Wednesday, March 30, 2011

e-QSL from Polish Radio External Service

Polish Radio External Service sent this e-QSL a day after logging their station on 21 March 2011. A remarkably fair to strong signal was heard on 9.650 kHz at 18.00 UTC.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radiofonikos Stathmos Makedonias - Northern Greece

Radiofonikos Stathmos Makedonias (EPT3) in northern Greece was monitored on 29 March 2011, between 11.00-16.50 UTC on 9.935 kHz. Signal strength was fair with some QRN and slight fading, otherwise an audible transmission of western pop music and talk in the Greek language was heard.






Address:
Radiofonikos Stathmos Makedonias
EPT3
Angelakis 2
546 36 Thessaloniki
GREECE


Email:
pr@ert3.gr


POSTSCRIPT: 14 AUGUST 2011
I have received Spam Mail from several Macedonian organisations after re-submitting this reception report in the Greek language to EPT3. I'm not so sure this is a positive sign, other than I know EPT3 received my email. Who knows? Perhaps a verification is in the mail. Time will tell.





Monday, March 28, 2011

Radio Nacional da Amazonia - Brazil

Radio Nacional da Amazonia in Brasilia, Brazil was logged on 28 March 2011 and monitored between 10.30 to12.00 UTC on 11.780 kHz. Programming was in the Portuguese language and entailed essentially a talk format with occasional Brazilian pop music interjected during the broadcast. 


Brochure cover
Signal (SINPO): at 10.30 UTC signal was 45344 - fair reception with some fading; at 11.00 UTC signal was 33343 - interference from nearby stations caused some modulation, but speech was still audible; at 11.30 UTC signal was 22232 - barely audible speech and a lot of modulation from nearby stations; at 11.45 signal was 11121 - too weak to discern speech; after 12.00 UTC signal was detected but just too weak and too much interference from nearby stations.

This is a rather remarkable find, considering Latin American stations are rarely heard in Malaysia. Moreover, their transmission is aimed primarily to northern Brazil. Receivers used to catch this station included a Grundig Satellit 750 (Tecsun S-2000) and Grundig Satellit 500, attached to a 1/4 wave antenna elevated at a height of 10 meters and fed through a 50 ohm coaxial cable linked to a MFJ-956 antenna tuner.


Reception report was submitted by mail and email. Letter and brochure were received on 24 June 2011 in lieu of a QSL card, which more or less confirms my reception report, I suppose.


Video recorded in March 2011 (using a Grundig Satellit 500)



Address:
Radio Nacional da Amazonia
SCRN 702 / 3 Bloco B 
Brasilia / DF 
CEP 70323-900 

BRAZIL


Website:
www.ebc.com.br/canais/radios/radio-nacional-am-amazonia


Friday, March 25, 2011

Grundig Satellit 500 Review

My new radio is an old Grundig Satellit 500 International (manufactured  between 1989-1991). It is one of the last German-engineered radios by Grundig assembled in Portugal.

My particular model appears to be one of the first sets manufactured in 1989. It does not feature the ROM chip for pre-set stations which were introduced in the Professional model after 1990, nor does it include the three lamps over the LCD which were featured in the late 1991 models. 


On first impression the sensitivity is good and comparable to my Grundig Satellit 750/Tecsun S-2000 and Sangean ATS-909W. The AGC/MGC actually functions and significantly aids in improving reception by peaking the pre-amplifier. By pressing the MONO button and turning the tuning knob the input circuit selectivity can be trimmed, thereby reducing certain effects from a disturbing station. The Sync Demodulator, not Detector, acts as a fine tuner in 100 Hz tuning steps, thus dramatically separating most bleed over from any powerhouse station. These are features neither the Grundig Satellite 750 nor the Sangean ATS-909 possess,  and they do definitely help reception.


It is purported the CX857 detector chip utilised for the Sync Demodulator is the same as the Sony 2010 and Grundig Satellite 700. A switch with two pairs of contacts is all that is needed to make it function as a Sync Detector. Personally, I am happy with my Grundig Satellit 500 the way it performs and will maintain its original functionality. 

If you wish to modify the Grundig Satellit 500's synchronous demodulator to a synchronous detector, you might consider the guidelines found on usenet (rec.radio.shortwave). The problem according to a Grundig Satellite 500 owner who modified it:"... is too high DC voltage at the output of the detector chip CX857. The situation can be considerably improved by connecting a 24-33k ohm resistor from each output (pins 7 and 8) to ground. If you don't have the service manual, the correct points are positive pins of electrolytic capacitors C825 and C826. These capacitors can be found next to the larger shielded box on the RF board, on the side close to the loudspeaker. After installing these resistors suppression of the unwanted sideband improved in my receiver from 14 dB to 20-26 dB, and I think the distortion is reduced too. 


"Some hints for opening: the best screwdriver is Pozidrive #1. Ordinary Phillips does not fit well, and the screws are quite tight for the first few times to unscrew. The back cover should be lifted at the bottom side, there are plastic hooks at the top side. The RF board can be removed completely after unscrewing the 5 screws and unplugging all connectors. There MAY be an extra capacitor soldered between the RF board and the shield of the processor unit, in the vicinity of the antenna socket. It must be then unsoldered too. The board is manufactured using surface mount components, so certain caution and fine tipped soldering iron is necessary. 


"The procedure should be undertaken only if you are sure that your detector is defective too. This can be determined by viewing the suppressed sideband signal of about 500 Hz with an oscilloscope connected to line output, it must be severely distorted. Another symptom is bad suppression of the unwanted sideband. At frequencies between 50 and 200 Hz there is another reason for the distortion of the beat signal: feedback from audio stages to the frequency of the first mixer oscillator. This can be improved by connecting a 2000 microfarad or larger capacitor from the AM +3.5 V to ground (pin 11 in connector A). The detector can be switched to selectable sideband synchronous mode also, but here rather strong phase noise of local oscillators creates clearly audible background (about 20 dB below audio). Also, the shielded oscillators exhibit strong microphone effect, resulting in audio feedback at higher volume. 


"To achieve this mode, pin 3 of connector C on the RF board can be connected to ground via about 1k ohm resistor and a switch. This resistor is useful only for avoiding extra interference from processor, also to avoid shorts in case of errors. For receiving normal SSB transmissions this connection should be broken. The unwanted sideband rejection can be further improved, but for this the service manual, a signal source (signal generator or a transmitter with clean carrier) and an AC voltage meter or oscilloscope is needed. The procedure is balancing the summing resistors after the audio phase shift circuits. Resistors in question are CR834/CR832 for LSB and CR833/CR831 for USB. 


"The results on my receiver are following (the frequency of the best suppression depends on actual component values in the phase shifters and is probably different for other receivers): Freq. [kHz] USB [dB] LSB [dB] 0.2 15 14 0.5 16 15 1.0 26 24 1.6 48 42 2.0 36 36 2.5 29 28 3.0 25 24 3.6 22 20 For proper balance CR834 was reduced by 10% and CR833 by 20%, but I am sure this is different on each sample. The best suppression value says also something about the distortion.


To give an idea of  my radio's performance with its 'unmodified' features, it matched my Grundig Satellit 750/Tecsun S-2000's reception of Radio Uganda (a 10 kw station) and Galei Zahal in Israel (a 10 kw station) from my home in Malaysia. While the Grundig 750 pulled in the station at higher decibels, along with a good deal of modulation splatter, the Grundig 500 with its Sync Demodulator was able to filter out much of the clutter and produce a cleaner sound. Still, it was quite an impressive feat for a radio more than two decades old.

To further illustrate its sensitivity, my Grundig Satellit 500 in the past two months has logged short-wave stations in Armenia (which my Sangean and Satellit 750 couldn't receive), Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Darfur,  Sudan, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, Ethiopia (Oromo), Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia (northern Greece), Argentina, Brazil, USA (WWVH in Hawaii, KNLS in Alaska, WEWN in Alabama and WWCR in Tennessee), Canada, UK, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, France, Ascension Island (Family Radio relay station), Holland, Germany, Vatican, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Russia, Afghanistan, Kurdistan (northern Iraq), Pakistan, Diego Garcia (BIOT), Sri Lanka, India, Tibet, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kalimantan (Indonesia), Philippines, Solomon Islands, Guam, Pulau, Australia, New Zealand and Sarawak (Malaysia). I suspect many of the East and West European stations that left the short-wave bands last year could quite easily have been heard with this radio.


Above all, this marvellous radio does what Grundig is famously noted for doing. Superb fidelity! It's 1.5 watt amp produces a warm, rich bass and treble fed through a single 7.5 ohm speaker. To appreciate stereo quality on FM, suitably designed headphones are required. Otherwise, all bands on the radio are processed in monaural.


The Grundig Satellit 500 is not a top-of-the-line short-wave receiver, but then it wasn't designed to be. For casual listening, slightly above average sensitivity and great sound, it does a marvellous job and will satisfy most radio aficionados. 


SPECIFICATIONS
* PLL dual conversion
* LW/AM/FM/ and Short-wave (1610-30000 kHz)
AM in 9/10 KHz steps

* Full SW coverage (100 Hz / 1 KHz step tuning)
* Single-Side Band (USB/LSB) using BFO
* Tuning methods -- direct frequency tuning, auto scan, manual tuning, memory recall and rotary tuning
* AGC / MGC
* Sync Demodulator, not Detector
* Wide IF filter 6.8 kHz (-6 dB) / Narrow IF filter 3.8 kHz (-6 dB) 

* 42 station memories with alphanumeric labelling for each station
* Alarm clock function / 60 minute sleep timer
* Dual time zone clocks (I've set mine for local time and UTC)
* Line-out socket (for external speaker)
* External antenna jack for 
50 ohm or 75 ohm coaxial cable / whip antenna

* Built-in NiCD battery charger


For more information on Grundig and the Grundig Satellit 500, check out this authoritative website: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/grundigradioboy/sat500faq.htm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unreceived Correspondence from Short-wave Broadcasters

Has anyone else had difficulty in receiving QSLs or correspondence from  short-wave broadcasters? 

In the 1960s and 1970s, correspondence with many stations was acknowledged after months of waiting for the mail. Today, I find even with the many methods of communication available, some stations fail to COMMUNICATE with their audience. Rather ironic when one thinks of the industry they represent.


The following short-wave broadcaster promised to send QSL card in 2010, but failed to follow-up on delivery:
- Radio Myanmar

Reception reports were sent by mail and/or email to the following stations (mostly in Africa and Middle East) in 2010, yet never replied: 
- Radio Sultanate of Oman (submitted reports 3 times)
- Channel Africa SABC (submitted reports 2 times)
- Radio Riyadh (submitted reports 2 times)
Voice of Africa/Radio Jamahiriya in Libya (submitted reports 2 times)
- Radio Exterior de Espana (submitted reports 2 times)
- Voice of Indonesia (submitted reports 2 times)
- Afia Darfur
- RTV Marocaine
- RTV Tunisia
- Solomon Islands Broad Corporation
- Voice of Masses of Eritrea
- Denga Mesopatmaya
- RTM-Sarawak FM
- British Broadcasting Corporation
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Radio Slobodna Europa)
- Radio Farda
- Radio Azadi
- Radio France Internationale 
- Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne

I have sent current reception reports to many of these stations for year 2011 already. Let's see if they reply.

POST-SCRIPT 4 MAY 2011: 
According to World Radio TV Handbook 2011, the British Broadcasting CorporationRadio Exterior de Espana and Radio Riyadh (BSKSA) no longer issue QSL cards. This would explain my repeated failure to obtain even a 'grunt' from them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Polskie Radio - Warsaw, Poland


Another QSL card from Polskie Radio verifying their External Service on 7 October 2010. A letter accompanied this QSL card, mentioning my reports were discussed on their "Multi-Touch" show. This particular QSL card verified their English language broadcast  logged in Malaysia on 7 October 2010, on 11.640 kHz. On this particular night, Polskie Radio broadcast some traditional Polish music which reminded me of my visit there a few years earlier. 



Kaito KA1102 / Degen DE1102 Review

The Degen DE1102 (Kaito KA1102 in US), which I purchased from a Hong Kong seller on eBay in 2006,  is absolutely fantastic for a small, under US$50 short-wave radio! It certainly lives up to all the positive things reviewers have said about it.


It is comparable to my 19 year old Panasonic RF-B45. While the Degen outshines the Panasonic with its 'wide' and 'narrow' bandwidth, its shortwave frequencies match the Panasonic for selectivity, although, perhaps, its reception is a bit clearer. MW is a bit better overall. In Malaysia however the selection of MW stations is not as numerable as in the US; nevertheless, I was able to pull in a station in Vietnam that I could not get on my Panasonic, plus several Thai, Indonesian and Chinese stations. FM is more selective than the Panasonic as well. Bass and stereo reception may be heard with the earphones on FM. 

Some reviewers fault the ergonomics (i.e. paging system), but I find it no more confusing than some 3G cell phones. As for the push button volume control, well, again, it's like so many cell phones; you get used to it. I only find that it's not as loud as the Panasonic, but I suppose after-market speakers could remedy this. The blue backlight and rechargeable batteries are an asset too. 

The deciding factor for me over the Kaito KA1103 Worldband Radio/Degen DE1103 was its continuous tuning (3.10-30.00 MHz). The KA1103/DE1103 tunes only international shortwave bands, i.e. 75 meters, 60 meters, 49 meters, 42 meters, 31 meters, 25 meters, 21 meters, 19 meters, 16 meters, 13 meters. With continuous tuning, the KA1102/DE1102 catches stations outside these meter bands. 

As for cons, it overloads when an external wire antenna is hooked to the whip aerial, but this may be because it is amplified. When using an internal wire antenna of similar length plugged into the antenna jack there is no overload. With the Panasonic, it does not matter whether it is hooked to the whip or jack. 

The radio is about the size of a postcard. Reminds me of the old pocket transitor radios back in the 1960s. It will definitely be a keeper whenever I travel overseas. 

As for the price, it's definitely worth it. You get a lot of radio for the buck. I bought my Degen DE1102 from Hong Kong, and it was a lot cheaper than what you'll find elsewhere on the web. If you opt for this and you live in the US, you might consider getting a 110 volt power adaptor. 

My only hope now is that it gives me as many years of listening pleasure as the Panasonic RF-B45. 

POST-SCRIPT (30 March 2007) Six months on and this little dynamo is still functioning...and I have been pretty aggressive with it. From Malaysia, I have logged shortwave stations from Austria, Canada (CBC), Czech Republic (Radio Prague), Israel, Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey (Voice of Turkey), the Netherlands (Radio Nederland), South Africa (SABC) Sweden (Radio Sweden), North Korea (Radio Pyongyang) and South Korea (KBS), New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International), Iraq (Kurdish speaking station), Voice of Africa (Libya), Iran and Taiwan -- all rather difficult to receive at times. Of course, BBC, Voice of Russia, China Radio International, NHK, Deutsche Welle, Radio Australia, Radio Thailand, Radio Indonesia, Voice of Vietnam, Radio Singapore, All India Radio are flame throwers in this part of the world. The single greatest asset of this radio remains its wide/narrow filter; it does a superb job of reducing powerful stations next to weaker ones. This portable SW PPL radio is still No. 1 in my book!!! 

POST-SCRIPT (20 March 2008) This little dynamo is still active and pulling in stations all over the world. Still the best buy around! 

POST-SCRIPT (11 April 2009) The radio is still functioning and pulling in amazing signals. Just a few weeks ago I logged Spanish National Radio, Madrid, Spain. Still one of the best portable shortwave radios in its class. 

POST-SCRIPT (19 February 2010) The radio is still working and pulling in some rather exotic stations in this part of the world (Malaysia). In the past few weeks I have logged the Voice of Mongolia, Radio Bulgaria, Radio Tirana (Albania), Radio DMR Pridnestrovye (Moldova), Radio Romania International and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Everything is functioning, even the batteries still hold a good charge for hours. It remains an excellent buy for anyone interested in the hobby of short-wave listening.

POST-SCRIPT (21 March 2011) This mighty-mite radio still pulls in the stations, although not with the sensitivity of my Grundig Satellite 750 and Sangean ATS-909W. In my opinion, nevertheless, it remains one of  the best short-wave portables under US$60. If I must find fault with it now, it is a quality issue; more specifically, the Wide filter no longer functions, but then it always functioned best on the Narrow filter setting. The Degen logo has also fallen off and is now misplaced. Aside from these nit-picking issues, it still performs well.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Radio Nikkei 1 - Tokyo, Japan

Radio Nikkei 1 in Tokyo, Japan was monitored on 14 March 2011  from 09.00-13.30 UTC on 9.595 kHz.


Signal (SINPO) was good during most of the broadcast at 44444 until 11.00-11.55 UTC when interference from a Chinese language station marred reception to 22442. After 11.55 UTC signal was again heard clearly and with excellent signal strength.


Programming was in the Japanese language and featured a generous variety of New Age, Contemporary Jazz and Classical music.


Station was contacted by mail and e-mail. QSL card received about two weeks after being posted, on 30 March 2011. Now that's what I call REAL station-listener response!


Website: 
http://www.radionikkei.jp


E-mail:
webmaster@radionikkei.jp

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Voice of Oromo Liberation (Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo)

Voice of  Oromo Liberation (Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo) transmitting from Germany was logged on 13 March 2011 on 11.760 kHz between 06.00-06.30 UTC. Signal was audible and of fair strenght, marred only by slight fading and atmospheric disturbance. 


Programming consisted of a few songs and commentary in the Oromoo language. 


A letter and email was sent. QSL is pending verification of reception report.


Address: 
SBO (Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo)
VOL (Voice of Oromo Liberation)
P.O.Box 510610
D - 13366, Berlin

Germany


Email: 
SBO13366@aol.com


Website:
www.oromoliberationfront.org/sbo.html

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Radio Portugal International -- LIsbon

Radio Portugal International in Lisbon, Portugal was logged on 8 March 2011 at 18.00 - 20.00 UTC on 9.795 kHz.


Signal  from 18.50 to 20.00 UTC transmission was 55545 (SINPO) -- clear and strong signal with only slight fading


This Portuguese language broadcast consisted mostly of Portuguese music, news on the hour and periodic station announcements.


Reception report was sent by mail and email. On 4 April 2011, I received an email from Paula Teixeira confirming the above reception report with a forthcoming QSL.




POSTSCRIPT (14 May 2011):
QSL card received in the mail today, along with a letter mentioning possible and temporary suspension of short-wave service. Programme schedule for 2011 sent as well.

Address:
RDP Internacional
Av. Marechal Gomes da Costa
371849-030 Lisboa
Portugal


Email   

paula.teixeira @ rtp.pt

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