Thursday 29 October 2020

BCB DX + A (Possibly) Quieter Receive Antenna


The earlier very quiet geomagnetic field has produced some amazing propagation on the AM Broadcast Band for west coast DXers. Where local blowtorches don't splatter the band, the past few nights have produced audible signals from several European countries while the mornings are filled with Asians and signals from Alaska ... yes, on the AM Broadcast Band!

The morning of October 11th was particularly good here, with 9 different stations in Alaska heard. Listen and see if you can hear the identification at the top of the hour (7 AM my time):

  780 KNOM  Nome

  670 KDLG Dillingham

  700 KBYR Anchorage

  680 KBRW Barrow

  890 KBBI   Homer


This is a short clip from HLAZ, Far East Broadcasting Company, with their 'Radio Liangyou' program in Japanese. HLAZ is located in Jeju, South Korea. They will also respond to reception reports with a nice card ... sadly a growing rarity with AM broadcasters nowadays.

 These were received using my Perseus SDR and 10' x 20' active loop pointed to the NW.

Hopefully these nice conditions will continue for some time but on the other hand, I'd like to see the Sun ramp-up its sunspot production as fast as it can, which would likely put a damper on these quiet conditions. (post edit: and that's exactly what happened!)


An interesting antenna that may help overcome their noise issues is described by KK5JY on his website here. 

It looks simple enough to deploy and try to see if it overcomes your local noise issues. Those with underground utilities however, may find that it makes the noise worse.


Monday 19 October 2020

Hunting For NDBs in CLE261

AP-378 Mayne Island, BC



It's CLE time again!'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 from 190.0 - 1740.0 kHz!

The challenge this time is to log just one (1) beacon from as many 'radio countries' as you can. In North America and other regions, an individual state or province counts as a radio 'country', so there are plenty of opportunities to fill your logbook.



Propagation on MF has been excellent this past week and hopefully will continue to be good.

A challenge target for listeners in North America is AP - 378kHz on Mayne Island, BC which is about 1/2 mile from me just down the beach! But 'AP' is a challenging target since, from what I can tell, has virtually no ground system. Although it has been heard as far south as Texas, it has never been heard further east than Nebraska. Listen for AP's upper sideband on 378.411kHz with your receiver in the CW mode.

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, 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. These databases have recently been re-vamped and are slicker than ever before!

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

Hello all

Our October Coordinated Listening Event is less than a week away.
Something very straightforward, but it is a first-time idea and it should be
good for everyone - including first time listeners.
It is a ‘One per Radio Country’ CLE!

    Days:    Friday 23 Oct. - Monday 26 Oct.
    Times:   Start and end at midday, local time at the receiver
    Target:  ONE NDB from each radio country
      QRG:    190.0  - 1740.0 kHz

Yes, please log JUST ONE NDB from each radio country (not DGPS, NAVTEX,
Amateur or UNID).
All our radio countries are listed in the NDB List Website
( There are 373 of them!
However most of the countries will be out of range for you and several are
without any active NDBs at all:

Region            Radio
--------------     -------
N. America       66
C. America        35
S. America        20
Europe              63
Africa                68
Asia                   60
Oceania            49
Antarctica          5
Int. Waters        7
(UNIDs               8)

Even listening from the best location possible you will do very well if you
log 50 countries.  Reaching 100 will be magnificent!
(If you would like one or more of our attractive listening awards, this
would be an ideal CLE -
   Please see

Please look out for extra information in the Final Details in a few Days,
with advice on log-making, etc.

From:      Brian Keyte G3SIA          ndbcle’at’
Location:  Surrey,  SE England         (CLE coordinator)

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 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!

Sunday 4 October 2020

The 2020 Fall "Classic Exchange"

W7OS - Radio Club of Tacoma working the CX

This fall's running of the Phone "Classic Exchange" will take place on Sunday, October 18 and on Tuesday, October 20. The CW "Classic Exchange", takes place on Sunday, November 1st and on Tuesday, November 3rd.

The "CX" encourages participants to use older vintage gear including any homebrew equipment, both receivers and transmitters. A unique scoring system provides bonus points for various equipment and combinations as well as encouraging 'repeat contacts' when you switch to different equipment. Some of the the CX's previous participants are shown here.

W8KM and his wonderful vintage station

No vintage gear? ... no problem! All amateurs are invited to participate and get in on the fun no matter what they are using and submit their scores.

K3MD's Heathkit AT-1 and Hallicrafters HT-37 

The CX is a low-key relaxing affair and the 'extra' Tuesday operating period should encourage a lot of midweek activity from the vast numbers of retired operators who cherish and run older gear.

Lots of combos ready at W4BOH

K6ZI, Las Vegas - WWII ARC-5s ready to go

This year's event includes a new real-time chat page where participants can announce their operating frequencies or make skeds. For complete details, check out the rules here.

If you've never entered the Classic Exchange, why not give it a try this year as it truly is a case of  'the more the merrier' ... and eastern operators, make sure to keep the porch light on for us out west!