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Longwave SWL

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KB3ZGV, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. KB3ZGV

    KB3ZGV Ham Member

    I'd like to start listening to the longwave broadcasts. What can I use for a receiver? Can I modify something easily. What would be good to start with? Do you think my 80 M dipole would work well for listening? What is the propagation like?
     
  2. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member

    Shouldn't that be LWL? Because Longwave SWL really means Longwave Shortwave listening. :)

    I do listen from time to time. I hear quite a few european stations. They are low but audible.

    For antennas you need something like a Beverage. Basically a long wire low to the ground.
     
  3. AB2T

    AB2T Ham Member

    Catch those LW broadcasters while you can! BBC shut their LW tx'ers down last year; most western European broadcasters have moved their LW outlets to FM. WRTH tells me that there are still a number of LW tx'ers left in Russia and the former USSR countries. Many of these stations run (or at one time ran) 1 MW (1000 kW)+. The lighting bills must be hideous!

    In general, even the major SW services have pared back their coverage to Africa, the Mideast, and Asia. BBC only broadcasts to the previous three, for example. Save for China Radio International or Voice of Russia, (the latter's budget must be the same or greater than Radio Moscow), few if any SW broadcasters have a worldwide program.

    LW/SW international broadcasting days are numbered. Try tropical band DXing (2000 -- 4000 kHz) or BCB (broadcast band, AM) DX'ing for new challenges.

    73, Jordan
     
  4. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member

  5. KB3ZGV

    KB3ZGV Ham Member

    I could probably do a beverage of about a 375' here without too much trouble. Do you think that is enough?
     
  6. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member

    Not optimal but better than nothing. I have 800' phased Beverages for 160m and I use that.
     
  7. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member

    A long wire and a preselector should get you in the ballpark, What about your local noise level on those freqs??
     
  8. AB2T

    AB2T Ham Member

    Yes, but R4 has precious time. The article you cite notes that 90,000 British households still listened to R4 LW in 2011, primarily because FM does not cover the most remote regions of the UK. There's a need for BBC 4 LW, so long as the transmitter hangs on.

    BBCWS 693 kHz is next to go, certainly. The Oman tx station still broadcasts English on 693 kHz from 0200 to 0230 UTC.

    73, Jordan
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  9. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member

    There aren't many long wave broadcasts these days and for a good reason, the transmitting valves are not available. They are not manufactured, and like it says in the supermarket, when they're gone , they're gone ! Some broadcasting companies have a few in stock and they use them carefully

    Mel G0GQK
     
  10. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Subscriber

    I use an RCA 9K. There are plenty other radios of this vintage that will do that. Of course, there are newer ones too...

    There are converters, you can even build one.

    Yes.

    First ask yourself what is the power line noise like? Then ask yourself what is the other QRM like?
     
  11. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member

    When I was a teenager I listened to VLF with my Knight Kit Ocean hopper and could hear a few local airport NDB signals and copied thier IDs in Morse code. I never was able to hear any LW AM broadcats from overseas then.
    I recently started back listening to LW but what I still hear are the airport NDB stations. Those identify often with Morse and I cross check what I hear with a list or two on the internet.
    Most of the Beacons only run a hundred watts or so into shortened antennas but their signals can travel very far. They are between 200 and 520 KHz with a few gaps, I hear none between 303 and 326 and 425-505 kHz.
    About 90 % of the signals heard are in Canada. I guess the US beacons run lower power or have been decommissioned.
    When I heard my first distant beacon I started logging them and now I have over a hundred from Manitoba to the Maritime provinces, from MI, OH, IN to MA and TN. Even copied Fargo , ND !
    On several frequencies I have picked out as many as three IDs at different times of day and night.
    I use my TS440s reciever since it tunes down to VLF, My 160M dipole is quite adequate but sometimes I use my 40M horiz loop since it picks up less line noise.
    It is interesting to note the variation in what you hear. Stations heard are changing from night to night and even the shorter haul in daylight changes from day to day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  12. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Subscriber

    I hear NDB's from all over. The distance varies greatly over time. Very recently I can only pick up ones within about 120mi from here. I use a 30m loop, in my attic. I hear NDB's, similar stations transmitting RTTY (or something?) and stations that I have no idea what they are. No voice transmissions though.
     
  13. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber

    The local NDB at 341 kHz (MYZ) was shut down last year. It had a nice 2nd harmonic that could be heard around the area on 680 kHz on just about any AM radio.

    Has anyone tried a K9AY antenna for LW listening?
     
  14. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member

    Yes, it's very important. According to this Wikipedia article, BBC4 ceasing transmission could cause the Royal Navy's missile submarines to fire their missiles.

     
  15. KE6KA

    KE6KA Ham Member

    Quite a few HF tranceivers cover LW. Unfortunately receiver performance is poor down there. I have an IC-7000 which LW is useless on if there are any strong MW signals. IBOC makes the problem much worse.

    General coverage LW receivers aren't hard to find. On the East Coast people DX the broadcast stations from Europe. On the West Coast it is usually limited to navigational beacons, which are becoming fewer. One I still here is "INE" from the airport in Missoula, MT.
     
  16. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member

    Over here control PLC by the power company pretty much wipes out a good portion of LW. But what's there is actually quite good in the winter months.

    MW DX here is a no go, due to all the powerful stateside stations and their stupid "HD Radio" IBOC garbage. But on the NW Beverage I can pick up WLW 700 AM pretty reliably.
     
  17. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member

    I find you can often do much better MW DX listening with a vertical.
     
  18. KE6KA

    KE6KA Ham Member

    It is getting difficult in California as well. The stations upgrading to IBOC are also being granted power increases. I'll never understand why 50kw is needed when 5kw is more than enough to cover most American metro areas.

    At any rate, I can hear a Japanese station on 774khz after about 1:00 am. There is also a Portuguese language station that comes up out of the background in 800Khz when XEROK fades out. I don't know if it is the 100kw, or 600kw station in Brazil. I used to hear Transworld Radio on that frequency from Bonaire, but I haven't heard that one for a few years. Before KFI started that IBOC nonsense, I used to hear KUAM from Guam on 630 right before sunrise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  19. KE6KA

    KE6KA Ham Member

    While on the topic of MW DXing, for those of you in Southern California, I'm a bit curious. How strong is the station from Tijuana on 1700Khz down there? Everything I've seen on the internet states 10kw. At times it is about as strong as the local 50kw stations here in Sacramento, and periodically, the splatter is enough to completely wipe out the local station on 1690. The other border blasters in that area (690 and 1090) are strong here, but nowhere as strong as 1700.
     
  20. BX2ABT

    BX2ABT Ham Member

    I scanned the long wave band a couple of months ago. Not really DX here, but I could hear various Radio Rossii outlets and Mongolian radio.
     
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