Another tropo lift has been under way since yesterday. The video shows the Perseus FM+ in action with my Triax FM7. You can hear stations from France/Belgium/Germany and Luxembourg as well as UK nationals. The poor RDS performance of the FM+ is clear and the spurs on 87.4 and 87.5 are disgraceful. The only saving grace of the FM+ is its ability to record 1.6 MHz of spectrum.
For a new MF dxer getting your first TA station is a big achievement. Replacing the usual long wire with a Flag antenna will almost guarantee that you will receive TA stations during the season.
This is a short example of how directional the Flag Antenna is:
The video shows the power of the Flag Antenna . The Perseus SDR is on 1368 KHz and you can hear BBC Wiltshire which is to the west of my location. Flag is orientated north west at 300 degrees. Then I switch in an Inverted L antenna which has traps for the amateur 80 and 160 band – antenna runs west to east – on MW it operates essentially like a long wire. Wiltshire disappears and you can hear BBC Surrey which is to my South, I switch between the Flag and Long Wire, and Wiltshire and Surrey come and go. Thanks to David H in Scotland for introducing me to the Flag antenna.
The Flag is a piece of wire – arranged in a rectangle – mine is 10m x 3m. So 26m of wire all together. In the middle of one short end break the wire and insert a balun. I am using the FLG 100 balun/pre-map from Wellbrook. I have also used a balun supplied by eBay seller kafa2500. He is in Canada and is good guy. The feedline to receiver attaches to balun. The other short side break the wire and attach either a resistor around 900 Ohms or a variable resistor – again I use one from kafa2500. The short side with the balun is the direction from which signals are strongest and you tune the variable resistor to null out stations 180 degrees away. With ground wave nulls are very deep – obviously sky wave propagation nulls are variable. However I do a good job of nulling the Dutch station on 1008 to allow 1010 through (Spain is also on 1008). My Flag is beaming around 300 degrees – towards New York.
Some excellent MF conditions overnight – it’s been a pretty good start to the TA MF season here in London though the last 3-4 days have been nothing special. However this morning at 0500 we had WCKY Cincinatti dominant on 1530 kHz which is normally occupied by semi-local Euros here. Here’s how the ID sounded in London:
On 1650 we had KYHN out of Fort Smith Arkansas. I had noted it earlier this month but not so loud as it was this morning:
Equipment here is the Perseus SDR (software defined radio) and a 8x4m Flag antenna. The Perseus has transformed MF dxing with its ability (with 3rd party tools) to do unattended wide-band recording. No serious MF dxer woudl be without his Perseus! The Flag antenna is perfect for small gardens and you would not believe the difference over using a long wire. I’ll say more about the Flag in another post.
Last couple of days (Monday and Tuesday 23/24 September 2013) have seen some superb tropo condtions in London. I’ve mainly focused on band II dxing with my modded Sony XDR-HD and Triax FM7 (FM8 without front reflector 🙁 ) at about 9m AGL on a cheap rotator though I was beaming at 120 degrees for 90% of the time.
I used the superb FMLIST both to identify stations (or more accurately their probable locations) and also to log my catches. FMLIST offers a graphical representation of your online logbook and mine can be seen here: http://www.fmlist.org/fm_logmap.php?datum=2013-09-23&omid=2121 I think most of the tropo duct was to my SE though I did occaisonally move the beam to 180 degrees as you can see.
Highlights include Hitradio Ö3 in Salzburg (1055 km from home QTH), Antenne Bayern from Hochries (1002 km) and SRF 1 and 3 from Säntis (851 km) in Switzerland.