Kilokat7 Radio Blog

West Michigan DX Log

Archive for May, 2010

500kc loggings

Posted by kilokat7 on May 31, 2010

Since I’ve taken up the antenna for the summer season, I continue to DX “in the past” thanks to the spectrum recording feature on the Perseus.  Typically I record 100khz to 1700khz and usually discard the recording once I’ve gone through the whole MW band unless there’s something interesting worth archiving.  I decided on this particular recording to check for activity on the 600 meter experimental amateur band and was pleased to log WD2XSH/6 from Mississippi on 508.8 khz sending out a CW holiday greeting:

According to a report read on 500kc.com, station WD2XSH/6 has a calculated ERP of 16 watts.  In addition to this, non-directional beacon “PP” (IA @ 511 miles) was logged on 513 khz faintly under a strong “OS”(OH) and a weaker “PN” (OK @ 727 miles).  Further up the dial @ 520 khz, beacon “F9” was heard from New Brunswick (1040 miles).  In the midst of slop from 530 CIAO Brampton, beacon “JJH” (NY @ 598 miles) was faintly heard.

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80s Pirate Radio: Part 2

Posted by kilokat7 on May 24, 2010

Work continues digitizing old cassette tapes of shortwave pirate recordings.  It’s a nasty job but someone has to do it.  Originally I thought I had about 70 tapes total, but the number is well over 100 as I keep stumbling upon more, not to mention other recorded shortwave oddities.  Here are the most recently added recordings with short commentaries:

Action Radio – 7416 Khz – December 25th, 1990 – 2320 UTC
Noted as the last entry in my pirate logbook, Action Radio’s Christmas Eve broadcast started out with a nice clear signal in this recording and gradually faded down by sign-off time (note the Cheers theme song that Action Radio used for a sign-off).

Hope Radio Int’l. & Others – 7415 Khz – December 25th, 1990 – approx 2340 UTC
This clip picks up where Action Radio (transmission above) left off, revealing a weaker station playing music down on 7410.  The killer hetrodyne that you’ll hear is coming from Hope Radio Int’l. up on 7415 seeking a two-way pirate QSO and later getting yelled at by another operator for causing QRM to the 7410 station.  Note the massive signal from Hope Radio, probably a kilowatt or more.  At about minute 7:30 in the clip I start shortwave dial spinning- sort of interesting in itself hearing some of the SW broadcasters from this time.  The clip ends with two other pirate ops in a QSO, one possibly CEPR “Experimental Propagation Radio”.

Radio North Coast International – 3445 Khz – November 1st, 1987 – 0520 UTC
Captain Willy’s well polished RNCI shortwave Halloween Special / Phil Spector Special.  Classic shortwave pirate parody programming at its finest. Nice signal received.

WYMN Woman’s Radio – 7430 Khz – November 7th, 1987 – 1712 UTC
Probably the world’s first feminist pirate radio station.  This short clip contains some local QRN but the ID is clearly heard under the noise.

Radio Mauser Worldwide – 7415 Khz – December 12th, 1987 – 8:05 PM EST
A discombobulated show to say the least during this broadcast.  At one point it sounded like a QSO between Mouser and other op, and other times just endless ramblings.  I stripped out the IDs and produced a short clip so that I have them “on record”.

The Voice of Free Long Island – 7415 Khz -December 24th, 1987 – 2226 UTC
The VOFLI began operations in 1987 on Long Island, NY. using 100w and described itself as a politically conservative pirate supporting such causes as the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters and the Afghan Freedom Fighters.  Though conservatively focused, the VOFLI also played pop music at times, as in this clip, and took live phone calls from DXers.  In this clip you’ll hear the op take a live call from yours truly, though problems with the station’s phone patch prevented the telephone call from being heard over the air.  The station’s op went by the handle of “The General” and was a licensed 21 year old ham radio operator at the time of this broadcast.  Interestingly, some of the early VOFLI QSL cards were the op’s ARRL sanctioned cards with a label simply stuck over the ham’s call letters!

WGAT – 7415 Khz – December 31st, 1987 – 0202 UTC
From deep in the Dismal Swamp of Eastern Virginia comes WGAT  – GATOR RADIO!  Though more music based, I always enjoyed hearing Dr. Klystron’s voice coming over the airwaves.  The station claimed to be using a 1956 commercial RCA 500 watt transmitter and a half wave dipole supported from two cyprus trees.

WGAT – 7415 Khz – December 31st, 1987 – 0331 UTC
Gator Radio returned later in the evening on New Years Eve for a second broadcast as heard here.

Celtic Nation Radio – 7416 Khz – October 31st, 1988 – 0245 UTC
Hope you like Irish folk songs!

KBFA – 8002 Khz – September 5th, 1987 – 0305 UTC
More KBFA with 80s music “blowing the doors off WRNO”, or so the op claimed.  Note the unusual frequency used.  I have to admit the signal was pretty strong starting out!

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Perseus and MSI Wind Netbook

Posted by kilokat7 on May 11, 2010

Prior to ordering the Perseus I was conflicted with what kind of computer I would need to successfully DX with the SDR. None of the computers I use at home run Windows (I prefer linux), and none are modern enough to successfully utilize the Perseus to its full potential (full bandwidth recording). Not wanting to spend a lot of money on a new computer just for this purpose, I decided to buy a MSI Wind U100 netbook strictly for using with the Perseus. My decision was based on a favorable review by Guy Atkins using the U100 with the Perseus.

I picked up a U100 from Newegg for a nice price and upgraded the ram to 2GB and did the bios update. The bios update allows me to over-clock the machine for maximum performance during recording sessions with the Perseus.

This is all outlined in Guy’s review on his blog. In addition to the above, I’m using a hack that allows the netbook to be over-clocked while running off the battery – no more RF noise from the Wind’s AC power supply.

With my setup, I’ve found it performs best when over-clocked 8%, and this is only needed when recording at the high 2000 kS/s sampling rate. O/C is not needed when playing back the same file and only needed during recording. As it happens, my Wind is very unstable when over-clocked the full 24% despite using quality ram and disabling the on-board memory.

Ready for DX! Perseus SDR & MSI Netbook

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Pirate radio: tripping down memory lane

Posted by kilokat7 on May 9, 2010

During the 1980s, I recorded many American pirate radio stations on cassette tape and actively traded tapes with other DXers.  A slow and long process of transferring these cassettes to MP3 was undertaken a few years ago with many more tapes left to convert.  Below is the start of a list of stations that I have recorded and archived, with more to follow as time permits to process them.  The quality varies from decent to down right horrible (depending on band conditions at the time, recording media, etc.), but nonetheless they are presented here for historical purposes. All recordings were made from a circa 1986 GE “World Monitor” shortwave receiver and a simple longwire antenna.

KBFA – 7400 Khz – November 27th, 1987 – 1618 UTC
Calling themselves the “Broadcasters of Free America”, this pirate usually operated on the odd frequency of 8000 Khz and solicited reception reports to the Pirates Den column in Popular Communications magazine. This drove the column editor nuts and frustrated me since I could never get a QSL from these guys. KBFA played a good mix of 80s pop music and the station ops went by the name of “The Archer” & “Corona”.  As noted here, KBFA also operated near 7400 Khz and used the slogans “AM 74” & “AM 8000” depending on the frequency used during a broadcast.  KBFA claimed they were broadcasting at 200 watts (TROMP-MI)

Radio Clandestine – 3445 Khz – September 26th, 1987 – 0423 UTC
Station op “RF Burns” operating here at the top of the 90 meter band with his classic anti hum-drum programming style.  I’m still waiting for my reception report to be verified that I sent in over 20 years ago.  Hey Clandestine – how about it? 🙂 (TROMP-MI)

Radio Clandestine – time/date/frequency unknown – should have kept better records
This short clip contains Radio Clandestine signing off, possibly continued from the broadcast noted above (TROMP-MI)

WDOG – 7415 Khz – October 10th, 1987 – 0014 UTC
Perhaps the only broadcast (and logging) of this shortwave pirate calling itself “WDOG” testing and playing a string of songs by Gary Numa. (TROMP-MI)

The Voice of Laryngitis – 7415 Khz – October 31st, 1987 – 2231 UTC
Classic Huxley style programming at its best! (TROMP-MI)

Secret Mountain Laboratory – unknown date/time/frequency – circa 1987
A rough cut here of a SML shortwave broadcast. (TROMP-MI)

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Auroral opening

Posted by kilokat7 on May 2, 2010

I have been using the Perseus for a few months now and thoroughly enjoy it.  The spectrum recording capability of the Perseus came into good use during an auroral opening last month.  From my Michigan location, the medium wave band was not recognizable the night of the April 7th, 2010, thanks to this event.  Signals from the South replaced those more familiar to my ears and it made for some interesting DX to say the least!  Two Perseus recordings were made of the MW band on the night of the 7th at both 8pm & 9pm EST to capture and preserve this event so that I could DX the entire band at my leisure.  Fast forward almost a month later, and I’m finally done going through the TOH recordings and can report on the signals received during that interesting night.  A total of 47 new stations were logged with Cubans all over the dial.  Two new states were logged including Florida and South Carolina, and Puerto Rico was logged for the first time.  Stations from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama were also abundant, sometimes two to a frequency.  What makes this interesting for me is that my fixed BOG antenna favors the E-W direction and I rarely receive any signals from the South with this antenna.  I can only imagine how the DX would have been if I had the antenna beaming South (unfortunately not possible at this location).  On to the logs already:

kHz    UTC    ITU    Program + Location    Details
600    0102    CUB    CMKV Radio Rebelde, Urbano Noris (ho)    Presumed, // to AM 1180
680    0207    USA    WCBM, Baltimore (MD)    Weak ID under CFTR & WCTT
680    0100    PTR    WAPA Cadena WAPA Guapa, San Juan (PR)    Slogan: Cadena WAPA Radio @ TOH
790    0101    USA    WVCD, Bamberg-Denmark (SC)    Weak ID under semi-local WSGW
820    0110    CUB    Radio Reloj, Contramaestre (sc)    Radio Reloj 819.525 offset
890    0104    CUB    CMDZ Radio Progreso, Chambas (ca)    // AM 900
900    0100    CUB    CMKB Radio Progreso, Cacocun (ho)    Clear Radio Progresso Punto ID @ TOH
930    0000    USA    WAUR, Sandwich (IL)    Slogan: Relevant Radio, ID faintly heard under semi local WBCK
950    0055    CUB    Radio Reloj, La Habana (ch)    Time pips & morse code RR heard under WNTD
960    0057    CUB    CMDJ Radio Reloj, Guantánamo (gu)    Time pips & morse code audible
980    0100    USA    WPGA, Perry (GA)    ABC News @ TOH
1020    0100    CUB    Radio Reloj, Jorobo (lt)    Faint morse code RR heard under another SS UNID
1050    0057    USA    WIQB, Conway (SC)    Slogan: ESPN Radio for the grandslam, 93.9, 93.7 & 1050 AM, The Team
1070    0101    USA    WEKT, Elkton (KY)    ID: WEKT AM 10-70 Elkton Kentucky
1080    0000    USA    WNWI, Oak Lawn (IL)    Ethnic prg
1100    0058    USA    KDRY, Alamo Heights (TX)    Religious prg
1130    0050    USA    KWKH, Shreveport (LA)    w/ LSU Baseball and local ads
1150    0101    USA    WGGH, Marion (IL)    Slogan: Southern Illinois trusted voice since 1949 w/ classic c/w mx
1170    0000    USA    KFAQ, Tulsa (OK)
1180    0102    CUB    CMBA Radio Rebelde, Villa Maria (ca)    Presumed, // to AM 600
1200    0000    USA    WRTO La Tremenda, Chicago (IL)    Spanish language programming
1250    0100    USA    WRAY, Princeton (IN)    Slogan: Newstalk 12-50, w/ AP News @ TOH
1270    0059    USA    WFUL, Fulton (KY)    w/ various show promos & ID
1270    0100    USA    KRVT, Claremore (OK)    w/ Major League Baseball
1290    0000    USA    WHKY, Hickory (NC)    w/ Performance Racing Network programming
1300    0101    USA    WNQM, Nashville (TN)    w/ Spanish ID and Spanish mx
1310    0000    USA    WDXI, Jackson (TN)    LSU Tigers baseball coverage
1320    0102    USA    KRLW, Walnut Ridge (AR)    (TENT) faint partial callsign heard and slogan Oldies 13-20 w/ oldies mx
1330    0000    USA    WEBY, Milton (FL)    Slogan: Florida’s Talk Radio
1330    0000    USA    WVHI, Evansville (IN)    w/ Insight For Living religious program
1350    0100    USA    WKCU, Corinth (MS)    w/ urban or black gospel mx, TOH clear ID
1360    0058    USA    WBLC, Lenoir City (TN)    w/ local ad for Muffler, Brakes, and More then ID
1370    0057    USA    WDXE, Lawrenceburg (TN)    Slogan: Classic Country Music
1380    0055    USA    WMJR, Winchester (KY)    Slogan: Real Life Radio, Spot for Faith & Science Catholic religious prg
1390    0000    USA    WTJS Newsradio 13-90, Jackson (TN)    Mention of Kim Komando, TJ Metro?, and legal ID @ TOH
1420    0000    USA    WVJS, Owensboro (KY)
1430    0056    USA    KZQZ, St. Louis (MO)    Slogan: All New KZQZ Cool Oldies 14-30 AM
1440    0000    USA    WZYX, Cowan (TN)    Oldies mx, Rod Stewart song
1440    0100    USA    WHDM, Mckenzie (TN)    Slogan: Your Home For The Classic Hits, faint TOH ID under WZYX
1460    0100    USA    WXBR, Brockton (MA)    (TENT) TOH ID
1470    0058    USA    WBCR, Alcoa (TN)    Presumed, with partial callsign heard and liner for gcnlive.com
1470    0100    USA    WVOL, Berry Hill (TN)    Ubran oldies mx    Unusually good cx to the South
1540    0000    USA    WSMI, Litchfield (IL)    w/ sign-off announcement
1560    0000    USA    WMRO, Gallatin (TN)    Slogan: Today’s Best Hits, Magic 15-60
1590    0000    USA    WVNA, Tuscumbia (AL)    Slogan: Newstalk 15-90
1600    0100    USA    KRVA, Cockrell Hill (TX)    Ethnic Asian mx
1600    0101    USA    WKZK, North Augusta (SC)    w/ ID and mention of 103.7 FM

New stations heard here, April 7th ,2010

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