The LOWDOWN This Month|
In the March 2014 issue of the club publication:
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- "DX Downstairs" Kevin Carey presents members' LF and VLF loggings.
- "On The Air" Experimenters operating on the 160-190kHz and 136kHz bands... and...
- "The Top End" MedFER and HiFER beacon lists... and ...
- "The LF Notebook" Conducted by John Davis. More radio history; recent DX; and a new band takes their name from LWCA.
- "News From the Old World" Alan Gale keeps us informed of LF news from the "other side of the pond."
- "QSL and Info From DCF77" Harry Weber.
- "600 Meter US Station Map" Excerpt of the WD2XSH quarterly report by Fritz Raab.
- "Modifications to Heathkit SW-7800 Receiver" by Dave Childs.
| ||Updated News of Long Wave Broadcast Closures|
Possible chance to log Czech Republic on LW a little longer.
The announced shutdown of Russia's LW boadcasting and its scaling back of mediumwave (via Sveriges DX-Förbund) apparently came true at sign-off on January 9th. According to BBC Monitoring, "only one LW transmitter remains in the country, broadcasting Radio Kavkaz to the North Caucasus region on a limited schedule."
The Czech LWBC station at Topolna on 270 kHz was scheduled to close nine days prior, but columnist Alan Gale reports in this month's LOWDOWN that the date has now been pushed back to the 28th of February. It will end more than 60 years of longwave operation there.
Thanks to Mike Terry for making us aware of the BBC Monitoring article.
| ||NASWA Winter SWL Fest 2014 Ahead
LWCA's sister organization, NASWA, is the event sponsor and describes the annual gathering in the Philadelphia suburbs as "a conference of radio hobbyists of all stripes, from DC to daylight." This year's Fest is March 14-15 at Doubletree Guest Suites Philadelphia West, in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Get more information and pre-register at www.swlfest.com.
| ||Further Updates to LWCA Library
In addition to the recently announced updates of FCC Rules (see last paragraph in this story), we have been expanding other areas of the LWCA Library once again. Actually, much of the old content has been there all along. We often refer questioners in the LW Message Board to specific documents and files, but after the server change several years ago, most of the content was no longer indexed on category-by-category pages like we used to have. After considerable effort and consternation, we have now decided some parts of the Library never will be indexed that way again, as the process consumes vast amounts of time... time that would be better spent in preparing new content. However, you can still find and read it! The Site Search link at the top of this page is the key.
Site Search used to return results only for conventional HTML Web pages or plain text. But since many of the items people want to find these days are images, sound files, or PDF articles, it hadn't been as useful as it might be. However, we discovered that if we add metadata to each directory in the library when its content gets upgraded, then the search engine can easily track down the information you're looking for. A few more improvements are in the works, but it's already quite efficient. Two or three relevant keywords about what you are seeking will turn up nearly everything we have on the subject. Give it a try!
As mentioned before, the official annual Code of Federal Regulations update of the FCC Rules is nominally published on October 1 each year, but got delayed considerably this past fall by the notorious government shutdown. The various volumes of Title 47 Telecommunications have only slowly trickled onto the US Government Printing Office Web site. The remainder of the missing Parts (0-20) finally became available in the closing days of January. We have retrieved the ones most relevant to our hobby and mirrored them in the LWCA Library. Visit the Library's Reference Section to read or download complete texts of Parts 2, 5, 15, and even 97 in PDF form. Some excerpts are also available as quick loading Web pages.
| ||Successful Christmas Eve Transmission from SAQ|
Sound files available; nine listeners reported copy in North America.
The world's only remaining Alexanderson alternator was activated once again on 17.2 kHz at 0800 UTC on Christmas Eve morning from Grimeton, Sweden. The greeting was copied at W1VD in Connecticut and was described as "absolute best ever s/n on SAQ!" KL7L in Alaska reported "20dB over noise here too." Seven other listeners from the Americas also are said to have reported reception, but we have no details of their copy.
The excerpted MP3 Connecticut recording can be heard at www.w1vd.com/SAQ122413.mp3, and you can listen to an acoustically coupled recording of SAQ at KL7L in Alaska.
The station's Web site can be found at www.alexander.n.se. We will be posting a new article on the career of the alternator's designer, Ernst F W Alexanderson, in the LWCA Library in the near future.
| ||Related Longwave Sites|
William Hepburn's DX Information Centre has probably the best online list of aero and marine beacons based on official license information, lists of LW broadcasters and time signals, plus numerous resources for other types of DXing as well.
The searchable RNA database of LF beacons...not compiled from official sources, but a digest of signal reports from experienced listeners in North and Central America. It's a great tool for identifying those unknown signals. It won't always be up-to-date regarding decommissioned beacons, of course. This might somewhat limit its usefulness in targeting specific beacons to listen for, but it's still helpful if you pay attention to the most recent reported date for a given beacon.
Radio Waves Below 22 kHz Renato Romero's eclectic collection of topics pertaining to both manmade and natural radio signals from near DC to the upper end of audibility. Includes the VLF Open Lab, and articles by many contributors...some fairly orthodox, and some not. Visit: www.vlf.it
| ||QRSS and WOLF Software
Rik Strobbe's QRSS software (for transmitting extremely slow CW) is usually available from our file library, but while it is temporarily out of service, you can obtain QRSS and Rik's other useful software at the ON7YD download page.
Continuing Development of Argo. Alberto di Bene posts the latest version of Argo, a receiving tool for displaying slow CW, that performs FFT spectral analysis and displays it in ways optimized for QRSS. Many of the transoceanic LF amateur records were set using Argo at the receiving end. Argo has somewhat similar performance to Spectran, but interacts better with the user's soundcard and is customized for QRSS modes.
WOLF. Stewart Nelson devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK. See his announcement of the MS-DOS version for more details. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Büscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF site.
Spectrum Lab, at that same link, is another of Wolf's creations. In conjunction with your computer's sound card, not only is it an especially advanced spectrum analyzer, but it's also a filtering and sound processing tool, and can serve as the demodulator part of a receiver, implemented in software.
Slow CW for Linux. Claudio Girardi (IN3OTD) has released Slow CW software for users of the Linux operating system, currently v 0.42. The program (called glfer) contains both transmit and receive capability, the latter including an FFT-based spectrum analyzer somewhat similar to those found in popular Windows Slow CW programs.
As with much open-source software in the X-world, you have to compile the C source code yourself. Users will also need additional code libraries. Links to those, plus downloadable source code, can be found at Claudio's glfer page.
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