit of talk with echo & off. Signal fair, ID per HFU logs

2100 UTC: Added more to the back wall & got some concrete in place

Old-Time Radio unid: 6770, 10/31, 2100+ Old family comedy program. I've had a lot of noise on the band today & OTR hasn't been very strong for a long time

2215 UTC: Another post & a few more supports up

Channel Z: 4075.1, 10/31, 2220+ Pretty good signal, but I've had pretty high noise levels all day. Cranberries "Zombie." Just heard Andy Walker with an ID. The Specials "Ghost Town"

6950, 10/31, 2215+ Very strong signal. Hope they stay on a bit longer. I don't yet have my 2nd antenna up, but I'd like to keep listening to Channel Z because it's been a while since I've heard it.

2348 UTC: Ate supper and I've been watching the pretty noise patterns roll by on the Winradio. Boy, this thing's noisy! The noise is sitting on S7. I switched the antenna back over to the R8 and the noise was about S7 there as well, but when I turned off the Winradio, the noise level on the R8 dropped to about S3 or S4. Hmm. I think it's time to go Lowe's for woodshed stuff.

The morning after: Wow, evening conditions were disappointing! Wolverine Radio was audible, but very weak. The signal levels were comparable or maybe slightly better on the Twente web receiver. I had a carrier with a bit of audio from X-FM that just got worse as the night went on. It sounded like a lot of the Europirates that I have a tough time picking details from.

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to broadcast and I'm glad to see that some people had a good evening of listening.