N20 maximum jubilee, first 21 monitoring days

Tampere DX-listeners new dx-cabin with several beverages was installed in Niihama in autumn 1993. Finally in Christmas Eve night December 23rd 1993 first logging from N-cabin was made by VJR: 1458 Sunrise Radio, London 1458 and then R Tropical, Barra do Carças MG 4855.
To honor the N-cabin´s 20 years of history Tampere DX club announced a special listening period among N-activists: Target is to monitor dx-bands especially from December 1st 2013 to Epiphany, January 6th 2014 and to log at least one station daily to the Online Log: http://log.hard-core-dx.com/

During first 21 days, until winter solstice, target is reached, although in the beginning of the month conditions on MW were rather lousy, and during last week even declined. Typically MW band has offered several peaks on TA-frequencies, but signals have been in trouble with noise level and deep fading. Readable audios haven´t been too many and often hard to find.

To the table below is compiled some solar and MW condition data from these 21 days: Last columns’ remarks are based on the Online Log and on my own subjective observations on the band, mainly in the mornings before local sunrise. Of course especially now in the era of SDR and trawl recordings all loggings are not yet known. On the other hand, because of so lousy conditions, not so many recordings are likely.

My monitoring is made using  N-cabins´ 830 meters beverage directed to Columbia and Venezuela (277°), remote via net. The antenna works well also to Puerto Rico and Newfoundland or Peru, but doubtlessly not so well to La Plata or to inland USA. Conditions ranked by JA are included for comparison, but naturally cx in Southern Norway are often strongly different to those here in Southern Finland, not to mention in Lapland.

73 JVH

PS: Please note that Niihama NA-statistics are now updated by MCK (right top corner in the blog).


Tampere DX-listeners CASA-list now updated

 From the upper right hand side corner of this blog page you´ll now find an updated list of Latin American (CA & SA, including the Caribbean) MW-stations identified and OLL-logged using beverages of Tampere DX Club listening cabin. Niihama is located only some 6 km from the Tampere city centre, but in the middle of the forest. The main listening period in the N-cabin is generally concentrated to the period from October to January, so this update period from January 2013 to early December 2013 contains already some new stations. Of course the current solar phase very near the sunspot maximum and the polarity change of magnetic field affects strongly too, even though this maximum is supposed to be the lowest in 100 years.

113 CA-stations. The most remarkable new station is by JPF logged CMBQ Radio Enciclopedia, La Habana 530, a new TA-frequency as well. This cubano game nicely during January 2013 top NA-conditions. There are now 44 different Cuban stations identified using Niihama DX-cabin beverages, while on the 2nd place is still held by Puerto Rico with 22 stations and the 3rd by Mexico (12). Winter 2011-12 is overwhelmingly number one in amount of loggings by 67 stations, while this MW-period so far by 31 is still already ahead of the previous period.

192 SA-stations. In the updated South American list the most “historical” point is the successful catch of two new MW-countries: Guyana 560 and Paraguay 920. In the country competition Colombia leads Venezuela with basketball numbers 87 – 62. Peru has 13 stations in the list while Ecuador 12. Most embarrassing is that from the huge Brasil there is only 9 stations logged and from Argentina only 6 – and Uruguay is still totally missing from the list: Who will be the first happy fellow catching Uruguay in Niihama (or later from the SDR N-trawl)? – The most powerful SA-period in N-history in clearly 2010-11 by 99 loggnings. The current ongoing period isn´t yet in the midway, so total 53 is not bad, and there is more to come.

CASA-list of Niihama (/N or /Ne in loggnings, e = remote via net) can freely be exploited by every DXers: In addition to N-activists, perhaps this list could somehow be useful also for other beginner or moderate level MW enthusiasts listening in southern Finland in order to get a wide general view to the Latin American MW band, i.e. what kind of stations can be expected when tuning to those most exciting zero ending TA-frequencies.

73 JVH


QSLs from China

China on medium waves is interesting but challenging DX-target. Number of stations is big but for most European DXers language barrier is too high. With the help of Internet and the great sites like Asiawaves and Google Translator it is possible to make small cracks to the language barrier, but QSLing Chinese stations is still a demanding task.

With the help of a friend I managed to get my reception report form translated in Chinese (Mandarin) and in January I sent 12 reception reports to Chinese radio stations. With the letters I enclosed audio CDs of the program I had heard.

So far the reply percentage has been quite low, about 30%. But at least it's not zero. Personally I value these QSLs more than most of those one-liners I use to receive from North American AM stations. Why the reply percentage of Chinese stations is so low? My guess would be it’s partly because of Chinese bureaucracy. As one Chinese v/s put it in his e-mail: "Our broadcast station is part of city's propaganda department which in every city belongs to the Communist Party of China. We do not have a QSL card, that is to say that if we send you a letter, it must be reported to the competent authorities for approval and the result may fail. So just in this email I want tell you that what you hear is our radio and television news broadcast."

So far this year I have received verifications from the following stations:

Anhui Nongcun Guangbo, Hefei 1008. Anhui PBS' Agricultural Channel verified my report with nice formal letter in Chinese and QSL-folder with both English and Chinese verification texts.  Letter was signed by the chief editor's office of Anhui Radio.

Guangdong Zhujiang Jingji Guangbo, Guangzhou 1062
. This Radio Guangdong's Pearl River Economic Channel broadcasts mostly in Cantonese, which makes is even more difficult to identify. Fortunately it uses "eFM"-slogan in English which is relatively easy to make out from otherwise Cantonese program . Guangdong PBS is the largest media network in Southern China. Network Media Director Ding Zhiwen sent me a PDF-letter in Chinese with information about Guangdong PBS’ several radio and TV channels.

Tianjin Jingji Guangbo, Tianjin 1071. Tianjin Economic Radio’s Vice Director verified my report with nice bilingual (Chinese/English) e-mail.  He had listened my CD and told that the program I heard was a medical hotline service program called Jiànkang jiayóu zhàn.

Qiqihar Xinwen Guangbo, Qiqihar 1197. I heard Qiqihar PBS’ News Channel on 28th of February 2013 and it took only few hours to get e-mail reply from the station, after I sent Chinese e-mail to the address found on their website. V/s seemed to be familiar with the concept of DX-verification as he wrote nice full data QSL-letter with both in Chinese and English. Qiqihar is located in Heilongjiang province, North-East China.



January 2-3 night: Mixed noisy conditions, Paraguay with clear loud voice

Mostly unclean signals, but new MW-country

During the very first days of year 2013 the cart path to the Niihama DX cabin was covered by wet white layer. Even so thanks to the hard-working use of reverse gear and snow shovel I reached the beverage yard, after a while. So I missed the targeted 22 UTC id´s, but after that conditions was noticed to be remarkable worse than yesterday (and much more worse than next evening). Some NA with some YV-stations. TA stations got through all night long, but signals used to be quite “snotty”, particularly during first hours.

Interesting Latin rhythms was noted on 920 kHz and just on the fading top at 0032 UTC a nice promo was announced for a festival held on January 6th, “…transmite vivo en 920 AM, la radio pública de Paraguay!”. This was the first time I have noted Paraguay on MW and is also FFN (first from Niihama dx cabin). I quickly scanned through other PRG-frequencies: Some prospective signals was noted, but no track or too weak. Only 1480 was a little bit stronger, but later it appeared to be Fajardo PR. Also have to consider that Radio Nacional de Paraguay on 920 kHz has a 100 kW power transmitter.

Otherwise the night was almost lousy although there were all the time plenty of transatlantic 10-spikes on my Perseus dial. But even most dominant frequencies like 1130, 1140 and 1300 appeared noisy and mostly hardly readable. Mixed cx gave me regular ID´s like R Reloj 1020, Notiuno 1280, WOOD MI 1300, 1310News.com, AM radio 1430 and R Vibración 1470. All these observations are based on live listening: Trawl recordings are still totally unexamined. But towards morning hours cx still weakened and noise level increased. Often so generous dawn effect wasn´t noted at all.

248° beverage for Spain and England only?

The nice Paraguayan signal was offered only by 277° (830 m), not by 248° beverage (430 m). Longer wire gives more gain. It´s also remarkable that on the lower MW band the pattern of a beverage beams dozens of degrees aside from the beverage direction itself. And the wire line in the forest naturally isn´t straight, either horizontally or vertically. Real features of an antenna are always case by case, and vary by frequency too. In practice the pattern is significantly different to the theoretical one. For some reason 248° beverage works well with Spanish stations, i.e. stations from directions 220-240°, but nobody has never reported that 248° would beat the old faithful 277° with any Latin American stations. I suppose Radio Nacional from Asunción (250°, 12 000 km) is now the southernmost station in this comparison: Most interesting will be when somebody  first time can compare 248° and 277° beverages with stations from Brazilian east coast, Uruguay or Buenos Aires area (238-245°). And what about UK: According to my minor practice at least some stations from England (mostly 240-255°) were favored by 248° wire?

277° for Latin America and 310° for North America

DX cabins antenna arsenal contains nowadays 4 beverages to the Americas: mentioned 248° and 277°, and also 290° (400 m) and 310° (450 m). All antennas are fed with quality coaxial. All baluns, connectors and groundings are carefully matched and measured by club members’ technical team led by JPF and MDK. But for some unidentified reason the 290° wire has never been number one in my empiric comparisons. Could this have something to do with its´ reversible feature (by switch 110° or 290°)?

Anyway I have always found 277° wire catching best CA and SA signals. And 310° is the one and only with NA. In the interface there is naturally some case by case variation. For instance with Newfoundland (290°) and Cuba (287-295°) stations the best antenna varies: Sometimes 277° gives the strongest and most readable signal, sometimes it´s far too noisy. In general the base noise level of 277° aerial is much higher on the Perseus scale, and very notable also in the head phones. Major source for this is unknown: Perhaps there are some remarkable antenna individual reasons, but maybe even the proximity of the city centre of Tampere affects: extensive urban area just 5 km straight ahead in the pattern beam? Contrarily 310° beam is directed to the lake and on the first 12 km there is only water or sparsely populated shores on the line.

73 JVH