Wednesday 31 January 2018

CLE 228 Results

Last weekend's CLE yielded a mixed-bag of propagation. Friday night's conditions were the best of the three nights here in southwest B.C., but others found things a little different ... such are the vagaries of radio's magic.

All told, I logged 40 NDBs in the specified frequency ranges, with five of the logs being all time 'new catches'. After chasing NDBs regularly since the mid-80's, new ones do not come along too often. It's now fairly clear that as the Sun seriously starts to quiet down once again, propagation on the lower bands, especially the MF and LF part of the spectrum, is quickly improving ... a nice change over the past several years of continuous prop-killing geomagnetic activity during the downhill slide of Cycle 24. It looks as though things will be much better over the next several years as things get even quieter.

The highlight of the weekend was 'TOY' - 260kHz, from Tongoy, Chile. Although on the air for many years, this was the first time I have ever heard it ... on both Friday and Sunday evenings.

Located in coastal central Chile, 'TOY' runs some serious power at 3,000 watts. Along with its large vertical and rural location, I'm surprised I haven't heard it before.

Tongoy, Chile courtesy:

The nearby airstrip in seaside Tongoy is apparently no longer in service and the beacon appears to be an 'enroute' navigational beacon, similar to the high-powered ones in many unpopulated regions of northern Canada.

TOY-260 courtesy:

Tongoy Airstrip courtesy:

I have to wonder just how long beacons of this type will be useful enough to maintain as most aero navigation is now reliant on much more accurate GPS, RNAV and RNP systems ... time will tell, but NDBs appear to be going silent with increasing frequency throughout North America.

Another highlight was 500-watter 'QY'-263kHz, located in the heart of Sydney, Nova Scotia and not logged here since 2013. 'QY's large vertical appears to be located in a residential area, but perhaps the beacon was there long before the neighbours moved in. I'll put 'QY' into the receiver's memory as a good indicator of propagation to the east.

QY-263  Sydney, NS courtesy:

Logged using the Perseus SDR and inverted-L tuned to 300 kHz:

27 08:00 260.0 TOY Tongoy, CHL
27 08:00 260.0 ZXS Prince George, BC, CAN
27 08:00 260.0 YSQ Atlin, BC, CAN
27 06:00 260.0 MTH Marathon, FL, USA
27 06:00 260.0 JH Jackson, MS, USA
27 07:00 260.0 SNE Santa Elena, TX, USA
27 08:00 261.0 D6 Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, CAN
27 08:00 263.0 OAY Norton Bay, ALS
27 06:00 263.0 CVM Alton, IL, USA
27 10:00 263.0 3Z Russell, MB, CAN
27 07:00 263.0 BF Scottsbluff, NE, USA
27 06:00 263.0 QY Sydney, NS, CAN
27 10:00 263.0 YBB Kugaaruk, NU, CAN
27 07:00 263.0 ZQT Thunder Bay, ON, CAN
27 11:00 264.0 SZT Sandpoint Apt, ID, USA
27 08:00 264.0 ZPB Sachigo Lake, ON, CAN
27 10:00 266.0 ICK Annette Island, ALS
27 14:00 266.0 XD Edmonton, AB, CAN
27 14:00 266.0 VR Vancouver, BC, CAN
27 05:00 266.0 BZ Bozeman, MT, USA
27 08:00 266.0 GH Fort Good Hope, NT, CAN
27 07:00 266.0 SLE Salem, OR, USA
29 09:00 266.0 PYX Perryton Ochiltree Co Apt, TX, USA
27 05:00 268.0 ZWL Wollaston Lake, SK, CAN
27 05:00 269.0 YK Castlegar, BC, CAN
29 10:00 269.0 BEX Bloomfield, IA, USA
27 06:00 269.0 UDE Delta Station, MB, CAN
27 06:00 269.0 PK Park Rapids, MN, USA
27 14:00 269.0 ZW Teslin, YT, CAN
27 07:00 512.0 HMY Lexington, OK, USA
27 07:00 515.0 OS Columbus, OH, USA
27 06:00 515.0 PN Ponca City, OK, USA
27 07:00 515.0 CL Cresent Beach, WA, USA
27 05:00 516.0 YWA Petawawa, ON, CAN
27 07:00 521.0 ORC Orange City, IA, USA
27 05:00 524.0 MNL Valdez, ALS
27 05:00 524.0 HRD Hardin, TX, USA
27 07:00 525.0 ICW Nenana, ALS
27 05:00 529.0 SQM Sumner Strait, ALS
27 13:00 529.0 FDV Nome, ALS

The logs / reports from all participants may be viewed (once they have been posted) here  on the NDB List website.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Hunting For NDBs in CLE 228

ZQT-263 courtesy:

This coming weekend will see another monthly CLE challenge. This time the hunting grounds will be: 260 - 269.9 kHz and 440 - 1740 kHz.


For those unfamiliar with this monthly activity, a 'CLE' is a 'Co-ordinated Listening Event', as NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of the NDB spectrum.


A nice challenge in this one is to hear the Thunder Bay (ONT) NDB, 'ZQT', on 263 kHz. It seems to be well-heard throughout most of North America as its reported 50W does a good job into a very high vertical. Listen for its upper-sideband CW identifier (with your receiver in the CW mode) on 263.384 kHz.

If last month's great MF propagation continues into the weekend, we should see some great logs. Conditions are still very good at the moment.

If you are interested in building a system for the new (U.S.) 630m band, the CLE will give you the chance to test out your MF receiving capabilities and compare against what others in your area might be hearing.

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' in Fargo transmits on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier is tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident can be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone is actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone is 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 organizer Brian Keyte, G3SIA, comes the details:


Hi all,

Here are the final details for this weekend's Co-ordinated Listening Event.
This one uses some challenging frequencies and the possibility of hearing
some experimental amateur beacons. Any first-time CLE logs will also
be very welcome, however modest - it is not a contest!

Days: Friday 26 January - Monday 29 January

Times: Start and end at midday, your local time

Targets: Normal NDBs and Amateur beacons

QRG: 260.0 - 269.9 kHz

plus: 440.0 - 1740.0 kHz

Please log the beacons you can identify that are listed in those ranges
(not NAVTEX signals) plus any UNIDs that you come across there.

The range from 440 kHz gives some relaxing listening - it has wide
open spaces where you can often detect the carrier signals before
identifying them it from an offset. For Europe listeners most of the
targets are in the eastern countries where listeners will have a real
BONANZA - that's a lot! The CLE will be much more of a challenge
for those of us in Western Europe and in the rest of the World.

You can find details of the beacons in these ranges, lists and maps,
by clicking on the 'SEEKLIST' link in the CLE page
( )

We ask operators of the amateur beacons mainly around 474-478 kHz
to be on air during the CLE using a simple Morse mode which requires
no software to decode it. We are interested in anything operating IN
BEACON MODE in the range (no reports of any QSOs).
If possible, please include the amateur beacons' 6-character Locators
in your log - they are normally transmitted as part of the message.

Send your final CLE log to the List, preferably as a plain text email,
not in an attachment, with CLE228 and FINAL at the start of its title.
Please show on EVERY LINE of your log:

# The full Date (or Day no.) and UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).
# kHz (show the beacon's nominal published frequency if you know it)
# The Call Ident.

Other optional details, Location, Distance, etc., go LATER in the same
line (or in footnotes). Any extra details about UNIDs, especially strong
ones that may be near to you (maybe their approximate direction, etc.)
will help us to discover more about them. Please make your log useful
to old and new members alike by ALWAYS including your own location
and brief details of the equipment and aerial(s) that you were using.

We will send an 'Any More Logs?' email at about 18:00 UTC on Tuesday
evening. From it you can check that your log has been found OK.
Do make sure that your log has arrived at the very latest by 09:00 UTC
on Wednesday 31 January.
The Combined Results should be finished soon after that.

Good listening
From: Brian Keyte G3SIA ndbcle'at'
Location: Surrey, SE England (CLE co-ordinator)

If you are interested in some remote listening - maybe due to local
difficulties - you could use any one remote receiver for your loggings,
stating its location and with the owner’s permission if required.
A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver, local or remote,
to make 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 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. If you are a member of the ndblist Group, results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

The very active Yahoo ndblist Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners 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 ndblist member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers. 

'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the ndblist or e-mailed to either myself or CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above.

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!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

At The Dials


A recent never-ending series of equipment breakdowns, repairs, computer software problems, along with everyday household duties, has kept me away from blogging longer than usual.

However, the recent arrival of a fresh 'off the press' 2018 World Radio Television Handbook (WRTH) has really augmented my rekindled interest in what initially hooked me on the magic of radio ... tuning around the international shortwave bands.

The last time I purchased a WRTH was more than 40 years ago, but other than the information between its covers, the book still looks much the same as it did back in the good old days. There is a lot to digest in this book and although it's likely that a lot of it could be found on the Internet, it would probably take weeks of sleuthing to find it ... there is just a ton of valuable information here to accommodate the varied interests of radio fanatics.

As always, the first section of the book is devoted to technical articles or equipment reviews with the remainder being a quick-find reference guide of maps, frequency lists, broadcast schedules and mailing / e-mail contact info for those that like to gather QSLs. At 672 pages, the WRTH is a valuable tool in your listening arsenal and well worth the cost.

I often read comments on various reflectors of just how few international shortwave stations there are and that tuning through the bands often reveals little to be heard. There is no question that the number of SW stations on the air today is much less than it was a few decades ago, but there are still a huge number of stations to target throughout the various SW bands and a lot of DX challenges yet to be found on the international bands.

For example, one such challenge comes to mind for west coast DXers ... and that is India. Signals on any band, from India to western Canada, have always been difficult. All India Radio (AIR) has 22 shortwave transmitters, operating from a half-dozen different sites ... hearing all sites from here on the various bands would keep one pretty busy for some time. To make it even more interesting, AIR still responds to listener reception reports with a QSL ... and who doesn't like a real 'paper' QSL!

Here is a quick tune through the 31m SW band this morning, at around 10:20 a.m. local time, on my FT-1000mp Mark V and 40m half-sloper. Although approaching the lowest part of a very poor solar cycle (Cycle 24, the weakest in the past 100 years), witness the activity on a day of very poor HF propagation ... there are still a good number of signals to seek out.

With the present low solar flux, it's usually the lower SW bands that really come to life, with the bands bursting with signals from shortly before sunset, into the dawn.

In addition to the WRTH, there are several great reference sites on the Internet as well as some wonderfully helpful blogs devoted to SW radio listening.

Here are the sites I find myself returning to quite often:

Yahoo Group's Primetimeshortwave
Worldwide DX Club News 
Eibi Shortwave Time / Frequency Schedules
Shortwave Info
Hard-Core-DX Daily News


Mount Eveyln DX Report 
The SWLing Post 
Bulgarian DX Blog 
South East Asia DXing 

There are probably more but these ones are good. In addition, there are a lot of great Facebook sites that deal with SW radio, and much interesting discussion is available there via a quick search.

Now it's back to the repair bench to hopefully finish everything off for some time, but maybe you can find a few spare hours to have a closer listen to the international SW bands and see what you can dig up.


                          2300 -  2495   120m      
                          3200 -  3400     90m      
                          3900 -  4000     75m      
                          4750 -  5060     60m      
                          5850 -  6200     49m      
                          7100 -  7350     41m      
                          9400 -  9900     31m      
                       11600 - 12050     25m      
                       13570 - 13800     22m     
                       15100 - 15800     19m     
                       17480 - 17900     16m     
                       18900 - 19020     15m     
                       21450 - 21850     13m     
                       25600 - 26100     11m

Monday 8 January 2018

CLE 226 / CLE 227 NDB Listening Event Results

CLE 226 and CLE 227, both running during the Christmas to New Year period, produced some excellent propagation on the MF NDB band in most parts of the world.

With the Sun behaving itself and acting more as it should for this time of the cycle, even the high latitude prop-challenged southwestern region of British Columbia enjoyed unusually good propagation. In fact, the night of January 1st was probably the best propagation I have seen on the NDB band in several years!

That night was particularly good to the east resulting in my first logging of a New Jersey NDB ... 50 watt RNB at Millville, on 363kHz.

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, CLE 226 was a north 'polar' event, with NDB's within the Arctic Circle being the targets.

Being away from home for several days, I missed out on the first four nights and got started on December 29th, but over the next few nights heard the following polar stations:

Map courtesy:

02 14:00 281.0 VIR Barrow, ALS
02 15:00 356.0 HHM Kotzebue, ALS
02 15:30 391.0 EAV Bettles, ALS

30 03:00 254.0 EV Inuvik, NT, CAN
30 05:00 361.0 HI Holman, NT, CAN
30 10:00 380.0 YUB Tuktoyaktuk, NT, CAN

01 10:00 241.0 YGT Igloolik, NU, CAN
30 12:00 245.0 CB Cambridge Bay, NU, CAN
30 06:00 263.0 YBB Kugaaruk, NU, CAN
30 07:00 335.0 YUT Repulse Bay, NU, CAN
30 10:00 350.0 RB Resolute Bay, NU, CAN
01 10:00 365.0 YGZ Grise Fiord, NU, CAN
30 10:00 372.0 YCO Coppermine, NU, CAN

Here is the Cambridge Bay NDB (CB) on 245kHz. As well, the much weaker Gore Bay, Ontario NDB (YZE) can be heard underneath.

The second half of the event, CLE 227, was a 'bearing' event, where each listener picked one bearing from their location and logged NDBs (10 maximum) in countries or states that were located or touched on that bearing.

Since the normal propagation from my location favors the southeast, I chose a bearing of 107 degrees. This bearing passes through BC, WA, ID, MT, WY, NE, SD, KS, MO, AL, AR, TN, MS, GA, FL, BAH and BRAZIL, giving me a lot of possible coverage. As the propagation favored the east as well, I might just as well picked one that went through the Great Lakes and the eastern provinces. As it turned out, beacons were heard in most of my chosen regions except for the Bahamas.

Great Circle Map courtesy:
Further illustrating just how good conditions were, three NDBs in Brazil were heard here, my first ever loggings from that country.

02 07:00 220.0 TUI Tucurui (PA), BRA
02 07:00 360.0 JAC Jacare-a-Canga (PA), BRA
02 07:00 520.0 BHZ Belo Horizonte - Pampulha Apt, BRA

02 07:00 224.0 BH Birmingham, AL, USA

30 07:00 335.0 BV Batesville, AR, USA
30 08:00 352.0 VM Board Camp, AR, USA
30 08:00 353.0 LI Little Rock, AR, USA
02 06:00 385.0 HO Hempwallace, AR, USA

30 15:30 200.0 YJ Sidney Island, BC, CAN
30 15:30 203.0 YBL Campbell River, BC, CAN
01 08:00 230.0 YD Smithers, BC, CAN
30 15:30 242.0 ZT Port Hardy, BC, CAN
30 15:30 248.0 ZZP Queen Charlotte Is, BC, CAN
30 15:30 257.0 LW Kelowna, BC, CAN
30 10:00 261.0 D6 Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, CAN
30 15:30 278.0 1U Masset, BC, CAN
30 15:30 326.0 XJ Fort St. John, BC, CAN
30 15:30 378.0 AP Mayne Island, BC, CAN

01 10:00 257.0 SQT Melbourne, FL, USA
02 07:00 260.0 MTH Marathon, FL, USA
29 09:00 326.0 PKZ Pensacola, FL, USA
29 09:00 332.0 FIS Key West, FL, USA
30 07:00 344.0 JA Dinnsmore, FL, USA

Here is something not often heard. See if you can copy the three beacons all on 333kHz ... FIS in Tampa, Florida, POA in Pahoa, Hawaii and VVV in Ortonville, Minnesota.

02 07:00 362.0 SUR Fitzgerald, GA, USA
02 07:00 385.0 EMR Augusta, GA, USA
01 07:00 426.0 IZS Montezuma, GA, USA

02 07:00 211.0 HDG Gooding, ID, USA
02 07:00 220.0 HLE Hailey, ID, USA
02 07:00 264.0 SZT Sandpoint Apt, ID, USA
02 07:00 324.0 ID Ucon, ID, USA
02 07:00 350.0 SWU Id Falls, ID, USA
02 07:00 359.0 BO Ustick, ID, USA
02 08:00 383.0 PI Pocatello, ID, USA
02 07:00 389.0 TW Twin Falls, ID, USA

30 09:00 341.0 OIN Oberlin, KS, USA
30 07:00 356.0 PTT Pratt, KS, USA
02 08:00 377.0 EHA Elkhart, KS, USA
02 08:00 380.0 OEL Oakley, KS, USA
02 09:00 386.0 SYF St. Francis, KS, USA
02 09:00 395.0 ULS Ulysses, KS, USA
02 09:00 395.0 CA Newton, KS, USA
02 07:00 408.0 JDM Colby, KS, USA
02 07:00 419.0 GB Great Bend, KS, USA
02 10:00 420.0 PK Olathe, KS, USA

01 07:00 281.0 DMO Sedalia, MO, USA
01 08:00 338.0 LM St Charles, MO, USA
01 08:00 344.0 JL Joplin, MO, USA
30 08:00 388.0 GLY Clinton, MO, USA
01 09:00 400.0 TRX Trenton, MO, USA

02 07:00 349.0 GW Greenwood, MS, USA
02 07:00 388.0 HAH Adams, MS, USA
02 07:00 420.0 TU Tupelo, MS, USA
02 07:00 426.0 UV Oxford, MS, USA

02 06:00 236.0 FOR Forsyth, MT, USA
02 07:00 266.0 BZ Bozeman, MT, USA
02 09:00 283.0 SCO Scobey, MT, USA
02 15:30 286.0 EKS Ennis, MT, USA
01 08:00 344.0 BKU Baker, MT, USA
01 10:00 347.0 SBX Shelby, MT, USA
02 09:00 386.0 HAU Helena, MT, USA
02 07:00 414.0 LYI Libby, MT, USA

30 07:00 275.0 HIN Chadron, NE, USA
30 07:00 329.0 PMV Plattsmouth, NE, USA
30 07:00 347.0 AFK Nebraska City, NE, USA
30 07:00 356.0 ODX Ord, NE, USA
30 07:00 362.0 CD Chadron, NE, USA
30 07:00 383.0 CNP Chappell, NE, USA
30 09:00 389.0 CSB Cambridge Muni, NE, USA
30 07:00 392.0 FMZ Fairmont, NE, USA
30 07:00 400.0 AHQ Wahoo, NE, USA
30 08:00 414.0 GRN Gordon, NE, USA

30 09:00 245.0 FS Sioux Falls, SD, USA
30 09:00 335.0 BK Brookings, SD, USA

02 10:00 263.0 DYQ Greeneville, TN, USA
02 07:00 335.0 CK Clarksville, TN, USA
02 07:00 341.0 CQN Chattanooga, TN, USA
02 08:00 371.0 FQW Murfreesboro, TN, USA
02 08:00 394.0 MK Jackson, TN, USA

01 15:30 216.0 GRF Fort Lewis, WA, USA
01 14:00 284.0 FHR Friday Harbor, WA, USA
01 08:00 328.0 LAC Fort Lewis, WA, USA
30 07:00 338.0 K Port Angeles, WA, USA
01 15:30 353.0 AL Dixie, WA, USA
30 07:00 362.0 BF Seattle, WA, USA
01 15:30 371.0 YK Yakima, WA, USA
01 15:30 382.0 AW Marysville, WA, USA
01 15:30 408.0 MW Moses Lake, WA, USA
01 15:30 515.0 CL Cresent Beach, WA, USA

01 10:00 257.0 HCY Cowley, WY, USA
30 08:00 280.0 GYZ Guernsey, WY, USA
02 06:00 344.0 POY Powell, WY, USA
30 08:00 375.0 CP Casper, WY, USA
02 09:00 380.0 GC Gillette, WY, USA
01 10:00 392.0 PNA Wenz, WY, USA

As usual, my receiver of choice was the Perseus SDR in combination with my MF inverted-L, tuned to 300kHz. After listening to many hours of NDB recordings during the event, I was hearing CW coming from all sorts of things in the house, including the ceiling fan and the washing machine for the next several days!

More information on this particular CLE as well as NDB listening in general can be found at the NDB List website.

The very active Yahoo ndblist Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners 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.