Friday, March 31, 2017

Schedules for Global HF Weekend

I'll add test schedules here as I receive them. Update 4/2: A lot of stations have been on the air specifically for the Global HF Weekend, but few are sending in advance schedules. That's fine, but I'm mentioning it here because there's still radio to listen for--even if it's not scheduled. Also, one test didn't work out; I received an e-mail from a station at 3 AM my time (0700 UTC), asking what frequency to use. I was asleep and couldn't post it here. Sorry about that!

6930 kHz, 2200-1400 UTC

6285 or 6300, 1200+ UTC
6930 kHz, 2200-1400 UTC
15070 kHz, 1430+ UTC

6285 or 6300, 1200+ UTC
6930 kHz, 2200-1400 UTC

Reminder to European hobbyists, unlike past years, transatlantic conditions are looking best between 0330 and 0630 UTC on 6 MHz, so any success with these signals might require getting up in the middle of the night. But I've been looking at the propagation to other parts of the world and the high frequencies are looking good.

We'll see as the weekend transpires.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Propagation, MUF, and long-distance radio for the Global HF Weekend

With the Global HF Weekend coming up and the recent blank sun phenomena that we've been experiencing, I thought it'd be best to check out the maximum usable frequency for different times of the day to different parts of the world.

In the past, the Global HF Weekends were great because stations could test on high frequencies that they usually don't operate on and listeners who normally either tune 48 or 43 meters could do likewise. Yup, I've heard a few station operators say "Why would I broadcast on 19 meters? A couple of years ago, I went on for a few hours on different weekends and I didn't receive any reports." Given the time and effort combined with the risks that the ops are taking, that makes sense. But if people are all on the same page; the stations are on a different band and the listeners are checking it, too, well, that changes everything.

Unless the Sun disagrees.

I've heard from at least one station who's planning to use frequencies on both 19 meters and 13 meters this upcoming weekend. It will be a good test to see if the predictors can be defied. And I really am interested in seeing what will happen with the long-distance (or any distance, really) signals at these frequencies.

But right now, my conclusion is that rather than shifting frequencies (at least dramatically), hobbyists might consider switching times for broadcasting and/or long-distance listening this weekend.

For this blog entry, I went to and ran predictions based on a location of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (not far from here). FYI, if you set the transmitter at location X and the receiver at location Y, the results will be the same as if the receiver is at location X and the transmitter at location Y. I entered a power of 100 watts in SSB mode. Different power levels or modes and directional antennas will change the results, but this should give an idea of the propagation (at least to or from the northeastern US/southeastern Canada).

The largest number of shortwave pirates per capita in the world are in the Netherlands, so I'm starting off with the MUF between Harrisburg and The Netherlands:

As you can see, there's a weak spot from about 1500 to 1800 UTC where propagation should allow for signals to make it between Netherlands and Harrisburg in the 17000 to 19000 kHz area. But by far the best times are between about 0330 and 0630 UTC between 5000 and 7000 kHz.

You'd be safe to suspect that propagation between Harrisburg and Ireland would be similar:

It is, but the possibilities improve somewhat drastically, both in terms of potential signal strength and frequencies/times that should support transatlantic propagation.

Likewise, the opposite happens when the signal comes from or travels to a point deeper in Europe, Hungary in this case:

I think it's interesting that although 0330-0500 UTC around 6000-7000 kHz is still in the "sweet spot," there's a better window between 15000 and 21000 kHz.

Heading north to the Ukraine, the graph looks like this:

There are a few differences between Ukraine and Hungary on the map, but both are rather similar.

Now, for some exotic DX:

New Dehli looks very difficult!

Now, South Africa:

Reaching Johannesburg from the Northeast looks very possible. Even 21 MHz should work from 1700 to 1900 UTC, but is anyone listening . . . or are any South African shortwave pirates on the air?

I've never heard of any Japanese shortwave pirates, but here's the graph for Tokyo:

The best shot here appears to be 1000-1200 UTC around 9 MHz or 1200-1400 UTC around 11 MHz.

North American listeners who hear fishermen across the bands probably won't be surprised to see the graph between Harrisburg and Rio de Janeiro:

The peaks aren't as strong as those for Ireland or the Netherlands, but the levels are pretty decent for a very long time . . . and across a wide spectrum. If there were just more stations on the air from Brazil . . .

There's a DXpedition running in New Zealand this weekend. Here's the graph between Harrisburg and Auckland:

It looks like stations from the Northeast trying for New Zealand would do best between about 9000 and 13000 kHz from about 0700 to 1200 UTC.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekend Logs: 3/24/17-3/26/17

Back'n'forth from the radio. Great night for listening!

XLR8: 6955U, 3/25, 0038+ Recorded most of it with the tuning off by 3 Hz, whoops. That makes song identification kinda tough. Excellent signal with a variety of music, but a lot of punk. Fear "The Mouth Don't Stop," Circle Jerks "Paid Vacation," Parquet Courts "Ducking & Dodging," Flamin' Groovies "Teenage Head," Dead Kennedys "California Uber Alles," And lots of obscure music that I can't identify.

The Crystal Ship: 6876.1, 3/24, 2325+ Static crashes, but VG signal with Judas Priest, Autograph "Turn up the Radio," Van Halen "Unchained," The Who "Goin' Mobile," The Who "Magic Bus," 38 Special "Rockin' into the Night." TCS "Unchained" program promo, Promo for TCS merch to own a piece of pirate radio history, eBeastiality ad, Free Radio Cafe ad,

Liquid Radio: 6925, 3/25, 0140+ Pretty good signal, clear ID at 0140. More like '70s rock music, rather than the regular electronic. Peter Schilling "Major Tom." Static levels really jumped around 0150 (or the signal dropped?), making this much less intelligible.

Cool AM Radio: 6925U, 3/25, 1238+ ID not long after I tuned in. Lots of WMPR-like electronic dance music. Nice signal. Thought I was hearing This Is Not WMPR for the 1st time

Gospel Music SW: 6925.4, 3/25, 1824+ Contemporary Christian worship music, such as Matt Redman "Bless the Lord," Chris Tomlin "How Great Is Our God," "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord," "You Are the Everlasting God," "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty," "Here I Am to Worship," Promo with “on the 8th day, God created radio” & email address “Gospel Radio, your gospel shortwave station”

Unid: 6930, 3/25, 1824+ A pirate is also on with a nice signal here. I need to get another antenna up because I've got 6925.4 recording here & I'll check back here later after the I've got a decent chunk recorded.

6290, 3/25, 2223 Some audio on this

Radio Cinco (tent.): 6260, 3/25, 2245+ Big signal, Spanish?-language talk, Radio Cinco ID, into The Chiffons "One Fine Day." I'm calling this "Radio Cinco" for the time being, but I dunno if that's a real ID from the station

Captain Morgan: 6949.9, 3/26, 0023+ Strong signal--even above the noise of the dishwasher & vacuum cleaner running. I guess this is a Chuck Berry memorial show: Cpn Morgan playing Chuck Berry "Too Much Monkey Business," "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man," "Sweet Little 16" A number of audio dropouts. I wonder if RF is getting into the CD player or computer?

Radio Eclipse: 6925U, 3/26, 1914+ Tuned in to a Billy Joel song, then a Steve Mann editorial from Radio Eclipse and Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World." BTW, I believe this is an old show from about 20 years ago. Good signal

This Is Not WMPR: 6925, 3/26, 2117+ Good signal, but some bad local QRM here. My 1st time to hear it. Female computer-voiced IDs. Dance version of "I'll Be Glad When You Are Dead, You Rascal, You"

Radio Cinco (tent.): 6260, 3/26, 2230+ Nice signal, but terrible local QRM. I'm guessing that this is the same station that I heard IDs as "Radio Cinco" last evening.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3/21/17: A few recent logs

I've been sending out a bunch of generic informational e-mails about the Global HF Weekend. My apologies for not sending personal e-mails to everyone right now, but I don't have time. I have been trying to respond to everyone who writes back, but I still have a few more e-mails to catch up with.

Before I do that, I've had a chance to listen to the radio a little bit here'n'there, so next are a few loggings:

The Crystal Ship (tent.): 3425, 3/22, 0050+ Little more than a carrier on 90m in plenty of static crashes.

WHYP: 4065U, 3/20, 0111+ Excellent signal. I tuned in during an old Radio Bingo show, with lots of repeating phrases, etc. John Arthur wins the bingo prize! Also a few audio bits of Radio Free Euphoria and WMOE in the mix. Then into WHYP with plenty of music, including Sex Pistols “Anarachy in the UK” The Damned “New Rose” Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” The Lurkers “Shadow”
The Minutemen “History Lesson, Pt. II” The Nosebleeds “Ain’t Been to No Music School” Off after George Zeller repeated bits

The Relay Station: 5150, 3/21, 1608+ Manfred Mann "Blinded by the Light" The Doors "Riders on the Storm" & much more. Good/VG signal

Radio Free Whatever: 6930U, 3/19, ca. 0100+ Weak most of the broadcast. Didn't hear a lot, but did hear Dick Weed mention that he was going to sign off because the signal seemed to be skipping over most everyone now.

Radyo Oleg: 6965U, 3/20, 2148+ Poor, with some fair peaks. A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran” Laura Brannigan “Self-Control”Clear ID with “Radyo Oleg . . . Northern Ireland . . .shortwave, your station” with processing and delay on the final syllable of “station”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

E-mailing about Global HF Pirate Weekend

Just finished sending out info about the Global HF Pirate Weekend to a few hundred European stations from the UKDXer e-mail list. If you have a station that's on this list but you didn't receive an e-mail, let me know because it means that I either don't have it or a have a bad address for you (I have had a large number of bouncebacks). Now I need to post notices to more sites, etc. And, any listeners or operators can feel free to pass information, too. The event is already in place; I'm just passing information around so that more people will hopefully know about it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Some logs: Blizzard logs? 3/12-3/14/17

I hope that our heater or our neighbor's TV or whatever it is starts working properly because I'm getting S9+ noise on the low bands and if snow is a good reason to be on the air, then tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday should be awesome days for broadcasting most everywhere from Chicago to Maine. With NYC preparing for a blizzard, it'd be great to hear one of the old stations at the top of the AM band again, but I doubt that'll happen. Likewise for the long call-in shows from WONS in the 43m band. Regardless, I'll try to keep checking the bands for something interesting.

WHYP: 6940U, 3/12, 2200+ A Jay retrospective, with his last interview with JB. Fair signal. Off with "Goodbye to You"

The Crystal Ship: 3425, 3/13, around 0300 Probably a pretty good signal, but I could only hear the carrier & a bit of music because of wideband S9+ local noise from something. Maybe a bad heater?

The Relay Station: 5150, 3/13, 2208+ Boston "Don't Look Back" VG signal & audio

Well, the blizzard was pretty much a bust here. 6" instead of the 12"-18" that the weather forecasters were calling for. I spent the day sweeping, scrubbing, & polyurethaning a floor--and missed a pi-day themed station in the morning. But I've got one on now:

unid: 6925U, 3/14, 2251+ Run DMC "It's Tricky." Excellent signal

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that I heard a bit of something earlier:

unid: 6925U, 3/14, ca1600 Folks on HFU were reporting TV show audio. I tuned in and the signal was getting buried under local noise, still leftover from last night, around S7. Someone with a strong AM signal signed on overtop and swished the VFO back'n'forth a few times.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Next Global HF Weekend: March 30-April 2, 2017

Next Global HF Weekend: March 30-April 2, 2017
It's still a few weeks away, so be sure to mark the next Global HF Pirate Weekend on your calendar. The last one, which occurred during the first weekend in November was a sort of trial run. Cupid Radio and Mike Radio from The Netherlands were both widely reported in North America, and the former even made it to Japan. Sluwe Vos Radio wasn't reported as much in North America, but this Dutch station was reported in Brazil during the last GHF weekend.

March 30-April 2, 2017
General frequency ranges:
15010-15100 kHz
21455-21550 kHz

Basic schedule:
European morning, 0800-1200 UTC from Europe to Asia/Japan/Oceania.
European afternoon, 1200-1600 UTC from Europe to North America and vice versa.
European night, 2200-2400 UTC from North America to Asia/Oceania.

Of course, these are general frequency ranges where pirates have broadcast during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. These will be updated on HF Underground ( and on the Hobby Broadcasting ( blog as it happens.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Winter SWL Fest: Day 2 Continued

I had planned to add more about day 2, but I was either away from a power outlet, experiencing some spotty Internet connectivity, talking to people, or at the mall eating mall-grade cheesesteaks (a misteak, so close to Philly). Anyway, there was plenty of great stuff to take away from day 2 . . . and we talked the whole way home about the people we talked to, the stories we heard, the information we gathered. Really energizing. I don't want to write about too much of it here because I know some people are sensitive about being written about. But, wow, when you're listening to a forum from a guy who was in a North Korean chemical weapons factory and he's showing videos that he secretly filmed while he was there . . . that's something else!

Changing topics a bit, here are a few of the receivers that were in the hospitality suite and were generously available to be tuned

A pair of JRC NRD-301A receivers
The Racal RA6790
The Racal RA3791
An Icom IC-R9500

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter SWL Fest Day 2

This morning, I've been learning about DXing in Japan, presented by Toshimichi Ohtak√© and Saka√© Obara of the Japan Shortwave Club (JSWC). [I blockcopied their names from another page to get the accents & spelling right, but it's probably going to be messed up]. Sakae has a blog that's worth checking out for general shortwave-listening information. Some fascinating information. For example, Radio Australia received 20,000 letters per month from Japan alone in 1973.

Sakae said that although shortwave listening in Japan has dropped off significantly since the radio explosion of the '70s, Baby Boomers are getting back into the hobby. He also said that more young listeners are getting involved.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Winter SWL Fest

I've been out and away from the radio for quite a while, but I'm at the Winter SWL Fest and am sitting in the audience of the Shortwave Shindig (being broadcast live via WRMI on 6855 and 9395 kHz), hosted by David Goren. With the lights dimmed, it has a sort of low-key variety show feeling. I don't think that there are many experiences quite like this anywhere in the world.

I've spent a number of days over the past few years listening to vintage radio programs on the old-time radio unidentified station. Some of these broadcasts were variety shows, such as Jack Benny, Red Skelton, etc. I'm sure that it doesn't quite have the majestic vibe of attending the original variety shows of the '40s and '50s, but I still imagine that the feeling of being here is the closest I'll get to experiencing those shows of yesteryear.

The original "Gang of Three" NASWA Winter SWL Fest organizers being interviewed
There's always a lot of interesting information here. Tomorrow should be a fascinating forum with Chris Ise and Andy Walker, who will talking about Offshore '98, Radio San Marino, and Mystery Radio. Right now, broadcast anthropologist Mark Fahey is giving a teaser for his forum tomorrow regarding radio archiving.

I'll be writing more about it soon, but the next Global HF weekend is March 30-April 2, 2017. I've already heard from some hobbyists who are interested in participating, so I'm looking forward to activities over the weekend.

Burley Cathedral

On an entirely different note, I was trolling around through some little antique shops and found a cathedral radio made by Burley. I'd never heard of Burley and I found almost nothing anywhere on the Internet about the company or the radios. Someone refinished the cabinet, maybe in the '80s?, and there was no tube lineup/model number label glued inside the case. But it does have a decal on the chassis with patent numbers. And in small print is "Mfd by U.A.C.C." I found that this means "United Air Cleaner Company" and UACC made the Sentinel radios. I guess that Burley was probably some brand made for a little department store or hardware store, but I have no idea who . . . and this case doesn't match up with any other radio that I've found online. At some point, I'll probably write more about this radio. But for now, here are a couple of photos: