Been a while since I posted (yet again) and a very belated Happy New Year to whoever reads this…
MF has been rubbish for couple of months or so but with the Euro shut-down of France/Germany and Luxembourg MF stations some more DX becomes possible. The morning of 1 February had some very interesting conditions towards Latin America and I logged my first Nicaraguan: See how Radio Maranatha was sounding on this clip –
MF and HF conditions have been terrible overall the last couple of months though NA MF peaked up last week in October whilst in Carcassonne and the 300m BOG brought in some good catches. Here in London the first week or so of November has seen middling MF with only east-coast regulars making it through. However the Irish unlicensed stations have been particularly good this month – often audible through the late afternoon, evening, night and early mornings well after dawn.
Here’s how Radio North 846 and Star Country 981 were sounding couple of nights ago in London:
Whilst the north of Ireland relay of Horizon FM on 927 kHz seems to have had either a transmitter power or antenna gain boost. Here’s how it was coming into London at 19.15:
HF conditions have been dire the past week or so due to an active sun. However there has been some interesting MF DX available.
I assume either Family Radio WFME New York was off this particular morning or strange propagation conditions as KGOW Houston Yahoo Sports Radio was coming through on 1560 kHz at 0500 UTC 8 September 2015:
Later that evening I had some Brazilian reception on 940 kHz from Radio Super Rede Boa Vontade Rio do Janeiro. Brazil is unusual at this QTH due to southern UK location and Flag beam width not optimal for 220 degrees (Flag points at 300 degrees).
Kit was Perseus SDR with 10×4 m flag antenna and Wellbrook FLG100LN pre-amp/balun.
So last Saturday I drove to the woods and parked in a convenient lay-by near the mountain bike centre. It was a beautiful sunny day – lovely to be in the open air playing radio! A short walk to the trig point and I set up the antenna and rig – after some adventures trying to guy the sotapole I eventually just secured it to the trig point with bungee cords.
I started out on 40m with a bandhopper two dipole antenna and conditions were actually very good. I used the sota goat app on my iPhone to spot myself (self-spotting is acceptable and recommended for sota) and the hamlog app on the iPhone to log contacts as I had forgotten a pen or pencil!). I worked stations in England, Wales, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland – see full log below. I then switched to 60m using a half-wave end-fed dipole and had another few contacts. 60m conditions were much noisier and difficult compared to 40m which was quiet with most calling stations being 59+. You need 4 contacts to officially activate a summit.
The scenery around the trig point is very beautiful – here’s a few more pics. Unlike the actual Wendover Woods centre, which was packed to bursting with picnicking families and activities, the trig point field was empty – a solitary walker and two mountain bikers were the only visitors in over two hours.
The NA MF season has started again here in London after the Peruvian dominated LA/SA summer season closed. 0400 07 August 2015 was the best time and date last week and here’s how some common east coast power houses were sounding: 1660 WWRU NY, 1700 WRCR Rockland NY (new station), 1560 WMFE Family Radio NY and 1510 WMEX Boston MA.
There was nothing much evident below 1200 kHz but lots of carriers above that as well as audio from the more powerful stations. X-band in particular had carriers/audio on every channel.
Equipment was usual Perseus SDR plus 10x4m Flag antenna but I have replaced the home-brew binoc balun with the updated FLG-100 low noise Wellbrook pre-amp/balun. Playback was via the new 5.0a Perseus demo. Jury’s out on whether it will be worth paying for the updated V5 software when released. Perseus and FM+ are being heavily discounted now. From £699 plus £299 for the FM+ at Martin Lynch you can now pick up for £549 and £199 – looks like Elad is taking Microtelecom to the cleaners…
BTW no NR was applied to the playback – why some MF dxers insist on distorting audio with inappropriate use of noise reduction I’ll never know!