Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Ever Heard Of Heathkit's SS-8000 Digital Transceiver? .... Me Neither!


courtesy N8RS

The Heathkit SS-8000 was a unique synthesized HF transceiver (160-10m) originally designed as a kit in 1978. The reason that very few hams have heard of it is that it was never released … and only three were ever prototyped!

Robert Sumption, N8RS, is an ex-Heathkit engineer who worked on the project back in the late 70s. He recalls that after evaluating the project, it was deemed too complicated to be offered as a kit, since once built, most builders would not have the test equipment needed to align it properly. Consequently all three units were dissembled and sent to a local scrapyard!
 
Fast forward to 2015 when Bob came across all of the boxes of ‘scrap’ that someone had rescued from the scrapyard back in the day and the entire pile was now selling on eBay.
 
Would the SS-8000 live to meet it’s intended destiny? Bob describes this very challenging project in his six 5-minute videos.
 
Part 1:

 
Part 2:

 
Part 3:

 
Part 4:

 
Part 5:

 
Part 6:



I hope you find the videos as interesting as I did. It seems that Bob has some terrific skills and a lot of patience!

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Hunting For NDBs in CLE285

YPO-401 Peawanuck, ON tnx: ve3gop.com

It's CLE time once again. This is a challenge for all newcomers to NDB listening and the ultimate test of your medium frequency receiving capabilities. Can you meet the challenge?

'CLE's are 'Co-ordinated  Listening Events, and NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of  the NDB spectrum.
 
It's back to a normal activity with a frequency span of 400.0 - 419.9 kHz.

A good target for all NA listeners is YPO on 401 kHz in Ontario. Listen for its upper sideband CW identifier on 401.392 kHz.

When tuning for NDBs, put your receiver in the CW mode and listen for the NDB's CW identifier, repeated every few seconds. Listen for U.S. NDB identifiers approximately 1 kHz higher or lower than the published transmitted frequency since these beacons are modulated with a 1020 Hz tone approximately.

For example, 'AA' near Fargo, ND, transmitted on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier was tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident could be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone was actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone was 1054 Hz.

Often, one sideband will be much stronger than the other so if you don't hear the first one, try listening on the other sideband.

Canadian NDBs normally have an USB tone only, usually very close to 400 Hz. They also have a long dash (keydown) following the CW identifier.

All NDBs heard in North America will be listed in the RNA database (updated daily) while those heard in Europe may be found in the REU database. Beacons heard outside of these regions will be found in the RWW database.

From CLE organizers comes the following CLE info:

Our 285th Coordinated Listening Event starts on Friday.

This frequency range is not packed with signals for any of us, but if conditions are OK there could be some nice surprises.

Do join in, whether you have days to spare, or only an hour or so over the weekend. 

 

     Days:     Friday 28 October - Monday 31 October 2022

     Times:   Start and end at midday your LOCAL time

           PLEASE NOTE that most of us will be changing our house clocks

           during the weekend, but UTC time continues without changes.

     Range:   400 - 419.9 kHz

 

Please log all the NDBs that you can identify with nominal (listed) frequencies in the range - it includes 400 kHz, but not 420 kHz - plus any UNIDs that you come across there.

 

Send your final log to the List (no attachments please) with ‘CLE285’ and 'FINAL' in its title.

Show on each line:

    #   The Date (e.g.  '2022-10-28', etc.,  or just '28' )

    #   The Time in UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).

    #   kHz  - the nominal published frequency, if known.

    #   The Call Ident.

 

Please show those main items FIRST.   Other optional details such as Location and Distance go LATER in the same line.

As always, of course, tell us your own location and brief details of the equipment that you were using during the Event.

 

We will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 20:00 UTC on Tuesday so that you can check that your log has been found OK.

Do make sure that your log has arrived on the List by 09:00 UTC on Wednesday 2 November at the very latest.

We hope to complete making the combined results within a day or two.

 

You can find full details about the coming CLE from the RWW Website, including the CLE285 seeklists for your part of the World – just select CLE from the main menu.

Details about current and past CLEs are available from Alan’s NDB List Website, http://www.ndblist.info      

 

Good listening

   Brian and Joachim

-------------------------------------------------------------------

From:      Brian Keyte G3SIA      ndbcle'at'ndblist.info

Location:  Surrey,  SE England     (CLE coordinator)

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

  (If you would like to listen remotely you could use any

   one remote receiver for your loggings, stating its location

   and owner and with their permission if required. 

   A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver,

   local or remote, to make further loggings for the same CLE)

 

A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver,  whether local or remote, to obtain further loggings  for the same CLE)

These listening events serve several purposes. They

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the newly-re-vamped Rxx online database can be kept up-to-date

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range


• will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations


• will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working


• give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed


Final details can be found at the NDB List website, and worldwide results, for every participant, will be posted there a few days after the event.


The NDB List Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other DXers in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

You need not be an NDB List member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers.

Remember - 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the NDB List Group or e-mailed to CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above. If you are a member of the group, all final results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Have fun and good hunting!

 

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Recent Crystal Radio DX Group 'Listening Event'


Crystal Shortwave Receiver of Al Klase (N3FRQ) 
 

The Facebook Crystal Radio DX Group’s fall listening event was held two weekends ago over a two-night listening period. Unlike last year’s event, this was not a contest but rather a leisurely opportunity for members to take some time to see what they could hear with their setups. Also unlike last year, this one introduced and encouraged members to see what they might hear on shortwave! Since circuits losses are measurably much higher as you climb above the broadcast band, audio amplification (AF) was permitted to encourage members to give it a try as this was a whole new region to explore for most of us.

The addition of shortwave inspired much discussion as well as construction, the main objectives of founding the group.

Shortwave crystal radio was all new to me as well and I struggled for several days, right up to the event’s starting time, to even be able to detect a signal. I had chosen to follow a similar path as described in WU2D’s excellent video, using simple link coupling into the detector tank circuit. I reasoned (probably incorrectly) that my end-fed 80m halfwave inverted-V would be close enough to resonating on the 5, 6 and 7 MHz SW bands to provide enough signal into the detector. After playing with this system as well as other antennas for several days, I eventually abandoned the concept and tried a different approach.

I added a loosely coupled tuned antenna input using my 630m inverted-V wire, bypassing its large loading coil and low-impedance matching system. Essentially it was a big vertical long wire tuned against a number of buried ground radials. I also added an LM386 audio stage between the detector and headphones, something I had not tried with the previous system.
 
This simple approach immediately produced signals … just in time for the start of the party at sunset!
 



Obviously, from just the physical appearance of my own SW tuner, there is a vast amount of room for improvement! As crude as it was, the following signals were all heard and verified on a separate SW spotter radio.

Oct 1

0250 10000 WWV Colorado
0255 7365 Radio Marti, Greenville, NC - Spanish
0305 9850 Radio Romania Int'l, Tiganesti, Romania - English
0310 9790 China Radio Int'l (CRI) Quivican, Cuba - English
0315 7375 Radio Romania Int'l, Tiganesti, Romania - English
0320 7335 Radio Marti, Greenville, NC - Spanish
0355 5000 WWV Colorado
0400 5935 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
0408 5085 WTWW, Lebanon, TN - English
0429 4840 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
0435 6000 Radio Habana Cuba, Quivican, Cuba - English
1411 6075 China National Radio 1(CNR), Baoji-Sifangshan, PRC - Chinese
1416 5980 Radio New Zealand, Rangitaki, NZ - English
1420 5965 CRI, Xianyang, PRC - Korean
1424 6125 CNR1, Beijing, PRC - Chinese
1426 6175 Voice of China, Beijing - Chinese
1428 7200 National Unity Radio, Tamsui District, Taiwan - Korean
1434 7410 CRI, Jinhua, PRC - Japanese
1436 7395 CRI, Kashi-Saibagh, PRC - Chinese
1437 7365 Voice of China, Shijiazhuang, PRC - Chinese
1452 9410 Voice of America, Tinang, Philippines - Korean
1741 12095 BBC, Kranji, Singapore - Korean
1745 11870 CRI, Urumqi Hutubi, PRC - Russian
2045 15000 WWV, Colorado
2312 11780 Radio Nat'l Amazonia, Brasilia, Brazil - Portuguese
Oct 2
1212 7245 Radio New Zealand, Rangitaki, NZ - English
1214 7310 CNR1, unknown tx site - Chinese
1220 7325 CRI, Jinhua, PRC - Japanese
1230 7355 KNLS, Anchor Point, AK - English
1240 7490 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
1300 9675 CRI, Shijiazhuang, PRC - Russian
1307 9350 Voice of America, Tinang, Philippines - Korean
1311 9435 Voice of Korea, Kujang, N. Korea - English
1350 9265 WINB, Red Lion, PA - English
1740 9580 KNLS, Anchor Point, AK - Russian
1800 15580 VOA, Selebi-Phikwe, Botsawna - English

Reviewing many of the vintage radio magazines from the late 20s and early 30s, there appears to be very little published material from this era. I found this somewhat surprising but then perhaps not ... maybe most radio-buffs were still entranced by the new regenerative circuits popping-up every month and had little appetite for crystal SW receivers.
 
It would appear that even today there has not been much investigation or experimentation in building an efficient low-loss crystal receiving system for shortwave … somewhat of a golden opportunity for today’s crop of crystal radio builders!

In view of the above, along with a surprising amount of interest in SW during our recent listening event, I’d like to include SW in all future events going forward and possibly encourage even more new interest in developing efficient circuits. Is it practical to consider non-audio amplification for such circuit’s? Time will tell but already, several members are having measured success with just bare headphones!

Some of the BCB and SW construction inspired by the recent listening event is shown below. For more information and more sets, please visit the Facebook Group and consider taking part in our next event, sometime in December ... maybe you can build the perfect SW tuner!


Terry Jean Double-Tuned Loopstick BCB Tuner


James Kern Double-Tuned BCB Tuner


Ferhat Yavas Shortwave Tuner


Armando Anazco BCB Tuner


Doug Allen (K4LY) Shortwave Tuner

Don Dulmage (VE3LYX) Loop SW Tuner



Doug Allen (K4LY) Shortwave Tuner

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

The DX Central's Weekly MW Frequency Challenge


If you enjoy DXing the broadcast band, then the weekly ‘DX Central MW Frequency Challenge' may be of interest to you. It’s run and organized by Loyd Van Horn, W4LVH, a dedicated DXer and a big promoter of BCB DXing.


Basically, participants are asked to listen on the chosen frequency (or frequencies) for a one week period (Friday to Friday) and report what they have been able to identify. Results of course will be different throughout the continent but if you are near any other listeners, it’s always fun to compare your final results.

The new frequency (or frequencies) are announced Friday evening  on Loyd's regular live-feed Youtube channel as well as on his Twitter feed   @dxcentral 


Loggings are reported via a fill-in form which is updated weekly.


This week's frequencies are 670-702kHz - What do you here there?


                         

Monday, 19 September 2022

Summer Radio Project Completed


My summer radio project, motivated by a magazine article published in 1936, has now been completed and fully described on my main website. Hopefully we can soon exchange Cycle 25 signals with it on the higher bands:

                             https://qsl.net/ve7sl/6a6.html