Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tune in the World!

Sort of.
At least that's what the book cover said.
What I learned later was that you actually had to learn some stuff before you could actually talk to folks, moving your mouth, around the world.
Most of world wide contacts I made were done via CW, or carrier wave, using an antiquated thing called Morse Code.
Which turned out to be a good thing for I live in a dead spot when it comes to receiving RF(radio frequency) signals.
Using CW you see, tends to break through all the muck and stuff.
Anyways, The Flat Tire Listening Post(TFTLP) is up and running!

Notice I didn't get just any model.
I got the DELUXE model.
Whatever that is.
So anyways, I plug the thing in and plug into the world!
The Grundig S350DL has got some nice features like fine tuning and and an RF gain thingy. There's also some bass and treble controls for when you want to listen to audio filet quality broadcasts coming over the north pole.
You got your AM and FM and continuous coverage in three SW bands from 3 to 28 megs.
That's megahertz for you non short wave types.
More on continuous coverage later.
The radio also has an alarm/snooze feature, some wide and narrow filters, a clock and a back light.
The only thing I wish it had was some presets for my favorite morning talk show. Flipping it back to the AM band doesn't take you back to where you left.
If you know what I mean.
Okay, the first thing to do is check WWV, these stations that continually broadcast the time. The station broadcasts on different frequencies which is helpful when checking to see what bands are open(working).
See not all radio frequencies can be used all the time. The lower bands are used mostly at night and the upper ones during the day.
WWV also operates a station in Kekaha Kauai called WWVH which broadcasts on the same frequencies only directional, out to the west.
WWVH at 10mhz:

You can tell this WWVH and not the regular WWV cause the voice is female.
I barely got WWV at 20mhz in Colorado:

What this means is that either propagation is not good or my antenna really sucks.
Speaking of antennas, JRA of One Speed: Go! fame asked me about antennas and here is my short term solution:

A spool of cheap speaker wire plugged into the antenna thingy on the radio and the spool set up on a shelf above the radio.
Actually I'd take that spool and throw it up onto the roof if I thought I could get away with it.
For now, this will do.
It works about as well as pulling out the telescopic antenna on the radio which is a good thing for I'm not keen on having that thing waving about whenever I want to scan the band.
The telescoping antenna I mean.
Daytime is usually a bit noisy and the broadcasts go in and out.
Night time is real short wave listening(SWL) time!
I'll do more antenna testing tonight when things get a bit more stable.
There's just something magical about listening to stuff come to you from half way round the world.
It's even more fun sending signals out, but until I get my transceiver fixed, this will have to do.
Okay, off I go to tune in the world!
Radio Australia at 14mhz:

Actually, it's time for me to tune in to Law & Order.


Steve A said...

Don't you have one of those giant antennas in your back yard?

limom said...

Well, way back in another life, I did have an 18 foot long 4 element beam on the other side of the house.
My neighbors could hear me on their FM stereo.