Sunday 26 January 2014

Alternative Shack

The YL kindly found me some space to store a little radio gear at her QTH.

So I have A Kenwood TS450 (my Spare rig), MFJ ATU and PSU for occasional operating there.

For an antenna I will use the Pro-Whip which is quick to set up and covers 80-10 metres, not the most efficient of antennas but should be fine for the odd short spell of HF ops. The main barrier to operation from this location (apart from the lack of time!) is the high noise level.

Just to test the setup I hooked it up to the Buddistick" portable vertical Indoors. Surprisingly it picked up quite a few signals and even more surprisingly the TS450 auto ATU tuned it. I didn't fancy transmitting however, not with the antenna that close by.

Thursday 9 January 2014

A different way of listening

Although I have been a licenced Radio Amateur for some years (thinking of it actually it will be 30 years this year!) I have always been a shortwave listener at heart. I entered the hobby through my interest in tuning around the shortwave bands in the late 1970s/Early 1980's. Those were the days, long before satellite TV and internet when the only way to hear news and views from foreign broadcasters was via your shortwave radio.

Times have changed of course and many, if not most of the big international broadcasters have left shortwave, even it seems the Voice of Russia is considering winding down its shortwave operations. The SW bands are now dominated by China but most of the familiar European stations are gone.

Around 8 or 9 years ago I purchased an Internet Radio which hooked into my WIFI and enabled a choice of I think around 20,000 Radio Stations worldwide. Most are local or National stations but some are the old international Broadcasters.

The selection of broadcasters available depends on the Internet "Portal" used by the receiver manufacturer. Some Portals carry more stations than others. My Original Logik radio uses the "Reciva" portal

Using some money I received for Christmas I have invested in a new WIFI radio a Roberts Stream 83i

This receiver uses the "Frontier Silicon" portal and whilst it doesnt appear to have as many radio stations listed as the "Reciva" portal there is still a fair selection. The radio itself is Superior to my old Logik with better sound quality, improved wifi sensitivity and the option of DAB and FM bands also.

I thought it would be interesting to see how many of the international broadcasters were available to listen to on internet radio with the results below, over both Reciva and Frontier Silicon portals:

Radio Slovakia
Vatican Radio
Voice of Russia

Deutsche Welle

Radio France International
Radio Exterior (Spain)
RRI (Romania)
Radio Tirahna (Foreign Service)
NHK Japan
Iran IRIB World Service
Radio Cairo

There are probably many others but these are the ones I have stumbled across. Its not the same as real shortwave of course but its nice to hear some of these familiar voices. It is slightly concerning that these days if the state wished to control our listening habits they could simply block the internet. There would be very few "Real" broadcasters left on the bands.