Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve/Day 12/31/15-1/1/16

Happy New Year!

Advice: Stay off the roads & away from the drunk drivers; hang by the radio instead.

Cold Country Canada: 6969L, 12/31, 1939+ Allman Bros "Ramblin' Man," the entire Rush song "2112" (which I haven't heard too many times on the radio), DJ making lots of comments over the song & he seems to be having a good time. Into Rush "Hemispheres," which I'm not sure that I've heard on the radio.

WBOG: 6950, 12/31, 2115+ Tuned into hear tones & ID. New wavish/punkish song, into bluegrassy song about a wide variety of substance abuse ("We Love Beer"). Good signal with occasional light RTTY QRM. Rockabilly song. Nice to hear WBOG again; I think it's been a year or two since I've heard it, Flintstones Busch Beer ad

Radio Azteca: 6900, 12/31, 2212+ Old program from about 25 years ago with Mail Scrotum program with letters from Chris Cuomo, Don Spooner, Mike LeClerc, Ken Vicci, John Fischer, Alex Vranes, and much more. Good signal with some fades. Bullwinkle between segment music. Bunji Condoms ad, Cantilevel Bras ad. "Your station for all that is gross, but tasteful." IDs, Wellsville address in Spanish

6925.2, 12/31, 2320+ Dance song, fair signal. Maybe Liquid Radio?

Wolverine Radio: 6940U, 1/1, 0115+ IDs around 0115 and at 0134. A variety of music, including "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Fair signal, but copy is tough because the signal is so watery. Sounds about like it's under water

WDDR: 3440U, 1/1, 0228+ Nice signal: Blondie. Shoutouts to everyone with DJ singing IDs, "We're here to please," Red Ryder song

Monday, December 28, 2015

Post Christmas/Pre-NYE loggings: 12/28-12/29/15

Wow, a decent amount of activity already!

Old-Time Radio unid: 6770, 12/28, ca1500 Hallmark cards ad, presentation of "My Friend Flicka"

6925, 12/28, ca 1500 fairly strong dead carrier. Checked back around 1945 & audio was here now, but I moved up for the time being to check on Cold Country Canada. From 2058, I've been hearing instrumentals from the late '50s/early '60s + "Something's Gotta Give." Occasional jamming for some reason: dead carrier + someone swishing a tone on their VFO. Not sure why anyone would be jamming this?

Cold Country Canada: 6969L, 12/28, 1941+ Fair signal strength, but clear & listenable. Album rock with George Thorogood "Bad to the Bone," Molly Hatchet "Flirtin' with Disaster," ELO "Don't Bring Me Down," Scorpions "Rock You Like a Hurricane,"

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Loggings: 12/24-25/15

I'll be doing lots of things with family over the next few days, so I probably won't hear or log much here. But I'm hearing a few stations this morning, so they're worth logging on here.

Cold Country Canada: 6969L?, 12/24, 1405+ The last I'd checked HFU, I didn't see any loggings, I did a couple of things outside, then tuned the dial. I could hear something that sounded like SSB around 6968. I tuned across a few times in USB & LSB and couldn't tune it in. Then I checked HFU & it's evidently CCC. Maybe I need to get my SSB ears checked? After the fade out of PRB, I checked back to 6969L and could clearly hear SSTV data--it was strong enough to trigger a decode in MMSSTV, but not clear enough for me to decypher what it was. BTW, the problem with my decoding CCC's signal seems to be because of a local bit of noise on the frequency (6969.5).

Pirate Radio Boston: 6976, 12/26, 1409-1415+ "Let It Snow" and then it mostly faded out.

Old-Time Radio unid: 6770, 12/24, 1420+ Hallmark cards ad, into Nightbeat with Randy Stone. NBC promo for Duffy's Tavern.

Cold Country Canada: 6969L, 12/24, 2031-2040* TRex "Bang a Gong" Animals "House of the Rising Sun," Pretenders "Brass in Pocket," clear IDs by woman. Fair signal in computer noise. Off mid-song

unid: 7590, 12/24, 1800+ I've had a decent carrier here for a while. Starting to get some tiny bits of audio here. My guess is that it's THX 1138 running extremely low power, but I really don't know

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pre-Christmas Loggings: 12/22-12/23/15

Got up this morning to do some baking & there's Christmas Radio on the air! Nice way to start the day. As always, I'll probably update here when/if I get the chance (and also if there's enough activity to warrant updates).

The Crystal Ship: 6876, 12/22, 2320+ Very nice signal & audio with 1968 retrospective. RFK speech concerning the MLK shooting

Christmas Radio: 6925U, 12/23, 1358+ Weak with "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree." I think I heard a male announcer talking, but I'm not sure if it was ID/announcement or some other programming (like a song intro). ID per HF Underground. My 1st time hearing this station. After the show ended or faded out, someone's been on with a strong signal, whistling, playing "dots" (think WWV), etc.

Amphetamine Radio: 6925U, 12/23, ca1430-1528* Excellent signal. CW IDs, at least one SSTV image, The Doors "LA Woman," Velvet Underground "Run Run Run," off with National Anthem. Requested signal reports & SSTV captures for an eQSL.

unid: 7590, 12/23, 2005+ I'm hearing WWV being relayed here with a very weak signal. Possibly THX 1138 testing with low power?

Channel Z: 6150, 12/23, 2236- Beautiful S9+20 signal with great audio. Ramones "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)." I grabbed the 1934 RCA 5T tombstone that I restored a few years ago, brought it upstairs, clipped on a longwire antenna, and clearly heard Channel Z on it. This is the 1st pirate I've heard on it because it only covers up through 48m. Also, it's pretty cool to clearly hear a pirate on it because it's only a 5-tube receiver--not exactly a top performer (and I didn't realign it . . . and I just swapped tubes until the signals sounded better/stronger)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pre-Christmas Weekend Loggings 12/19-12/20/15

Wow, there was a ton of activity over the weekend. Maybe it was a warm-up for Christmas Eve & the weekend . . . or maybe this was it for a lot of stations. I guess we'll see. Unfortunately, I was away or at a Christmas party or baking stuff most of the weekend. So, I only caught a fraction of the broadcasts, but at least I did get the chance to hear a few stations.

Pirate Radio Boston: 6925.7, 12/19, 1408-1443 Good signal for the PRB annual Christmas show. Songs "No Place Like Home for the Holidays," Chuck Berry "Run, Run Rudolph," "Frosty the Snowman," "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," "Deck the Halls," "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," Guest IDs by PJ Sparx of WREC & Dick Weed of Radio Free Whatever. Charlie Loudenboomer said they have a special QSL for this broadcast.

Partial India Radio: 6925.7, 12/19, 1443-1508+ Interval signal, into the General Underseas Service of Partial India Radio, tribute to Jay Smilkstein "Jay certainly gave a lot to the hobby . . . and we'd like to give him some attention here" gmail address for reports with phonetics. "Tears of a Clown" Long "homegrown" I Love Lucy skit including canned laughter with a trip to the Smilkstein hotel, including Uncle Schleckstein.

Amphetamine Radio: 6925U, 12/19, 1538-1613* Excellent signal with music by Neil Young, The Adverts "Gary Gilmour's Eyes," Ultravox "Sat'day Night in the City of the Dead," X "Adult Books," Siouxsie & the Banshees "Hong Kong Gardens," The Clash "Know Your Rights" IDs in CW, SSTV images (see below). I'm not sure if the music is being played through the mic, but you can hear whenever the op picks up the mic for the IDs. Live time check at end, then US National Anthem & off.

Pirate Radio Boston: 6873, 12/19, 2213- Repeat of the Christmas show. VG signal strength, but hammered by QRM from the ice cream maker AND dishwasher.

Girl Scout Radio: 6910, 12/19, 2300-2334* Fair/good with some bad local noise at times. Some songs that sound more indicative of "bad Girl Scouts" (like what you might expect from women who dress up as Girl Scouts for Halloween parties): Heart "Barracuda," Blondie "Call Me," Warrant "Cherry Pie" & a few hip-hop songs. Male & female computer-voiced IDs

Liquid Radio: 6925.1, 12/20, 0045- Fairly good signal at times with a variety of techno. Bad QRM at times from OTH radar & from the pescadors. Between the two + fade outs, there might have been some IDs, but I didn't hear them. ID from HF Underground

Pesky Party Radio: 6950L, 12/20, 0157 Faint signal

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Weekend Pirate Radio Loggings: 12/11-12/13/15

I've put in more than 10 hours of research about pirate stations over the past few days, but I haven't done much listening. But I'm catching a few stations tonight:

X-FM: 6975, 12/12, 0245-0410* Led Zep, Black Sabbath, The Teddy Bears, 60 Channels, Washed Out, etc. Lots of shoutouts from Redhat to HFU listeners and to those who e-mailed (a lot of people were tuned in). Said he'd rather upgrade the transmitter than change bands. Excellent signal and audio. email address: xfmshortwave /a/ "X-FM . . . Somewhere under the stars."

THX 1138: 7540, 12/12, 2105+ Excellent signal & audio. Metallica, Bob Seger, Jim Croce, etc. Sounded like the op was adjusting the audio levels at times. "coming to you live . . . at 25 watts." Said using a commercial transceiver with the audio modified. Mentioned 7540 and that there isn't a frequency you can go to without hitting some interference. Thanked listeners on HF Underground: "I like broadcasting as much as you like listening"

Radio Fusion Radio: 6955U, 12/12, 2206+ Christmas program with blues songs & also one by Alvin & the Chipmunks. Fantastic signal. Same deep-voiced IDs as were on back in '97 or '98. Announced reception reports to radiofusionradiopirate /a/

Liquid Radio: 6925.2, 12/12, 2250+ Clash "Rock the Casbah" Nice signal, pushing S9. A bunch of pescadors hit the freq around 2300 & really messed it up. I think I heard a shoutout to me around 2300 between the interference.

Pee Wee: 6925U, 12/13, 0116-0127* Excellent signal with blues rock & 2 SSTV images

Wolverine R: 6950U, 12/13, 0153+ Sounds like old blues with harmonica. Weak & a "distant" sound to the signal. ID per HFU.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

New Project: Midwest Radio 16-37

My Philco 87 is not yet finished, but the cabinet is back in the house and looking pretty good. I'm done with the lacquer, I spraypainted the inside of the cabinet brown, and I replaced the grille cloth. Over the Christmas season, I put the chassis back in so that I'm not constantly moving it around the house to keep it out of the way. I'm down to melting the wax out of the capacitor block and recapping it (which I keep putting off because I'm afraid I'll mess it up).

I have more radios than space, so I have to move one of my projects out of the house and into a workspace so that I can put my Philco 87 in its place. Because of the work that I need to do on this year's Pirate Radio Annual and the Corsette that I've been trying to build, they take priority. I really need to get that stuff done first. But I thought that while I'm pulling out the chassis and moving the cabinet, I should take some photos and start the page for the next radio: the Midwest Radio 16-37.

Midwest Radios have been high on my list of radios to pick up for years because it seems like they were somewhere between a consumer radio and a communications receiver. Often boasting 16 or 18 tubes, by tube-count alone they surpassed most communications receivers even into the '50s and '60s. Fact is, Midwest often doubled up on tubes in their circuits to make the receivers appear more robust for the "tube counters." Regardless, I've seen comments from many people who swear by the quality of their Midwest Radios (as compared to other brands from the '30s).

Another aspect of Midwest Radio that made me consider them as being somewhere in between the realm of the consumer console and the communications receiver is that they took out full-page ads in RADEX, typically either the back cover or the inside back cover. I have a few dozen issues of RADEX from 1929 to 1941, and I'd consider it to be somewhat of a hybrid between the NASWA Journal and Popular Communications (or The Spectrum Monitor). It was a great magazine that set the pattern for what future DX newsletters and magazines should be.

After occasionally searching eBay for Midwest Radios, I found a 16-37 console. One great thing about this particular radio is that it came with the console cabinet. It's strange, but Midwest was maybe the only major receiver company that regularly sold their radios without cabinets. It just seems like there should be a great story behind the Midwest Radio company because their business model was so weird: In an era when Philco, Zenith, and Crosley had their own dealerships around the country and when Hallicrafters was marketing radios to radio amateurs, Midwest Radio was mailorder only. You could buy just the receiver or also have a cabinet shipped. They proclaimed that they cut out the middleman so that you'd save money and get a better radio.

I drove about 100 miles through a snowstorm to get to this Midwest 16-37. Unlike the Philco product numbers, which don't mean anything, Midwest's tell a lot: 16 tubes, built in 1937. This was a true '30s dream receiver, 16 tubes and hardcore art deco styling. Beautiful. Appropriately, the radio was in a neighborhood of Johnstown, PA, that had decayed and needed even more restoration than the radio. I talked for a while to the seller and her friend, who could remember when the console was sitting in the house during better years and not relegated to a garage filled with junk.

I haven't seen any other Midwest Radios, but the 16-37 is a study in contrasts. From photos, the gaudy art deco front panel looks amazing. But when you actually try it, well, there's no dial glass and the tuning knob is right in the middle of a flimsy plastic dial. What would possess someone to make the tuning, of all things, so shoddy? The front panel isn't walnut; it's just metal painted to look like walnut. I thought that was slightly disappointing, but the problem is that it's thin sheet metal. For a few cents more, Midwest could've had a solid front panel.

Fortunately, the cabinet is more physically solid than the front panel, but it's relatively plain. In what I guess what the style of Midwest Radio, they used a lot of lacquer toner in the design and the radio's edges to try to "dress up" the cabinet and also to cover nail heads.

Also, I should mention that this radio cost $49.95 without the cabinet or tubes in 1937. I wonder how many young DXers saved up paper route money for one of these sets, then saved to buy the tubes, one by one, 'til he could listen to it? At a time when the Hallicrafters SX-17 cost $149.50 with a speaker, the 16-37 must have looked like a viable alternative to some.

I'm really looking forward to working on this radio and to see how everything goes because the positives and negatives are just so extreme. In some ways, this radio seems to be in the same general league as some excellent Zenith, Hallicrafters, and maybe even McMurdo-Silver radios from the time period. In other ways, the 16-37 looks more shoddy than the cheapest Philco or Crosley radio of the time. It'll be interesting to see what my opinions are by the time I finish it.

Weekend Pirate Loggings: 12/5-7/15

I want to work on the basement, but there's been so much activity this morning that I wanted to at least get some loggings listed.

WABC relay: 6955, 12/5, 0310+ Nice signal & audio with some oldies, old ads + I think some fake ones worked in, and DJ patter from, I think, the '70s. Timechecks were about two minutes off. I'm not sure when this recording was from, but it's a nice example of what pop radio used to sound like--very different from today's automated stations.

THX1138: 6925, 12/5, 1337-1730* Very nice signal & audio with mostly '70s rock and pop: "Green-Eyed Lady," "One Night in Bankok," "Breakfast in America," "Jessie's Girl," etc. Standard ID, said 25 watts & off at 1730.

Undercover Radio: 6950, 12/5, 1643-1652* Test broadcast "from the middle of nowhere" undercoverradio /at/ announced. A couple of songs by Boston. Pretty good signal

Unid: 6950, 12/5, *1658+ Big dead carrier on a few times around 1655+, then on at 1658 with music. Low levels on the audio, then transmitter off & on some more. KC & the Sunshine Gang "Shake Your Booty" at 1704, then "That's the Way I Like It." Audio got much stronger during the 2nd song

Old-Time Radio unid: 6770, 12/5, 1800+ An episode of Ft. Laramie where Lee Quince works with a Cheyenne warrior to take a physically abused boy to the fort. Frontier Gentlemen, with promo for The World Tonight on CBS Radio. Lone Ranger episode with digital glitches. Everyone sounds like Max Headroom. Pretty fun

Shortwave Ghost: 6873, 12/5, 2006+ Rock song with flute, Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower." Solid signal

unid: 6930U, 12/6, 0003-0005* Fair signal in terms of strength, but no interference & no fading, so nice copy. I thought the song was an older crooner duet from the '40s or '50s, but, nope, on the HF Underground, refmo IDed the song as "Lady is a Tramp" by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday pirate loggings: 12/1-2/15

I've heard a decent number of stations recently, but just haven't had the time to post lately. But today's been really active, so it's time to start. What a Tuesday night!

THX1138: 6925, 12/1, Beautiful signal with a variety of mostly '70s rock: Heart "Barracuda,"a remix of AC/DC "Back in Black," Don McClean "American Pie." Nice IDs, announced 25W @QRT. That's a great-sounding 25 watts!

Liquid Radio: 6925.1, 12/1, Pretty good signal with dance music, but absolutely hammered by pescadors

Timberwolf Radio: 6940U, 12/2, 0004+ Bluegrass, country, & maybe rockabilly songs? Heard an announcement a few minutes ago, but could only make out a few words. Weak but improving. Wolf howling at end of show was much stronger than anything else

The Crystal Ship: 3431, 12/1, 2355+ Fair/weak, wanted to hang here longer, but I bounced up to listen to Timberwolf Radio

Unid: 6925U, 12/2, 0055* Gobbling Turkey sound effects repeated a few times, like an interval signal. Thought a late Thanksgiving show might be coming on, but nothing else materialized. VG signal, though