Thursday, 26 July 2018
Hunting For NDBs In CLE 234
This coming weekend will see the 'Barn Door' CLE, mentioned in a previous blogspot here. Listeners are required to challenge themselves by listening on a receiver using a wide enough bandwidth that several kHz worth of signals can be heard at once.
The 'immersive' effect this wider bandwidth mode provides is much different than when listening with narrow filters and can make digging out IDs a lot more challenging. Throwing in some mid-summer lightning noise makes it even tougher, but if it were easy, it just wouldn't be much fun!
Many, including myself, will be using homebrew single MOSFET regenerative receivers, often called a '1AD' since they normally use just one active device. I've just finished testing my own version and have been able to hear some night time DX so hopefully the band will be quiet enough to hear some signals during the CLE.
From CLE organizer Brian Keyte, here are the details explained ... and good luck to all participants!
It is an opportunity to bring back to life basic kinds of receiver - anything with low selectivity which allows you to hear NDBs on several frequencies simultaneously - leaving the barn door wide open!
Listening with 'back to basics' equipment often gives very satisfying and unexpected results. It can also show us ways of improving our listening when operating more normally.
Our last Barn Door CLE was No. 209 in July two years ago.
Here comes our fifth 'Barn Door' CLE. Between us there will be a great variety of different receiver types in use.
Days: Friday 27 to Monday 30 July 2018
Times: Start at ## 11 a.m. on Friday 27th, your LOCAL time
End at ## 3 p.m. on Monday 30th, your LOCAL time
Frequencies: Centred on 360 kHz (see below)
NDBs: NOT MORE than 100 'normal' NDBs including any UNIDs
(That is not intended to be a target to reach)
We are all asked to listen with NON-SELECTIVE receivers - i.e. with a WIDE
filter or NO filter. Your 'barn door' should be open wide so you could
hear, at the same time, any NDBs 2 kHz away on both sides of your receiver
setting - E.g. NDBs on 348, 349, 350, 351 and 352 kHz with the receiver set
to 350 kHz.
## The extra daytime hours on the first and the last day might help some of
us planning to listen out of doors.
You could listen with:
1. A simple home-made receiver, such as a single transistor set with regen.
(e.g. based on the sets used by Mike, Finbar and others).
2. OR - an Ultralight receiver, maybe one converted to cover the NDB
frequencies with a modified aerial.
3. OR - an 'antique' receiver (e.g. Eddystone, R1155, Scott, etc.)
Perhaps you have something you've not switched on for many years?
4. OR - a normal receiver but with NO filtering, or using a WIDE FILTER,
(not less than about 2 kHz and no selection of an audio filter).
You choose how wide a RANGE of frequencies you will listen in, CENTRED ON
360 kHz. You could choose 350-370 kHz or 330-390 kHz or 260-460 kHz, etc.
(This allows each of us to choose a +/- range with enough NDBs to
match our equipment's capability. It will also allow our loggings to
be compared in the Combined Results, at least around 360 kHz).
Logs should show NOT MORE THAN 100 NDBs please (if more than 100, the
harvester program will 'drop' the loggings furthest from 360 kHz).
There are several extra targets you could set yourself - maybe the wide
bandwidth, the centre frequency of 360 kHz and the 100 loggings limit do not
challenge you enough!
You could listen only in daytime and/or away from home.
Or how about NDBs on 360 +/- 10 kHz or even +/- 5 kHz?
The Twente remote receiver in Holland could be interesting to use for the
whole of your (only) CLE log.
( Go to http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ and read the advice there:Select AM and 'MAX IN', enter e.g. 354.7 in the frequency box and change the
filter's limits to 2 or 3 kHz from the centre frequency on both sides )
We’ll summarise everyone's equipment on the first page of the combined
results, so please describe:
The RECEIVER/AERIAL you used and the FILTER(s) selected, if any.
If homebrew, please quote: the total number of active devices used – e.g.
1 for a single transistor stage ( 1AD ) - the transistor/valve types,
whether using regen., etc.
All the usual procedures for making logs apply:
Send your CLE log to NDB List, if possible as a plain text email and not in
Please show on EVERY LINE of your log:
# The full date (or Day No.) and UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).
# kHz - the beacon's nominal published frequency, if known.
# The Call Ident.
Show those main items FIRST on each line, before other optional details
such as Location, Distance, etc. Please send your complete log with
CLE234 and FINAL in the Subject line.
Whether you are a first time CLE-er or a regular, make your log interesting
to everyone by showing your own location and your equipment details.
Do feel free to share any comments you have on this unusual event.
Joachim or I will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 17:00 UTC
on Tuesday 31st so that you can check that your log has been found OK.
Make sure your log has arrived on the List at the very latest by 08:00 UTC
on Wednesday 1 August. We hope to complete making the combined
results a day or so later.
However you choose to take part, we hope you will find your 'back to basics'
listening enjoyable and worthwhile.
P.S. NOT FOR YOU?
Listening without narrow filters is not going to revolutionise our hobby!
But there ARE some unexpected benefits and advantages:
1. Hearing several beacons on a few adjacent frequencies at the same time
becomes easier as you get practice at recognising them by listening to their
very different audio tones. At first, when listening to a random frequency
setting, you may hear just one or two beacons. But after listening for a
little while you realise that there are three - - four, maybe more, all of
them audible without altering any of the receiver controls.
It is a skill that gives satisfaction as you improve.
2. Hearing multiple beacons like that can be useful because, with no extra
tools, you can hear NDBs over a wide frequency range much more quickly than
usual, perhaps spotting the arrival of new UNIDs or the return of occasional
beacons. (To protect your hearing, keep your receiver gain controls fairly
low, except on very quiet frequencies).
3. With normal listening it is easy to miss any NDBs that have abnormal
carrier frequencies or non-standard offsets. With 'Barn Door' listening
they won't escape because everything is let through.
4. When using a wide filter, you may be surprised by hearing some Broadcast
Station signals (e.g. harmonics) among the NDBs and you will be able to
With a narrow filter, often you may not recognise an AM signal as audio
- it just sounds like nondescript 'hash' affecting a wide range of
frequencies around the central carrier.
Maybe listeners will report some other good things about their barn door
listening during the CLE - and probably some bad things too!
Do join in if you can.
From: Brian Keyte G3SIA ndbcle'at'gmail.com
Location: Surrey, SE England (CLE coordinator)
Don't forget that help and chat regarding NDB DXing can be had on the ndb group list here.