Author Archive

Ever Heard Of Heathkit’s SS-8000 Digital Transceiver? …. Me Neither!


courtesy N8RS

The Heathkit SS-8000 was a unique synthesized HF transceiver (160-10m) originally designed as a kit in 1978. The reason that very few hams have heard of it is that it was never released … and only three were ever prototyped!

Robert Sumption, N8RS, is an ex-Heathkit engineer who worked on the project back in the late 70s. He recalls that after evaluating the project, it was deemed too complicated to be offered as a kit, since once built, most builders would not have the test equipment needed to align it properly. Consequently all three units were dissembled and sent to a local scrapyard!
 
Fast forward to 2015 when Bob came across all of the boxes of ‘scrap’ that someone had rescued from the scrapyard back in the day and the entire pile was now selling on eBay.
 
Would the SS-8000 live to meet it’s intended destiny? Bob describes this very challenging project in his six 5-minute videos.
 
Part 1:

 
Part 2:

 
Part 3:

 
Part 4:

 
Part 5:

 
Part 6:



I hope you find the videos as interesting as I did. It seems that Bob has some terrific skills and a lot of patience!

Ever Heard Of Heathkit’s SS-8000 Digital Transceiver? …. Me Neither!


courtesy N8RS

The Heathkit SS-8000 was a unique synthesized HF transceiver (160-10m) originally designed as a kit in 1978. The reason that very few hams have heard of it is that it was never released … and only three were ever prototyped!

Robert Sumption, N8RS, is an ex-Heathkit engineer who worked on the project back in the late 70s. He recalls that after evaluating the project, it was deemed too complicated to be offered as a kit, since once built, most builders would not have the test equipment needed to align it properly. Consequently all three units were dissembled and sent to a local scrapyard!
 
Fast forward to 2015 when Bob came across all of the boxes of ‘scrap’ that someone had rescued from the scrapyard back in the day and the entire pile was now selling on eBay.
 
Would the SS-8000 live to meet it’s intended destiny? Bob describes this very challenging project in his six 5-minute videos.
 
Part 1:

 
Part 2:

 
Part 3:

 
Part 4:

 
Part 5:

 
Part 6:



I hope you find the videos as interesting as I did. It seems that Bob has some terrific skills and a lot of patience!

Hunting For NDBs in CLE285

YPO-401 Peawanuck, ON tnx: ve3gop.com

It's CLE time once again. This is a challenge for all newcomers to NDB listening and the ultimate test of your medium frequency receiving capabilities. Can you meet the challenge?

'CLE's are 'Co-ordinated  Listening Events, and NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of  the NDB spectrum.
 
It's back to a normal activity with a frequency span of 400.0 - 419.9 kHz.

A good target for all NA listeners is YPO on 401 kHz in Ontario. Listen for its upper sideband CW identifier on 401.392 kHz.

When tuning for NDBs, put your receiver in the CW mode and listen for the NDB's CW identifier, repeated every few seconds. Listen for U.S. NDB identifiers approximately 1 kHz higher or lower than the published transmitted frequency since these beacons are modulated with a 1020 Hz tone approximately.

For example, 'AA' near Fargo, ND, transmitted on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier was tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident could be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone was actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone was 1054 Hz.

Often, one sideband will be much stronger than the other so if you don't hear the first one, try listening on the other sideband.

Canadian NDBs normally have an USB tone only, usually very close to 400 Hz. They also have a long dash (keydown) following the CW identifier.

All NDBs heard in North America will be listed in the RNA database (updated daily) while those heard in Europe may be found in the REU database. Beacons heard outside of these regions will be found in the RWW database.

From CLE organizers comes the following CLE info:

Our 285th Coordinated Listening Event starts on Friday.

This frequency range is not packed with signals for any of us, but if conditions are OK there could be some nice surprises.

Do join in, whether you have days to spare, or only an hour or so over the weekend. 

 

     Days:     Friday 28 October - Monday 31 October 2022

     Times:   Start and end at midday your LOCAL time

           PLEASE NOTE that most of us will be changing our house clocks

           during the weekend, but UTC time continues without changes.

     Range:   400 - 419.9 kHz

 

Please log all the NDBs that you can identify with nominal (listed) frequencies in the range - it includes 400 kHz, but not 420 kHz - plus any UNIDs that you come across there.

 

Send your final log to the List (no attachments please) with ‘CLE285’ and 'FINAL' in its title.

Show on each line:

    #   The Date (e.g.  '2022-10-28', etc.,  or just '28' )

    #   The Time in UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).

    #   kHz  - the nominal published frequency, if known.

    #   The Call Ident.

 

Please show those main items FIRST.   Other optional details such as Location and Distance go LATER in the same line.

As always, of course, tell us your own location and brief details of the equipment that you were using during the Event.

 

We will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 20:00 UTC on Tuesday so that you can check that your log has been found OK.

Do make sure that your log has arrived on the List by 09:00 UTC on Wednesday 2 November at the very latest.

We hope to complete making the combined results within a day or two.

 

You can find full details about the coming CLE from the RWW Website, including the CLE285 seeklists for your part of the World – just select CLE from the main menu.

Details about current and past CLEs are available from Alan’s NDB List Website, http://www.ndblist.info      

 

Good listening

   Brian and Joachim

-------------------------------------------------------------------

From:      Brian Keyte G3SIA      ndbcle'at'ndblist.info

Location:  Surrey,  SE England     (CLE coordinator)

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

  (If you would like to listen remotely you could use any

   one remote receiver for your loggings, stating its location

   and owner and with their permission if required. 

   A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver,

   local or remote, to make further loggings for the same CLE)

 

A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver,  whether local or remote, to obtain further loggings  for the same CLE)

These listening events serve several purposes. They

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the newly-re-vamped Rxx online database can be kept up-to-date

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range


• will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations


• will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working


• give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed


Final details can be found at the NDB List website, and worldwide results, for every participant, will be posted there a few days after the event.


The NDB List Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other DXers in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

You need not be an NDB List member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers.

Remember - 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the NDB List Group or e-mailed to CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above. If you are a member of the group, all final results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Have fun and good hunting!

 

Recent Crystal Radio DX Group ‘Listening Event’


Crystal Shortwave Receiver of Al Klase (N3FRQ) 
 

The Facebook Crystal Radio DX Group’s fall listening event was held two weekends ago over a two-night listening period. Unlike last year’s event, this was not a contest but rather a leisurely opportunity for members to take some time to see what they could hear with their setups. Also unlike last year, this one introduced and encouraged members to see what they might hear on shortwave! Since circuits losses are measurably much higher as you climb above the broadcast band, audio amplification (AF) was permitted to encourage members to give it a try as this was a whole new region to explore for most of us.

The addition of shortwave inspired much discussion as well as construction, the main objectives of founding the group.

Shortwave crystal radio was all new to me as well and I struggled for several days, right up to the event’s starting time, to even be able to detect a signal. I had chosen to follow a similar path as described in WU2D’s excellent video, using simple link coupling into the detector tank circuit. I reasoned (probably incorrectly) that my end-fed 80m halfwave inverted-V would be close enough to resonating on the 5, 6 and 7 MHz SW bands to provide enough signal into the detector. After playing with this system as well as other antennas for several days, I eventually abandoned the concept and tried a different approach.

I added a loosely coupled tuned antenna input using my 630m inverted-V wire, bypassing its large loading coil and low-impedance matching system. Essentially it was a big vertical long wire tuned against a number of buried ground radials. I also added an LM386 audio stage between the detector and headphones, something I had not tried with the previous system.
 
This simple approach immediately produced signals … just in time for the start of the party at sunset!
 



Obviously, from just the physical appearance of my own SW tuner, there is a vast amount of room for improvement! As crude as it was, the following signals were all heard and verified on a separate SW spotter radio.

Oct 1

0250 10000 WWV Colorado
0255 7365 Radio Marti, Greenville, NC - Spanish
0305 9850 Radio Romania Int'l, Tiganesti, Romania - English
0310 9790 China Radio Int'l (CRI) Quivican, Cuba - English
0315 7375 Radio Romania Int'l, Tiganesti, Romania - English
0320 7335 Radio Marti, Greenville, NC - Spanish
0355 5000 WWV Colorado
0400 5935 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
0408 5085 WTWW, Lebanon, TN - English
0429 4840 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
0435 6000 Radio Habana Cuba, Quivican, Cuba - English
1411 6075 China National Radio 1(CNR), Baoji-Sifangshan, PRC - Chinese
1416 5980 Radio New Zealand, Rangitaki, NZ - English
1420 5965 CRI, Xianyang, PRC - Korean
1424 6125 CNR1, Beijing, PRC - Chinese
1426 6175 Voice of China, Beijing - Chinese
1428 7200 National Unity Radio, Tamsui District, Taiwan - Korean
1434 7410 CRI, Jinhua, PRC - Japanese
1436 7395 CRI, Kashi-Saibagh, PRC - Chinese
1437 7365 Voice of China, Shijiazhuang, PRC - Chinese
1452 9410 Voice of America, Tinang, Philippines - Korean
1741 12095 BBC, Kranji, Singapore - Korean
1745 11870 CRI, Urumqi Hutubi, PRC - Russian
2045 15000 WWV, Colorado
2312 11780 Radio Nat'l Amazonia, Brasilia, Brazil - Portuguese
Oct 2
1212 7245 Radio New Zealand, Rangitaki, NZ - English
1214 7310 CNR1, unknown tx site - Chinese
1220 7325 CRI, Jinhua, PRC - Japanese
1230 7355 KNLS, Anchor Point, AK - English
1240 7490 WWCR, Nashville, TN - English
1300 9675 CRI, Shijiazhuang, PRC - Russian
1307 9350 Voice of America, Tinang, Philippines - Korean
1311 9435 Voice of Korea, Kujang, N. Korea - English
1350 9265 WINB, Red Lion, PA - English
1740 9580 KNLS, Anchor Point, AK - Russian
1800 15580 VOA, Selebi-Phikwe, Botsawna - English

Reviewing many of the vintage radio magazines from the late 20s and early 30s, there appears to be very little published material from this era. I found this somewhat surprising but then perhaps not ... maybe most radio-buffs were still entranced by the new regenerative circuits popping-up every month and had little appetite for crystal SW receivers.
 
It would appear that even today there has not been much investigation or experimentation in building an efficient low-loss crystal receiving system for shortwave … somewhat of a golden opportunity for today’s crop of crystal radio builders!

In view of the above, along with a surprising amount of interest in SW during our recent listening event, I’d like to include SW in all future events going forward and possibly encourage even more new interest in developing efficient circuits. Is it practical to consider non-audio amplification for such circuit’s? Time will tell but already, several members are having measured success with just bare headphones!

Some of the BCB and SW construction inspired by the recent listening event is shown below. For more information and more sets, please visit the Facebook Group and consider taking part in our next event, sometime in December ... maybe you can build the perfect SW tuner!


Kasey Jean Double-Tuned Loopstick BCB Tuner


James Kern Double-Tuned BCB Tuner


Ferhat Yavas Shortwave Tuner


Armando Anazco BCB Tuner


Doug Allen (K4LY) Shortwave Tuner

Don Dulmage (VE3LYX) Loop SW Tuner



Doug Allen (K4LY) Shortwave Tuner

The DX Central’s Weekly MW Frequency Challenge


If you enjoy DXing the broadcast band, then the weekly ‘DX Central MW Frequency Challenge' may be of interest to you. It’s run and organized by Loyd Van Horn, W4LVH, a dedicated DXer and a big promoter of BCB DXing.


Basically, participants are asked to listen on the chosen frequency (or frequencies) for a one week period (Friday to Friday) and report what they have been able to identify. Results of course will be different throughout the continent but if you are near any other listeners, it’s always fun to compare your final results.

The new frequency (or frequencies) are announced Friday evening  on Loyd's regular live-feed Youtube channel as well as on his Twitter feed   @dxcentral 


Loggings are reported via a fill-in form which is updated weekly.


This week's frequencies are 670-702kHz - What do you here there?


                         

Summer Radio Project Completed


My summer radio project, motivated by a magazine article published in 1936, has now been completed and fully described on my main website. Hopefully we can soon exchange Cycle 25 signals with it on the higher bands:

                             https://qsl.net/ve7sl/6a6.html

Hunting For NDBs In CLE283


Time marches on and once again, it's CLE time. This is an opportunity for you to discover the KIWI SDR online network and to put it to use for hunting NDBs ... either close to you or on the other side of the world!

'CLE's are 'Co-ordinated  Listening Events, and NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of  the NDB spectrum.
 
When tuning for NDBs, put your receiver in the CW mode and listen for the NDB's CW identifier, repeated every few seconds. Listen for U.S. NDB identifiers approximately 1 kHz higher or lower than the published transmitted frequency since these beacons are modulated with a 1020 Hz tone approximately.


For example, 'AA' near Fargo, ND, transmitted on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier was tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident could be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone was actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone was 1054 Hz.

Often, one sideband will be much stronger than the other so if you don't hear the first one, try listening on the other sideband.

Canadian NDBs normally have an USB tone only, usually very close to 400 Hz. They also have a long dash (keydown) following the CW identifier.

All NDBs heard in North America will be listed in the RNA database (updated daily) while those heard in Europe may be found in the REU database. Beacons heard outside of these regions will be found in the RWW database.

From CLE organizers comes the following CLE info:

Hello all 

Here are the final details for our special 283rd listening event which 
starts this coming Friday.  

Joachim and I are grateful for the questions, suggestions and help in the last few days.   Thanks also to Martin, who has made some changes that improve the way RWW handles logs that have been made at remote receivers.

 

  Days:    Friday 26 August - Monday 29 August


  Times: 
*Midday on Friday to *Midday on Monday,

                   local time at your chosen REMOTE RX
  QRG:    Normal LF/MF frequencies (190 - 1740 kHz)


  NDBs:   A MAXIMUM of 100 normal NDBs (not DGPS, Navtex, Amateur, .. )
                (That’s not intended to be a target to reach!)

Please check that you will be following the help given in the Early
 
Advice, sent last Saturday, and in the later contributions to the List.

Send your CLE log to the List, preferably as a plain text email (not in an attachment) with ‘CLE283 FINAL’ in its subject line.


    Please show on EVERY LINE of your log:


       #  The date (e.g. '2022-08-27' or just the day no. '27')
 and UTC*

       #  kHz  (The beacon's nominal published frequency)

              If you don’t know it, please visit https://rxx.classaxe.com where you will find all the details.


       #  The Call Ident.

 

           *UTC  is the same everywhere of course - but

           *Midday local time can always be checked from your browser by entering e.g. time timbuktu  (try it now!)


Show those main items FIRST on each line, before other optional
 
details such as Location, Distance, etc.  If you send any interim logs during the event, please also send your 'FINAL', complete one.

Please make your log interesting to everyone by giving details of the listening location and brief details of the receiver there thatyou were using.


We will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 19:00 UTC on Tuesday so you can check that your log has been found OK.


Do make sure that your log has arrived on the List at the very latest by 08:00 UTC on Wednesday 31 August.   We will then hope to
 complete making the combined results within two or three days.


Good listening

 

   Brian and Joachim

   (CLE Coordinators)

 -------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is additional information to help you in CLE283:

CLE283 – further guidance

Please be aware that, because most of the available Web-SDRs can be shared with a number of other users, there may occasionally be a need to wait your turn to use a particular one.

If you plan to participate in our upcoming CLE, you can use any one remote receiver for your loggings, stating its location (and web-address if possible) and with the owner’s permission if required.

You may NOT also use another receiver, to make further loggings for the same CLE.

Here’s a list of what can be found on the internet and there are definitely many more.

Kiwi receiver map : http://rx.linkfanel.net/  

The KiWi-receivers are amongst the most popular web-controlled remote-receivers and there are many of them to explore all over the world.

Simply select a receiver from the map and it will start playing.

The KiWi-software is easy to use. For beacon hunting I found that it is best to switch to CW mode, fully zoom in and set the bandwidth to about 40 Hz by dragging the left and/or right side of the bandwidth indicator until the bandwidth suits your needs.

Type “h” or “?” to see a list of keyboard shortcuts. Also a right-click in the waterfall or frequency scale will bring up a Kiwi-specific menu.

 

WebSDR receiver List and map : http://www.websdr.org/

You can select a receiver from the list by clicking on the displayed link. However, you should make sure it supports the desired frequency band by observing the information in column “Frequency Range” because not all receivers do support the NDB-Band.

However, the wide band web-sdr at the University of Twente does and it is, by far, the most popular receiver using the websdr-software.

There’s also a search box near the top of the page allowing you to specify the frequency range.

To access the receivers-map, you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the web page.

Clicking on the icon for a particular receiver displays an info-box which shows the available frequency ranges as well as a link to start the receiver.

 

GlobalTuners : https://www.globaltuners.com/

GlobalTuners provides access to remotely controlled radio receivers all over the world.

You can tune the receivers to listen to any desired frequency band.

Be aware that this webpage requires a login to access any of the available receivers.

Also, for most of the receivers, listening time has been limited by the operators.

 

SDR-Console :

You can use Simon Brown’s marvelous software SDR-Console to listen to a huge number of remote receivers.

Simply download SDR-Console from https://www.sdr-radio.com/download#Release  and install it on your PC.

Once the radio selection screen is displayed upon start of the software, select tab “Server”, click on button “Definitions”, click on “Search” and select “V3 Server”.

Then click on button SDRSpace.com and select a receiver from the list.

 

Perseus SDR :

Each Perseus Receiver comes with a server module which allows sharing of  this Rx via the internet.

You can select those receivers via the Perseus server-map : http://microtelecom.it/map/ServersMap.html

However, this requires a Perseus SDR and the Perseus Software to be installed on your pc.

Please be aware, that listening to a Perseus server needs some forwarding of TCP/UDP-Ports in your firewall.

  1. Forwarding port 8014 (UDP Protocol) to your computer (if you are behind a router);
  2. “Unblocking” the Perseus software in Windows Firewall (automatically requested by Windows o/s at the first run)

Please refer to the manual (Client-Server Perseus Software Reference - EN02.pdf) which comes with the Perseus software for more information.

 https://rx-tx.info/

This webpage provides a good start if you are searching for a web-receiver.

You can search by selecting

  1. a preview page
  2. a table showing information of the available bands and location info as well as the type of receiver
  3. a map
  4. the receiver type (Kiwi-receivers, WebSDR receivers and OpenWebRX receivers)

              OpenWebRx is a clone of the “Kiwi SDR-Software” and allows to put all kinds of SDR receivers on the internet using a small Linux PC like the RaspBerry Pi.

Here is some additional advice from Martin Francis, the designer of the RWW database:

And remember, if you are using a radio in Australia for example - choose RWW as your system; if your receiver is in Europe REU will be your choice; if it's in the Caribbean, you will choose RNA.

You can use the filtering capabilities in the RXX system to give you likely targets - so if that remote radio is in New Zealand, you can show signals that have been heard IN New Zealand.

And if the radio you choose is already in the RXX system, you can go to 'Personalise' and select that actual radio to see distances and bearings to each station in your targets list.

NOTES ON LOGGINGS:

If you submit logs from a location NOT already listed in RXX, please include as much info as you can to help our admins get your logs uploaded and create a new profile for that location.

Please include the specific URL (website address) used to access the radio, together with the receiver owner's callsign if they have one, and the town, state / province (if it has one), country, timezone and Grid square.

Also include the location YOU remotely operated the radio from (YOU are the OPERATOR in this scenario), especially if you haven't submitted a log before.

These listening events serve several purposes. They

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the newly-re-vamped Rxx online database can be kept up-to-date

• determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range


• will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations


• will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working


• give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed


Final details can be found at the NDB List website, and worldwide results, for every participant, will be posted there a few days after the event.


The NDB List Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other DXers in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

You need not be an NDB List member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers.

Remember - 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the NDB List Group or e-mailed to CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above. If you are a member of the group, all final results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Have fun and good hunting!

 


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