Wednesday 22 April 2020

Hunting For NDBs In CLE255

It's another CLE weekend!

During these stressful times, the CLE might hopefully provide some peaceful relief for you.

'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.

This time the hunting ground is the 15kHz slice from 385.0 - 399.9 kHz. kHz

A good target for this one is little 'OO' (391kHz) in Oshawa, Ontario, shown above. 'OO-391' has a measured output of just over 7 watts yet is heard consistently all over North America including the west coast as well as in Europe! Hearing 'OO' is a very good test for your receiving system!

Listen for 'OO's' upper sideband on 391.402kHz with your receiver in the CW mode.

From CLE coordinator Brian Keyte (G3SIA), comes the following CLE info:

Hello all,

Have you tried one of our Co-ordinated Listening Events yet?
Whether short logs or long ones, making them is enjoyed by
beginners and experts alike - and reading them is enjoyed by all.

Our 255th Coordinated Listening Event starts this Friday.  We
should have plenty of NDBs to find in this 15 kHz frequency range.
Even the Pacific region (Oceania) is quite well supplied this time.

     Days:    Friday 24 April - Monday 27 April 2020
     Times:   Start and end at midday your LOCAL time
     Range:   385 - 399.9 kHz

Please log all the NDBs that you can identify with nominal (listed)
frequencies in the range - it includes 385 kHz, but not 400 kHz
 - plus any UNIDs that you come across there.

Send your final log to the List (no attachments please and ideally
in a plain text email) with 'FINAL CLE255' in its title (important).

Show on each line:
    #   The Date (e.g.  '2020-04-24', etc.,  or just '24' )
    #   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 give brief
details of the equipment that you were using during the Event.

We will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about
19:00 UTC on Tuesday so you can check that your log has
been found OK.
Do make sure that your log has arrived on the List by
08:00 UTC on Wednesday 29 April at the very latest.
We hope to complete making the combined results within
a day or two.

You can find full details about current and past CLEs from the
CLE page   It includes access
to the CLE255 seeklists for your part of the World, prepared
from all the previous loggings in Rxx.

Good listening
- enjoy the CLE and take care.
      Brian and Joachim
From:      Brian Keyte G3SIA      ndbcle'at'
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)

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.

The NDB List 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 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!

Thursday 16 April 2020

World Amateur Radio Day 630m Activity!

The IARU has designated April 18 UTC as "World Amateur Radio Day". 
Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) is participating with a special event. 
There will also be two 630m stations operating! Both will use the call VE7RAC, one on JT-9 (VE7VV) and one on CW (VA7MM). 
The operation schedule is:
 JT-9 transmit on about 475.2 kHz: 0300 to 0600 hours and 1100 to 1300 hours UTC
CW transmit on 473 kHz and receive 473 kHz plus cross band 3528 kHz and 7028 kHz: 0300 to 0600 hours UTC.
If you have been interested in 630m but can't transmit on the band, then PLEASE try and work VE7RAC via crossband. This means that you can call VE7RAC (who will be CQing on 630m) on either 80 or 40m CW and he will respond if he hears you. Working crossband can actually be great fun!
RAC will provide a certificate for stations working either of the VE7RAC stations.

Saturday 4 April 2020

LED Lights In The Shack

The following blog was originally published in 2016 but is still relevant today.

Utilitech Pro Soft White LED Bulb

A recent posting by Phil, KO6BB, to Yahoo Group's ndblist, described his recent search for some LED lamps to replace the CFL's in his shack / radio workbench area. If you have been wondering how much RFI that LED lamps might be producing, you may find Phil's findings of some value.


I had a 60W equivalent CFL in the floor lamp directly over my operating position. I'd tried a 100W equiv one but it was extremely noisy! Also a couple CFLs in the ceiling lamp.

This is a floor lamp with a crookneck at the top and a triangular metal
shade reminiscent of the old style desk lamps, bulb is horiz to the
floor. I've used it for years and like it because it places the light
directly over the operating position work area (keyboard, radios etc).
The actual bulb was about 4.5 inches from the front of the Softrock SDR
receiver (in a plastic case), with the base of the lamp (where the
electronics are) about 7.5 inches (somebody asked about the distances).

This coupled a LOT of RFI directly into the SDR, visible on the
waterfall. For best results when recording and having the light on I'd
slip a 60W incandescent lamp in place of the CFL. The lamp is also
about 16 inches above the operating table, and when listening to ANY
portable radio on the table, if it was in the AM or Longwave band and
using the built in loopstick antenna, got a LOT of RFI from the lamp
(unless the lamp was off ;-)

So today I went down to Lowes (we have a Costco, but I don't have a
card) and looked at their LED lamp offerings. As I expected they had a
large variety of them, from a low cost 3 pack for ~$9.00 for 60W units
to about $18.00 or so each (Sylvania). From what I read here I wanted
to avoid the REALLY cheap ones as some reported them to be 'noisy'.
Also, I wanted to put a 75W equivalent unit in the one over the
operating position, and a pair of 100W equivalent units in the ceiling
lamp. All three had CFLs, and if I walked around the radio room with a
portable radio and the ceiling lamp on I could hear it's 'hash' anywhere
in the room. . .

The ones I settled on were a brand I'd never heard of, "UtiliTech Pro"
soft white, 75W for the bench and 2 100W ones for the ceiling. They
were what I'd call "mid-priced", $8.98 for the 75W and $9.98 for the
100W ones.


75 W one draws 12W and gives 1100 Lumens.
100W one draws 16.5W and gives 1600 Lumens (the pair in the ceiling
should then be 3200 Lumens if I calculated right).

How low is the RFI to my Radios?

75W one over the bench:
NO trace from the lamp electronics visible in the SDR waterfall at
all. With a portable radio on the bench-top, NO audible RFI. Put a
portable radio up to the "bulb" part (light area) and with no station
tuned in can't hear ANY RFI. Move the portable to the base area of the
lamps there is SOME RFI, but I won't be putting the radio that close to
the lamp, move it a couple inches away and the noise disappears.

100W ones in the ceiling lamp, NO audible RFI in the portable when
walking around the room, RFI just barely perceptible right next to the
light wall switch that turns the lamp on, again, audible IF I put the
radio right up to the base of the lamps, not a likely real-world scenario!


Based on the sample of three that I bought and the almost
non-existent RFI from them I'd consider the UtiliTech Pro lamps to be a
good product and suitable for use in the radio room. I consider them
good value for the ~$30.00 I spent for three."

If you have tested anything similar (other brands / models), please let me know and I will add it to Phil's helpful information.

KO6BB's website can be found here, along with some of his homebrew equipment.